The Guardian (with only mild jocundity) reports the latest warning of untoward consequences associated with Anthropogenic Global Warming from NASA scientists. Warmlist is going to love this one.
[R]educing our emissions might just save humanity from a pre-emptive alien attack, scientists claim.
Watching from afar, extraterrestrial beings might view changes in Earth’s atmosphere as symptomatic of a civilisation growing out of control – and take drastic action to keep us from becoming a more serious threat, the researchers explain.
This highly speculative scenario is one of several described by a Nasa-affiliated scientist and colleagues at Pennsylvania State University that, while considered unlikely, they say could play out were humans and alien life to make contact at some point in the future.
ETI [Extraterrestrial Intelligence] could seek our harm if they believe that we are a threat to other civilizations.
The thought of humanity being a threat to other civilizations may seem implausible given the likelihood of our technological inferiority relative to other civilizations. However, this inferiority may be a temporary phenomenon. Perhaps ETI observe our rapid and destructive
expansion on Earth and become concerned of our civilizational trajectory. ... [P]erhaps ETI believe that rapid expansion is threatening on a galactic scale. Rapidly (maximally) expansive civilizations may have a tendency to destroy other civilizations in the process, just as humanity has already destroyed many species on Earth. ETI that place intrinsic value on civilizations may ideally wish that our civilization changes its ways, so we can survive along with all the other civilizations. But if ETI doubt that our course can be changed, then they may seek to preemptively destroy our civilization in order to protect other civilizations from us. A preemptive strike would be particularly likely in the early phases of our expansion because a civilization may become increasingly difficult to destroy as it continues to expand. Humanity may just now be entering the period in which its rapid civilizational expansion could be detected by an ETI because our expansion is changing the composition of Earth’s atmosphere (e.g. via greenhouse gas emissions), which therefore changes the spectral signature of Earth. While it is difficult to estimate the likelihood of this scenario, it should at a minimum give us pause as we evaluate our expansive tendencies.
It is worth noting that there is some precedent for harmful universalism within humanity. This precedent is most apparent within universalist ethics that place intrinsic value on ecosystems. Human civilization affects ecosystems so strongly that some ecologists now often refer to this epoch of Earth’s history as the anthropocene. If one’s goal is to maximize ecosystem flourishing, then perhaps it would be better if humanity did not exist, or at least if it existed in significantly reduced form. Indeed, there are some humans who have advanced precisely this argument. If it is possible for at least some humans to advocate harm to their owncivilization by drawing upon universalist ethical principles, then it is at a minimum plausible that ETI could advocate harm to humanity following similar principles.
We might never have heard of any of this, but Monnett is being passionately defended by Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility (PEER), and the staff of that organization is so thoroughly infatuated with its own assumptions and perspective that it cannot even imagine what the material it is disseminating enthusiastically in Monnett’s defense would look like to parties less ideologically committed than themselves.
Disclosing as it does the level of rigor of methodology being employed:
ERIC MAY: Well, actually, since you‟re bringing that up, 18 and, and I‟m a little confused of how many dead or drowned polar bears you did observe, because in the manuscript, you indicate three, and in the poster presentation –
CHARLES MONNETT: No.
ERIC MAY: – you mentioned four.
CHARLES MONNETT: No, now you‟re confusing the, um, the estimator with the, uh, the sightings. There were four drowned bears seen.
ERIC MAY: Okay.
CHARLES MONNETT: Three of which were on transects.
ERIC MAY: Okay.
CHARLES MONNETT: And so for the purpose of that little ratio estimator, we only looked at what we were seeing on transects, because that‟s a – you know, we couldn‟t be very rigorous, but the least we could do is look at the random transects. And so we based, uh, our extrapolation to only bears on transects, because we‟re saying that the transects, the, the swaths we flew, represented I think it was 11 percent of the entire habitat that, you know, that could have had dead polar bears in it.
ERIC MAY: Um-hm [yes].
CHARLES MONNETT: And, um, so by limiting it to the transect bears, then, you know, we could do that ratio estimator and say three is to, um, uh, “x” as, uh, 11 is to 100. I mean, it‟s that kind of thing. You, you‟ve, you‟re nodding like you understand.
LYNN GIBSON: Yeah.
CHARLES MONNETT: Yeah, that‟s pretty simple, isn‟t confusing. I mean, it‟s –
ERIC MAY: So, so, so you observed four dead polar bears during MMS –
CHARLES MONNETT: One of which was not on transect.
ERIC MAY: Okay, so that‟s what –
CHARLES MONNETT: Yeah. ...
ERIC MAY: So I highlighted under here, and we‟ve got the four, and that‟s what –
CHARLES MONNETT: Oh, here you go. Yeah. Well, I‟m pretty confident that it was four. I mean, that‟s, um – uh, look, look what is in the paper. I mean, it should have the – probably the same information that, you know –
ERIC MAY: Well, it –
CHARLES MONNETT: There‟s a table in there, but does it – it has the dead ones in it, doesn‟t it?
ERIC MAY: Well, and I think you, you explain, so this is the portion where you‟re talking about the 25 percent survival rate.
CHARLES MONNETT: Yeah.
ERIC MAY: And you‟re talking about four swimming bears and three drowned or dead polar bears.
CHARLES MONNETT: Yeah. Yeah, but that‟s because those are on transects.
ERIC MAY: On part of this 11 percent?
CHARLES MONNETT: Yeah, it says that right in here and, 11 and –
ERIC MAY: Right, right, but that‟s what you‟re talking about. ...
How to do things with statistics.
3 CHARLES MONNETT: The paragraph in the left-hand column. Um, God, I‟ve got people here who are second-guessing my calculations. Um, well, um, we flew transects. That was our basic methodology. They were partially randomized. And we, uh, we looked at a, a map. I think we probably used GIS to do it, and we said that our survey area, if you bound it, is so big.
ERIC MAY: Um-hm [yes].
