Tag Archives: climate

Big Green Hypocrites — Part II

TONY THOMAS

 

One hears it whenever the well-paid warmist elite gets its richly remunerated nose out of the trough: ‘If you doubt our scare stories about global warming, you must be listening to deniers in the pay of Big Carbon.” There’s money in the climate racket, that’s for sure — but precious little goes to sceptics

 

green megaphoneIn the global debate on climate, the sceptic workload is carried by individuals working from kitchen tables or their equivalent. Yet, despite their meagre resourcing, top sceptic bloggers achieve an avid readership. In Australia, both major political parties chant the mantra of dangerous, human-caused global warming. No newspaper is avowedly sceptic, although the News Corp press, unlike its Fairfax counterpart, permits dissenting voices to grace its pages and websites.  Yet despite the overwhelming bias in favour of warmism, especially at the ABC, 47% of the population rejects the mantra: I suspect the bloggers’ message has percolated through.

Of course, News Corp columnists, including the Herald Sun’s Andrew Bolt and Tim Blair of the Daily Telegraph are sceptics, each well-paid and both with massive followings. But they don’t specialise in climate coverage, and a lot of their sceptic items are extracted from the writings of the kitchen-table climate bloggers, who keep close watch on emerging science and controversies.

Here are some 2014 “Bloggies” award results for blogs which happen to be sceptic.

Weblog of the Year and Best Group Weblog: Anthony Watts’ Watts Up With That(US).|
Lifetime AchievementJoanne Nova (Perth WA)
Best Topical Weblog: Steve McIntyre’s Climate Audit (Canada)
Best Political WeblogGlobal Warming Policy Foundation (UK)
Best European Weblog: Roger Tattersall’s Tallbloke’s Talkshop (UK).

Anthony Watts, of Watts Up, also won the top blog award in 2013. He has achieved 195 million page views since launching the site. In 2011, 2012 and 2013 his blog took first place in the Bloggies Best Science Weblog category. He is on no-one’s payroll, and gets by with half a dozen volunteer moderators. He earns some income from Amazon book referrals and wordpress.com blog ads, donations via a tip button and the sale of mugs, T-shirts etc. He normally takes no directly placed paid ads. In 2012, he received $US44,000 from a donor via the Heartland Institute think-tank to make official climate data more user-friendly. He gets small honorariums and expenses as a Heartland conference speaker.

Joanne Nova earlier was rated best Australasian blog in 2012. She  is blogging full-time while raising a family at a modest outer-suburban Perth home, sans government grants, sans academic salary andsans cheques from Big Oil. Her Climate Sceptics’ Handbook has achieved 220,000 downloads and been translated into 16 languages, but she distributes it free.

Nova’s blog attracted half a million visits last year, but in March of 2014 she wrote, “Our bank account is looking very low. All contributions would be gratefully received. Thanks.” An individual known only as “Jaymez” then offered to add $1 to every $4 raised, to a maximum  grant of $5000.  In the event, she got $20,000 that week from 600 donors globally and $5000 in Jaymez’s matching money.  (Oddly, donations take the form of buying her $1 e-chocolate bars, as she’s not a registered charity).

This donations drive was a unique occasion, as Nova’s normal income is derived from small-change tip-jar contributions and minor web ads and sundries, such as commissioned reports.

Part I of ‘Big Green Hypocrites’

Nova’s real name is Joanne Codling, and she’s married to scientist Dr David Evans. She tellsQuadrant Online, “This battle for logic and reason has cost us thousands, most of it in opportunity cost of what we could have earned. We’d be a lot richer now if we had not got involved in this climate debate. But it has opened some excellent doors and we have friends all over the world. As far as mental stimulation goes, it does not get better than taking on the UN and Western governments with nothing but the web and our wits. I love what I do.

“In reality, as intellectually rewarding as our work is, we have to pay bills. Right now both of us are full-time on this, and it would not be sustainable without the help of those  who like to see cheating and self-serving exaggeration exposed.”

Nova crusades for scepticism with Evans, a self-employed  mathematician and engineer who boasts six university degrees, including a PhD from Stanford University in electrical engineering. Originally a green, Nova did a science degree in molecular biology and toured five years for Shell as performer and manager with its Questacon Science Circus, introducing science to schoolchildren. She then lectured in science communication. She says monopolistic government funding of science is holding science back: “We need independent science, too,” she says, “that means people who are paid to follow the data, not the grants.”

“We need truly independent auditors and investigators — funded directly by the people, not via tax payments. I have a vision where a lot of good people make small monthly donations to the pool of people at the front line. If bloggers and writers can keep taxes lower by 2% to 3%, the donors will be financially better off as well, and this applies to corporations too.

“We need to think big. We can create a permanent industry of people holding the government, and the media, to the task. If we pay bloggers well, there will be serious competition among bloggers, and a new career path for the top independent minds out of school and university. Wouldn’t that be brilliant!

“If protecting the environment is worth $500 million (roughly the turnover of World Wildlife Fund), then protecting our civilization is even more valuable. Nothing trashes the environment like anarchy. Greens should join libertarians and conservatives in supporting an independent watch-dog industry.”

Nova’s sceptic counterpart in Canada is journalist, feminist and author Donna Laframbroise, whoseNo Frakking Consensus placed fourth for Weblog of the Year, 2014. “Time is a non-renewable resource,” Laframboise says. “The past five years have been rewarding in many respects and, given the chance to re-live them, I doubt I’d change much. What they have not been is financially rewarding. I would have enjoyed more spare time and earned more money if I’d spent the past five years working as a barista.”

Until late 2010, Laframboise received no external funding, all her research and publication costs having been underwritten by her household budget. In December, 2012, she wrote, “Despite your support, I’m sorry to say that this kind of work is not financially lucrative. The climate-sceptic community is relatively small and my book [on the IPCC] has not yet broken into the mainstream.”

When invited in January to address the Climate Change Committee of the House of Commons about her five years of research into the IPCC, she had to pay for her own trans-Atlantic flights and sundry costs, with the exception of one night in a hotel, which was covered. Unlike academics and employees, she had no-one reimbursing her costs.

Laframboise in 2011 published her book-length expose of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, “The Delinquent Teenager Who Was Mistaken for the World’s Top Climate Expert“, which shattered dozens of shibboleths about the internal probity of the IPCC. She took the trouble to check, for example, the oft-repeated claim of IPCC chair Rajendra Pachauri that all IPCC science was gold-standard, peer-reviewed work. She and dozens of volunteer helpers combed through the 18,351 citations in the 2007 IPCC report and found that 5587, or some 30%, involved government reports, tracts by lobby groups, press releases and even “version one of a draft”. Not one of  thousands of in-the-know IPCC scientists had ever sought to correct Pachauri’s misleading claim to legislators about using only peer-reviewed sources. The Australian edition sells for $A30 on Amazon or $US8 kindle. Her second e-book, Into the Dustbin, about Pachauri himself, sells for $A8.50.

Her blog has exposed many snafus in IPCC affairs, such as bogus claims by scores of IPCC authors to personal Nobel Prize status. “It seems no matter what rock I turn over, a scandal lurks beneath,” she says.

UK sceptic Roger Tattersall writes the 2014 Top European Blog, Tallbloke’s Talkshop, assisted by Tim Channon, who is in his 60s. Tattersall is an engineer and graduate with a specialization in the history and philosophy of science.  In a near-fatal accident eight years ago a hit-and-run driver collided with his motorbike, breaking Tattersall’s spine when he was flung into a tree and forcing him to abandon his IT business. His health has largely recovered and he can manage part-time work at the University of Leeds. “I survive on a pittance,” he tells Quadrant Online.

“I’ve never received any payment for anything related to my work in the climate debate,” he continues. “After I helped organise a climate conference in Lisbon under EU auspices, the EU bureaucracy refused to pay the hotel and travel expenses they promised me because one leg of my four-leg flight receipts was missing.” Tattersall pays blog-site provider WordPress NOT to have advertising on his website, a luxury he can afford because of ‘tip’ money from readers.  He achieved mainstream publicity when police seized his computers during their investigation in December, 2011, into the second Climategate email release. No charges were laid.

He says, “I was libeled as being the Climategate email hacker by Dr Greg Laden and Dr Michael Mann, and I received a substantial sum (around £12,000) in small donations from around the world to a legal fund to defend my reputation. After the legal bills were paid I disbursed the rest of the donations to other sceptics.”

Anthony Watts received several hundred dollars for projects, and Joanne Nova got a similar amount to help fix an IT emergency on her site. To someone like WA University’s Stephan Lewandowsky, who got $1.7m in government grants for ludicrous topics (such as the “psychopathology” of climate “deniers”), these hundred-dollar pittances must seem laughable, but they’re the coin in which sceptic bloggers generally deal.

Another cash-poor but globally respected sceptic blogger is Bob Tisdale, among the few outside the warmist monolith able to re-analyse and critique technical aspects of  the official climate models and ocean-temperature couplings with the atmosphere. He wrote last January on his Climate Observations blog,  “I’m a pensioner, a retiree, or I had been.  Sales of my ebooks and the occasional tip/donation have helped to pay the bills, but they haven’t covered them. So I’ve been forced to find another source of income. I have been spending 8-to-16 hours per day blogging, writing books and producing videos over the past few years, so my new focus will obviously cut into my time for climate-change research and reporting.

“As we well know, sceptics are not on the receiving end of billions of dollars in funding, so it may be a few years before I can afford to go back to blogging full time again. Unfortunately, as all but a few best-selling writers know, it’s damn near impossible to support oneself on book sales…”

In his spare time Tisdale has this year written a series of posts about the now-floundering El Nino effect, which earlier in the year alarmists proclaimed would be bigger-than-big and, inevitably, due to man-made greenhouse gases.  With the cross posts at Anthony Watts’ site, that series helped explain the mysteries of El Niño processes to lay readers.

In contrast to the world-traveling eco-activists, Tisdale travels less than 5,000 miles per year, all in a low-emissions car.  “I’m one of the most eco-friendly people I know,” he says, “I don’t travel, I don’t use air conditioning during the summer and I dress in multiple layers in winter so I can keep the thermostat in the low 60s (about 17 deg C) … that’s the daytime temperature setting. It goes lower at night.  And I kayak as a summertime water activity. No gazillion-dollar houseboats for me, like Al Gore’s.”

Marc Morano runs sceptic information compiler ClimateDepot.com, based in Washington DC, with one assistant. He is amused that the eco-magazine Grist named him as one of the top five“criminals against humanity, against planet Earth itself”. His operation is funded by the Committee for a Constructive Tomorrow (CFACT) which, in turn, is  funded mainly by US private citizens. In  2011, CFACT had $US3 million revenue, and 15  employees. It paid Morano $US150,000 for full-time work running Climate Depot, making him one of a handful of sceptic bloggers to earn a comfortable living.

CFACT declined to provide more up-to-date financials, but it seems a fairly modest organization – its other 14 workers incomes average $US44,000.

Morano was formerly communications adviser to Senator James Inhofe (Republican, Oklahoma), a long-time campaigner against warmism. A formidable debunker of warmist literature, Morano enjoys taking on prominent alarmists in live debates, which he posts on Climate Depot in a ‘you be the judge’ exercise.

In the UK, the big  climate-sceptic think-tank is the Global Warming Policy Foundation (GWPF), with social anthropologist Dr Benny Peiser as its director and no more than a staff member or two. It is, or was, housed in one room.  Peiser’s interests have ranged from ancient sport to asteroids: a 10km asteroid, Minor Planet (7107) Peiser, was named in his honour by the International Astronomical Union.

