Sunday, January 13, 2013

"Right" words found to inspire environmental care in conservatives

This is an an amusing bit of sleight of hand.  They show that if you present ugly pictures of environmental degradation, conservatives will immediately thereafter say they support environmental protection.  I would too.  It is the definition of what constitutes or causes environmental harm (CO2?) that is at issue and that is not addressed

And their data is on its face situational anyhow  -- providing no grounds for generalizations.  Findings of consistency over time and place would be needed for that

People who describe themselves as conservatives tend to worry or care less about the environment than their liberal counterpartsbut there's a way to spark their interest, psychologists say. Use words associated with conservative, religious morals, like "purity" and "sanctity."

And show pictures of actual pollution, not just damaged wilderness.

Such lines of persuasion, researchers suggested, change more minds than the treehugger who pounds liberal themes, hectoring you about "sustainability" orGod forbid?"mother Earth."

In new research, the psychologists found that they could stir environmental concern in selfidentified, American conservatives by showing them articles defining environmental threats in terms of the "purity" and "sanctity" of Earth and our bodies. Photos of smoggy cities, garbagestrewn woods and filthy water filled out the readers' experience.

"These findings offer the prospect of proenvironmental persuasion across party lines," said study coauthor Robb Willer of the University of California Berkeley, coauthor of a report on the findings published this week in the journal Psychological Science. "Reaching out to conservatives in a respectful and persuasive way is critical, because large numbers of Americans will need to support significant environment reforms if we are going to deal effectively with climate change, in particular."

Willer and lead author Matthew Feinberg, now at Stanford University in California, analyzed more than 200 opinion pieces from such newspapers as The New York Times, USA Today and The Wall Street Journal. They found the proenvironmental arguments were most often pitched in terms of moral obligations to care about nature and protect it, a theme that resonates with liberals.

Drawing on research on moral foundations, the investigators guessed conservatives might respond more to arguments stressing such principles as purity, patriotism, and reverence for higher authority.

The researchers surveyed 187 adults, recruited via several U.S. Craigslist websites. They were asked to rate their own political ideology from "extremely liberal" to "extremely conservative." Responses indicated liberals were more prone to viewing sustainability as a moral issue.

Next, the scientists analyzed proenvironmental videos on YouTube and more than 200 opinion articles, sorting them under the themes of "harm/care," which they expected to resonate more with liberals, and "purity/sanctity," which they predicted would appeal more to conservatives. They found that most proenvironmental messages leaned strongly toward liberal themes.

Finally, 308 men and women, again recruited via Craigslist, were randomly assigned to read one of three articles. The harm/carethemed article described the environmental destruction wreaked by humans and pitched protection of the environment as a moral obligation. Images accompanying the text were of a forest with tree stumps, a barren coral reef, and droughtcracked land, considered more typical of the visuals promoted by proenvironmental groups.

The purity/sanctitythemed article stressed how pollution has contaminated Earth and people's bodies, and argued for cleaning up and purifying the environment. To enhance those themes and "elicit disgust," researchers said, accompanying images showed a person drinking filthy water, a city under a cloud of pollution, and a forest full of garbage. The neutral article talked about the history of neckties.

Participants were then asked to rate how strongly they felt certain emotions, including disgust, in response to what they'd read. Next, they reported how strongly they agreed or disagreed with such statements as "It is important to protect the environment," "I would support government legislation aimed at protecting the environment," and "I believe humans are causing global warming." Puritythemed message were found to trigger disgust in conservatives, in turn increasing their support for protecting the environment.


