Monday, February 02, 2015

Leftist fantasies don't change much

Psychohistorian Richard Koenigsberg  says:

"The question is: what did anti-Semitism mean to people like Hitler, Himmler and Goebbels? Why did the idea of “the Jew” arouse such a passionate, hysterical response? Why did Nazi leaders—and many other Germans—feel it was necessary to destroy or eliminate the Jews, conceiving of the Final Solution as a moral imperative?

Hitler said, “We may be inhumane, but if we rescue Germany, we have performed the greatest deed in the world.” Hitler’s ideology grew out of a rescue fantasy. He wanted to “save the nation.” This is not an unusual motive. Much of politics grows out of this idea that one must act to “save” one’s nation—from external and internal enemies.

Indeed, this motive—the desire to “save one’s nation”—is so ordinary that we barely reflect upon it. What is it that individuals wish to save? What is the nature and meaning of these threats to one’s nation—that often evoke such radical, violent forms of action?"

This is yet another similarity between Greenies and Nazis.  Hitler wanted to save Germany and Greenies want to save the planet.  Both had/have a central fantasy of themselves as saviours.

Hitler was very socialist.  Greenies are very socialist.  Hitler fantasized a return to a romanticized rural past.  The Greenies fantasize a return to a romanticized rural past. Hitler predicted food shortages as a future policy problem. Greenies predict food shortages as a future policy problem.

The resemblances go on.  There is clearly something in human nature (Freud's "Thanatos"?) that emerges in  malign form from time to time.  It goes at least as far back as ancient Sparta.  It may also underlie Islam. Muslims don't seem to care about the environment but they are very collectivist and regard the "Ummah" (Muslim world) in a very mystical way:  As a sort of living body that must not lose any of its parts: Very much the way Hitler viewed Germany.

We skeptics are up against some very deep-lying, destructive and irrational instincts.

Another example of Greens using Nazi tactics

Disturbing article reveals what happens if you dare to doubt the Green prophets of doom

David Rose

I've never supported the British National Party or the Ku Klux Klan. I've never belonged to the Paedophile Information Exchange, or denied the Holocaust, or made a penny from the banking crash.

But if you read The Guardian newspaper's website, you might think otherwise. A commentator on it urged my own children to murder me.

He did so because of one of the many stories I've written for this newspaper about climate change. I first reported on the subject nearly six years ago: my article was about the 'climategate' scandal, where leaked emails showed university scientists were trying to cover up data that suggested their claim the world is hotter than at any time in the past 1,300 years may be wrong.

Ever since then, I have been labelled a 'climate change denier' – a phrase which, since I happen to be Jewish, has particularly unfortunate connotations for me.

And this is despite the fact I believe the world IS warming, and that carbon dioxide produced by mankind IS a greenhouse gas, and IS partly responsible for higher temperatures – and have repeatedly said so.

On the other hand, I also think that the imminence of the threat posed by global warming has been exaggerated – chiefly because the grimmer computer projections haven't been reflected by what's been happening recently to temperatures in the real world.

I do believe we should invest in new ways of generating energy, and I hate belching smoke stacks and vast open-cast coal mines as much as anyone who cares about the environment.

But I also think current 'renewable' sources such as wind and 'biomass' are ruinously expensive and totally futile. They will never be able to achieve their stated goal of slowing the rate of warming and are not worth the billions being paid by UK consumers to subsidise them.

Some would say this makes me a 'lukewarmer' – the jargon for someone who is neither a 'warmist' or a 'denier'. But true believers don't recognise such distinctions: to them, anyone who disagrees with their version of the truth is a denier, pure and simple. The result: vitriol directed my way, the like of which I have never experienced in 34 years as a journalist. Lately, it's become worse.

The remark about my children killing me was made some months ago, after The Guardian published one of several critiques of my work by its climate activist blogger, Dana Nuccitelli. One of the online commenters posted: 'In a few years, self-defence is going to be made a valid defence for parricide [killing one's own father], so Rose's children will have this article to present in their defence at the trial.'

Another commenter compared me to Adolf Hitler. Frankly, I didn't take either of them too seriously. But last week on Twitter, someone else wrote that he knew where I lived, and posted my personal phone numbers.

Meanwhile, Nuccitelli had written another vehement attack, this time against Matt Ridley, The Times columnist, Tory peer and fellow 'lukewarmer'. This fresh assault was illustrated by the paper's editors with a grotesque image of a severed head. One who commented, called 'Bluecloud', said: 'Should that not be Ridley's severed head in the photo... Why are you deniers so touchy? Mere calls for a beheading evolve [sic] such a strong response in you people. Ask yourself a simple question: Would the world be a better place without Matt Ridley? Need I answer that question?'

