What are the barriers to climate skepticism higher up?

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Climate change is a typical example of a ‘captured moral domain’ model. What this means is politicians, leaders, CEOs, basically anyone with a real job, would be afraid to voice their frank opinion on the matter. If you are skeptical you are likely to stick out like a sore thumb, even if others have the same opinion as you because they’re keeping mum. Climate skepticism is shy.

A ‘captured moral domain’ gives several immediate advantages to issue ground troopers. For one, it gives them a license to smear opponents without compunction, and they use it. ‘Climate change denier.’ If you are a leader who’s worked hard to attain a powerful position, it is different being publicly labeled a ‘denier’ than when you were fighting your way to the top.

Climate change is a bubble configuration issue. When you live in the real world, it is easier to laugh at global warming. Inside government, surrounded by bureaucrats for whom global warming is a religion, it is harder to so. Politeness intervenes. If you are forced to attend parties where Leonardo DiCaprio shows up regularly, it is easier to nod along as he bores you about global warming and his latest DVD. Once inside, the climate bubble becomes the entire landscape for many leaders – they are surrounded by officials, celebrities, scientists, activists, party members and assorted hangers-on who inevitably believe in the climate consensus. You may be ‘the leader of the free world’ but your leadership projects outward, starting with the circle closest around you.

Because it is a bubble issue, climate like many progressive ’causes’ is a smartness trap. With a little effort on consensus material, you can appear really smart. With a lot of effort, you can become a skeptic and look stupid. As a result, for leaders the value of climate as social currency exists on the consensus side. Thankfully, this is the opposite of the real world social gatherings where if you utter the word climate people will run away from you.

Climate has long survived by making itself relevant to geopolitics. In the 1950s Cold War era, scientists successfully persuaded the US government to fund research by raising the specter of weather manipulation by the USSR. Today, Anthony Watts bans chemtrail conspiracy theory adherents from his blog. From the 1980s onward, climate became a staple of geopolitical chicanery following the successful template of acid rain and ozone control. Politicians have been successively tempted to play climate politics to harm their opponents, and allies. You have to pretend to believe to buy a ticket to play.

Climate activists focus all their efforts in targeting prestige media outlets and powerful politicians. They tell them climate change is an opportunity for international ‘leadership’ and statesmanship. As an example, take a look at this Tom Freidman article trying frantically to push all the right buttons for Donald Trump. Activists say climate research is an arena of global contest. War, peace, ‘clean energy,’ environmental ‘protection’ – there is virtually no end to areas in which global leaders could transform into beloved statesman by simply believing in the climate cause. ‘Go on, push the switch, keep the train going.’

Climate activism and research are mature fields filled with professionals with decades of work and with careers and families on the line. Want to be the one to tell them they’re out of work? It is far easier for leaders to let it go even if activists work toward reconfiguring or destroying whole-scale, segments of the economy because climate activism works slowly. The problem of climate activism is wickeder than ‘global warming.’

Climate is forever a problem of the future. Leaders and politicians, on the other hand, have more pressing matters to attend to. A politician may calculate it to be not in his or her best interest to tackle a slow-moving target like climate. It may appear more convenient to lob the hot potato to the next incoming guy if you are constantly surrounded by professional whiners.

Alt-science climate activists

The US House Science committee tweeted a link to a James Delingpole article on the drop in atmospheric temperatures of the Na Nina that is underway.

Look at the climate alarmist and intelligentsia response:

Science writer Deborah Blum:

The articulate British scientist Doug McNeall:

PhD scientist Bob Ward:

Former journalist Leo Hickman:

Climate activist ‘Climate Truth’

Climate communicator Michael Mann:

Climate communicator Michael Mann

Climate communicator Things Break:

 

Climate communicator ‘Climate Truth’

‘Journalist’ Hywel Robers

Anti-e-cig activist John Mashey:

Veteran Climateprogress commenter Lou Grinzo:

Climate communicator Eric Steig:

‘Physicist’ Aatish Bhatia:

That’s right. A veritable stream of tweets feigning outrage and fainting over the name ‘Breitbart’ but not a single one that explains why they are angered.

