Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Warmism as the folly of the intellectuals

That scientists working in climate-related fields embrace Warmism is no surprise.  The scare has produced a downpour of research grants into their grateful hands. And everybody likes $$$$.   So that needs no further explanation.  In law one often asks cui bono? (to whose beneft?) in deciding guilt or innocence so the same enquiry suggests why climate scientists nearly all have something good to say about Warmism.  It would be rather amazing if they had anything bad to say about it.

What DOES need explaining, however, is that academics and  intellectuals almost ALL support global warming.  It's not just climate scientists.  We saw that recently in the uproar that resulted when Bjorn Lomborg was invited to set up a think-tank at the University of Western Australia. Almost EVERYBODY at the university seemed to be against Lomborg and, as a result, the university backed down and withdrew the invitation to Lomborg.

So what is it that makes so many smart and highly educated people into Warmists?  Being smart is the key.  As we shall see, being smart tends to make you authoritarian and that leads down a short road to Warmism. 

The Bolsheviks were all middle class intellectuals and, although it is common these days to call Mussolini a buffoon, he read poetry and philosophy voraciously, including Socrates and Plato. He spoke several foreign languages, was always interested in discussing political and philosophical ideas with almost anyone, had considerable acceptance in his early days as a leading Marxist theoretician, wrote over 40 books, and was a tree-lover and environmentalist 50 years before Greenies were thought of.

And what is authoritarianism?  The Bolsheviks and Mussolini were undoubtedly both authoritarian and socialist, so is it socialism that makes you authoritarian?

Leftism is fundamentally authoritarian. Whether by revolution or by legislation, Leftists aim to change what people can and must do. When in 2008 Obama said that he wanted to "fundamentally transform" America, he was not talking about America's geography or topography but rather about American people. He wanted them to stop doing things that they wanted to do and make them do things that they did not want to do. Can you get a better definition of authoritarianism than that?

That Leftism is intrinsically authoritarian is not a new insight. It was well understood by none other than Friedrich Engels (Yes. THAT Engels). His excellent short essay On Authority was written as a reproof to the dreamy Anarchist Left of his day. It concludes: "A revolution is certainly the most authoritarian thing there is; it is the act whereby one part of the population imposes its will upon the other part by means of rifles, bayonets and cannon — authoritarian means"

And Warmism divides politics quite sharply.  Almost all Leftists accept it and almost all conservatives reject it. It is as good a hallmark of Leftism as any and better than most.  And another major marker for Leftism is academic status.  Teachers in the universities and colleges are overwhelmingly Leftist.  Conservatives are a small and oppressed minority there.  As a former academic myself, I have seen it close up.  So why would academics be elitist and authoritarian?

 The answer is really quite simple.  If your life had made you feel superior to most people wouldn't you want to be treated in a superior way too?  More importantly, wouldn't you feel that your inferiors should be got out of your way and told what to do?  Wouldn't you feel that they should be herded onto public transport and thus leave the roads free for you to drive where you want without being held up by traffic jams?  That is EXACTLY how elite Leftists think.  Only they cannot say that out loud of course.  To say it out loud would not only be obnoxious but it would also achieve nothing.   So our elites are smarter than that.  They know they have to cloak their oppression  in the mantle of a claim that "It's all for your own good".  And knowing how  rich, clever and well-organized they themselves are, they are confident that they will be able to escape the limits and confines that they put on other people.  Even high taxes are no worry to them when they already have most things that money can buy.  So regulate, regulate, regulate is their cry.  And regulating and controlling others is what Leftists have always got 1,001 reasons for  -- with the most extreme form of control being exercised in Communist regimes.