In fact, Bluecloud is a Guardian contributor called Gary Evans, who is also a 'sustainability consultant' funded by Greenpeace.

Ridley complained, but the statements stayed on the website for at least four days. Comments in support of Ridley were removed by the site's moderators, because they did not 'abide by our community standards'. In an email to The Guardian's editor, Alan Rusbridger, Ridley pointed out that a Japanese hostage had just been beheaded by Islamic State.

Language only barely less extreme is now common. In the US, the Nobel Prize-winning economist and New York Times columnist Paul Krugman has written that anyone who denies global warming must be 'punished in the afterlife… this kind of denial is an almost inconceivable sin'.

Observer columnist Nick Cohen says he is sick of hearing climate sceptics whinge that being called 'deniers' equates them with those who deny the Holocaust: 'The evidence for man-made global warming is as final as the evidence of Auschwitz. No other word will do.'

A good clue as to what's making the 'warmists' so much hotter under the collar came last Monday when a Met Office press release stated: '2014 one of the warmest years on record globally.' Normally, one might have expected this to be given widespread coverage by broadcasters and newspapers. In fact, BBC news bulletins ignored it altogether. Only one national newspaper mentioned it.

The reasons? First, because, with admirable precision, the Met Office pointed out that as its measurements of global temperatures come with a sizeable margin of error, 'it's not possible to definitively say which of several recent years was the warmest'. All one could state with confidence was that 2014 was somewhere in the top ten.

Secondly, because the previous week, almost every broadcaster and newspaper in the world had screamed that 2014 was emphatically The Hottest Year Ever. They did so because NASA told them so. Its Goddard Institute for Space Studies (GISS), the custodian of one of the main American temperature datasets, had announced: 'The year 2014 ranks as Earth's warmest since 1880.' If you'd bothered to click on the sixth of a series of internet links listed at the end of the press release, you could have found deep within it the startling fact that GISS was only '38 per confident' that 2014 really did set a record. In other words, it was 62 per cent confident that it wasn't.

Another detail was that the 'record' was set by just two hundredths of a degree. The margin of error was five times bigger. These boring details were ignored. The '2014 was a record' claim went to the very top. President Obama cited it in his State of the Union address. Like the news outlets, it's unlikely he will issue a correction or clarification any time soon.

The larger truth that lies behind The Hottest Year That Probably Wasn't, as it should probably be correctly termed, is the reason why I'm a lukewarmer. The figures show that global warming is proceeding much more slowly than it did in the 1980s and early 1990s, and much slower than computer models project. In 2013, the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) said that between 1998-2012 the rate was 0.05C per decade. Six years earlier, the same body predicted it would be four times higher – 0.2C per decade.

The global warming 'pause' – the absence of any statistically significant warming trend in surface temperature records – goes back to 1997; 18 years. Satellite measurements say it is even longer than that.

Now, predicting the future is hard. The atmosphere is a complex and chaotic system. Changes in the output of the sun, in levels of soot, the effects of warming on CO2-absorbing plants, clouds and ocean temperature cycles all have potentially big impacts. They don't affect that basic proposition – that human activity causes warming, but do substantially affect its rate – how fast the world is warming.

There is still argument among scientists over just how flawed the models are, but it's clear that if the pause goes on much longer, they will be seen as not fit for purpose.

You might think that some of the high-profile failed predictions of recent years might have induced caution. Al Gore repeatedly suggested that the Arctic would likely be ice-free in summer by 2014. In fact Arctic ice has recovered in the past two years, and while the long term trend is down, it looks likely to last several more decades.

In 2000, East Anglia University's David Viner said within a few years winter snowfall would be 'a very rare and exciting event', and children 'just aren't going to know what snow is'. If you live in Derbyshire, a look at the snowscape outside your window would tell you this is not so.

Tropical storms are often said to be increasing. They may do in future. But they certainly haven't done yet: the trend is flat.

Last winter's UK storms may have dumped slightly more rain than they would have done 50 years ago, because a warmer atmosphere can hold more moisture. But there is simply no evidence that the jet-stream storm track, the phenomenon that barrelled depression after depression towards us, has anything to do with global warming.

In America, the tendency to blame what was once called 'weather' on climate change is especially marked: the bitter 'polar vortex' experienced there in the 2014 winter, last week's no-show 'snowmageddon' in New York and California's (now terminated) drought have all been widely ascribed to it. The same went for Sandy, the storm and tidal surge that drenched New York and New Jersey in 2011. No one wanted to remember that two worse such surges took place in the 1930s, while the continental US is still in the longest hurricane drought (since Wilma in 2005) in recorded history.

