Saturday, March 20, 2010

Why does such a well-informed man as Martin Rees support global warming?

When there are NO scientific facts (only a poorly thought-out 19th century theory) behind claims of man-caused global warming, one has to wonder why many prominent scientists support it. There are probably a variety of reasons but, given the Left-lean of academe, the opportunity it offers for more control over the despised "masses" is the obvious explanation.

In some cases, however, there may be other forces at work. An obvious second motive is the hunger for self-advertisement. Making scary utterances and posing as a "saviour" of the planet is obviously great for personal publicity. I suspect that Martin Rees is in the second category. He has got himself into all sorts of prominent positions and he is in addition a small man. Small men are often quite hilariously preoccupied with being taken seriously. Note in the interview excerpted below that he mentions not one scientific fact. He just says: "I am an expert. Believe me". Quite contemptible.

Maybe I should play the same game. I am a much-published psychologist so you should trust my expert diagnosis of what moves Martin Rees.

I find the last sentence in the excerpt below quite sickening. The likes of Martin Rees seem to think that their sh*t doesn't stink. He certainly conveys the contempt for the masses that I have mentioned.

Lord Rees of Ludlow, astrophysicist and Astronomer Royal, is running a little late. Not delayed by the hiccups of mere mortals, mind - the Tube, traffic, sick children - but a high-level meeting on global nuclear arms control and disarmament. As president of the Royal Society and Master of Trinity College Cambridge, Professor Martin Rees is one of Britain's foremost scientific brains, a cosmologist of world renown and a revered public intellectual.

When he arrives back in his office in an elegant Georgian terrace on Pall Mall, his PA, clearly practiced, places a cup of tea in his hand as if it were a relay runner's baton. He sits down deep into a blue velvet armchair looking, quite frankly, exhausted. A small man still blessed with the lean physique of a marathon runner, Rees is quietly spoken, but you sense the steel within. The corridor leading to his office speaks of the pantheon of scientific greats that have preceded him as Royal Society presidents or fellows: Samuel Pepys, Charles Darwin, Charles Babbage, Sir Joseph Banks. Behind his work table, an oil portrait of Sir Isaac Newton, nearby a remarkable and contemplative pencil sketch of Albert Einstein.

The Astronomer Royal's field might be theoretical physics and the very frontiers of science, but right now his greatest preoccupation is Carl Sagan's "little blue dot", our own planet Earth, and the imperatives posed by climate change are foremost in his mind. I ask him if he is aware that an Australian opposition leader effectively lost his post due to climate change scepticism among his political colleagues and he allows a small laugh: "Yes, yes, yes."

Then, a pause and the gentleman scientist leaves no doubt about what he thinks about that: "It is unfortunate that there is a debate about the science, and the reason that comes about is that many members of the public can't discriminate between genuine expertise and strongly-held opinions that aren't based on expertise. "To give an analogy: if you suffer from some unusual disease, you may go on the internet and get all kinds of alternatives [for treatment], but you would be very foolish if you attached as much weight to all the blogs on the internet as you would to a qualified specialist on the subject.

"And I think that in assessing the evidence for potentially dangerous climate change, it is very important that members of the public should behave in the same way that they would if some medical issue was at stake. They should accept that not everyone's opinion is of the same value and that those who have credentials and have studied the subject do deserve to be listened to."

In his celebrated book, Our Final Century, Rees pondered the threats faced by humans in the 21st century, from natural events such as super-eruptions to man-made catastrophe such as nuclear terrorism, bio-engineered viruses and over-population. The prognosis, from such an eminent thinker, is disquieting: humankind, he estimated, has a 50 per cent chance of surviving the next century.

Today, however, the scientist is keen to temper this world view with a glass-half-full message: salvation is possible in the hands of intelligent, global-thinking leaders working hand-in-hand with an ethical and united scientific community...


The trust in experts among Warmist true believers is sort of touching. There is another example of it here. The many times that experts have been wrong seem unknown to them. And they accuse conservatives of being "authoritarian"! Those who live in glass houses ...

Green crooks

People who commit their lives to going green are just better people. They're more moral, more honest. At least, they keep telling us that, and apparently many students believe it, say University of Toronto psychologists:

They initially quizzed the students on their impressions of people who buy eco-friendly products, and for the most part, they considered such consumers to be more “more cooperative, altruistic and ethical” than ordinary consumers...

