Sunday, May 29, 2011

An old propaganda lurk resurfaces in Australia

The Leftist Australian government recently released a "report" designed to prop up its proposed carbon tax. Neither the report nor the tax has gained much traction, however.

To explain that lack of traction, the piece from the Left-run "Sydney Morning Herald" below claims that climate skeptics are psychological cripples, unable to face the evidence.

Demonizing your enemy is classical wartime propaganda and Leftists do it even in peacetime. The first big attempt at it in peacetime erupted in 1950. It is amusing that a 1954 revision of that attack is revived below: The old two-dimensional account of ideology. That account never worked then and it is equally shallow today.

Believe it or not, the author below claims that skeptics are "hierachical/authoritarian" yet it is skeptics who reject authority and Warmists who embrace it! I think it is clear who the mental cripple is! The poor soul writing below has totally lost touch with reality. Would a diagnosis of schizophrenia be too extreme?

And, needless to say, there is not one fact cited below in support of the author's assertions about either climatology or psychology. It is all just bald assertion

I've been thinking a bit about the sea hare this week while observing the fallout from the Climate Commission's report, The Critical Decade. Wondering, too, about primitive human biology, about what factors interfere with our survival instinct - fear, fun, greed, legacy, even good old distracting lust.

The report is a powerful enunciation of what science now knows about climate change and the risks it poses. That the atmosphere and the oceans are warming, ice is being lost from glaciers and ice caps, sea levels are rising and the biological world is changing. "We know beyond reasonable doubt that the world is warming and that human emissions of greenhouse gases are the primary causes."

In the nuanced language of science, it doesn't get much stronger. As the American scientist Naomi Oreskes [Calling Oreskes a scientist is a condemnation of science] has observed, "History shows us clearly that science does not provide certainty. It does not provide proof.

It only provides the consensus of experts, based on the organised accumulation and scrutiny of evidence." And here we have it.

So how do you respond to such confronting news? Do you weigh the credentials of the speakers, study the evidence? Or do you switch it off, turn the page, scream and shout? According to psychological research by the Cultural Cognition Project at Yale University, your reaction either way will have little to do with the strength of the arguments or the calibre of the science. It will have everything to do with whether it gels with, or offends, your deep-seated views about morality and how the world ought to work.

Yale law professor Dan Kahan's "cultural cognition of risk" theory attempts to explain public disagreement about the significance of empirical evidence by plotting individuals on two scales of cultural belief: individualists versus communitarians, based on the importance people attach to the public good when balanced against individual rights; and hierarchists versus egalitarians, based on their views of the stratification of society. Simply explaining the science to these audiences, he finds, will only serve to wedge the two sides.

The sliding scales are not unfamiliar. Think Tony Abbott as the archetypal suit-and-tie individual hierarchical - values clustered around free-market enterprise, personal achievement, industry, regard for authority (though not, it seems, scientific authority), traditional family, personal freedom; and Bob Brown is out there as your sandal-wearing communitarian egalitarian, protesting that pretty much everything Abbott cherishes damages all he holds dear.

Put a scientist in front of an audience of individual hierarchicals saying that global warming is high risk, and only 23 per cent of the audience will buy the speaker as trustworthy and knowledgeable. Same message, same scientist, and 88 per cent of egalitarian communitarians nod their heads.

Have the same author change tack to argue that warming is no great drama, and the Abbotts now lap it up (86 per cent), and the Browns wander off (46 per cent). The well-oiled machinery of manufactured denial knows how to push all these buttons.

Yale's audience testing finds the only factor likely to interfere with our psychological gatekeeping is if someone within our "camp" - someone we perceive as sharing our world view - says something unexpected. (Hence the reverberations in industry and markets when BHP chief Marius Kloppers last year urged rapid action to put a price on carbon emissions.) In short, evidence from someone you identify with will sway your view; science - facts - won't.

Same as it ever was, maybe. But new media helps us contrive a self-affirming information bubble, an echo chamber in which only our own beliefs are broadcast back to us. Debate in the US on the Yale findings prompted the reflection that our instincts in this regard mean - as one political scientist observed - "we are not well-adapted to our information age".

The findings also confirm that for all our modernity, tribal leaders remain critical. Leaders of all persuasions - political, religious, industrial, social - have immense power in influencing responses to the most diabolical of problems.

In the foreword to a new book debunking scepticism of science - Climate Change Denial: Heads in the Sand - Oreskes argues that fear is the major driver of denial. "Fear that our current way of life is unsustainable. Fear that addressing the issue will limit economic growth. Fear that if we accept government interventions in the market place . it will lead to a loss of personal freedom. Or maybe just plain old fear of change."

