Tuesday, December 08, 2015
Skeptic-abuser Lewandowski is just one symptom of a wider malaise among psychologists
At the back of a small room at Coogee Beach, Sydney, I sat watching as a psychologist I had never heard of paced the room gesticulating. His voice was loud. Over six feet tall, his presence was imposing. It was Lee Jussim. He had come to the Sydney Symposium of Social Psychology to talk about left-wing bias in social psychology.
Left-wing bias, he said, was undermining his field. Graduate students were entering the field in order to change the world rather than discover truths. Because of this, he said, the field was riddled with flaky research and questionable theories.
Jussim’s talk began with one of the most egregious examples of bias in recent years. He drew the audience’s attention to the paper: “NASA faked the moon landing – therefore (climate) science is a hoax.” The study was lead by Stephan Lewandowsky, and published in Psychological Science in 2013. The paper argued that those who believed that the moon landing was a hoax also believed that climate science was a fraud. The abstract stated:
We…show that endorsement of a cluster of conspiracy theories (e.g., that the CIA killed Martin-Luther King or that NASA faked the moon landing) predicts rejection of climate science as well as the rejection of other scientific findings above and beyond commitment to laissez-faire free markets. This provides confirmation of previous suggestions that conspiracist ideation contributes to the rejection of science.
After describing the study and reading the abstract, Jussim paused. Something big was coming.
“But out of 1145 participants, only ten agreed that the moon landing was a hoax!” he said. “Of the study’s participants, 97.8% who thought that climate science was a hoax, did not think that the moon landing also a hoax.”
His fellow psychologists shifted in their seats. Jussim pointed out that the level of obfuscation the authors went to, in order to disguise their actual data, was intense. Statistical techniques appeared to have been chosen that would hide the study’s true results. And it appeared that no peer reviewers, or journal editors, took the time, or went to the effort of scrutinizing the study in a way that was sufficient to identify the bold misrepresentations.
While the authors’ political motivations for publishing the paper were obvious, it was the lax attitude on behalf of peer reviewers – Jussim suggested – that was at the heart of the problems within social psychology. The field had become a community in which political values and moral aims were shared, leading to an asymmetry in which studies that reinforced left-wing narratives had come to be disproportionately represented in the literature. And this was not, to quote Stephen Colbert, because “reality had a liberal bias”. It was because social psychology had a liberal bias.
Jussim explained that within the field, those on the left outnumbered those on the right by a ratio of about 10:1. So it meant that even if left-leaning and right-leaning scientists were equal in their bias, there would be at least ten times more research biased towards validating left-wing narratives than conservative narratives. Adding in the apparent double standards in the peer review process (where studies validating left-wing narratives seemed to be easier to publish) then the bias within the field could vastly exceed the ratio of 10:1. In other words, research was becoming an exercise in groupthink.
Jussim appears to have had an anti-authoritarian streak since day one. Born in Brooklyn 1955, his family moved to Long Island when he was twelve. He lost his mother the following year from illness, and after that, he lost his father as well, although this time not from illness, but from grief. It was at this tender age that Jussim entered into a life of self-reliance. Ferociously independent, Jussim describes having little respect for, or deference to, authority figures. In high school he says he purposely made life miserable for his teachers, and later he would become an anti-war activist.
In 1975, at the age of 20, he was a university dropout. He did not return again to study until four years later, when he began undergraduate psychology, and it was not until 1986, at the age of 30, that Jussim achieved his first publication. By this stage he was already married with a baby.
Jussim may not have known at this point that he was destined to continue living a life of non-conformity. He was a reformed delinquent and anti-Vietnam war activist. He had his PhD and a publication under his belt. He had settled down. His former life of rabble rousing and trouble making was over.
Or so he thought.
Very early in his career, Jussim faced a crisis of sorts. An early mentor, Jacquelynne Eccles, handed him some large datasets gathered from school children and teachers in educational settings. He tried testing the social psychology theories he had studied, but consistently found that his data contradicted them.
