Sunday, April 13, 2014

Liberals focus on happy thoughts? Really?

The article criticized below goes back to research by John Hibbing.  Hibbing is an expert at applying derogatory names to highly ambiguous stimuli.  His research amounts to little else.  Changes in skin conductance, for instance, could mean many things but Hibbing always manages to label such changes in a way that is derogatory to conservatives.

He certainly does show some physiological differences between liberals and conservatives but ALL the differences he describes could much less imaginatively be described as showing simply that conservatives are more cautious and more alert for things that they should be cautious about.  That conservatives are more cautious is no discovery, however.  Conservatives have rightly been described that way -- by both themselves and others -- for over 100 years

Chicago Tribune columnist John Kass, whose writing I commend heartily to readers of Somewhat Reasonable, this morning called my attention to some fascinating research reported recently in Mother Jones. It is truly not every day that Kass cites Mother Jones, so I was intrigued.

In ”Can Conservatives be fixed scientifically?” Kass quotes an April 4 Mother Jones article – This Machine Can Tell Whether You’re Liberal or Conservative – as saying conservatives “go through the world more attentive to negative, threatening and disgusting stimuli.”

For reasons that won’t come as any surprise to readers of Somewhat Reasonable, my mind immediately turned to environmental issues, and climate change in particular. Surely Mother Jones and the researcher whose work it reports, University of Nebraska-Lincoln political scientist John Hibbing, would recognize environmental alarmism as a glaring exception to this notion that conservatives are the “negative” ones?

But alas, there’s no evidence Mother Jones or Hibbing recognize this gap in Hibbing’s theory.

Mother Jones reports: “Some of us are more hierarchical, as opposed to egalitarian; some of us prefer harsher punishments for rule breakers, whereas some of us would be more inclined to forgive; some of us find outsiders or out-groups intriguing and enticing, whereas others find them threatening.” (italics mine)

Hibbing and Mother Jones clearly want to conclude conservatives are the ones described by the phrases I’ve italicized. But on climate change and other environmental issues, that’s simply not true.

“Hierarchical” describes people who see the world as being “ranked,” with some groups of people higher than others. Think of the left’s obsession with “class warfare” and you’ll get some idea of where they’re coming from. People who are “more hierarchical” are likely to believe individuals can’t manage their own lives – they need the government to tell them what to do and how to do it. Granted, some conservatives are like that on some issues … but liberals are like that, big time, on energy and environment and climate change issues. It is the liberals, after all, who talk about “global” warming and think a “global” governing body – the United Nations – has all the answers on climate change.

And on climate change, clearly liberals are the ones who “prefer harsher punishments.” They call for Nuremberg trials and even the death penalty for climate change “deniers.”

(N.B.: The phrase “climate change deniers” is not something that would be used by “happy,” “positive” people. Nobody is denying climate change happens. The Nongovernmental International Panel on Climate Change notes in Climate Change Reconsidered II: Physical Science, “Any human global climate signal is so small as to be nearly indiscernible against the background variability of the natural climate system. Climate change is always occurring.”)

Finally, it’s clearly the liberals who find “outsiders or out-groups” threatening. Why else would they label the scientists who disagree with them “deniers,” refuse to engage in civil debate or even speak at events to share their views in an open forum?

On energy, environment, and climate issues, it is the “conservatives and their rambunctious libertarian siblings,” as Kass calls us, who have a positive message to deliver: that global warming is not a crisis, the likely benefits of man-made global warming exceed the likely costs, and mankind is not the scourge on Earth that liberals make us out to be.


Researchers say reefs and their fish were almost identical to today's far earlier than thought

Warming by a couple of degrees is regularly said by climate catastrophists to "endanger" coral reefs.  Coral reefs as we know them could be wiped out, they claim.  The record below shows the opposite.  Even the vast temperature changes (up and down) over the last 50 million years have wrought NO change to coral reefs

The world's reefs looked almost identical 50 million years ago, researchers have said.

They say reef fish - including the clownfish made famous in Disney's Finding Nemo, were already in place, alongside virtually all the major families of the 4,500 species of fish seen today.

The new study shows that the ancestors of these fish colonized reefs in two distinct waves, before and after the mass extinction event about 66 million years ago that wiped out the dinosaurs.

