Monday, May 11, 2015

Meet Reverend Billy, preacher of the climate apocalypse

A chronic attention-seeker if ever there was one.  It's a motive that drives a lot of those on the Green/Left

“The place where the crucial issues are discussed with the drama they deserve is on the streets.”

Reverend Billy Talen is talking about Tahrir Square. He is talking about #blacklivesmatter. He is talking about climate change.

With the zeal of a televangelist and the Broadway-infused backing of his Stop Shopping Choir, Talen certainly brings the drama.

A performer and activist rather than an ordained minister, he is in London touring the show “Faster! Monsanto Die! Die!” with a 3-piece band and a dozen singers.

Talen meets RTCC in a Camden café to explain how he is reclaiming climate change from the technocrats with his unique brand of apocalyptic preaching.

He took to the soapbox around 15 years ago in a reaction against consumer culture.

“I was overwhelmed by TV and advertising and sports,” he says. “I didn’t want to tear off my clothes and run into the middle of the forest – I’m a city person, I’m a New Yorker. I started shouting about it.”

Talen became known for his theatrical protests in public places, casting “demons” out of cash registers in Asda and Walmart.

“Our complaint about consumerism is it makes us stupid, it makes us do the wrong things, it makes us lead dull lives.

“Consumerism is a key ingredient to the recipe of the end of the world. Consumption based on fossil fuel is eating the planet alive.”

Globally, the dominant climate narrative is of green growth: shaped by the New Climate Economy project, it holds that countries do not need to choose between economic growth and climate action.

This is seen as critical to get emerging economies like China and Brazil on board with emissions cuts – as well as challenging sceptics in developed countries like the US.

At the same time a more radical left-wing movement, always present in the debate, has gained fresh impetus with the growth of fossil fuel divestment.

Spearheaded by the likes of Naomi Klein and Bill McKibben, this segment is suspicious of the willingness of profit-driven companies to cut emissions.

It makes a moral case for action through grassroots networks, particularly from the richer parts of the world.

Talen falls firmly within this camp. Most of his clothes are from thrift stores and he admits anti-consumerism can be “a difficult message for the striving middle classes”.

But with their vibrant creativity, his band of activists aim to show a low carbon lifestyle is not all self-denial: “We believe that sustainable living can be comfortable living.”


Dressed in a white suit, black shirt and dog collar, Talen adopts a televangelist persona.

He even has a book, melodramatically entitled “THE END OF THE WORLD” and available – like his concert tickets – for a donation. RTCC gets a free copy, signed with “Earthalujah!”

It contains sermons, poems and colourful descriptions of actions, like the time 80 activists – led by Talen’s partner Savitri D – stripped naked, wept and smeared themselves with coal in Deutsche Bank to protest mountaintop removal.

In London, the group teams up with BP or not BP for an impromptu performance at the British Museum, in protest at oil company sponsorship.

It is a feature of their tours that they stay with local activists and lend their vocal talents to diverse causes.

While non-violent, this confrontational mode of expression has got Talen arrested “50 or 60 times”.


Jeffrey Sachs address to the Party of European Socialists

Jeffrey Sachs does a good line in ad hominem abuse of climate skeptics.  See here. So perhaps we should talk about him too.  Dennis Ambler writes as follows

In 2009, Sachs addressed the annual conference of the Party of European Socialists:

He described the “profound honour “ of addressing the Party of European Socialists and said they were heirs and leaders of the most successful economic and political system in the world, Social Democracy. Social equity, environmental sustainability and fiscal re-distribution were the successful elements, in marked contrast to the US whose taxes were too low and where the poor were ignored.

He asked for PES leadership “for the sake of the world” on social principles, financial regulation and solidarity with the poor. In advance of Copenhagen, he claimed that millions were suffering because of drought caused by western induced climate change and a carbon levy was needed.

He singled out the US as the biggest emitter of CO2 per capita and said it must spend more to save the planet. He promoted the UN Millennium Development Goals and the global target of 0.7% of GDP to fund development. He wants a carbon tax and a financial transactions tax, a global health fund, a global education fund and a global climate fund.

In fact he wants everything that the UN, the OECD, Socialist International, George Soros, Rajendra Pachauri, Lord Nicholas Stern, Barack Obama, environmental NGO’s, the Democrats and some Republicans want. Members of the external advisory board include George Soros and Rajendra Pachauri.

He asked the PES to make common cause with Progressives in the US and let them share their wisdom and thanked them for their leadership.

Via email

UNISYS pulls down map showing dramatic ocean cooling

More fudging needed.  Must keep the story straight.  Dissent not allowed

As some have jested in the climate blogosphere, UNISYS’ recent SST anomaly map looked like the onset of an ice age. UNISYS has pulled the product down for the time being, citing data processing issues.

Many around the climate blogosphere have noted that UNISYS’ recent sea surface temperature anomalies were showing radically different values from various NOAA products.

