Tuesday, January 24, 2012

A campaigning "ethicist"

Prof. Brown is at it again. He claims to be doing an ethical analysis of climate skepticism but as you will see from the excerpt below what he writes is all just Green/Left boilerplate, with the usual heavy reliance on "ad hominem" accusations and dubious assertions.

And as is also common on the Green/Left, the one thing he avoids like the plague is discussing the scientific facts. You will find no mention from him of the fact that the climate has warmed by less than one degree Celsius over the last 150 years. The only references he cites are fellow Warmists.

He sounds a bit of a nut to me, displaying the sort of calm but unfounded certitude one often finds among paranoid schizophrenics

Yet the emergence of global warming as an issue in the 1980s with its potential for large-scale social change needed to ameliorate its threat was seen as more threatening to conservatives in regard to industry, prosperity, life-style, and the entire American-way of life, than were traditional pollution problems. (McCright and Dunlap, 2000: 503) In other words, climate change directly threatened the central values of the US conservative movement even more than other environmental problems. (McCright and Dunlap, 2000: 505) As a result climate change denial has become a key environmental focus of the US conservative movement. In subsequent years the disinformation campaign would be taken up in other countries including the United Kingdom and Australia.

The climate change disinformation movement can be understood to be comprised of many organizations and participants including conservative think tanks, front groups, Astroturf groups, conservative media, and individuals. This disinformation campaign, as we shall see, frequently uses the tactics discussed in this series to convince people and politicians that the science supporting climate change policies is flawed. The central claims of the climate change disinformation movement have been:

• There is no warming.

• Its not caused by humans.

• Reducing greenhouse gas emissions will cause more harm than good. (McCright and Dunlap, 2010: 111)

To support these basic counter-claims, as we shall see, the climate denial machine frequently has made claims that mainstream climate scientists are corrupt or liars, descriptions of adverse climate change impacts are made by "alarmists," scientific journals that publish climate related research are biased against skeptics, and mainstream climate science is "junk" science. As we shall also see, the climate change disinformation machine also has made frequent ad hominem attacks on those who produce climate change science and sometimes has cyber-bullied both climate scientists and journalists.

The climate change disinformation campaign began in the 1980s when some of the same scientists and organizations that fought government regulation of tobacco began to apply the tactics perfected in their war on the regulation of tobacco to climate change. (Oreskes and Conway, 2010:169-215). According to Pooley the disinformation campaign began "spinning around 1988 in response to the increasingly outspoken scientific community..." (Pooley, 2010: 39) For almost 25 years this campaign has been waged to undermine support for regulation of greenhouse gases.

To say that the campaign has been "waged" is not to claim that it has been a tightly organized, completely coordinated effort by a few groups or individuals or that all participants have the same motives. In fact different participants may have radically different motives including the fact that some may be sincere, some appear to be motivated by protecting free markets without government intervention, and many appear to believe that no restriction on fossil fuel use can be justified without very high levels of proof of harms.

Yet, the different participants, according to Newsweek, since the 1990s for the most part have acted in a well-coordinated campaign among contrarian scientists, free-market think tanks, and industry to create a fog of doubt around climate change. (Begley, 2007) They have accomplished this through the production of advertisements, op-eds, lobbying, books, media attention, and quotations from skeptical scientists often associated with conservative think tanks. They have argued first that the world is not warming, measurements that indicate otherwise are flawed, any warming is natural, that is not caused by human activities, and if warming does occur it will be miniscule and harmless. (Begley, 2007) Different groups created this counter-movement often acting independently of each other, yet connected through the internet to create a denial machine that has effectively responded to any public pronouncement by scientist or journalists that asserted that human-induced climate change is a serious problem. (Begley, 2007) Conservative activists wrote hundreds of documents (including policy briefs, books, press releases, and op-eds), held numerous policy forums and press conferences, appeared regularly on television and radio programs, and testified at congressional hearings on global warming. (Dunlap and McCright, 2008)


Political Activists trying to Gag TV Meteorologists on Climate Issues

Anthony Watts is a former TV meteorologist so has dug deep on this one. He shows that a Soros-funded Green/Left front organization is behind the censorship attempt. An excerpt below

According to WCTV-TV’s story Urging American Meteorological Society to Get Tougher on Climate Change, a program called Forecast the Facts is attempting to lobby the AMS to change their 5-year policy on climate change to a new policy “drafted by a panel of [unidentified] experts”
A new campaign, Forecast the Facts (www.forecastthefacts.org), launches Sunday to pressure TV meteorologists to inform their viewers about climate change. The launch coincides with the kick-off of the American Meteorological Society’s (AMS) annual meeting in New Orleans, LA.

