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Is global warming just another "feel good" social cause?

Filling the socialization hole …

Now that the elections are over and “The One” has been anointed the messiah – the hard realities of governing will set in. Of course, there will be continuing efforts to milk money out of the citizenry and to rebuild the Republican Party, but most of the hoopla will come to an end after January 20th. No more rallies or “come together” social events. Which will leave a very large hole in the lives of those who require external events to provide the necessary social contacts in order to validate their efforts as “people who care.” Society will begin drifting back towards its old stratifications and the acceptance that was shown certain quirky voters and volunteers will be withdrawn as people drift back into their old lives of family, friends, school, work, church, etc.. Looking to fill this “come together,” mass acceptance hole, it is possible that the disaffected among us, those hyper-partisans who have rallied for the political cause of their choice will be seeking to reestablish their social connections to “something larger.” Possibly by joining what is becoming the “church of climate alarm.” Where everyone, no matter what their normal social status, appearance , education can continue to rub elbows with those who have, likewise, “come out for the cause.”

Just another feel good social cause?

From the Sydney Morning Herald …

“Beware the church of climate alarm”

The old leftist trick: smearing the opposition with character assassination …

“As the Czech President, Vaclav Klaus, an economist, anti-totalitarian and climate change skeptic, prepares to take up the rotating presidency of the European Union next year, climate alarmists are doing their best to traduce him.”

“The New York Times opened a profile of Klaus, 67, this week with a quote from a 1980s communist secret agent's report, claiming he behaves like a ‘rejected genius,’ and asserts there is ‘palpable fear’ he will ‘embarrass’ the EU.”

But the real fear driving climate alarmists wild is that a more rational approach to the fundamentalist religion of global warming may be in the ascendancy - whether in the parliamentary offices of the world's largest trading bloc or in the living rooms of Blacktown.”

Precautionary principle?

“As the global financial crisis takes hold, perhaps people are starting to wonder whether the so-called precautionary principle, which would have us accept enormous new taxes in the guise of an emissions trading scheme and curtail economic growth, is justified, based on what we actually know about climate.”

Stated here is the fundamental fear: that the emotion-driven panic over global climate change will be greatly diminished by the emotion-driven panic over the economic crisis which is real, present and tangible. Although, proponents of global warming will try and connect their wacky prescriptions with the economic crisis or need for energy independence, it is greatly feared that people who are forced to make difficult choices in their lives may, once again, look at the scientific rationale for creating public policy to solve a problem which may not be measurable or exhibit any results in the coming hundreds of years.

The weather is the weather … 

One of Australia's leading enviro-skeptics, the geologist and University of Adelaide professor Ian Plimer, 62, says he has noticed audiences becoming more receptive to his message that climate change has always occurred and there is nothing we can do to stop it.

“In a speech at the American Club in Sydney on Monday night for Quadrant magazine, titled Human-Induced Climate Change - A Lot Of Hot Air, Plimer debunked climate-change myths.”

What will be, will be …

"Climates always change," he said. Our climate has changed in cycles over millions of years, as the orbit of the planet wobbles and our distance from the sun changes, for instance, or as the sun itself produces variable amounts of radiation. "All of this affects climate. It is impossible to stop climate change. Climates have always changed and they always will."

“His two-hour presentation included more than 50 charts and graphs, as well as almost 40 pages of references. It is the basis of his new book, Heaven And Earth: The Missing Science Of Global Warming, to be published early next year.”

Debunking the central rationale for rationing …

“Plimer said one of the charts, which plots atmospheric carbon dioxide and temperature over 500 million years, with seemingly little correlation, demonstrates one of the ‘lessons from history’ to which geologists are privy: There is no relationship between CO2 and temperature.”

“Another slide charts the alternating periods of cooling and warming on Earth, with the Pleistocene Ice Age starting 110,000 years ago and giving way, 14,700 years ago, to the Bolling warm period for 800 years. This in turn gave way to the Older Dryas cooling for 300 years, then the Allerod warming for 700 years, and so on, until the cooling of the Little Ice Age from 1300 to 1850. Since 1850, we have lived through the ‘Modern Warming’, one of the most stable climate periods in history.”