As economist John Kenneth Galbraith observed, all great leaders share one common characteristic - "the willingness to confront unequivocally the major anxiety of their people in their time".


Kyoto deal loses four big nations

France: Russia, Japan and Canada told the G8 they would not join a second round of carbon cuts under the Kyoto Protocol at United Nations talks this year and the US reiterated it would remain outside the treaty, European diplomats have said.

The future of the Kyoto Protocol has become central to efforts to negotiate reductions of carbon emissions under the UN's Framework Convention on Climate Change, whose annual meeting will take place in Durban, South Africa, from November 28 to December 9.

Developed countries signed the Kyoto Protocol in 1997. They agreed to legally binding commitments on curbing greenhouse gas emissions blamed for global warming.

Those pledges expire at the end of next year. Developing countries say a second round is essential to secure global agreements.

But the leaders of Russian, Japan and Canada confirmed they would not join a new Kyoto agreement, the diplomats said.

They argued that the Kyoto format did not require developing countries, including China, the world's No. 1 carbon emitter, to make targeted emission cuts.

At last Thursday's G8 dinner the US President, Barack Obama, confirmed Washington would not join an updated Kyoto Protocol, the diplomats said.

The US, the second-largest carbon emitter, signed the protocol in 1997 but in 2001 the then president, George W. Bush, said he would not put it to the Senate for ratification.


A warmer world would have more even temperatures -- with life flourishing even in what are now polar areas

One of the reasons we’ve never been troubled by the prospect of a less-cold world – a broader tropical belt with temperate zones to the poles just isn’t that frightening a prospect.

New research published in Science points to the significant role of oceans in ancient global cooling

Research led by Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute scientist finds evidence that early antarctic circumpolar current development impacted global climate

Troy, N.Y. – Thirty-eight million years ago, tropical jungles thrived in what are now the cornfields of the American Midwest and furry marsupials wandered temperate forests in what is now the frozen Antarctic. The temperature differences of that era, known as the late Eocene, between the equator and Antarctica were only half of what they are today. A debate has long been raging in the scientific community on what changes in our global climate system led to such a major shift from the more tropical, greenhouse climate of the Eocene to the modern and much cooler climates of today. (EurekAlert)


Global Warming Promoters’ Unsustainable Accusation Tactic


One of the main priorities for Anthropogenic Global Warming (AGW) promoters is to steer the general public away from hearing the skeptics’ side of the story. They’ve been amazingly successful so far, aided by legions of environmentalist bloggers. But these efforts require constant maintenance. When people notice contradictory elements and other details that don’t square up, tough questions start getting asked. Evasive answers or dead silence to those only speeds the erosion of credibility for the issue. If nobody can legitimately explain why skeptic scientists should be ignored, then the whole idea begins to erode uncontrollably.

Allow me to explain what led to my tough questioning. In the early ’70s when I was around nine years old, I saw a Greenland map and asked, “Why is it called Greenland? It’s all snowy.” I don’t recall who responded, but they knew of my Norwegian heritage and said, “Your Viking ancestor Eric the Red discovered it, but was a con man and lied about it being green.” It sounded plausible to me at the time.

In the mid ’70s during a school discussion of the then-current global cooling crisis, a classmate asked if I was concerned about advancing ice sheets. I replied, “No, I’m sure I can outrun a glacier.”

In the late ’80s, Al Gore declared we must fight global warming. “What happened to global cooling?!”, was my reaction. “No worry,” one of my relatives cautioned, “He’s wrong, there’s an article saying only one set of computer models shows the planet heating.”

On March 14, 2001, when the PBS NewsHour reported President Bush’s decision not to push CO2 regulation, I immediately wrote a congratulatory letter to him, while also suggesting his staff should find a 2000 copy of a PBS Nova/Frontline “What’s Up with the Weather?” program where global warming was significantly questioned (Speaking of missing sides of the story, it seems odd that the main PBS page for the program does not currently contain the above transcript link, or a complete video of the broadcast).

After watching that program’s reasonably balanced assessments of AGW, I became concerned about the PBS NewsHour‘s lack of skeptic scientists as guests counterbalancing AGW claims. When they aired a program on 8/15/05 about Seattle Mayor Nickels and other mayors agreeing on a need to take the initiative in reducing CO2 emissions, I promptly emailed Nickels’ office to ask why his Northwest climate ‘warming’ observations contradicted an apparent ‘cooling’ of the desert Southwest I was seeing, and then I asked why his assertions on current unprecedented global temperatures were contradicted by conclusions about the Medieval Warm Period being warmer.