It’s the flavor of the season: how outraged you manage to be is proof how wrong/evil your opponent is.

In all, I saw one response by biologist Karen James who attempted to come up with some form of reasoning why the US House Science, Space and Technology Committee was wrong:

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Unfortunately, with Delingpole’s article becoming ‘heinously misleading,’ there is only emotional ranting and little thinking going on here. The Breitbart article does not say anything about ‘greenhouse gases from human activity causing climate change’ or even ‘something like that.’

All it does is point out how mum the climate establishment has been given the drop in temperatures corresponding to the La Nina. It quotes David Whitehouse and and Myles Allen as sources. What a shocker.

The same establishment makes a deafening racket every time there is an El Nino. In fact, climate activists actively hope for El Nino warm periods so they can hyperventilate about ‘record temperatures’ and advance their policy goals.

Now that Milo Yiannapoulous’ work has been used by propagandists to smear Breitbart as a ‘racist’ platform, it would be doubly delicious were James Delingpole—who has been writing for Breitbart for even longer—to become the de facto source of climate updates. It would be sharp, scientific and right-on-target.

Unlike the dumber-than-a-sack-of-rocks climate activists who can’t find the words or come up a single reason for their outbursts.

The climate cat-and-mouse game and Trump

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Climate diplomacy is just war by other means. In fact, climate as diplomacy took birth for this purpose though the pretense at the surface is anything but. The initial momentum of the climate movement was Malthusian – directed at overconsumption of ‘resources’ and ‘overpopulation’ of the earth by the wrong types of human beings in developing countries. Paradoxically however, the movement incorporated globally negotiated treaty-making under the UN as an integral part of its design. This meant inviting the very targets of the Malthusians  to voluntarily subject themselves to the intended curbs—in growing crops, using forests and land, producing and using fossil fuels—essentially in all elements of modern life. This central, unresolved paradox has remained at the heart of the UNFCCC/IPCC process.

When things kicked off (at Rio de Janeiro) in 1992, the only way to entice developing countries to participate in the UNFCCC was via  (a) promises of a temporary reprieve and special permissions to continue using fossil fuels – the so-called principle of ‘common but differentiated responsibilities,’ and (b) dangling the twin carrots of technology transfer and financial aid to overcome the ravages of climate change. Developing countries like India and China, then utterly secure in their backwardness, were eager to accept these conditions. All one had to do was accept climate consensus formulations (‘the science’) to appear scientific, which was an attractive proposition to the global South. Once accepted the Rio template brought further benefits. They could band together in berating developed countries like the US and the UK for their ‘rampant consumerism,’ ‘capitalism,’ and ‘exploitation of resources.’ They could pretend to ‘care’ for ‘the environment.’ The ball of ’emission reduction’ was not yet in their court which made the moral posturing easier.

To be fair, as poor nations lacked leverage, there were direct participatory pressures on developing countries. If they chose to keep away from the UNFCCC/COP negotiations, they could find themselves subject to mandatory rules made in their absence.  The safety valve in all this was the knowledge that the US was neither about to transfer nuclear technology nor freely part with gobs of cash. The developed countries had their safety valves, too. For a good while, countries like Germany and Russia double-counted incidental large dips in their GDP toward the Kyoto protocol. In the US, the Senate proved to be an insurmountable barrier for climate activist legislation. Ironically, in climate circles, the knowledge/belief that neither India nor China would accept accept verifiable mandatory emission reduction targets has itself served as an inhibitory force. In other words, each party depends on the other to act in their self-interest in order to protect themselves from self-harm in the name of climate!

Developed countries use ‘the science’ to pursue Malthusian dreams of their environmentalist cohorts. Developing countries pretend at believing in the science to play at being the global left. Skepticism at the whole charade drops between the cracks. This has been the climate story over the past 22 years – of pantomime fools dancing around a Gordian knot.

