Tuesday, October 09, 2012

An extreme psychiatric nut

He is saying that skeptics are nuts but I think you just have to read the article to see who the nut is.  He seems to be suffering from a case of extreme chronic anxiety that banishes all critical thinking.  He sounds like a blubbering mess.

Psychiatrists are pretty wobbly at the best of times but when you get a member of a psychiatric sect ("Psychoanalytic Self Psychology"), as he is, all bets are off.  They are extreme navel gazers.  I had a shot at their "theory" years ago  -- JR

By Robert D. Stolorow

On October 5, 2012, on the front page of the Huffington Post, appeared a terrifying image of melting arctic ice, accompanied by the chilling headline, “Arctic Ice Melt and Sea Level Rise May Be ‘Decades Ahead Of Schedule’”.  Why have the majority of Americans and American politicians been largely oblivious to this extreme threat? I believe there are two principal reasons.

The first is unbridled narcissism. Psychoanalytic developmental theorist Erik Erikson famously characterized an essential aim of adulthood as generativity—the caring for the well being of future generations. Climate change most likely will not be a threat for most of us, but it will leave our children, grandchildren, and future descendents with catastrophes of unimaginable proportions. In the deplorable obliviousness and indifference to the problem of climate change, any concern for the well being of future generations is being blatantly trumped by narrow self-interest and greed.

The second is denial. What, precisely, is being denied? More than three decades ago I took my young son to a planetarium show at the New York Museum of Natural History. During that show it was predicted that a million years from now the sun will become a “red giant” that will engulf and destroy our entire solar system. This prospect filled me with intense horror. Why would a catastrophe predicted to occur in a million years evoke horror in me? Let me explain.

The horror that I felt was an extreme form of existential anxiety—the anxiety that accompanies our recognition that, as finite human beings, we are constantly threatened by impending possibilities of harm, disease, death, and loss, which can occur at any time. But what I felt at the planetarium show was more than that, because the sun’s becoming an engulfing red giant represents not just the destruction of individual human beings but of human civilization itself, a possibility vividly portrayed in the recent movie, “Melancholia.” The destruction of human civilization would also terminate the historical process—the sense of human history stretching along from the distant past to an open future—through which we make sense out of our individual existences. I want to call the horror that announces such a possibility apocalyptic anxiety. Apocalyptic anxiety anticipates the collapse of all meaningfulness. And it is from apocalyptic anxiety that we turn away when we deny the extreme perils of climate change.

We must renounce destructive narcissism and oblivious denial, embrace generativity, and face up to our apocalyptic anxiety before it is too late for the safety of future generations. President Obama brought tears to my eyes when, in his acceptance speech at the DNC, he contended that climate change and the threat it poses to human life on planet earth are not illusions. He was right, and we must not turn away!


Leftist site moans that Americans are more skeptical

I'm guessing that most Americans will not be too perturbed to hear they are out of line with China, India, Brazil and France  -- JR

When it comes to giving credence to those who refuse to believe global warming, the United States reigns supreme.
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When it comes to climate change, there is one area in which the United States leads all other nations: Our media gives more time and attention to climate deniers than other countries. A recent study from researchers at Oxford University and Birkbeck College took a look at the level of climate skepticism in media coverage in the United States, Brazil, China, France, India, and the United Kingdom. The study, which focused on a three-month period that spanned the “Climategate” scandal, shows that media in the United States gives voice to climate skeptics almost twice as often as Britain—second on the list. The graph below shows the number of articles containing voices skeptical of climate change as a percentage of the total:

The study also found that while climate critiques ran in most U.S. papers regardless of ideology, right-leaning papers left most of the claims uncontested. For example, the left-leaning New York Times ran 14 opinion pieces that included some form of climate skepticism. All of them were contested. The more conservative Wall Street Journal, on the other hand, ran 17 opinion pieces—seven of which were written by regular columnists—all but one of which was left uncontested.

By giving climate-change deniers a platform to broadcast their views, the media legitimizes them. As a result, we never get around to talking about what we should do to fight climate change; instead we're stuck debating whether climate change is real and, if so, whether it is caused by humans.


Gov. Moonbeam backtracks on "green" fuel regulations

With gasoline prices reaching record highs across California over the last week, Gov. Jerry Brown moved on Sunday to alleviate some of the pain at the pump.

Mr. Brown directed the California Air Resources Board to take emergency steps to increase the supply of fuel in the state and allow refineries to immediately switch to a winter blend of gasoline that is typically not sold until November.