Instead of finding that the teachers’ expectations influenced the students’ performances, he found that the students’ performances influenced the teachers’ expectations. This data “misbehaved”. It did not show that stereotypes created, or even had much influence on the real world. The data did not show that teachers’ expectations strongly limited students’ performances. It did not show that stereotypes became self-fulfilling prophecies. But instead of filing his results away into a desk drawer, Jussim kept investigating – for three more decades.
The Crisis in Social Psychology
Some months after Jussim’s presentation at the 2015 Sydney Symposium, the results of the Reproducibility Project in psychology were announced. This project found that out of 100 psychological studies, only about 30%-50% could be replicated.
The reproducibility project follows in the wake of a crisis that has engulfed social psychology in recent years. A slew of classic studies have never been able to be fully replicated. (Replication is a benchmark of the scientific method. If a study cannot be replicated, it suggests that the results were a fluke, and not an accurate representation of the real world).
For example, Bargh, Chen and Burrows published one of the most famous experiments of the field in 19963. In it, students were divided into two groups: one group received priming with the stereotype of elderly people; the other students received no priming (the control group). When the students left the experiment, those who had been primed with the stereotype of the elderly, walked down a corridor significantly more slowly than the students assigned to the control. While it has never been completely replicated, it has been cited over 3400 times. It also features in most social psychology textbooks.
Another classic study by Darley & Gross published in 1983, found that people applied a stereotype about social class when they saw a young girl taking a math test, but did not when they saw a young girl not taking a math test5. Two attempts at exact replication have failed6. And both replication attempts actually found the opposite pattern – that people apply stereotypes when they have no other information about a person, but switch them off when they do6.
In the field of psychology, what counts as a “replication” is controversial. Researchers have not yet reached a consensus on whether a replication means that an effect of the same size was found. Or that an effect size was found within the same confidence intervals. Or whether it is an effect in the same direction. How one defines replication will likely impact whether one sees a “replication” as being successful or not. So while some of social psychology’s classic studies have not been fully replicated, there have been partial replications, and a debate still rages around what exactly constitutes one. But here’s the kicker: even in the partial replications of some of these stereotype studies, the research has been found to be riddled with p-hacking4. (P-hacking refers to the exploitation of researcher degrees of freedom until a desirable result is found).
When I went through University as a psychology undergraduate Jussim’s work was not on the curriculum. His studies were not to be found in my social psychology textbook. Nor was Jussim ever mentioned in the classroom. Yet the area of study Jussim has been a pioneer of – stereotype accuracy – is one of the most robust and replicable areas ever to emerge from the discipline.
To talk about stereotypes, one has to first define what they are. Stereotypes are simply beliefs about a group of people. They can be positive (children are playful) or they can be negative (bankers are selfish), or they can be somewhere in between (librarians are quiet). When stereotypes are defined as beliefs about groups of people (true or untrue), they correlate with real world criteria with effect sizes ranging from .4 to .9, with the average coming in somewhere around .8. (This is close to the highest effect size that a social science researcher can find, an effect size of 1.0 would mean that stereotypes correspond 100% to real world criteria. Many social psychological theories rest on studies which have effect sizes of around .2.)
Jussim and his co-authors have found that stereotypes accurately predict demographic criteria, academic achievement, personality and behaviour7. This picture becomes more complex, however, when considering nationality or political affiliation. One area of stereotyping which is consistently found to be inaccurate are the stereotypes concerning political affiliation; right-wingers and left wingers tend to caricature each others personalities, most often negatively so7.
Lest one thinks that these results paint a bleak picture of human nature, Jussim and his colleagues have also found that people tend to switch off some of their stereotypes – especially the descriptive ones – when they interact with individuals7. It appears that descriptive stereotypes are a crutch to lean on when we have no other information about a person. When we gain additional insights into people, these stereotypes are no longer useful. And there is now a body of evidence to suggest that stereotypes are not as fixed, unchangeable and inflexible as they’ve historically been portrayed to be8.
A Cool Reception
Studying the accuracy of stereotypes is risky business. For many, investigation into stereotypes is tantamount to endorsing bigotry. To understand why this is the case, one has to take a long view of the discipline’s history.
