Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Lewandowsky has finally got his journal article published

Not in print yet but listed as "Early" by a reputable journal.  Abstract below.  It's the same old hokum with no approach to random sampling or any other kind of representative sampling. As such, his findings are not generalizable to any known population  -- and certainly not to climate skeptics.  Comments on the first pre-print also noted sampling problems, with an apparently very biased "sample" underlying the findings.

Sadly, unscholarly work such as that by Lewandowski is common in the academic literature, particularly so in Psychology. Psychologists normally study either white rats or their own students.  Results from such studies permit no valid generalizations to people at large but psychologists generalize anyway.

I once critiqued a psychology article that purported to study militarism using a sample of 47 Quakers.  I kid you not.  And in the medical literature I know of a case where a researcher studied the Mediterranean diet IN SWEDEN!

NASA Faked the Moon Landing—Therefore, (Climate) Science Is a Hoax
An Anatomy of the Motivated Rejection of Science

Stephan Lewandowsky et al.

Although nearly all domain experts agree that carbon dioxide emissions are altering the world’s climate, segments of the public remain unconvinced by the scientific evidence. Internet blogs have become a platform for denial of climate change, and bloggers have taken a prominent role in questioning climate science. We report a survey of climate-blog visitors to identify the variables underlying acceptance and rejection of climate science. Our findings parallel those of previous work and show that endorsement of free-market economics predicted rejection of climate science. Endorsement of free markets also predicted the rejection of other established scientific findings, such as the facts that HIV causes AIDS and that smoking causes lung cancer. We additionally show that, above and beyond endorsement of free markets, endorsement of a cluster of conspiracy theories (e.g., that the Federal Bureau of Investigation killed Martin Luther King, Jr.) predicted rejection of climate science as well as other scientific findings. Our results provide empirical support for previous suggestions that conspiratorial thinking contributes to the rejection of science. Acceptance of science, by contrast, was strongly associated with the perception of a consensus among scientists.


The quite fascinatingly stupid case of the minimum carbon price

The Wall Street Journal picks up on the quite fascinatingly stupid imposition by the current government of a minimum price on carbon permits. This could only have been done by people entirely ignorant of how a cap and trade system works: not a wholly desirable attribute in those supposedly running a cap and trade system:

"The European Parliament's rejection this week of the Commision's proposed carbon-permit price-fixing scheme is good news for economies across Europe—except for the U.K.'s, which is likely to suffer from the lower carbon-emissions prices that result...........The carbon price floor, which came into effect April 1, was supposed to increase investment in "green" energy projects in the U.K. by ensuring that carbon-permit prices could not fall below a certain level—starting at £16 per ton of carbon this year and rising to £30 per ton in 2020............The European Commission's idea for shoring up the price of carbon permits—withholding the supply of permits from the market—was voted down this week by the Parliament, and the permit price only fell farther. As of Thursday is stood at €2.80 (£2.40) a ton—just 15% of the Cameron government's floor."

I know, I know, many of you are more sensible than I am when it comes to this climate change thing. I'm still under the delusion that it's a problem we should do something about. But at least I do understand the role of price in a cap and trade system. In a carbon tax system, the other viable alternative action, it is the tax, the price of carbon emissions, that reduces them. In a cap and trade system it is instead the number of permits issued which reduces emissions. The price for such a permit is simply telling you how tough it is to meet that cap. Thus, the lower the price of the permit the better for all. It shows that reducing emissions is actually quite simple and quite cheap.

In this case, we're seeing that eliminating the marginal emissions necessary to stay under the cap costs less than £2.40 a tonne. Quite why the British government insists that everyone should pay £16 a tonne for it is known only to the more frenzied minds within it. In a cap and trade system a low price for permits is a good idea, a welcome sign that it's all less of a problem than we had thought.

As I say I do indeed think that carbon emissions are a problem that we ought to do something about. But I do also think that we should not use this as an excuse to do fascinatingly stupid things: like artificially raising a price that we are gloriously grateful about being low. The cost of reducing emissions that is.