There is, however, great danger even in play-acting in a Malthusian drama. At regular intervals, countries have found themselves paying a real price for the indulgence. The Climate Change Act in the UK is one such example. Written entirely by a college-level activist, the passage of the CCA exposed the weakness of ‘checks and balances’ in the UK and showed how trivial it was to being gamed. The EPA coal rules – the so-called ‘Clean Power Plan’ of the Obama administration in the US are a second example of calculated harm inflicted by a government on its own citizens. With Copenhagen, the UNFCCC/COP system entered an unstable phase. Here a hastily assembled alliance of countries BASIC fended off a binding agreement.  But the wall of ‘common but differentiated responsibilities’ was crumbling fast with the growth of the Indian, Brazilian and Chinese economies. Post-Copenhagen, the United States went to work breaking down the BASIC alliance and by 2015 had largely succeeded. Stung by failure, climate activists were under pressure to show the world they could succeed. India did not want to be seen as a lone villain obstructing a treaty. The Paris agreement was born.

With Paris, there were only two safety valves left standing. One, that developed countries would not actually cough up billions of dollars annually for ‘climate adaptation.’ Two, the US Senate or the political system would not ratify and implement an internationally imposed mandate of emissions reduction. It is at this juncture that Donald Trump has been elected. As Benny Peiser points in the Financial Post, if Trump carries out what he has proclaimed, there would be no free cash flowing toward developing countries in the guise of a climate fund. The Obama-era climate regulations could see themselves dismantled completely. These should provide enough excuses for developing countries—if they have the sense to recognize the opportunity—to disengage from economic self-harm and walk away from the precipice.  The abysmal failure of the Indian position at Marrakech should serve as yet another example that moral posturing on the climate brings zero tangible benefits to countries.

With Trump, and open climate skepticism, a global era of countries depending on others to act in self-interest in order to protect their own can finally come to a end.  The chapter of fake collective global climate guilt can be closed.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Trump Climate

A climate skeptic in the White House? Yes, that’s what we have.

While there are several ways in which the climate debate can move, as a skeptic, observer, and occasional participant, I wanted to outline some key points.

Representation

Who does the climate issue belong to? Here is one of the darkest, damnedest of secrets of climate/AGW activism: the climate issue belongs to no one. As a political issue, climate change has no owner. Climate has no natural constituency. It has no vote bank, no demographic, no sect or group.

What this means is, if you don’t push the climate cause as an elected government, no one will be angry or upset because there is no one to be angry or upset. No one cares about the climate, including climate activists who pretend to do so the most. Despite their best efforts not enough people have taken up climate change as part of the array of topics they hold partisan views about. ‘Climate change’ is an unparalleled repellent and buzz kill. But there is a constant noise and drumbeat in the media about climate, where does it come from? Only paid activists. There are many paid activists but they have precisely one vote each, and their money cannot buy elections. See Clinton, Sanders, Jeb Bush … See Obama, he did not utter the word climate in his re-election campaign.

If this comes as a shock you don’t have to take my word for it, I can provide two impeccable sources. First, the scholarly work of Roger Pielke Jr. He proved conclusively there is a ‘iron law’—people will pay for the climate cause to a point but not more. This is the same as above stated in reverse. If you don’t care at all about something, you would still be willing to part with some money for it. Second, the climate activists themselves. There is an entire body of academic work obsessing about why climate change has not earned widespread public support, with such luminaries as Stephen Lewandowsky and Dan Kahan, to mention a few. They wouldn’t be doing it if climate had widespread support, would they?