Social psychology arose from the ashes of World War 2. An entire generation had to come to terms with the legacy of the war, and the study of prejudice and authoritarianism naturally captured their imaginations. Gordon Allport, a mentor of Stanley Milgram, conceptualised stereotypes in his 1954 book The Nature of Prejudice as inaccurate, pernicious and unshakeable, and influential in shaping the social world9. From this point onwards, this conception has largely remained unchallenged.
Reactions to Jussim’s findings about the accuracy of stereotypes have varied on the scale between lukewarm and ice cold. At Stanford this year after giving a talk, an audience member articulated a position reflected by many within his field:
“Social psychologists should be not be studying whether people are accurate in perceiving groups! They should be studying how situations create disadvantage.”
Jussim has heard this position over and over again. Not just from students, but also colleagues. One might find it surprising that psychology researchers would become so invested in shutting down research they find politically unbearable. But one shouldn’t be.
It is not uncommon for social psychologists to list “the promotion of social justice” as a research topic on their CVs, or on their university homepages. One academic, John Jost at New York University, who argues that conservatism is a form of motivated cognition, runs what he calls the Social Justice Lab. Within the scientific community, the blending of science with political activism is far from being frowned upon. One only has to take a brief look at Twitter to see that scientists are often in practice of tweeting about “white privilege”, “women in STEM”, “structural disadvantage”, “affirmative action”, and “stereotypes”. For many scientists, the crusade to change the world is seen as part of one’s job description.
Jussim has weathered aloof, and at times openly hostile attitudes to his work for virtually three decades. In an email to me earlier in the year, he wrote that he felt like his work life has been lived in solitary confinement. It is possible that Jussim’s citation count – or impact factor – has been artificially suppressed. And for renegade academics such as Jussim to get published, they often must resort to sugar-coating and camouflaging their results, leaving important findings out of journal titles and abstracts.
Yet he points out that despite the hostility towards stereotype accuracy, he has been well treated by social psychology – having being given an American Psychological Association Early Career Award in 1997 – and being cited by his peers over 6000 times. Jussim also points out that while doing research that breaks taboos and undermines political narratives is hard, it is not impossible. Ultimately the scientific method wins.
It is too early to know how research into stereotypes will unfold in the future. And we do not know yet if social psychology will ever be able to achieve ideological diversity, or realistically address its left-wing bias. What is certain, however, is that despite producing work that has been unwelcome and unpopular, Lee Jussim has remained a faithful servant to the scientific method. Even in the face of great personal costs.
I could see that the Lewandowski article stank from day 1. And I said so at the time. An incidental point of interest: I put up conclusions about stereotyping long ago that are essentially the same as Jussim's points -- JR
Have greenhouse gases peaked? As politicians battle to reach a deal at Paris climate talks, CO2 levels could be falling
Once again, natural climate events are overtaking and surprising the Warmists
Dangerous levels of carbon dioxide blamed for climate change could have peaked after decades of almost non-stop rises.
As ministers from around the world arrive in Paris for the final week of UN climate talks, figures published this week will reportedly show that greenhouse gas emissions have stabilised and could be on course to start falling.
It suggests world leaders could yet meet targets to almost halve CO2 emissions by 2050 to limit rising temperatures while still meeting energy demands.
Negotiators from 195 countries at the Paris talks have produced a draft of the climate deal, which aims to curb temperature rises and avoid dangerous climate change.
Much still needs to be agreed by ministers in the high-level talks that begin on Monday.
But expectations are running higher that they are closer to securing a global climate deal than at a United Nations summit in Copenhagen six years ago.
Key to limiting global warming to below 2C by 2100 is a major reduction in carbon emissions.
In the last decade, CO2 levels have more than trebled since the early 1960s and are up by almost a third in the last decade.
However figures due to be published tomorrow will say emissions 'nearly stalled' at 37bn tonnes of CO2 last year, according to The Sunday Times.
It suggests that emissions could be level or even fall in 2015, raising early hopes of turning point in the battle to limit the environmental impact of human behaviour.
It would raise expectations of meeting ambitious targets to reduce greenhouse gases dramatically, from a total of around 37billion to just 15billion by 2050.
Justine Greening, Britain's International Development Secretary, warned climate change will make the world more unstable, with consequences that end up on the UK's doorstep.
