Monthly Archives: October 2019

We’re in Receipt of One or More Epistles

Rapid Fire Zone!

with guest shooter John Cook

Phat Albert writes from Wash., DC, USA:

Dear RFZ c/o CN,

I guess you could call me a professional influencer. Not to blow my own trumpet, but the evidence does point to my being pretty good at my job.

From my earliest years on my family’s tobacco farm, I was expected to know how to make folks hand over legal currency in exchange for lung cancer, which may sound hard, but isn’t as easy as it sounds.

When that challenge wore off I went into politics. On an average day I might have to, say, convince Americans to re-elect Bill Clinton to the Oval Office—which, despite recognizing the name Bill Clinton, they actually did, thanks to my initiative in going ahead and inventing the ’Office Sex-perverts Should Get Four More Years’ law-and-order platform.

After retirement I wanted a change of pace, so I decided to sell something easier: the science of climate urgency.

Everyone said it would be a piece of cake, especially for the youngest person ever to drop out of Vanderbilt’s Masters in Preaching program, having surpassed my Rhetoric professors by the end of sophomore year.

Everyone said the promotional video I made for my climate-prevention company, Generation Investment Management, could be cut in half and still win an Oscar.

Everyone said I’d have the carbon debate in the bag by intermission.

Well, 13 years later, I think you can guess whose advice I wouldn’t piss on if it was at increased risk of once-in-a-century extreme temperatures: everyone’s.

Long story short, from a peak brand approval of 49% we’ve made literally zero headway in over a decade. No matter how sad and angry I get, people just prefer not to sign up anymore. How dare they?

When I do cold calls these days, it feels like 51% of the time, they don’t even want to be talked into subscribing. You can’t say the word ‘carbon credit’ in mixed company any more…

[Blah blah blah, woe is me, a few swears for good measure—eds.

It goes on like this.]

….serious thought to selling out and getting back into the respiratory-malignancies game.

So I guess my question is:

What’s the #1 WEIRD tip that can TURBOCHARGE my climate-insurance sales and save up to 200 HOURS of impotent frustration/week? That’s more than I pay for coffee.


Stop preaching to the unconverted.


As Sun Tzu says, pick your battles with a view, whenever practicable, to avoiding suicide. A surfeit of Anzac spirit is all well and good if your only ambition is to have an Australian cookie recipe named after you, Phat Albert, if that really is your name. But nobody ever wrote a book about the idiot who charged at a wind turbine—they were too busy trying to identify the resulting mince from dental records.—J.C.

Well, Rapid Fire has outdone itself this time, mereckons you’ll agree.

Because you asked for it.

School’s back, and you know what that means: it’s time for Rapid Fire!

Rapid Fire Zone!


My question is to the rather animated gentleman on the far left, psychologist I think? [Pointing to Winthrop Professor Stephan Lewandowsky.] Hi, yeah. In two bullet points or less, how does science explain the fact that nobody bothers doing anything to avert climate catastrophe?

Winthrop Prof. Lewandowsky: Whoa! [Wiping brow theatrically. General laughter.]

That’s pretty much the question, isn’t it? So while I’m not remotely convinced you were asking it in good faith, I want to answer it anyway:

  • The human brain evolved to ignore problems that don’t matter.
  • Which is great for solving the real problems we encounter day to day—but leaves us totally ill-equipped to deal with made-up ones.

No empty calories. Gluten free. Single-origin. 97% fact-free. That’s our promise to you when you enter the CN Rapid Fire Zone.

Rapid Fire: because you asked for it.

Yes, you in the trenchcoat, sitting patiently up back. Fire away.

Rapid Fire Zone!

Q: [Inaudible] Like this? [Tap tap] Sorry, yeah, like I was saying, I wanted to ask the panel:

What’s the ‘Mission Statement’ of Climate Nuremberg’s new Semi-automatic Fire Zone [sic] section? What corporate values [inaudible]? Thanks.

A: Our new Rapid Fire Zone embodies excellence in:

  • succinctness

Who was next?

We hope you enjoyed this zero-sugar, 97% fact-free, no-added-values science-sized snack, courtesy of Climate Nuremberg’s Rapid Fire Zone.

Rapid Fire: because you asked for it.

So Many Hands Raised in Childlike Curiosity, So Few Bullets

Today we’re humbled with pride to announce what scientists say will be a game-changing feature at the Berg, offering faster elimination of your lingering questions than ever. And don’t worry: CN’s new Rapid Fire Zone will learn from, and build on, the mistakes of the abortive CN Explainer—now deleted—a format we really should have known was overambitious. (The clue is in the name, der freds.)

After that episode—of which let us never speak again—we turned to our readers for ideas. You. The people. The 99% of Internet users who trust Climate Nuremberg, not Breitbart, for their daily science.

And one consistent message came through, right from the day our reader survey opened in 2003. What you’ve been telling us, year after year, is that you don’t care about the Whys and Wherefores—that’s “troll catnip,” “pandering to the immoral minority” and “false balance,” in the words of one courageous young reader, ‘Mikeman,’ from PA., USA.

What you want is the Whats, How Bads, How Fasts and Therefores.

When do you want it? Now.

Well, we listened. That’s what we do to you here at the Berg. We be agile.

After all, sitting around waiting for some evidence is so… Anthropocene. These days, the Days of Thunberg, #We simply #DontHaveTime (as my 16-year-old granddaughter keeps reminding me) for such indulgences.

Just ask any industry-free scientist: by the time the science comes true, it’ll be too late to falsify it, no matter what level of carbon austerity we submit to. The people who publish on the theory of tipping points have been in indefeasible consensus about this since 1850, and what they tell us reads more like the New Testament than a sober IPCC meta-analysis: the shit, they say, shall hit the fan like a thief in the night. And the picture in the crystal ball’s only getting more turbid. It’s as if the more we know about how uncertainty works, the less we know we know (and the more we know we don’t) about the tripwires for explosive climate derealization.

The latest scientists are now putting it like this, in private, after a few drinks: “In the climate-change world—unlike the real world—you can’t always count on getting a trigger warning.”

Michael Mann studies historical trends in tree temperatures, a question we’ve known the answer to since Victorian times. He says the junior scientists who queue outside his office for mentoring are young and—in various cases—diverse, and therefore grasp the urgency of the war on our broken climate better than the dead white geriatrics who occupy the Professorial Chairs ever could.

For Mann’s conga-line of protégés it’s no longer a science, it’s an arms race. And they’ve got no patience for the language of background checks, references, mental health screening, and other dilatory cunctations so beloved by climate delayers.

“‘Cooling-off period’ isn’t even in the vocabulary of tomorrow’s researcher superstars,” he explains, authoritatively but without falling into the easy trap of mannsplaining. “And if it is, it belongs in the same sentence as ‘phlogiston’ and ‘Little Ice Age.'”

Isn’t it time we learnt from them?

So say goodbye to step-by-step walking-you-throughs down tortuous, and often tendentious, garden paths of premise and inference that are all-too-seldom convincing—if they’re even intelligible.

From now on we’re cutting straight to the take-home point[s]. Because people—like you, for example—respond to bullets, not numbers. Climate psychologists were perfectly aware of this when Arrhenius was just a spermatozoon in his father’s eye.

Isn’t it time we learnt from them?

Without further ado, let’s answer your most burning, acidifying questions already. All that and little more when Climate Nuremberg returns with the inaugural Rapid Fire Zone, in a fortnight or so.

Shoot. ■