Public face

The climate issue needs a public face. Myron Ebell is a great pick for the EPA. While the apoplexy proceeds apace on the regulatory side, it would be good to be proactive on the climate side, too. Pick Roger Pielke Jr to front your climate policy team (create one, you’re going to need it). Now skeptics might hem and haw a little but Pielke Jr is one of the ‘good guys.’ It would be karmic justice and a triumphant comeback, having been knifed by Obama climate ‘czar’ John Holdren and perennially wrong data czar Nate Silver, for saying no more than the most reasonable and scientifically valid things. He is a veteran, knows the climate players and the issues very well. He and his Hartwell colleagues are stabilists – they have the uncanny ability to make perfectly agreeable statements on climate policy that lead nowhere. Plus, Pielke Jr has the added benefit of driving climate activists completely nuts whenever he says anything. That is exactly what is needed.

Kyoto, Paris

The Paris agreement is a dead duck. Obama and the Democrats figured they could screw over sections of the US whose livelihoods were directly connected to coal. They tried to electorally counter-balance it by recruiting ‘Hispanics, Blacks, and women.’ Hispanics, Blacks and women do not care about the climate, did not vote in enough numbers to propel the Democratic candidate to the presidency, and coal communities voted strongly against. Implementing the Paris agreement would mean replicating this clean coal voting experiment throughout the country. Wanna try?

Even if implemented, the Paris agreement is not binding on countries that enter it. Such agreements harm western countries like the UK, UK or Australia more than the developing world, for a variety of reasons. Governance and regulation are of a higher standard and penalties are stiff, and there is a tendency to obey rules, even unenforceable and self-harming ones. People don’t see it this way but one of the innovations of the Paris agreement is its non-binding nature, and it needs to be shot down for this very corrupting influence.

Moreover, there is science on the skeptics’ side. The Paris agreement is scientifically absurd and nonsensical.

Funding and how it is organized

This is a longstanding issue in the climate field. The funding of climate studies – be it in science or the humanities – is a major driver of climate activism and alarmism. Much has been written about the self-fulfilling and self-aggrandizing nature of climate alarmism. Sections of ‘the science,’ and in particular certain climate scientists, are relentless alarmists and have carved out whole careers in ‘scicomm’-ing and climate alarm. Climate humanities are fully sold on alarm and constantly spend their efforts trying to figure out ways of persuading, or pathologizing the public. Vast sums of money are expended on climate models that never provide output commiserate with reality but yet form the basis of policy-making. These models are under IPCC/UNFCCC evolutionary selection pressure and ones with jacked-up sensitivities and lacking natural variability get picked. Warmed-up model output is even used to up-tweak raw observational data.

A dramatic shift toward observational science and a break away from modeling is needed. This can be achieved by restructuring funding. Take the example of Australia, which reorganized and pared down its CSIRO workforce.

Global temperature

Global temperature average measurement has been excessively complicated. The NOAA/NCDC collects global data and produces its own average. But it cannot provide satisfactory justifications for the numerous adjustments that are made in the process. Certain adjustments may be necessary but there is suspicion the rationale behind them is politically motivated and unsound. A lack of openness and transparency has only worsened doubts. Adjustments are propagated retrospectively to data, meaning trends, values, even the whole shape of centuries-long global temperature curve can change overnight. There is no telling what lies ahead in the peer-reviewed publication conveyor belt of adjustment logic, down the road. Additionally, there are multiple agencies producing a global temperature average, creating a sense of independent confirmation but under the hood they rely on the same data. In other words, there is wasteful expenditure. To top it, government officials spread alarm on social media using monthly global average figures that are meaningless in a climatological sense.

To prevent conflicts, as a starting point, temperature data gathering and archival and average estimation functions must be separated. Secondly, duplication can be eliminated between NOAA and GISS. Thirdly, the land and ocean average can be co-analyzed and cross-verified with satellite data to estimate a single temperature index, eliminating a portion of the ad-hoc adjustments, and reducing waste in one go. Two birds with one stone.

Renewable energy:

Renewable energy porkies and handouts are entirely wasteful. Renewable energy projects are environmentally harmful. But ‘renewable energy’ research is research – it provides  for tinkering and good things can come out of even the worst research. As much as the electorate hates hearing the words ‘climate change’, a baseline bare minimum of renewable projects keep guilty consciences sated, and years of climate propaganda has produced some guilt. Withdraw the boondoggles but don’t completely drain this swamp.