Speaking at the climate talks in Paris, she said rising temperatures put stability, prosperity and security at risk. 'We see the issues of conflict and instability literally ending up on our doorstep; you only have to look at the migration crisis over the summer from Syria to see today things that happen around the world impact Britain.
'It also matters from a prosperity perspective, when we're helping countries develop ... that's in our interest. 'How does climate change fit into that? It puts both at risk,' she told the Press Association. 'It makes our world more unstable, unless we can tackle it, and it hinders prosperity at the same time.'
She announced a new initiative to give millions more people insurance against climate-related disasters in developing countries.
And she said felt there was a 'real will to reach a positive, sensible and ambitious outcome', though she acknowledged the remaining negotiations would be tough.
Key issues that are yet to be agreed include a long-term goal for reducing the emissions that cause dangerous climate change by the second half of the century and the provision of finance for poor countries to cope with global warming.
Countries are also being urged to revisit pledges already made to cut their greenhouse gases up to 2030, and potentially improve on them.
Tasneem Essop, head of WWF's delegation to the UN climate talks in Paris, said it would be 'quite a sprint' for ministers to secure a strong deal by Friday, when the talks are scheduled to end, and it was up to the French, who as hosts preside over the meeting, to take the talks to the finish line.
'The draft negotiating text, while more clear in terms of options, still reflects most of the divergences amongst countries. This will require immense skill on the part of the French presidency and absolute co-operation between governments to mediate these differences.
'We're hoping that in the rush to the end, ministers do not trade ambition for expediency, and remain true to the science.'
A new strategy for tax cheats
You can guess what would happen if you used the same tactics that climate alarmists employ
Suppose you’ve been using some creative data, accounting and legal interpretations for years to reduce your tax bill – and the IRS suddenly flags you for a full-blown audit. Instead of trembling in your boots, shredding your records, calling a top-flight lawyer, and preparing for an extended jail visit, just do this:
Patiently explain that your raw data, records and other documents are your private property. Your legal analyses, accounting methods, and unique computer codes and algorithms are proprietary. The IRS has no right to see them. When the agents ask you questions, explain that you don’t recall any details. If they get testy or threaten you with arrest, just say you resent their intimidation tactics.
Absurd? A ticket to the slammer? Maybe not. Similar ploys worked for Lois Lerner and Hillary Clinton.
More to the point, they’ve worked like a charm for scientists who’ve received millions of tax dollars to crank out studies insisting that we face increasingly serious, previously unimaginable climate and weather cataclysms, because we use fossil fuels to power our economy, create jobs and improve living standards.
These studies do not merely sit on shelves. Politicians, bureaucrats, journalists, activists and scientists cite them to justify policies that require us to dramatically reduce carbon dioxide emissions – and thus our energy use, employment rates and living standards. If the studies are biased, based on “homogenized,” exaggerated, manipulated or fabricated data, or result from garbage-in/garbage-out computer models – we need to know that, before expensive, destructive regulations are imposed on us. Or so we would think.
World leaders are meeting right now in Paris, often using absurd claims, and alarming reports, to forge a global treaty saying the world must eliminate 96% of the greenhouse gases that all humanity would likely release if we reach world population levels, economic growth and living standards predicted for 2050 – by steadily eliminating increasingly more energy efficient, low-carbon fuels and technologies.
Such reductions would mean slashing energy use and average world per capita GDP from its projected $30,600 in 2050 to a miserly $1,200 per year, says energy analyst Roger Bezdek. Average per capita GDP in 2050 would be less than what Americans “enjoyed” in 1830! Many futuristic technologies would still exist, but only wealthy families and ruling elites would be able to afford them.
Congress is therefore absolutely right to demand access to the raw data, accounting and data revision methodologies, computer codes and algorithms, emails and analytical methods that taxpayer-financed scientists and agencies used in developing and justifying EPA’s Clean Power Plan, NOAA’s declarations that various months were the “hottest on record,” claims that myriad disasters will occur if we don’t curb carbon dioxide emissions, and assertions that only a global treaty will save planet and humanity.
