Thursday, April 03, 2014

How the Global Warming Scare Began

With John Coleman

Climate Anxious Children - can parents, and caring teachers, help correct the harm done by climate alarm materials?‏

"Collectively, anxiety conditions are the most common mental disorders in children. Moreover, they often persist throughout life, causing significant distress and interfering significantly with social life and achievement both during the child’s formative years and later in adulthood."

The quote is from a mental health researcher, Kathy Griffiths

There is considerable evidence that many children suffer from anxiety about climate change.  The plausibility of that seems obvious given the dreadful materials, in books , websites, and curricula aimed at children, and in some cases aimed at scaring them into being political activists.

Who will help children cope with climate alarmism, and help protect them from those who, wittingly or otherwise, are acting as recruiting sergeants?

The best candidates are surely their parents, aided whenever possible by sympathetic teachers.

The pioneering book Facts, Not Fear by Sanera and Shaw, shows how easy it is to de-fuse so many eco-alarms, not just the climate one.  Their approach is simply one of helping children see the bigger picture, and not the narrow-minded, highly-selective view pushed at them by propagandists.

I stumbled across an illustration of this today, on the blog of a teacher in London.  His post is entitled

How Not to Teach Climate Change.  Here is an extract from it:

'Last week I substitute-taught a Year 5 class that was learning about climate change. One of our pre-planned activities was to continue making posters about “good gases and bad gases”. I immediately noted that every student had slapped carbon dioxide (CO2) in the “bad gas” column.

I quizzed the class, and discovered that they had been taught the following line of thinking.

 *   Carbon dioxide is a harmful and poisonous gas.

 *   Nearly all daily human activity – turning on lights, jumping in a car, using an electrical device etc. – creates carbon dioxide.

They had no idea of the following:

* Carbon Dioxide (CO2) is a natural constituent of the atmosphere…

* Carbon dioxide is by far the most important (organic compound) for the sustainability of the biosphere (the whole of life on Earth).

* Without CO2 the life of photosynthetic organisms and animals would be impossible, given that CO2 provides the basis for the synthesis of organic compounds that provide nutrients for plants and animals.

Just think about that for a second.  Imagine you’re a naive child, and your teacher tells you that your every daily action creates poisonous gases that destroy the planet.

I was shocked, and quickly set the record straight by informing them that CO2 is actually essential for life on earth; it feeds plants, and it is a crucial ingredient in their, and in every other living creature’s, bodies. I added that scientists think it may be warming up our planet, but they’re still not 100% sure.*

These facts came much to their surprise and relief. '

[It was from his post that I obtained the link to the mental healthcare quote which I used earlier]

See how easy it was!  Here is a man who has compassion for the children, and enough knowledge to realise very quickly what a dangerously limited view they have of CO2.  A few simple facts seem to have helped dispel at least some of their fear.  Well done that man!

This is one of the kinds of intervention suggested by Sanera and Shaw, and it seems to me that it could be accomplished by parents as well.  But first, those parents need to get themselves reasonably well-informed.  They will need to look beyond biased-outlets such as the BBC or most of the rest of the mass media, such as the UK's Guardian or Independent newspapers.

A discussion-group that met regularly could invite expert speakers, and do online research to gather scientific results and informed opinions on any issue.

Has your child been told that a polar bear will die unless you switch off your lights and stop using the car so often?  It won't take long to discover that the bears are doing quite well, and that nothing extraordinary has been happening to Arctic sea ice, which has long been known to be highly variable.

Or that rising seas will swamp their coastal cities?  A quick check should show that there has been no great acceleration of the slow rise in sea levels which has been going on long before our CO2 could have had an impact, and that the plausible projected levels this century will readily be coped with.

It is not hard, but some persistence is required to sift through the torrents of alarmist-conformism that will be encountered.


Dealing with Climate Change: Prevention vs Adaptation

Suppose you believe, as many people do, that climate change due to anthropogenic CO2 is a serious problem. There are two different ways you might try to deal with it. One is by trying to keep it from happening, or at least to slow it. The other is by adapting to it. There are at least two respects in which the latter approach is superior to the former.

The first is that it avoids the public good problem. If the U.S. switches to more expensive sources of power in order to hold down CO2 output, any  benefit from reduced warming is shared with the rest of the world. It is unlikely to happen unless either the benefit is so much larger than the cost that it is worth doing for the U.S. share alone or many countries manage to coordinate their policies, despite the obvious temptation for each to free ride on the efforts of the others. Neither is impossible, both are difficult.

Adaptation does not face that problem. If Bangladesh deals with sea level rise by diking its coast, the benefit goes to Bangladesh, not to the U.S. or China. If a farmer deals with an increase in temperature by shifting to a crop better suited to the new conditions, he gets the benefit.

