Jamal Munshi: The United Nations: An Unconstrained Bureaucracy

Abstract:
The United Nations is financed mostly by taxpayers from a few donor countries but the large and growing bureaucracy is too far removed from those taxpayers to be directly accountable to them. It is run by unelected, unaccountable, undisciplined, and incompetent bureaucrats. The organization’s size, budget, and scope are unconstrained. The budget funding process provides perverse incentives for these bureaucrats to increase the size and scope of their organization simply by creating multitudes of agencies and programs, and by inventing problems and environmental crises set on a global scale.

Tallbloke's Talkshop

An article about the failings of the UN highlights a paper by our friend Jamal Munshi -Professor Emeritus at Sonoma State University:

apocalypse

The situation has become so bad that some academics have concluded that it is time to shut down the UN’s out-of-control bureaucracies. A paper by Sonoma State University Professor Emeritus Jamal Munshi published by the Social Science Research Network, for example, makes a solid case for ditching the UN environmental bureaucracy. Under the headline “The United Nations: An Unconstrained Bureaucracy,” the June 2016 paper concludes that “unconstrained and undisciplined public sector bureaucracies do not serve the interest of the public” and that “such UN bureaucracies can safely be dismantled without any harm to the public interest.”

In a note to The New American, Professor Munshi said that “the case study is specific to the UNEP, however, the broader conclusion that we can draw from the UNEP…

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Idea of renewables powering UK is an ‘appalling delusion’ – David MacKay

“Humanity really does needs to pay attention to arithmetic and the laws of physics – we need a plan that adds up.”

Sage words.

NOT A LOT OF PEOPLE KNOW THAT

By Paul Homewood

h/t Realist10

image

https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2016/may/03/idea-of-renewables-powering-uk-is-an-appalling-delusion-david-mackay

A couple of weeks after the untimely death of Sir David Mackay, formerly chief scientific adviser to DECC, the Guardian published a remarkably interview with him. I have highlighted certain sections:

The idea that renewable energy can power the UK is an “appalling delusion”, according to the final interview given by former chief scientific adviser, the late Professor Sir David MacKay.

The sensible energy and climate change plan for the UK, MacKay said, was for the country to focus on nuclear power and carbon capture storage technology, which traps the carbon dioxide from fossil fuel burning. In that scenario, the amount of wind and solar the UK needed would be almost zero, he said.

However, solar could be a very important power source in other countries, he said, where sunny summers coincided with a big demand for electricity for air conditioning. Prof MacKay also…

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Falling Down The Energy Ladder

“If the “zero emissions” evangelists were fair dinkum, they would support emissions-free nuclear power, but it seems that they oppose every energy option that is feasible”

This is because of the misanthropic belief structure of the Green eco-zealot. A position summed up by population freak Paul Ehrlich who blabbed in 1992, “Giving society cheap, abundant energy would be the equivalent of giving an idiot child a machine gun.”

The Club of Rome (environmental think-tank and consultants to the United Nations) in a similar misanthropic vein have stated, “The Earth has cancer and the cancer is Man.”

Green energy zealots want to push everyone off the energy ladder which has given us the modern world.

Read the rest of this excellent post by the great writer Viv Forbes…

(NEW LINK: https://us-issues.com/2016/06/04/falling-down-the-energy-ladder/)


Freefall: Wind Power Investment Collapses in Europe

‘Unrealiables’ in freefall. Shock news.

“The reason is obvious: despite decades of promises that these technologies will soon be commercially viable, they still cannot compete in the market against conventional sources of electricity.”

STOP THESE THINGS

turbine collapse ireland

In a ‘what goes around comes around’ kind of way, it’s fitting that the great wind power fraud is taking European ‘investors’ – of the Energreen mold – to the cleaners.

The subsidies have run out and, as night follows day, investors are racing to the exits – which brings the greatest Ponzi scheme of all time to an inevitable end. Here’s Andrew Follett with some more moaning from the wind industry, its parasites and spruikers.

Report details collapse of “Green energy” in Europe
The Daily Caller
Andrew Follett
10 May 2016

The amount of money flowing into European green energy from governments and the private sector collapsed from $132 billion in 2011 to $58 billion last year.

A report, published Tuesday by a British auditing firm, blames government cutbacks of subsidies and the failure of green energy to meet reliability and cost goals as a reason for declining investment. The cutbacks largely occurred…

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“Green” Germany

IDEOLOGICALLY aggressive “green” Germany has outlaid €1 Trillion Euros, of other people’s money, on Wind and Solar power, under the disastrous Energiewende program, only to undergo the biggest coal-fired power expansion in her history…

Green dream on ice as ‘coal frenzy’ grips Europe and renewables lose their attraction:

Germany’s wind and solar power production came to an almost complete standstill in early December. More than 23,000 wind turbines stood still. One million photovoltaic systems stopped work nearly completely. For a whole week coal, nuclear and gas power plants had to generate an estimated 95 percent of Germany’s electricity supply. –Daniel Wetzel, Die Welt, 24 December 2013


16th Centuy weather-dependent Windmills were abandoned centuries ago, for obvious reasons.

All they really do is relieve climate guilt for the gullible while diverting trillions of dollars of taxpayers money to rent-seeking eco-corporations. So much for ‘socialism’, in this case green-central planning, evening up the wealth gap!