In its first year, 2009-10, GWPF  had donor  income of 503,000 pounds, falling to 158,000 pounds in 2010-11. It claims to be ‘open-minded’ about the climate debate, and says its members’ views range from support for the IPCC to outright scepticism. Its focus professes to be climate policies and their socio-economic impacts; it disparages climate models and the grandiosity of 100-year climate predictions. Its main and stated goal is to generate sensible and misinformation-free debate in the media, public and political process.

The GWPF board includes four lords, led by chair Nigel Lawson, an ex-chancellor of the exchequer. The other board members are two knights, one baroness and a bishop. Lawson claims GWPF has succeeded in opening the media to the climate debate, with only the BBC now viewing the science as settled and beyond the bounds of legitimate debate.

The GWPF academic advisory board is chaired by former OECD top economist David Henderson, and includes luminaries such as Princeton theoretical physicist Freeman Dyson, and economist Samuel Brittan.

The GWPF was embroiled in controversy last May when Danish Meteorology Professor Lennart Bengtsson was virtually forced to resign  from its academic council only three weeks after joining. He wrote, “I have been put under such an enormous group pressure in recent days from all over the world that [it] has become virtually unbearable to me… I had not expecting such an enormous world-wide pressure put at me from a community that I have been close to all my active life. Colleagues are withdrawing their support, other colleagues are withdrawing from joint authorship etc…I see no limit and end to what will happen… I would never have expecting anything similar in such an original peaceful community as meteorology. Apparently it has been transformed in recent years.”

Australian-born Sir Michael Hintze, a leading Conservative party donor who runs the five-billion pound hedge fund CQS, is a GWPF patron. Personally worth $US1.4b, Hinze has written, “The fact that we have not had any temperature increase for the last 15-16 years is what makes me worry that we are spending all our money on CO2 rather than cleaning up the crap in the world [plastic islands in oceans for example].”

While The Guardian and its allies hyperventilated at the effrontery of billionaire donor Hintze, another hedge-fund billionaire, Jeremy Grantham, donated 24 million pounds to set up two orthodox climate-change institutes in London, including the Grantham Institute. A year ago, Bob Ward, policy chief at Grantham Institute chaired by Lord Stern (of the infamous Stern Report), tried to get the GWPF shut down by formally complaining to the Charities Commission that GWPF was issuing misleading and politicized statements. The complaint seems to have failed, as GWPF continues. Ward has not complained about misleading by warmism-inclined charities such as Greenpeace and Oxfam.

On an individual basis, sceptic Queensland-based Professor Rob Carter was outed for receiving $US1667 per month from sceptic Heartland Institute in 2012 to work on a project, theNongovernmental International Panel on Climate Change. That’s just $US20,000 a year.

The Australian Labor government paid Professor Tim Flannery $A180,000 a year for three days’ part-time work a week heading its Climate Commission. When the Abbott government axed  the Commission last September, Flannery took an unpaid position with the private Climate Council, crowd-funded to the tune of more than $1m. After six months, Flannery and his fellow councilors switched to paid work there (amount undisclosed). Soon after, the Council ran appeals for more crowd funding to replenish its treasury.

Flannery believes the sceptic case is being pushed by “big vested interests”, with the fossil-fuel industry “pulling out all the stops now to turn the tide back.” He is also on top of the fee range at theClaxton Speakers Bank, meaning $15,000-plus per speech. He was wont to charge $US50,000 to speak to US corporations, making him Australia’s top-charging speaker.

If the planet really is in such dire peril, surely he would not be charging people so much to say so?

Again, and bearing sceptic Bob Carter’s $US20,000 a year in mind, let’s look at Canadian planet-saving  guru David Suzuki. Details have leaked about his contract to speak to a small Canadian college (1600 students) in October, 2012 . His topics included the need for cutting back on personal consumption. Suzuki slugged the college $C30,000 (plus an amazing $C11,640 costs) to tell students that “money isn’t what matters, money is not what makes him happy.” Half Canadians in 2012 earned less than $C30,000 a year). Suzuki wants sceptic politicians to face charges of criminality.

It is tempting to label that comment a cheap lie, but it isn’t. Unlike the sceptic community’s kitchen-table climate bloggers, nothing about the leading warmist mouthpieces comes cheap.

 

Big Green Hypocrites — Part III

 

Every wonder where the largest and loudest green groups get their million-dollar budgets? Forget those small-change contributions you see cup-rattlers collecting outside your local supermarket. The big bucks — and they are very big indeed — often arrive via shadowy conduits from some very surprising sources

 

green dollarEarly this year in Hollywood, James O’Keefe, a scourge of progressives, ran a sting against Green film producers Josh and Rebecca Tickell. The Tickells were creating a movie against gas frakking. O’Keefe’s accomplice “Muhammed” successfully posed as a Middle East oil owner offering to fund the film, but only on condition the funding stayed secret. Rebecca told “Muhammed”: “Because if people think the film is funded by Middle Eastern oil it … will not have that credibility.” Added Josh Tickell: “It’s money, so in that sense we have no moral issue.”

Last month, a minority Republican report from Senate Environment and Public Works Committee set out how America’s green groups are being funded to the tune of tens of millions of dollars by secret offshore interests with a Bermuda address.

These interests are part of a complex and secret web of green funders, headed by some of America’s billionaires and multi-millionaires. The billionaires whose foundations and charities are involved include the Hewlett and Packard computer families, the Rockefellers, Intel’s heirs, and the Walton clan of Walmart fame. Sub-billionaire funders include Google heirs, Getty heirs, food and media heirs, and hedge-fund owners.

The 90-page Senate report   was titled, “The Chain of Environmental Command: How a Club of Billionaires and Their Foundations Control the Environmental Movement and Obama’s EPA.”

Members of the “club” have successfully served as midwives for President Obama’s new policy against coal-fired power, announced in June. This involves 30% emission cuts (relative to 2005) by 2030, which the Senate committee fears is the ‘death knell’ for the coal industry. President Obama last October famously criticised  his opponents for  “millionaires and billionaires bankrolling whoever they want, however they want, in some cases undisclosed. What it means is ordinary Americans are shut out of the process.” Perhaps he was speaking tongue-in-cheek.

Among recipients of the club’s funding to activists in the period  2010 to ’13 were Centre for American Progress, $US8.4 million;  Earthjustice, $US3.5 million; Environmental Defence Fund, $US54 million; Greenpeace, $US2 million; League of Conservation Voters’ Education Fund, $US13 million; Natural Resources Defense Council, $US26 million;  Nature Conservancy, $US59 million; Sierra Club Foundation, $US17 million; Union of Concerned Scientists, $US8 million; and World Wildlife Fund, $US26 million.

Even minor green groups enjoy multi-million-dollar assets.  Earthjustice commands $US59 million and Centre for Biological Diversity gets $US12 million.  The big ones include Environmental Defense Fund ($US209m); National Resources Defence Council ($US268 million) and Audubon Society ($US450 million).

Part I of ‘Big Green Hypocrites’

Part II of ‘Big Green Hypocrites’

The committee was constrained to dealing only with the Environmental Protection Agency and energy/environmental policy. It reported that it had barely scratched the surface of hidden funding mechanisms for the “progressive” NGOs (non-government organisations). The billionaires’ role in the guise of tax-free ‘philanthropy’ has  generated little interest from the mainstream US media. One wonders if this might have something to do with the steady stream of packaged “scoops” reporters are fed by their green contacts.

By contrast, the oil industry’s billionaire brothers, Charles and David Koch, have been lambasted by Greenpeace as bankrolling the pro-fossil-fuel Americans for Prosperity Foundation for close to $US1 million p.a. for the six years to 2010. The Heritage Foundation similarly received an average sum of under $US400,000 a year (David Koch is chairman; it’s not much of a secret). The Cato Institute averaged $US600,000 and the Manhattan Institute, $US200,000

These were the biggest sceptic recipients of Koch  money, according to Greenpeace. If Greenpeace is right that the Koch brothers dispensed $US67m to sceptics over the 13 years from 1997 until 2010, that’s just $US5m per year — a small matter when compared with well over $US1b from rival foundations to the warmist community in 2011 alone.

The committee was mystified at why many super-rich are anti fossil-fuel and pro the green’s agenda for Big Government, and why they   go to such lengths to conceal their involvement. It drops hints that some sponsors are heavily invested in energy renewables; some are anti-frakking for personal reasons; and others are ideologically driven.

Here are some club members:

  • William & Flora Hewlett Foundation (computers): assets $US7.7b
  • David and Lucile Packard Foundation (computers): assets $US6.3b
  • Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation (Intel): assets $US5.7b
  • Rockefeller Brothers Fund, Inc. (oil): assets $US800m
  • Walton Family Foundation (retailing) : assets $US2b
  • Schmidt Family Foundation (Google): assets $US312m
  • Park Foundation, Inc. (foods, media): assets $US366m
  • Marisla Foundation (Getty oil): assets $US51m
  • Sea Change Foundation (mystery):  assets $US124m
  • Wallace Global Fund (chickens and eggs): assets $US155m
  • TomKat Charitable Trust (Tom Steyer hedge funds): assets $US178m

Key players include the   Sea Change Foundation and The Energy Foundation, which muster wholesale tranches of funds from local and undisclosed foreign donors, and disburse them to environmental activist groups.

Sea Change Foundation is a private outfit based in San Francisco. In 2011 it was the sixth-largest donor to environmental causes, giving $US43 million in grants to environmental and far-left eco activists. More than $US20 million went for campaigns against US fossil fuels. Sea Change’s president is hedge-fund owner  Nat Simons. His father, James, is worth $US12 billion. Nat Simons is also CEO of Elan Management, a renewables company, which laments that US baseload energy is still ‘a very inexpensive resource’ relative to wind and solar.

Most of Sea Change funding comes from the Simons, but 33% to 49% in recent years came from mysterious Bermuda-based shell company Klein Ltd.  Public information about Klein and its funding sources is virtually non-existent, the report says.

Many green funders coordinate their giving through membership of the secretive Environmental Grantmakers Association (EGA) –  “command central of the environmental movement”.

A Rockefeller Fund member of EGA was quoted: “Funders can play a role in using money to drive, to create, ad hoc efforts, in many cases that will have a litigation component coming from one group, a lobbying component coming from another group, a grass roots component organizing component from yet a third group with a structure that enables them to function well.”

In 2011, EGA members collectively donated $1.13 billion, or 40% of all US foundation giving, to environmental causes.

A typical grant was $US200,000 from the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation to the so-called Union of Concerned Scientists  (anyone can join for $US35) “for coal retirement and removing market barriers to renewable energy projects.”

The Senate committee says of the club,  “The scheme to keep their efforts hidden and far removed from the political stage is deliberate, meticulous, and intended to mislead the public … These individuals and foundations go to tremendous lengths to avoid public association with the far-left environmental movement they so generously fund.” The foundations are accompanied by a network of charitable trusts, some of which  function as intermediaries distancing greens from their wealthy backers and others useful for washing political funding into tax-exempt entities.

An innovation is ‘fiscal sponsorships’ which see leftist charities lend their non-profit and tax-exempt status to political lobbyists in return for a fee.

Another umbrella group is Divest/Invest, seeking to switch investment from fossil-based  fuels to renewables. Its strategy is to liken its plan to the anti-apartheid movement of the 1980s, with fossil-fuel divestment presented as a moral imperative and fossil-fuel advocates cast as pariahs. The committee says that Divest/Invest is unconcerned that its program would stall South Africans’ rise from poverty, which Nelson Mandela sought to remedy.

Obama’s Environmental Protection Agency is examined and found to be complicit with activists.

