Friday, March 08, 2019

Making Sense of Climate Science Denial

Above is the headline of an hilarious new "course" being run out of the University of Queensland, about a 15 minutes drive from where I live.  The mover and shaker of it appears to be the famous "Mr 97%", John Cook, the cooker of books.

The "course" purports to prove the truth of imminent catastrophic  global warming and to explain why there are some deranged people who don't accept the "truth" of it.

But the very first words in the introduction to the course are a lie.  We read:

"In public discussions, climate change is a highly controversial topic. However, in the scientific community, there is little controversy with 97% of climate scientists concluding humans are causing global warming."

That contrasts with the fact that Cook's own research showed  that less than ONE THIRD (not 97%) of climate scientists endorsed global warming.  Here are the words from the originating paper:

"We find that 66.4% of abstracts expressed no position on AGW, 32.6% endorsed AGW"

So in a great green feat of magic, 32.6% has become 97%.

And it gets worse than that.  Cook et al. did a second study where they mailed out questionnaires  to climate scientists asking if they agreed with global warming.  Only 14% replied!  So that time they could not even get up to 32.6% agreement. They got only 14%. A full 86% declined to say that they agreed with global warming.  That 97% swam even further away the second time around!

I pity anyone who takes this absurd "course".  The prospectus for it is here.

Europe's Populist Right Threatens to Erode Climate Consensus

Europe’s consensus in favor of curbing greenhouse gas emissions is weakening due to rising support for right-wing populists, many of whom cast doubt over whether people bear the responsibility for climate change.

Those were the conclusions of environmental-policy researchers at Adelphi, who found that 21 right-wing populist parties across Europe either overtly deny or cast doubt on scientific agreement that human activity is behind global warming. The analysis, published Tuesday by the Berlin-based policy researcher, underscores the challenge climate advocates face entering European Union elections in May, which could challenge the durability of the bloc’s goals amid broad social and economic uncertainty.

“Most of the narratives used to counter climate and energy policies are fundamentally rooted in economic or social justice grievances,” according to the report’s authors Stella Schaller and Alexander Carius. “Climate action is perceived as an elitist issue.”

Support for right-wing populists looks set to surge in May’s European elections, with parties like Italy’s Northern League and Poland’s Law and Justice likely to gain seats at the expense of established parties. As the majority of right-wing populists line up against EU climate and energy proposals, political barriers against climate policies will likely grow, the report found.

The European Parliament has a key role in shaping climate rules in the EU. Together with member states, it has the power to approve or reject legislation proposed by the European Commission. The final composition of EU laws is negotiated between those three institutions.

The researchers wrote that the populist wave poses “the danger that centrist parties will pander to climate-skeptic priorities or nationalist rhetoric, and shift from progressive to reactionary positions.”

Shrinking Climate Consensus

The percentage of European members of parliament voting in favor of climate and renewable energy policies will probably shrink further after elections in May.

There are already signs that the right-wing wave has blunted attempts to introduce environmentally-friendly policies, with Germany’s coal commission delaying the country’s exit from burning the dirtiest fossil fuel. That’s in part due to concerns about job losses in the Lausitz region of Saxony, where the AfD is catching up to more established parties ahead of September elections.

The AfD in its 2017 federal election program wrote that carbon dioxide “is not a pollutant, but an indispensable component of all life,” adding that “the International Panel on Climate Change and the German government are suppressing the positive effects of CO2 on plant growth and thus global nutrition.”

The researchers found the AfD and the United Kingdom Independence Party were the most active in objecting to environment legislation, with climate change denial “a key feature” of both parties’ profiles. Only two right-wing parties explicitly support the consensus on climate change -- Hungary’s Fidesz and the extreme-right Latvian National Alliance.


Using 'eco-friendly' products will NOT make up for mankind's environmentally damaging habits

Environmentally conscious individuals who purchase eco-friendly items in a bid to cancel out their negative impact on the planet are damaging the natural world even more.

That is the claim from a study which found the guilt we feel about our carbon footprint forces people to pursue quick fixes in a bid to balance out their actions.

People use mental 'rules of thumb' in the hope the good outweighs the bad.

It found that buying products labelled as 'environmentally friendly' are actually further damaging the environment - not fixing it. 

'People intuitively think the environmental burden of a hamburger and an organic apple in combination is lower than the environmental burden of the hamburger alone - or that the total emissions of a car pool remain the same when hybrid cars are added to the pool,' says Study leader Professor Patrik Sorqvist, an environmental psychologist at Gavle University in Sweden.

This leads people to pursue misguided quick fixes to get over eco-guilt.

'People might purchase some extra groceries because they are 'eco-labelled'; think that they can justify jetting abroad for vacation because they have been cycling to work; or take longer showers because they've reduced the water temperature.

'And companies - nations, even - claim to balance greenhouse gas emissions by planting trees or by paying for carbon offsets through the European Union Emission Trading Scheme.

'Meanwhile, the best thing for the environment would of course be for us to consume less overall,' stresses Professor Sörqvist.