Then the researchers took it an extra step: They ran a test to see who would be more likely to cheat and steal: Greens? Or conventional shoppers? They divided the greens and conventional shoppers, and then gave the students a test that tempted them to steal money. The researchers found:
The green consumers were more likely to cheat than the conventional purchasers, and they stole more money when asked to withdraw their winnings from envelopes on their desks.

This concept of moral license has been demonstrated before, writes Wray Herbert in his blog for the Association for Psychological Science.
(W)hen they have reason to feel a little superior, that positive self image triggers a sense of moral license. That is, the righteous feel they have some latitude to stray a bit in order to compensate. It’s like working in a soup kitchen gives you the right to cheat on your taxes later in the week.

Maybe that’s why sanctimonious stewards of the environment like Al Gore are comfortable lecturing the rest of us while living large in mega-mansions.


An Example Of Why A Global Average Temperature Anomaly Is Not An Effective Metric Of Climate

Roy Spencer and John Christy of the University of Alabama at Huntsville have reported in their Global Temperature Report that February 2010 was the 2nd warmest February in 32 years (e.g. see Roy’s summary).

Their spatial map of the anomalies, however, shows that most of the relative warmth was in a focused geographic area; see:

The global average is based on the summation of large areas of positive and negative temperature anomalies.

As I have reported before on my weblog; e.g. see "What is the Importance to Climate of Heterogeneous Spatial Trends in Tropospheric Temperatures?":
it is the regional tropospheric temperature anomalies that determine the locations of development and movement of weather systems [which are the actual determinants of such climate events as drought, floods, ect] not a global average temperature anomaly


Small Government Advocates Must Not Lose Sight of EPA Ambitions

Even as the public remains understandably preoccupied with President Obama’s proposed government takeover of healthcare, it is imperative for free market activists to remain vigilant against environmental extremism.

In the past few months, the credibility of the “science” underpinning catastrophic claims of global warming have been sullied and discredited thanks to the growing “Climategate” scandal and updated research. However “inconvenient” these revelations may be from the perspective of centralized planners within the Obama Administration, it has not slowed their statist ambitions.

Consider for a moment the President’s remarks from his State of the Union address: “I know there have been questions about whether we can afford such changes in a tough economy,” he said. “I know that there are those who disagree with the overwhelming scientific evidence on climate change. But here's the thing -- even if you doubt the evidence, providing incentives for energy-efficiency and clean energy are the right thing to do for our future -- because the nation that leads the clean energy economy will be the nation that leads the global economy. And America must be that nation.”

Come again?! Regardless of what the evidence says, we are pressing ahead with “incentives” — make that regulations — that stymie fossil fuels in deference to so-called green technology. Meanwhile Russia and China are moving forward with oil and gas development that could leave the U.S. in the dust as it tinkers with unproven, unreliable “alternative” energy sources.

A new Gallup poll shows that a growing number of Americans now see fit to dismiss global warming alarmism. Emails leaked to the Internet from the Climate Research Unit (CRU) with the University of East Anglia in Great Britain that show researchers willingly manipulating and fudging data to show their desired result could be partially responsible here for the public shift.

However, free market groups like The Competitive Enterprise Institute (CEI) should also be credited for raising awareness about the higher energy prices that would be attached to Kyoto-type regulatory schemes favored by President Obama. Small wonder, that in the teeth of a tough economy the Waxman-Markey “cap and trade” bill has died in the Senate.

Unfortunately, in 2007 the U.S. Supreme Court, in Massachusetts v. EPA, ruled that the agency needed to bring its practices more in line with the requirements of the Clean Air Act. There was no strict regulatory requirement outlined in the decision but the EPA finally responded with an endangerment finding last December that declared greenhouse gas emissions endanger public health and welfare and therefore must be subjected to regulation and government control. This is where the danger comes in because within the framework of environmentalism, there is no sure way to check the grand designs of government schemers.

“Our health care system is only part of the economy and it’s already half socialized,” Myron Ebell, CEI’s director of global warming policy, observed at the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC). “The energy sector is still virtually a free market. If we allow government to take over the energy sector, they will be in your house telling you how much air conditioning you can use or how much heating.”

That’s no joke.

In California, government agents are ambitious to gain control over thermostats. The plan is outlined in a 236-page state document called “Title 24.”