  • EPA administrator Al  Armendaris was caught by the committee stating internally in 2012 how he would “crucify” an energy company to set an example for the rest of the oil and gas industry. He was scheduled to testify before Congress about his controversial statement, but instead resigned from EPA and is now Senior Campaign Representative for Sierra Club’s “Beyond Coal Campaign”.
  • EPA official Bob Sussman was outed by the committee for vetting EPA job applicants based on whether they  “had the support of environmental justice leaders,” and using his personal email for sensitive communications with environmental lobbies.
  • Another EPA insider, Michelle DePass, formerly with the Ford Foundation and the Environmental Grantmakers Association, for a time ran her EPA and Ford roles concurrently, and resigned when outed by the committee.
  • Under Obama, EPA has handed out more than $US27m from taxpayers to Green groups, including $US1m each to two groups with personal ties to senior EPA officials.

The foundations like to finance research that can be presented as buttressing their green agendas. They also finance media outlets, which duly report on those same research findings, and defend them against critics. The public does not know about the linkages via grant money.

The committee names Huffington Post, Mother Jones, and Climate Desk as outlets that have obtained grants from ‘the club’ and which act as echo chambers for funder-paid Green  propaganda. In one example, a story reporting on a Park Foundation-supported anti-fracking study was reproduced by a Park-funded news organization through a Park-funded media collaboration. It was then further disseminated via Twitter by the maker of Park-backed anti-fracking movies!

The Park Foundation ($US366m assets) is run by an anti-frakking zealot, Adelaide Park Gomer, who is not content with prose attacks on fracking. Her outlets also have published her verse, such as Ballad of a Dying Planet:

Islands and forests paved over forever
By asphalt and buildings while mankind endeavors
To replace nature with ugly big boxes and towers,
Golden arches, Disney worlds, a banquet of horrors.

From 2010, Park has given $US400,000 for anti-frakking studies by ecologist Robert Howarth. Cornell University published one in early 2011, but it was quickly rebutted as flawed. It was, however, puffed and defended by  environmental media sources Earth Island Journal (which  received $US31,500 from Park) and Yes! magazine ($US50,000). The partners of Park-funded Climate Desk –  including Huffington Post, Mother Jones ($US170,000 from Park), the Atlantic and The Guardian — all puffed the Howarth research. So did Grist ($US95,000). The Schmidt Foundation (assets $US312 million) also backed Mother Jones ($US225,000 grant) and Grist ($US850,000). The club also has donated more than $US1.8 million to Media Matters, a group whose remit is “correcting conservative misinformation in the U.S. media” (emphasis added).

“Respectable” green groups, such as World Wildlife Fund, Environmental Defense Fund and Centre for Biological Diversity, serve as the face of the movement and provide cover for funding that ultimately goes to more radical groups.

The club uses funding to organize sham ‘grass-roots’ campaigns to secure national objectives at state level – such as fracking restrictions in New York and Colorado (“Frack Free Colorado”).

An example of funding of “dark greens” involves money to 350.org, dedicated to pushing the world backward from the current 400ppm CO2  to 350ppm. Key people in 350.org are catastrophists James Hansen (the NASA employee who virtually launched the CO2 scare in 1988), and 350.org founder Bill McKibben. For a sample of the latter’s intellectual clout, try this from Copenhagen, 2009:

This afternoon I sobbed for an hour, and I’m still choking a little… My tears started before anyone said a word. As the service started, dozens of  choristers from around the world carried three things down the aisle and to the altar: pieces of dead coral bleached by hot ocean temperatures; stones uncovered by retreating glaciers; and small, shriveled ears of corn from drought-stricken parts of Africa.”

On the vulgar subject of money, McKibben described 350.org that year as “a scruffy little outfit” with “almost no money”. By that, he meant expenses of over $US2.6m and net assets of over $US2.1m, with an asset increase of $US1m in the next couple of years. Thereafter grants poured in from the wealthy foundations.

A curious example of money-washing involves  the Tides Inc.  group,  with tax-exempt charity status. It takes money from the  club and funnels it to more than 200  Green groups while offering anonymity to the actual sponsors.  Tides Foundation had $US135m assets in 2012.  At one point Tides Foundation gave $US10m to Tides Centre, and Tides Centre gave $US39m to Tides Foundation – presumably to obscure a money trail.

If the climate wars are a David ‘n Goliath affair, the sceptics certainly aren’t Goliath.

Ratepayers and Ratbaggery

 

Catastropharian David Spratt came to Moonee Ponds to tell the faithful why Victorians must turf the government of Liberal Premier Denis Napthine. His audience loved the show, but why is the municipality putting ratepayer funds and facilities at the service of a fact-averse and nakedly partisan preacher from the outer limits of the loony left?

 

megaphone manThe Labor-dominated, but notionally non-partisan, Moonee Valley City Council kindly provided a public platform on Wednesday evening (Aug. 20, 2014) for far-left activist David Spratt to advise on how to get rid of Victoria’s coalition government. Spratt summed up, “At the 2010 (State) election, five to six bayside seats, from Brighton to Frankston, fell from Labor to conservatives, basically because the train line didn’t work.”

Warming to his theme, Spratt continued: “A group calledEnvironment Victoria has spent two years and is starting a third, talking to people there, setting up a shopfront, street stalls, door-to-door knocking, phone-banking, asking people to commit when they vote to put the environment first.

“If, across Victoria, by that process they can change 2000 votes in half a dozen seats, that will probably make the difference to the election. So there are a lot of things that can be done, and are being done, at a concrete level to make a difference, and here are my contact details for anyone wanting to continue the conversation at another time.”

The free, two-hour event was meant to be “an information session” on climate change, but the only speakers invited were Spratt and the Australian Youth Climate Coalition’s national co-director,  Kirsty Albion, who spoke with youthful passion on how to subvert and, hopefully, destroy the Australian coal industry. You can get a very good idea of Spratt’s sky-is-falling catastrophism, political orientation, looseness with facts and general comfort when preaching to the climate choir from the video below.

Mayor Jan Chantry (Labor) opened the show with the council’s tribute to spirits and ancestors and said, “Moonee Valley is proud of its diverse community and acknowledges the contribution that all people make to this diverse, vibrant and inclusive municipality.”

She had somehow overlooked  the biggest minority group in the Valley – conservative voters like myself, who comprise about 40% of her ratepayers. A rate notice for $2358 the same week augmented my pain. I judged that I was the only conservative voter in the audience of 60.

The tone wasn’t set by accident. The promotional brochure says that Spratt’s work “focuses on climate science, communications and climate-movement politics, drawing on experiences that include the peace, anti-uranium and solidarity social movements.”

The mayor left early to go to a Rotary meeting but Councillor Jim Cusack (Labor)  stayed for the duration.

The council is comprised of four Labor people, three independents and two Liberals. It is pretty clean by the standards of north-west councils. Only two of the nine councilors have pleaded guilty to a criminal offence in the past two years, one being a left-leaning independent and the other (whoops!) a Liberal.

Spratt began his talk by painting a terrifying picture of climate change turning the communities of Point Nepean, Point Lonsdale, Altona and Albert Park into vast lakes brought about by 2m sea level rises (even the IPCC  only talks about 60cm rises by 2100). Spratt said, “With three-degree warming we get 20-30 metre rises in sea level. We are drowning human civilization on the coastal fringe – Cairo, Manila, Bangkok, Florida…” Temperate Dubbo would change to a climate like Tom Price or Hermannsburg, agriculture would cease west of the Dividing Range, the Murray River system would go dry, and Melbourne would have to get used to “yucky” 50-degree days. “Our addiction to fossil fuels is killing us,” he said, to the visible and audible horror of his audience.

His solution to civilisation’s near-term collapse? We should intensify community efforts to get rid of the state and federal coalition governments, which he accused of putting economic and vested interests ahead of CO2 safety. Tony Abbott for example, was “sacking all the researchers” — which would be news to our vast academic climate-change industry. Spratt recommended we all join groups like Yarraville’s Climate for Change, Moreland and Northcote activists, and Brunswick’s door-knocking pests.

Sandra Mack, one of the council’s three sustainability officers whose salaries are underwritten by residents’ rates, arranged the event. She thanked Spratt for his talk and said, “David showed us the impacts and urgency to act. When David and I had a chat before, about what he would be presenting on, I asked him, ‘David can you please present on climate change without trying to make people depressed’. I feel glad that you gave a very positive spin at the end by showing us what can be done. There’s also a climate petition here for people to sign.”

I went over to get a hot cup of tea in one of the council’s “Biovene” degradable plastic cups (not Styrofoam, of course) but found the tureen water had somehow lost its electric heat during Spratt’s talk. Could the council’s ‘zero-emission electricity efforts’ be to blame?

Mack had told me earlier that she had picked Spratt as speaker because she thought his 2008 bookClimate Code Red was terrific. (It claims climate catastrophes will be far worse than governments say, which seems inherently difficult). She had picked Albion after being ‘blown away’ (an apt phrase) by her inspirational talk at another meeting. I asked Mack if it was appropriate for the council to be allowing Spratt to run a public anti-government rally under the council’s roof, but she denied Spratt had been party-political. She explained that the evening was about sustainability issues for the citizenry, e.g. light bulbs and solar panels.

I said Spratt’s politicking was undeniable and asked why, if she was selecting two speakers, she didn’t choose one of them from the government side of the argument, as a sop to us conservative ratepayers. She repeated that it was not a political meeting.

However, she saw fit to make a nervous announcement late in the evening: “I emphasise that we [the council] are not in favor of any political party here. Tonight is a non-political event about community action getting Moonee Valley toward zero emissions. It is all about community action.”

She also disclosed that Spratt and Albion had volunteered their time, but I’m still sore that my rates paid for all these lefties’ and greenies’ pastries and cake.

Mack was kind enough to give me first question in the miserly ten minutes allocated to question time. I asked Spratt if the measured 14-18 year halt to warming made his predictions of death and disaster “a little bit ridiculous”. To murmured approval from the audience, he replied that the heating had continued but, as always, the great bulk of it had gone into the oceans, which were warming. “Because tomorrow’s colder than today doesn’t mean it’s autumn,” he said.

He continued, “Climate denial is not about  science. What interests me is that very few young people are deniers and very few women are. Very few are under 60, they are just grumpy old men.”

Me: “That’s a bit ageist.”

Spratt:  “It is true, many deniers are geologists and meteorologists  struggling to deal with changes in their professions that have surpassed the knowledge they were brought up with. Knowledge has changed, their professional lives are over and it is too difficult for them to deal with. Grumpy old men.”

Me: “How old are you?”  [I’d guess about 60].

Spratt: “I am a grumpy old bloke, too.”

And I certainly am, after last night.

Our Museum-Quality Carbon Freaks

TONY THOMAS

Pity the poor curator filling exhibit spaces with displays of global warming’s depredations. With all that jetting about the world to co-ordinate the alarmist message, not to mention the torments of expense-account dining and the obligation to sleep in nice hotels, is it any wonder that no one has noticed temperatures stopped rising almost two decades ago

climate champersAs the halt to global surface warming continues beyond 17 years, science museums around the Western world are revving up their efforts to frighten  young visitors with visions of climate catastrophe. Indeed, as the “evidence” of a warming planet appears ever more feeble, efforts to promote the cause grow more concerted, not to mention strident. The museums are now coordinating their efforts while pursuing a shared policy of washing their apocalyptic story through multiple displays, including those dealing with history, anthropology, literature and the arts.

In this coordination, the American Museum of Natural History (AMNH), in New York, and Australia’s National Museum, in Canberra, are taking leading roles. The institutions convened a joint conference in New York last October on more effective climate  displays. It was called Collecting the Future: Museums, Communities & Climate Change.

Participants were all chummy once again at a similar conference in Sydney in February,Encountering the Anthropocene — the Anthropocene being “where it seems humanity may bring on its own demise”.  Declaring a new geologic era, the “Anthropocene”, is a big call. The warming late last century lasted only 25 years,  compared with the previous Holocene period’s 12,000 years.

