Friday, December 03, 2010

And the Fraud Goes On

Ray Kraft is scornful:

I have a question. Is the entire media a paid for propaganda machine? Or are they mostly just dumber than dirt? I think "paid for propaganda machine" is giving them too much credit. I'll go for dumber and dumberer than dirt. You can't pay off everybody. But dumber than dirt is an epidemic.

Let's put it this way. Over the last few years, I've asked a few dozen people if they know how much CO2 is in the atmosphere as a percentage. So far, not one has been able to tell me. Not one. The correct answer (according to the IPCC) is 0.038%, although it may be up to 0.039% by now. Less than 4 parts per 10,000.

And the dips think this trivial trace of CO2 drives climate change. No, they don't think, they just don't think.

Hell, all the evidence they need is right there by Al Gore in his movie, An Inconvenient Truth, in which he points to a wall-size climate change chart behind him that shows 5 cycles of Global Warming over the last 450,000 years approximately 100,000 years apart and approximately 5,000-10,000 years long, with ice ages in between. But he's too damn dumb to understand what he's pointing to. His own evidence proves, beyond a reasonable doubt, that it's a natural cycle that was in full play long before there was Us, and that "our" Global Warming began about 12,000 years ago and peaked about 8,000 years ago.

You can see it again on You Tube, just Google "Al Gore Inconvenient Truth" for the clips.

But who bothers to look at the evidence behind Al Gore that Al is pointing to and misunderstanding while he's talking? This is proof of the very popular fallacy of Proof by Authority, or the Evidence of Authority. Al says it! I believe it; that settles it!


78% Nitrogen

21% Oxygen

1% Everything Else

0.039% CO2

0.00017% Methane

I'm not sure the media are paid for. I think they mostly suffer from True Believer Syndrome. They accept Authority as Evidence, and once a man believes in a theory, his mind is closed to everything else, wrote Thomas Jefferson two hundred years ago.

Once you Believe in Faith, you can have Faith in anything. Once you have Faith in Belief, you can Believe in anything. I don't need no damn facts, I have Faith! I Believe! - don't confuse me with Evidence! With Faith and Belief in Al Goe and Global Warming, or anything else, you don't need Evidence.

There are two excellent little books you ought to read by Eric Hoffer, The True Believer, and The Passionate State of Mind. They cast a very bright light on the psychology of politics. Eric Hoffer, a migrant farm worker when he was young who never finished grade school, a longshoreman later who educated himself by reading Montaigne and other philosophers in the UC Berkeley Library, was awarded an Honorary Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) in Philosophy by UC Berkeley for those two books.

But, of course, Eric Hoffer is largely forgotten by now. Who needs to read and think, when we can take it straight from the mouth of Al Gore?

What this really is, is an indictment of the abject failure of science education in American schools. And even thousands of scientists have fallen for the fallacy, confusing correlation with causation. believing in the theory, and ignoring everything else.

Of course, if Global Warming is caused by Us and We can fix it, then it has enormous political and monetary value. If it's a natural cycle, it's not our fault, and we can't fix it, it has Zero political and monetary value.

And, oh, yeah, it's a great fund raiser for politicians to rile up the base, We need to Fight Global Warming Now! Send Money!

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A Warmist says the attempt by by Gore and his followers to ignore the skeptics was an epic fail

There is an old saying: "The truth will out"


Given the sad, flaccid atmosphere lingering around the Cancun climate talks this week (Andy Revkin tells about how the Japanese, who once upon a time hosted the Kyoto meeting that started things, are now the biggest party poopers) it seems like a bad time to talk critically of Al Gore’s effort, but this stuff is important so I ask you to keep your mind open.

Let’s start with a quote from one of the most popular books on storytelling in recent years, “The Story Factor,” by Annette Simmons. She says, “Demonizing the other side sets up a lack of mutual respect that prevents your story from being heard.” Or, in other words, “respect your opponent.” These are words to live by.