The reply from his Office of Sustainability and Environment completely failed to address the contradictions.

I began asking various other politicians, policymakers, and internet forum posters what justified their pro-AGW positions, and invariably received the same answers: ‘the science was settled, don’t listen to skeptics, they’re paid by fossil fuel industries to confuse the public’. They never said how skeptics’ science assessments were wrong. I ignored the corruption accusations, wondering why they resorted to such a weak defense tactic.

In late October of 2009, while debating Society of Environmental Journalists board member Robert McClure at his blog, I was prompted to look deeper into the accusations. He said, “The first person to document widespread payments by industry to “skeptic” scientists, as far as I know, was journalist Ross Gelbspan in his book, circa 1997, “The Heat is On.” But it’s been documented since then, too.” Rather than simply take his word, I attempted to prove it myself.

I couldn’t find independent corroboration of the accusation. Instead, many journalists justified a lack of skeptic scientists interviews by saying there was no need to ‘apply equal balance to a settled issue’ – without ever saying how it was settled. More unnerving were multiple assertions that such interviews would constitute “laziness committed in the name of journalistic balance” that erodes media credibility and slows efforts to solve the AGW crisis.

These particular assertions invariably traced back to……………. Ross Gelbspan. (Including a rather strange recent twist on this, as I detailed at my May 9 American Thinker article, “Warmist Mantra Wearing Out“)

Only days after my debate with McClure, I saw how viral a specific accusation phrase was against skeptic scientists, best summarized by Al Gore in his 2006 “An Inconvenient Truth” movie’s companion book: “One of the internal memos prepared by this group to guide the employees they hired to run their disinformation campaign was discovered by the Pulitzer Prize-winning reporter Ross Gelbspan. Here was the group’s stated objective: to ‘reposition global warming as theory, rather than fact.’” In the movie itself, the “reposition global warming” phrase is shown full screen in capitalized red letters, receiving one of the two biggest applause responses in Gore’s presentation when the next screen compared it to old tobacco industry campaign attempts to portray science studies about smoking as inconclusive.

However, my initial November 2009 searches of that phrase immediately revealed contradictions to widespread assertions of Gelbspan as the first to expose it. More than sixteen months later, I’m finding a sea of red flags associated with the accusation, my most recent article at ClimateDepot describes a very troubling contradiction within Gore’s own assertion about Gelbspan finding the memos. In a nutshell, Gelbspan never won a Pulitzer, he didn’t discover the memos, they prove nothing when read in their full context…… and it turns out Gore received the memos long before Gelbspan.

New York Times writer David Brooks said on the 7/23/2010 NewsHour, “I guess the one thing that sort of frustrates me is that we have had a lot of information about global warming from Al Gore and many others. And, yet, while that has happened… support for a response to global warming has gone down.” Sorry, Mr Brooks, it was not ‘a lot’ of information, it was only one side of it.

So, here we are. No climate bills have any hope of passing in Congress, centrist pundits wonder why Senate Majority leader Harry Reid and President Obama are such ineffective environmental leaders, environmentalist bloggers strategize how to educate an ‘ignorant public’, and far-left zealots have nightmares about a burning planet while shivering through nasty cold snaps.

And here I am, yelling, “Stop! Are you insane? Nobody ever told how skeptic scientists’ criticisms were wrong, or proved their conclusions were outright fabrications created in coal and oil industry executive conference rooms!!”

Please join me. It should be a wild ride on a roller-coaster of imminent collapse, and despite all I’ve heard about the loyalty of the mainstream media to the cause, all these problems must smell like blood in the water to some of them………..


Fireworks now under Greenie attack

Fireworks shows are among thousands of events in San Diego each year that need environmental review under a Superior Court ruling on Friday.

What started as a battle over fireworks shows led to a sweeping legal victory Friday for environmentalists that could stymie a wide range of events needing city permits, from the Rock ’n’ Roll Marathon to birthday parties held at parks.

“According to the strictest interpretation of this, jumpy-jumps and everything else would be subject to environmental review if this ruling stands,” said lawyer Robert Howard, who represented the La Jolla Community Fireworks Foundation in the case. “It’s a breathtaking ruling.”

Superior Court Judge Linda Quinn said La Jolla’s annual Fourth of July fireworks show requires evaluation under the California Environmental Quality Act, or CEQA.

The case, filed by the Coastal Environmental Rights Foundation in Encinitas, targeted San Diego’s approval of the La Jolla event but eventually drew in a broad swath of city permits. San Diego officials said they issue about 400 special-events permits annually, along with up to 20,000 park-use permits for smaller-scale gatherings — most of which would now need environmental assessment.