Why NASA And NOAA Made Greenland Disappear

Many wonderful ways for Tom and NOAA ‘National Centres for Environmental Information (propaganda)’ to manufacture the “Hottest Month Ever”, by hundredths of a degree.

Real Science

There is plenty of temperature data available from Greenland, but NOAA has made it disappear from their analysis, as has NASA.

201510

They have good reason for this. Temperatures in southwest Greenland are plummeting, and are colder now than during the 1970s. The plot below is made from the NOAA GHCN database – data they pretend they don’t have.

2015-11-13-04-54-27

The amount of ice in Baffin Bay has sharply increased since 2010, and is now fully recovered to 1979 levels.

region.all.anom.region.4

University of Illinois – Cryosphere Today 

 Green below shows ice expansion since this week in 2010.

2015-11-21-04-07-39

N_daily_extent.11232010 N_daily_extent

I took these pictures of Baffin Bay in late June. There was still huge amounts of ice.

ScreenHunter_9591 Jun. 21 07.08

ScreenHunter_9593 Jun. 21 07.09

Satellite data shows that 2010 was much warmer that 2015 globally. Satellite data covers almost all of the planet, so it doesn’t produce the gross errors which NASA and NOAA do with their surface data.

2015-11-21-04-25-39

Greenland has gone missing, because…

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Global Warming Insanity On Steroids!

Warming fears are the “worst scientific scandal in the history…When people come to 
know what the truth is, they will feel deceived by science and scientists.” – UN IPCC 
Japanese Scientist Dr. Kiminori Itohan award-winning PhD environmental physical
chemist.

“It is a blatant lie put forth in the media that makes it seem there is only a fringe of 
scientists who don’t buy into anthropogenic global warming.” – U.S Government
Atmospheric Scientist Stanley B. Goldenberg of the Hurricane Research Division of
NOAA.

“The whole climate change issue is about to fall apart — Heads will roll!” – South African UN Scientist Dr. Will Alexander, April 12, 2009

“I am a skeptic…Global warming has become a new religion.” – Nobel Prize Winner for
Physics, Ivar Giaever.

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This article will remain on sticky post until the end of the UN’s latest climate gabfest in Paris.

It will be taken off sticky, once the throng of UN and government global elites, those telling you how you should live your life and curb your lifestyle, depart their 5-star hotel rooms and board their private jets, home-bound to board their limousines, whisked off to their white ivory towers of sanctimonious hypocrisy.

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Paul Driessen preface via JunkScience.com :

Pope Francis is coming to DC this week, to talk with President Obama about global warming and protecting the poor from fossil fuels, free enterprise capitalism and “dangerous manmade climate change.” So it might be helpful to present some inconvenient truths about climate change and the harmful effects of their anti-energy agenda.

Simply put, that agenda will kill millions of jobs and sharply reduce living standards for poor and middle class families in the United States and other developed countries. It will devastate the world’s poorest, most energy-deprived and politically powerless people – keeping them impoverished, disease-ridden, malnourished and dying young for decades to come. And all for no climate, health or environmental benefits.

Thank you for posting my article, quoting from it, and forwarding it to your friends and colleagues.

Best regards,

Paul

Insanity on steroids!

Economies collapsing, Middle East imploding – and Obama & Pals obsess over … the climate!

Climate Insanity on steroids!

By (the brilliant) Paul Driessen

via Wattsupwiththat & CFACT

September 21, 2015

The Middle East is imploding. Islamic State butchers are annihilating Christian and other communities. Putin is sending arms to Assad. Under the Obama-Iran nuclear deal, the mullahs will get $100+ billion to expand their proxy terror war on Israel and the West. Saudi Arabia has 100,000 empty air-conditioned tents but won’t take any of the millions who’ve been driven from their homes. Neither will most of the other 22 Arab League nations or 57 Organization of Islamic Cooperation member countries.

Instead, millions of mostly Muslim migrants, militants and refugees are heading to Europe – with limited money, education, job skills, or desire to assimilate. They demand entry into EU countries whose energy, economic, employment and welfare systems are already foundering or nearing collapse.

EU nations have hobbled their nuclear and carbon-based energy systems so completely that unsubsidized German and Danish electricity prices are almost ten times higher than in US states that still rely on coal-fired generation. Industrial giant Siemens is cutting 1,600 jobs in its power and gas division, companies are hard-pressed to compete internationally, and 0.5% annual economic growth is deemed “robust.”

So naturally, President Obama, Pope Francis, the European Commission, United Nations, and many poor countries are obsessed with – climate change! It’s insanity on steroids. The alarmist assertions are absurd.

“Climate change is already disrupting our agriculture and ecosystems, our water and food supplies,” Obama recently inveighed. “If we do nothing, Alaskan temperatures are projected to rise between six and twelve degrees by the end of the century.”

Projected by whom? Who concocts these fables? Nature-driven climate change has disrupted lives throughout human history. Seas have risen 400 feet since the last mile-thick glaciers melted off the northern half of Asia, Europe and North America. How did “imperiled” Pacific islands survive that?