'Terms like 'eco-friendly' or 'green' encourage the view that objects, behaviours and decisions with these labels are 'good' rather than 'less bad' for the environment,' says co-author Dr Linda Langeborg, also of the University of Gävle.

'Calling a hamburger restaurant '100 per cent climate compensated', for example, may deceive people into believing that eating dinner at that restaurant has no environmental burden.

'Instead, we should give consumers immediate feedback on how much 'eco-labeled' and other products add to the environmental impact of what they are buying. For example, self-scanning systems in supermarkets could provide customers with an accumulated carbon footprint estimate of their shopping basket,' suggests Dr Langeborg. 

The team of researchers developed a theory that shows best intentions are counter-productive when it comes to nature. It suggests humans treat our relationship with the natural world like a 'social exchange' - making us see environmentally friendly behaviour as compensatory.

Professor Sorqvist likened it to the way we try to smooth things over after disputes with our friends and family. He said: 'Reciprocity and balance in social relations have been fundamental to social cooperation - and thus to survival.

'So the human brain has become specialised through natural selection to compute and seek this balance.

'But when applied to climate change this social give-and-take thinking leads to the misconception that 'green' choices can compensate for unsustainable ones.'

The study published in Frontiers in Psychology said it would be impossible to mentally account for the environmental impact of all of our actions.

So we use mental 'rules of thumb' to track our green footprint - and seek out eco-friendly products to make up for any damage we may have done.

Professor Sorqvist said: 'Jetting to the Caribbean will make you a huge environmental burden - no matter how many meat free Mondays you have.'

When eco-friendly items are incorporated with conventional ones people often assume the overall product is helpful.

Professor Sorqvist said: 'For instance, some groups have found people intuitively think the environmental burden of a hamburger and an organic apple in combination is lower than the hamburger alone - or the total emissions of a car pool remain the same when hybrid cars are added.'

The researchers say stricter legislation of marketing devices and a carbon footprint label for products would be a better way to guide consumer behaviour.

Dr Langeborg said: 'Terms like 'eco-friendly' or 'green' encourage the view objects, behaviours and decisions with these labels are 'good' rather than 'less bad' for the environment.

'Instead we should give consumers immediate feedback on how much 'eco-labeled' and other products add to the environmental impact of what they are buying.

'For example, self-scanning systems in supermarkets could provide customers with an accumulated carbon footprint estimate of their shopping basket.'


Our Planet Is Not Fragile

Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez claims that "the world is going to end in 12 years if we don't address climate change." The people at the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change agree, saying that to avoid some of the most devastating impacts of climate change, the world must slash carbon emissions by 45 percent by 2030 and completely decarbonize by 2050.

Such dire warnings are not new. In 1970, Harvard University biology professor George Wald, a Nobel laureate, predicted, "Civilization will end within 15 or 30 years unless immediate action is taken against problems facing mankind." Also in 1970, Paul Ehrlich, a Stanford University biologist, predicted in an article for The Progressive, "The death rate will increase until at least 100-200 million people per year will be starving to death during the next ten years." The year before, he had warned, "If I were a gambler, I would take even money that England will not exist in the year 2000." Despite such harebrained predictions, Ehrlich has won no fewer than 16 awards, including the 1990 Crafoord Prize, the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences' highest award.

Leftists constantly preach such nonsense as "The world that we live in is beautiful but fragile." "The 3rd rock from the sun is a fragile oasis." "Remember that Earth needs to be saved every single day." These and many other statements, along with apocalyptic predictions, are stock in trade for environmentalists. Worse yet, this fragile-earth indoctrination is fed to the nation's youth from kindergarten through college. That's why many millennials support Rep. Ocasio-Cortez.

Let's examine just a few cataclysmic events that exceed any destructive power of mankind and then ask how our purportedly fragile planet could survive. The 1883 eruption of the Krakatoa volcano, in present-day Indonesia, had the force of 200 megatons of TNT. That's the equivalent of 13,300 15-kiloton atomic bombs, the kind that destroyed Hiroshima in World War II. Before that was the 1815 Tambora eruption, the largest known volcanic eruption. It spewed so much debris into the atmosphere that 1816 became known as the "Year Without a Summer." It led to crop failures and livestock death in the Northern Hemisphere, producing the worst famine of the 19th century. The A.D. 535 Krakatoa eruption had such force that it blotted out much of the light and heat of the sun for 18 months and is said to have led to the Dark Ages. Geophysicists estimate that just three volcanic eruptions — Indonesia (1883), Alaska (1912) and Iceland (1947) — spewed more carbon dioxide and sulfur dioxide into the atmosphere than all of mankind's activities during our entire history.

Our so-called fragile earth survived other catastrophic events, such as the floods in China in 1887, which took an estimated 1 million to 2 million lives, followed by floods there in 1931, which took an estimated 1 million to 4 million lives. What about the impact of earthquakes on our fragile earth? Chile's 1960 Valdivia earthquake was 9.5 on the Richter scale. It created a force equivalent to 1,000 atomic bombs going off at the same time. The deadly 1556 earthquake in China's Shaanxi province devastated an area of 520 miles.