CHARLES MONNETT: And then we made some assumptions about our swath width, and I think we assumed we could see a, a bear out to a kilometer with any reliability, which mean you‟re looking down like that. And, uh, sometimes you might see more; sometimes you wouldn‟t. Sometimes you can‟t see a whale out that far, so it depends on the water conditions. And so we just said that, um, if you add up, we had 34 north/south transects provide 11 percent coverage of the 630 kilometer-wide study area, and that was just to get our ratio of coverage. And then the area we really were concerned about was just the area where the bears were, so we could ignore the area at that point and just go with a ratio, because we assume that‟s the same, because these things are pretty, uh, they‟re pretty standardized. They were designed to be standardized, so in each bloc – have you seen the blocs? Have you seen our design? It‟s in here.
ERIC MAY: I took – yeah, in, in your study.
CHARLES MONNETT: It‟s right at the beginning here. Um, every map in here has got it on it. Um, there, those are our blocs. And so, uh, this one would have four pairs. This one would have probably three pairs. I don‟t know, there will be later maps. Um, and there, you can see the flights. Uh, well, yeah, they‟re in here. Um, so we‟re flying these transects, and we‟re assuming we can see a certain percentage or a certain, certain distance. Therefore, we can total up the length and the width and come up with an area. And so we calculated that
our coverage was 11 percent, plus or minus a little bit.
ERIC MAY: Okay. And I believe you rounded up, too. It was 10.8 and you rounded up to 11?
CHARLES MONNETT: Yeah. Well, that‟s a nothing. Um, yeah, 10.8. And then we said, um, four dead – four swimming polar bears were encountered on these transects, in addition to three.
ERIC MAY: Three dead polar bears?
CHARLES MONNETT: Yeah, three dead.
ERIC MAY: Right.
CHARLES MONNETT: But the four swimming were a week earlier.
ERIC MAY: Okay.
CHARLES MONNETT: And, um, then we said if they accurately reflect 11 percent of the bears present so, in other words, they‟re just distributed randomly, so we looked at 11 percent of the area.
ERIC MAY: In that transect?
CHARLES MONNETT: Yeah.
ERIC MAY: Right.
CHARLES MONNETT: In, in our, in our area there, um –
ERIC MAY: Right.
CHARLES MONNETT: – and, therefore, we should have seen 11 percent of the bears. Then you just invert that, and you come up with, um, nine times as many. So that‟s where you get the 27, nine times three.
ERIC MAY: Where does the nine come from?
CHARLES MONNETT: Uh, well 11 percent is one-ninth of 100 percent. Nine times 11 is 99 percent. Is that, is that clear? ...
LYNN GIBSON: I think what he‟s saying is since there‟s four swimming and three dead, that makes –
ERIC MAY: And three dead.
CHARLES MONNETT: Well, you don‟t count them all together. That doesn‟t have anything to do. You can‟t – that doesn‟t even –
LYNN GIBSON: So you‟re not saying that the seven represent 16 11 percent of the population.
CHARLES MONNETT: They‟re different events.
ERIC MAY: Well, that‟s what you try – we‟re trying to –
LYNN GIBSON: You‟re talking about they‟re separate?
CHARLES MONNETT: Yeah, they‟re different events.
ERIC MAY: Right, so explain to us how –
CHARLES MONNETT: On one day – well, let me draw. I, I, I don‟t have confidence that you‟re understanding me here, so let me (inaudible/mixed voices). ...
CHARLES MONNETT: It makes me feel more professorial if I write it on the blackboard.
LYNN GIBSON: Okay, go ahead.
CHARLES MONNETT: No, that‟s okay.
ERIC MAY: (Inaudible/mixed voices)
CHARLES MONNETT: If you could see it, I wanted you to see it was why I was going to do it there.
ERIC MAY: (Inaudible/mixed voices)
LYNN GIBSON: We‟re your students today.
CHARLES MONNETT: Uh, well, this has transects on it, doesn‟t it, guys?
LYNN GIBSON: Yes, it does.
CHARLES MONNETT: I mean, look right here. So here‟s our coastline right here, this red thing.
ERIC MAY: Okay, yep.
CHARLES MONNETT: And here‟s our, um, our study area. We go out to whatever it was. I don‟t remember, 70, 71 degrees or something like that. And, um, around each of these things, we survey a tenth of the distance between, basically.
ERIC MAY: Okay.
CHARLES MONNETT: And so if you draw these lines here, and this is – you‟re just going to have to pretend like I did this for all of them. And you calculate the area in here.
LYNN GIBSON: Um-hm [yes].
CHARLES MONNETT: And you total them all, and then you calculate the whole area. This – the area inside here was 11 percent.
LYNN GIBSON: Okay.
CHARLES MONNETT: Okay? Now what we said is that we saw three, three bears in 11 percent.
ERIC MAY: Three dead bears?
CHARLES MONNETT: Three dead, yeah, dead –
ERIC MAY: Right.
CHARLES MONNETT: – in the 11 percent of the habitat. And so you could set up a, um, a ratio here, three is to “x” 25 equals 11 over 100, right? And so you end up with – you can cross-multiply. You know algebra?
ERIC MAY: Um-hm [yes], yeah.
CHARLES MONNETT: You can cross-multiply. Okay, so you end up with 300 equals 11x, and I am sure that that‟s – equals 27, okay?
ERIC MAY: Right, right, got that.
CHARLES MONNETT: And if you stick four in here instead, you end up with –
ERIC MAY: Thirty-six.
CHARLES MONNETT: – whatever that number was, yeah, 36. Now, um, those numbers aren‟t related, except we made the further
assumption, which is implicit to the analysis. Seems obvious to me. We went out there one week, and we saw four swimming on the transect, which we estimated could have been as many as 36.
LYNN GIBSON: Correct.
CHARLES MONNETT: If we correct for the area. And we went out there later, a week to two weeks later, and then we saw the dead ones, the three dead ones in the same area, which could have been 27. And then we said let‟s make the further assumption that – and this, this isn‟t in the paper, but it‟s implicit to this aument –
ERIC MAY: Um-hm [yes].
