Monday, September 09, 2019

The Misogyny of Climate Deniers (?)

The article below draws heavily on work by Chalmers university figures so I was interested to find out a bit about the quality of the thinking of people who think that climate skeptics are nuts. The article is from TNR so is solidly Leftist.

It starts out with a huge diatribe against critics of Greta Thunberg, the autistic Swedish teenager who has become a sort of oracle to many on the Left.  Conservatives do not at all understand the devotion to Thunberg.  She appears to know nothing about climate science or much else so why has she made such an impression?

The answer is simple.  It is an example of the desperate Leftist search for alternatives to conventional Western wisdom. As part of that search, primitive religions are often glorified by the Left as some sort of alternative revelation to Christianity -- culminating in the risible reverence for the fictional Chief Seattle. Thunberg is just another example of claiming to find  wisdom that is outside conventional sources.

Anyway, the author below, Martin Gelin, is outraged at the mockery his Leftist goddess has attracted from the more rational end of the population and concludes that it can only be explained as the result of "misogyny".  That it might result from her being off her noggin, he does not consider.

I do not reproduce that part of his article below.  I start with his coverage of research from the Chalmers fraternity.

It is pathetic research.  Initially below Gelin refers to a paper by Anshelm and Hultman.  But that paper is based on a content analysis of speech in a focus group.  So what is wrong with that?  Just about everything. I have in my own research career worked with content analysis so know where the skeletons are buried.  The basic truth of content analysis is that it is highly subjective.

You can take all sorts of precautions to impose some degree of objectivity on your analyses but you are always up against the fact that different auditors will hear different things in the speech concerned.  And where the auditors have preconceived notions and theories about what is there, you will almost always confirm those notions and theories.  And since the Chalmers people clearly did have adverse opinions of skeptics, it was foreordained that they would find that skeptics are a bad lot.

Had they been even a pale mockery of scientists, content analysis is exactly the research method the Chalmers crew would have avoided -- on the grounds that their known biases would render their work worthless.  There are research methods -- such as Likert scales -- that are inherently less likely to be biased by  preconceptions and it is those methods which they should have used if they wanted any degree of scientific respectibilty

The second paper our TNR guy refers to is not paper at all.  It is a book chapter and not even an abstract of it is available  online. There is however a review of it here and from the review it would appear to be a work of theory only.

The final paper that our TNR guy refers to is one headed: "Men Resist Green Behavior as Unmanly"

Probably because it is.  It is emotional rather than logical.

Feminists routinely claim that the environment is a feminist issue.  There's a whole Wikipedia article on it.  So for the authors to have shown anything new, they would have to have established that there was no prior polarization between the sexes on environmental issues.  They did not do that, probably because they could not.

But describing something as feminine is a long way from condemning it.  It is a long way from misogyny.  A lot of men really like women.  I am one.

So on all grounds the accusation that climate skeptics are misogynists falls flat for lack of evidence.

In 2014, Jonas Anshelm and Martin Hultman of Chalmers published a paper analyzing the language of a focus group of climate skeptics. The common themes in the group, they said, were striking: “for climate skeptics … it was not the environment that was threatened, it was a certain kind of modern industrial society built and dominated by their form of masculinity.”

The connection has to do with a sense of group identity under threat, Hultman told me—an identity they perceive to be under threat from all sides. Besieged, as they see it, both by developing gender equality—Hultman pointed specifically to the shock some men felt at the #MeToo movement—and now climate activism’s challenge to their way of life, male reactionaries motivated by right-wing nationalism, anti-feminism, and climate denialism increasingly overlap, the three reactions feeding off of one another.

“There is a package of values and behaviors connected to a form of masculinity that I call ‘industrial breadwinner masculinity.’ They see the world as separated between humans and nature. They believe humans are obliged to use nature and its resources to make products out of them. And they have a risk perception that nature will tolerate all types of waste. It’s a risk perception that doesn’t think of nature as vulnerable and as something that is possible to be destroyed. For them, economic growth is more important than the environment” Hultman told Deutsche Welle last year.

The corollary to this is that climate science, for skeptics, becomes feminized—or viewed as “oppositional to assumed entitlements of masculine primacy,” Hultman and fellow researcher Paul Pulé wrote in another paper.

These findings align with similar ones in the United States, where there is a massive gender gap in views on climate change, and many men perceive climate activism as inherently feminine, according to research published in 2017. “In one experiment, participants of both sexes described an individual who brought a reusable canvas bag to the grocery store as more feminine than someone who used a plastic bag—regardless of whether the shopper was a male or female,” marketing professors Aaron R. Brough and James E.B. Wilkie explained at Scientific American. “In another experiment, participants perceived themselves to be more feminine after recalling a time when they did something good versus bad for the environment,” they write.