Some Alaskan glaciers have been retreating for decades, but Hubbard is growing and Glacier Bay’s ice retreat began around 1750. Arctic sea ice has increased some 26% (400,000 square miles) since 2012, in a cycle that’s continued for millennia. The sea ice “was thick in the 1920s, thin in the 1930s and 1940s, thick again in the 1960s and 1970s, and thinner in recent decades,” oceanographer Igor Polyakov noted in 2004.

“Not only in the summer, but in the winter the [Bering Sea region] was free of ice, sometimes with a wide strip of water up to at least 200 miles away from the shore,” Swedish explorer Oscar Nordkvist reported in 1822. “We were astonished by the total absence of ice in the Barrow Strait,” Francis McClintock, captain of the Fox, wrote in 1860. “I was here at this time in 1854 – still frozen up – and doubts were entertained as to the possibility of escape.” How did cars and power plants cause all that?

Meanwhile Greenland’s ice mass has grown by some 200 cubic kilometers (48 cubic miles) just since 2014. Vikings built homes, grew crops and raised cattle in Greenland between 950 and 1300, before they were frozen out by the Little Ice Age and encroaching pack ice and glaciers. Antarctic sea ice set another record in May, the US National Snow and Ice Data Center reports, climbing 12% above the long-term 1981-2010 average, to reach 12.1 million square kilometers (800,000 square miles) – almost as much as Alaska and Texas combined!

If it’s global warming and climate change, shouldn’t melting phenomena be constant and global?

Pope Francis nevertheless plans to meet with President Obama September 23, to discuss “dangerous manmade climate change” and how to ensure “preferential treatment of the poor,” by building “clean” energy economies and stopping “carbon pollution.” Their concerns and solutions are illusory.

They disdain fossil fuels and capitalism – though they have brought greater health and well-being to more people than any other systems in history. They prefer the socialism, centralized government control, higher energy prices, fundamental economic transformations and wealth redistribution schemes advanced by the UN and Climate Crisis, Inc. By denying the world’s poorest people energy, jobs and economic growth, this agenda will sentence them to perpetual poverty, disease and early death. By mandating the use of biofuels, wind turbines and solar panels, it will turn food into fuel, increase malnutrition, convert wildlife habitats into enormous inefficient energy facilities, and kill countless millions of birds and bats.

The pope and president dismiss these impacts. They insist that climate change is a far worse problem, and that modern energy, housing and living standards for the world’s poor would not be “sustainable.” They believe “morality,” “climate justice” and “preferential treatment” mean protecting people from hypothesized, exaggerated and fabricated climate disasters 25, 50 or 100 years from now – by destroying millions of jobs and keeping the world’s poor energy-deprived and impoverished now and in perpetuity.

The pope and president denigrate plant-fertilizing carbon dioxide as “carbon pollution” and say this 0.04% of Earth’s atmosphere has replaced the powerful natural forces that have always driven climate and weather fluctuations and events. They disregard satellite and weather balloon data and records from East Anglia University, which show there has been no planetary warming since at least late 1997, if not 1995.

They studiously ignore the fact that even full implementation of EPA’s fraudulent and destructive Clean Power Plan would at best prevent a global temperature increase of only 0.03 degrees F and a sea-level rise of barely 0.01 inches by 2100. And those “benefits” assume CO2 is the culprit in climate change.

Like other climate alarmists, they refuse to recognize that some 2,300 coal-fired power plants are already operating worldwide, and almost 2,200 more are being proposed, developed or built. Nearly 900 are planned for China and India alone. In barely ten years, Asia’s energy consumption will increase 31% and some two-thirds of that demand will be oil, natural gas and coal. So a US shutdown would do nothing.

Developed countries have dug a tiger trap – and walked into it. Their constant rants about “catastrophic manmade climate change” are driving policies that shut down carbon-based energy, economic growth and job creation in Formerly Rich Countries, while telling developing nations to hold us for climate ransom.

Following Obama’s recent GLACIER conference in Anchorage, China, India and Russia (three of the four biggest CO2-emitting nations) refused to sign a nonbinding declaration seeking greater international action to combat Arctic melting and climate change. Nearly all developing countries oppose agreements calling for binding emission targets or even “obligatory review mechanisms” of their voluntary efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Meanwhile, they now insist on $100 billion to $400 billion per year in climate change “mitigation, adaptation and compensation,” plus free energy technology transfers.

Denmark is dropping plans to phase out coal-fired power plants and be fossil-fuel-free by 2050. Britain is junking its wind energy subsidies and pushing ahead with fracking for gas to fuel more power plants. But meanwhile, Mr. Obama is thumbing his nose at Congress and American voters and unemployed workers – and imposing ever more restrictions on coal and natural gas use, and more taxpayer subsidies for wind, solar and biofuel programs, on top of water, ozone and other regulations. This will cost trillions of dollars, inflict heavy costs on poor and middle class families, and bring few or no health or ecological benefits.

The agenda being driven by President Obama, Pope Francis, the UN and Climate Crisis, Inc. means our huddled masses will be forced to share ever-greater scarcity, ever-lower living standards, ever-fewer jobs and opportunities. But of course it all will be apportioned “fairly and equitably” – by ruling elites and their cronies, whose desk jobs, six-figure salaries and upper crust life styles will be protected by the same executive powers they employ to protect the planet from climate raptors and hobgoblins.

