A Scientific Survey?
Christopher Mims of Scientific American, a global-warmist magazine, trumpets as a "reality check" a new poll result:
Via the very-much-worth-checking-out Sietch Blog:
In what can only be considered a tidal wave of public opinion, a new Yale research survey reveals a significant shift in public attitudes toward the environment and global warming. Fully 83 percent of Americans now say global warming is a "serious" problem, up from 70 percent in 2004. Most dramatically, the survey of 1,000 adults nationwide shows that 63 percent of Americans agree that the United States "is in as much danger from environmental hazards, such as air pollution and global warming, as it is from terrorists."
In other words, 63% of the American public now agrees with the 2003 Pentagon report that, while speculative, said as much.
(The rest of the survey results are well worth reading, and demonstrate U.S. citizens' growing concern about extinction, air pollution, and other environmental issues.)
Well, if 63% of the American public says it, it must be true, right? That's how science works! So we checked the survey results (PDF), as Mims recommended, and we found another interesting finding: 58% agree that "as the Bible says, the world was literally created in six days." So according to Scientific American, the biblical story of creation has only slightly less scientific merit than global warming. And if you think the people in the survey are unqualified to weigh in on such matters, they beg to differ: 71% of them agreed with the statement "I consider myself an intellectual," and 59% agreed that "I have more ability than most people." We'll bet a high proportion of them read Scientific American.
AN UNHAPPY BIGMOUTH
NASA's Jim Hansen has discovered STS (science and technology studies, i.e., social scientists who study science), and he is using it to justify why the IPCC is wrong and he, and he alone, is correct on predictions of future sea level rise and as well on calls for certain political actions, like campaign finance reform. In a new paper, Dr. Hansen conveniently selects a notable 1961 paper on the sociology of scientific discovery from Science to suggest that scientific reticence can be used to predict where future research results will lead. And he finds, interestingly enough, that they lead exactly to where his views are today.
What evidence does Dr. Hansen provide to indicate that his views on sea level rise are correct and those presented by the IPCC, which he openly disagrees with, are wrong? Well, for one he explains that no glaciologist agrees with his views (as they are apparently reticent), suggesting that in fact his views must be correct (a creative use of STS if I've ever seen one;-). If holding a minority view is a standard for predicting future scientific understandings then we should therefore apparently pay more attention to all those lonely skeptics crying out in the wilderness, no?
I find it simply amazing that Dr. Hansen has the moxie to invoke the STS literature to support his scientific arguments when that literature, had he looked at maybe one more paper, indicates that Bernard Barber's 1961 essay, while provocative is not widely accepted (see, e.g., this book or this paper). And even if one accepts Barber's article at face value which argues that scientists resist new discoveries (Thomas Kuhn, hello?), what Dr. Hansen doesn't explain (as he is throwing out the IPCC model of scientific consensus) is why his views are those that will prove to be proven correct in the future rather than those other scientific perspectives that are not endorsed by the IPCC. (Dr. Hansen appears to ignore Barber's argument in the same paper suggesting that older scientists are more likely to be captured by political or other interests when presenting their science.)
If we can use the sociology of science to foretell where science is headed, we could save a lot of money not having to in fact do the research. The climate issue is full of surprises and this one just about takes the cake for me. Now I've seen everything!
MUST BE GLOBAL WARMING: LACK OF DISASTERS GIVES LLOYDS $7 BILLION PROFIT
Lloyd's of London, the world's biggest insurance market, on Thursday reported a pretax profit of 3.66 billion pounds (5.4 billion euros, US$7.2 billion) in 2006, a year of few global catastrophes. That reversed Lloyd's 2005 result of a loss of 103 million pounds (152 million euros, US$202 million) because of hurricane damage claims.
"During the year, we benefited from strong underlying conditions and an exceptionally low level of catastrophes," said Lord Levene, Lloyd's chairman. "However, it would be unrealistic to expect such a favorable claims experience this year."
The 2005 season was the most destructive in recorded history, with 27 named storms and 14 hurricanes, including Katrina, which devastated Louisiana and Mississippi in the U.S. and killed more than 1,300 people.
EU CLIMATE TARGETS COST UP TO 1.1 TRILLION EURO BY 2020
According to a new study, climate targets agreed in March by EU member states could result in immense costs: In the next 14 years, European Union member states would have to fork out 1.1 trillion Euro for climate protection. With reference to a study by the management consultancy firm McKinsey, the German newspaper "Die Welt" reports that the total costs are estimated between 800 billion and 1.1 trillion euro by the year 2020.
The European Union heads of state and government decided on 9 March to cut greenhouse gas emissions by 20 per cent by 2020. However, the summit did not consider the actual costs or concrete measures, let alone how this goal was to be achieved...
Source. (Translation by Benny Peiser)
MANKIND HAS NEVER BEEN HEALTHIER, WEALTHIER OR FREER. SURPRISED?
Environmentalists and globalization foes are united in their fear that greater population and consumption of energy, materials, and chemicals accompanying economic growth, technological change and free trade-the mainstays of globalization-degrade human and environmental well-being. Indeed, the 20th century saw the United States' population multiply by four, income by seven, carbon dioxide emissions by nine, use of materials by 27, and use of chemicals by more than 100.