CHARLES MONNETT: – that right after we saw these bears swimming, this storm came in and caught them offshore, all right? And so if, um, if you assume that the, the, the 36 all were exposed to the storm, and then we went back and we saw tentially 27 of them, that gives you your 25 percent survival rate. Now that‟s, um, statistically, um, irrelevant. I mean, it, it‟s not statistical. It‟s just an argument. It‟s for, it‟s for the sake of discussion. See, right here, “Discussion.”
ERIC MAY: Um-hm [yes].
CHARLES MONNETT: That‟s what you do in discussions is you throw things out, um, for people to think about. And so what we said is, look, uh, we saw four. We saw a whole bunch swimming, but if you want to compare them, then let‟s do this little ratio estimator and correct for the percentage of the area surveyed. And just doing that, then there might have been as many as 27 bears out there that were dead. There might have been as many as 36, plus or minus. There could have been 50. I don‟t know. But the way we were posing it was that it‟s serious, because it‟s not just four. It‟s probably a lot more. And then we said that with the further assumption, you know, that the bears were exposed or, you know, the ones we‟re measuring later that are carcasses out there, it looks like a lot of them, you know, didn‟t survive, so – but it‟s, it‟s discussion, guys. I mean, it‟s not in the results. ...
The reliability of the calculations used and the scrupulous oversight of the peer-review process.
ERIC MAY: So combining the three dead polar bears and the four alive bears is a mistake?
CHARLES MONNETT: No, it‟s not a mistake. It‟s just not a, a, a real, uh, rigorous analysis. And a whole bunch of peer reviewers and a journal, you know –
ERIC MAY: Did they go through – I mean, did they do the calculations as you just did with us?
CHARLES MONNETT: Well, I assume they did. That‟s their purpose.
ERIC MAY: Okay. Right, and that‟s – again, that‟s why I was asking peer review.
CHARLES MONNETT: Yeah.
ERIC MAY: Did they do that with that particular section of your manuscript?
CHARLES MONNETT: Well, I don‟t, I don‟t remember anybody doing the calculations but, um, uh, there weren‟t any huge objections. There weren‟t a – let‟s put it this way, there weren‟t sufficient objections for the journal editor to ask us to take it out.
ERIC MAY: Right. Well, let me, let me read you what – the four bears – and representing what we were just talking about, this section.
CHARLES MONNETT: Yeah.
ERIC MAY: So just let me, let me read what I have here, okay?
CHARLES MONNETT: Okay.
ERIC MAY: “If four swimming bears, if four bears represent 11 percent of the population of bears swimming before the storm,” –
CHARLES MONNETT: Um-hm [yes].
ERIC MAY: – okay? “Then 36 bears were likely swimming.”
CHARLES MONNETT: Yeah, maybe, I mean –
ERIC MAY: Okay, but I mean –
CHARLES MONNETT: No, we didn‟t say “likely.” I think we said “possibly,” or did you say “likely” or –?
ERIC MAY: Well, or this – again, as you just stated earlier, this is Discussion, so –
CHARLES MONNETT: I‟d be surprised if we said “likely,” but mostly we were saying “possibly.”
ERIC MAY: Okay, so let me – let, let me continue, so –
CHARLES MONNETT: Okay.
ERIC MAY: – so you have that. “If three bears represent 11 percent of the population of bears that may have died” –
CHARLES MONNETT: Yeah.
ERIC MAY: – right?
CHARLES MONNETT: Yeah.
ERIC MAY: I think those are your words in your manu- – “may have died.”
CHARLES MONNETT: Yeah.
ERIC MAY: “ – as a result of this storm, then 27 bears were likely drowned.” Okay, so far, so good?
CHARLES MONNETT: Well, if I used “likely.” I don‟t know if I did. ...
And, then, the interview really gets humorous. “I mean, the storm had nothing to do with it!”
ERIC MAY: Isn‟t that stretching it a bit, though, saying – making that conclusion that no dead polar bears were observed during these years, and then, all of a sudden, 2003, you guys are – you observe dead polar bears?
CHARLES MONNETT: I don‟t think so.
ERIC MAY: Why?
CHARLES MONNETT: Well, if you ask me, I would know, I mean, what I saw, I mean, if I saw something weird like that.
ERIC MAY: So as a scientist, if another scientist made these conclusions based on the information, you would be okay with that as a peer reviewer?
CHARLES MONNETT: Well, yeah, I would, I mean, if, you know, if they told me that. They keep notes. I mean, they did this – every, everything like we do, so –.
ERIC MAY: And that‟s a, that‟s a – and it‟s a stretch, isn‟t it, though, to make that statement?
CHARLES MONNETT: Well, no, I didn‟t think so. I thought that was perfectly reasonable to ask them, since it isn‟t something – remember, the reason it‟s not in the database is because it, it doesn‟t happen. You know, you don‟t see it, so – and there‟s a reason, uh, why it‟s changed, which is in, in, in a lot of the early years, there was a lot of ice out there, and there just weren‟t opportunities for there to be dead bears. You know, bears don‟t drown when there‟s ice all over the place.
ERIC MAY: Well, so let me elaborate what I just asked you. Wouldn‟t you, wouldn‟t you notate that as a – like maybe a – you know, your statement kind of is stretching it, and you would say, “Well, based on my conversations with individuals during these surveys, although they weren‟t supposed to look for dead polar bears, they did not” – I mean, because you‟re making a very broad statement by, by that, saying that no dead polar bears were observed during those years. ...
ERIC MAY: Well, and based on, based on what I just said, in terms of the, you know, your statement, would it not make more sense, too, because there was a major windstorm during this period of time, which you do mention, but you didn‟t talk too much about that as in 2004 regarding these dead polar bears.
CHARLES MONNETT: What do you mean (inaudible/mixed voices)?
ERIC MAY: Well, you‟re saying that from 1987 to 2003, there was no dead polar bears.