But nuance and caution are not what politicians and green activists want, and they insist there is a fixed, known relationship between exact levels of carbon dioxide and future temperatures. Often they add we are perilously close to 'tipping points', when the present, modest warming – an average of 0.12C per decade since 1951 – will suddenly accelerate and become rampant, although the 2013 IPCC report offers little support to such claims.

But ultimately, where are they taking us? Citing climate change is certainly an effective way of making schoolchildren feel fearful and guilty, much as preachers once used to. Yet the 'solutions' orthodoxy advocates – an international, binding emissions treaty and further vast investment in renewables such as wind – haven't worked yet, and it won't work now.

We're in a hole, but we keep digging, enacting unilateral measures in Britain and the rest of the EU which merely make our energy more expensive, and so export jobs to countries which produce higher emissions. The billions being poured by UK consumers into subsidising renewables have succeeded only in creating powerful vested interests, who cloak their greed with green verbiage.

If just a fraction of this money was spent on research into new forms of nuclear reactors, including fusion, where huge progress has been made in the past 20 years, the prospects of developing low carbon energy sources that might actually work would be much greater. In recent cold, still days this winter, windmills were producing just half a per cent of the UK's electricity.

You may not have known such a thing as the Commons Environmental Audit Committee exists. But it does, and last week it recommended a ban on fracking for shale gas in the UK. Natural gas is by far the cleanest fossil fuel. By switching from coal to fracked gas, America has seen huge falls in its emissions. According to the committee, however, fracking 'is incompatible with our climate change targets'.

Which is a shame, because the UK is sitting on vast reserves of a fuel that can end energy insecurity, and provide clean jobs and growth for decades. In the Commons last week, Bristol MP Charlotte Leslie voted in favour of fracking. Afterwards, in indelible red paint, her Bristol office was painted with the words 'fracking whore'.

There is one way the world really is getting hotter, very fast: in the temperature of the climate debate. The reason is simple: in November, there will be yet another vast UN conference, which will try, and fail, to get another legally binding treaty. The search will be futile, because however fierce the green pressure, India, China, Russia and, thanks to the Republican Congress, America, will not sign up to it.

Maybe after that, when the hatred has dissipated a little, the debate we should have started years ago can begin. Because, ultimately, it doesn't matter how hot we think the world might be in 2100: right now, the things greens and politicians are trying to do, cannot and will not work.

Although my children are told in school that views such as mine jeopardise their future, I'm reasonably confident that what I've written here won't induce them to kill me. Whether my online critics encourage them to do so once again, we will have to see.


Deep depression among Warmists

Everybody is ignoring them and the planet isn't helping

I have been researching and writing about anthropogenic climate disruption (ACD) for Truthout for the past year, because I have long been deeply troubled by how fast the planet has been emitting its obvious distress signals.

On a nearly daily basis, I've sought out the most recent scientific studies, interviewed the top researchers and scientists penning those studies, and connected the dots to give readers as clear a picture as possible about the magnitude of the emergency we are in.

This work has emotional consequences: I've struggled with depression, anger and fear. I've watched myself shift through some of the five stages of grief proposed by Elisabeth Kübler-Ross: denial, anger, bargaining, depression, acceptance. I've grieved for the planet and all the species who live here, and continue to do so as I work today.

I have been vacillating between depression and acceptance of where we are, both as victims - fragile human beings – and as perpetrators: We are the species responsible for altering the climate system of the planet we inhabit to the point of possibly driving ourselves extinct, in addition to the 150 to 200 species we are already driving extinct daily.

Can you relate to this grieving process?

If so, you might find solace in the fact that you are not alone: Climate science researchers, scientists, journalists and activists have all been struggling with grief around what we are witnessing.

To see more stories like this, visit "Planet or Profit?"

Take Professor Camille Parmesan, a climate researcher who says that ACD is the driving cause of her depression.

"I don't know of a single scientist that's not having an emotional reaction to what is being lost," Parmesan said in the National Wildlife Federation's 2012 report. "It's gotten to be so depressing that I'm not sure I'm going to go back to this particular site again," she said in reference to an ocean reef she had studied since 2002, "because I just know I'm going to see more and more of the coral dead, and bleached, and covered with brown algae."

Last year I wrote about the work of Joanna Macy, a scholar of Buddhism, eco-philosophy, general systems theory and deep ecology, and author of more than a dozen books. Her initiative, The Work That Reconnects, helps people essentially do nothing more mysterious than telling the truth about what we see, know and feel is happening to our world.