There is an antidote now in circulation that deserves the full support of free market forces. Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska) has introduced a bipartisan resolution that would block the EPA under the Congressional Review Act (CRA), an unheralded, but highly valuable provision included as part of The Contract With America. Sen. Harry Reid (D-NV) was a principle sponsor of the CRA, which was signed into law by President Clinton… ahem.

Tea Party activists and other concerned Americans who have joined together in an effective campaign against ObamaCare must also join forces here with Sen. Murkowski to blunt the big government plans brewing inside the EPA.


Obama's EPA stifles new energy gains

It would be simpler if President Obama leveled with energy industry officials and the American people and admitted he's doing everything in his power to suffocate this country's ability to find and develop critically needed new energy supplies. But instead of being honest about it, Obama hides behind misleading rhetoric about the wonders of "green" energy, even as his minions erect a multitude of new bureaucratic roadblocks to the development of the oil and natural gas resources needed to keep American homes heated, factories humming, and laptops processing. These new resources could also create millions of new jobs, generate trillions of dollars in tax revenues, and spark economic expansion in rural areas like western Pennsylvania and upstate New York that have known only decline for generations.

Last week, it was Interior Secretary Ken Salazar announcing that no new permits will be issued for outer continental shelf development until 2014 at the earliest. Salazar has also used bureaucratic obfuscation to delay new energy development on Western lands. There are billions of recoverable barrels of oil and trillions of cubic feet of natural gas in those areas, enough to put the United States well on the way to complete energy independence. Obama is instead spending billions of tax dollars on renewable energy resources that can't possibly supply even a fourth of this nation's critical energy needs for many decades to come.

This week, it's Lisa Jackson, Obama's Environmental Protection Agency head, putting another pillow over the face of the energy industry: A "comprehensive research study to investigate the potential adverse impact that hydraulic fracturing may have on water quality and public health." Her agency will spend $1.9 million on the first year of the study and unspecified amounts in the years thereafter. Hydraulic fracturing is when water and minute amounts of nontoxic chemicals are injected deep underground into rock formations to free previously unreachable stores of oil and gas. The technology opens up immense natural gas resources like the Marcellus Shale area of economically blighted rural regions of western Pennsylvania, New York, Maryland and West Virginia.

Jackson forgot to mention "concerns" about hydraulic fracturing come only from environmental groups seeking to stop all uses of fossil fuels like oil, coal, and natural gas. Jackson's announcement followed the Washington premiere of the anti-fossil fuel "GasLand" propagandamentary produced by some of these same groups. Two more facts Jackson didn't mention: Never in the 60-year history of hydraulic fracturing has it been linked to a single proven public health threat to water quality; and the EPA has already studied hydraulic fracturing, most recently in 2004, when it found no threat. Clearly, this new study is about stopping fossil fuel development, not protecting public health.


How Greenpeace and Philips stole your nice bulbs

Joost van Kasteren and engineer Henk Tennekes on the unholy alliance between Philips and the Greens:

Come to think of it, banning incandescent bulbs makes only marginal sense. The energy savings of CFL’s are small. They are somewhat more efficient when you take into account only the number of lumens per watt of electrical power, but they cost a lot more to produce. Also, their real life expectancy often is much less than the 7,000 hours promised in the ads. And don’t forget that they contain a few milligrams of mercury, which contaminates the environment when they are not disposed of properly. Most of them aren’t – a scary thought.

Is it fair to judge light bulbs on the efficiency with which they convert watts into lumens? The combined lobby from Big Business and Big Environment has attempted to convince us that old-fashioned bulbs waste a lot of energy. They ignore the inconvenient truth that the efficiency of common light bulbs is in fact a full 100%. All the “waste heat” helps to heat the house. In wintertime, when days are short and cold, every contribution to home heating is welcome. In summertime the days are long and there is hardly any need for artificial lights. The incandescent bulb may give only a little bit of light, but it also produces a lot of useful heating.

There is yet another problem: the quality of the light produced by CFL’s and LED’s. Their light is unnatural; it is unsuitable for an atmosphere of coziness in living rooms, not to mention bedrooms.



For more postings from me, see DISSECTING LEFTISM, TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC, GUN WATCH, SOCIALIZED MEDICINE, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, IMMIGRATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL and EYE ON BRITAIN. My Home Pages are here or here or here. Email me (John Ray) here. For readers in China or for times when is playing up, there are mirrors of this site here and here


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