 

Nauseous and jolted – Climateworld reacts to Trump

How has the climate blog world reacted to Donald Trump winning the US presidential election? Skeptics and regular people are probably walking around, celebrating, waving their mental middle finger at climate alarmists whose plans have been rudely interrupted.

Here’s the Sou meltdown:

My first reaction on hearing of Donald Trump’s probably (sic) victory was an emotional jolt, accompanied by the physical sensation of nausea. …

That’s the picture – a nauseous Sou, staggering for the smelling salts.

The first comment on the thread began:

I cried today …

CRR Kampen wanted to move to a ‘safe space’

I might now adopt ‘despair’ and see about planning for the remainder of my existence in some safe place on the globe if there be any. […]

Bernard J, ever ready to bury people under the weight of his prose, begins:

I’ve been working …to increase resilience both in my own personal sphere and in my local community, at the expense of my previous engagement online …

And on and on it goes, for more than 250 comments from shrinking violets and snowflakes, only many of them are properly geriatric.

At the Eli Rabett blog, someone called Brian appears to have taken over and is in … denial, with a post titled:

The American people have spoken, and they chose Hillary Clinton

The most hilarious blog on Trump in all of climate land comes from (who else) Realclimate. In characteristic fashion, with no regard to reality or polling results, ‘group’ exhorted readers:

Don’t make a choice that you, your children and your children’s children will regret forever.

mann-dicaprio

Michael Mann of Realclimate interviewed by Leonardo DiCaprio

Apart from the ‘think of the grandchildren’ nonsense, out-of-touch ‘group’ was as tone deaf with Trump as it was during Brexit. Without a doubt its members’ jet-setting around the world and rubbing shoulders with celebrities has only hastened the schism.

Astrophysics Alienpsychosis

Imagine a researcher studies the ideas of psychiatric ward patients suffering hallucinations. “It’s staggering, ” he concludes, ” the evidence points to aliens controlling the minds of these people via special radio waves.”

Now picture a group of astronomers studying the brightness of a distant star (called KIC 8462852). “It is astounding, ” they conclude, “the evidence points to aliens controlling the brightness levels of the star via an enormous mega-structure.”

In the world around you today, if a researcher concluded the former, he would be thrown into an asylum himself. If he arrived at the latter conclusion – that aliens were controlling the brightness of a star – he would be paraded in the front pages of newspapers and be given media interviews.

Want to make lots of money, be famous and sell out? Join science and push out your premature conclusions. Just make sure you include a ‘sci-comm’ hook, like aliens.

 

The Fiske Fiskers

Susan Fiske, a professor of psychology at Princeton University recently wrote a longish rant about critics of research who operate out of social media platforms and blogs. This has people like Andrew Gelman and neuroskeptic quite excited (see their respective articles here and here)

Why am I dinging these excellent bloggers, you ask? After all, their response to Fiske who accuses bloggers of ‘methodological terrorism’ and as being ‘destructo-critics’ contains a number of valid points.

Both Gelman and neuroskeptic have seen the work of Stephen Lewandowsky. They had every opportunity to examine his work thoroughly and reach their conclusions. Both chose to stand in support of Lewandowsky.

Gelman has not commented on Lewandowsky’s papers directly but nonchalantly promoted one of his opinion pieces with Dorothy Bishop. The paper was on methods of efficient gate-keeping and preventing methodological terrorists (bloggers) from getting published . neuroskeptic’s attitude toward Lewandowsky’s methods can only be described as a form of aggressive ignorance, as he promoted the now-retracted ‘Recursive Fury’ paper, which retailed labeling the same methodological terrorists as ‘conspiracists’.

In other words, what mattered was who was being disparaged and labeled. When the critics were climate skeptics, they’ were ok. When it appears as though Fiske’s open-ended vague attack might include bloggers like them, they are unhappy.