In order to remain able to continue in our work, we first must feel the full pain of what is being done to the world, according to Macy." Refusing to feel pain, and becoming incapable of feeling the pain, which is actually the root meaning of apathy, refusal to suffer - that makes us stupid, and half alive," she told me. "It causes us to become blind to see what is really out there."

I recently came across a blog titled, Is This How You Feel? It is an extraordinary compilation of handwritten letters from highly credentialed climate scientists and researchers sharing their myriad feelings about what they are seeing.

The blog is run and operated by Joe Duggan, a science communicator, who described his project like this: "All the scientists that have penned letters for this site have a sound understanding of climate change. Some have spent years designing models to predict changing climate, others, years investigating the implications for animal life. More still have been exploring a range of other topics concerning the causes and implications of a changing climate.


The Grand Slam of Climate

By Joe Bastardi (Chief forecaster at WeatherBELL Analytics, who make their living by good forecasting)

I introduced something on the O'Reilly Factor several years ago called the “Triple Crown of Cooling.” I called it that because back in 2007 I thought a 20-30 year period of cooling would start, resulting in global temperatures returning to 1978 levels by 2030. I also introduced the concept that this cooling may cause a “time of climatic hardship” — in other words, the natural process of cooling after a process of natural warming could produce an uptick in extreme events. The increase in this is not clear, though one can argue it is occurring off the East Coast. The Atlantic still is in its warm cycle and will be for several more years, so the coastal water is warm. It is the reason I am very worried about the East Coast with hurricanes similar in magnitude to storms of the 1950s, though it has not yet occurred. That’s right – Irene, Sandy and Arthur can’t hold a candle to eight major hurricane hits in seven years. None of the aforementioned storms was major.

The fact is, winters have been getting colder in the U.S., as data compiled by NOAA’s National Climatic Data Center shows. And it’s this onslaught of colder temperatures that is likely the cause for any uptick in snowfall near the East Coast. Once the Western Atlantic cools again, the snows will go back toward normal.

So one would look for clashes naturally near the East Coast – the key word here being naturally – as one can also see that the NCEP CFSR data against satellite era temperatures have started a downturn over the past 10 years.

The point is that all this was introduced years ago during a time where the missive was: Winters won’t be cold and snowy, and the ice cap is melting away. Now I will make another forecast in a five-year increment: At least three of the next five winters will be warmer than average across the eastern U.S. The Great Plains will be back and forth, and the core of the coldest winters will be in the West. Let’s see how I do.

Even though severe cold and enhanced storminess will rule the roost over the next couple of weeks – and we think spring is going to be very late this year for much of the country – spring training for baseball is around the corner, so I decided to rename my climate for “dummies” idea The Grand Slam of Climate.

Let’s ask these questions:

1.) Does the sun have a far greater effect on the climate than CO2?

2.) Do the cycles in the ocean, with the vast amount of the earth’s heat stored in them, have a far greater effect on the climate than CO2?

3.) Do stochastic events (ex-volcanoes, etc.) have a far greater effect on the climate than CO2?

And now I have added the fourth leg, the grand slam:

4.) Does the very design of the system have far greater effect on the climate than CO2?

Quantifying CO2’s effect, with its increase of only one molecule out of every 10,000 molecules of air over a 100-year period, against the grand slam of climate, especially in light of the earth having had ice ages at 7,000 PPM and warmer times at 250 PPM, is grasping at straws at best. Then again, desperate people zealous about another issue would do that if they felt this would help them get their way.

Just ask yourselves these questions above and see what you come up with. It’s not that you’re dumb, it’s just that alarmists think you are. So let’s humor them a bit.

By the way, here’s a fun thing to think about: Mars has an atmosphere with the same percentage of CO2 as Venus, but is much less dense. So why is Mars so much colder than Venus? And just why do those Martian icecaps shrink for years, then expand again? These questions are out of this world; the ones in the Grand Slam of Climate are not.


Is the wind production tax credit dead?

It may be time for the wind energy industry to finally stand on its own two feet.

On January 28, the U.S. Senate defeated an amendment by Sen. Heidi Heitkamp (D-N.D.) in favor of the now-expired wind production tax credit. It failed by a vote of 47 to 51.

And that was merely a “sense of Congress” non-binding resolution in favor of the policy, which funds an inflation-adjusted 2.3 cents per-kilowatt-hour (kWh) tax credit for electricity generated that were constructed before January 1, 2015.

In 2014, it cost taxpayers $6.4 billion paid out to owners and operators of wind turbines.

That credit lasts for 10 years, and so taxpayers are still on the hook until at least January 1, 2025, but as most projects were constructed before 2014, the amount of the credit should gradually be winding down on an annual basis.

