Monday, January 07, 2019

Are Climate Skeptics the new Jews?

Before WWII Jews were a despised minority almost everywhere.  That is no longer so.  But a similar prejudice has emerged to replace it

Climate change is a full-blown religious crusade. News organizations, church leaders, schools, corporations, and governments all insist something dangerous is underway, and that vigorous responses are necessary.

Anyone who dares challenge this doctrine is a heretic. In other eras, religious heretics were burned at the stake.

Today, climate skeptics often remain in the closet. Some have been bullied into play acting, into mouthing what they secretly believe to be untrue in order to retain their jobs or their government grants.

It’s accurate, therefore, to describe climate skeptics as a minority – swimming against the tide, surrounded on all sides by a worldview to which they conscientiously object.

Independent thinkers don’t require society’s approval. But there’s a difference between an environment that is non-supportive and one in which vilification flows like a river from the pages of the New York Times.

Members of other minority communities – be they religious, ethnic, racial, or sexual – are usually accorded tolerance and respect. Yet late last year, Paul Krugman, a Nobel Prize-winning economist, called climate skeptics depraved in his Times column.

He declined to use the term ‘skeptic,’ choosing instead an emotionally-laden smear.

Calling someone a ‘climate change denier’ is a deliberate attempt to link doubt over wholly unproven predictions about the future to people who dispute historically documented mass murder. (Ellen Goodman, another famous newspaper columnist, made this explicit a decade ago when she declared that “global warming deniers are now on a par with Holocaust deniers.”)

Krugman insists “there are almost no good-faith climate-change deniers” – just people motivated by “greed, opportunism, and ego.”

What rubbish. He has no possible way of diagnosing at a distance the motives of any human being, never mind the thousands of diverse individuals across the globe who dissent publicly and the multitudes more who do so privately.

In 2009, this man similarly accused climate skeptics of “treason against the planet.” In 2013, he said they deserved to be punished in the afterlife for their “almost inconceivable sin.”

This is extreme prejudice. This is outright bigotry. This is a grown adult stamping his foot and bellowing that people who disagree with him are immoral villains.

In other contexts, we make a point of treating minorities with courtesy. But it remains open season on people who think humanity has more pressing problems than climate change, who draw different conclusions from the available scientific evidence, who’ve concluded that science is being abused by political operatives, or who’ve noticed that many similar eco-apocalyptic predictions have failed to materialize.

To be a climate skeptic is to belong to a despised minority, one that respectable people think it’s OK to demonize.


The overblown and misleading issue of global warming

By Prof. Anastasios Tsonis

Very often, when I talk to the public or the media about global warming (a low-frequency positive trend in global temperature in the last 120 years or so), they ask me the unfortunate question if I “believe” in global warming. And I say “unfortunate” because when we are dealing with a scientific problem “believing” has no place. In science, we either prove or disprove. We “believe” only when we cannot possibly prove a truth. For example, we may “believe” in reincarnation or an afterlife but we cannot prove either.

One may argue that when we are dealing with a scientific problem, such as global warming, for which we cannot obtain unquestionable experimental confirmation as to what is causing it (for the simple reason that we cannot repeat this experiment; we only have one realization of climate evolution), we may form an opinion based on the existing scientific evidence in hand, current knowledge, possible theories and hypotheses. But we should be skeptical of claims that the science of a complicated and unpredictable system is settled.

Nobody argues that the temperature of the planet is not increasing in the last 120 years or so. Yes, the temperature is increasing overall. But there are a lot of questions regarding why that is.

In the current state of affairs regarding global warming, opinion is divided into two major factions. A large portion of climate scientists argues that most, if not all, of the recent warming is due to anthropogenic effects, which originate largely from carbon dioxide emissions from the burning of fossil fuels. Another portion is on the other extreme: Those who argue that humans have nothing to do with global warming and that all this fuss is a conspiracy to bring the industrial world down.

The latter group calls the former group “the catastrophists” or “the alarmists,” whereas the former group calls the latter group “the deniers.” This childish division is complemented by another group, the “skeptics,” which includes those like me who question the extreme beliefs and try to look at all scientific evidence before we form an opinion (by the way, the former group also considers skeptics to be deniers).

In the realm of deniers, skeptics and believers, science has been compromised. I usually don’t bother with pseudo-scientists, media and ignorant people abusing the freedom of the Internet by writing and posting nonsense comments. But I have grown wary of what is going on with the debate on the overblown and misdirected issue of global warming — a case in point being “Meet the Press” host Chuck Todd saying he will no longer give time to global warming “deniers” and also that the “science is settled.”

The fact that scientists who show results not aligned with the mainstream are labeled deniers is the backward mentality. We don’t live in the medieval times, when Galileo had to admit to something that he knew was wrong to save his life. Science is all about proving, not believing. In that regard, I am a skeptic not just about global warming but also about many other aspects of science.