That’s why House Science Committee Chairman Lamar Smith (R-TX) has asked NOAA director Kathryn Sullivan to turn over documents related to a study that claimed global warming has not stalled for almost 19 years, as satellite records show. The NOAA study adjusted sea-surface temperature data from a global network of buoys upward by 0.12 degrees Celsius (0.25 F), to “homogenize” the buoy data with records from engine intake systems on ships – and thereby create a previously undetected warming trend.
But the intake data were contaminated by heat from the ships, whereas the buoy network was designed for accurate environmental monitoring. A more honest, defensible study would have adjusted the ship data downward, to “homogenize” them with more reliable buoy data. But the feds needed a warming trend.
Smith has threatened to use “civil and/or criminal enforcement mechanisms” if the agency doesn’t provide the documents. The American Meteorological Society says these are “intimidation” tactics that unfairly question the integrity of NOAA scientists. However, Smith is right to defend to public interest in knowing that such studies are honest and credible.
After all, we taxpayers paid for them, and they are being used to promote policies that will affect our livelihoods, liberties, living standards and even life spans. If the scientists have nothing to hide, they should be happy to engage in a robust peer review – in essence, to defend their novel PhD thesis.
Instead, requests to see data or engage in discussion or debate are met with outright refusals. EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy has said she would “protect” her agency’s data, analyses and reports from people and organizations that she alone decides “are not qualified to analyze” the materials. The agency has implemented numerous costly regulations with no attempt to verify IPCC “science” or even consider the rules’ impacts on the health and welfare of families whose breadwinners will lose their jobs.
Other tax-funded groups have likewise refused to discuss their findings with climate disaster skeptics. Some have even asked the Justice Department to initiate RICO racketeering prosecutions of organizations that raise inconvenient questions about climate studies. The White House has enlisted virtually every US Government agency, including the Defense Department, in its determined effort to employ global warming claims to “fundamentally transform” the United States before President Obama leaves office.
We should not be surprised. Billions of dollars in annual US government grants and a $1.5-trillion-per-year climate crisis and renewable energy industry mean people will jealously guard their money trains.
EPA has paid members of its Clean Air Scientific Advisory Committee $180.8 million since 2000. Grants from EPA and other federal agencies to the American Lung Association over the same period total $43 million, for rubberstamping and promoting government decisions on pollution and climate change.
Courts have let former U of Virginia researcher Michael Mann refuse to provide tax-funded data and emails, even to the former Virginia Attorney General, on the ground that they are proprietary. DMD (Data Manipulation Disease) is not confined to the USA or Britain’s Climate Research Unit. Australia’s Bureau of Meteorology has also “homogenized” temperature records so thoroughly that it was able to convert a cooling trend of 1 Celsius degree per century (1.8 F) into a 2.5 degree C (4.5 F) warming trend!
And now developing countries want $1 trillion from developed nations between 2020 and 2030, for climate “reparations and adaptation.” Otherwise the poor countries won’t sign any document drafted in Paris. Meanwhile, those (formerly) rich countries are expected to sacrifice their jobs, economic growth and tax revenues in the name of preventing climate and extreme weather catastrophes.
The EPA, NOAA, IPCC, CRU and Meteorology Bureau are acting like unethical prosecutors, determined to convict carbon dioxide of dangerous global warming by: basing their case on circumstantial evidence, allowing tainted evidence, hiding exculpatory evidence, and denying the defendant the right to present a defense, cross-examine adverse witnesses, or even offer testimony attesting to the good conduct and character of defendant – as a vital plant-fertilizing gas that makes all life on Earth possible.
Thankfully, it’s likely the Paris climate gabfest will result in little more than a lot of “sound and fury, signifying nothing” – except more dire fear-mongering about imminent planetary doom, lofty promises of intent to do something 15-20 years from now to prevent the crisis, and plans to fly 40,000 delegates and hangers-on to more meetings, in other delightful destinations replete with 5-star hotels and restaurants. Billions more will be wasted, but no binding CO2 targets will destroy energy systems and economies.
The US Senate will not approve or appropriate money for any emission reductions or climate reparations President Obama might agree to in Paris. EU nations cannot afford to do so, even if developing countries agree to binding emission goals – which they will never do. Poor nations would face open rebellion if they stopped using fossil fuels to lift billions out of abject poverty, or ceased building the 1,800+ coal-fired power plants that are under construction or in the planning process in their countries.