Even a cautious Warmist still can't stick to the truth;  The truth is just pesky for Warmists

The Warmist below is careful not to make claims of current and recent warming but says that it is still happening in the long term and it is the long term that matters.  He cherrypicks a few older periods that suit his thesis but is both vague and dishonest about the REAL long term period he quotes: The last century as a whole.  He fails to mention that it warmed to only a trivial degree then  -- less than one degree Celsius  -- and if that generally unnoticed change is the basis for his concern then we don't have much to worry about

Article below by British writer Geoffrey Lean, who is said to have "pioneered the coverage of green issues long before they became fashionable"

Confused? You have every right to be. On just one day this week, it was reported that the heatwave that has lit wildfires across Australia is so unprecedented that two new colours have had to be added to weather forecasting maps; that 2012 had been by far the hottest year on record in the United States; that the blue-chip World Economic Forum had identified climate change as one of the world's most urgent dangers; and that, nevertheless, the Met Office had concluded that global warming had stalled.

Both sides of the ever more acrimonious climate debate predictably rushed to contrasting conclusions. Environmentalists hailed the US and Australian records as confirmation that dangerous climate change has arrived - with some displaying distasteful schadenfreude that two of the most climate-sceptic countries besides Britain had been hit. And sceptics claimed that the Met Office had "finally conceded" that "there is no evidence that global warming is happening". Both, of course, were exaggerating.

The Met Office's chief scientist, Prof Julia Slingo, insisted that "the warming trend has not gone away", torpedoing any suggestion of such a concession. And indeed the report that caused the fuss suggests that heating of the planet has not stopped, but slowed. Published with typical "barbecue summer" bungling on Christmas Eve - leading to understandable accusations of attempts to bury inconvenient news - the dry "decadal forecast" concluded that on average global temperatures over the next five years were "most likely" to be 0.43C above the average for 1971-2000, slightly lower than a similar forecast last year, which put it at 0.54C.

Interesting, but not exactly dramatic, particularly since it suggests that the world is indeed getting warmer over the long term, if not as fast as had been thought. But sceptics raised the stakes by pointing out that the 0.43 rise was almost identical to a 0.4 increase in 1998. They claimed this showed that temperatures have not risen significantly for 15 years.

But that is statistical sleight of hand, comparing an average temperature expected over five years with one for a single year (and an anomalous one at that). As we all know, weather naturally varies: some years are warmer, some cooler - and 1998, as it happens, is the hottest the Met Office has recorded.

It is therefore often picked by sceptics to suggest that the world is not heating up, since by definition a line drawn from it to any other year on the temperature graph would go downwards. If, instead, you were to pick 1996, a relatively cool year, as the starting point, it would suggest that the thermometer has been rapidly rising - but that would be equally misleading.

The only honest way to make comparisons is on a longer timescale, and on that basis it is clear that every decade since the 1960s has been warmer than the previous one, and that average temperatures have increased markedly over the past century.   [False!  Two thirds of one degree over an entire century is hardly "markedly"] But it's also true that over the past 15 years or so, the rate of warming has slowed down.

No one knows why. It may be natural variation; there have been other periods - 1973-1980 and 1988-1995 - where global warming seems to have stalled, only for temperatures to resume their rise. Or it may be caused by the cooling effect of massive air pollution in China; but that would disappear once it is cleaned up. It might also be that the heating process may be about to go into retreat, but there is no plausible scientific reason why that should be so, and no evidence for it.

Yet it is also wrong firmly to attribute Australia's heatwave or America's unprecedented year to climate change. Weather's natural variability has ensured that extremes have occurred - and records set - throughout history. Again, the only honest thing to do is to look at long-term trends.

But these suggest that something is indeed afoot. Days above 37.8C are now five times more common than between 1911 and 1930 and extremely hot summers are 10 times more widespread globally than between 1951 and 1980.

There is no doubt that the world has warmed, and that this will continue. Certainly, picking an exceptionally hot year from the past to suggest that the world is not warming is like asserting that summer will not come this year because the mild weather of the past week is about to be replaced by a cold snap.


British Met office now resorting to outright lies

There has been much discussion in recent days about the new decadal forecast of global temperatures, sneaked out by the UK Met Office on Christmas Eve, and which shows flatlining temperatures instead of the the rapidly increasing ones previously forecast.