The New York joint organisers were our National Museum’s environmental historian, Dr Libby Robin, her  catastrophist colleague Dr Kirsten Wehner,  the AMNH’s Dr Jenny Newell (who thinks Pacific islands are “in the line of fire from climate change events”) and AMNH’s Jacklyn Lacey  (who imagines that Hurricane Katrina was climate-change related).[i]

My own visits to climate displays at world-leading science museums have found them error-ridden and bizarre. At the Smithsonian in Washington, I witnessed children being invited to play a computer game involving a nuclear war over resources. Michael Mann’s discredited ‘hockey stick’ temperature reconstruction may be a dead letter, even with the IPCC these days, but it’s alive and well in museum displays for students.

The Sydney Anthropocene conference was run by the Sydney University’s “Sydney Environment Institute”.  An SEI offshoot called  Australia-Pacific Observatory in Environmental Humanitieshelped fund the New York conference, and is itself funded by the New York-based Andrew Mellon Foundation.

Everyone seems to be rolling in both money and Sydney-New York contrails. (I counted at least seven academics attending both conferences). The Sydney University climate push scored $650,000 in grants in 2012-13 for two projects alone: “Rethinking climate justice” and  how  human societies “understand and adapt” to climate change that “has arrived, and will continue and expand”.

The tenor at both conferences was  darkest green, with complaints about the allegedly pernicious effects of ‘economic progress’ and accompanying predictions of catastrophe unless green zero-carbon agendas are adopted forthwith.

Fiona Allon, from – you guessed it! – the University of Sydney gender and cultural studies department, opined:

“In The Order of Things, Foucault expresses his ‘profound relief’ that Man is only a recent invention and that he will disappear again as quickly as he appeared. Ironically, the concept of the Anthropocene confirms this sense of relief as both prescient and as somewhat optimistic.”

And try this speech title from  Dr Libby Robin: The End of The Environment: Apocalypse, the Anthropocene and the Future.

Robin gloomed:

If we can say ‘the environment’  began in 1948, the advent of the Anthropocene in 2000 marks its end… No longer can we afford to limit our thinking to ̳’probable‘ futures: they are too grim. Finding possibilities for living with the Great Acceleration is the greatest human problem of our time. The Anthropocene offers a metaphor to stimulate the imagination.”

Indeed, the imagination is stimulated to the extent that a recent polar vortex in the US, and the previous Australian hot summer, were deemed in Sydney to be facets of human causation. Sydney participants competed for the catastropharian crown. A good contender was research associate Ben Dibley (UWS), who spoke of the Anthropocene as showing  “the relative insignificance of human life, and thus of the interval in which it appeared and, most likely, will disappear.”

The New York conference was an irony-free zone. Speakers even trotted out the “striking images” of distressed polar bears on crumbling ice floes (bear populations in fact are doing fine, Al Gore notwithstanding). Arctic sea ice minima in 2007 and 2012 were paraded with no reference to the rebound in 2013 (let alone the current record extent of Antarctic sea ice and rising sea ice in total).

The arrival of artists into the climate-change hullaballoo enabled participants to enjoy fictional fantasies even more free from the discomfit of considering empirical facts about climate than their academic conference confreres. One of the three themes at the Sydney conference was

“The roles that artists and writers play in the interpretation and popularization of scientific ideas and themes 
in the broader cultural landscape.”

Here’s an example from the New York conference:

Perched on the roof of his small house, armed only with a typewriter and a rare imagination, a dog attempts to adapt after a [“Sandy-like”] hurricane that left him stranded and floating far away from home. Inspired by [Peanuts cartoonist] Charles Shultz’s iconic beagle, incorporating leading climate science [yeah, right!] and featuring live music and unique physicality, Don’t Be Sad, Flying Ace! is a multi-disciplinary tour-de-force arousing hope for a changing world.

To cultivated minds,  the three-minute Youtube précis below (42 views)  seems interminable, but the full thing goes on, alas,  for 45 minutes.

Another example of catastrophists co-opting artists was the Sydney talk by Professor Kate Rigby (Environmental Humanities, Monash University) on a book for children 8+ years, the late Colin Thiele’s “February Dragon” (1985). Rigby says the kids’ story  “affords consideration of the educational potential of narratives of eco-catastrophe for young readers.”  But hey, Kate, what about the under-eight kids! Surely they’d also benefit from a dose of eco-catastrophism?

A celebrated artist, Mandy Martin,  titled her talk Vivitur Ex Rapto (Man lives off greed), referencing her paintings series

about the rapacious wave of mining sweeping across Australia and the changing climate chasing it. It is time to draw a line in the dirt … as we face the sublime state of extinction (we) must look for ways to stop rising carbon emissions and wholesale destruction of environments now.”

One can even feel sorry for some arty presenters. Joshua Wodak, an inter-disciplinary artist exploring climate change, told the Sydney audience:

“Models of climate change trajectories show the shape of things to come for the biosphere and its inhabitants this century. Scientific organisations worldwide overwhelmingly maintain that the window to avoid runaway catastrophic climate change is closing fast: being one decade…at most.”

Nice try, but the IPCC  acknowledged this year that 111 of its 114 models are running too hot.

An example of how remote Australian curators have become from mainstream Australians was the New York conference talk by Dr George Main, an environmental historian  whose specialty is “people and the environment” at our National Museum.

Most Australians are proud of the stump-jump plough, invented in South Australia in 1876, but Main pans it for ‘erasure of indigenous biological communities’, ‘devastating changes in land and climate [huh?]’, and ‘the release of immense [huh?] volumes of carbon into the atmosphere’. Main reinterprets the plough’s history  “to reveal and undermine cultural foundations of climatic and ecological disorder.”

It is worth recalling that the Canberra museum’s designers slyly inserted the coded words “Forgive us our genocide”, and “Sorry” in braille on the museum facade, as intended mockery of then Prime Minister Howard, who officially opened the museum in 2001 and had declined to apologise to Aborigines for the British takeover of Australia in 1788. Maybe ‘forgive us our stump-jump ploughs’ should be added to the facade, also in braille.

At both conferences, speakers were big on new concepts of “justice” – particularly “environmental justice”  — in line with the UN’s push for unlimited climate  ‘compensation’ from ( as a wag put it)  the poor in the First-World  to the rich in the Third-World. New York keynote speaker Rob Nixon banged on about ‘widening inequalities’ in the so-called Anthropocene, as if humanity’s climb from poverty in the past half-century (think China and India) is a myth.[ii]

Another theme at these museum conferences is about the imminent drowning of  coral-island communities like Tuvalu and the Maldives. It is tiresome that Quadrant needs to point out yet againto expert museum curators that these islands are not being swallowed by rising seas, and that any salt-water contamination is due to over-population and environment mismanagement. This is true no matter how many Maldives scuba-tank cabinet meetings are arranged as picture-opportunities for the gullible world media.

In the two conferences, only one presenter, Raluca Ellis, from the Franklin Institute, Philadelphia, was off-message. Her biography reads, Raluca is very passionate about sharing the fun and wonderful side of science with the public, engaging in lifelong learning, and encouraging young kids, especially girls, to pursue science.”  Assuming, we hope, that the Anthropocene doesn’t do the girls in first.

MUSEUM NEWS UPDATE: Climate change is maybe not Uganda’s most pressing problem. But the British Government decided in 2009 that a new and permanent climate change exhibition would be great for the Uganda Museum in Kampala.

The  display shows that if Uganda’s climate gets 2degC hotter, lots of bad things will happen to the people and the country. Moreover, the display fibs that climate change’s impacts have already hurt the country, as in floods and droughts, which never occurred previously (sarc).

So the exhibition urges Ugandans to do more bike-riding, and even switch to mini-cars and ‘buses’ powered by human pedaling to save CO2 emissions. So much for progress.

Uganda Radio Network did a report on the exhibition and said that although admission was free, “Ugandans are not giving it a second thought”The radio noted that in two hours, only two Ugandans went in, one of them a professor. This contrasted with the earlier rush of ministers, MPs and flunkeys to the exhibition opening, sponsored by the British High Commission and doubtless including wine and cheese.

On the same day, the radio station aired another report about the  ‘filthy’ police mortuary at Hoima, 200km to the north-west. A horrible stench from murder and accident victims was escaping, along with swarms of flies, through the big holes in the mortuary roof.  In such a Ugandan  milieu, forecasts of climate doom in future decades don’t get much traction.

Tony Thomas blogs at  tthomas061.wordpress.com


[i] The   conference  was back-ended by a soiree at the Ocean Grill, Columbus Avenue,   “ to explore, over a glass of wine, how museums are shifting their agendas, roles and practices to respond to the global challenge of climate change.”

 

[ii]  Nixon happens to be the “Rachel Carson & Elizabeth Ritzmann Professor of English” at Wisconsin University. Carson’s error-filled attack on DDT in her 1962  book  Silent Spring led to millions of malaria deaths in the Third World.

 

Suitable Cases For Treatment

TONY THOMAS

Wreathed in self-importance but boasting little grasp of the science, the Australian Psychological Society is no fair-weather friend of the warmist movement. Indeed, its dire prophecies and ill-informed endorsements of the most dubious methods and “evidence” make it a case study in institutional delusion

shrink madProfessor of Psychology Stephan Lewandowsky is much in the news of late because the science publishers Frontiers dumped his paper, Recursive Fury (pathologising climate skeptics), because of its ethical shortcomings. Lewandowsky  is a favorite of the Australian Psychological Society (APS).According to UK Guardian, the APS backed him all the way. The APS, said The Guardian, offers  “a good example for journals to follow when subjected to organized bullying from contrarians trying to censor sound but inconvenient research.”

It seems time for a look at the APS, a 21,000-member international pacesetter among psychology bodies for ministering to alleged mental health impacts of alleged climate change. It cites as me-too organisations the American, British and Canadian psychology societies (APA, BPS and CPA).

Long-time senior psychologist at the APS is Dr Susie Burke, who also co-authored  the APS position statement on climate change. In October, 2013, she put out a statement on the 5th IPCC report: “The threats that unmitigated climate change pose to physical and mental health rise every year”. This is a bit hard to reconcile with the halt to warming since 1997, but Burke’s inclination to gush about her role models remains undiminished. Here’s a sample, re a Perth APS conference, which is headlined lugubriously, The Hopeful Space between Denial and Despair:

“Exhibitors have packed up, the corridors are empty, voices echo, the complimentary coffee trolley has gone home. You’d be forgiven for thinking the Conference was over. But wait, not yet, what’s this? Down the corridors stride three professors to talk about one of the most serious environmental and health threats of the 21st Century, and why mental health professionals care about it.”

Who were these eminent psychologists who “lowered the mood, and raised the pulse”? Professor Carmen Lawrence, a former  Labor premier and ALP president;  Lewandowsky, the chronicler of the now-failed Recursive Fury; and Professor Joseph Reser, the APS’s opinion survey guru. (There will be more on Reser in Part Two of this series).

PART II OF THIS SERIES WILL BE PUBLISHED TOMORROW

The APS endeavours to out-do Greenpeace in climate catastrophism. Here’s some samples from the APS website  (heaven knows what gets written in the ‘member-only’ sections):

Perhaps the APS could take its own advice:

“We generally cope better, and are more effective at making changes, when we are calm and rational…  don’t over-react and start behaving as though catastrophic change is imminent. Lasting change requires sustained commitment, and fanning short-term panic can have the opposite effect.”