Consensus And Controversy: New Report On The Global Warming “Battlefield”

By SINTEF,  the largest independent research organisation in Scandinavia

This report outlines the main positions and debates surrounding the literally hot topic of man-made global warming. Inspired by social studies of science and technology, the goal of the report is to document, describe and take stock of this potent scientific and public “battlefield” that plays out arguably some of the more pressing issues of our time.

Presenting two broad “ideal type” of positions involved in the science of anthropogenic global warming (AGW), the “consensus” and the “contrarian” perspectives, the report analyses both their cultural premises and places them in relation to the philosophy of science.

The report positively concludes that an alleged near unanimous scientific consensus on AGW, that “the science is settled”, is overstated. The report finds a robust, critical scientific discourse in climate related research, yet it highlights that a “consensus-building” approach to science might represent a politicised and unscientific belief in science – a belief in tension with the ethos of “normal science”.

The report calls for a continuing questioning, critical, and undogmatic public debate over man-made global warming, and a clearer separation between science and policy.


The debate about man-made global warming is literally a hot topic. In fact it’s a discourse, and an empirical prospect, as some would argue, with quite a deadly intensity. This is a report about that debate. The title of the latest book by one of the central scientists in this field is telling: ”The hockey stick and the climate wars” (Mann 2012). This alleged ”climate war” is a scientific, political, economic, social and moral public field that is co-constructed and intersects in numerous ways, and which, to some extent at least, is characterized by the rhetoric of apocalypse, war and the communicative logic of the military trenches. Several other popular titles illustrate this: “The Suicidal Planet: How to prevent global climate catastrophe (Hillman 2007); “Storms of My Grandchildren: The Truth About the Coming Climate Catastrophe and Our Last Chance to Save Humanity” (Hansen 2009); ”Climate Cover-Up: The Crusade to Deny Global Warming” (Hoggan and Littlemore 2009); “The Climate Crisis” (Archer and Rahmstorf 2010); “Tropic of Chaos: Climate Change and the New Geography of Violence” (Parenti 2011).

The language of fear and constructions of “catastrophe” regarding global warming has been firmly established during the last two decades, and professor of climate change Mike Hulme argues that this language has been embellished in the post 9/11 era (2009: 66). A report by the Institute of Public Policy Research in London commented on a comprehensive study of climate change discourses in the British media from 2006/2007 the following way: “The alarmist repertoire uses an inflated language, with terms such as “catastrophe”, “chaos” and “havoc”, and its tone is often urgent. It employs a quasi-religious register of doom, death, judgement, heaven and hell” (2007: 55). Likewise, the widely popular “tipping point” metaphor signifies the possible coming of sudden apocalypse.

The goal of this report is to enter this more or less inhospitable battlefield and take stock of the debate about anthropogenic (man-made) global warming. This will be done by both describing and counting the particular actors, activities and technologies (of both enchantment and production) performing on the scenes of this “theatre of war”, and also by bringing to the table a more distanced and analytical perspective of the field as such, using as a guiding metaphor the (hopefully) neutral UN-observers’ approach to zones of conflict and tension. The zone we are entering here and its particular mix of morality, science, politics, and polemics can certainly be explosive, confusing, and condescending.

There are several reasons for writing such a report. Needless to say, the debate on anthropogenic global warming is of high significance and consequence to people and society. More specifically, because of all that is publicly written and said about the dangers of global warming, one could easily get the impression that the major scientific issues on the subject is settled, and that the debate is, or is being, closed and “black boxed” (Latour 1987). On the other hand, there seems to be vocal and persistent scientists and advocates that on various grounds resist the alleged consensus. These voices sometimes claim that their legitimate dissent is silenced and marginalised in both scientific and public discourse. Thus, an explicit goal of this report has been to give the dissenting or “contrarian” perspectives a serious treatment. Has the science of anthropogenic global warming reached such a level of consensus saturation and cohesion that the debate is, legitimately or not, closed and “black boxed”? To be able to answer this question the contrarian perspectives receives relatively more space in this report. This choice is also justified by the wide attention and institutional support and promotion the consensus perspective(s) have received, not least through the IPCC.