The second advantage of adaptation is that it affects only the negative consequences of climate change. While the public discussion often obscures the fact, there are positive consequences as well—indeed, it is not clear that the net effect is negative, especially at low levels of warming. Milder winters are, on the whole, a good thing. So are longer growing seasons. So is an expansion of the habitable area of the northern hemisphere, due to temperature contours shifting north. A reduction in warming eliminates the good consequences as well as the bad. Adaptation can target only the bad consequences.

Neither of these proves that adaptation is superior—that depends on the costs of adaptation, the costs imposed by warming, the benefits imposed by warming, the costs of reducing warming. But both are arguments in favor of adaptation.


Ukraine Crisis: Angela Merkel To Reconsider German ‘Energy Policy As A Whole’

Current tensions with Russia over Ukraine have turned the spotlight on Germany’s heavy dependence on Russian gas and are pushing Europe’s biggest economy to reconsider its entire energy policy.

It is currently Germany’s aim to be able to meet as much as 80 percent of its energy needs from renewable sources such as wind and solar power by 2050.

The country is also committed to phasing out nuclear power completely over the next decade or so.

And gas — 35 percent of which Germany imports from Russia — should act as a good stop-gap until the country’s renewable capacity is fully in place.

But with the crisis over Ukraine and the threat of a tit-for-tat battle of sanctions, Germany may have to reconsider its energy policy.

Some, like the environmentalist Greens party, insist the country should step up its renewable drive while others insist that alternative sources of gas must be found.

Last week, Chancellor Angela Merkel said the Ukraine crisis would lead to “a new look at energy policy as a whole.”

Some people have interpreted this seemingly anodyne remark as a hidden call to reconsider Germany’s plans and targets for the energy transformation, formulated by Merkel herself three years ago.

Others suggest that the remarks — made in the presence of Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper — could herald an about-face on the highly controversial technology of fracking.


The Ministry Of Truth Orders Crackdown On Climate Sceptics

Ministers who question the majority view among scientists about climate change should “shut up” and instead repeat the Government line on the issue, according to MPs.

The BBC should also give less airtime to climate sceptics and its editors should seek special clearance to interview them, according to the Commons Science and Technology Committee. Andrew Miller, the committee’s Labour chairman, said that appearances on radio and television by climate sceptics such as Lord Lawson of Blaby, the former Chancellor of the Exchequer, should be accompanied by “health warnings”.

Mr Miller likened climate sceptics to the Monster Raving Loony Party and said that the BBC should limit interviews with them just as it restricted the coverage it gave to fringe political parties.

In a report published today, the committee criticises the BBC’s coverage of climate change, saying that its news programmes “continue to make mistakes in their coverage of climate science by giving opinions and scientific fact the same weight”.

The MPs say that the BBC should apply the same “stringent requirements” to interviewing climate sceptics as it applies to interviewing politicians. “For example, any proposal to invite politicians to contribute to non-political output must be referred to the Chief Adviser Politics. The BBC could benefit from applying a similarly stringent approach when interviewing non- experts on controversial scientific topics such as climate change,” the committee says.

Speaking to The Times, Mr Miller added that when Lord Lawson appeared, the BBC should make clear that his think-tank, the Global Warming Policy Foundation, questioned the conclusions of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. “At the very least, put a caption at the bottom of the screen: ‘the Global Warming Policy Foundation’s views are not accepted by 97 per cent of scientists’,” he said.

The committee’s report says that the Government is “failing to clearly and effectively communicate climate science to the public”. It concludes: “All Ministers should acquaint themselves with the science of climate change and then they, and their Departments, should reflect the Government approach in person, in media interviews and online by a presenting a clear and consistent message.”

Mr Miller named Owen Paterson, the Environment Secretary, as one of the ministers he believed had deviated from the Government line on climate change. Mr Paterson reportedly told a fringe meeting at the Conservative Party conference last year: “People get very emotional about this subject and I think we should just accept that the climate has been changing for centuries.”

Mr Miller said: “There are dissenting voices inside the Government machine . . . Frankly, the role of a minister is either to accept collective responsibility or shut up or leave. Climate change is such a hugely important public policy issue and therefore to have inconsistency from within Government is extremely dangerous territory.”

He said it was not acceptable to have “ministers who are not prepared to line up beside No 10 and say ‘yes, I accept climate change is real, we must do something about it’ .” He added: “Paterson is one example — he is ducking and diving on this.”

The committee also criticises the Daily Mail and The Daily Telegraphfor placing “heavy reliance . . . on the ability of their readers to distinguish between fact and opinion on climate science”.

Responding to Mr Miller’s comments, Lord Lawson said: “I think it is appalling that a member of the House of Commons should want to shut down debate on this issue.”