About the Author: Paul Driessen

Paul Driessen

Paul Driessen is senior policy advisor for CFACT and author of Cracking Big Green and Eco-Imperialism: Green Power – Black Death.

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See more great reads and climate rationale from Paul Driessen :

Must read Driessen :

More Driessen :

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Californian climate mutiny! Democrats side with Republicans to defeat Jerry Brown

Watts Up With That?

Jerry Brown, photo author Neon Tommy, source Wikimedia Jerry Brown, photo author Neon Tommy, source Wikimedia

Democrats in California seem to be finally waking up to the fact that green energy disproportionately hurts poor people.

According to the Wall Street Journal;

The environmental lobby has tried to turn climate change into a social justice issue even though its anticarbon policies disproportionately harm the poor. Honest Democrats are starting to admit this, as we saw in this week’s stunning revolt in the California legislature.

Jerry Brown doesn’t have much to show for his second turn in Sacramento, and of late he has focused his legacy attention on reducing carbon emissions. The Governor hailed California as a model of green virtue at the Vatican this summer and had hoped to flaunt sweeping new anticarbon regulations at the U.N’s climate-change summit in Paris this year.

But now his party has mutinied. Democrats hold near supermajorities in both legislative chambers with 52…

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A Must Read : The Climate Wars’ Damage to Science

Warming fears are the “worst scientific scandal in the history…When people come to 
know what the truth is, they will feel deceived by science and scientists.” – UN IPCC 
Japanese Scientist Dr. Kiminori Itohan award-winning PhD environmental physical
chemist.

“It is a blatant lie put forth in the media that makes it seem there is only a fringe of 
scientists who don’t buy into anthropogenic global warming.” – U.S Government
Atmospheric Scientist Stanley B. Goldenberg of the Hurricane Research Division of
NOAA.

“The whole climate change issue is about to fall apart — Heads will roll!” – South African UN Scientist Dr. Will Alexander, April 12, 2009

“I am a skeptic…Global warming has become a new religion.” – Nobel Prize Winner for
Physics, Ivar Giaever.

•••

Source – Obama : My Plan Makes Electricity Rates Skyrocket | Climatism

•••

Since starting this page in 2013, I’ve blogged over 1,000 posts on all things global warming climate change.

Through all the imagery and digital data logged, the essay below is possibly the most powerful, informative and poignant yet.

As we head into the latest round of international climate talks in Paris, 2015, the information below becomes especially helpful in order to sift through much of the obligatory climate-catastrophism and rhetorical alarmism that is par-for-the-course in the lead up to a UN climate gabfest.

This masterpiece by science writer and ‘climate luke-warmer’ Dr Matt Ridley, is well worth reading in its entirety.

And as one of my long-time twitter buddies @alamairs quoted on reading ~ Absolutely wonderful! Don’t debate AGW gospel before reading this erudite article

Enjoy.

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via The Climate Wars’ Damage to Science — Quadrant Online.

The Climate Wars’ Damage to Science

The great thing about science is that it’s self-correcting. The good drives out the bad, because experiments get replicated and hypotheses tested — or so I used to think. Now, thanks largely to climate science, I see bad ideas can persist for decades, and surrounded by myrmidons of furious defenders they become intolerant dogmas

For much of my life I have been a science writer. That means I eavesdrop on what’s going on in laboratories so I can tell interesting stories. It’s analogous to the way art critics write about art, but with a difference: we “science critics” rarely criticise. If we think a scientific paper is dumb, we just ignore it. There’s too much good stuff coming out of science to waste time knocking the bad stuff.

Sure, we occasionally take a swipe at pseudoscience—homeopathy, astrology, claims that genetically modified food causes cancer, and so on. But the great thing about science is that it’s self-correcting. The good drives out the bad, because experiments get replicated and hypotheses put to the test. So a really bad idea cannot survive long in science.

Or so I used to think. Now, thanks largely to climate science, I have changed my mind. It turns out bad ideas can persist in science for decades, and surrounded by myrmidons of furious defenders they can turn into intolerant dogmas.

This should have been obvious to me. Lysenkoism, a pseudo-biological theory that plants (and people) could be trained to change their heritable natures, helped starve millions and yet persisted for decades in the Soviet Union, reaching its zenith under Nikita Khrushchev. The theory that dietary fat causes obesity and heart disease, based on a couple of terrible studies in the 1950s, became unchallenged orthodoxy and is only now fading slowly.

What these two ideas have in common is that they had political support, which enabled them to monopolise debate. Scientists are just as prone as anybody else to “confirmation bias”, the tendency we all have to seek evidence that supports our favoured hypothesis and dismiss evidence that contradicts it—as if we were counsel for the defence. It’s tosh that scientists always try to disprove their own theories, as they sometimes claim, and nor should they. But they do try to disprove each other’s. Science has always been decentralised, so Professor Smith challenges Professor Jones’s claims, and that’s what keeps science honest.

What went wrong with Lysenko and dietary fat was that in each case a monopoly was established. Lysenko’s opponents were imprisoned or killed. Nina Teicholz’s book The Big Fat Surprise shows in devastating detail how opponents of Ancel Keys’s dietary fat hypothesis were starved of grants and frozen out of the debate by an intolerant consensus backed by vested interests, echoed and amplified by a docile press.

