Saturday, March 31, 2012

If Only We All Had (Liberal) Brains, We'd All Believe In Man-Made Global Warming

Marc Morano links below to some recent episodes in the long history of Leftist claims that conservatives are psychologically deficient. The first notable claims of that sort were promulgated in a famous book lead-authored by prominent Marxist theoretician Theodor Adorno (Spanish-speaking readers may wonder why he had a surname that means "ornament" in Spanish. It was his mother's stage name. She was a dancer. His father's thoroughly Yiddish surname was "Wiesengrund", meaning "meadowland").

I spent much of my research career examinging the Adorno claims in depth and found that if one used true random samples of the general population, none of the correlations posited by Adorno emerged. Some details here. The plain fact of the matter is that Left and Right are not distinguished by mental health or by intelligence. They are psychologically different but not in ways that make them better adapted to life overall.

Two of the "research" claims alluded to below I have dissected in detail here and here (By Mooney and Eidelman respectively).

The important thing about Leftist claims is not therefore their verifiability but rather the platform they provide for the Soviet policy of throwing dissenters into psychiatric prisons. The Left used to describe the Soviets as "Liberals in a hurry". The logical corollary that liberals are just slowed-down Soviets tended to be avoided

A whole slew of new “research” on conservatives’ and global warming skeptics’ “brains” has hit the academic circuit.

First off, environment and sociology Prof. Kari Norgaard’s new study claims skeptics of man-made global warming fears should be “treated” for their skepticism. The study compares skepticism to man-made climate fears to the struggle against racism and slavery.

Prof. Norgaard’s concept of “treating” those who do not follow the current day’s political or social orthodoxy is, frightening, not new. A quick look at the 20th century totalitarian super states reveals many similar impulses.

It’s even more chilling that there is a whole new movement afoot by the promoters of man-made global warming theory to intimidate climate skeptics by using new brain “research.”

Other researchers have attempted to tie conservatism (which is identified with the highest number of climate skeptics) to “low brainpower.”

Some global warming promoters claim it is essentially “unethical” to be a skeptic.

Finally, still other climate activists have actually implied that we need to consider “human engineering” to combat global warming skepticism.

NYU Prof. S. Matthew Liao of Center for Bioethics says his human engineering solution “involves the biomedical modification of humans to make them better at mitigating climate change'"

Here are a few more comments by Prof. Liao:

"We shall argue that human engineering potentially offers an effective means of tackling climate change...the possibility of making humans smaller. Human ecological footprints are partly correlated with our size...a more speculative and controversial way of reducing adult height is to reduce birth weight...Pharmacological enhancement of altruism and empathy...could increase the likelihood that we adopt the necessary behavioral & market solutions for curbing climate change."

SOURCE (See the original for links)

It's OK to lie if you're Green

Some quotes from the latest IPCC report (from Chapter 4) that are not mentioned in the article below

* "There is medium evidence and high agreement that long-term trends in normalized losses have not been attributed to natural or anthropogenic climate change"

* "The statement about the absence of trends in impacts attributable to natural or anthropogenic climate change holds for tropical and extratropical storms and tornados"

* "The absence of an attributable climate change signal in losses also holds for flood losses"

I said on 29th that the latest IPCC report would be seen as an emergency by the Warmists and below we see their response: Twisting and denial.

Now that warming has stopped, "extreme" weather is their big talking point and the IPCC (see the quotes above) has just snatched that away from them

A GLOBAL lobby group has distributed a "spin sheet" encouraging its 300 member organisations to emphasise the link between climate change and extreme weather events, despite uncertainties acknowledged by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.

An "action pack" distributed by Global Campaign for Climate Action said members "shouldn't be afraid to make the connection", despite the sometimes low level of confidence in the official documents of the IPCC. The action pack, which was produced to coincide with the release of the latest full IPCC report into the link between climate change and extreme weather events, rekindled claims that overstating the case damaged the credibility of the science.

"What this leaked document shows is again we have groups out there promoting more extreme situations than the report actually warrants because the latest report shows there are degrees of uncertainty," said Institute of Public Affairs climate spokesman Tim Wilson.

"When the claims don't correlate it undermines the confidence that people can actually have in climate science."