Previously I have railed against the climate movement for it’s unwillingness to take “a critical look” at the single most important piece of global warming mass communication to date, Al Gore’s movie, “An Inconvenient Truth.”

When I say “a critical look,” I’m not talking about examining it’s factual accuracy. That was performed by numerous sources shortly after the release of the movie. In my book I cited the analysis of Kare Fog who dinged the movie for several “errors” and “flaws,” as well as the 2007 NY Times article indicating that the science community gave it an overall thumbs up, as reflected by James Hansen saying, “Al does an exceptionally good job of seeing the forest for the trees.”

That’s not what I have complained about. I’m talking about the critical assessment of how effectively the movie achieved it’s goals of awareness and persuasion. I’m talking about assessing “what worked and what didn’t work” about the film as an exercise in the mass communication of a major piece of science.

Earlier this year I praised the movie for accomplishing so much in raising awareness of the issue, and more recently I’ve been doubling the praise for the fact that “AT LEAST THEY DID SOMETHING,” in terms of their having taken a bold chance by even making the movie (i.e. it was people DOING something instead of just sitting on blogs and talking about doing something). The people behind it are forever to be applauded for their courage.

But that said, I have also criticized the movie for being a boring, maudlin, piece of exposition that failed to tell a good story that would make people enjoy repeated viewings. However, there was one very important element I’ve so far left out of my critique which I want to examine in detail now.


There was a key moment in the movie which I feel is historically important as it became a major piece of leadership from Al Gore. It was the main point in the movie when he addressed the issue of climate skeptics.

Here, verbatim, is what Gore said, in reference to dissent from “the consensus”: “There was a massive study of EVERY scientific article in a peer-reviewed journal written on global warming for the last TEN years, and they took a big sample of ten percent — 928 articles. And you know the number of those that disagreed with the scientific consensus that we’re causing global warming and that it’s a serious problem? Zero.”

Yes, the substance of that statement is completely accurate. But let’s talk about the STYLE. It was dismissive. As a gesture, it was equivalent to sweeping aside the entire climate skeptic movement — deeming them trivial and irrelevant. Which would have been fine had they been nothing more than a bunch of kooks with the same scale of resources as 9/11 conspiracists, Obama birth certificate fanatics, JFK assassination nutballs or even Holocaust deniers. But they weren’t, as you can see below.


Do you remember in 2004 when John Kerry addressed the Swift Boat Veterans controversy by deciding to ignore it in hopes that it would simply fade away? Do you remember in 1988 when Michael Dukakis tried to ignore the Willie Horton commercial and the vicious assault masterminded by Lee Atwater (btw, if you haven’t seen the 2008 documentary, “Boogey Man: The Lee Atwater Story,” it is one of the most gripping documentaries in recent years). Gore sent out the same signal with this scene in his movie — the idea of, “Ignore ‘em and they’ll go away.” But they didn’t.

By 2007, when I was shooting my movie, “Sizzle,” I found it frustrating that none of the major environmental groups would show any guts and actually confront the skeptics. Which was why I was relieved on March 18, 2009 when I received a mass email from Sam Parry of Environmental Defense Fund titled, “By the Numbers,” in which he FINALLY showed numerically how massive the resources of climate skeptics had become.


This is from a mass email sent out by Sam Parry of Environmental Defense Fund. I found it to be a breath of fresh air that finally an environmental group was willing to go the opposite direction of Gore. Rather than attempting the failed, “ignore them and hope they’ll go away” strategy, this was an effort to get the public to realize, “THESE FOLKS ARE SERIOUS AND ARE NOT GOING AWAY.” This email was essentially sounding the alarm a few months before Climategate, but it was an alarm that went largely unheeded. (btw, I’ve always loved that EDF has me in their files only by my last name, so that their phony personal greeting reads, “Dear Olson,” which has all the charm of, “Hey You”).