Cheerleaders for alarm

This is precisely what has happened with the climate debate and it is at risk of damaging the whole reputation of science. The “bad idea” in this case is not that climate changes, nor that human beings influence climate change; but that the impending change is sufficiently dangerous to require urgent policy responses. In the 1970s, when global temperatures were cooling, some scientists could not resist the lure of press attention by arguing that a new ice age was imminent. Others called this nonsense and the World Meteorological Organisation rightly refused to endorse the alarm. That’s science working as it should. In the 1980s, as temperatures began to rise again, some of the same scientists dusted off the greenhouse effect and began to argue that runaway warming was now likely.

At first, the science establishment reacted sceptically and a diversity of views was aired. It’s hard to recall now just how much you were allowed to question the claims in those days. As Bernie Lewin reminds us in one chapter of a fascinating new book of essays called Climate Change: The Facts(hereafter The Facts), as late as 1995 when the second assessment report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) came out with its last-minute additional claim of a “discernible human influence” on climate, Nature magazine warned scientists against overheating the debate.

Since then, however, inch by inch, the huge green pressure groups have grown fat on a diet of constant but ever-changing alarm about the future. That these alarms—over population growth, pesticides, rain forests, acid rain, ozone holes, sperm counts, genetically modified crops—have often proved wildly exaggerated does not matter: the organisations that did the most exaggeration trousered the most money. In the case of climate, the alarm is always in the distant future, so can never be debunked.

These huge green multinationals, with budgets in the hundreds of millions of dollars, have now systematically infiltrated science, as well as industry and media, with the result that many high-profile climate scientists and the journalists who cover them have become one-sided cheerleaders for alarm, while a hit squad of increasingly vicious bloggers polices the debate to ensure that anybody who steps out of line is punished. They insist on stamping out all mention of the heresy that climate change might not be lethally dangerous.

Today’s climate science, as Ian Plimer points out in his chapter in The Facts, is based on a “pre-ordained conclusion, huge bodies of evidence are ignored and analytical procedures are treated as evidence”. Funds are not available to investigate alternative theories. Those who express even the mildest doubts about dangerous climate change are ostracised, accused of being in the pay of fossil-fuel interests or starved of funds; those who take money from green pressure groups and make wildly exaggerated statements are showered with rewards and treated by the media as neutral.

Look what happened to a butterfly ecologist named Camille Parmesan when she published a paper on “Climate and Species Range” that blamed climate change for threatening the Edith checkerspot butterfly with extinction in California by driving its range northward. The paper was cited more than 500 times, she was invited to speak at the White House and she was asked to contribute to the IPCC’s third assessment report.

Unfortunately, a distinguished ecologist called Jim Steele found fault with her conclusion: there had been more local extinctions in the southern part of the butterfly’s range due to urban development than in the north, so only the statistical averages moved north, not the butterflies. There was no correlated local change in temperature anyway, and the butterflies have since recovered throughout their range. When Steele asked Parmesan for her data, she refused. Parmesan’s paper continues to be cited as evidence of climate change. Steele meanwhile is derided as a “denier”. No wonder a highly sceptical ecologist I know is very reluctant to break cover.

Jim Hansen, recently retired as head of the Goddard Institute of Space Studies at NASA, won over a million dollars in lucrative green prizes, regularly joined protests against coal plants and got himself arrested while at the same time he was in charge of adjusting and homogenising one of the supposedly objective data sets on global surface temperature. How would he be likely to react if told of evidence that climate change is not such a big problem?

Michael Oppenheimer, of Princeton University, who frequently testifies before Congress in favour of urgent action on climate change, was the Environmental Defense Fund’s senior scientist for nineteen years and continues to advise it. The EDF has assets of $209 million and since 2008 has had over $540 million from charitable foundations, plus $2.8 million in federal grants. In that time it has spent $11.3 million on lobbying, and has fifty-five people on thirty-two federal advisory committees. How likely is it that they or Oppenheimer would turn around and say global warming is not likely to be dangerous?

Why is it acceptable, asks the blogger Donna Laframboise, for the IPCC to “put a man who has spent his career cashing cheques from both the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) and Greenpeace in charge of its latest chapter on the world’s oceans?” She’s referring to the University of Queensland’s Ove Hoegh-Guldberg.

These scientists and their guardians of the flame repeatedly insist that there are only two ways of thinking about climate change—that it’s real, man-made and dangerous (the right way), or that it’s not happening (the wrong way). But this is a false dichotomy. There is a third possibility: that it’s real, partly man-made and not dangerous. This is the “lukewarmer” school, and I am happy to put myself in this category. Lukewarmers do not think dangerous climate change is impossible; but they think it is unlikely.

I find that very few people even know of this. Most ordinary people who do not follow climate debates assume that either it’s not happening or it’s dangerous. This suits those with vested interests in renewable energy, since it implies that the only way you would be against their boondoggles is if you “didn’t believe” in climate change.

What consensus about the future?