This simply shows acceptance or serious consideration of criticism of scientific results depends not merely on the validity of the points being made, but on the social context, the packaging and the channels through which it arrives. Gelman and neuroskeptic are no more immune to wild rants, ideological blind-spots and irrational thinking against ‘methodological terrorism’ than Susan Fiske is.

They would do good to stop preaching to her.

 

Climate Brexit in three tweets

Exhibit 1 is from Michael Mann drawing a connection between climate change and Brexit. That’s right, you guessed it: Brexit was caused by climate change

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In reality, ‘climate change’ is a news headline parasite. Whatever issue is making headlines is either a cause of climate change or is caused by it. The rule is far simpler, easily remembered, and probably true.

Exhibit 2 is from Gavin Schmidt drawing a parallel between Brexit supporters and vaccine-averse parents.

vaccination

Anyone who has a different opinion than Schmidt is an idiot, an anti-vaxxer, ‘racist’ or a Holocaust denier. Even if they constitute >51% of the voting British public.

Exhibit 3 is from James Annan, according to whom the Brexit vote must simply be thrown away.

sane1

That’s right. The final outcome of a referendum, with only two possible results as outcomes, happens to be something that needs to be rejected. Why did they even hold the referendum in the first place? 

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The attack of the Watts parasito-clones

Anthony Watts has spawned numerous clones and reaction blogs over the years. The worst is probably ‘Sou Bundanga‘. Sou does not write original material. Instead, every post is a reaction to a WUWT post appended to color commentary and comments lifted wholesale from WUWT itself.

Sou probably is consumed by intense hatred when writing her WUWT reaction blogs. How else can  you explain something like this? Reacting to a Watts post on the hypocrisy of climate scientists Sou goes ballistic. Drawing a parallel between Watts’ posts and the shock killing of UK Labour politician Jo Cox, she says:

postscript

This is unhinged.

If you are someone who thinks people who read Anthony Watts’ blog—’his nutters’ as she calls them— are capable of murdering scientists and will actually carry it out, you have reached the end of the line. You have no business  critiquing, analyzing and dissecting what he writes.

As with Gavin Schmidt it is obvious between Sou and Watts who got carried away politicizing an act of violence.

Go home safe, Sou, you are lost.

Gavin Schmidt: Brexit would lead to more than street killings of MPs

Yesterday British MP Jo Cox was killed by an attacker while going about meeting people in her constituency. The shocking incident set off a train of thoughts in Gavin Schmidt, who is from Britain.

A sudden crisis nearly always brings out hidden currents, which may have otherwise never surfaced. In his string of tweets Schmidt appears to blame ‘Brexit’ for the killing. His tweets followed the incident so closely in time there was no reliable information on motive.

The only possibility, then, is Schmidt was influenced by early reports that said the killer shouted “Britain first!” or the Guardian’s Polly Toynbee who wrote a long article squarely laying the blame for the murder at Brexit’s feet.

Schmidt pulls the trick climate activists have been resorting to, for decades:

schmidt copy

This is an incredible giveaway, isn’t it? Here we have an activist climate scientist, in the throes of a heated crisis, capitalizing on an event to attribute blame for murder on his political opponents, and going beyond, that if his side is defeated — in a fair election no less — more such incidents would occur.

It is speculation, wrapped in plausible deniability, capped off with a threat. How does he know the incident had anything to do with ‘Leave’?

Rremember, reliable information available on the killer’s motive was next-to-none at the time he wrote this. Yet Gavin Schmidt was quick off the bat.

Why wouldn’t I think he does the same with climate, and weather? ‘While no single weather event can be attributed to anthropogenic global warming, more such disasters would occur in a climate-changed world’ — how many times have we heard this from activists and scientists alike?

It is a reflexive exploitation of a crisis – you ascribe blame on your target, and while you cannot be fully sure it was what caused it, you nevertheless proceed to forecast more of the same, investing the threat with a cloak of probabilism.

Note: I wrote this originally on Medium. Only slightly modified here.