CHARLES MONNETT: Yeah.
ERIC MAY: Did you discuss the storm conditions during those period, period of years as well? I mean, you‟re extrapolating a lot to make such, you know, scientific findings.
CHARLES MONNETT: You mean, the storms are increasing up there?
ERIC MAY: No, you‟re saying that there was no dead polar bears during those years.
CHARLES MONNETT: Certainly.
ERIC MAY: Yet in 2004, you, you observed four dead polar bears.
CHARLES MONNETT: Right.
ERIC MAY: Yet you didn‟t really elaborate on why you believe those dead polar bears died or drowned.
CHARLES MONNETT: Well, yeah, we did actually. I don‟t know why you‟re saying that. We‟ve got an extensive section in the paper talking about the, uh, you know, the wind speeds and out there, and we looked into that very hard. And, and we, um, we‟re very, very careful in this manuscript to, um, write it so that it, uh, reflects uncertainty, uncertainty about the extent of what happened, the uncertainty of why it happened, the uncertainty of what it meant in a, in a broader context.
We knew three things: That we had seen a bunch of swimming bears and that that was unusual in the context of the whole data stream. We knew we saw some dead bears, which had not been reported before and that we had been assured, you know, was new to the study. And we saw, uh – we experienced, we were there, a, a, uh, high wind event, which was actually not a, a very severe high – and it wasn‟t, you know, one of the really severe high wind events, but it was enough to shut us down, which meant that there were some pretty good waves breaking, you know, out at sea, which, um, is pretty easy to imagine would be, uh, challenging, you know, for a bear swimming. And a good bit of that, there‟s a whole section in the paper that talks about the windstorm.
ERIC MAY: Okay.
CHARLES MONNETT: Um, right here, there‟s a map, you know, of the wind speeds and all that and, uh, you know, it shows that it just fits right in there. Um –
ERIC MAY: When I was relating to th
CHARLES MONNETT: Well, I don‟t know, we, we had complete confidence in it. Um, people worked extensively with, with the database and, and, uh, so we were totally comfortable with the swimming ones, um, which, you know, were rarely seen. And it‟s a small thing I think to assume that a, um – you know, the person managing the survey would know and – ....
And here comes Jeff Ruch of PEER to the rescue.
1 JEFF RUCH: This is Jeff Ruch. We‟ve been at this for an hour and 45 minutes, and I‟m curious, are we going to get to the allegations of scientific misconduct or, uh, have – is that what we‟ve been doing?
LYNN GIBSON: Actually, a lot of the questions that we‟ve been discussing relate to the allegations.
ERIC MAY: Right.
JEFF RUCH: Um, but, uh, Agent May indicated to, um, Paul that he was going to lay out what the allegations are, and we haven‟t heard them yet, or perhaps we don‟t understand them from this line of questioning.
ERIC MAY: Well, the scientif- – well, scientific misconduct, basically, uh, wrong numbers, uh, miscalculations, uh –
JEFF RUCH: Wrong numbers and calculations?
ERIC MAY: Well, what we‟ve been discussing for the last hour.
JEFF RUCH: So this is it?
CHARLES MONNETT: Well, that‟s not scientific misconduct anyway. If anything, it‟s sloppy. I mean, that‟s not – I mean, I mean, the level of criticism that they seem to have leveled here, scientific misconduct, uh, suggests that we did something deliberately to deceive or to, to change it. Um, I sure don‟t see any indication of that in what you‟re asking me about.
What is downright scary is the way these bozos think that dressing up wildly extravagant theories resting on baseless extrapolations of insignificant anecdotal-level observations with jargon and a few formulae in order to reach preconceived and intensely desired conclusions is perfectly legitimate scientific activity.
If anybody wonders how junk science can become established science and the accepted basis for fabulously costly governmental programs and polices, just look at the work of Dr. Charles Monnett and at PEER.
Steven Hayward (the new contributor at PowerLine) is doing an excellent job.
Yesterday, he linked a new paper from the Cultural Cognition Project at Yale University, whose conclusions will not make liberals happy.
The conventional explanation for controversy over climate change emphasizes impediments to public understanding: Limited popular knowledge of science, the inability of ordinary citizens to assess technical information, and the resulting widespread use of unreliable cognitive heuristics to assess risk. A large survey of U.S. adults (N = 1540) found little support for this account. On the whole, the most scientifically literate and numerate subjects were slightly less likely, not more, to see climate change as a serious threat than the least scientifically literate and numerate ones.
Hayward rubbed salt in liberal wounds by quoting himself in an earlier posting, in which he compared climate change allegations to a poem by T.S. Eliot:
“What might have been and has been / Point to one end, which is always present,” Eliot continues in Burnt Norton. Which reminds me of the climate record (“time future contained in time past”). We don’t understand the climate past with reasonable precision, as the intense debate about the “hockey stick” graph showed, and the computer models predicting a 2 to 5 degree rise in the future are clearly riddled with large uncertainties, given the range of prospective temperatures they spit out. No matter. “What is always present” today is the cocksure certainty that catastrophic global warming is occurring, and damn the weatherman. Think of it as the ultimate modernist free-verse, only without literary allusions “an abstraction / Remaining a perpetual possibility / Only in a world of speculation.”
Hayward capped it all off by remarking “now the whole farce is starting to remind me of Monty Python’s “dead parrot” sketch—the climate crisis isn’t dead, it’s just restin’.”
A superbly apt comparison to the position of advocates of Warmism in the aftermath of the Climategate Scandal, two old-fashioned winters, and the re-emergence of speculation about diminished solar activity and impending severe cooling.
Walter Russell Mead takes the occasion of Albert Gore’s latest climate jeremiad (in the latest issue of Rolling Stone, quoth Gore: In one corner of the ring are Science and Reason. In the other corner: Poisonous Polluters and Right-wing Ideologues.) to discuss why somebody who lives like Albert Gore cannot function satisfactorily in the role of prophet of Ecological Self-Denial.