The APS has only the most tenuous grasp of the on-going  warming debate. For example, it is  incapable of distinguishing weather (including droughts, floods, storms etc) from longer-term climate, let alone critiquing the IPCC’s climate modelling. But the APS is happy to discover and see treated whatever neuroses and depressions that warming talk (including its own) is generating. The APS clearly expects these conditions to become epidemic as CO2 does its deadly work. In  its own words, the APS goal is  “to position psychologists as a professional group with expert knowledge, skills  and resources that can help in climate change science, including mitigation and adaptation.”

While excoriating sceptics as part of a giant conspiracy backed by Big Oil, the APS was fretting in the queue for some  oil money itself: “We need to lobby the Australian Government to divert at least some of its climate change research budget towards psychological research … There may also be money available from fossil fuel companies(such as coal and oil producers and consumers) in the same way that tobacco companies contributed to research designed to prevent adolescents from taking up smoking.”

The APS’s big coup  was to publish a “Tip Sheet” on how children can be indoctrinatedwith the warming messages without sending them clinically insane. This is a worldwide issue. As an American journal put it, “Before she had even lost  her baby teeth, a small girl was saying, ‘I worry about [global warming] because I don’t want to die.’ Surveys across the Anglosphere have shown children under the age of 11 are fretting that global warming will destroy the planet before they can grow up. And slightly older children can be more worried about climate change than dating.

So the APS Tip Sheet was timely:

Alarmed small children may show behavior changes  —“ e.g., in their play, drawing, or dreams that might suggest that something is unsettling them.” They might find it easier to talk about environmental issues via a toy or puppet. Try asking, “And how are you feeling today, Teddy?”. [This seems to  be cut and pasted from child-sexual-abuse counseling].

Climate issues have the potential to bring up strong feelings like fear, anxiety, frustration, sadness, depression, helplessness, anger or despair:

“Worries and anxieties about these threats can become difficult for children of all ages to deal with.”

Parents should reassure small children “that their home is a safe place” [but who is telling them it isn’t?]

Climate talk, like sex and divorce talk, is to be avoided in front of small children.

“Adults need to be conscious of the presence of children when discussing climate change and other worrying environmental problems…Be mindful of how you are reacting to news about environmental problems in front of your child. If your reactions are too strong, these can upset and confuse your child.”

Children may need to be reassured that environmental catastrophes are not happening near them.

Small details can quickly turn into large generalisations (e.g., ‘If the planet is getting hotter, will we all get burnt?’).”

The Tip Sheet promotes activist groups, with even primary school-aged children being urged to help choose an environmental group for family donations. [Is pointing children towards green activist groups likely to improve a tot’s equanimity?]

Adolescents are encouraged to precociously pester the talk-back radio and newspapers, and lobby the government and industry. Activist websites are recommended.

“Encourage your whole family to be part of a world-wide movement of people who recognise that there are limits to the world’s natural resources,”

The above advice is either a platitude or drawn from the discredited 1972 Club of Rome forecast, “Limits to Growth”. More than four decades later, and despite its dire prognosis for the planet having failed to materialise, the defence of that flawed and foolish tract continues.

The Tip Sheet encourages adolescents to study diverse views, but   implies that skeptic views are beyond the pale. Recommended authors include environmental zealot David Suzuki,who wants sceptic politicians gaoled on criminal charges. Elsewhere, the APS positively urges that children be shoved into the front lines as warmist climate-fodder:

Schools also increasingly include environmental education in the curriculum. Psychological research can help optimise the effectiveness of schools’ efforts by identifying factors influencing ESB [environmentally sustainable behavior] in young people. These include lack of knowledge, believing actions won’t make much difference, frustration, action paralysis, and pessimism…

Schools can provide students with experiences of ‘active citizenship’, like writing letters, signing petitions and making complaints. This pro-environmental concern can be passed on from children to parents…although there is conflicting evidence about the effectiveness of children as environmental change agents.

For the 2010 election, the APS issued its climate change manifesto calling for “development and implementation of school based curriculum promoting sustainable values, attitudes and behaviour in school aged children, and developing a series of guidelines for educators.”

Business is business, and the APS sees money-making potentials with its kiddie tip sheet.

“There are many ways you can use APS Tip Sheets as a marketing resource for your practice. Start by always remembering to place your practice’s name and address stamp in the empty box provided on the back page, then try the following ideas:

  • Distribute Tip Sheets to clients and their families as an extra tool for education and understanding
  • When updating a GP about a jointly managed patient, enclose a Tip Sheet and business card. GPs are a great distribution channel for Tip Sheets
  • Enclose a Tip Sheet with every introduction/thank you letter you send to referral sources
  • Display Tip Sheets in your waiting room
  • Mail Tip Sheets to phone enquirers
  • Distribute Tip Sheets at public speaking  engagements

The APS’s bestie was the now-axed Climate Commission. The APS saw the commission as a font of “independent” warming advice, notwithstanding federal funding that included   $180,000-a-year for three days’ work a week by its chief commissioner Tim Flannery, of whom the APS gushed:

“At the meeting’s end, Tim leant forward in his chair, gazed out the 13th floor window and asked ‘Did you know you had a falcon nest above your office?’ What a fitting way to end our exchange, being reminded of the wild and wonderful world, even in the heart of a major metropolitan city, that we have a responsibility to protect by restoring a safe climate.”

Not surprisingly, the APS provided the Commission with  “additional psychological principles” to reinforce Flannery & Co.’s  crusade.

Apart from the much-admired Tim, other alleged authorities revered by the APS include Al Gore plus Inconvenient Truth,  Professor Ian Lowe, president of the activist Australian Conservation Foundation, and any other green propagandist the APS encounters.  Fiction films like the crazed Day After TomorrowThe Age of Stupid, and The 11th Hour are described as “addressing climate change”. Even  APS people can have brief moments of lucidity, such as in these comments:

  • Trust [of scientists and government] is easily damaged, and when e-mails are stolen and selectively quoted, or a single overeager scientist exaggerates future climate change outcomes even in one region, widespread distrust can be created.
  • Disparaging sceptic blog comments, namely: It figures that a bunch of psychologists need to mess with people’s heads to get them to fall in line with this “eco-friendly” nonsense. … Climate change is a problem invented by “scientists who are pursuing a phantom issue” and   scientists are ignoring research “proving” the problem is overestimated or does not exist.
  • Disparaging sceptic blog comments, namely: The host of a popular show on a leading U.S. television network held up a copy of Aldous Huxley’s Brave New World and said, “The shrinks are trying to brainwash us again.”

A little scepticism can’t shake a true believer’s faith however, so the APS pumps out advice like that below. If the tone seems a tad patronising, it may just be that the author had in mind the anxiety-prone warmists who purport to report climate news for The Age, SMHand ABC:

  • Although environmental threats are real and can be frightening, remaining in a state of heightened distress is not helpful for ourselves or for others.
  • Remember, other people may well be like you and feel anxious or unsettled at learning about some of the environmental threats looming.
  • Spending time with loved ones can be helpful in keeping yourself grounded and energised. Enjoy friends and family, and make sure there are at least one or two people with whom you can share your concerns when feeling dispirited.
  • Ensure you are familiar with common arguments and useful counter-arguments that will help you respond more comfortably and smoothly. Asking a friend to role-play a sceptic, and practising how you’re going to handle these different perspectives can be very helpful. 
  • Sometimes taking a news break can be helpful. Turning off the radio or TV, and having a break from the newspaper for a few days can be a welcome relief. Taking a deliberate break is quite different from becoming desensitised.

Tony Thomas achieved a B-pass in Psychology 101 at UWA in 1959. He blogs attthomas061.wordpress.com

The Head-Shrinking Scourge Of Sceptics

TONY THOMAS

Professor Joseph Reser of the Australian Psychological Association fears that “climate deniers” are hobbling the push to save our poor, sweating planet. He would be better advised to check his “facts”, because many aren’t merely wrong, they are ludicrously so

shrink brainThe  eminence grise of the 21,000-member Australian Psychology Society (APS) is Professor Joseph Reser of Griffith University, a contributing author to the 5th IPCC report. With funding support from the since-axed Department of Climate Change, he and his team ran two large-scale Australian surveys in 2010 and 2011 (3096 and 4347 respondents), to document people’s climate change views.  From the results he has filed two academic reports totaling 340 pages, endlessly quoted by the APS.

Reser found that  “genuine distress at the implications of climate change appeared to be a reality for possibly 20% of survey respondents” (p141). Amazingly, 52% of the total 7443 respondents thought that global warming impacts were “currently” being felt in Australia, 45% thought they had personally witnessed the environmental impacts, and 59% thought their home turf was vulnerable to climate change horrors.

Climate worrywarts, according to Reser, are suffering

“…apprehension, anxiety, or loss due to the threat and projected consequences of climate change, for oneself, humanity, and/or the natural world”,  along with hopelessness, dread, “uncertainly” (sic) , resignation, pessimism, real sadness, preoccupation, psychological distress, genuine alarm and fear, “and a clear sense that things will likely get worse”.

He also has discovered supercharged sorrow because of  the alleged loss of species and ecosystems through lately non-existent warming.

PART I OF THIS SERIES: SUITABLE CASES FOR TREATMENT

The APS sees all this as a great opportunity to provide ‘stress and distress’ counseling to our panicking citizenry, and to help   design behavior-change programs. Considering the APS favors 30% emission cuts by 2020, and 90% by 2050 (back to the caves, everyone!), our behaviour would  certainly need some changing. Yikes, we’re nearly to 2020 already. Even Kevin Rudd wanted only a 5% cut by 2020, from 2000 levels.

Amusingly, Reser imagines that human emissions have been damaging the planet “for at least the past several hundred years” (p123). Those 600 steam engines 18th century Europe clearly have a lot of global warming to answer for. So, apparently, do  the Virgin Queen’s fireplaces.

In the 2010 survey, Reser asked how concerned you are that “electricity will become unaffordable”. A whopping 85% said they were fairly or very concerned. This embarrassing question disappeared from the bigger July-August 2011 survey, without explanation.

While professing to play a straight bat with his 2011 survey, Reser includes a question about what strategies you are relying on re climate change, “such as, ‘Pretend that climate change is not happening’”. Well, for 15 years that warming hasn’t been happening, so no need to “pretend” anything. Another question precludes any sceptical answer:

  • Which of the following statements best describes how you feel about climate change?
  • The issue is overwhelming and I feel helpless
  • I am frustrated that not enough is being done
  • I am hopeful that if we take action now, we can stop it
  • I am tired of hearing about it, and I want to see some action taken. (author’s emphasis).

Maybe we need a fifth choice here:

  • I wish Professor Reser would stop frightening the horses.

The tenor of Reser’s surveys also can be judged by the ten questions he asks to test respondents’ “objective knowledge” about climate “facts”, then cross-tabulated against a myriad of other survey findings. Below are five statements he rates as “True” and he marks down anyone saying they are “False”. The result: most respondents struggled to get the 50% pass rate on Reser’s ‘facts’ (but Greens voters got the best scores):

1.  Australia is one of the most exposed nations with respect to projected impacts of climate change 2. Climate change will increase the risk in Australia for diseases transmitted by water and mosquitoes over the next 100 years.[1]
3. Globally, the current burning of fossil fuels accounts for 80-85% (CO2) emissions added to the atmosphere.[2]
4. The change in global temperature for the last 100 years is greater than for the last 1000 years  [Hello to Michael Mann’s discredited “Hockey Stick” reconstruction of global temperatures].
5. 
The number of weather-related disasters around the world has doubled since the mid 1990s.[3]

Regarding 1, we can discover elsewhere in Reser’s report  that CSIRO and  Bureau of Meteorology and Professor Will Steffen merely ‘deem’ Australia to be more exposed than other continents (not ‘nations’) to this hypothetical warming, because of hypothetical flooding of our long coastlines and all that.