But Climate Institute chief executive John Connor said the evidence of a link was growing.

An executive summary, released ahead of the UN climate change conference in Durban in November, listed the low level of scientific certainty in many areas regarding what climate meant for future weather events.

The full report also presented a cautious appraisal and said it was unable to answer confidently whether climate was becoming more extreme.

But GCCA told its member organisations to "use the precautionary principle to argue that we must take potential risks seriously even if the science doesn't offer high confidence".

"Generally, all weather events are now connected to climate change, because we have altered the fundamental condition of the climate, that is, the background environment that gives rise to all weather," the action plan said.

GCCA has about 300 members worldwide including Greenpeace, Oxfam, WWF, Environment America, the Union of Concerned Scientists, Amnesty International and Pew Environment Group.

The group highlights its direct action campaigns in the US, Canada and China.

The action pack suggests "sample tweets" for member groups.

They include "New #IPCC report finds links between global warming and extreme weather events". And "current measures not enough to protect ANY countries from extreme weather driven by global warming. Time to act is now!"

The document gives examples of how to respond to criticisms about the IPCC's links to non-government organisations, its poor track record in scientific predictions and claims that the response to the IPCC findings was alarmist.

The actual IPCC report said it was not possible to confidently say whether the climate was becoming more extreme. "We are restricted to questions about whether specific extremes are becoming more or less common, and our confidence in the answers to such questions, including the direction and magnitude of changes in specific extremes, depends on the type of extreme, as well as on the region and season, linked with the level of understanding of the underlying processes and the reliability of their simulation in models," the report said.

However, the report concluded there was evidence that some extremes had changed as a result of anthropogenic influences.

"It is likely that anthropogenic influences have led to warming of extreme daily minimum and maximum temperatures at the global scale," the report said.

"There is medium confidence that anthropogenic influences have contributed to intensification of extreme precipitation at the global scale.

"It is likely that there has been an anthropogenic influence on increasing extreme coastal high water due to an increase in mean sea level."

But there was low confidence for the attribution of any detectable changes in tropical cyclone activity to anthropogenic influences.

Commenting on disaster losses, it said there was "medium evidence and high agreement that long-term trends in normalised losses have not been attributed to natural or anthropogenic climate change". It said "some authors suggest that a (natural or anthropogenic) climate change signal can be found in the records of disaster losses but their work is in the nature of reviews and commentary rather than empirical research".

But the GCCA advice was largely mirrored in statements issued following the release of the report. Mr Connor said climate change didn't mean just warmer weather but also wilder weather.

"Scientists are speaking with growing confidence and alarm about recent unprecedented extreme weather events around the world," he said.

Commenting on the IPCC report this week, Australian climate commissioner Will Steffen said it showed for the first time the fingerprints of the human-driven warming in some of the extreme events already experienced.

"This is an early warning sign that if we don't get this underlying warming trend under control there's going to be a lot more heatwaves, droughts and intense rainfall events," Professor Steffen said from London.


Obama Promise Kept: Coal Plants to go Bankrupt with New EPA Carbon Cap

Enviro-Whack jobs are celebrating the demise of America‘s most abundant energy resource, coal. Because coal has just been given the death sentence by Obama and the EPA.

"If old King Coal isn't dead already, he's certainly teetering toward life support," said Frank O'Donnell, president Clean Air Watch in Washington.

The EPA has issued new proposed rules on carbon emissions that will help Obama keep one campaign promise: Builders of new coal fired power plants won’t be prevented from building coal-fired power plants, they’ll just go bankrupt if they try.

“Proposed emission rules for new power plants unveiled by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) on March 27 spell the gradual demise of coal-fired power generation and entrench the current cost advantage for natural gas,” reports Reuters’ John Kemp.

If Obama can’t get the tax portion of the Cap and Tax, I guess he figures he might just as well get the cap portion done.

“The agency's proposed rule, signed yesterday, would set a standard well within the capability of modern gas-fired plants but impossible for coal-fired units to meet unless they employ (unproven) carbon capture and storage (CCS) technology.”

Even before this proposed new rule, regulators have been using a variety of stratagems to stop the construction of new coal-fired plants.