Sceptics such as Plimer often complain that “consensus” has no place in science. Strictly they are right, but I think it is a red herring. I happily agree that you can have some degree of scientific consensus about the past and the present. The earth is a sphere; evolution is true; carbon dioxide is a greenhouse gas. The IPCC claims in its most recent report that it is “95 per cent” sure that “more than half” of the (gentle) warming “since 1950” is man-made. I’ll drink to that, though it’s a pretty vague claim. But you really cannot have much of a consensus about the future. Scientists are terrible at making forecasts—indeed as Dan Gardner documents in his book Future Babble they are often worse than laymen. And the climate is a chaotic system with multiple influences of which human emissions are just one, which makes prediction even harder.

The IPCC actually admits the possibility of lukewarming within its consensus, because it gives a range of possible future temperatures: it thinks the world will be between about 1.5 and four degrees warmer on average by the end of the century. That’s a huge range, from marginally beneficial to terrifyingly harmful, so it is hardly a consensus of danger, and if you look at the “probability density functions” of climate sensitivity, they always cluster towards the lower end.

What is more, in the small print describing the assumptions of the “representative concentration pathways”, it admits that the top of the range will only be reached if sensitivity to carbon dioxide is high (which is doubtful); if world population growth re-accelerates (which is unlikely); if carbon dioxide absorption by the oceans slows down (which is improbable); and if the world economy goes in a very odd direction, giving up gas but increasing coal use tenfold (which is implausible).

But the commentators ignore all these caveats and babble on about warming of “up to” four degrees (or even more), then castigate as a “denier” anybody who says, as I do, the lower end of the scale looks much more likely given the actual data. This is a deliberate tactic. Following what the psychologist Philip Tetlock called the “psychology of taboo”, there has been a systematic and thorough campaign to rule out the middle ground as heretical: not just wrong, but mistaken, immoral and beyond the pale. That’s what the word denier with its deliberate connotations of Holocaust denial is intended to do. For reasons I do not fully understand, journalists have been shamefully happy to go along with this fundamentally religious project.

Politicians love this polarising because it means they can attack a straw man. It’s what they are good at. “Doubt has been eliminated,” said Gro Harlem Brundtland, former Prime Minister of Norway and UN Special Representative on Climate Change, in a speech in 2007: “It is irresponsible, reckless and deeply immoral to question the seriousness of the situation. The time for diagnosis is over. Now it is time to act.” John Kerry says we have no time for a meeting of the flat-earth society. Barack Obama says that 97 per cent of scientists agree that climate change is “real, man-made and dangerous”. That’s just a lie (or a very ignorant remark): as I point out above, there is no consensus that it’s dangerous.

So where’s the outrage from scientists at this presidential distortion? It’s worse than that, actually. The 97 per cent figure is derived from two pieces of pseudoscience that would have embarrassed a homeopath. The first was a poll that found that 97 per cent of just seventy-nine scientists thought climate change was man-made—not that it was dangerous. A more recent poll of 1854 members of the American Meteorological Society found the true number is 52 per cent.

The second source of the 97 per cent number was a survey of scientific papers, which has now been comprehensively demolished by Professor Richard Tol of Sussex University, who is probably the world’s leading climate economist. As the Australian blogger Joanne Nova summarised Tol’s findings, John Cook of the University of Queensland and his team used an unrepresentative sample, left out much useful data, used biased observers who disagreed with the authors of the papers they were classifying nearly two-thirds of the time, and collected and analysed the data in such a way as to allow the authors to adjust their preliminary conclusions as they went along, a scientific no-no if ever there was one. The data could not be replicated, and Cook himself threatened legal action to hide them. Yet neither the journal nor the university where Cook works has retracted the paper, and the scientific establishment refuses to stop citing it, let alone blow the whistle on it. Its conclusion is too useful.

This should be a huge scandal, not fodder for a tweet by the leader of the free world. Joanne Nova, incidentally, is an example of a new breed of science critic that the climate debate has spawned. With little backing, and facing ostracism for her heresy, this talented science journalist had abandoned any chance of a normal, lucrative career and systematically set out to expose the way the huge financial gravy train that is climate science has distorted the methods of science. In her chapter in The Facts, Nova points out that the entire trillion-dollar industry of climate change policy rests on a single hypothetical assumption, first advanced in 1896, for which to this day there is no evidence.

The assumption is that modest warming from carbon dioxide must be trebly amplified by extra water vapour—that as the air warms there will be an increase in absolute humidity providing “a positive feedback”. That assumption led to specific predictions that could be tested. And the tests come back negative again and again. The large positive feedback that can turn a mild warming into a dangerous one just is not there. There is no tropical troposphere hot-spot. Ice cores unambiguously show that temperature can fall while carbon dioxide stays high. Estimates of climate sensitivity, which should be high if positive feedbacks are strong, are instead getting lower and lower. Above all, the temperature has failed to rise as predicted by the models.

Scandal after scandal

The Cook paper is one of many scandals and blunders in climate science. There was the occasion in 2012 when the climate scientist Peter Gleick stole the identity of a member of the (sceptical) Heartland Institute’s board of directors, leaked confidential documents, and included also a “strategy memo” purporting to describe Heartland’s plans, which was a straight forgery. Gleick apologised but continues to be a respected climate scientist.