[S]ome forms of inconsistency or even hypocrisy can be combined with public leadership, others cannot be. A television preacher can eat too many french fries, watch too much cheesy TV and neglect his kids in the quest for global fame. But he cannot indulge in drug fueled trysts with male prostitutes while preaching conservative Christian doctrine. The head of Mothers Against Drunk Driving cannot be convicted of driving while under the influence. The head of the IRS cannot be a tax cheat. The most visible leader of the world’s green movement cannot live a life of conspicuous consumption, spewing far more carbon into the atmosphere than almost all of those he castigates for their wasteful ways. Mr. Top Green can’t also be a carbon pig.
You can be a leading environmentalist and fail to pay all of your taxes. You can be a leading environmentalist and be unkind to your aged mother. You can be a leading environmentalist and squeeze the toothpaste tube from the middle, park in the handicapped spots at the mall or scribble angry marginal notes in library books.
But you cannot be a leading environmentalist who hopes to lead the general public into a long and difficult struggle for sacrifice and fundamental change if your own conduct is so flagrantly inconsistent with the green gospel you profess. If the heart of your message is that the peril of climate change is so imminent and so overwhelming that the entire political and social system of the world must change, now, you cannot fly on private jets. You cannot own multiple mansions. You cannot even become enormously rich investing in companies that will profit if the policies you advocate are put into place.
It is not enough to buy carbon offsets (aka “indulgences”) with your vast wealth, not enough to power your luxurious mansions with exotic low impact energy sources the average person could not afford, not enough to argue that you only needed the jet so that you could promote your earth-saving film.
You are asking billions of people, the overwhelming majority of whom lack many of the basic life amenities you take for granted, people who can’t afford Whole Foods environmentalism, to slash their meager living standards. You may well be right, and those changes may be necessary — the more shame on you that with your superior insight and knowledge you refuse to live a modest life. There’s a gospel hymn some people in Tennessee still sing that makes the point: “You can’t be a beacon if your light don’t shine.”
St. Francis of Assisi understood the point well. Taken by the Pope on a tour to see the treasures of the Vatican, St. Francis was notably unimpressed. “Peter can no longer say, ‘silver and gold have I none,’” smiled the Pontiff, referring to the story in the Book of Acts that recounts what St. Peter said to a crippled beggar asking him for alms.
“Neither can he say, ‘rise up and walk.’” replied St. Francis — quoting what St. Peter said as he miraculously cured the beggar of his affliction.
You can sit on ivory chairs with kings in their halls of gold, participating in the world of politics as usual, or you can live with the prophets and visionaries in the wilderness, voices of a greater truth and higher meaning that challenge the smug certainties and false assumptions of the comfortable, business as usual elites. You cannot do both.
Al Gore cannot say “silver and gold have I none and no excess carbon do I spew,” and neither can he say to the paralyzed global green movement “rise up and walk.” He speaks, he writes, he speaks again, and the movement lies on the ground, crippled and inert.
A fawning establishment press spares the former vice president the vitriol and schadenfreude it pours over the preachers and priests whose personal conduct compromised the core tenets of their mission; Gore is not mocked as others have been. This gentle treatment hurts both Gore and the greens; he does not know just how disabling, how crippling the gap between conduct and message truly is. The greens do not know that his presence as the visible head of the movement helps ensure its political failure.
Consider how Gore looks to the skeptics. The peril is imminent, he says. It is desperate. The hands of the clock point to twelve. The seas rise, the coral dies, the fires burn and the great droughts have already begun. The hounds of Hell have slipped the huntsman’s leash and even now they rush upon us, mouths agape and fangs afoam.
But grave as that danger is, Al Gore can consume more carbon than whole villages in the developing world. He can consume more electricity than most African schools, incur more carbon debt with one trip in a private plane than most of the earth’s toiling billions will pile up in a lifetime — and he doesn’t worry. A father of four, he can lecture the world on the perils of overpopulation. Surely, skeptics reason, if the peril were as great as he says and he cares about it as much as he claims, Gore’s sense of civic duty would call him to set an example of conspicuous non-consumption. This general sleeps in a mansion, and lectures the soldiers because they want tents.
What this tells the skeptics is that Vice President Gore doesn’t really believe the gospel he proclaims. That profits from his environmental advocacy enable his affluent lifestyle only deepens their skepticism of the messenger and therefore of the message. And when they see that the rest of the environmental movement accepts this flagrant contradiction, they conclude, naturally enough, that the other green leaders aren’t as worried as they claim to be. Al Gore’s lifestyle is a test case for the credibility of his gospel — and it fails. The tolerance of Al Gore’s lifestyle by the environmental leadership is a further test — and that test, too, the greens fail.
The average citizen is all too likely to conclude that if Mr. Gore can keep his lifestyle, the average American family can keep its SUV and incandescent bulbs. If Gore can take a charter flight, I don’t have to take the bus. If Gore can have many mansions, I can use the old fashioned kind of shower heads that actually clean and toilets that actually flush. Al Gore looks to the average American the way American greens look to poor people in the third world: hypocritically demanding that others accept permanently lower standards of living than those the activists propose for themselves.
There are gospels that can be preached by the comfortable and the well fed. But radical environmentalism is not one of them. If you want to be Savonarola, you must don the hair shirt. If you want a public bonfire of the vanities, you must sleep on an iron cot and throw your own cherished treasures into the flame. ...
I am not one of those who thinks him a hypocrite; I think rather that he shares an illusion common amongst the narcissistic glitterati of our time: that politically fashionable virtue cancels private vice. The drug addled Hollywood celeb whose personal life is a long record of broken promises and failed relationships and whose serial bouts with drug and alcohol abuse and revolving door rehab adventures are notorious can redeem all by “standing up” for some exotic, stylish cause. These moral poseurs and dilettantes of virtue are modern versions of those guilt-plagued medieval nobles who built churches and monasteries to ‘atone’ for their careers of bloodshed, oppression and scandal.