'Reef fish represent one of the largest and most diverse assemblages of vertebrates', said Samantha Price, a postdoctoral researcher in the Department of Evolution and Ecology at UC Davis.

'If you were able to dive on a coral reef 50 million years ago, the fishes would seem familiar, you would recognize it as similar to a modern reef,' she said.

Price is first author on a paper describing the work, published April 2 in the journal Proceedings of the Royal Society B.

They found fossil record of reef fish is patchy, so Price and colleagues traced their ancestry by developing a comprehensive family tree of the major group of modern ocean fish, the acanthomorphs or 'spiny-finned fish,' and calculating the times when different groups migrated into or out of reef habitats.

The first wave of colonization occurred between 70 and 90 million years ago, before the end of the Cretaceous period, they found.

At that time, most the world's reefs were built not by coral but by mollusks called rudists.

Rudists disappeared in the mass extinction at the end of the Cretaceous, 66 million years ago, and corals became the world's great reef builders.

While the first-wave reef fish hung on to leave descendants in the present, a second wave of colonization took place as the world recovered from the extinction event.

The early wave of colonization began with lots of different-looking fish and over time there was an eventual filling of ecological niches accompanied by a decrease in colonization, Price said.

By about 50 million years ago, the fundamentals of modern coral reefs, including the ancestors of most major families, such as clownfishes and parrotfishes, were in place, Price said.


Why is the American Geophysical Union Prioritizing Climate Alarmism Over Scientific Inquiry?

I had a comment rejected by a blog of the American Geophysical Union (AGU) last night because I included within it a link to a blog post by a climate scientist, Dr. Roger Pielke, Sr., who has over 370 peer-reviewed articles in scientific journals to his name.

Any aspersions this casts on the AGU's objectivity and spirit of scientific inquiry are entirely earned.

Climate alarmists -- those who believe humankind is dramatically affecting the climate in a very harmful way -- have often censored contrary views (e.g., routinely deleted comments at the uber-alarmist blog Real Climate; the revelation in Climategate that alarmist scientists were prepared to "redefine what the peer-review literature is" or shut down academic journals if they published skeptics' papers; the decision by various publications and websites including Popular Science, the Los Angeles Times and Reddit to block comment postings by skeptics; among others).

Despite this, I did not expect my rather casual comment to the AGU blog to be censored. In it, I provided a link to a paper praised by the blog's author, Dan Satterfield. The blog post itself had encouraged people to read the paper, but a linking error prevented full access to the paper itself at a spot where such a link was advertised. I supplied one.

But in a move that proved fatal to my comment, I also included a link to comments by Dr. Pielke, Sr. questioning the methodology of the paper recommended by the AGU post.

I know this because Mr. Satterfield sent me an email highlighting the following from his blog's comment policy: "I do not publish links to junk science papers/sites. This is not a platform for you to publicize junk science."

Let us examine what constitutes "junk science" to the AGU and/or its representative.

Mr. Satterfield was promoting a 2010 paper, Anderegg et. al., 2010, "Expert Credibility in Climate Change," whose lead author was a graduate student, which attempted to claim scientists who are alarmist on global warming are more prominent than those who are not by counting the number of journal papers with the word "climate" in them, per scientist, that pop up in Google.

Dr. Pielke, Sr., who is not, as it happens, a skeptic of the theory that humans are having a strong impact on global climate (though he does believe the IPCC underestimates the impact on climate of humans' use of aerosols and land, which irritates some anti-CO2 activists), believed the Anderegg paper had weaknesses. He commented on this in a 2010 blog post and provided links to comments by other experts unconvinced of the strength of the Anderegg paper.

One of those, Science magazine reporter Eli Kintisch, writing on the American Association for Advancement of Science website, explained three criticisms of the paper's methodology:

        The study allowed for no nuance in the views of scientists. All scientists were lumped into one of two groups.

        The study limited its analysis to scientists who had signed public statements on climate science or participated in IPCC proceedings.

        The study conflated frequency of appearance in peer-reviewed publications with prominence.

The AGU blog didn't want its readers to know of these and other criticisms.


And it's not as if the AGU blog post itself was high-minded and limited only to discussions of peer-reviewed science.