In a 2007 speech before the UN Commission on Sustainable Development, Gro Harlem Brundtland, the UN Secretary General’s Special Envoy on Climate Change (and also former Prime Minister of Norway, and former Director-General of the World Health Organization) conveyed the mixture of politics, polemics, science and morality when she, in relation to global warming, famously stated that: “So what is it that is new today? What is new is that doubt has been eliminated. The report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change is clear. And so is the Stern report. It is irresponsible, reckless and deeply immoral to question the seriousness of the situation. The time for diagnosis is over. Now it is time to act.”

This statement has several significant and problematic aspects that will be discussed in this report. Has doubt been eliminated in the case of anthropogenic (man-made) global warming? Is it possible to eliminate doubt, and are efforts to do so pursuits pertinent to science and democracy in open societies? Is it immoral and reckless to question and doubt? The Brundtland statement displays both explicitly and implicitly key premises upon which the debate on global warming is being played out, and this report seeks to unfold some of the most important of these premises.

As noted above, in the American vernacular the particular geo-political arenas of war is often labelled a “theatre of war”. Even though the subject matter of this report is both deserving of, and demands to be taken highly seriously, the theatre metaphor is in itself also quite appropriate. The debate on global warming has a theatrical ambience to it on several levels. It abounds with stories of tragedy, untergang and apocalypse, of crisis, saviours and salvation, and in several of these also (unintended) genres of melodrama and comedy is not difficult to detect. It borrows several of its communicative scripts from classical narratives, often including plots of good and evil, of culprits and heroes, and of nature’s ultimate revenge upon the unlimited folly of a humanity of myopic fools and malfeasants.

The theatrical tropes of the debate is also squarely pinpointed by the fact that the play’s definitive number one villain and enfant terrible is the agent and actor (or rather “actant” in the vocabulary of actor-network-theory) that goes by the name of CO2. Carbon dioxide.

This gas is quite literally the “smoking gun” (Archer and Rahmstorf 2010: 11) of the play, metaphorically represented as something like the (Lord of The Rings’) Sauron in the saga of global warming, and believed to play the major role in causing anthropogenic global warming – with all its possible detrimental consequences. Yet CO2 is also a major actant in photosynthesis and the life-giving production of oxygen. With CO2 at the centrepiece of the play, inhabiting this radically doubleedged position of being both the gas of life and death, global warming as eschatological tales of humanity’s end-times, and its embedded counter narrative of secular (or rather quasi-religious) earthly resurrection and salvation through heroic deeds and technological measures, the drama of global warming attains the level of meaning that myths are made of.

1.1 The’four’myths’of’climate’change

To further explicate the cultural premises for understanding the debate about global warming, this section outlines the four core narratives, or myths, that arguably frame the discourse on climate change. [...]


Belgian Scientists: Double Standards In Climate Change

The authors of this paper recently presented their views on climate science at the Royal Academy of Belgium. No French or Belgian newspaper was willing to publish their assessment. Questioning the impact of mankind on climate change is evidently still a taboo in the French-speaking world.

The conference on climate change held in Doha (Qatar) last December ended in failure once again. However, the news reported in the media about this 18th conference on climate change were fully in line with the well-rehearsed mantra: the Earth is warming up, human emissions of greenhouse gases are mainly to blame for this warming up, and we are approaching disaster. We have only one climate, but communication about it seems to be plagued by double standards.

For a few years now British, American, Italian or German media have given sceptical scientists the opportunity to express their opinions on the validity of the statements released by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), the organisation responsible for the official line of thought on climate matters. Nothing like that has been seen in the French or Belgian media which persist in portraying scientific sceptics, at best as sold out to the oil lobbies, at worst as troubled individuals, greedy for public recognition and fame and as such not worthy to be proponents in a serious debate.