And a very large percentage of the "knowledge class" generally is directly hired or subsidized by the government.  As Peter Berger notes:  "it thus has an interest in the expansion of those public functions that furnish it with employment and subsidies, and also with power and status. The "knowledge class," therefore, is favorable toward the reinforcement of public programs. It shouldn't be a surprise, then, that its constitutive interests push it toward leftist politics.... there is a clash between those whose principal interest is production and those whose principal interest is redistribution"

(From "A Far Glory. The Quest for Faith in an Age of Credulity", New York, The Free Press, 1992)

And as this writer notes:
"The Democrats are the party of the elite. Consider Phillips Academy in Andover, Massachusetts. In a 1948 student poll Thomas E. Dewey [R] beat Harry Truman [D] by 2 to 1. In 2000 Al Gore [D] beat Bush [R], an Andover alumnus, by nearly the same margin, reflecting the Democrats' historic capture in 2000 of "professionals," a group well-represented among the parents of Andover students. Next to African-Americans, the most reliable Democrats in the electorate are women with post-graduate degrees".

And there is another reason why teachers -- particularly at the university and college level -- are overwhelmingly Leftist and authoritarian.  It is pretty simple.  Whether or not they are very good at it, Leftists would like to be dominant and to boss other people around -- and that is very much the teacher's role.  It is an elite role.  Even a social misfit can get to rule the roost in teaching (and I don't think many people who know the universities well will have any trouble naming a lot of oddballs and misfits there).  So teaching will tend to attract Leftists and elitists in the first place.  As this writer put it:
"As I said, liberalism is a psychology, not an ideology. And as such, it's unreasonable to expect it to be limited to a person's politics; it should show through to many different aspects of a person's life, and it does. Liberals tend to dominate fields like academia, the news and entertainment media, and the legal professions, and they populate the elite social circles, all because they're so concerned with their egos.

In academia, teachers and professors are revered as wise and accomplished, and they exercise almost absolute power over dozens to hundreds of students. People in the media are famous and seen as powerful, intelligent, charismatic, and accomplished. Lawyers have enormous power over people's lives, and like celebrities are seen as intelligent, charismatic, and accomplished, and are also generally seen as moral people (by people who substitute law for morality). Judges are esteemed and seen as a source of wisdom and knowledge, and they too hold enormous power over people's lives and are seen as moral in the same way lawyers are."

So I think we now have a good explanation of why intellectuals, particularly in the colleges and universities, are overwhelmingly Warmist.  By proclaiming a planetary emergency that can only be solved by regulating most aspects of people's lives, they get to gain the sort of power over the population that they and all Leftists dream of. 

Warmism is the folly of the intellectuals because it serves their Leftist authoritarianism.  And, sadly, because of the respect which is normally accorded to knowledge and those who possess it, the Warmist tale gets far more respect than it deserves.  It survives solely because of the prestige of those who proclaim it.  And, in turn, that is why almost all defenses of Warmism consist solely of an appeal to authority -- academic authority. Any defense of it based on the facts fails very rapidly under informed scrutiny.  Given the fact that a heated molecule will radiate its heat in all directions, it is not even a good theory.

So for dishonorable reasons most intellectuals espouse a falsehood.  They will all be laughed at by posterity and we climate skeptics will be creditably remembered. Their children and grandchildren (if any) will one day be ashamed of them for failing as scientists and whoring for a false god.   They undoubtedly enjoy more "lurks and perks" than most skeptics do so one hopes they enjoy their 30 pieces of silver. All frauds implode eventually so who knows how long they will enjoy their silver. Judas did not enjoy his silver for long.

Christians might like to reflect on the words of Jesus concerning the intellectuals of his day -- the Pharisees.  In Matthew chapter 6 Jesus said repeatedly of them "They have their reward" in the here and now but he also said that the ultimate reward goes to those who do NOT do as the Pharisees do -- JR

UK: "Eco-homes" could be deadly

Insulation used to keep buildings warm in the winter traps TOO MUCH heat in summer --potentially putting residents at risk

Eco-homes risk roasting residents by overheating in summer, researchers warned yesterday.  The low energy homes – billed as a solution to rising fuel costs – can heat up to more than 25C (77F) for days at a time.

Researchers from Coventry University tracked temperatures inside eco-homes over three summers and found 72 per cent failed their design criteria.  The study was conducted at a housing association in the city, where flats were fitted to German Passivhaus – or ‘passive house’ – standards, meaning they have very low energy consumption.