The four “fact” options are, in fact, a mix of futurology (1 and 2), a Nobel Prize-worthy discovery, if ever established (3), paleoclimatology – a highly-uncertain science (4),  and vagueness multiplied (5). In the first survey, he muddled his own preamble to a  question, wrongly claiming (p78) that the 2007 census asked people about their concern about climate change.

While Reser is a whiz at survey-processing, his lack of smarts on the man-made warming debate let him down. Not once in 340 pages does he mention the halt to warming since 1997 – although even the IPCC now acknowledges a 15-year hiatus.  Instead, Reser discovers   “more and more … a profoundly changing global environment” (p134). He spends scores of pages, and much of his survey, on making or noting illegitimate connections between various recent big weather events and the ogre of (not-happening) global warming. Even IPCC scientists reject links between climate change and specific weather events, other than heat waves and precipitation.

But he suggests that since nearly half the public is convinced such links exist (eg., between climate change and 2009′s Black Saturday bushfire catastrophe in Victoria), the misperception should be harnessed for warmist-indoctrination purposes.  (One respondent was convinced about the global warming narrative because he/she had seen snakes in mid-winter). Reser continues that it makes “considerable practical as well as psychological sense” to bring climate change “home” to people via the climate/weather-extreme linkages, to prompt people to swap light globes and other green activities (p134).

He’s personally convinced there ares links and evidently feels no moral discomfort. He believes the “hard-line position” of science against linking specific extreme weather events and climate change is crumbling in favor of a ‘more pragmatic’ stance, which will accept the need for ‘near real time’ causal accounts and explanations. In any event, scientists can fall back on the meme that linking climate change to a storm etc., can be done, if couched in ways involving “the probabilistic nature of attribution”, he says. So let’s go with the link, he says, since “ newspaper, new media, and popular science headlines and images around the world repeatedly proclaim this interconnection between climate change and the increased frequency and intensity of extreme weather events” (p136).

I suspect the Reser formula for this climate “education” has gained real traction, given the drumbeat of stories lately making the dud climate/storm/drought linkages.

Reser is rattled by surveys – including CSIRO’s – finding ‘sceptics’ in the community numbering 40% or so. He insists on a figure for sceptics of 4.7-8.5%, based on his own surveys. His concern is that larger sceptic numbers, like 40%, from other polls and even from the ABC, are broadcast by the media, and  then plunge believers into swamps of “confusion, frustration and pessimism” (p145).

His solution is simple: he redefines ‘sceptics’ so stringently that hardly anyone would qualify. To Reser, a stringent sceptic (4.7% of population) believes the world’s climate is not changing . They also believe that climate change is entirely natural and Australia will never start feeling any impacts of climate change. A more-inclusive Reser-defined sceptic  (8.5%) embraces a sceptic take on most of those propositions. The CSIRO is more plausible. It reported in January that, of of mid-2013, less than half of all Australians (47.3%) thought climate change was happening and humans were causing it.

Even on Reser’s stringent definition, scepticism grew from 2010 to 2011. His desperate rationalisations include media campaigning biased against true believers – this argument relying on axe-grinding work he cites  by researchers like Wendy Bacon. [Bacon, a journalism academic,  thinks any coverage whatsoever of sceptic views constitutes media bias]. Noting that  sceptics are ‘conservative white males’ sharing a weird worldview (p31), he suggests that they are dismissing the ‘science’ to reduce their anxieties. It never occurs to Reser that an unpredicted halt to warming of well over a decade might be encouraging a bit more scepticism about the IPCC.

In fact, his 2011 survey showed that only 29% bought the IPCC line of dominant human influence on warming, and nearly 70% did not (p176).

Reser’s view seems to be that sceptics can’t face the terror of global warming, so they are ‘frantically shoring up’ their equanimity by trying to discredit “the science, the scientists, and confronting documentaries” – I assume he means Gore’s  error-riddled Inconvenient Truth. Reser at no point grasps the importance to the science debate of the IPCC’s 51%-plus attribution of warming to human activity.

He brushes aside notions that “climate change” means any climate change, and insists that by the conveniently-circular United Nations definition, “climate change” means “human-caused climate change”. However, he concedes that his use of the term “climate change” in the survey might have led to confusions among respondents. Nonetheless, he thinks, “climate change” ought to “immediately raise issues of responsibility, accountability, and guilt” (p126).

He blames some rising scepticism on “oversaturated and sensationalized media coverage” (p142), as if his own output isn’t full of sensational claims about storms, disasters and planetary crises. As he puts it,  “Unfolding environmental changes and dire science prognoses are strongly suggesting that Australia and the world will be facing very serious and life-affecting challenges. …what is at risk are not only cherished aspects of familiar local and global natural environments, but life support systems and livelihoods as the world alters” (p160).

He discovers that Hurricane Sandy has generated “the global significance of much of New York City being inundated by a disaster associated with climate change”, although there is no evidence whatsoever that the hurricane was climate-change related (p152).

Reser’s endemic confusion between “climate” and “weather” probably stems from his use of the American Psychological Association definition, which fails to specify any time period, let alone the normal 30-year averaging of weather. The 2011 survey was funded not only by the late Department of Climate Change et al, but also by the Australian Red Cross.

Thus your Red  Cross donations, which you might imagine help feed starving Somalis,  may be  funding academics to labour over  mental health impacts in Australia of less than a degree of warming in the past  100 years.

Tony Thomas has suffered resignation, pessimism, real sadness, preoccupation, psychological distress etc from having to plough through Reser’s reports. He blogs attthomas061.wordpress.com

 


[2] http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0921818112001658  Changes in atmospheric CO2 are not tracking changes in human emissions.

 

 

 

 

Climate Catastrophism For Kiddies

Get ’em young and fill their heads with warmist propaganda — that seems to the unofficial motto of Britain’s education establishment, which has just been warned by the Home Secretary that peddling propaganda as fact is a punishable offence

climate kid brainwashedAlarming climate  and eco-activist messages are saturating the British school system, according to a report by noted UK bloggers Andrew Montford and John Shade. On the same  day of the report’s publication, April 8, the response of UK Secretary of State for Education Michael Gove was to warn   teachers they are breaking the law if they fail to provide balanced coverage of climate change and similar issues.

The affair suggests a similar independent inquiry into “climate teaching” in Australian schools would be worthwhile. Anecdotal accounts of brainwashing by activists masquerading as teachers in our primary and secondary schools are legion.

Montford runs the Bishop Hill climate blog and authored the earlier forensic study, The Hockey Stick Illusion. Shade is a retired statistician and physicist who focuses on climate indoctrination in schools worldwide. The report was sponsored by The Global Warming Policy Foundation.

Gove’s spokesman said,  “The Secretary of State read this report with concern. Ministers are clear that the new national curriculum must equip young people with the core knowledge they need to understand the weather, climate, the earth’s atmosphere, physical geography and the interaction between nature and the environment.

“That means in both science and geography, pupils must learn the facts and processes which underpin public discussion of climate change. They must be equipped with the scientific knowledge to make their own judgments about political responses. They must not be directed towards a particular campaigning agenda.

“Schools should not teach that a particular political or ideological point of view is right – indeed it is against the law for them to do so. Great care should be exercised to make sure information provided to students is scientifically rigorous. It is important that any material used in the classroom is rooted in science, not driven by the aims of a campaign.”

The UK conservative government is beginning to push back against activist indoctrination in the curriculum, legitimized by the Labour government in 2005-07. Last year it put out a draft revision of the National Curriculum for discussion, with less climate activism, but retreated under activist attack.

The new report says that children are being treated as political targets by activists who wish to change society in fundamental ways: “This is unacceptable whether or not they are successful.”

Among the report’s findings:

  • The  Climate Change Schools Project, included an activity for children to be given police officer-style notebooks. They were to ‘book’ themselves, friends or family members if they saw them wasting energy or performing other ‘climate unfriendly’ actions. This is reminiscent of Stasi philosophy in East Germany.
  • One Scottish education programme is intended to create teams of ‘eco- warriors’ (their term) who are involved in proselytising.
  • In a French A-Level language course, the French text set for translation reads, in English, “Nobody can deny it, scientists are unanimous and we see it every day: never in the history of humanity have the dangers been so great. . . We are in the course of meticulously destroying the air, the water, the climate. . . and the animals. You and your friends have a rendezvous with history. Become responsible consumers. . . and be advocates for life and citizens of the Earth.”
  • A revision guide for English adjectives gives zero marks for “global warming is bad” but if the student writes, “global warming is a serious and very worrying issue” it will be “much better – the adjectives will impress the examiner”.
  • A General Certificate of Secondary Education revision guide says, “Climate change isn’t something that is going to happen in the future – it’s happening now! Disasters, like the severe droughts in Niger, in sub-Saharan Africa, in 2005–06 and 2009, are wrecking people’s lives more and more frequently. And it’s going to get worse.”
  • A geography textbook suggests that climate change is worse than nuclear war, famine and plague — a claim taken directly from a pamphlet published by a ‘passionate’ green activist.  
  • A report of a joint visit to a Norfolk school by a group from the University of East Anglia — epicentre of the Climatergate scandal — and renewable energy companies  set out: “As the day begins, the students are informed that the Earth’s remaining reserves of fossil fuels have finally been exhausted and, as a result, the fabric of what we consider normal life has immediately started to crumble. No more light, no more heat, no more iPods. No more anything, in fact, meaning something needs to be done – and soon – before the world falls into total chaos.”
  • A physics question included: ‘I think wind turbines are a good idea as global warming from burning coal is an increasing problem and needs to be stopped.’
  • An economics paper included, “Explain why developed rich countries should provide money to poorer, developing countries so that they can reduce their CO2 emissions.”

The Montford-Shade report says, “We find instances of eco-activism being given a free rein within schools and at the events schools encourage their pupils to attend. In every case of concern, the slant is on scares, on raising fears, followed by the promotion of detailed guidance on how pupils should live, as well as on what they should think.

“In some instances, we find encouragement to create ‘little political activists’ in schools by creating a burden of responsibility for action on their part to ‘save the planet’, not least by putting pressure on their parents.”

climate scam lesson chart

The authors did find an example of a responsible and balanced text on climate in a textbook. “For example it introduces a section on managing the causes of global warming and climate change by noting ‘if we believe that today’s global warming is simply part of natural climate change, then there is nothing we can do to stop it. All we can do is to adapt to the consequences…However, if we believe that the increase in greenhouse gases is the main cause of global warming, then we can certainly do something’. Thus in a few words, two ends of a range of views are presented, along with some simple inferences to help frame the following section on international cooperation to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.”

The norm, however, is to ignore all findings that are off-message, or mention them in order to nullify them. An example:  “All scientists care about is evidence…All these graphs can be mighty confusing, especially when people manipulate the data to try to show that climate change isn’t happening.”

Examining online repositories of past papers for study, the authors found nearly 1000 references to climate change, with warming popping up in papers on economics, chemistry, geography, religious studies, physics, French, humanities, biology, citizenship, English and science.

In religious studies papers, students were asked for “two reasons why many religious believers are concerned about climate change. (4 marks)
…
(d) Explain actions religious people might take to look after the planet. (3 marks)”. Marks were to be awarded for students noting “The effects of climate change on life, e.g. loss of life, food shortages, devastation of livelihoods because of severe weather, droughts, floods, famine, destruction of crops, effects on plants and animals/long term effects/religious reasons – stewardship, dominion, responsibility, etc.”

Marks were also to be awarded for students who saw the need to “protest when necessary/ join action groups such as Greenpeace and religious organisations which raise awareness/encourage others to protect the planet, etc.”

One teacher posted this query on a teachers’ forum: “I’ve got [a job] interview coming up in which I have to teach English to a mixed Year 7 group on the theme of Environment and Sustainability. Any ideas folks?”