The authors of this contribution were recently been granted the honour of presenting their point of view as climate sceptics at the Royal Academy of Belgium. During a series of six well-attended lectures we showed, among other things, that:

    The climate has always changed. This was true during ancient times and it has also been true since the beginning of the modern era. These climate changes have always been, and still are, independent of the concentration of CO2 in the atmosphere;

    During Roman times and the Middle Ages temperatures were observed well in excess of those currently experienced. From the 16th till the 19th century a cold period referred to as the “Little Ice Age” predominated. All these changes took place without mankind being held responsible. We believe that the increase in temperatures that occurred during a certain part of the 20th century is the result of a recovery from this cold period. These various events can be explained by a combination of warm and cold cycles of different magnitudes and duration. Why and how this happens is not yet fully understood, but some plausible explanations can be put forward;

    The so-called “abnormally rapid” increase in global temperatures between 1980 and 2000 is not unusual at all. There have in fact been several such periods in the past, during which temperatures rose in a similar manner and at comparable rates, even though fossil fuels were not yet in use;

    Temperature measurements do not necessarily correlate with a building up or a decrease in heat since heat variations are energy changes subject to thermal inertia. Apart from heat many other parameters have an influence on temperature. Moreover the measurement of temperatures is subject to numerous large errors. When the magnitude and plurality of these measurement errors are taken into account, the reported increase in temperatures is no longer statistically significant;

    The famous “Hockey-stick” curve, known as the Mann’s curve and presented six times by the IPCC in its penultimate report, is the result among other things of a mistake in the statistical calculations and an incorrect choice of temperature indicators, i.e. proxies. This lack of scientific rigour has totally discredited the curve and it was withdrawn, without any explanation, from subsequent IPCC reports;

    Even though they look formidably complex, the theoretical models employed by the climate modellers are simplified to the extreme. In fact there are far too many (known and unknown) parameters that influence climate change. At the moment it is impossible to take them all into account. The climate system is extremely complex, containing not only chaotic components but also numerous positive and negative feedback loops operating according to various different time scales. Which is why the IPCC wrote in its reports that: “…long-term prediction of future climate states is not possible” (page 774, Third report). This is very true. To this day all the climate predictions based upon these models have turned out to be totally incorrect. Strangely, nobody seems to care;

    The relationship between CO2 and temperature, obtained from the Vostok ice cores, shows that a building up of CO2 occurs 800 to 1000 years after an increase in temperature is observed. Hence the increase in the concentration of CO2 is a consequence of the warming of the climate, not its cause;

    But the coup de grâce to the “warmists’ theory” – certainly not yet visible in the French and Belgian media – comes from the observation that for the past fifteen years or so the global temperature of the Earth has remained constant. During the same period CO2 emissions have increased by far more than in the past, reaching an unparalleled record this year. Honest climate scientists admit that this observation is an embarrassing inconvenience for their theory. However, attempts to make us believe that the Earth is continuing to warm up persist. Will we have to wait for another twenty, twenty-five or thirty years for the global warming advocates to finally admit that there is no unambiguous correlation between the global temperature of the Earth and human-generated CO2 emissions?

    The claim that Hurricane Sandy is due to human CO2 emissions is totally unfounded and has been vigorously contested by numerous meteorologists. This regrettable distortion of the facts has been denounced in an open letter, addressed to the General Secretary of the UN and signed by more than 130 world-renowned scientists, including one of the present authors;

    Finally the “abnormal” melting of the Arctic Sea ice, that made the headlines of numerous journals during this summer, was also observed during previous decades. Amazingly the record high increase in Antarctic Sea ice that occurred at exactly the same time has been completely ignored by the very same media. Moreover, no mention has been made of the current, particularly rapid, regeneration of the Arctic Sea ice.

These ten statements are facts. We would be ready to accept that they could be wrong, if evidence were presented to scientifically disprove them. In the meantime, and in view of the lack of coherence and unreliability associated with the numerous predictions made by the IPCC, it is time to set the record straight. The public and politicians must be informed about the hypothetical character of the predominant ‘consensus’ on climate change, which has been uncritically disseminated in the media for more than ten years. If it ever existed, this so-called “climate change consensus” has now been totally undermined by the facts.