All scientists should be skeptics. Climate is too complicated to attribute its variability to one cause. We first need to understand the natural climate variability (which we clearly don’t; I can debate anybody on this issue). Only then we can assess the magnitude and reasons of climate change. Science would have never advanced if it were not for the skeptics. All model projections made for the 21st century failed to predict the slowdown of the planet’s warming despite the fact that carbon dioxide emissions kept on increasing. Science is never settled. If science were settled, then we should pack things up and go home.

My research over the years is focused on climate variability and climate dynamics. It is my educated opinion that many forces have shaped global temperature variation. Human activity, the oceans, extraterrestrial forces (solar activity and cosmic rays) and other factors are all in the mix. It may very well be that human activity is the primary reason, but having no strong evidence of the actual percent effect of these three major players, I will attribute 1/3 to each one of them.

Two final points. First, all the interactions of humans with the environment are part of our technological evolution. During this evolution, we could not go directly from living in the dark ages to a clean energy technology. There was no other way but to use fossil fuels and other pollution-producing agents. Is this enough to ruin the planet by altering the climate system, a system that has undergone major changes throughout the ages?

Second, while we should try our best to take care of our planet, global warming is not the only urgent planetary emergency. Overpopulation, poverty, infectious diseases and the effect of globalization in spreading them, the water crisis, energy and food availability and safety, political instability and terrorism, the global economy, even cyber security, are far more urgent problems with potentially catastrophic results for humanity.


Major Scottish power cut could last days, engineers warn

ENGINEERS have issued a warning about the growing danger of a power blackout – leaving Scotland facing deaths, riots and widespread food and water shortages.

The Institute of Engineering and Shipbuilding in Scotland (IESIS) said relying on wind farms at the expense of coal and gas has led to the “growing likelihood of a complete failure of the electricity system”. With Scotland now almost entirely dependent on wind, nuclear and hydro power, it would take “days rather than hours” to restore the country’s electricity supply. The warning comes in a new IESIS report which calls for the creation of an independent UK-wide energy authority to avoid the problems witnessed in the USA and elsewhere.

It warns that lengthy electrical blackouts “lead to deaths, severe societal and industrial disruption, civil disturbance, loss of production” and cites 1977 riots in New York City.

The report adds: “All UK coal-fired generating stations are expected to close by 2025. Coal-fired and gas-fired generators are important in restoring electricity supply after a system failure.

“Wind generators can only have a very limited role in such situations and nuclear generators cannot be quickly restarted. The time to restore supply in Scotland is now estimated in days – several days – rather than in hours.

“A lengthy delay would have severe negative consequences – the supply of food, water, heat, money, petrol would be compromised; there would be limited communications. The situation would be nightmarish.”

The report’s author, Iain MacLeod, called for politicians at Holyrood and Westminster to urgently review the safety of the UK’s power supply.

He said: “The system was designed to keep the risk of failure to an acceptable level. For many decades the risk of failure was low.

“Now, we are closing thermal stations to reduce emissions without a robust plan in place to address the long-term security of supply and security of operation.”

GMB, the energy union, said there were 65 “low wind days” last year where wind farms produced less than 10 per cent of their total installed and connected capacity.

Louise Gilmour, GMB Scotland senior organiser, said: “This report is the latest document to back up what we’ve been saying for years – government must heed these expert warnings and place gas at the heart of future energy policy.

“Gas heats 85 per cent of UK homes and provides nearly half of our electricity. As we transition to a lower carbon economy, we need to make sure our energy supply is safe, secure and in our own hands and, should the worst happen, gas will be vital to quickly deal with a power outage.”


Blue-Dog Dems Get Antsy As House Progressives Push The Green New Deal

Blue-dog Democratic lawmakers are wincing as the leaders of their party continue adopting measures that some believe could be perceived as anti-business in states dominated by Republicans.

Democrats are haggling over how far to push climate change policies at a time when President Donald Trump is dominating American politics. Liberals are wanting to push the envelope, but moderate Democrats are blanching.

Democratic Rep. Henry Cuellar of Texas, who co-chairs the centrist Blue Dog Coalition, told reporters that he will talk with Energy and Commerce Chairman Frank Pallone, a New Jersey Democrat, about the direction and scale of climate legislation.

Cuellar’s concerns come after House Speaker Nancy Pelosi announced Thursday a new panel to address climate change.

“We must … face the existential threat of our time: the climate crisis,” Pelosi, a California Democrat, said in her opening address to Congress. “The entire Congress must work to put an end to the inaction and denial of science that threaten the planet and the future.”