It found heat built up inside the homes faster than ventilation could remove it, leaving residents facing uncomfortable temperatures.

One of them, Emma Taylor, 33, told the Sunday Times: ‘Last summer was a nightmare. I was pregnant and the flat was red hot.’

Passive homes can cut heating bills by up to 90 per cent, but there have been repeated warnings about the dangers of overheating.

They have proven so efficient that even the heat from a plasma television can affect temperatures inside.

A separate study by Cardiff University found temperatures inside such houses would exceed 25C for five to ten per cent of the year in London – and could exceed 28C (82F) from 2050 if our climate warms up as predicted.

Britain has relatively few eco-homes, but building regulations mean all new homes must meet tough energy consumption standards from 2020.

Architect Lynne Sullivan, a member of the Passivhaus Trust, said: ‘There is a danger of overheating in all homes built to the new regulations, particularly flats, and we have been warning the Government.’

Peter Warm, one of Britain’s three accredited Passivhaus certifiers, said: ‘When you do low-carbon housing with a lot of insulation, you can solve the warmth problem only to get overheating in summer.  'The challenge is to get the right balance.’

The Building Research Establishment said it had launched a project to examine overheating in urban developments.


Reality strikes: Forecasting Antarctic sea ice has to account for INCREASING ice

THE size and power of ships needed to break through Antarctica's increasing sea ice levels is a worry for the global research community

IN recent years countries including Australia have battled to reach their stations on the frozen continent, making resupply missions time consuming and expensive, Australian Antarctic Division spokesman Rod Wooding said.  "We're noticing that the sea ice situation is becoming more difficult," he told reporters on Monday.

The sea ice through the Southern Ocean and around Australia's Mawson Station usually breaks up for a couple of months a year allowing ships to enter the bay but that did not happen in 2013-14.

"We had to get fuel in by helicopter which is inadequate for the long-term sustainability of the station," Dr Wooding said.
"Other national programs have had similar problems: the French in particular, Japanese also."

The problem has been the main driver for a meeting of more than 50 international experts, convening in Hobart until Wednesday, to try and nut out a plan to accurately forecast sea ice levels.  Meteorologists along with ice and Antarctic experts will take part in a series of workshops, looking at trends in satellite imagery and the environment.

"One of the things that Antarctic programs will need to understand going forward is what sort of ice breaking capability we're going to need to get through the ice in these areas," Dr Wooding said.
"Australia is currently in a tender process for a new ice breaker ... and it's important in understanding what sort of ice breaker we might need ... to have a good understanding of likely sea ice conditions."

There is no single reason why sea ice levels are increasing but Hobart-based expert Tony Worby said it tends to gather around icebergs and wind patterns also play a part.  "We know sea ice extent is increasing, there was a record maximum in September 2014," Prof Worby said.

"It's quite hard to forecast but whatever effort we put in to improving our ability to forecast sea ice will ultimately pay dividends in terms of savings for national programs."


Helping People Today Should Be Vatican’s Priority

Reasons why the projected encyclical should probably be dropped

Of all the senior ecclesiastical Christian leaders in the world today, one you would expect to thoroughly understand the problems faced by the poor of Africa would be Ghanaian cardinal Peter Kodwo Appiah Turkson. Born into a poor family in Western Ghana, Cardinal Turkson was the fourth among ten children of a carpenter father and a mother who sold vegetables in the open market.

Although Ghana’s economy is one of the fastest growing in the world today, the country has less than one-tenth the GDP per capita of the United States. Life expectancy at birth in Ghana is 20 years less than that in developed countries. This is largely because about 40% of its citizens lack electricity. A 2013 World Bank report explained that Ghana’s energy sector risks becoming “a drag on the economy” if large investments in power generation are not soon made.

Happily, a 1,200 MW coal-fired electricity generating station is being developed to come on line in Ghana by 2018. This will help pull millions of people out of poverty.