So maybe relax a little on Paris – but keep railing against destructive climate deals, wind and solar production tax credits, ethanol mandates and global warming con artists. However, don’t try using those climate scientist gambits with the Internal Revenue Service.
US Candidates Offer Vastly Different Views on Climate Change
As world leaders gather for a major climate conference in Paris, the U.S. delegation headed by President Barack Obama is pushing for strong, collaborative action based on the “overwhelming judgment of science,” but the next administration led by his successor could have very different views on the issue.
Businessman Donald Trump leads the race for the Republican Party’s nomination in the 2016 election and has said he does not believe in climate change or that it is a major problem for the United States.
“I consider it to be not a big problem at all,” he said in September. “I think it’s weather changes. It could be some man-made something, but you know, if you look at China, they’re doing nothing about it. Other countries, they’re doing nothing about it.” He went further in a Twitter post this month, saying global warming was created to hurt the competitiveness of U.S. manufacturing and benefit China.
Texas Senator Ted Cruz, who has been rising in recent polls, has the field’s strongest opposition to scientific claims that the planet has been getting warmer at a historical pace, as well as plans to change U.S. energy policy to try to help curb the impact. He said satellite data has recorded no warming for the past 17 years and that scientists were “actually adjusting the numbers.” He asserted data was being used to control the economy and energy industry.
According to the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (http://www.noaa.gov/), there is “overwhelming scientific evidence that Earth is warming and a preponderance of scientific evidence that human activities are the main cause.” The agency says the planet is getting warmer at a faster rate than at any time in the past million years, with the global average surface temperature progressively rising in each of the past three decades.
Scientists have warned that letting global temperatures rise more than 2 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels will bring extreme weather and rising seas that would affect populations all over the world. Temperatures are already up almost one degree, mostly since 1976, according to NOAA.
Protect the economy first
Former Florida Governor Jeb Bush, former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee and Kentucky Senator Rand Paul all said the science was not settled when it came to climate change, with both Bush and Paul saying it was not clear how much is attributable to humans.
Bush said it would be “really arrogant” to say the science was decided, and that he would not want to “destroy the American economy” as a solution.
Florida Senator Marco Rubio, running third in recent polls, agreed with the idea that confronting climate change should not come at the price of harming the economy. He cited China as the top carbon producer and said he would not make it harder for U.S. companies to create jobs for the sake of policies that would do “nothing to change our climate,” in reference to Obama administration plans.
In August, Obama announced a new plan to reduce carbon emissions by 32 percent below 2005 levels by 2030, and to boost the amount of power generated by renewable sources to 28 percent of overall power production.
Power companies already have been converting some of their operations in recent years, increasing their reliance on natural gas, solar and wind. As a result, government data has shown a drop in carbon emissions from coal-burning power plants. Reducing the amount of carbon released into the atmosphere is a major focus of global efforts to contain the rise in temperatures.
Former secretary of state Hillary Clinton, Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders and former Maryland governor Martin O’Malley — the three Democratic presidential candidates — all support Obama’s plan.
Alternative energy and morality
New Jersey Governor Chris Christie said global warming “is real,” but that he did not believe the issue required major government intervention. He has touted his state’s use of alternative, cleaner energy sources that he said have grown because of his administration’s efforts to make them “economically feasible.”
Paul agreed on the need to involve solar, wind and hydropower, but that coal and natural gas should still be major parts of what he called an “all of the above policy.” He said historically there have been times when the temperature went higher or lower and that at times the carbon in the atmosphere has been higher.
Neurosurgeon Ben Carson, who is second in the Republican polls, said there was “always going to be cooling or warming going on,” something that he considered irrelevant. He said the obligation was to protect the environment.
For Sanders, climate change is “a moral issue.”
“Nothing is going to happen unless we are prepared to deal with campaign finance reform, because the fossil fuel industry is funding the Republican Party, which denies the reality of climate change,” he said in an October debate .He added that the U.S. needed to be aggressively working with China, India andRussia.
Clinton, too, cited the need to bring China and India together with the rest of the world. She said the Paris climate talks needed to bring a “verifiable commitment to fight climate change from every country gathered there.”