“This is an important moment in the history of the AMS,” said Daniel Souweine, the campaign’s director. “It’s well known that large numbers of meteorologists are climate change deniers. It’s essential that the AMS Council resist pressure from these deniers and pass the strong statement currently under consideration.”

The “Campaign Director” is identified as Daniel Souweine. The Forecast the Facts web site turns out to be a product of “Citizen Engagement Laboratory (CEL).” And who is the Chief of Staff of CEL? You guessed it: Daniel Souweine.

The web site describes CEL as: ”a non-profit, non-partisan organization that uses digital media and technology to amplify the voices of underrepresented constituencies. We seek to empower individuals to take collective action on the issues that concern them, promoting a world of greater equality and justice in the process.”

But as we see elsewhere, in the green incubator building description of CEL at the David Brower Center at 2150 Allston Way, Berkeley, CA, that “non-partisan” claim doesn’t match this description. So much for the “truth in advertising”.

And then there’s the usual suspects friends of forecastthefacts.org. The CEL web site lists 350.org as a “Partner,” which describes itself as: “building a global grassroots movement to solve the climate crisis. Our online campaigns, grassroots organizing, and mass public actions are led from the bottom up by thousands of volunteer organizers in over 188 countries.”

Sounds like birds of a feather, even though they are both attempting to lobby a major national organization to change a policy that affects all of its members… from the top down. Hardly grass-roots organization. And hardly on behalf of “underrepresented constituencies.”

Evidently, grassroots meteorologists are insufficiently toeing the line when it comes to laying weather patterns at the feet of “global warming.” Someone unnamed wants them to publicly join the global warming bandwagon in blaming human CO2 emissions for observed climate change, ignoring the uncertainty of climate science, ignoring all evidence to the contrary, insisting on one single simplistic explanation for climate change.

More HERE (See the original for links, graphics etc.)

Even the Washington Post finds the censorship attempt distasteful

(It endorsed Barack Obama for President and the writer below is a Warmist)

If you present the weather on TV and you reject that global warming is the result of human activities, the spotlight on you is hotter than ever. But the attention is a colossal waste of energy.

Coinciding with this week’s American Meteorological Society Annual Meeting in New Orleans, the groups 350.org, the League of Conservation Voters, and the Citizen Engagement Lab have launched a campaign that exposes television weathercasters who take a contrarian stance on climate change science.

The campaign, called Forecast the Facts, launched a website that identifies 47 TV weathercasters by name who have publicly expressed climate change views considered outside of the mainstream. (It is also pressuring the American Meteorological Society to strengthen its position statement on the science.)

This confrontational approach is the wrong approach and promises to only further divide TV weathercasters whose views on the issue of climate change are already polarized.

The rationale for the campaign are results from a survey conducted by George Mason University in 2010* that found 63% of weathercasters believe global warming is due mainly to natural causes compared to just 31% who think it’s mostly a result of human causes. Some 27 percent of weathercasters referred to global warming as “a scam.” Whereas, the prevailing view among publishing climate scientists is that the Earth is warming primarily as a result of human activities.

Studies have shown some weathercasters don’t have the most reliable understanding of climate science and uneven levels of education. A 2002 study by Emory researcher Kris Wilson found many weathercasters held misconceptions on a range of climate science issues and their “politics” had the greatest bearing on that knowledge. Furthermore, some weathercasters are not scientists but broadcast journalists. And even for those with meteorology degrees, many of the degree programs do not require coursework in climate change. A 2011 survey of weathercasters at George Mason found only 42 percent of respondents had participated in climate change continuing education courses.

But the “Forecast the Facts”campaign makes no initiative to engage with weathercasters and enhance their education.

The campaign website asserts “viewers turning into their weather report deserve to be told the truth about climate change.” It’s hard to disagree that weathercasters should stay up to speed on climate change and pass along that knowledge to viewers. Maybe “Forecast the Facts” should be providing resources to make this happen rather than conducting a smear campaign.

This is not to say weathercasters shouldn’t bear some responsibility in becoming educated about climate change science. Nor does it absolve them from impartially communicating it.