Mr. Gore is sincere, as the fur-fighting actresses are sincere, as so many ’causey’ plutocrats and moguls are sincere. It is perhaps also true that the fundraisers who absolve them of their guilt in exchange for the donations and the publicity are at least as sincere as the indulgence sellers in Martin Luther’s Germany.
Mead does not stop, unfortunately, to observe that the perils of alleged Climate Change are just as far removed from diurnal reality as the theological perils of Christian hellfire.
James Delingpole identifies an authentic instance of settled science: US liberals really are the dumbest creatures on the planet.
[W]hy it is that liberal-lefties manage to be so utterly wrong about everything[?]
“Because they’re stupid,” said a libertarian friend of mine.
“Oh come on, not all of them surely? A bit misguided, maybe but…” I protested.
“No really they’re stupid because they’re not interested in facts. They just want to construct their pretty little narrative about the world, regardless of whether or not it has any bearing on reality. And then they want to dump it on us. And ruin our lives. So not just stupid but evil too.”
We should not listen to journalists, politicians, or academics who lecture about overpopulation, looming environmental catastrophe, or general unsustainability — if they live in a house over 2,500 square feet and fly more than once a month. Unfortunately that covers most of our alarmists. Otherwise these megaphones simply are medieval grandees seeking indulgences and penances through loud lectures against what they enjoy in the flesh. ...
It is wise to navigate through the news and elite wisdom through two landmarks: anything that Barack Obama says will be airbrushed, improved, or modified to fit facts post facto; anything Sarah Palin says or does will be contextualized in Neanderthal terms. Teams of Post and Times volunteers now sort through Sarah Palin’s email; not a reporter in the world is curious about what Barack Obama once said about Rashid Khalidi or the Columbia University GPA that won him entrance to Harvard Law School. Accept that asymmetry and almost everything not only makes sense about these two cultural guideposts, but can, by extension, explain the 1860-like division in American itself. ...
Go to Europe and see the left-wing desired future for America: dense urban apartment living by design rather than by necessity; one smart car; no backyard or third bedroom; dependence on mass transit; political graffiti everywhere demanding more union benefits or social entitlements; entourages of horn-blaring, police-escorted technocrats racing through the streets on the hour; gated inherited homes of an aristocratic technocracy on the Mediterranean coast, Rhine, Danube, etc., exempt from much socialist and environmental law; $10 a gallon gas; sky-high power bills; racial segregation coupled with elite praise of illegal immigration and diversity; and unexamined groupthink on green issues, entitlements, and the culpability of the U.S. Drink it all in and you have the liberal agenda for an America to be.
The Warmist lefties are in serious danger of alienating their base. Who knows? They could even lose California. Humboldt County will certainly have no choice but to switch sides. Jeff Dunetz has the story:
Uh-oh now they’ve gone and done it! After claiming that just about everything causes Global Warming (unless Al Gore does it), now the Church of Global Warming Moonbats are saying the indoor production of wacky weed causes global warming. ...
Pot growers inhale 1% of U.S. electricity, exhale GHGs of 3M cars — study (04/11/2011) ...
Indoor marijuana cultivation consumes enough electricity to power 2 million average-sized U.S. homes, which corresponds to about 1 percent of national power consumption, according to a study by a staff scientist at the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory.
Researcher Evan Mills’ study notes that cannabis production has largely shifted indoors, especially in California, where medical marijuana growers use high-intensity lights usually reserved for operating rooms that are 500 times more powerful that a standard reading lamp.
The resulting price tag is about $5 billion in annual electricity costs, said Mills, who conducted and published the research independently from the Berkeley lab. The resulting contribution to greenhouse gas emissions equals about 3 million cars on the road, he said.
So far, today’s tsunami has mainly affected Japan—there are reports of up to 300 dead in the coastal city of Sendai—but future tsunamis could strike the U.S. and virtually any other coastal area of the world with equal or greater force, say scientists. In a little-heeded warning issued at a 2009 conference on the subject, experts outlined a range of mechanisms by which climate change could already be causing more earthquakes, tsunamis, and volcanic activity.
“When the ice is lost, the earth’s crust bounces back up again and that triggers earthquakes, which trigger submarine landslides, which cause tsunamis,” Bill McGuire, professor at University College London, told Reuters.
Melting ice masses change the pressures on the underlying earth, which can lead to earthquakes and tsunamis, but that’s just the beginning. Rising seas also change the balance of mass across earth’s surface, putting new strain on old earthquake faults, and may have been partly to blame for the devastating 2004 tsunami that struck Southeast Asia, according to experts from the China Meteorological Administration.
Even a simple change in the weather can dramatically affect the earth beneath our feet.
The problem with the application of the glaciers-melting-and-lightening-the-load-so-up-pops-the-tectonic-plate theory in this case is that no melting glaciers are located on the ocean bed of the Pacific east of Honshu, Japan.
Earlier this week, Al Gore identified the reason we’ve been experiencing a bitter-cold, snow-filled winter recently.
[S]cientists have been warning for at least two decades that global warming could make snowstorms more severe. Snow has two simple ingredients: cold and moisture. Warmer air collects moisture like a sponge until it hits a patch of cold air. When temperatures dip below freezing, a lot of moisture creates a lot of snow.”
“A rise in global temperature can create all sorts of havoc, ranging from hotter dry spells to colder winters, along with increasingly violent storms, flooding, forest fires and loss of endangered species.”
Charles Krauthammer is clearly the winner of the subsequent week-long competition in ridiculing Gore.
Warmlist needs a new category for satirical proposed additions.
Richard Ingham identifies climate-change litigation as the next gold-rush opportunity for inventive lawyers, ultimately likely to produce settlement deals dwarfing the major prizes of the past.
[C]limate-change litigation is fast emerging as a new frontier of law where some believe hundreds of billions of dollars are at stake.
Compensation for losses inflicted by man-made global warming would be jaw-dropping, a payout that would make tobacco and asbestos damages look like pocket money.