Climate Talks Reveal Progressivism's True Hypocrisy
What do you call it when elites fly their private jets to an international climate change conference to forge a deal with despots that caps American prosperity without our consent? You call it progressivism.
It’s estimated that 50,000 carbon-spewing humans participated in the Paris climate conference. But while President Barack Obama was taking his working dinner at the three-Michelin-star L'Ambroisie, public protesters were banned from protesting in the aftermath of the Islamic terror attacks. Liberté? Not so much.
It took a handful of gunmen only one night to impede free expression in Paris. Yet according to the president, the 0.1 to 0.2 C of warming we might see over the next decade — the worst-case scenario predicted by global warming alarmists — is the biggest crisis facing mankind, worthy of a massive and expensive curbing effort.
That doesn’t mean Obama won’t use the issue of terrorism to refocus our attention where it belongs. Millions of people might live in fear and suffer under the genuine, deadly threat of radical Islam, but the president contends that the Paris conference itself is “a powerful rebuke to the terrorists” and an “act of defiance” in the face of extremism.
Why not? True believers are rarely dissuaded by reality. Socialist Francois Hollande, president of a country that not only was recently a target of Islamic terror but also witnessed the bloodiest conflict of the 20th century, claimed: “Never have the stakes been so high at an international conference. It’s about the future of the planet, the future of life.” Never?
U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, a man whose divided nation still suffers unconscionable destitution and tyranny, told leaders that humankind has “never faced such a test” as climate change. Never?
These are preposterous exaggerations that have as much to do with history and science as the book of Revelation. But that’s nothing new, is it? On Wednesday, Obama alleged that without a climate change agreement, there could be “submerged countries, abandoned cities, fields that no longer grow” — assertions that are no more than fearmongering, ratcheted up over the decades by frustrated environmentalists and now confidently thrown around by presidents. These prophecies are tethered to reality in the same way Donald Trump’s whoppers are, although the media treat the former with undeserving respect.
Transforming ideology into a “science” is not a new development on the left. But the most useful indicators tell us that humanity’s prospects are on the upswing. Poverty is declining; crops are producing higher yields; and humans are living longer and healthier lives despite the mild warming we’ve experienced. And in spite of these advancements (or maybe because of them), Western leaders are prepared, conveniently enough, to cap growth, spread wealth and centralize power in the way progressives have always wanted to cap growth, spread wealth and centralize power.
The world looks ready for a deal. Developing nations will receive reparations for the capitalist sins of advanced nations — about $100 billion each year. Corporations will be subsidized so they can create more unproductive industries to meet arbitrary caps. And the worst carbon offenders in the world will have to do nothing. What’s not to like?
If a deal can be reached, Obama will have to trust that Communist China — the world’s most prodigious carbon emitter — will voluntarily implement economic restraints about 30 years from now, by which time the U.S. will have to reach a 26 to 28 percent reduction in greenhouse gas emissions. Obama will implement regulations to get that done unilaterally. So China will have more of a say in what happens to our environmental policy than Congress. But Obama will also negotiate with a number of other unsavory despots, such as the homicidal Robert Mugabe, who represents the African position at the Paris negotiations. He will not, however, bring the deal to Congress, which represents the majority of the American people.
The Paris agreement might be the biggest, most crucial international deal the world has ever known, but it is not important enough to be subjected to the traditional checks and balances of American governance. Global warming “does not pause for partisan gridlock,” the president explained this summer. In other words, the president does not have to “pause” for Congress if he feels like using the regulatory state to implement his preferred partisan policy.
This kind of circumvention will be cheered by those who once feigned indignation when prior presidents abused executive power. This is really important, as you know. Obama hopes “to make climate change policy the signature environmental achievement of his, and perhaps any, presidency,” said an approving New York Times editor. Progressives are perfectly content to surrender freedoms to fight global warming — perfectly content to give the executive branch unprecedented power to “act.” And when the private jets come back and the pretend offsets are cashed in and the moralizing begins, you will know they did it for your own good.
Warmists are holding us to mad ‘greenmail’
Widely-read columnist Piers Akerman comments from Australia
AS predicted, the great Paris global warming conference has turned to custard.