Given his native country’s opportunities and the severe problems it faces, one would expect Cardinal Turkson to use the opportunity of his opening address at the Vatican’s April 28 climate change conference to remind delegates that fulfilling the critical needs of today’s people should be their paramount objective. After all, the purpose of the event was to examine “The Moral Dimensions of Climate Change and Sustainable Humanity” so as to provide support for the first ever encyclical letter from a pope devoted entirely to the environment, expected to be released in June.

As President of the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace, a group particularly concerned with social development, Turkson should have warned delegates that, in their zeal cut back on the use of hydrocarbon fuels, they must do nothing that would interfere with providing inexpensive electricity to countries such as Ghana.

Given the Council’s interest on social justice, you would also expect Turkson to focus strongly on the importance of helping vulnerable people adapt to climate change, whatever the cause. He should have condemned the fact that, of the $1 billion spent every day on climate finance across the world, only 6% of it goes to adaptation, the rest being squandered trying to stop climate change that might someday happen.

Sadly, Turkson said nothing about energy and little about adaptation in his address. Instead he reinforced the reasons many at the conference want to block further development of inexpensive coal-fired power plants, asserting, “Today, the ever-accelerating burning of fossil fuels that powers our economic engine is disrupting the earth’s delicate ecological balance on almost-unfathomable scale.”

The Ghanaian cardinal even cited Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew’s claim that it is a sin “for humans to degrade the integrity of Earth by causing changes in its climate.”

Turkson then listed “the increasing prevalence of extreme weather events” as a consequence of climate change, a connection that has been soundly refuted by leading scientists across the world. Blaming developed nations for the climate problems faced by poor nations, he encouraged the conference to “think of the positive message it would send for churches, mosques, synagogues, and temples all over the world to become carbon neutral.”

Turkson thereby helped set the stage for the conference’s final “Declaration of Religious Leaders, Political Leaders, Business Leaders, Scientists and Development Practitioners,” a document University of Western Ontario climate model expert Professor Chris Essex labels “gibberish.” The declaration included the nonsensical ‘King Canute clause’ about keeping global warming below 2 degrees C as if we possessed a global thermostat. It totally ignored the dire energy needs of the world’s poorest people, said little about adaptation, and instead promoted a dangerous “rapid world transformation to a world powered by renewable and other low-carbon energy.”

Calling for “brave and determined” guidance from religious leaders, Turkson told delegates that actions on climate change “must be grounded in morality, oriented by morality and measured in terms of human flourishing and well-being.” If June’s encyclical letter on the environment is to encourage this objective, then Pope Francis must have the courage to ignore the politically correct but irresponsible advice of his advisors, and simply tell the truth: climate will continue to change no matter what we do.

So let’s help the world’s poor to the degree we can afford by providing them with reliable, inexpensive electricity and stop pretending we have a crystal ball to future climate states.


Don’t try to play god with the climate

By Tom Harris (an engineer who works in thermo-fluid sciences)

The mistaken belief that science is sufficiently advanced that we can make reliable climate forecasts and even control future climate states is resulting in tragedies far greater than the possibility of any realistically foreseeable human-caused global warming.

Of the $1 billion spent every day across the world on climate finance, only about 1/20th of it goes to assisting people adapt to the very real climate change they are experiencing today. The remaining 94 percent, according to the Climate Policy Initiative, is wasted trying to stop climate change that might or might not someday happen.

This misappropriation is largely because groups like Joseph Robertson’s Citizens Climate Lobby have convinced politicians that humans control our planet’s climate as if we had a thermostat (“Climate lobbyist to speak at UMD,” April 27). All we need do is reduce our emissions of carbon dioxide, they say.

Reports such as those of the Nongovernmental International Panel on Climate Change (climatechangereconsidered.org) demonstrate that this is ridiculous.

Let’s help people in today’s world to the degree we can afford and forget about playing god with the climate.