There was Stephan Lewandowsky, then at the University of Western Australia, who published a paper titled “NASA faked the moon landing therefore [climate] science is a hoax”, from which readers might have deduced, in the words of a Guardian headline, that “new research finds that sceptics also tend to support conspiracy theories such as the moon landing being faked”. Yet in fact in the survey for the paper, only ten respondents out of 1145 thought that the moon landing was a hoax, and seven of those did not think climate change was a hoax. A particular irony here is that two of the men who have actually been to the moon are vocal climate sceptics: Harrison Schmitt and Buzz Aldrin.

It took years of persistence before physicist Jonathan Jones and political scientist Ruth Dixon even managed to get into print (in March this year) a detailed and devastating critique of the Lewandowsky article’s methodological flaws and bizarre reasoning, with one journal allowing Lewandowsky himself to oppose the publication of their riposte. Lewandowsky published a later paper claiming that the reactions to his previous paper proved he was right, but it was so flawed it had to be retracted.

If these examples of odd scientific practice sound too obscure, try Rajendra Pachauri, chairman of the IPCC for thirteen years and often described as the “world’s top climate scientist”. He once dismissed as “voodoo science” an official report by India’s leading glaciologist, Vijay Raina, because it had challenged a bizarre claim in an IPCC report (citing a WWF report which cited an article in New Scientist), that the Himalayan glaciers would be gone by 2035. The claim originated with Syed Hasnain, who subsequently took a job at The Energy and Resources Institute (TERI), the Delhi-based company of which Dr Pachauri is director-general, and there his glacier claim enabled TERI to win a share of a three-million-euro grant from the European Union. No wonder Dr Pachauri might well not have wanted the 2035 claim challenged.

Yet Raina was right, it proved to be the IPCC’s most high-profile blunder, and Dr Pachauri had to withdraw both it and his “voodoo” remark. The scandal led to a highly critical report into the IPCC by several of the world’s top science academics, which recommended among other things that the IPCC chair stand down after one term. Dr Pachauri ignored this, kept his job, toured the world while urging others not to, and published a novel, with steamy scenes of seduction of an older man by young women. (He resigned this year following criminal allegations of sexual misconduct with a twenty-nine-year-old female employee, which he denies, and which are subject to police investigation.)

Yet the climate bloggers who constantly smear sceptics managed to avoid even reporting most of this. If you want to follow Dr Pachauri’s career you have to rely on a tireless but self-funded investigative journalist: the Canadian Donna Laframboise. In her chapter in The Facts, Laframboise details how Dr Pachauri has managed to get the world to describe him as a Nobel laureate, even though this is simply not true.

Notice, by the way, how many of these fearless free-thinkers prepared to tell emperors they are naked are women. Susan Crockford, a Canadian zoologist, has steadfastly exposed the myth-making that goes into polar bear alarmism, to the obvious discomfort of the doyens of that field. Jennifer Marohasy of Central Queensland University, by persistently asking why cooling trends recorded at Australian weather stations with no recorded moves were being altered to warming trends, has embarrassed the Bureau of Meteorology into a review of their procedures. Her chapter in The Factsunderlines the failure of computer models to predict rainfall.

But male sceptics have scored successes too. There was the case of the paper the IPCC relied upon to show that urban heat islands (the fact that cities are generally warmer than the surrounding countryside, so urbanisation causes local, but not global, warming) had not exaggerated recent warming. This paper turned out—as the sceptic Doug Keenan proved—to be based partly on non-existent data on forty-nine weather stations in China. When corrected, it emerged that the urban heat island effect actually accounted for 40 per cent of the warming in China.

There was the Scandinavian lake sediment core that was cited as evidence of sudden recent warming, when it was actually being used “upside down”—the opposite way the authors of the study thought it should be used: so if anything it showed cooling.

There was the graph showing unprecedented recent warming that turned out to depend on just one larch tree in the Yamal Peninsula in Siberia.

There was the southern hemisphere hockey-stick that had been created by the omission of inconvenient data series.

There was the infamous “hide the decline” incident when a tree-ring-derived graph had been truncated to disguise the fact that it seemed to show recent cooling.

And of course there was the mother of all scandals, the “hockey stick” itself: a graph that purported to show the warming of the last three decades of the twentieth century as unprecedented in a millennium, a graph that the IPCC was so thrilled with that it published it six times in its third assessment report and displayed it behind the IPCC chairman at his press conference. It was a graph that persuaded me to abandon my scepticism (until I found out about its flaws), because I thoughtNature magazine would never have published it without checking. And it is a graph that was systematically shown by Steven McIntyre and Ross McKitrick to be wholly misleading, as McKitrick recounts in glorious detail in his chapter in The Facts.

Its hockey-stick shape depended heavily on one set of data from bristlecone pine trees in the American south-west, enhanced by a statistical approach to over-emphasise some 200 times any hockey-stick shaped graph. Yet bristlecone tree-rings do not, according to those who collected the data, reflect temperature at all. What is more, the scientist behind the original paper, Michael Mann, had known all along that his data depended heavily on these inappropriate trees and a few other series, because when finally prevailed upon to release his data he accidentally included a file called “censored” that proved as much: he had tested the effect of removing the bristlecone pine series and one other, and found that the hockey-stick shape disappeared.

In March this year Dr Mann published a paper claiming the Gulf Stream was slowing down. This garnered headlines all across the world. Astonishingly, his evidence that the Gulf Stream is slowing down came not from the Gulf Stream, but from “proxies” which included—yes—bristlecone pine trees in Arizona, upside-down lake sediments in Scandinavia and larch trees in Siberia.