I decided to reach out to UNISYS directly to find out what might be behind the discrepancies, mentioning that it was confusing that UNISYS was showing Hudson Bay cold, water off the East Coast of Russia frigid, and most of the Northern Hemisphere dramatically cooler than 6 weeks ago, when NOAA was showing nothing of the kind.

UNISYS’ weather program manager, Brian Hughes, sent along the following response:

After further thought and additional analysis, I’ve asked that the images be taken down temporarily.

What originally appeared to be a simple color bar/enhancement table issue looks to be an issue with our anomaly product itself. I took more looks at areas where our product is indicating cooler than normal, the corresponding NOAA product appears to show warmer. That tells me something is off with our processing.

In July, we had to switch to the higher resolution RTG-SST product as the input because we had been using a legacy SST product from NOAAPort that NWS discontinued in June. The SST anomaly product may be suffering from amplified cooling as we transition into NH winter, an error not originally seen when we first switched in the summer.

The dataset used to process and create the anomaly appears to also be an issue, perhaps our software is not calculating the correct temp since the switch to the RTG-SST hires.

We are going to evaluate this and work on a solution.


The BBC on global warming is beyond a joke

Green activists, aided by the state broadcaster, are whipping up support for a new climate treaty

The BBC’s relentless efforts to promote the need for that treaty to “decarbonise” the world’s economies they so desperately want to see agreed in December are getting way beyond a joke. On Monday’s Today programme, for instance, they yet again wheeled on that joke figure Lord Stern to tell us that renewable energy now enjoys “very little subsidy or none at all” (don’t tell the owners of offshore wind farms, who imagine they are getting subsidies of more than 200 per cent). Most energy from fossil fuels, Stern went on, is “heavily subsidised”, to the tune of “$500 billion a year”. Even John Humphrys sounded faintly disbelieving when Stern explained that most of this “subsidy” was the taxation not imposed on fossil-fuel companies for “polluting” the planet.

An hour later, we had the BBC’s science editor, David Shukman, telling us how he had gone up to the Arctic (presumably with the aid of fossil fuels), to join a bunch of Norwegian scientists (also presumably there with the aid of fossil fuels), who were discovering that the ice had got thinner than ever, and that this was causing irreparable damage to the “biodiversity” of the poor little creatures which live under that vanishing ice.

Not a shred of scientific evidence was offered to support this scare story, let alone the latest data from the US National Snow and Ice Data Center, which show that the thickness of multi-year ice across the Arctic has been making a dramatic recovery from its low point seven years ago (for details see Paul Homewood’s Notalotofpeopleknowthat blog),

All this drearily make-believe propaganda is designed to whip up support for a treaty which, as the Indian government yet again confirmed last week, is never going to happen, because India and China – still building enough coal-fired stations to add more CO2 to the air every year than the total emitted by the UK – are simply giving two fingers to a treaty they regard as an even bigger joke than Lord Stern.


Update from the Gelbspan files

Russell Cook (the good Cook) is a real terrier going after Warmist lies.  What he writes below is instructive.  Heaps of links at the original

Me as a Henchman or Murderer

If folks are attaching those kinds of labels to me, it means they probably interpret what little they read of my work on dissecting the smear of skeptics as something to shout down, the ol’ fingers in ears “la-la-la-la…” bit.

All I’ve ever done from the beginning of my foray into the climate change issue is ask questions, as I detailed back in a 2011 Competitive Enterprise Institute piece. Regarding global warming in particular, I first asked why skeptic climate scientists’ assessments were being largely ignored, and when told such skeptics were industry shills, I asked myself if I could independently corroborate the accusation. Surely, this is something any believer of catastrophic man-caused global warming could also undertake in order to be above reproach when asked what proof there is to back up the accusation.

Having accumulated a wealth of references showing that the accusation is utterly baseless, that particular devil’s advocate element became a hobby pursuit of mine years back, where I would ask at online comment sections if global warming believers posed such questions on their own, or if they were certain their talking points on the accusation could survive tough cross examination in a courtroom hearing. Knowing what I know on specific details of the accusation, it didn’t surprise me when global warming believers ducked my questions and lashed out at me instead, or in the case of blog site owners, deleted my comments after brief appearances or prevented them from being seen in the first place. Hardly an endorsement of the validity of the accusation when a person feels compelled to flee from challenges to prove it they know how to back it up.

One day I’ll have to find the time to count up all my web site comment links I’ve saved, it could number into the thousands over the last seven or so years, and I’ve had comments deleted or barred from appearing by a whole spectrum of people. Among my favorites is an ordinary enviro-activist blogger who used an IP address recognition trick to prevent me from commenting further at her site. I wrote an entire article at RedState because of the way Hewlett-Packard people deleted my comments from their site. Bill Moyers’ people not only deleted my comments, they blocked me from further placement. Another more recent favorite was a blog site commenter complaining about ‘brainwashed industry trolls paid to misinform’ – my comment about the opportunity to destroy such trolls was permitted for a short time, but as one can see from their current iteration, neither that one nor my other comments are seen. Give it a moment, one of my comment links goes directly to a “This comment was deleted” message.