Three Simple Facts that Scuttle the Global Warming Paradigm

Cutting through the fog: a primer for the layman

The putative climate “debate” that has been raging for the last thirty years or so has now reached the point of duncical irrationality. (I put “debate” in scare quotes since what we are observing is not so much a debate as an ideological crusade that brooks no resistance; in effect, a political jihad against those who oppose the Warmist orthodoxy.) The upcoming Paris COP (climate treaty conference) slated for December of this year, which Obama is expected to ratify, renders the situation increasingly urgent.

The world’s leading politicians, abetted by the dubious claims of the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), are plainly eager to sign an accord which, if implemented, would lead to record levels of poverty and unemployment in both the developed and Third worlds. In the words of Director of the International Climate Science Coalition (ICSC) Tom Harris, “in formulating public policy on climate change, our leaders gloss over the uncertainties and close the door to evidence that does not fit the alarmist agenda.” There is little any concerned citizen can do but register his skepticism, doubts and defiance — that is, his resolute and fact-based denial, despite the social and professional stigma associated with being a “denier” and the threat of various forms of punitive action, especially in the academy. (See, for example, the “Statement on Climate Change”  professing allegiance to the IPCC signed by the faculty of the Department of Atmospheric Sciences at Texas A & M University. Skeptics, regardless of their credentials, would never be hired in such a restrictive milieu.) By marshalling the reasons justifying such denial and disseminating them to the public, one hopes against hope to mitigate the disaster — not the so-called meteorological “disaster” of global warming but the economic disaster of uncertain science and crippling legislation — before it becomes irreversible.

The claim that we have heard bandied about for years is that the “science is settled” — a malapropism if ever there was one since the central principle of scientific thinking is that science by its very nature is never settled. There is always more to learn, always something to revise, correct and expand, always the possibility of a paradigm shift, as Thomas Kuhn famously explained in The Structure of Scientific Revolutions. The issue at hand is one of making decisions predicated on the best evidence available — the essential proviso being that the evidence is solid, authentic and comprehensive. This has manifestly not been the case in what has now become the global warming boondoggle, as we shall note shortly.

Amidst the blizzard of details, theories and confident assertions animating the global warming gospel, one can simplify the counter-argument by listing three attested facts that should settle, if not the science, certainly the furor that clouds our judgment. The matter is really not that complicated. These three facts, which no responsible scientist can deny, are the following:

1. There has been no global warming for the last eighteen years and counting. Warmists like to call this quiescent period of zero net warming a “Pause,” but there is no evidence to suggest a double-digit hiatus in process. The word “Pause” is a palpable evasion intended to maintain an unproven contention. What we do know is that during the years in which apocalyptic claims of imminent catastrophe have been indefatigably circulated, the temperature has remained stable. There is no getting around the thermometer.

2. The grounds of testimony advancing the global warming dogma are brazenly suspect and, in many instances, spurious. To cite only a few, well-known examples, there is the discredited computer models pre-programmed to advance the cause of global warming or “climate change.” Warmist researchers tend to omit important variables from their computer models, such as atmospheric humidity, sea-level pressure and long-range cycle activity. As adjunct scholar at the Cato Institute Steven Milloy writes, deploring the temptation of these researchers to guestimate the future, “Because we do not fully understand the climate system and do not know how to represent such important functions as cloud formation…many of Earth’s climate processes are parameterized (i.e., faked) in models.” According to mathematician and former carbon consultant to the Australian government David Evans, the IPCC models are wrong and the mathematics show that the human signature in the atmosphere is missing. Jonathan Newman, an environmental biologist at the University of Guelph, has also confirmed such skeptical conclusions. Newman and his colleagues reveal that the 31 computer climate models used by the IPCC produce different results: “this shows that…predicting the biological impacts of climate change can vary depending on which climate model is being used.” The beat goes on.

As I wrote in Global Warning, “Climate modeling is notoriously capricious, which may explain why many of its forecasts are conveniently projected a century into the future when they cannot be refuted by opponents of the theory….Climate modeling is really climate meddling.” The literature critically examining the defectiveness and unreliability of climate computer modeling is extensive and readily accessible.