Gore had attempted to send out the simple signal, “there is no debate,” which was an effort to use the idea that, “there is no SCIENTIFIC debate,” as a means of getting the public to think there is no broader debate in general. I have no way to quantify or really document this. I only know I got a big taste of it the year after his movie when I was filming “Sizzle” in the summer of 2007. I heard this phrase all over the place, and one prominent member of the IPCC said it to me forcefully in emails as he refused to take part in any movie that would give screen time to these supposedly fringe elements, the climate skeptics. A major television journalist barked the same message at me — “there is no debate.”

More importantly, you saw the major environmental groups involved with global warming simply turning a blind eye to this significant opposition force. There existed an opponent, but no one wanted to look them in their eyes. I was amazed in 2007 that virtually no one had been to see some of the major climate skeptics (Singer, Michaels, Morano, Hayward, Gray) to interview them for a film previous to me. There was just a big campaign to “ignore them and they will go away.” Aside from Naomi Oreskes (ironically the source of the numbers Gore cited) who was engaged in direct and blunt combat with them, no one seemed to be taking them on through any sort of mass media.

By 2008 when I released the film I began to get blowback from people at scientific institutions where we wanted to show the movie. Many said they believed there “is no debate,” and simply didn’t want to support a movie that suggested there is.


And then there was Climategate. Literally overnight the, “there is no debate,” voice vanished. The science and environmental communities finally learned there is a debate — not through effective leadership and communication, but by having their noses shoved in it.

Sorry. This is history. It’s important that it be talked about and examined. It’s called “trial and error.” It’s how you get smarter. “An Inconvenient Truth,” made a lot of good and important contributions to the topic of global warming, and it made some mistakes. There continues to need to be in-depth examination and discussion of both. Why? Because it is the ONLY significant piece of mass communication of global warming to date. It’s the only brave effort to address this enormous topic. It needs to be a source of learning, and not just swept into the past – ESPECIALLY when Japan says they are quitting the climate stuff because the two leading carbon emitters, the U.S. and China, are not showing any leadership.


EPA at 40 — Doing an end-run around the legislative process

The Environmental Protection Agency is 40 years old. It came into being under a Republican president, Richard M. Nixon, and opened its offices on December 2, 1970. In January of that year, Nixon had signed the National Environmental Protection Act, and on the last day of December 1970, he signed the Clean Air Act of 1970.

Fast forward to the year 2010, with an EPA now with almost limitless powers in the environmental arena — regulating greenhouse gas emissions, policing carbon dioxide as a pollutant, and expanding the purview of the Clean Air Act, without congressional approval.

As CEI’s Marlo Lewis wrote: ". . . EPA has positioned itself to determine the stringency of fuel economy standards for the auto industry, set climate policy for the nation, and even amend provisions of the Clean Air act–powers Congress never delegated to the agency. The Endangerment Rule is both trigger and precedent for sweeping policy changes Congress never approved. America could end up with a pile of greenhouse gas regulations more costly than any climate bill or treaty the Senate has declined to pass or ratify, yet without the people’s representatives ever voting on it.

Here’s more from a coalition letter trying to roll back these expanded powers: "Is climate policy to be made by the people’s representatives or by politically unaccountable bureaucrats, trial lawyers, and activist judges?"

Only one answer to that question passes constitutional muster. EPA has no authority to do an end-run around the democratic process. Climate policy is too important to be made by an administrative agency without new and specific statutory guidance from Congress.

Republicans are now in control of the House, and with six additional seats in the Senate, they, working with moderate Democrats, should be able to pass legislation suspending or overturning EPA greenhouse gas regulations. We, the People, can “take back our government” only if our representatives stop administrative agencies from legislating.


Britain's Green taxes to stymie job creation

An onslaught of punitive environmental taxes is to be unveiled next year in a drive to turn Britain into a “low carbon economy”. Lib Dem Energy Secretary Chris Huhne will spearhead the green tax plans on business and households in an attempt to shift the burden of tax from income and profits to production and consumption.

But the move last night raised fears of sharp hikes in energy bills plus petrol and diesel prices, adding to costs for firms already struggling in the fragile economic climate. The blitz was signalled in an economic growth discussion paper ministers released earlier this week.