Our so-called fragile earth faces outer space terror. Two billion years ago, an asteroid hit earth, creating the Vredefort crater in South Africa, which has a diameter of 190 miles. In Ontario, there's the Sudbury Basin, resulting from a meteor strike 1.8 billion years ago. At 39 miles long, 19 miles wide and 9 miles deep, it's the second-largest impact structure on earth. Virginia's Chesapeake Bay crater is a bit smaller, about 53 miles wide. Then there's the famous but puny Meteor Crater in Arizona, which is not even a mile wide.

My question is: Which of these powers of nature could be duplicated by mankind? For example, could mankind even come close to duplicating the polluting effects of the 1815 Tambora volcanic eruption? It is the height of arrogance to think that mankind can make significant parametric changes in the earth or can match nature's destructive forces. Our planet is not fragile.

Occasionally, environmentalists spill the beans and reveal their true agenda. Barry Commoner said, "Capitalism is the earth's number one enemy." Amherst College professor Leo Marx said, "On ecological grounds, the case for world government is beyond argument."


The 'misleading' oil spill map shared by environmental activists which could cost Australia 5,000 jobs and billions of dollars

A map showing the predicted result of 100 different oil spills at once has been hijacked by environmental activists in a bid to shut down a new drilling which could bring billions of dollars and thousands of jobs to Australia. 

Last month Norwegian oil company Equinor publicly released its plans for exploratory oil drilling 370 kilometres off the South Australian coast.

The company calculated which areas could be affected in 100 different scenarios of an oil spill left unattended for 129 days.

A map in the plans details the amalgamation of all these areas, showing that anywhere along the length of the south coast and up the east coast as far as Sydney may be affected by a spill.

The map was shared by Greenpeace and other environmental activists in a bid to drum up support for stopping the project.

The group tweeted the map with the caption: 'BREAKING: Oil giant Equinor has released its so-called 'Environmental Plan' for oil drilling in the Great Australian Bight. 'This map from Equinor's own prior modelling shows a spill could hit anywhere from SA to NSW.'

This week a right-wing think tank slammed the protesters, insisting they are misleading the public by sharing the map. Fred Pawle of the Menzies Research Centre wrote an article in the Spectator calling the map an 'illusion'.

He said: 'The response from the perpetually outraged has been to misinterpret a map of the area that would be affected by a spill, share it extensively on social media and invite people to send their objections.

'The illustration looks scary but thankfully it is an illusion,' he added, pointing out that the map did not show one spill but 'areas that could be affected by any one of 100 scenarios.'

Pawle went on to back the drilling project, citing research that oil in the Bight could produce up to six billion barrels by 2060 and create up to 5,000 jobs in Australia. He said this activity would 'increase Australia's GDP by $6billion to $19billion per year.'

Equinor, which has two permits for exploratory drilling in the Bight, outlined plans to start a large testing operation as early as late 2019.

Drilling the Bight is not new - 13 wells have been drilled since 1972, the most recent in 2006.

But activists are outraged about the prospect of a new project, especially after the Deep Water Horizon disaster in the Gulf of Mexico in 2010 which pumped 3.19 million barrels of oil into the ocean, killing 10 people and thousands of animals in the world's worst oil spill which had a clean up bill of $25billion.

Greenpeace released a statement outlining which animals could be under threat from an oil spill in the region. It read: 'The bight's waters hold 36 species of whales and dolphins, including the world's most important southern right whale nursery, and many humpback, sperm, blue and beak whales.

'Australian sea lions swim freely throughout the Bight, one of the only places in the world they can be found in large communities… Imagine a place so unique that over three-quarters of the species living there existed nowhere else on the planet. That's the Bight.'

It encouraged activists to send objections to the National Offshore Petroleum Safety and Environmental Management Authority, which is assessing Equinor's application.

Several other groups have also been protesting against the plan, including a group of surfers headed by Aussie legend Mick Fanning who wrote an open letter.

It read: 'Formal plans have been lodged to turn the Great Australian Bight into a deep water oil field. The drilling, planned by Norwegian oil giant Equinor for later this year, would be deep, remote and risky. If it failed, Equinor's own spill modelling shows the potential for oil on beaches across thousands of kilometres.

'An oil spill in the Bight would be catastrophic, and the southern coastline of Australia would never be the same. The Bight is wild and pristine and should remain that way.

'The surfers below stand with the coastal communities of the Bight and beyond and call for the Great Australian Bight to be kept free from all deep water oil drilling.'

Equinor has insisted that 'drilling can be done safely'.

But opponents point out that the 2km depth of the ocean - 750m deeper than the Gulf of Mexico - and notoriously stormy conditions make the project potentially extremely dangerous.

These factors, as well as 'economic reasons' led BP to abandon plans to drill in the Bight in 2013.



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.  

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