Imagine: a country or an individual could get redress for a drought that destroyed farmland, for floods and storms that created an army of refugees, for rising seas that wiped a small island state off the map.
In the past three years, the number of climate-related lawsuits has ballooned, filling the void of political efforts in tackling greenhouse-gas emissions.
Eyeing the money-spinning potential, some major commercial law firms now place climate-change litigation in their Internet shop window.
Seminars on climate law are often thickly attended by corporations that could be in the firing line—and by the companies that insure them. ...
“There’s a large number of entrepreneurial lawyers and NGOs who are hunting around for a way to gain leverage on the climate problem,” said David Victor, director of the Laboratory on International Law and Regulation at the University of California at San Diego.
“The number of suits filed has increased radically. But the number of suits claiming damages from climate change that have been successful remains zero.”
Lawsuits in the United States related directly or indirectly almost tripled in 2010 over 2009, reaching 132 filings after 48 a year earlier, according to a Deutsche Bank report.
Elsewhere in the world, the total of lawsuits is far lower than in the US, but nearly doubled between 2008 and 2010, when 32 cases were filed, according to a tally compiled by AFP from specialist sites.
The majority of these cases touch on regulatory issues and access to information, which can have many repercussions for coal, gas and oil producers and big carbon-emitting industries such as steel and cement.
“In this area, the floodgates have opened,” said Michael Gerrard, director of the recently-opened Center for Climate Change Law at Columbia Law School in New York. ...
“There are billions of potential plaintiffs and millions of potential defendants,” said Gerrard.
This is why congressional investigation of climate-change scientific fraud is vitally important.
If Warmism is not exposed and discredited in popular culture, it is inevitable that some “entreprenurial” attorney will find the appropriate venue featuring an enlightened environmentally-conscious judge and jury and begin the process of creating new case law and new forms of liability which will then proceed to run every power generating company, every automaker, and every energy producing company through bankruptcy court.
Larry Solomon explains how you get a 97% scientific consensus in favor of AGW.
How do we know there’s a scientific consensus on climate change? Pundits and the press tell us so. And how do the pundits and the press know? Until recently, they typically pointed to the number 2500 – that’s the number of scientists associated with the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. Those 2500, the pundits and the press believed, had endorsed the IPCC position.
To their embarrassment, most of the pundits and press discovered that they were mistaken – those 2500 scientists hadn’t endorsed the IPCC’s conclusions, they had merely reviewed some part or other of the IPCC’s mammoth studies. To add to their embarrassment, many of those reviewers from within the IPCC establishment actually disagreed with the IPCC’s conclusions, sometimes vehemently.
The upshot? The punditry looked for and recently found an alternate number to tout – “97% of the world’s climate scientists” accept the consensus, articles in the Washington Post and elsewhere have begun to claim.
This number will prove a new embarrassment to the pundits and press who use it. The number stems from a 2009 online survey of 10,257 earth scientists, conducted by two researchers at the University of Illinois. The survey results must have deeply disappointed the researchers – in the end, they chose to highlight the views of a subgroup of just 77 scientists, 75 of whom thought humans contributed to climate change. The ratio 75/77 produces the 97% figure that pundits now tout.
The two researchers started by altogether excluding from their survey the thousands of scientists most likely to think that the Sun, or planetary movements, might have something to do with climate on Earth – out were the solar scientists, space scientists, cosmologists, physicists, meteorologists and astronomers. That left the 10,257 scientists in disciplines like geology, oceanography, paleontology, and geochemistry that were somehow deemed more worthy of being included in the consensus. The two researchers also decided that scientific accomplishment should not be a factor in who could answer – those surveyed were determined by their place of employment (an academic or a governmental institution). Neither was academic qualification a factor – about 1,000 of those surveyed did not have a PhD, some didn’t even have a master’s diploma.
To encourage a high participation among these remaining disciplines, the two researchers decided on a quickie survey that would take less than two minutes to complete, and would be done online, saving the respondents the hassle of mailing a reply. Nevertheless, most didn’t consider the quickie survey worthy of response – just 3146, or 30.7%, answered the two questions on the survey:
1. When compared with pre-1800s levels, do you think that mean global temperatures have generally risen, fallen, or remained relatively constant?
2. Do you think human activity is a significant contributing factor in changing mean global temperatures?
The questions were actually non-questions. From my discussions with literally hundreds of skeptical scientists over the past few years, I know of none who claims that the planet hasn’t warmed since the 1700s, and almost none who think that humans haven’t contributed in some way to the recent warming – quite apart from carbon dioxide emissions, few would doubt that the creation of cities and the clearing of forests for agricultural lands have affected the climate. When pressed for a figure, global warming skeptics might say that human are responsible for 10% or 15% of the warming; some skeptics place the upper bound of man’s contribution at 35%. The skeptics only deny that humans played a dominant role in Earth’s warming.
Bob Webster discusses why climate science is an anything but disinterested activity.
Many people cannot imagine why some scientists (whom the media claim to be a “consensus”, as if that were meaningful when considering scientific theory) would act dishonorably to their profession by participating in a scam the magnitude of the human-caused-global-warming (AGW) hoax.
The answer is not complicated. In fact, the answer is rooted in the survival instinct all humans possess and is akin to the “publish or perish” maxim of scientific researchers. And I do not refer to the survival instinct in the sense that we need to survive “human-caused-global-warming.” No, it is all about funding and the survival of budget cuts.
Those who benefit from the flow of enormous government grants and funding (in universities and government agencies) to study a perceived problem (AGW) have been charged with providing guidance to politicians. In other words, the continued receipt of study funds is dependent upon an ever-increasing concern about the magnitude of the “problem” (in this case, AGW).
Is it any surprise that these researchers continue to find evidence of human-caused-global-warming when, in fact, the planet appears to be cooling over the past 10 or so years, perhaps significantly? As of the beginning of 2011, there has still not been one scientific study to ever identify a human component of climate change. None. Never.