Any new wind projects will not be eligible to receive the tax credit, leading American Wind Energy Association head Tom Kiernan to complain, “We worry about the industry going off the cliff again if we don’t get the Production Tax Credit extended as soon as possible.”

Industry experts warn that the tax credit expiration will halt production of new turbines, since current market participants would have a built-in cost advantage versus new entrants into the industry unable to take advantage of the tax incentive.

Such are the perverse incentives Congress creates when it doles out tax subsidies to any industry.

In this case, in 2012 wind only generated $5 billion of revenue, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. Compare that to the $6 billion tax subsidy from that year, estimated by the Joint Committee on Taxation.

By that count, new entrants into the marketplace will be seeing as much as a 55 percent markdown, on average, compared to subsidized competitors.

Which is why the subsidy should be eliminated altogether. It’s the only way to have a truly level playing field with real competition.

Proponents will argue that, actually, this is why the tax credit should be made permanent, a position we’re certain the American Wind Energy Association would support.

But what industry wouldn’t want a permanent, annual subsidy totaling billions of dollars?

Ultimately, it is for Congress to decide whether the cost is worth it to subsidize an industry that only produces 4.5 percent of U.S electricity, according to the Energy Information Agency.

As it is now, the remaining subsidies appear to create a barrier for new wind turbines to be built and thus will impact the growth of the industry by its own admission. And Congress has shown no interest in renewing the tax credit.

Therefore, the only fair way to proceed is to eliminate the remaining subsidies, too. Right?


Can Lisa Murkowski save the Alaska pipeline?

President Obama and his regulators have made the people of the state of Alaska their personal punching bags over the past year with the announcement that an area that is the equivalent of 80 percent of the entire state of West Virginia will be locked away from energy development in the state.

The designation of 12 million acres including the Arctic National Wildlife Reserve as a Wilderness Area has to be agreed to by Congress, but the law puts the land in limbo until Congress either agrees or rescinds the designation.

When coupled with the blocking of off-shore oil development in the Arctic Sea and an attempt to roll back allowed oil development in the National Petroleum Reserve in Alaska.

These actions come on the heels of Obama’s Environmental Protection Agency acting last year to prevent a copper mine from being developed in the southwestern portion of the state on land specifically designated for mining.  The EPA action was particularly egregious because it usurped the normal and strenuous federal mine permitting process denying the company developing the area from being able to submit a plan after spending almost half a billion dollars in environmental analysis and engineering.

The reaction from the Alaska Congressional delegation was swift and loud as the President’s actions have the potential of eviscerating the resource development dependent state’s capacity to exist and thrive in the future.  The goal of environmentalists is to cut off the supply of oil that flows through the Alaska pipeline and force its closure and dismantling.  While the pipeline has proven to have easily coexisted with the various animal species that congregate under it during the bitter cold of an Arctic winter, environmentalists fought it with as much fervor as they are currently devoting to killing the Keystone XL with many of the same arguments.

The development of the Alaska pipeline opened up year round oil development out of the state’s Prudhoe Bay as the black liquid flowed north to south more than 800 miles.  Now, due to declining production and the blocking of the development of new oil fields, the pipeline is being choked and with it Alaska’s economy.

It is estimated that almost one-third of all the jobs in the state are petroleum related.  If the pipeline dies, those jobs go away, more than 100,000 men and women thrown out of work due to Obama’s efforts.

Ironically, Alaska’s Senior Senator Lisa Murkowski was seen as one of the Republican Senators who President Obama might be able to reach out to in order to build compromise toward his policies.  Now, with an existential threat to her state’s economic survival, Murkowski faces the political battle of her life, and has promised to use every tool at her disposal to win it.

If Murkowski, a potential swing vote in the Senate is serious, Obama could face paybacks on his nominees and his entire “all in one” energy strategy could come under withering scrutiny from the Senate Energy Committee that the Alaska Senator chairs.  Not to mention finding a closed door as he attempts to push the now Republican U.S. Senate to the left.

The stakes are high.  The battle lines are set.  And the future of energy and mineral development are on the table.  Hardly the kind of conciliatory hand shake Republicans expected from Obama after they chose to work with him on the Cromnibus federal government funding bill in the lame duck session of Congress.



For more postings from me, see  DISSECTING LEFTISM, TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC and AUSTRALIAN POLITICS. Home Pages are   here or   here or   here.  Email me (John Ray) here.  

Preserving the graphics:  Most graphics on this site are hotlinked from elsewhere.  But hotlinked graphics sometimes have only a short life -- as little as a week in some cases.  After that they no longer come up.  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 or here


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