“San Diego issues thousands of these simple park-use permits over the counter with the only consideration being space, just as other cities do across the state,” said City Attorney Jan Goldsmith. “Existing law has never been interpreted to require a CEQA review for this. ... This decision opens the door to absurd results. This is the reason appellate courts exist and we plan to ask for their help.”

Even before the judge’s ruling was finalized, Chula Vista officials on Thursday pulled the plug on their July Fourth show in the face of funding shortfalls and environmental challenges.

The future of La Jolla’s event was fuzzy Friday. Organizers likely can’t complete the time-intensive and costly CEQA analysis by July 4, but Howard said he would ask the court to allow this year’s event while the case is appealed.

City Councilwoman Sherri Lightner, whose district includes La Jolla, said she hoped to find a solution. “We have to strike a balance that protects the environment but also allows our finest traditions to continue,” she said.

On Tuesday, the City Council ratified a long-standing city policy of exempting fireworks shows from special-events permits unless food or alcohol is sold. It was an attempt to shield pyrotechnics from environmental challenges, but Friday’s decision means CEQA still applies.

Environmental impact reports can take a year and cost tens of thousands of dollars.

“Does that mean every event has to get a full environmental impact report? No, but it means that the city has to undertake the burden and applicants have to undertake the cost” of a lower-level CEQA analysis, Howard said.

He said some “events” such as temporary Christmas tree stands have existing exemptions under the law, but many others don’t.

Alex Roth, a spokesman for Mayor Jerry Sanders, framed the suit as part of a “bizarre crusade to stop fireworks.”

“What’s next, a lawsuit against swimmers for polluting the ocean with their suntan lotion?” Roth said.


Leftist Australian politicians in rush to defend coal seam gas from Greenie attacks

POLITICIANS have rushed to defend the coal seam gas industry despite more controversy surrounding it this week.

In a show of support for an industry whose image was dented by another gas leak near Dalby on Monday, the Prime Minister, Julia Gillard, and the Queensland Premier, Anna Bligh, travelled to Gladstone yesterday to launch construction on Santos's Curtis Island LNG processing plant.

The $16 billion project is due to deliver its first gas in 2015. Ms Bligh said the environmental approvals had been the "most rigorous" in Australian history.

Environmental groups have complained that approvals for coal seam gas projects - most of which are in Queensland and NSW - have been progressing too quickly, and a moratorium should be placed on further approvals until more is known about the controversial fracking technique.

Fracking involves the pumping of high pressure water and chemicals underground to release gas stores.

As the Gladstone launch was under way, the Queensland Treasurer, Andrew Fraser, was also selling the case for the coal seam gas sector. "This isn't something that's happened in the last one or two years. This is not some wild experiment," Mr Fraser said.

Farming groups have expressed outrage that energy companies have the right to enter private property to explore for coal seam gas, but Mr Fraser said not all farmers were opposed.

"There's plenty of farmers who are quite happy they've got a second string to their income," he said.



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John A said...

"The US, the second-largest carbon emitter, signed the protocol in 1997 but in 2001 the then president, George W. Bush, said he would not put it to the Senate for ratification.

The AFP ending sentence is outrageous, and its inclusion by nearly the entire MSM, especially here in the US, without even a murmur possibly worse.

The "US" never signed Kyoto: Vice President Gore did, apparently without consultation, and even before he got back to the country with it for ratification the Senate had unanimously voted to reject it so President Clinton never sent it to Congress. Later, President Bush also saw no point in doing so. Especially since the US, unlke most of the signatory countries, had not only met but actually exceeded the CO2 cuts called for by Kyoto, which is still true some years later.

Joseph said...

I have a theory about why the same people would be authoritarian in one direction and oppose "hierarchical" ideas in the other.

The heirs of the "New Left" do not believe in individuals. I don't mean that they distrust individuals the way an authoritarian conservative would; I mean they do not believe individuals can come up with anything on their own. This theory leads to the following conclusion: If someone is not going along with a group (The People) then he/she must be following another group (The Establishment).

According to this view, classical liberalism (which defended individual rights against The Establishment) must have been about strengthening the right of The People to tell individuals what to do. Anyone opposed to that obviously would have opposed the American Revolution and the abolitionists. (This explains why modern liberals---who think of themselves as nonconformists---are so eager to claim to be mainstream.)

If The People agree with The Establishment they are not acting in accordance with their true nature and can be disregarded. If 90% of The People believe in family values, the work ethic, religion, etc. (Establishment values) and 10% don't, the 10% are the real mainstream of The People. (Authoritarian conservatives think that "nonconformists" are trying to be nonconformists. They're not. They're trying to be their type of conformist.)