“Power developers have scrapped plans for more than 100 coal-fired electricity plants over the past decade,” says a Reuters newswire report, “due to difficulty obtaining construction and pollution permits or because they were simply too expensive.”

Last year the EPA tightened up particulate standards for every type of industry including concrete. Additionally, the agency last year used obscure visibility standards to try to put the throttle on coal-fired power plant, eliciting an eruption of protest from the GOP-controlled House of Representatives.

“So much for that ‘all of the above’ energy plan the President touted last week,” says Congressman John Sullivan, Vice Chairman of the House Energy and Power Subcommittee in response to the new EPA mandate. “Today's announcement from EPA is an unprecedented attack on American made energy. EPA’s greenhouse gas rules are a backdoor attempt to enact a national energy tax that will have a crushing impact on consumers, jobs, and our economy- while doing little to protect the environment.”

OK, so maybe Obama will get the tax portion too. I stand corrected.

The move by the EPA continues to try to help Obama shore up his environmental base in front of the 2012 presidential elections.

At this point, it’s all Obama can do, considering that: 1) He has no energy policy; and 2) The American people know that he has no energy policy.

According to a recent Gallup poll, a stunning 58 percent of Americans don’t think that Obama is doing a good job managing energy policy. The poll also revealed that 57 percent of Americans don’t think Obama is doing a good job making the country prosperous. The numbers’ proximity to each other are likely not coincidental.

For 100 years the country has followed policies that tried to ensure that we have stable prices and a reliable sources of energy.

Obama’s policy of providing neither reliability nor price stability would be akin to the US announcing the unilateral departure from NATO.

Obama and company are hoping that the nudge the economy has seen from the loose money policies followed by the Federal Reserve will be just enough to convince Americans that the president should get another term.

But the numbers say otherwise, mostly because policies- like this newest EPA mandate promoted by Obama- have killed job creation in the US, while sparking pockets of inflation. At a time when prices are going up, the job market remains dismal, and incomes aren’t able to keep pace.

Conversely, the National Mining Association (NMA) is saying that the coal business won’t die- thanks to exports to emerging economies.

“Seaborne exports of coal are hitting record levels,” says Hal Quinn, the president and CEO of the NMA. “Last year U.S. mines exported more than 100 million tons of coal, up 40 percent from 2009 -- and the highest level in 20 years.”

In other words, the cheap coal that we won’t use is being used by other economies. According to figures provided by the NMA:

* Coal for electricity generation in China in 2010 stood at 1.6 billion tons—by 2030 it will almost double to 3.1 billion tons.

* China’s industrial sector (steel, cement, petrochemicals) accounts for almost 40 percent of the coal demand at 1.2 billion tons—that is expected to almost double as well to 2.1 billion tons by 2030.

* China has already invested $15 billion in coal conversion infrastructure to transform coal into oil; by 2020 that investment will reach anywhere from $65-80 billion with a requirement of over 100 million tons of coal.

India is investing in a new electrification program and 80 percent of new capacity will come from coal, with an expected increase in coal demand of over 200 percent in just five years.

Still despite exports to other countries, slackening coal orders domestically are going to hurt workers and cause rates to rise for electricty.

“The uncertainty caused by these regulations could result in the loss of thousands of Ohio jobs and will increase electricity rates for families during tough economic times, in return for less reliable power,” Ohio Republican Senator Rob Portman said in an e-mailed statement to

There is a reason why emerging economies have picked coal: It’s cheaper than natural gas over time and more reliable.

Already we have seen the enviro-whack jobs turn on natural gas, shutting down fracking operations around the country.

“This EPA is fully engaging in a war on coal,” West Virginia Democratic Senator Joe Manchin said in a statement according to “This approach relies totally on cheap natural gas and we’ve seen that bubble burst before.”

“It might sound good now, but what happens if those prices go up?” Manchin added. Oh, it’s not if, it’s when.


Obama's War on Hydrocarbon Costing Jobs, Economy

You’ve heard the stories about the millions of dollars squandered by the Obama Administration on green energy projects supposedly to create vast numbers of new jobs in a revolutionary “green energy economy.” But, all too often all that remains is a bankrupt empty building, or at best a handful of jobs – and, a heap of new federal debt.