To create the illusion of recent warming, ground station temperature data have been manipulated without explanation or sound scientific basis. This has been going on both at the US’s GISS (James Hansen’s handiwork) and at the UK’s CRU (Phil Jones of “Climategate” fame). Neither Hansen nor Jones can provide legitimate justification for their data manipulations that are a matter of partial record (original data has been “lost”, so the record is incomplete). Hansen arrogantly alters ground station records to create the appearance of warming where none has occurred (in fact, in some locations cooling has been altered to give the appearance of warming!).
Should it come as any surprise that these government-paid “scientists” would manufacture “evidence” to support their continued accumulation of funds and power?
Judah Cohen, Columbia Ph.D. and Director of Seasonal Forecasting at Atmospheric and Environmental Research, Inc., in his New York Times editorial, amusingly titled “Bundle Up, It’s Global Warming,” demonstrates impressive sophistical ingenuity as he explains how colder weather and more snow is really ultimately caused by Global Warming.
As global temperatures have warmed and as Arctic sea ice has melted over the past two and a half decades, more moisture has become available to fall as snow over the continents. So the snow cover across Siberia in the fall has steadily increased.
The sun’s energy reflects off the bright white snow and escapes back out to space. As a result, the temperature cools. When snow cover is more abundant in Siberia, it creates an unusually large dome of cold air next to the mountains, and this amplifies the standing waves in the atmosphere, just as a bigger rock in a stream increases the size of the waves of water flowing by.
The increased wave energy in the air spreads both horizontally, around the Northern Hemisphere, and vertically, up into the stratosphere and down toward the earth’s surface. In response, the jet stream, instead of flowing predominantly west to east as usual, meanders more north and south. In winter, this change in flow sends warm air north from the subtropical oceans into Alaska and Greenland, but it also pushes cold air south from the Arctic on the east side of the Rockies. Meanwhile, across Eurasia, cold air from Siberia spills south into East Asia and even southwestward into Europe.
That is why the Eastern United States, Northern Europe and East Asia have experienced extraordinarily snowy and cold winters since the turn of this century. Most forecasts have failed to predict these colder winters, however, because the primary drivers in their models are the oceans, which have been warming even as winters have grown chillier. They have ignored the snow in Siberia. ...
The reality is, we’re freezing not in spite of climate change but because of it.
Of course, this kind of argumentation is basically futile. Anyone not determined to believe will inevitably reflect that an ingenious theorist could just as cleverly provide the opposite kind of explanation, say, for instance, that cooler temperatures make most living organisms more active by creating greater requirements of energy expenditure to obtain food and stay warm enough to survive. All this increased organic activity inevitably creates increased friction with molecules of gas in the earth’s atmosphere and with the surface of the planet, and friction produces heat. More cold leads to more effort to seek animal warmth from members of the same species, and thus occurs more reproduction. Increased organic populations produce more friction. And so we see that a trend of gradually increasing warmer weather is really just a false epiphenomenon confusing our perception of the true reality: that we are entering the same New Ice Age predicted by the climate savants during the 1970s.
Anyone can do “heads I win, tails you lose” science.
The real test of science is not actually: just how glib are you? Can you explain away results contradicting your theory? And can you get your theory published by the New York Times? The real measure is: can you actually predict anything?
Holiday travelers found themselves stranded at Heathrow Airport, schools closed all over Britain, sporting events were canceled, and life generally ground to a halt due to snow-blocked highways, stalled train lines, and bitter cold.
How well did the Warmist Met Office and the East Anglia Climate Research Unit do in providing guidance for British officials, especially as compared to typically warming-skeptical meteorologists? Disastrously badly is the answer.
[A]s recently as late October the Met Office was predicting that we should expect an “unusually dry and mild winter”. This was news to every independent weather forecaster in the world from Joe Bastardi to Piers Corbyn who have been predicting a harsh winter for months.
But the Met Office of course knew better thanks to its spiffy new £33 million IBM supercomputer (90 per cent funded, of course, by the taxpayer) whose precognitive powers are so great, it is said that on a good day with a fair wind behind it and can very nearly match the track record of the dead celebrity Paul the Octopus. And of course, it’s this very same computer which is responsible for so many of the “projections” – not even “predictions”, note, but “projections” – of Anthropogenic Climate Doom so lovingly detailed on its taxpayer-funded website.
The Global Warming Policy Foundation posts a series of Met Office predictions and reality checks. The most amusing features a major reversal from late October this year.
Met Office 2010 Forecast: Winter To Be Mild Predicts Met Office
Daily Express, 28 October 2010: IT’S a prediction that means this may be time to dig out the snow chains and thermal underwear. The Met Office, using data generated by a £33million supercomputer, claims Britain can stop worrying about a big freeze this year because we could be in for a milder winter than in past years… The new figures, which show a 60 per cent to 80 per cent chance of warmer-than-average temperatures this winter, were ridiculed last night by independent forecasters. The latest data comes in the form of a December to February temperature map on the Met Office’s website.
Reality Check: December 2010 “Almost Certain” To Be Coldest Since Records Began
The Independent, 18 December 2010: December 2010 is “almost certain” to be the coldest since records began in 1910, according to the Met Office.
————————————————————————— John Hinderaker, at Power-Line, reminds us that, a decade ago, the experts at the University of East Anglia Climate Research Unit were predicting sadly that snow in Britain would soon become only a memory.
Britain’s winter ends tomorrow with further indications of a striking environmental change: snow is starting to disappear from our lives.
Sledges, snowmen, snowballs and the excitement of waking to find that the stuff has settled outside are all a rapidly diminishing part of Britain’s culture, as warmer winters – which scientists are attributing to global climate change – produce not only fewer white Christmases, but fewer white Januaries and Februaries. ...
According to Dr David Viner, a senior research scientist at the climatic research unit (CRU) of the University of East Anglia,within a few years winter snowfall will become “a very rare and exciting event”.
“Children just aren’t going to know what snow is,” he said.