“Gas prices in California have risen to their highest levels ever, with unacceptable cost impacts on consumers and small businesses,” Mr. Brown, a Democrat, said in a prepared statement.

The sudden increase has surprised motorists who are already accustomed to high gas prices, particularly in this sprawling city.

The cost of gas jumped 20 cents per gallon on Thursday night. Prices have continued to climb since then, although more slowly, reaching a statewide average of $4.66 on Sunday, according to the AAA’s daily fuel gauge report.

Some motorists had begun to direct their frustration at Mr. Brown.

“Consumers in California are getting killed,” Judith Connolly, the owner of a media company, said as she filled up with premium gasoline on Friday. “We’re being penalized, and the rest of the country is paying far less. This is something that Jerry Brown really needs to deal with.”

Problems at several refineries in the state have been blamed for the rising prices. Two months ago, a fire knocked out a 245,000-barrel-a-day refinery in the Bay Area that has still not resumed full production. And last week, a power failure curtailed production at a refinery in Torrance. Full production resumed there on Friday.

Mr. Brown said he hoped that the switch to the winter-blend gasoline, which evaporates more quickly than gasoline sold during the summer smog season, would stop the climb in prices because it could increase fuel supplies in the state by up to 10 percent. Summer-blend gasoline is better for air quality.

Tom Kloza, chief oil analyst at the Oil Price Information Service, said a combination of factors, including regulations and geography, make gasoline supplies in California volatile. He said the unusually high prices were likely to level off in “days or weeks” and would not spread to the rest of the country. “It is very specific to California,” he said.

 Gasoline prices in California are typically higher than in most of the country because of strict environmental regulations. Yet prices around the country also remain high. The national average on Sunday was $3.81 per gallon of regular gasoline, about 42 cents more than a year ago, the AAA said.


EPA Celebrates ‘Children Health Month,’ Encourages Recruiting Students for ‘Energy Patrols’ at School

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is celebrating Children’s Health Month this October by providing information and health tips on its website, including the importance of energy efficiency in schools.

On the website page is a link to a 26-page EPA report entitled, “Sensible Steps to Healthier School Environment.” In the report’s chapter on Energy Efficiency, the EPA presents a box with items to help establish “Energy Efficiency Opportunities for Schools.”

One of the items in the box reads, “Educate students and staff about how their behaviors affect energy use. Some schools have created student energy patrols to monitor and inform others when energy is wasted.”

For example, the Arizona Public School’s website provides information for setting up energy patrols. The website states “emphasize social action through environmental education gives students a chance to do something about environmental problems instead of just hearing about them.”

The APS website says that patrol members can be provided with ID tags, vests and clipboards. Their responsibilities include leaving reminders to better conserve energy in rooms they find that have the lights on but are unoccupied.

In Alabama schools, the energy patrols are described as groups of 10 to 20 students who are tasked with monitoring the school’s energy use.

“When lights are found on unnecessarily, they are quickly turned off,” the website states. “Periodically, thermostats are also checked to see that they stay at an energy saving 70 in the winter and 78 in the summer. All windows and doors will be noticed for efficient solar energy usage and all water leaks will be reported. Door hangers are left as reminders to do better and to provide encouragement or praise.”

The EPA report connects energy efficiency and children’s health by way of “greenhouse gas emissions.”

“By being more energy efficient, schools can save money and prevent greenhouse gas emissions,” the report states. “School districts can use the savings from improved energy performance to help pay for building improvements and other upgrades that enhance the learning environment.”

The report states that the more than 17,000 public schools in the United States “spend more than $8 billion annually on energy — more than is spent on computers and textbooks combined.”

Other issues addressed in the EPA report include asthma and asthma triggers, buses and vehicle idling, toxins such as lead and mercury and pesticides and pest management.

The report’s subtitle states the contents provide “cost-effective, affordable measures to protect the health of students and staff.”


The End Of Green: EU Plans Re-Industrialisation Of Europe

Back to the Roots: The European Commission wants to make Europe the continent of industry again. By 2020, the share of industry of GDP should be increased dramatically. Europe’s plans, however, have been met with concerns from climate campaigners.

The European Commission has re-discovered industry as a source of wealth creation. It has vowed to create better conditions for investment in innovation and factories and wants to increase the rate of industrial added value in Europe.

“The Commission expects to reverse the declining role of the industry”, according to a strategy paper on industrial policy which EU Commissioner Antonio Tajani will present on Wednesday.

The share of industry in the EU’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) should “be raised to 20 percent by 2020,” promises the policy paper.