In an editorial published in the Bulletin of American Meteorological Society several years ago, WJLA meteorologist Bob Ryan and NBC Telemundo meteorologist John Toohey-Morales took some of their peers to task for failing to set aside personal opinions in discussing climate change, writing:

"If we “experts” communicate conflicting information, conveying personal opinions with no scientific basis, the public can become confused and often collectively “tune out” of the issue just when it requires the most attention. The same would happen if we gave conflicting personal opinions during dangerous weather events. When we stray from objectivity in communicating the latest scientific findings, we do the public a disservice."

Ryan and Toohey-Morales took a constructive approach - making a passionate but respectful appeal to their peers when they felt they had gone astray. But when an outside activist group flies onto the scene outing individuals and calling them “deniers,” it’s not going make their targets more open-minded nor motivate them to seek out the latest journals online. Instead, it may alienate them and further entrench a narrow perspective

In my experience talking to weathercasters and other individuals whose views about climate change don’t seem grounded in science, I’ve found it’s most effective to dispassionately approach the subject and simply discuss the evidence. Just as important: treat the person with respect and show you understand their perspective.

For example, I’ve seen some weathercasters fall into the skeptics camp as a result of overstatements by activists, politicians and journalists, who have made predictions of certain catastrophe and blamed global warming for every conceivable natural disaster.

Such hyperbole might be overcome by demonstrating that, in reality, global warming forecasts include a range of possibilities, and, while many are concerning, they are not all dire. And by being clear that, while scientists have found global warming may intensify some types of extreme weather (i.e. heat waves and heavy precipitation events), few if any claim global warming is the root cause.


Pew Poll: Global warming finishes 22nd of 22 "top policy priorities of 2012"

The Pew poll also found that some issues – especially illegal immigration and climate change – did not resonate nearly as much with Americans as they did before Obama took office.

A quarter of Americans now find climate change a top concern, down from almost four in 10 in 2007.

SOURCE (See the original for links)

From Canada, Ezra Levant offers a concise summary of the Keystone calamity

Australia: Bats win park war because of Greenie laws

They are not remotely "endangered" so local authorities should be allowed to shoot them if necessary

FLYING foxes [large fruit bats] have officially won the war in Charters Towers, claiming the town's historic park as their own.

Charters Towers Mayor Ben Callcott has conceded defeat against the thousands of bats that invaded Lissner Park about 11 years ago and have since refused to leave.

He said unless state legislation was changed, which prevented the council from interfering with the colony, the council had simply run out of options. Locals claim the bats are a major health hazard, fearing they may spread disease, and are fed up with living with the stench and noise from the colony, which now numbers about 15,000.

Charters Towers Regional Council has been granted 15 damage mitigation permits by the Department of Environment and Resource Management (DERM) over the years, to disperse the bats using noise, fogging and lighting.

An attempt to muster the bats using a helicopter was scuttled late last year by the Civil Aviation and Safety Authority over safety concerns. The council has applied for a 16th permit to move the bats, but Cr Callcott said their best efforts had simply shifted the animals to other parts of the town, where they had become even more of a problem.

"Charters Towers City Council spent $250,000 harassing them and it didn't do anything other than distributing them into suburbia," Cr Callcott said. "I'm not prepared to spend that kind of money to achieve the same ending.

"We may never get permission to muster them, so in that case, let them lodge in Lissner Park, where at least people can choose whether they get underneath them.

LNP leader Campbell Newman, who visited Charters Towers last year, promised the town "the bats in Lissner Park will go".

Cr Callcott said a law change was the only solution. "The bats under the present legislation have defeated us," he said.

Charters Towers Action Group Against Flying Foxes spokesman Jim Henderson, who lives near the park, said the bats were creating a health hazard and preventing locals and visitors from enjoying public facilities. "Nobody wants to come into the park and sit under those tables," he said.

Mr Henderson said residents' pleas to the State Government for help moving the flying foxes on had fallen upon deaf ears. "They've ignored us and ignored us since I've been fighting it," he said.

Vikki King, who lives opposite the colony, said she wanted the right to remove the bats from her own backyard. "Three or four weeks ago, every tree was chock-a-block in my yard here," she said. "The bat shit is everywhere and it just eats everything."



For more postings from me, see DISSECTING LEFTISM, TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC, GUN WATCH, 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 blogger.com is playing up, there are mirrors of this site here and here


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