        Its opening paragraph criticized anticipated commenters for linking to websites with unflattering pictures of Al Gore before they could even have read the post, let alone commented.

        It bizarrely claimed the fact that an NBC correspondent interviewed a non-skeptic political scientist instead of, presumably, a skeptic climate scientist to "balance" alarmists in a story was evidence for the catastrophic global warming theory.

        It said that interviewing anyone [emphasis added] about climate science who has not been published in a peer-reviewed journal is "lousy journalism, and the equivalent of doing a story about the Apollo Moon missions, and then giving the chem-trail believer down the street equal time to say the Moon landing was fake, and pro-wrestling is real!" Really? Anyone?

        And most significantly, it rudely and one-sidedly attacked a University of Colorado at Boulder professor (who is not a skeptic), Dr. Roger Pielke, Jr. (coincidentally, the son of the scientist I linked to about the Anderegg study, but the two debates are unrelated otherwise and separated by about four years) for telling the Senate last year that extreme weather events have not increased in recent decades, a view that happens to be consistent with that of the IPCC, but also politically inconvenient for the White House, which attacked him. (For background on that not supplied by the AGU, go here for his story in the New Republic; go here for a review of the matter in the New York Times by Andrew Revkin (also not a skeptic).)

My blog comment was nothing special, nor was the blog post upon which I commented. But it is important to note how little it takes for an AGU blog to censor an opposing view, even about a study as unremarkable as one that counts the number of papers scientists study (aka, a study not even about hard science!).

The American Geophysical Union stands with a small clique of "approved" alarmists on global warming, and it wants to make sure you do, too.


Obama’s new budget will hamper energy job creation

President Obama just unveiled his FY2015 budget proposal.  His plan includes hefty new taxes on job creators. Much of this burden will fall on the energy industry, which has proven to be a particularly powerful engine of new employment in recent years.

Indeed, the oil and natural gas sector now supports 9.8 million jobs. Yet the Obama budget slaps it with $100 billion in new taxes over the next decade -- that's about 10 percent of all of the new tax revenue his package would generate.

In pushing for higher rates on proven job creators, President Obama is undermining his own State of the Union promise to provide government-based solutions to economic inequality.

The average oil and natural gas sector wage is about $12,000 above the national average. And these industry opportunities aren't exclusively the domain of highly educated specialists, like geologists and petrochemical engineers. In fact, most energy jobs are skilled blue collar, such as drill operators and construction specialists.

Job opportunities abound for women and minorities. A new study from IHS finds that the oil, natural gas and petrochemicals industries will generate up to 1.3 million new job opportunities by 2030 -- with almost 408,000 positions projected to be held by African American and Hispanic workers, while women will fill an estimated 185,000 industry jobs.

The domestic energy industry has already turned around the economic fortunes of some parts of America. North Dakota, for example, has recently become one of the largest energy producers in the United States. In the fourth quarter of last year, the state generated an astonishing one million barrels of oil a day.

As a result of its ongoing energy boom, North Dakota's per-capita income has jumped an astounding 114 percent since 2000, raising the state from 39th to 5th in average personal income. And its unemployment rate is now at a national low of 2.6 percent.

North Dakota shows how unleashing private energy entrepreneurs to develop our natural resources generates robust employment and widespread economic opportunity. Strapping those same firms with huge new taxes will drain them of the capital needed to finance such expeditions. And it will mute the profit potential of new ventures, reducing the incentive to take the risk in the first place.

Fortunately, there's still time for the administration to move away from policies that undermine job creation potential in the oil and natural gas sector. And there are obvious, pro-active steps officials could be taking to hasten energy sector growth and cultivate job growth.

For starters, the government needs to open the door for private investments to modernize the national energy infrastructure. The existing pipeline, storage, processing, and rail systems were designed at a time when the bulk of our domestic energy transportation involved moving imported crude and petroleum from the Gulf Coast toward the northern United States.

Thanks to the production surge in the Northeast and Canada, the national flow of energy shipments has effectively reversed since then. Crude oil shipments from the Gulf to the Midwest decreased 500,000 barrels per day over the last five years. Meanwhile, shipments running the opposite direction jumped from 50,000 to 380,000 barrels a day.