Re-industrialisation and climate protection are contradictory

This is a huge goal. In 2000, 22 percent of the EU’s GDP came from industry. Today, the figure is about 15 percent, according to official figures. But Günther Oettinger, Commissioner for Energy, calls for even more: the target should have the same importance as climate targets of the EU, which should also be reached by 2020.

“We need a fourth 20 percent value”, in addition to the relevant requirements for the reduction of greenhouse gases, the share of renewable energy, and energy saving, Oettinger said in Berlin.

But that would signal a small revolution because the re-industrialisation of Europe and maintaining its climate goals are contradictory, as business representatives pointed out. Until now, the EU Commission has given unconditional priority to the EU’s climate targets.

EU countries neglect industrial production

“We are in the midst of de-industrialization,” Oettinger said at a Berlin meeting of the European People’s Party (EPP) to whom his party, the German Christian Democrats also belongs. According to the Commissioner, EU states have neglected industrial production; “some on purpose, others by negligence”.

The United Kingdom, for example, has promoted this development on purpose – in favour of the financial industry, the City of London, which is in crisis now: there is an army of bankers, “half as old as I am, twice as clever, with specs but unemployed,” said Oettinger. For Finland too, he has a dire prediction: “Nokia will probably not survive for much longer”, he noted.

Hugging polar bears is useless

“Europe must reindustrialise for the 21st Century”, Tajani urges in his strategy paper because a “strong industrial base is vital to a prosperous and economically successful Europe”. The problem is: “The investment outlook is bleak” – and therefore a “third industrial revolution” is urgently needed.

The plan includes four “pillars” in order to “restore the attractiveness of Europe as a production location”: Increased investment in factories and research and development, secondly, the expansion of the internal market and “the opening of international markets.” Thirdly, the Commissioner wants to “open access to international markets” for companies, especially small and medium-sized ones, through new trading arrangements, for example. Finally, the Commission intends to take care of education and training, and to better match supply and demand for labour.

But for Oettinger one point is missing: the gradual de-industrialization is also caused by EU policy. If Europe wants to change the plight of industry, then “the number of do-gooders in the Euro Parliament should not remain as high” as during the introduction and intensification of the European climate targets in 2007 and 2009. It is also useless “to fly to Greenland to hug polar bears,” said Oettinger – a dig at German Chancellor Angela Merkel, who visited Greenland in 2007 in order to make her climate ambitions clear.

CEOs against too much climate policy

ThyssenKrupp chief Heinrich Hiesinger raised harsh accusations at the EPP Congress: “Future generations expect from us jobs,” he said – and not only a cleaner environment. He testified about high costs for companies as a result of climate policies, warned of job losses as a result of carbon regulation and complained about rising energy prices caused by Germany’s green energy transition.

The head of copper producer Aurubis, Peter Will Brandt, said that industry was suffering from government interference. Among the Conservatives present at the EPP Congress, the CEOs found support. While the EU should comply with existing climate targets, “one should not top them up,” said the EPP Group chief in the European Parliament, the Frenchman Joseph Daul. “I strongly advise against more stringent targets after 2020”, Oettinger told his audience, many of them MEPs.

CO2 targets that are too ambitious cause companies to leave

The Commissioner promised that his stated goal is to link energy policy, for which he is responsible, “not only with climate policy but also with industrial policy” – and thereby revoked an alliance which wanted to make Europe the greenest economy in the world.
The currently valid targets should be met, Oettinger said. “But CO2 reduction targets that are too ambitious lead to the relocation of firms, and this does not help the environment and is bad for jobs and growth.” One example he mentioned: SGL Carbon, owned by German shareholders. The carbon manufacturer wants to produce in the United States – because of much lower energy costs there.

Now, Oettinger wants to do something about it. He stressed the price advantage the U.S. has with regards electricity, oil and gas from which companies benefit. But he knows the limits of European options, even without polar bears huggers: “Take for instance Qatar,” he said. Anyone who wants to build a factory there, “gets the land at the airport for free and the oil tank filled for 20 years, also free of charge.”"We cannot keep up with that.”

Translation Philipp Mueller


A good infographic




Preserving the graphics:  Graphics hotlinked to this site sometimes have only a short life and if I host graphics with blogspot, the graphics sometimes get shrunk down to illegibility.  From January 2011 on, therefore, I have posted a monthly copy of everything on this blog to a separate site where I can host text and graphics together -- which should make the graphics available even if they are no longer coming up on this site.  See  here and here


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