In the past year, young women such as Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez in the U.S. and Thunberg in Europe have become the global faces of climate activism, often with tremendous political impact. In the United States, Ocasio-Cortez has helped transform what was once considered a bit of fringe rhetoric—the Green New Deal—into a topic of regular conversation. Across the Atlantic Ocean, in a recent poll, one out of three Germans said that Thunberg has changed their views on climate change.


Climate Change a Convenient Excuse for Dems to Transform Economy
“Climate change is an existential crisis,” Sen. Elizabeth Warren declared Tuesday, unveiling her plan to fight climate change in advance of CNN’s interminable townhall event on the topic with 10 Democratic presidential candidates.

The use of the term “existential crisis” is ironic. No doubt, they mean “existential threat,” i.e. that global warming threatens to end life on Earth. It doesn’t. But we’ll get back to that in a second.

The term existential crisis comes from psychology or philosophy, not environmental science. An existential crisis is when you’re overcome with panic or dread about your place in the world or your purpose in the universe. If you’re depressed and ask, “What’s it all about?” you might be having an existential crisis.

A giant asteroid barreling toward Earth is an existential threat, midlife adultery is a sign of an existential crisis.

The irony is that concern over climate change — which is a real and legitimate concern — seems more derived from an existential crisis than an existential threat.

At the CNN event, many of the Democratic candidates insisted that life on Earth was at stake. Warren said climate change is an “existential threat” that “threatens all life on this planet.” According to Sen. Bernie Sanders, “We are dealing with what the scientists call an existential threat to this planet, and we must respond aggressively; we must listen to the scientists. That is what our plan does.”

That’s not true. Our quality of life on Earth might be threatened, but our existence isn’t. Now, of course, something can come up far short of an extinction-level event and still be really, really bad. But the idea that all life on this planet is in jeopardy if America doesn’t wean itself from fossil fuels is just hyperbole. And even if America did exactly that, there’s little reason to believe the rest of the world would follow suit.

Still, if we take them literally, not just seriously, they’re saying we’re doomed if we don’t implement some version of the Green New Deal — a sweeping, wildly expensive, hodgepodge of proposals first unveiled by Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, that aims to eliminate carbon emissions inside of 12 years.

And yet, both Sanders and Warren (and others) are against using nuclear power to reduce carbon emissions. “In my administration, we won’t be building new nuclear plants,” Warren declared. “We will start weaning ourselves off nuclear and replace it with renewables,” by 2035. Sanders called nuclear power a “false solution” and vowed to end it.

It’s an odd argument. Sanders says we must “listen to the scientists,” but there are scads of scientists who think nuclear waste storage is eminently manageable, including the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine. They report that the “consensus” is that safe geological storage is entirely feasible.

More importantly, if you honestly believe that climate change is an existential threat, akin to an impending asteroid strike, why would you rule out one of the only proven tools to combat it? It’s a bit like refusing to use a firehose on a burning orphanage because you’re afraid of the subsequent water damage.

There are plenty of people who despise nuclear weapons and want to see them eradicated. But it would be hard to take such people seriously if they argued against sending nuclear missiles into deep space to head off an extinction-level asteroid impact.

All the Green New Deal proposals are sold as huge economic bonanzas, offering lavish subsidies for displaced workers, socialized medicine and other improvements to our quality of life.

And this is what I mean by the existential crisis underlying the alleged existential threat of climate change.

According to the Washington Post, in July, Saikat Chakrabarti, who then was Ocasio-Cortez’s chief of staff, admitted that, “The interesting thing about the Green New Deal is it wasn’t originally a climate thing at all.” The Post reported that, in a meeting with Gov. Jay Inslee (D-WA), Chakrabarti said: “Do you guys think of it as a climate thing? Because we really think of it as a how-do-you-change-the-entire-economy thing.”

Climate change is not the hoax that some claim it is. But to the extent that it’s a crisis, people like Sanders, Cortez and Warren want to use it as an excuse to radically transform the American economy and political system along lines that have less to do with climate change and much to do with their ideological animosity to the status quo.

And when the fight against climate change conflicts with their fight for “social justice,” it’s climate change that takes a backseat.

The existential threat is the excuse for fixing the existential crisis of the American left.


Automakers Demand More Electric Vehicle Tax Breaks

In Washington’s upside-down parlance, a temporary subsidy actually means something closer to permanent. A recent example demonstrating this reality is the electric-vehicle (EV) tax credit. Back in 2009, part of Barack Obama’s so-called “stimulus” package included an EV tax break intended to help the auto industry counter the high cost of developing electric cars. As The Wall Street Journal explains, “The federal government currently provides a $7,500 consumer tax break for an auto maker’s first 200,000 cars. The tax credit then drops by half for EVs sold over the next six months, and by half again for another six months. It then disappears.”

However, as Tesla and General Motors both surpassed 200,000 EV’s sold last year, and Ford, Nissan, and Toyota are quickly closing in on that sales threshold, automakers are lobbying Congress for the tax break to be extended up to 400,000 sales. And thus far their lobbying has proven somewhat successful. Senators Debbie Stabenow (D-MI) and Lamar Alexander (R-TN) are currently floating an extension for the EV tax break. If passed it would cost taxpayers an estimated $16 billion over the next 10 years.

