November 4, 2009

I started this post intending to type the word “Fireworks” as the title, but somehow my dirty, little id got the better of me and I hit a “d” instead of a “k.” Turns out, my new title is much better.

Michael Shellenberger and Ted Nordhaus at the Breakthrough Institute have thrown down the gauntlet on Joe Romm. Tom Yulsman picks up the thread. Both are must-reads.

I predict a flame war in 3…2…1…

Stay tuned.


  1. Kind of depends. Tom Yulsman is out there flaming the fires, kind of reminds Eli of some bad jokes(esp. in the comments), but what this has become is a bid for attention by Kloor and now Nordburger so Romm might better go after the boyz for something else.

  2. Yeah. We’ll see. I’ll be surprised if Romm lets this one drop. But I do love fireworks…

  3. I really dislike weak historical analogies. Is it now impossible to call someone a character-assassinating-attention-whore-of-a-bully without calling them a McCarthyite? Romm might be one of the most influential non-elected figures on climate policy these days, and he might even be a righteous ass, but he’s certainly not chairing witch hunts in from the Senate that used the full power of the U.S. Federal Government to destroy lives. Not every bully is Joe McCarthy even if Joe McCarthy was a bully.

    Also, Ben, you really like these blogwars? It gets pretty tiresome for me.

  4. @Loneoak:

    To be honest, I’m not sure I really “like” the blogwars. I guess I’m being a bit tongue-in-cheek. They tire me out, just as they do you. Sometimes I love a good argument, particularly if it’s laid out well and sometimes if it’s peppered with stinging barbs. (The Dawkins/Midgley correspondence comes to mind as one of my favorite. I also enjoyed Pierrehumbert’s letter to Levitt last week, so I guess there’s a sick, voyeuristic part of me that likes to watch.)

    The problem is that many times in the blogosphere the egos shine through and the barbs are more mean-spirited than stinging, more aimed at the person and less at the argument. That shit bothers me. IMHO, those sorts of attacks more often just embarrass the speaker instead of impugning the standpoint of the accused. When that happens, I get verrry uncomfortable.

    Also, I think you’re probably right about the historical analogies. They’re an imperfect rhetorical tool, at best. And lordy, if there’s one thing I dislike more than shining egos, it’s rhetoric. I would much prefer to ignore the vitriolic rhetoric (regardless of political angle) and maybe point out the failings of a given argument. I have my political views, to be sure, but I try, where possible, to cut through the rhetoric.

    Don’t know. Let’s see where this goes.

  5. @Loneoak

    Eli likes clever blogwars, but mostly they grind down to France in 1917, when the righteous thing to have done was shoot the generals on both sides and go out for beers.

    • You know who else liked beer? Hitler, that’s who. And Joe McCarthy.

  6. Beers I can deal with.

  7. Folks –

    This blogofeud seems fundamentally different than most, where rhetorical sparring leads to a Hitler reference and we all laugh, have beer and move on. Romm’s attack on Keith was not merely verbal. In his closing, in which he urged his minions to bombard Nature’s editors with email, he was implicitly trying to get Keith fired.

  8. Yeah, I agree. If that’s what Romm was encouraging, that’s going too far.

  9. Has anyone asked why Kloor got the gig? He really doesn’t seem very well qualified.

  10. […] Ding, ding, ding. Ted Nordhaus and Michael Shellenberger have offered another volley in their earlier criticism of Joe Romm. In doing so, they’ve blown the whistle on a clash between Romm and my colleague Roger Pielke […]

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