The delicate balance of interpretation …

Unfortunately, the science of computer modeling often has great difficulty in resolving issues of causality, correlation and coincidence. It is possible to chart the results of a scientific phenomenon over a period of time, to use a computer program to build an equation which approximates the squiggles on the graph and then simply extend the line to see what might happen in the future. Of course, the computer program has no fundamental insight into whether the components of the phenomenon are causal, coincidental or if they even if they correlate. A simple illustration of this thesis is evident if you pick a few temperature readings and draw a line representing the mean temperature. Extend this line and see if next month’s weather fits within the data range described by the mean. If it does, you need to ask yourself whether or not the line that you have drawn is really representative of the underlying phenomena or it is a coincidence that the weather pattern matches your graph.

Of course, scientific weather modeling is much more complex as each supposed component of the global weather phenomenon is analyzed. But the fundamental question remains: is our model’s output really validated by the historical data over a relatively short time period or is it simply coincidental because we have adjusted our models to appear to match the historical readings? Are the independent components of our model causal and correlate with the underlying data  or are they simply coincidental. Much of the problem lies with using conveniently-short time periods to measure global weather phenomenon – when the periodicity of the actual phenomenon should be considered in the framework of hundreds, thousands or even greater periods of time.

Not to mention the very human trait of trying to justify policies policy involving money and power based on scientific theories which make these self-serving political actions more acceptable to the people and reduce the amount of resistance to their introduction.

Going the other way …

“Plimer said some astronomers predict we are headed for a new cooling period.”

“Plimer said there is a division between those scientists who sit in front of super computers and push piles of data into the mathematical models that drive the theory of climate change, and those who take measurements in the field.”

We are not skeptical enough about the data. For instance, Plimer cited differences between results from temperature measuring stations in urban and rural areas. Those in urbanized Chicago, Berkeley, New York, and so on, show temperature rises over the past 150 years, whereas those in the rural US, in Houlton, Albany and Harrisburg (though not Death Valley, California) show equally consistent cooling. ‘What we're measuring is urbanization,’ Plimer said.”

An obvious, fundamental flaw?

Can it be that there is a fundamental flaw in our thinking? That instead of measuring global climate change, we are really measuring the combined localized effects of urbanization. The answer requires more study and, being politically incorrect in the church of climate change, is unlikely to attract the funding and media attention which it deserves.

“To understand the chaotic nature of climate change, we need to consider all the inputs - cosmic radiation, sun, clouds and so on, he said.”

Emotion vs. science: they believe what they are being told by the high priests of global weather change – and unfortunately most advocates have become highly politicized… 

“There was much more but essentially Plimer's message is that the idea humans cause climate change has become a fundamentalist religion which is corrupting science. It is embedded with a fear of nature and embraced principally by city people who have lost touch with nature.”

“He likens the debate to the famous 1990s battle he had in the Federal Court, where he accused an elder of The Hills Bible Church in Baulkham Hills of breaching Australia's Trade Practices Act by claiming to have found scientific evidence of Noah's Ark in Turkey.”

A fundamental truth based on an observation of people?

“Plimer says creationists and climate alarmists are quite similar in that ‘we're dealing with dogma and people who, when challenged, become quite vicious and irrational.’”

“Human-caused climate change is being 'promoted with religious zeal’ … there are fundamentalist organizations which will do anything to silence critics. They have their holy books, their prophet [is] Al Gore. And they are promoting a story which is frightening us witless [using] guilt [and urging] penance."

Credentialed crazies …

Credentials alone do not convey the authority or moral imperative to speak the “truth” to the masses. There have been any number of charlatans who have hidden behind well-credentialed pasts from great schools who have engaged in fraudulent schemes to promote their point of view or sell their products. The number of doctors who offer specious cures which delay actual treatment should be an example of the danger of listening to credentialed kooks.

“It is difficult for non-scientists to engage in the debate over what causes climate change and whether or not it can be stopped by new taxes and slower growth, because dissenting voices are shouted down by true believers in the scientific community who claim they alone have the authority to speak.”

Can global warming be stopped by taxes?

Why legislators believe that all problems can be cured or ameliorated by legislation is the often the same reason that a man with a hammer sees everything being cured by nails. In fact, legislators are often the most duplicitous and corrupt among us – promoting legislation for their self-interest rather than for the public good. Certain legislators will craft legislation in order to secure media attention, others to pursue personal prestige, power and profits. And the trouble is, that these people do not often read the bills the propose and cannot intelligently discuss the subject matter being legislated. They rely on staff or the special interests to write and interpret a bill’s meaning. Taxes will not stop global warming and their effectiveness in behavior modification is limited. Witness the criminalization of drugs – which serves to promote a very large and lucrative underground economy. And witness the hypocrisy of legal alcohol and cigarettes – both of which produce extremely harmful effects, and are legal only when taxes by legislative hypocrites.