Yet life expectancy increased from 47 years to 77 years. Onset of major disease such as cancer, heart, and respiratory disease has been postponed between eight and eleven years in the past century. Heart disease and cancer rates have been in rapid decline over the last two decades, and total cancer deaths have actually declined the last two years, despite increases in population. Among the very young, infant mortality has declined from 100 deaths per 1,000 births in 1913 to just seven per 1,000 today.
These improvements haven't been restricted to the United States. It's a global phenomenon. Worldwide, life expectancy has more than doubled, from 31 years in 1900 to 67 years today. India's and China's infant mortalities exceeded 190 per 1,000 births in the early 1950s; today they are 62 and 26, respectively. In the developing world, the proportion of the population suffering from chronic hunger declined from 37 percent to 17 percent between 1970 and 2001 despite a 83 percent increase in population. Globally average annual incomes in real dollars have tripled since 1950. Consequently, the proportion of the planet's developing-world population living in absolute poverty has halved since 1981, from 40 percent to 20 percent. Child labor in low income countries declined from 30 percent to 18 percent between 1960 and 2003.
Equally important, the world is more literate and better educated than ever. People are freer politically, economically, and socially to pursue their well-being as they see fit. More people choose their own rulers, and have freedom of expression. They are more likely to live under rule of law, and less likely to be arbitrarily deprived of life, limb, and property.
Social and professional mobility have also never been greater. It's easier than ever for people across the world to transcend the bonds of caste, place, gender, and other accidents of birth. People today work fewer hours and have more money and better health to enjoy their leisure time than their ancestors.
Man's environmental record is more complex. The early stages of development can indeed cause some environmental deterioration as societies pursue first-order problems affecting human well-being. These include hunger, malnutrition, illiteracy, and lack of education, basic public health services, safe water, sanitation, mobility, and ready sources of energy.
Because greater wealth alleviates these problems while providing basic creature comforts, individuals and societies initially focus on economic development, often neglecting other aspects of environmental quality. In time, however, they recognize that environmental deterioration reduces their quality of life. Accordingly, they put more of their recently acquired wealth and human capital into developing and implementing cleaner technologies. This brings about an environmental transition via the twin forces of economic development and technological progress, which begin to provide solutions to environmental problems instead of creating those problems.
All of which is why we today find that the richest countries are also the cleanest. And while many developing countries have yet to get past the "green ceiling," they are nevertheless ahead of where today's developed countries used to be when they were equally wealthy. The point of transition from "industrial period" to "environmental conscious" continues to fall. For example, the US introduced unleaded gasoline only after its GDP per capita exceeded $16,000. India and China did the same before they reached $3,000 per capita.
This progress is a testament to the power of globalization and the transfer of ideas and knowledge (that lead is harmful, for example). It's also testament to the importance of trade in transferring technology from developed to developing countries-in this case, the technology needed to remove lead from gasoline.
This hints at the answer to the question of why some parts of the world have been left behind while the rest of the world has thrived. Why have improvements in well-being stalled in areas such as Sub-Saharan Africa and the Arab world? The proximate cause of improvements in well-being is a "cycle of progress" composed of the mutually reinforcing forces of economic development and technological progress. But that cycle itself is propelled by a web of essential institutions, particularly property rights, free markets, and rule of law. Other important institutions would include science- and technology-based problem-solving founded on skepticism and experimentation; receptiveness to new technologies and ideas; and freer trade in goods, services-most importantly in knowledge and ideas. In short, free and open societies prosper. Isolation, intolerance, and hostility to the free exchange of knowledge, technology, people, and goods breed stagnation or regression.
Despite all of this progress and good news, then, there is still much unfinished business. Millions of people die from hunger, malnutrition, and preventable disease such as malaria, tuberculosis, and diarrhea. Over a billion people still live in absolute poverty, defined as less than a dollar per day. A third of the world's eligible population is still not enrolled in secondary school. Barriers to globalization, economic development, and technological change-such as the use of DDT to eradicate malaria, genetic engineering, and biotechnology-are a big source of the problem.
Moreover, the global population will grow 50 percent to 100 percent this century, and per capita consumption of energy and materials will likely increase with wealth. Merely preserving the status quo is not enough. We need to protect the important sustaining institutions responsible for all of this progress in the developed world, and we need to foster and nurture them in countries that are still developing.
Man's remarkable progress over the last 100 years is unprecedented in human history. It's also one of the more neglected big-picture stories. Ensuring that our incredible progress continues will require not only recognizing and appreciating the progress itself, but also recognizing and preserving the important ideas and institutions that caused it, and ensuring that they endure.
Many people would like to be kind to others so Leftists exploit that with their nonsense about equality. Most people want a clean, green environment so Greenies exploit that by inventing all sorts of far-fetched threats to the environment. But for both, the real motive is generally to promote themselves as wiser and better than everyone else, truth regardless.
Global warming has taken the place of Communism as an absurdity that "liberals" will defend to the death regardless of the evidence showing its folly. Evidence never has mattered to real Leftists
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