Green revenues accounts for about 8.1 per cent of taxes. But Mr Huhne wants green tax receipts, up £500 million last year at £39.5 billion, to hit £50 billion within five years.

Supermarket chain Morrisons said: “We would like to build more stores and employ more people. “But this is not going to help growth.”


The Shame Of Green Britain: One Third Of Welsh and Scots can't afford to keep warm

The numbers of those living in fuel poverty rose to 26% in Wales and nearly 33% in Scotland in 2008, according to figures published on Friday. The latest statistics for fuel poverty and energy efficiency indicate that 332,000 households in Wales and nearly a third of all households in Scotland were spending more than 10% of their household incomes on fuel bills.

Welsh Environment Minister, Jane Davidson said that while the statistics show the scale of the challenge, the Assembly Government has spent £134 million improving the energy efficiency of 124,000 households in the region.

“However, the last few years have seen significant rises in fuel prices, and there is no doubt that has hindered our efforts to tackle this problem,” she admitted.

She pledged to work with the UK Government on tackling fuel poverty and said that the budget for Wales’ Home Energy Efficiency Scheme (HEES) budget has been increased to £22.7 million in 2009-10.

The Scottish figures tell a similar story with 140,000 homes having benefitted from improved insulation. “However, it is bitterly cold and we know many hard-pressed households are struggling with fuel bills,” says Scottish Housing and Communities Minister Alex Neil. Pricing is particularly crucial, he said, with the figures indicating that over 42,000 households move into fuel poverty with every 5% increase in bills.

He urged Ofgem, which announced a review of fuel costs on Friday, and the Government to ensure that prices are fair and transparent.


Unusually cold weather to hit supply of Christmas trees

Some Minnesota tree growers predict there could be a shortage of balsam fir Christmas trees this holiday season. An early spring followed by a cold snap in May caused damage to the species in Minnesota and other parts of the country.

Natascha Smrekar, who operates a tree farm near Guthrie in north central Minnesota, says the late frost last spring damaged many balsam fir trees on their farm. The frost caused the trees to grow unevenly through the summer, and growers had to do much more extensive trimming to make them suitable to sell.

"I think there's enough trees out there, and enough farms out there that people can find what they're looking for, but they just may have to look a little harder for it," she said. "The frost did affect everybody across the state, and it took a lot more energy to correct the problem as the trees tried to grow through the damage that happened in the spring."

That means there will be fewer balsam fir trees for sale and they may cost more. Balsam firs are one of the most popular Christmas trees for consumers.


Australia dropping solar subsidy too

But it won't be remotely the disaster it was in Spain

THE Gillard government has moved to ease pressure on rising power prices by phasing out support for household rooftop solar panels from July next year, one year earlier than previously planned.

Climate Change Minister Greg Combet announced the changes to the the government’s solar credits scheme today. "The cost to install solar panels has reduced substantially since the solar credits mechanism was first announced in December 2008, driven by a strong economy, a high dollar and falling technology costs," Mr Combet said.

"In this time, demand for solar installations has also increased rapidly, as the out-of-pocket cost to households has dropped and generous State and Territory feed-in tariffs have provided additional support to households."

The change would allow electricity retailers to reduce the proportion of renewable energy certificates they are required to purchase from small-scale systems including solar panels. Under the renewable energy target (RET), energy retailers are obliged to buy renewable energy certificates or RECS. The changes announced today mean that retailers will now be obliged to purchase fewer of the certificates and the flow on costs to consumers will not be as great.

Mr Combet said the measure was expected to save the average household $12 in electricity prices in 2011. But he stressed that systems installed before July 1, 2011 would "not be impacted by the changes, allowing industry and households time to adjust".

The program had previously been attacked as a middle class welfare measure because the subsidies tended to favour the well-off and had minimal impact in reducing Australia’s emissions.

Mr Combet said the government had always emphasised the importance of households carrying some of the costs of installing solar systems.



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