Fearing the fight …

“Quadrant is under fire for publishing articles by skeptics but, as its editor, Keith Windschuttle, said on Monday night, ‘People who are really confident [of their facts] relish debate.’"

Notice that Al Gore refuses to engage in debate and will only appear in carefully selected and managed forums. Even his media availability is managed so as to screen out embarrassing questions or argumentative responses to his self-interested drivel.

In any case, ordinary people already have suspicions. The zealotry and one-sidedness of the debate alarmed an 81-year-old Seven Hills pensioner, Denys Clarke, so much that last month, at his own expense, he hired the ballroom at the Blacktown Workers Club for two public forums, titled The Truth About Climate Change. He invited a climate skeptic, the James Cook University professor Bob Carter, a geologist, to speak. More than 300 people attended, some from as far away as Nowra.”

At some point in time, ordinary people are bound to wonder about the prescriptions for curing global warming which seem so out of touch with scientific reality, that they simply shut down and go on to the next cause.

Consider the current polling on the subject …

“Efforts to support global climate-change falls”

“There is both growing public reluctance to make personal sacrifices and a distinct lack of enthusiasm for the major international efforts now underway to battle climate change, according to findings of a poll of 12,000 citizens in 11 countries, including Canada.”

Less than half of those surveyed, or 47 per cent, said they were prepared to make personal lifestyle changes to reduce carbon emissions, down from 58 per cent last year.”

“Only 37 per cent said they were willing to spend ‘extra time’ on the effort, an eight-point drop.”

“And only one in five respondents - or 20 per cent - said they'd spend extra money to reduce climate change. That's down from 28 per cent a year ago.”

“The 11 countries surveyed were Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, France, Germany, India, Malaysia, Mexico, the United Kingdom and the United States. There were 2,000 respondents surveyed in China, including 1,000 in Hong Kong.”

“The survey was conducted as part of a joint collaboration between the financial institution HSBC and environmental groups, such as the Earthwatch Institute.”

Note that the poll automatically assumes that CO2 is a greenhouse gas that must be controlled through carbon cap and emissions trading. If CO2 really is a problem, why institute a financially-rewarding component that rewards those who do absolutely nothing to effect change global climate except rake in extremely lucrative commissions for trading paper based on a failed ENRON-style derivatives trading scheme.

Truth be told, this emissions trading scheme allows local polluters to continue polluting the ground, water and air – and avoiding legal responsibility for their damaging actions while passing the costs of the pollution credits along to their customers … and by extension to the broader public. We have all scene what Enron-style accounting and the Wall Street Wizards have wrought with the current financial crisis. And unfortunately, the blind do not see that the crisis caused by the legislative attempts to regulate greenhouse gasses will make the current financial crisis merely a blip on a curve. All to satisfy some international carbon credit bookkeeper who will declare that the “global community” benefits from these local actions. Hogwash to the extreme.

What can YOU do?

Demand the truth about the motives behind global warming legislation and their impact on our military and economy before signing off on man’s grandest scheme to bilk the public.

Demand that scientists who submit data to the global warming community clearly state the limitations of their findings and the applicability to the larger climate phenomenon. Most findings will be found to be localized and not extensible to more generalized situations. Finding a relatively few comparison points where computed data and historical data agree does not make a theory valid – and is far from establishing a scientific fact.

Demand that your elected officials base their legislation on credible and reproducible results which can be verified by other third-party researchers.

And, above all, remember that there is a major problem with subject matter experts who narrow their research focus and fail to perceive the big picture. Somewhat like not seeing the forest because of the trees. A helpful definition of an expert is someone who studies more and more about less and less; until they know everything about nothing.

Keep your own self-interest in focus at all times. Especially before signing over a portion of your hard-earned funds to those who may ask you to wait hundreds of years to observe measurable results.

-- steve

Quote of the day:  “The effort to understand the universe is one of the very few things that lifts human life a little above the level of farce, and gives it some of the grace of tragedy.” -- Steven Weinberg

A reminder from a large improvement can result from a small change…

The object in life is not to be on the side of the majority, but to escape finding oneself in the ranks of the insane. -- Marcus Aurelius

Reference Links:

Efforts to support global climate-change falls: Poll

Beware the church of climate alarm|Sydney Morning Herald

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