Despite the opportunity that we were given by the Royal Academy to raise this issue, we were unable to find any French or Belgian newspaper willing to publish this text. Questioning the impact of mankind on climate change is evidently still a taboo over here.


Met Office Now Admits Arctic Sea Ice Didn’t Cause Cold Winter

In a new report entitled “Why was the start to spring 2013 so cold?,” the chief of the UK MET Office now admits that decreased Arctic sea ice or “Arctic amplification” was not responsible for the unusually cold spring 2013 in Europe, finding “little evidence from the comparison between the cold spring of 1962 and this year that the Arctic has been a contributory factor in terms of the hypothesis” of “an increased probability of extreme weather events that result from prolonged conditions, such as drought, flooding, cold spells, and heat waves.”

According to the report, “Figure 13 shows the midtroposphere temperature anomalies for 1962 and 2013; over the Arctic they are almost identical and reflect the negative NAO pattern. It is hard to argue that Arctic amplification had changed the equator to pole temperature in a systematic way to affect the circulation this spring.”


    There have been some suggestions that the rapid decline of Arctic sea ice, especially during summer, is responsible for this year’s cold spring. It is argued [8] that amplification of global warming over the Arctic is reducing the equator to pole temperature gradient, thereby weakening the strength of the mid-latitude jet streams. In turn this may lead to slower progression of upper-level waves and would cause associated weather patterns in midlatitudes to be more persistent, potentially leading to an increased probability of extreme weather events that result from prolonged conditions, such as drought, flooding, cold spells, and heat waves.

    This hypothesis remains contentious [9], however, and there is little evidence from the comparison between the cold spring of 1962 and this year that the Arctic has been a contributory factor in terms of the hypothesis proposed above. Figure 13 shows the midtroposphere temperature anomalies for 1962 and 2013; over the Arctic they are almost identical and reflect the negative NAO pattern. It is hard to argue that Arctic amplification had changed the equator to pole temperature in a systematic way to affect the circulation this spring.


Nicene Creed for Environmentalism

Every religion needs a creed. A set of beliefs that its followers can adhere to. A flag they can rally around in good times and bad.

An early example is the Nicene Creed, drafted in the fourth century to explain exactly what Christians believed.

With the coming of Earth Day, Americans are reminded once again that modern environmentalism has morphed into a religion. For example, we can expect to be reminded that today’s cold weather and floods are caused by “climate change,” the exact same phenomenon that supposedly caused last year’s hot weather and droughts.

So to help environmentalist believers focus, it’s time for them to have their own Nicene Creed. Feel free to read it at Earth Day celebrations, or any appropriate worship services:

"We believe in one Planet, Mother of us all: the Earth, fragile and endangered by pollution,  both seen and unseen.

We believe in one agency, the EPA,  the only thing standing between us and oblivion,  created by Washington to protect us, its god-like rulings must never be questioned, we understand its decisions are begotten, not made.

EPA is of one with the Father, the federal government. Through it all things were made, for us and for our salvation.

EPA hands down judgments as if from heaven: It was given power by Richard Nixon, has grown inexorably, and now has the ability to make men bend to its will.

EPA was crucified under George W. Bush; it suffered greatly but soldiered on.  And now has arisen again to write new regulations which must be treated as Scripture;

Under Barack Obama, EPA has ascended to new heights and is seated at the right hand of the Father, the federal government.

It will never cease attempting to judge people and companies, whether living or dead, and its kingdom will have no end.

We believe in the Holy Planet, the Earth, the giver of life, which may soon be completely destroyed by man-caused global warming.

Through the Father, the federal government, and the Son, the EPA, Earth is worshiped and glorified.

It has spoken through the Prophet, Rachel Carson.

We believe in climate change, regardless of what the evidence may show.

We acknowledge that humans are the source of all environmental sins.

We look for redemption thorough recycling,

And look forward to a completely regulated life to come.





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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