Clearly, our national energy infrastructure needs a redesign. And investment in infrastructure upgrades would generate massive economic gains. A newly released analysis from the IHS consulting group found that essential infrastructure improvements could, over the next decade, elicit up to $1.14 trillion in new private capital investment and support 1.15 million new jobs per year.

Public policymakers should also revisit decades-old restrictions on energy exports. A new International Energy Agency report warns that the growing volume of crude oil prevented from reaching international markets threatens to put the brakes on production growth. Exporting a portion of our abundant supplies to overseas allies would stimulate additional industry expansion here at home.

Of course, this administration's big concern when considering pro-energy policies is climate change. But the president needs to recognize that the oil and gas industry is an ally, not an enemy, in this fight.

The voluntary evolution of the energy sector toward natural gas has dramatically reduced greenhouse emissions. And the traditional energy sector has been investing heavily in low- and zero-carbon technologies. Indeed, one out of every six dollars going to green tech today comes from the oil and gas business.

As the president begins his campaign to promote his new budget, the oil and natural gas industry stands ready to work with anyone interested in harnessing our nation's vast energy resources to create jobs and grow the economy.


The world must adopt nuclear power to beat global warming, says U.N.

The world must switch from fossil fuels to nuclear power to beat global warming, a major United Nations report warns today.

Scientists claim governments need to ditch traditional sources of energy, such as coal and oil, to avoid a climate change catastrophe.

Instead, they must adopt nuclear power in a 'large-scale' move costing around £300billion a year.

The report, by the UN's Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), also highlights an urgent need for governments to switch to green energy sources, such as wind and solar power.

It states that additional spending on alternative energy is needed to keep the global temperature rise to within 3.6F (20C) by the end of the century, according to a leaked draft of the report obtained by The Sunday Telegraph.

Meanwhile, fossil fuels, which are damaging to economic growth, will need to be scaled back.

The move should see gas replace coal-fired power stations in upcoming years to reduce carbon emissions, before gas itself is eventually phased out too, says the report.

The 29-page document has already sparked concern over the cost of countering global warming.

Last night, senior Tory MPs warned governments about the risks of increasing funding for renewable energy sources, saying this would drastically raise household and other living costs.

Chris Heaton-Harris MP, who led a successful campaign to cut the consumer subsidy to wind farms, told the newspaper: 'This IPCC report is backward looking.

'We can be a lot greener, emit less carbon and produce cheaper energy if we switch to shale gas rather than ploughing our money into wind farms that plunge the poorest people into fuel poverty.'

However, others have claimed it would be much more expensive to continue using fossil fuels and risk sea-level rise, flooding, droughts and other impacts of global warming.

As well as a switch to nuclear power, scientists have also recommended that Western diets should become more sustainable and enviromentally friendly.

People in the richest countries should eat less food - and in particular, less meat, they said.

According to the report, the cost of the 'large-scale changes in the global energy system' will cost £90billion a year.

The U.N.'s expert panel on climate change spent the whole of yesterday putting together the document, which aims to help governments, industries and people take action to stop global warming from reaching dangerous levels.

Like many scientific studies, it uses a breakdown of emissions from low, lower-middle, upper-middle and high income countries.

It was the third of the IPCC's four-part assessment on climate change, its first since 2007.


Warmists reduced to criticizing Morano's wardrobe

Controversy. Confrontation. Facts.  Such words could be used to describe the past, exciting week for CFACT as they held their 2nd REAL Energy Speaker Series, featuring Marc Morano.

Morano, the founder and executive editor of, and noted TV commentator on such channels as FOX News, CNN, and The Blaze, was the featured speaker for two different New York campuses.

For two nights at Syracuse University and SUNY-Albany, Morano addressed large crowds to discuss the climate change narrative driving so much of our popular culture and policy. Morano focused on the growing number of contradictions within the rank-and-file of scientists and climate change activists, and how it has overshadowed much of the scientific evidence prevalent in those same circles.

First, on a Tuesday evening in the 100-seat Gifford Auditorium, the room was nearly filled with students and activists on both sides of the issue, eager to hear what Morano had to say.

Morano started his discussion with introductory videos of his past debates on television, then dipped into the myriad of quotes setting the stage for where the climate change debate stands today. He talked about how all of these ideas simply amount to “scientific crap.”