Then there is the debunking of Michael Mann’s notorious “hockey stick” graph that served as the basis for analytical projections. Refusing to disclose his “hockey stick” metadata in judicial proceedings that he himself initiated against his critics, Tim Ball and Mark Steyn, Mann is now facing massive damage suits. When the plinth corrodes, the statue tumbles.

Which bring us to the Hadley “Climategate” scam, divulged in a cache of hacked emails, which revealed the extent of data-suppression and revisionist hijinks embraced by the movement’s proponents and leading “experts.” This outrage should have put paid to the entire controversy. A second bundle of “hide the decline” email dumps, known as Climategate 2.0, has confirmed that “climate science” has been cooked. The lead researcher at the East Anglia CRU (Climate Research Unit), Phil Jones, had gone so far as to recommend deleting all incriminating emails and/or changing the wording of others. A.W. Montford’s Hiding the Decline is a definitive expos√© of the great deception known as global warming, as is Tim Ball’s The Deliberate Corruption of Climate Science,which also discloses the vast wealth-transfer scheme the lurks behind the political and “scientific” camouflage.

Then there are the emission-belching lifestyles of some of the movement’s chief advocates — e.g. Obama and his family, Nancy Pelosi and others in the Democrat administration, jetting about indiscriminately on personal business. Al Gore enjoying a lifestyle which uses twenty times the national average of electric power, apart from other kinds of energy consumption. Richard Branson, described by Norman Rogers of the Heartland Institute, as “the owner of an airline that gulps jet fuel by the tanker load [and who] whines about global warming.” Coupled with such wildly conspicuous energy consumption,  the message of retrenchment and carbon chastity we are supposed to internalize is irremediably tarnished. (Ironically, the danger we are facing appears to be the onset of a period of global cooling as the Holocene Interglacial we are currently experiencing may soon come to an end. John and Katherine Imbrie’s Ice Ages: Solving the Mystery offers an authoritative account of glacial cycles.)

3. As undeniably respectable scientists like Nobel laureate Fred Singer, co-author with Dennis Avery of Unstoppable Global Warming: Every 1,500 Years, and Robert Zubrin have pointed out, CO2, a natural fertilizer, is a positive benefit to human and animal life on the planet. Zubrin has decisively shown in The Merchants of Despair that there exists robust scientific proof derived from ice core data and isotopic ratios in marine organism remains that CO2 emissions create surplus plant growth that in turn absorbs atmospheric carbon dioxide, thus restoring climate equilibrium over the long haul, and that under conditions of cyclical global warming agricultural productivity naturally increases and human life improves immensely. This is a fact that has been thoroughly misunderstood as people have been brainwashed by politicians and their cronies who have invested in “green energy,” by a cadre of compromised scientists dependent on government research grants and now constrained to defend their reputations, and by a compliant media consortium.

As one enters into the science and pseudo-science dealing with climate change, it becomes obvious that the discipline is enormously complex, as is the subject studied, and that the intricacy of analysis and argument transcends the compass of any short paper or article. Nonetheless, when it comes to assessing the truth claims of the Warmist constituency, the three facts cited here, all easily accessible, are sufficient to clarify the scope and nature of the climate hoax that has been foisted upon us. Indeed, it is not necessary for the layman to come to grips with the myriad conclusions stemming from empirical and theoretical practice, which he has not been trained to evaluate with mathematical rigor. For those who have neither the time nor the expertise to negotiate the convolutions of the “debate” or weigh the import of figures, graphs, interpretation of data and the like, the question devolves into one of trust. And one cannot trust shysters, incompetents, hypocrites and operators who are embedded in the Warmist ingroup. It is enough to remark their discrepancies, sophistries, extenuations and disreputable behaviors to see that their deposition lacks credibility. It is, on the contrary, the members of the climate outgroup who are acting responsibly, both in their research and comportment.

In light of the above, no sensible and reasonably informed person can continue to support or allow himself to be influenced by what augurs to be the greatest scandal of the modern era.



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

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