A BBC spokesman said: “The BBC does its utmost to report on this complex subject as clearly as possible using our specialist journalists. While the vast bulk of our interviews are with climate scientists, as part of our commitment to impartiality it is important that dissenting voices are also heard.”


Buried in UN Report: $100 Billion More Needed to Adapt to ‘Global Warming’

 The United Nation’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s (IPCC) latest report estimates it will cost developed nations an additional $100 billion each year to help poorer countries adapt to the devastating effects of “unequivocal” global warming, including food shortages, infrastructure breakdown, and civil violence.

But that figure was deleted from the report’s executive summary after industrialized nations, including the United States, objected to the high price tag. (See IPCC Summary.pdf)

“The $100 billion figure, though included in the 2,500-page main report, was removed from a 48-page executive summary to be read by the world’s top political leaders,” the New York Times reported. “It was among the most significant changes made as the summary underwent final review during a dayslong editing session in Yokohama [Japan]” where it was released Monday.

The final figure is likely to be much higher, according to Chapter 17 (“Economics of Adaptation”) of the full IPCC report, entitled Climate Change 2014: Impacts, Adaptation, and Vulnerability, which notes that “there is strong evidence of important omissions and shortcomings in data and methods rendering these estimates highly preliminary.”

The report goes on to say that the cost of adapting to global warming will most likely be far greater than the $1 billion a day spent to prevent it in 2012 by government and private entities worldwide.

“Comparison of the global cost estimates with the current level of adaptation funding shows the projected global needs to be orders of magnitude greater than the current investment levels, particularly in developing countries,” the IPCC report stated.

Noting that there are “biophysical limits to adaptation” to climate change, including “the inability to restore outdoor comfort under high temperatures,” the report adds that “the desirability of adaptation options will vary with time and climate change realization.”

But the adverse affects of global warming will be felt by everyone, the UN panel claims.

“Nobody on this planet is going to be untouched by the impacts of climate change,” IPCC chairman Rajendra Pachauri said at a press conference Monday in Yokohama, where the panel’s latest report was released. “Without reductions in emissions,” he warned, the impacts of global warming “could get out of control.”

“With high levels of warming that result from continued growth in greenhouse gas emissions, risks will be challenging to manage, and even serious, sustained investments in adaptation will face limits,” said Chris Field, co-chair of the panel’s Working Group II, which predicted that “by 2100 for the high-emission scenario, the combination of high temperature and humidity in some areas for parts of the year is projected to compromise normal human activities, including growing food or working outdoors.”

Global warming will also “indirectly increase risks of violent conflicts in the form of civil war and inter-group violence by amplifying well-documented drivers of these conflicts such as poverty and economic shocks,” the report maintains.

However, the IPCC’s ability to correctly predict future climactic conditions based on computer modeling is coming under increasing fire by scientists because of its inability to do so in the past.

For example, the panel’s widely-cited 2007 report, which was edited by Pachauri, predicted that Himalayan glaciers were in danger of disappearing by 2035 due to global warming. Pachauri's panel shared the Nobel Peace Prize with Al Gore that year, but he was forced to walk back the prediction in 2010, referring to the blunder as a “human error.”

And despite the panel’s insistence that the Earth is getting hotter, five different datasets show that there’s been no observable warming for 17 ½ years even as carbon dioxide levels have risen 12 percent, notes Christopher Monckton, who says “the discrepancy between prediction and observation continues to grow.”

On Monday, the same day the IPCC report was released, the Nongovernmental International Panel on Climate Change (NIPCC), whose membership includes 31,000 American scientists, released a paper that sharply contradicted the IPCC report and pointed out that a warmer Earth would actually be a good thing.

The report concluded:

“Atmospheric carbon dioxide is not a pollutant;  The ongoing rise in the air’s CO2 content is causing a great greening of the Earth;

There is little or no risk of increasing food insecurity due to global warming or rising atmospheric CO2 levels;

Terrestrial ecosystems have thrived throughout the world as a result of warming temperatures and rising levels of atmospheric CO2;

Rising temperatures and atmospheric CO2 levels do not pose a significant threat to aquatic life; and

A modest warming of the planet will result in a net reduction of human mortality from temperature-related events.”

On Feb. 25th, former Greenpeace founder Patrick Moore also testified before the Senate Environmental and Public Works Subcommittee on Oversight, telling members of Congress that contrary to the IPCC’s findings,“it is ‘extremely likely’ that a warmer temperature than today’s would be far better than a cooler one.”

“Today, we live in an unusually cold period in the history of life on earth and there is no reason to believe that a warmer climate would be anything but beneficial for humans and the majority of other species.” Moore testified.

On the contrary,  he added, “there is ample reason to believe that a sharp cooling of the climate would bring disastrous results for human civilization."



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