Particularly amusing for me last year was how I landed at another global warming believer’s blog (I forget how, most likely from daily Google email alert I get on stories about global warming that I created in 2008), and after a series of comment placements, the blogger declared in a new blog post that I must be “the Gestapo of the Heartland Institute with the job of hunting down dissenting opinions and persecuting those responsible” (full text here). Tortuous as it might be to read through all of the multi-blog post commentary between us, it becomes obvious he never supported his claim of ‘industry-corrupted skeptics’, but instead sidestepped every challenge from me to do so.

My comments must leave marks on some folks. Around two weeks ago, I was alerted to a Boston University web page by an email blast alert from the Heartland Institute, about comment attacks on the University’s decision to include “sketchy scholarship and specious reasoning” Heartland material, as the first commenter noted. Apparently my comment reply irritated someone at Boston U so much that an alert was relayed to ThinkProgress about the situation, causing Emily Atkin to write about my Heartland tie – however irrelevant it is – prominently in her 5/5 “Climate Deniers Insert Themselves Into Boston University’s Divestment Debate” piece. Long story very short, in my dozen+ email exchange with her, she eventually admitted that had there been no way to tie me to Heartland, she wouldn’t have mentioned me.

She’s gone out of her way to claim her piece was not a guilt-by-association hit piece, but considering her above admission, it’s hard not to see that appearance in the piece. Not helping her position in the least was her error of claiming I edit “a site dedicated to proving that climate denying scientists are not funded by the fossil fuel industry” – now you see the error, now you don’t. I prompted her to fix that, but apparently one of the commenters at the piece couldn’t comprehend the meaning of the error, not only repeating it, but also embellishing it in embarrassing fashion. Funny thing about that specific wacko notion of my mission being to ‘disprove’ illicit industry funding of skeptic climate scientists, it was hurled at me late last year by a different clueless commenter at the Desmogblog UK site who obviously never read a word of what’s here at GelbspanFiles. No joke, click the image below to enlarge it.

But now onto the “murderer” label. Via another email alert days ago, I landed at an obscure blogger’s page which specifically labeled me and 24 others murderers of a pair of lost Arctic explorers who, according to a story she linked to, had stripped to near nakedness due to the hot temperatures up there prior to whatever situation imperiled them. The comment I placed there was the first one questioning her, pointing out several items she could have checked herself before jumping off an accusation cliff. It lasted there for two days at least, but she has predictably deleted it, while letting others remain. It is fully intact in the archive version of her blog post. I attempted to place another comment there later that same day pointing out a few inconvenient truths. That comment never made it online at all, nor did another one where I suggested serious introspection for that blogger. She now blocks me from viewing her Twitter page.

See the pattern? Delete, delete, delete… and kill the messenger. Don’t even bother to address the messenger’s core point, do everything you can to distract people from it ever giving it serious consideration. My own experience is just a microcosm for the larger situation surrounding the truly importing players in the issue, skeptic climate scientists. With that kind of defense surrounding the notion that we need to stop catastrophic global warming, how can the issue not be headed toward certain collapse?


Australian government seeks legal advice on University's axing of controversial Lomborg research centre

Both academic freedom and freedom of speech have died at the University of Western Australia

THE federal government is seeking legal advice on the University of Western Australia’s decision not to host a controversial taxpayer-funded research centre.

The university ditched a $4 million contract for climate change sceptic Bjorn Lomborg’s Australian Consensus Centre, amid strong backlash from staff, students and the public.

Education Minister Christopher Pyne is disappointed and remains committed to opening the centre.

“It is surprising that individuals at an institution of higher learning claiming to embrace the notion of academic and intellectual freedom would display intolerance and shout down a voice in the debate they simply don’t agree with,” a spokesman told AAP on Saturday.

The government believes the investment would enable the “best economic thinkers” in the world to contribute to Australia’s policy debates.

Dr Lomborg blamed the university’s decision on “toxic politics, ad hominem attacks and premature judgment” and said the centre had been used as a “political football”.

He rejected suggestions he was a climate change heretic and said the centre would have put the university at the forefront of global research efforts to improve the use of aid spending.

“This is far too important to let fall victim to toxic politics,” he said.

Yesterday, UWA announced passionate protests had forced it to scrap the think tank, which was designed to undertake economic cost benefit analysis in poverty, social justice and food sustainability.

“I have stated many times that it is not a centre to study climate change, that the University was not providing any direct funding to the centre, and that Bjorn Lomborg would not be involved in its day-to-day operations,” vice chancellor Paul Johnson said in a statement on Friday.

But he also acknowledged the centre required co-operation among people across a wide range of fields. “(So) it is with great regret and disappointment that I have formed the view that the events of the past few weeks places the centre in an untenable position as it lacks the support needed,” he said.

The UWA Student Guild said the decision was a huge victory for the hundreds of people who got involved to save the university’s reputation.

“Students, staff and graduates are the key stakeholders at this institution, and it is so important that they are being heard. It is reassuring to know that when decisions cause this kind of public response, we will be taken seriously,” president Lizzy O’Shea said in a statement.



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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