If Obama was really committed to creating jobs, there was another time tested way to get it done – by assuring plentiful supplies of affordable, reliable traditional sources of energy. Instead, the “transformational” President went to war against the hydrocarbon industry. Thankfully, he didn’t win.

While the administration has done everything in their power to discourage fossil fuel production on federal land, there has been a revival happening on private land where oil and natural gas output has increased. When supply increases, prices come down, and natural gas is particularly affordable.

As a result, jobs connected to and dependent upon natural gas are exploding. A USA Today feature report documents the hundreds of thousands of new jobs resulting from affordable supplies of gas. Here’s an excerpt:
Royal Dutch Shell announced this month that it chose a site near Pittsburgh for a facility to convert ethane from locally produced natural gas into ethylene and polyethylene. They're used to make plastics that go into packaging, pipes and other products. The planned ethane cracker would employ a few hundred workers.

It's among nearly 30 chemical plants proposed in the U.S. in the next five years, according to the American Chemistry Council. The projects would expand U.S. petrochemical capacity by 27% and employ 200,000 workers at the factories and related suppliers, says Council President Cal Dooley, a major turnaround. As U.S. natural gas prices soared in the late 1990s, chemical makers moved overseas, laying off 140,000 employees, Dooley says. But the U.S. has seen a natural gas boom in recent years, with producers using new drilling techniques to extract fuel from shale formations in Texas, Pennsylvania and other regions. U.S. natural gas prices, at slightly more than $2 per million British thermal units, are about 75% below Western Europe rates.

PricewaterhouseCoopers' partner Robert Mc-Cutcheon estimates inexpensive natural gas could help U.S. manufacturers save $11.6 billion a year and create more than 500,000 jobs by 2025.

Instead of doing the obvious, Obama did exactly the reverse. The Administration implemented policies that would, in the President’s words, cause energy prices to “necessarily skyrocket.” Instead of insuring the U.S. remained competitive, his own Energy Secretary was committed to policies that would “boost the price of gasoline to the levels in Europe.” Every American is experiencing the pain at the pump as gasoline is up more than $2 per gallon since the President took office. And, three and a half years into the recession, millions of Americans are still searching for a job.


Real American Energy Could Create Real American Jobs

President Obama supports job creation, economic growth and revenue generation – except when he doesn’t.

Official announcements from his Labor Department reported that the nation’s February unemployment rate is still 8.3 percent. That’s a decent decline from previous months. But the reality is far worse.

Most of that job growth was in business and professional services, and half was temporary. Millions of Americans are working part-time or multiple low-wage jobs to make ends meet. Overall, 23.5 million are out of work or underemployed.

Factor all that in, and the real unemployment rate is 14.9%, according to University of Maryland economist Peter Morici. Worse, many of the 8.3% jobs are government workers (police officers, fire fighters, teachers and bureaucrats), paid for with “stimulus” and other tax revenues taken or borrowed from hard working private sector companies and employees, and their children and grandchildren.

Making matters still worse, regular gasoline prices have hit $4 in numerous cities – compared to a national average of $1.61 on December 31, 2008, three weeks before President Obama took office.

Thankfully, we could reduce these intolerable numbers dramatically, if President Obama would just stop currying favor with environmental extremists, and start supporting energy policies that benefit all Americans – policies that use real American energy to create real American jobs.

The answer to our job shortage, energy shortage, and soaring gasoline prices is the same. Extract more oil and natural gas from deposits under our land and offshore areas. Bring more oil to the U.S. from Canada via the Keystone XL pipeline.

Manufacture more fuels in American refineries, to power American cars and trucks, and to sell abroad to preserve jobs and lower our trade deficit. Reduce the excessive, oppressive regulations that federal bureaucrats are imposing on our energy industry.

According to a March 2012 World Economic Forum report, the U.S. oil and gas industry created 37,000 direct jobs and 111,000 indirect jobs in 2011. That’s nearly one out of ten jobs created nationwide last year – and they didn’t need any Solyndra, Fisker, Sapphire or Solazyme subsidies.