However, on studying the current forecast (at top), and comparing it with the previous version (below) issued in December 2011, I noticed a bit of jiggery pokery. Have a look and see if you can spot it.

The white curves are previous predictions, as the narrative explains. In the latest version, this line heads downwards from around 2005 to today's levels. In other words, they seem to be giving the impression that previous predictions anticipated the drop in temperatures in the last couple of years.

Yet look at the Dec 2011 version, and you can see that this is absolutely not what they were predicting then. On the contrary, they were forecasting a significant increase in temperatures throughout the period.

It would appear that the Met have deliberately fabricated a new version of their Dec 2011 forecast, in order to avoid making the original version look too ridiculous.

Is this really what "science" has come down to?

SOURCE  (See the original for links and graphics)

British Labor's  solar swindle: Cost of green subsidies will add £1 billion to family household bills

Ed Miliband's controversial scheme to encourage homeowners to install solar panels and wind  turbines is set to cost families an extra £1billion in higher bills, figures reveal.

Subsidies for solar panels rose 14-fold last year as individuals and businesses piled into the scheme, criticised as being a licence to print money.

The payments, funded by a levy on electricity bills, jumped from £9.2million in 2010/11 to £128.3million in 2011/12, according to figures compiled by energy regulator Ofgem.

But over the same time the average efficiency of schemes fell by more than 40 per cent - because of a lack of sunshine.

Subsidies for domestic wind turbines trebled over the same period, rising from £2.3million to almost £7million.

Households are paid for the electricity they return to the National Grid but the payments are far above market rates, requiring heavy subsidies.

In total the budget for so-called `feed-in tariffs' rose from £14.4million to £150.7million - an increase of 944 per cent in only 12 months.

The soaring cost means the scheme is now forecast to go more than £1billion over budget by 2015, bringing more misery for cash-strapped consumers.

The scheme, introduced by Mr Miliband when he was climate change secretary in Gordon Brown's government, was meant to encourage the development of technology which could help provide a source of renewable energy.  But critics have warned that it is absurdly generous.

Under 25-year deals, householders were originally paid 41p for every kilowatt hour of electricity generated by their solar panels.

This was later reduced to 21p and then scaled back again to 16p last year because of concern among ministers about the burgeoning cost of the scheme.  But an attempt to cut the payment to 10p was thrown out by the High Court following a legal challenge by Friends of the Earth.

Tory MP Dominic Raab said the scheme was another example of Labour profligacy.  He added: `Ed Miliband's flagship green subsidies have proved a ludicrously expensive way of backing inefficient technology.

`If he can do that for energy policy, just think what damage he would wreak on the economy. The solar subsidies inherited from Labour have been nothing short of a giant waste of time and money.

`It's crazy for politicians to try to pick scientific and commercial winners. It just ends up hiking energy bills paid by hard-pressed households and business, without making us more energy efficient.'

A source at the Department of Energy and Climate Change last night said a new regime had been put in place to review the solar subsidies every three months to check they were not too high.

The source acknowledged that thousands of people had made windfall profits but blamed it on the legacy from the last Labour government.

They added: `The scheme we inherited meant that when the costs of solar technology plummeted we could not get the tariffs down as quickly as we needed to.

`That has now changed and the scheme is producing valuable renewable energy.' The source insisted that officials were looking to adjust other subsidy schemes  to try to minimise the impact on electricity bills.


Al Gore's fall from grace

One staff person at Current TV expressed disdain for former Vice President Al Gore, Jr.'s decision to sell the television property to Al Jazeera saying, "Al was always lecturing us about green. He kept his word about green all right - as in cold, hard cash!"

Another Current staffer is reported to have remarked, "He [Al Gore, Jr.] has no credibility.  He's supposed to be the face of clean energy and just sold [the channel] to very big oil, the emir of Qatar!  Current never even took big oil advertising - and Al Gore sells to the emir?"