An Environmental Science paper awarded marks for students making the incorrect statement that fossil fuels are running out.  Recycling is depicted in textbooks as always a positive thing to do, even if uneconomic or wasteful. Biofuels are advocated and costs ignored in terms of driving up food prices in poor countries. Scotland’s  climate-change education promotes  fiction films such as The Day Before Tomorrow (about a climate apocalypse) and The Age of Stupid (a man sits in a climate-devastated world in 2055, bemoaning his predecessors’ lack of care).

The saturation of students with green messaging  could well be counter-productive to the activists, the report says.  Teacher feedback found online at the Times Higher Education site included

  • “It’s done to death in UK schools across a range of subjects and in nearly all year groups. We risk turning them off it.”
  • “Blimey, it is virtually impossible to do any science topic without some reference to greenhouse effect/global warming/climate change having to be included.”
  • “It has become a bit of a joke in my higher groups that on the long exam questions the words carbon dioxide and global warming will always get a mark regardless of the question!”

The climate  emphasis could have been a springboard for enhancing scientific thinking. However, having unqualified primary school teachers explain complex physical phenomena to small children has not been a successful strategy and children’s understandings remain poor, the report says.

Children are also becoming fearful of the future. US and UK surveys have found primary school children pessimistic – sometimes losing sleep – about their future because of global warming. A sub-teen group was twice as worried about the climate, as about going on dates.

The report’s authors recommend that concerned parents review the curricula, texts and visiting speakers (such as from World Wildlife Fund, and complain politely about bias and pessimism, and any  prejudice against growth and technology. Parents should urge schools to encourage children’s inquiring minds, it continues, rather than succumb to appeals to authority.

They say, “The seriousness of what we have seen is hard to overstate. The fact that children’s ability to pass their exams – and hence their future life prospects – appears to depend on being able to demonstrate their climate-change orthodoxy, is painfully reminiscent of life in communist-era Eastern Europe or Mao’s China.

“Politicians seem to have given the nod to this process, effectively handing much of the curriculum to green activists. The question of whether what is taught in the classroom is scientific or political, balanced or biased, true or false seems to have gone unexamined…

“The piecemeal information and examples we have reported on here seem to us sufficient grounds for concern that children remain at risk of being targeted by zealous campaigners, and of being frightened into premature personal and political actions. They are also at risk of being deprived of a more meaningful education appropriate for the 21st century – an education that would equip them to question and evaluate all claims, not least those of fear-mongering campaigners.

“But only a systematic evaluation can truly determine the extent of the indoctrination as well as the emotional and educational harm to pupils that is undoubtedly resulting.” #

Tony Thomas blogs at tthomas061.wordpress.com

Gergis findings re-surface – the Hockey Stick lives!

By Tony Thomas

Hello Hockey Stick again, goodbye global Medieval Warming Period.
These are the conclusions of a multi-proxy 1000-year climate reconstruction published today (March 31) in Nature Climate Change, by Dr Raphael Neukom of the Oeschger Centre at the University of Bern, and Dr Joelle Gergis of the University of Melbourne.
Dr Neukom summed up for a University of Melbourne press release: “The study showed the ‘Medieval Warm Period’, as identified in some European chronicles, was a regional phenomenon.
“During the same period, temperatures in the Southern Hemisphere were only average. Our study revealed it was not a common climate event that many people have previously assumed.”

The paper claims that in 99.7 percent of the results, the warmest decade of the millennium occurred after 1970.
The press release says, “And surprisingly, only twice over the entire past millennium have both hemispheres simultaneously shown extreme temperatures.
One of these occasions was a global cold period in the 17th century; the other was the current warming phase”.”

The paper’s content has had a convoluted history. It appeared on-line at Nature Climate Change about May 17, 2012, with Gergis cited as the lead author. The multiple authors, who included IPCC stalwart Dr David Karoly, withdrew it three weeks later after an altercation with blogger Steve McIntyre, who had spotted that it used invalid statistical techniques, involving the ‘screening fallacy’.
Moreover, Dr Gergis, a la Michael Mann and Phil Jones, was loathe to provide McIntyre with the raw data for checking, citing third-party confidentialities. She told McIntyre to go seek the data from the third parties:
“The compilation of this database represents years of our research effort based on the development of our professional networks. We risk damaging our work relationships by releasing other people’s records against their wishes. Clearly this is something that we are not prepared to do.”
She then added, “This is commonly referred to as ‘research’. We will not be entertaining any further correspondence on the matter.”
The Nature Climate Change paper, as described by the University of Melbourne press release, has Neukom as the lead author, and Gergis as co-author. The release says,

A new international study has published the most comprehensive Southern Hemisphere reconstruction of past climate records, revealing a clearer climate picture of the globe’s temperature history than ever before.
The study revealed that over the past 1000 years temperature variations have differed greatly between the two hemispheres, yet it confirmed they shared the one warm period after the 1970s.
Led by the Oeschger Centre at the University of Bern, the Swiss Federal Research Institute WSL and the University of Melbourne, the study Inter-hemispheric temperature variability over the past millennium was published today in the journal Nature Climate Change.
Co-author Dr Joelle Gergis, ARC Fellow from the University of Melbourne, said the study finally put the Southern Hemisphere on the map in terms of recording past climate variations over the past 1000 years.
“Our findings showed there were considerable decade-to-decade regional temperature variations in the Southern Hemisphere, that were different to the Northern Hemisphere,’’ she said.
“The Southern Hemisphere is a vast oceanic region that is influenced by ocean circulation features such as El Niño. Our study showed that these internal climate cycles may have played a role in influencing regional climate compared to the land-dominated Northern Hemisphere, where external changes in volcanic and solar variations have a more direct influence.
“But despite the two hemispheres behaving differently over the past 1000 years, what is consistent is the recent warming in the last 40 years.
“This study provided an opportunity to refine regional climate model predictions in the Southern Hemisphere for countries like Australia and South America by extending our understanding of natural temperature variations recorded since 1850 back over the past 1000 years,” she said.
The study involved the coordination of an international scientific team with expertise in past climate information from tree-rings, lake sediments, corals, ice cores and climate modelling.
Scientists compiled climate data from hundreds of different locations and used a range of methods to estimate Southern Hemisphere temperatures over the past 1000 years….
The study showed that regional differences such as these were larger than previously thought.

As far as I can establish, pending clarification from the University of Melbourne, Neukom, Gergis et al reworked the maths in their original paper and re-submitted it to the Journal of Climate some time ago, but it has not reappeared there.
Meanwhile, the paper’s underlying data, allegedly certified by an independent team of scientists, was incorporated in a paper by third parties in Nature Geosciences in April 2013. Today’s release is in Nature Climate Change, and bears a strong family resemblance to the original Gergis/Neukom exercise.

Melbourne-based Tony Thomas writes for Quadrant.org.au.

Climate Change Is Hiding Flt 370!

If you’re not a climate scientist this may come as a surprise. It seems the reason searchers haven’t been able to locate the wreckage of the Malaysian jetliner has everything to do with mankind’s carbon emissions and the way they have tormented the southern oceans. And yes, the experts are serious

Why have we so far not found wreckage of Malaysia Airlines Flight 370? Because of global warming. This is the line being run by way-left US news organization Mother Jones, home of “smart, fearless journalism”, assisted by two leading Australian climate scientists.

Step forward Professor Matthew England, joint director of Climate Change Research Centre at the University of NSW. This is the very same centre that created the ‘ship of fools’ led by Professor Chris Turney. (That ship got locked in Antarctic pack last December when trying to demonstrate that climate change had reduced the ice).

Professor England has form on alarmism, as befits a contributor to the second and third IPCC reports, and a ‘convening lead author’ for the 2009 Copenhagen summit debacle.

His most recent peer-reviewed paper, published this year, blamed “trade winds” for what he says is the 13-year global surface-warming hiatus.[1] But a year earlier, he described as untruth-tellers those claiming that the IPCC warming projections were over-stated.[2] And a year before that, he was blaming the intensity of Queensland flooding on global warming.[3]

A second source for the Mother Jones report is Dr Steven Rintoul, a CSIRO ocean scientist based in Hobart who specialises in the southern oceans. He was a coordinating lead author on the IPCC Fifth Report.

The third source is Joellen Russell, an associate professor in biogeochemical dynamics at the University of Arizona.

So how has dastardly climate change foiled the MH 370 search? Mother Jones says, “Scientists say man-made climate change has fundamentally altered the currents of the vast, deep oceans where investigators are currently scouring for the missing Malaysian Airlines flight.”

This seems prima facie improbable, given that the past 100 years’ total climate change is about 0.75degC, and there has been a surface warming halt for between 15 years and 17 years, depending on who is doing the calculating.

Anyway, the three climate scientists say the winds of the Southern Indian Ocean bordering the Southern Ocean have been shifting southwards and intensifying over the last twpo or three decades, in part due to a warming atmosphere and the hole in the ozone layer. Ocean currents are also tightening around Antarctica, shifting whole climate systems towards the South Pole, they say.

Matthew England thinks his putative climate-change impacts can decrease the amount of carbon you can get into the oceans, and “affect the temperatures off the Antarctic ice shelf, which is a real worry.” Actually, even the IPCC agrees that Antarctic ice had been growing by about 1.5% per decade during the satellite era, despite the IPCC models predicting a decline.[4] So Dr England seems a bit of a worry-wart.

He does concede that there are ‘basic holes’ in scientific understandings of these oceans. And he continues,

“The reality is that the ocean there is very poorly measured. We have some evidence from satellites, but not nearly enough measurements, not nearly enough understanding of the flow patterns there. We largely rely on models to piece that together. There’s a bit of guesswork there.” (author’s emphasis).

As usual, the model-based climate apocalysm comes first, too bad about the data. Bob Tisdale, a specialist in auditing the IPCC climate models, has reported that the IPCC CMIP3 models for Indian and Pacific Ocean surface temperatures , 1995-2012, forecast an acceleration, whereas the data are flat. For the 30 years to 2012, the models forecast more than double the actual rate of those oceans’ warming.[5]

CSIRO’s Dr Rintoul claims the southward shift of the Antarctic Circumpolar Current and the Indian Ocean Gyre Current, are largely human-caused, through wind effects of greenhouse gases and the ozone hole. He also thinks the climate impacts on the ocean are accelerating: “We have seen changes in the last few years that even 5 or 10 years ago we would have thought highly unlikely,” he says. Again, a curious perswpective, given the prolonged halt to warming.

Professor Russell got on her soapbox to say that these southern oceans are gobbling up “so much of the heat that man-made climate change is generating” – presumably, an explanation of the hiatus in surface warming. Shamelessly exploiting an aviation tragedy for climate propaganda purposes, she continues, “This is one of the few areas of the global ocean that is immediately and definitely playing a role in the temperature on land, because it’s taking up all this anthropogenic heat and carbon. The whole ocean is doing that, but here it’s doing it more than it ought to, which is giving us a moment of grace.”

Her error margins are somewhat large – she claims that the Southern Ocean takes up something like 70 percent “plus or minus 30 percent” of all the anthropogenic heat that goes under the ocean. Clever ocean, to select this man-made heat and tuck it down where it can’t be measured! (Actually, in Andrei Tarkovsky’s science fiction film, the ocean on planet Solaris is an agglomeration of intelligent life. Maybe Russell is on to something).

Russell has a grand theory that increasing westerly winds are somehow messing with the southern oceans’ ability to absorb heat, “and potentially shortening this so-called ‘grace’ period where the oceans are giving us a helping hand.” In other words, the MH370 disaster is an excuse to claim that the ocean is gobbling up the ‘missing heat’ and will spit out all that warming when the ocean gets tired of giving humans a grace period from climate disaster.