A January 2012 Wood Mackenzie study found that 530,000 more jobs could be created if American companies were allowed to explore and drill for oil and natural gas in some of the areas that are now off-limits. The study says this would generate $150 billion in increased government taxes and fees by 2025, and expand domestic production by 4 million barrels of oil equivalent a day, greatly reducing our dependence on Middle Eastern oil.

Instead, President Obama has adopted a bumper-sticker anti-fossil fuels policy: “Just say no.”

The president has made 95% of federal lands and waters off-limits to drilling. He has blocked construction of the Keystone XL pipeline that would bring more than 700,000 barrels of oil a day from Canada to Texas. He wants to eliminate oil industry tax deductions, which would mean further reducing U.S. oil production and would make gasoline and diesel fuel even more expensive.

The Energy Information Administration (EIA) and Institute for Energy Research calculate that the United States has 1.4 trillion barrels of technically recoverable conventional oil, plus huge additional supplies in shale deposits. That’s oil that American companies could and would produce, at today’s oil prices and using existing technologies – if they were allowed to do so.

Oil companies aren’t asking for subsidies to get this energy. They just want permission to produce it. But Obama’s Environmental Protection Agency, Interior Department and other agencies keep throwing roadblocks in their way.

The president’s war on fossil fuels is designed to destroy many of the 9.2 million jobs already supported by the oil and gas industry – in hopes of replacing them with jobs in tax-subsidized “green” energy companies backed by his political supporters, campaign contributors and Democrat allies.

The president apparently believes some of these companies will succeed, if he just throws enough billions of your tax dollars at them. However, many of these failure-prone companies produce flawed and expensive products that American consumers wisely refuse to buy.

The $535 million in taxpayer money given to the now-bankrupt Solyndra solar power company is just one example of President Obama’s policy of subsidizing failure, and punishing success.

General Motors recently announced it was suspending production of the Chevy Volt gas-and-electric car: people simply haven't been buying the cars, despite the $7,500 taxpayer subsidy the president has been giving to anyone who buys one. Now the president wants to increase the subsidy to $10,000.

President Obama says we are running out of oil and gas, can’t drill our way to cheaper gasoline, and should blame anybody but him for $4-per-gallon gasoline. He’s wrong on all three counts.

The only petroleum we’re running out of is the tiny percentage of our total supplies that his administration is letting us produce.

Moreover, the EIA says 76% of what we pay for gasoline is determined by world crude oil prices; 12% is federal and state taxes; 6% is refining; and 6% is marketing and distribution.

The price of crude oil that refiners transform into essential products is set by the world market, and fluctuates based on supply and demand. You don’t need a PhD in economics to understand that producing more American oil and getting more from Canada would increase supplies and decrease gasoline prices.

That’s the direction we need to go.

Instead of embracing fantasy energy policies, President Obama needs to step into the real world. He should welcome expanded development of our vast oil and natural gas resources, increased oil imports from Canada, and the lower fuel prices this would bring.

Everyone would benefit – even his own dismal approval ratings.


Time to Celebrate Coal not Candles

Coal not candles should be the symbol of Earth Hour.

It was coal that produced clean electric power which cleared the smog produced by dirty combustion and open fires in big cities like London and Pittsburgh. Much of the third world still suffers choking fumes and smog because they do not have clean electric power and burn wood, cardboard, unwashed coal and cow dung for home heat.

It was coal that saved the forests being felled to fuel the first steam engines and produce charcoal for the first iron smelters.

It was coal that powered the light bulbs and saved the whales being slaughtered for whale oil lamps.

It was coal that produced the steel that replaced shingles on the roof, timber props in the mines, wooden fence posts on the farms and the bark on the old bark hut.

In Australia today, coal provides at least 75% of our lighting, cooking, heating, refrigeration, rail transport and steel. Without it, we would be back in the dark days of candles, wood stoves, chip heaters, open fires, smoky cities, hills bare of trees and streets knee deep in horse manure.

Coal is fossil sunshine as clean as the green plants it came from, and often less damaging to the environment than its green energy alternatives.

Earth Hour candles are green tokenism for rich status-seekers and nostalgic dreamers.

We should spend Earth Hour saluting the real people who produce the coal on which most people on earth depend.



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 is playing up, there are mirrors of this site here and here


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