While Al Gore's enviro credibility may have just been sold for the $100 million he reportedly netted from the deal, only the most na‹ve environmentalist should have been shocked.

The latest Matt Damon movie, Promised Land, which demonizes a fifty year technology for extracting oil and natural gas called, hydraulic fracturing or fracking for short, was funded by the United Arab Emirites, a major OPEC member.

Why would UAE care about fracking in the United States?

Perhaps, the dramatic expansion in natural gas and oil development on private land in the U.S. might provide a clue.  Developments in drilling technology over the past decade have changed the world's energy landscape, and have made North Dakota the third largest oil producing state in the nation.  Now, rather than importing natural gas for the foreseeable future, even President Obama is referring to America as the Saudi Arabia of natural gas.

And in case studious environmentalists missed the obvious agenda behind the funding of Promised Land, it was almost impossible not to notice the scandal when it was revealed that the Sierra Club had taken $23 million from Chesapeake Energy (a natural gas producer) to attack the coal industry and push for regulations to force the conversion of coal-fired electricity power plants to burning natural gas.

Not surprisingly, when the money ran out, and revelations about the funding emerged, Sierra Club executives jumped on the fracking scare band wagon.

Corporate representatives are always treated by the media as having the stain of conflict of interest because they are assumed to be giving the public an argument that reflects their company's financial interest.

Perhaps it is time for environmental groups to withstand the same skepticism.  Whether it is the war on coal, the burgeoning fracking fight, or even purchasing a television outlet geared to environmental activist viewers, it is clear that there are foreign interests who are willing to pony up big bucks to keep America at their energy mercy.

It is also clear that the environmental movement leadership is extremely entrepreneurial in accepting funding for projects.

Knowing this, a wise news consumer should ask themselves, who is really paying the freight for the environmentalist movement and their continual argument for higher energy costs.

Who benefits when government decisions are made against extracting or using our nation's abundant coal, oil and natural gas supplies?

In the cases of Al Gore, the Sierra Club and Hollywood, you really only have to follow the money.


Jerusalem hit by worst snowstorm for TWENTY YEARS as eight inches fall across Holy City

Global cooling is hitting lots of places now

The Holy City of Jerusalem has been covered in a brilliant white blanket after the worst snowstorm in 20 years.  Schools and highways have been closed as up to eight inches of snow piled up in the city centre by this afternoon.

Israel and much of the surrounding region has been hit by five days of rain, wind and snow as temperatures have dipped below freezing.  Although average winter temperatures can be chilly, it is unusual for the city to see such heavy snow in the winter.

The Jeruslaem to Tel Aviv highway was closed this afternoon due to the cold and icy conditions.  Many Palestinians in the hilly occupied West Bank were also snowed in and dozens were forced to flee flooded homes.

Snow is not uncommon in Israel, and the country even boasts a ski resort in Mount Heron.  But heavy snowfall in Jerusalem is rare, with average temperatures staying at a mild 9 degrees, even in the coldest months of January and February.

A flurry of white flakes may descend every three or four years during cold winters but the city hasn't seen such deep snow since 1992.  Back then, as much as 12 inches fell and police had to go on national TV to give drivers advice on how to drive in the snow.

The rest of the year Jerusalem enjoys average temperatures of 18 degrees and 3,400 hours of sunshine.

Elisha Peleg, an official in charge of emergencies with the Jerusalem Municipality, urged the city's residents to remain at home and stay off the streets, telling Army Radio the area had overnight seen its greatest snowfall since 1992.

He said 10 to 15 cm of snow had piled up in the city centre and more than that in outlying areas.  'The downtown area is bathed in white,' Peleg said.  'The elders of Jerusalem don't remember such a snowstorm in years.'

Public transport has ground to a halt, and many vehicles that ventured onto roads were stuck, he added, urging citizens to remain at home.




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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