The new panel is called the “Select Committee on the Climate Crisis” and focuses on ending fossil fuels. Cuellar is objecting. “We’ve got to find a way that we can accommodate our goals and not be seen as anti-business,” he said. “A lot of the oil-and-gas state folks feel the same way.”

Meanwhile, many of the progressives leading the charge were dismayed that the panel’s final structure did not require Democratic members to swear off campaign contributions from fossil fuel companies. They are also upset that the committee is in a purely advisory role.

Newly elected Democratic Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York is one of the biggest proponents of the mission to force Democrats toward a more anti-fossil fuel message. Her strident objection to energy production does not appear to be winning her many converts among the middle-class union workers.

Terry O’Sullivan, general president of the Laborers’ International Union of North America (LIUNA), took issue with her anti-oil mission during a phone conference in December. (RELATED: Claire McCaskill To Ocasio-Cortez: Don’t Anger Working Class People)

“To me the Green New Deal is just a regurgitation of the keep it in the ground movement,” he said, referring to the so-called Green New Deal, an environmental push by Ocasio-Cortez. “What I’ve seen so far I’m not that impressed with. It scares the heck out of me.”


Australia: Minister in a conservative State government is a Warmist

The Gilets Jaune movement in France, rapidly spreading to other countries, stems from public revolts against the arrogance of the leaders that have been elected. The issue that has galvanised the French is government action to combat climate change, particularly its corollary of politically driven price increases for energy.

Many of these leaders who are the target of the demonstrations share similar career patterns. Starting with political activism at University they seamlessly move into working for a politician, thence into becoming themselves an elected politician, often parachuted into a safe seat, and from then on to ministerial office. All this is achieved without ever having had a real, productive job.

This describes NSW Energy Minister Don Harwin whose political agenda has been dominated by gay rights activism and who, as President of the NSW Upper House, supported a motion that described Mr Trump as ‘a revolting slug’ unfit for public office.

[Harwin has been described as a "sanctimonious windbag".  I like it -- JR]

An associate of lobbyist and political fixer Michael Photios, he applauds the Paris Treaty which is underpinned by the global warming fraud with its failed projections of significant temperature rises, increased incidences of hurricanes, rising sea levels etc. And, grandly calling for his opponents to surrender, he announces, “We need to end the “climate wars” and put science, economics and engineering ahead of ideology”. For good measure, he unselfconsciously adds, “That’s why NSW wants a sensible emissions policy to be embedded in the National Electricity Law, outside the high drama of the “Canberra bubble”.

Above all, in lockstep with the renewables business of his patron’s current wife, Kristina Photios, Mr Harwin is a true believer in renewables, maintaining, in the teeth of factual evidence to the contrary, “the era of baseload coal is coming to an end, fossil fuel plants are not a guarantee of reliability, wind and solar offer the cheapest forms of new generation”. Not only does he mistakenly see renewables as cheap, he also believes that solar and wind, the electricity from which is, by definition “intermittent” and therefore undependable, is more reliable than those coal plants that provide 90 per cent of NSW’s power.

In the run-up to the energy ministers meeting in Adelaide yesterday, Mr Harwin sought to resurrect the National Energy Guarantee (NEG) with its barely hidden tax on coal and additional subsidy to renewables. In doing so he scored an op-ed piece in the Australian Financial Review and a doe-eyed supportive piece by that paper’s resident climate alarmist, Ben Potter. Mr Harwin claimed the NEG and a pie-eyed proposal for zero emissions in 2050 would give investors certainty. He is right in saying that a further round of the subsidies inherent in the NEG would help propel further investment in renewables but, like all other advocates of this poor-quality source of electricity, he cannot explain why, if it is cheaper, that it needs a subsidy.

Mr Harwin had proposed that energy ministers meeting in Adelaide ask the Energy Security Board (ESB) to develop a national pathway to lower emissions. That would hardly have come out of the blue – the Minister would be acutely aware that the ESB (which devised the NEG’s regulatory carbon tax) shares his group-think about the coming, if not already arrived, competitive edge allegedly held by wind and solar. Its report would lend some pseudo-authoritative support for preferred direction.

Having failed to get his way, in what has become the familiar pattern of a Liberal Party riven with the climate wars and associated subsidies for renewables, he lashed out at the federal Liberals. He publicly excoriated his fellow party members, telling them that they should reconsider their positions, ”We want Australia to move forward on climate change. Not stand still.”

Renewable energy subsidies have poisoned the Australian electricity industry, converting it from the cheapest to among the dearest in the world. It will be difficult, perhaps impossible, to unwind the effect of this act of political vandalism on the economy. The ALP is openly promoting further such action and there is no sign that the Liberal Party’s “broad church” can accommodate the differing views and interests on energy which would allow it to make a start in reforming the damage of previous policies. 



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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