China, which is home to more billionaires than any other nation, and India, second only to China in terms of population, along with a gaggle of other opportunistic nations are demanding hundreds of billions of dollars from the developed world to meet the unproven challenge of man-made climate change.
With breathtaking arrogance, the clamorous pseuds gathered in the French capital without care for their massive carbon footprint claim to have the power to control the temperature of Earth — given enough of your money. This is such a preposterous notion that no one at the conference will even state the obvious — its impossibility.
Instead, we have self-anointed, self-righteous, self-important lackeys of the UN claiming that global warming is responsible for extreme weather (despite zero evidence), poverty (hardly), drought and floods (that’s tricky), family violence (what about the TV remote), Middle Eastern violence (where’s that in the Koran), prostitution and alcoholism (they would, wouldn’t they).
The more than 4000 delegates and assorted hangers-on are actually perpetuating the greatest fraud since we were warned that the Y2K bug would send aircraft into tailspins, freeze elevators, close bank accounts and crash the internet (warmist Al Gore’s claimed invention).
The mere fact that these junketeers have gathered when, according to satellite data, there has been no warming for more than 18 years, should have been enough to warn politicians off but no, Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull has paraded his moral vanity (and a warm overcoat) at the conference and there is no shortage of others eager to be associated with the delusionists.
The demand by developing nations that the developed nations hand over cash should have been met with a Western walkout. It’s nothing but greenmail.
Led by Christiana Figueres, the executive secretary of the UN’s Framework Convention on Climate Change, (UNFCCC) the G77 countries (there were originally 77 developing nations in this bloc when it formed in 1963; now there are 134) are demanding more than $US100 billion a year to help them meet any targets set in Paris. This seems to be their prerequisite just for turning up.
The UNFCCC is the parent treaty of the 2005 Kyoto Protocol. Initially 27 developed nations pledged $10.2 billion to “stabilise greenhouse gas concentrations in the atmosphere at a level that will prevent dangerous human interference with the climate system” — as meaningless a piece of rhetoric as the UN ever presented — but Figueres determined that wouldn’t be enough.
Using figures from the UN’s now discredited computer climate models, she claimed that amount wouldn’t be sufficient to prevent global temperatures from increasing by 2 degrees Celsius by the end of the century.
But Figueres has also admitted that the real goal of the gathered eco-freaks should be to destroy capitalism which she sees as the real enemy of the planet despite obvious evidence that it has been the only economic model to deliver real development and uplift billions from poverty in history.
Earlier this year, she outlined her thoughts for the Paris conference saying: “This is the first time in the history of mankind that we are setting ourselves the task of intentionally, within a defined period of time, to change the economic development model that has been reigning for at least 150 years, since the Industrial Revolution.
“This is probably the most difficult task we have ever given ourselves, which is to intentionally transform the economic development model for the first time in human history.”
According to an 86-page draft proposal prepared for the conference, the developed countries have the greatest responsibility to cut carbon emissions “without conditions”.
Australia just cannot afford to be a signatory to such lunacy.
“Developed countries shall provide financial resources to developing country parties for the full and enhanced implementation of the (Climate Change) Convention,” according to the draft. "The GCF (Green Climate Fund) shall be the main financial entity under the new agreement,” it added.
The GCF is merely a mechanism to redistribute wealth from developed countries to poorer nations in order “to promote the paradigm shift towards low-emission and climate-resilient development pathways”.
The draft calls for developed countries to provide “at least 1 per cent of gross domestic product per year from 2020 and additional funds during the pre-2020 period to the GCF,” which would act as the “main operating entity of the Financial Mechanism” under the new treaty, according to the draft.
Forget it. Taxpayers should demand that Turnbull call Paris and tell the Australian delegation to get out to Charles de Gaulle airport tout suite and fly home. Unfortunately, he has yet to show any spine when it comes to confronting the Left. It is not in his nature.
Disappointingly, his wife, Lucy, the newly appointed chairman of the Greater Sydney Commission, is also displaying the same tendencies. She is on the board of the Leftist think tank the Grattan Institute.
Little wonder that Liberals are concerned about the direction their party is taking under Turnbull’s leadership.
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Posted by JR at 1:26 AM