As the Journal notes, “It’s hard to imagine a more blatant income transfer for the well-to-do. Electric cars are significantly more expensive than the average vehicle, with a starting price of around $36,000. A recent Congressional Research Service study found that nearly 80% of the credits were claimed by households with adjusted gross income of more than $100,000. Sales data show that about half of all electric vehicle sales occur in one state — California.” We’re shocked — shocked.

Washington’s habit of picking winners and losers rather than letting the free market decide only ends up costing everyone. It’s time to end these subsidies, not extend them.


WMO Secretary General Warns Against Climate ‘Doomsters and Extremists’

The Secretary-General of the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) says that the alarmist narrative on climate change has gone off the rails and criticised the news media for provoking unjustified anxiety.

Speaking to Finland’s financial newspaper Talouselämä (“The Journal”) on 6 September 2019, Petteri Taalas called for cooler heads to prevail, saying that he does not accept arguments of climate alarmists that the end of the world is at hand.

Dr Taalas also spoke of the dangers of green extremism:

While climate sceptisism has become less of an issue, now we are being challenged from the other side. Climate experts have been attacked by these people and they claim that we should be much more radical. They are doomsters and extremists; they make threats.”

And he called for the media both to challenge experts and allow a broader range of opinions to be heard.

The director of the Global Warming Policy Forum, Dr Benny Peiser, welcomed Dr Taalas’s intervention:

It’s very welcome to hear the Secretary-General of the World Meteorological Organization finally challenging eco-zealots.

I hope mainstream climate scientists and the news media sit up and take notice; it’s high time they put some professional distance between themselves and radical greens and start to question their apocalyptic narrative of doom.”


Coral death knell on Great Barrier reef 'exaggerated'

The Greenie crooks photographed the few bad bits of coral and ignored large undamaged areas nearby.  And note this is about a close-in reef, which the Greenies squeal loudest about

The death of inshore corals near Bowen had been greatly exaggerated, according to the findings of a rebel quality assurance survey by reef-science outsiders Peter Ridd and Jennifer Marohasy.

The shallow reef flats of Stone Island have played a key role in divisions over the health of the inshore Great Barrier Reef and the impact of run-off from agriculture.

Dr Ridd was disciplined for attempting to blow the whistle on the widespread use of before and after pictures, taken a century apart, near Stone Island that suggested coral cover had disappeared.

A follow-up paper by Queensland University reef scientist Tara Clark, co-authored by Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority chief scientist David Wachenfeld, confirmed the coral loss.

Despite winning his unfair dismissal case against JCU and being yesterday awarded more than $1.2m by the Federal Court, D. Ridd has effectively dismissed as a crank. by the other scientists.

An expert panel last month accused him of spreading scientific misinformation like tobacco lobbyists and anti-vaccination campaigners.

But Dr Ridd and Dr Marohasy have spent the past two weeks documenting the corals around Stone Island, which they found were still very much alive. The in-the-water quality assurance snapshot of onshore corals near Bowen and the Whitsundays has been partly funded by the Institute of Public Affairs.

The hundreds of hours of aerial and aquatic footage will be archived and some of this made into a documentary. Dr Marohasy and Dr Ridd repeated the transects used in the Clark research which found there had been a serious deline in reef health from historical photographs in the late 19th century to the present.

Dr Marohasy said if the transects used in the Clark analysis had been extended by 30m to the south of Stone Island they would have found a different story.. "I saw and photographed large pink plate coral on August 25 — some more than lm in diameter — at the reef edge, where Tara Clark and colleagues ended their transect as published in Nature," Dr Marohasy said. Several hundred metres away, across the headland, in the northern-facing bay, was an area of 100 per cent coral cover stretching over 25ha.

Dr Ridd said the finding of the survey was that there was "good coral all over the place" around Stone Island. "What we saw was not consistent with the proposition that the inshore reefs have been destroyed by farm run-off," Dr Ridd said.

He said the findings were at odds to those of Dr Clark and her team. The survey results follow a report by GBRMPA last week that downgraded the long-term outlook for the reef from poor-to very poor with particular concern about run-off in onshore reef areas.

Dr Ridd said there were "lots of people around Bowen who get very angry when people say all their coral is wiped out". "How would people in Sydney feel if everybody was saying that the water in Sydney Harbour has turned brown from pollution, the bridge was rusting scrap and the Opera House was crumbling ruin," he said.

Dr Wachenfeid said it was always great to see evidence of healthy coral in inshore areas. "The body of published science tells us most of our inshore reefs are extensively degraded," he said. 'When we find healthy patches that's good news."

Dr Wachenfeld said a paper published in 2016 contained infor-mation about coral around Stone Island and nearby Middle Reef.



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