From there, Morano looked into all areas of the debate, from stagnant global temperatures, carbon-dioxide emissions, the geological record, what the UN-IPCC (The global warming division of the United Nations) has recently published, and where scientists have begun to “jump ship” from their previously held beliefs of human-induced global warming.

The most interesting point raised by Morano was that most people in the room hadn’t experienced “global warming” since they were infants.  Despite the dire warnings from alarmists, there has been no rise in the global mean temperature in the last 17.5 years.

Speaking on the issues of energy, and its potential alternatives, Morano noted that carbon-based energies are “the moral choice.” The REAL Energy, Not Green Energy campaign has centered its approach around these arguments, since tangible, ‘real’ forms of energy provide for a lifestyle that is clean, productive, and healthy. Other forms of energy touted by environmentalists, such as wind and solar simply cannot produce enough to serve as a viable alternative.

Quotes served as a driver for much of the lecture, from both those who openly claim the true nature behind the global warming narrative, to those who have rescinded their alarmist views. Although some would be quick to dismiss these as anecdotal, Morano noted how prominent some of names are. Many of the scientists and scholars he quoted throughout the presentation were previously global leaders of the climate change movement, such as those involved with the UN-IPCC.

At the end of the lecture, many of those staunchly opposed to even considering the Morano’s point-of-view took the opportunity to ask questions.

While some questions served to clarify certain points, most served as a platforms to denounce Morano and his “fancy” wardrobe.

“This suit cost $200,” quipped an incredulous Morano.

One noted environmentalist sought to yell at the Climate Depot founder for not supporting an economy solely run by green-energy alternatives. Of course, the question was asked in an air-conditioned and well-lit room, thanks to those very fossil fuels the student reviled, but Morano addressed the importance for technological innovations to ensure affordable, secure, and efficient energy solutions.

James Ward, the Chairman of CFACT at Syracuse, said of the evening, “Mr. Morano gave a very different take on the global warming movement. Instead of embracing it, he brought up logical questions that tore it apart. It’s wrong to correlate climate change with just one variable (CO2 emissions.) The earth is way too complex to simplify it like that.”

The following night at SUNY-Albany, Morano took to the stage to give a similar lecture to an audience that contained students, professors, and local community members who had heard him earlier on local talk shows.

Morano called for accountability of the many claims made by climate change activists and environmentalists that have proven untrue over time. Some of these claims include, as Morano noted in this report:

“We envision rising temperatures, prolonged droughts, freakish storms, hellish wildfires, and rising sea levels…food riots, mass starvation, state collapse, mass migrations, and conflicts of every sort, up to and including full-scale war, could prove even more disruptive and deadly…persistent drought and hunger will force millions of people to abandon their traditional lands and flee to the squalor of shantytowns.”

After finishing his talk, audience members had the opportunity to ask questions and it started right away with a in-depth discussion between Morano and a professor in the audience. He attempted to belittle Morano’s credibility and held up scandal plagued Michal Mann as the preferred voice on the topic.

The event concluded with several other questions on different areas of the climate change debate, as well as the viability of various energy sources such as coal, natural gas, and solar power.

Pat Moran, CFACT Chairman at Albany, thought that the event was a huge success. He said of the event, “Mr. Morano’s presentation challenged the established views of students and instructors, which made some nod their heads in agreement, while others tried to shout him down. We at UAlbany were very impressed with Mr. Morano’s unabashed critique of the global warming hysteria, and his ability to stand true to his principles under such rigorous questioning from UAlbany faculty and students.”



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1 comment:

John A said...

"The world must adopt nuclear power to beat global warming, says U.N."

Would that it were so. Yes, I gave heard that Dr. J. Hansen is on the side of nuclear power, but while the article quotes a few politicians saying things to the effect that natural gas [and "fracking"] can make a difference much sooner (and possibly cleaner, certainly less destructive of habitat)) than [current technology] wind and solar and bio-fuel, where is any reference to an IPCC pro-nuclear stance?

Rather, the very first sentence - "A rapid shift to wind and solar power is needed if the world is to avoid catastrophic global warming, the United Nations warns in a crucial report today" - is what I see as the actual position of the IPCC, at least the officials who produce the "Summary."