None of the three scientists have yet blamed global warming for the actual destruction of MH370, but watch that space.

Tony Thomas blames global warming for his poor form at tennis yesterday. He blogs at tthomas061.wordpress.com

[1] http://newsroom.unsw.edu.au/news/science/pacific-trade-winds-stall-global-surface-warming-now

[2] http://www.abc.net.au/tv/qanda/txt/s3487316.htm

[3] http://wattsupwiththat.com/2011/01/13/and-you-knew-it-would-be-said-oz-floods-due-to-global-warming/

[4] http://judithcurry.com/2014/02/03/why-is-there-so-much-antarctic-sea-ice/

[5] http://bobtisdale.wordpress.com/2012/04/30/how-you-can-confirm-the-sst-anomalies-for-the-indian-and-pacific-ocean-subset-have-not-warmed-for-17-years/

Finally, Some Real Climate Science

The 50,000-strong American body of physicists, the American Physical Society (APS), seems to be turning significantly sceptical on climate alarmism.

The same APS put out a formal statement in 2007 adding its voice to the alarmist hue and cry. That statement caused resignations of some of its top physicists (including 1973 Nobel Prize winner Ivar Giaever and Hal Lewis, Emeritus Professor of Physics, University of California, Santa Barbara).[1] The APS was forced by 2010 to add some humiliating clarifications but retained the original statement that the evidence for global warming was ‘incontrovertible’.[2]

By its statutes, the APS must review such policy statements each half-decade and that scheduled review is now under way, overseen by the APS President Malcolm Beasley.

The review, run by the society’s Panel on Public Affairs, includes four powerful shocks for the alarmist science establishment.[3]

First, a sub-committee has looked at the recent 5th Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change and formulated scores of critical questions about the weak links in the IPCC’s methods and findings. In effect, it’s a non-cosy audit of the IPCC’s claims on which the global campaign against CO2 is based.

Second, the sub-committee, after ‘consulting broadly’, appointed a panel to workshop the questions and then provide input to the new official statement on climate. The appointed panel of six, amazingly, includes three eminent sceptic scientists: Richard Lindzen, John Christy, and Judith Curry. The other three members comprise long-time IPCC stalwart Ben Santer (who, in 1996, drafted, in suspicious circumstances, the original IPCC mantra about a “discernible” influence of manmade CO2 on climate), an IPCC lead author and modeler William Collins, and atmospheric physicist Isaac Held.

Third, the sub-committee is ensuring the entire process is publicly transparent — not just the drafts and documents, but the workshop discussions, which have been taped, transcribed and officially published, in a giant record running to 500+ pages.[4]

Fourth, the APS will publish its draft statement to its membership, inviting comments and feedback.

What the outcome will be, ie what the revised APS statement will say, we will eventually discover. It seems a good bet that the APS will break ranks with the world’s collection of peak science bodies, including the Australian Academy of Science, and tell the public, softly or boldly, that IPCC science is not all it’s cracked up to be.

The APS audit of the IPCC makes a contrast with the Australian Science Academy’s (AAS) equivalent efforts. In 2010 the AAS put out a booklet, mainly for schools, ”The Science of Climate Change, Questions and Answers”, drafted behind closed doors. The drafters and overseers totalled 16 people, and the original lone sceptic, Garth Paltridge, was forced out by the machinations of then-President Kurt Lambeck.[5] The Academy is currently revising the booklet, without any skeptic input at all. Of the 16 drafters and overseers, at least nine have been IPCC contributors and others have been petition-signing climate-policy lobbyists, hardly appropriate to do any arm’s length audit of the IPCC version of the science. Once again, the process is without any public transparency or consulting with the broad membership.

The American Physical Society’s audit questions are pretty trenchant.[6] Just to recite some of them points in the can of worms soon to be authoritatively exposed. Here’s a selection:

The temperature stasis

While the Global Mean Surface Temperature (GMST) rose strongly from 1980-98, it has shown no significant rise for the past 15 years…[The APS notes that neither the 4th nor 5th IPCC report modeling suggested any stasis would occur, and then asks] …

To what would you attribute the stasis?

If non-anthropogenic influences are strong enough to counteract the expected effects of increased CO2, why wouldn’t they be strong enough to sometimes enhance warming trends, and in so doing lead to an over-estimate of CO2 influence?

What are the implications of this statis for confidence in the models and their projections?

What do you see as the likelihood of solar influences beyond TSI (total solar irradiance)? Is it coincidence that the statis has occurred during the weakest solar cycle (ie sunspot activity) in about a century?

Some have suggested that the ‘missing heat’ is going into the deep ocean…

Are deep ocean observations sufficient in coverage and precision to bear on this hypothesis quantitatively?

Why would the heat sequestration have ‘turned on’ at the turn of this century?

What could make it ‘turn off’ and when might that occur?

Is there any mechanism that would allow the added heat in the deep ocean to reappear in the atmosphere?

IPCC suggests that the stasis can be attributed in part to ‘internal variability’. Yet climate models imply that a 15-year stasis is very rare and models cannot reproduce the observed Global Mean Surface Temperature even with the observed radiative forcing.

What is the definition of ‘internal variability’? Is it poorly defined initial conditions in the models or an intrinsically chaotic nature of the climate system? If the latter, what features of the climate system ARE predictable?

How would the models underestimate of internal variability impact detection and attribution?

How long must the statis persist before there would be a firm declaration of a problem with the models? If that occurs, would the fix entail: A retuning of model parameters? A modification of ocean conditions? A re-examination of fundamental assumptions?

General Understanding

Confidence

What do you consider to be the greatest advances in our understanding of the physical basis of climate change since AR4 in 2007?
What do you consider to be the most important gaps in current understanding?
How are the IPCC confidence levels determined?
What has caused the 5% increase in IPCC confidence from 2007 to 2013?
Climate Sensitivity

[This relates to the size of feedbacks to the agreed and mild CO2-induced warming. If feedbacks are powerful and positive, the alarmist case is strong. If feedbacks are weak or negative, there is no basis for any climate scare or for trillions of dollars to be spent on curbing CO2 emissions].

A factor-of-three uncertainty in the global surface temperature response to increasing atmospheric CO2 as expressed by equilibrium climate sensitivity, has persisted through the last three decades of research despite the significant intellectual effort that has been devoted to climate science.

What gives rise to the large uncertainties in this fundamental parameter of the climate system?

How is the IPCC’s expression of increasing confidence in the detection/attribution/projection of anthropogenic influences consistent with this persistent uncertainty?

Wouldn’t detection of an anthropogenic signal necessarily improve estimates of the response to anthropogenic perturbations?

Models and Projections

The APS notes that the IPCC draws on results and averages from large numbers of models, and comments, “In particular, it is not sufficient to demonstrate that some member of the ensemble [of models] gets it right at any given time. Rather, as in other fields of science, it is important to know how well the ‘best’ single model does at all times.”

Were inclusion/exclusion decisions made prior to examining the results? How do those choices impact the uncertainties?

Which metrics were used to assess the [claimed] improvements in simulations between AR4 and AR5 [2007 and 2013 reports]?

How well do the individual models do under those metrics? How good are the best models in individually reproducing the relevant climate observations to a precision commensurate with the anthropogenic perturbations?

Climate Sensitivities

The APS notes that the 5th IPCC report acknowledged model overestimates of climate sensitivity to C02 increases, both in transient and equilibrium modes:

“As the observational value of TCR [transient climate response] is simply estimated to be approximately 1.3degC, it appears that the models overestimate this crucial climate parameter by almost 50%.”

Please comment on the above assessment.

Box 12.2 of AR5 Working Group 1 states: ‘Unlike ECS [equilibrium climate sensitivity], the ranges of TCS [transient climate sensitivity] estimated from the observed warming and from AOGCMs [ Atmosphere-Ocean General Circulation Model] agree well, increasing our confidence in the assessment of uncertainties in projections over the 21st century.’ Please comment on that statement in light of the discussion above.

The scale of anthropogenic perturbations

The APS notes that solar and thermal warming of the earth’s surface is about 503 watts per square metre, whereas the IPCC’s estimate of manmade CO2 forcing is only 1.3-3.3 watts per square metre, less than 0.5% of the total. Even if CO2 levels leapt from the present 400 parts per million to 550ppm, the CO2 warming would still be less than 4 watts per square metre, the APS says.

“The earth’s climate stems from a multi-component, driven, noisy, non-linear system that shows temporal variability from minutes to millennia. Instrumental observations of key physical climate variables have sufficient coverage and precision only over the past 150 years at best (and usually much less than that). Many different processes and phenomena will be relevant and each needs to be ‘gotten right’ with high precision if the response to anthropogenic perturbations is to be attributed correctly and quantified accurately. For example, a change in the earth’s average shortwave albedo [reflectivity] from 0.30 to 0.29 due to changing clouds, snow/ice, aerosols, or land character would induce a 3.4 W/m2 direct perturbation in the downward flux [warming], 50% larger than the present anthropogenic perturbation.

Moreover, there are expected feedbacks (water vapor-temperature, ice-albedo…) that would amplify the perturbative response by factors of several. How can one understand the IPCC’s expressed confidence in identifying and projecting the effects of such small anthropogenic perturbations in view of such difficult circumstances?”

Sea Ice

The APS notes that the models seem able to reproduce the Arctic declining ice trend, but not the Antarctic rising ice trend. Moreover, the APS has spotted that the IPCC had done its ice graphs using only 17 out of its 40 models, these 17 happening to produce reasonable fits with the data. The APS says,

“One may therefore conclude that the bulk of the CMIP5 [latest] models do not reproduce reasonable seasonal mean and magnitude of the ice cycle. Is that the case? And if so, what are the implications for the confidence with which the ensemble [the whole 40 models] can be used for other purposes?

Oceans

The rate of rise during 1930-1950 was comparable to, if not larger than, the value in recent years. Please explain that circumstance in light of the presumed monotonic [steady] increase from anthropogenic effects.

The IPCC-projected rise of up to 1m by the end of this century would require an average rate of up to 12mm/yr for the rest of this century, some four times the current rate, and an order of magnitude larger than implied by the 20th century acceleration of0.01mm/yr found in some studies. What drives the projected sea level rise? To what extent is it dependent upon a continued rise in Global Mean Surface Temperature?…

With uncertainty in ocean data being ten times larger than the total magnitude of the warming attributed to anthropogenic sources, and combined with the IPCC’s conclusion that it has less than 10% confidence that it can separate long-term trends from regular variability, why is it reasonable to conclude that increases in Global Mean Surface Temperature are attributable to radiative forcing rather than to ocean variability?

IPCC officials and their supporters, including President Obama and his Secretary of State John Kerry, have disparaged sceptical questioners as ‘flat-earthers’. Has the American Physical Society shifted to a flat-earth position?

Tony Thomas has written some 30 climate essays for Quadrant and Quadrant online. He blogs at tthomas061.wordpress.com

[1] http://wattsupwiththat.com/2011/09/14/nobel-laureate-resigns-from-american-physical-society-to-protest-the-organizations-stance-on-global-warming/

http://www.thegwpf.org/hal-lewis-my-resignation-from-the-american-physical-society/

[2] http://www.aps.org/policy/statements/07_1.cfm

[3] http://www.aps.org/policy/statements/climate-review.cfm

Click to access climate-review-charge.pdf

[4] http://www.aps.org/policy/statements/upload/climate-seminar-transcript.pdf

[5] http://quadrant.org.au/opinion/doomed-planet/2014/02/climate-science-done/

[6] http://www.aps.org/policy/statements/upload/climate-review-framing.pdf

tags American Physical Society, global warming, IPCC, John Christy, Judith Curry, Malcolm Beasley, Richard Lindzen