The democratisation of science

Any one of these scandals in, say, medicine might result in suspensions, inquiries or retractions. Yet the climate scientific establishment repeatedly reacts as if nothing is wrong. It calls out any errors on the lukewarming end, but ignores those on the exaggeration end. That complacency has shocked me, and done more than anything else to weaken my long-standing support for science as an institution. I repeat that I am not a full sceptic of climate change, let alone a “denier”. I think carbon-dioxide-induced warming during this century is likely, though I think it is unlikely to prove rapid and dangerous. So I don’t agree with those who say the warming is all natural, or all driven by the sun, or only an artefact of bad measurement, but nor do I think anything excuses bad scientific practice in support of the carbon dioxide theory, and every time one of these scandals erupts and the scientific establishment asks us to ignore it, I wonder if the extreme sceptics are not on to something. I feel genuinely betrayed by the profession that I have spent so much of my career championing.

There is, however, one good thing that has happened to science as a result of the climate debate: the democratisation of science by sceptic bloggers. It is no accident that sceptic sites keep winning the “Bloggies” awards. There is nothing quite like them for massive traffic, rich debate and genuinely open peer review. Following Steven McIntyre on tree rings, Anthony Watts or Paul Homewood on temperature records, Judith Curry on uncertainty, Willis Eschenbach on clouds or ice cores, or Andrew Montford on media coverage has been one of the delights of recent years for those interested in science. Papers that had passed formal peer review and been published in journals have nonetheless been torn apart in minutes on the blogs. There was the time Steven McIntyre found that an Antarctic temperature trend arose “entirely from the impact of splicing the two data sets together”. Or when Willis Eschenbach showed a published chart had “cut the modern end of the ice core carbon dioxide record short, right at the time when carbon dioxide started to rise again” about 8000 years ago, thus omitting the startling but inconvenient fact that carbon dioxide levels rose while temperatures fell over the following millennia.

Scientists don’t like this lèse majesté, of course. But it’s the citizen science that the internet has long promised. This is what eavesdropping on science should be like—following the twists and turns of each story, the ripostes and counter-ripostes, making up your own mind based on the evidence. And that is precisely what the non-sceptical side just does not get. Its bloggers are almost universally wearily condescending. They are behaving like sixteenth-century priests who do not think the Bible should be translated into English.

Renegade heretics in science itself are especially targeted. The BBC was subjected to torrents of abuse for even interviewing Bob Carter, a distinguished geologist and climate science expert who does not toe the alarmed line and who is one of the editors of Climate Change Reconsidered, a serious and comprehensive survey of the state of climate science organised by the Non-governmental Panel on Climate Change and ignored by the mainstream media.

Judith Curry of Georgia Tech moved from alarm to mild scepticism and has endured vitriolic criticism for it. She recently wrote:

There is enormous pressure for climate scientists to conform to the so-called consensus. This pressure comes not only from politicians, but from federal funding agencies, universities and professional societies, and scientists themselves who are green activists and advocates. Reinforcing this consensus are strong monetary, reputational, and authority interests. The closing of minds on the climate change issue is a tragedy for both science and society.

The distinguished Swedish meteorologist Lennart Bengtsson was so frightened for his own family and his health after he announced last year that he was joining the advisory board of the Global Warming Policy Foundation that he withdrew, saying, “It is a situation that reminds me about the time of McCarthy.”

The astrophysicist Willie Soon was falsely accused by a Greenpeace activist of failing to disclose conflicts of interest to an academic journal, an accusation widely repeated by mainstream media.

Clearing the middle ground

Much of this climate war parallels what has happened with Islamism, and it is the result of a similar deliberate policy of polarisation and silencing of debate. Labelling opponents “Islamophobes” or “deniers” is in the vast majority of cases equally inaccurate and equally intended to polarise. As Asra Nomani wrote in the Washington Post recently, a community of anti-blasphemy police arose out of a deliberate policy decision by the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation:

and began trying to control the debate on Islam. This wider corps throws the label of “Islamophobe” on pundits, journalists and others who dare to talk about extremist ideology in the religion … The insults may look similar to Internet trolling and vitriolic comments you can find on any blog or news site. But they’re more coordinated, frightening and persistent.

Compare that to what happened to Roger Pielke Jr, as recounted by James Delingpole in The Facts. Pielke is a professor of environmental studies at the University of Colorado and a hugely respected expert on disasters. He is no denier, thinking man-made global warming is real. But in his own area of expertise he is very clear that the rise in insurance losses is because the world is getting wealthier and we have more stuff to lose, not because more storms are happening. This is incontrovertibly true, and the IPCC agrees with him. But when he said this on Nate Silver’s FiveThirtyEight website he and Silver were savaged by commenters, led by one Rob Honeycutt. Crushed by the fury he had unleashed, Silver apologised and dropped Pielke as a contributor.

Rob Honeycutt and his allies knew what they were doing. Delingpole points out that Honeycutt (on a different website) urged people to “send in the troops to hammer down” anything moderate or sceptical, and to “grow the team of crushers”. Those of us who have been on the end of this sort of stuff know it is exactly like what the blasphemy police do with Islamophobia. We get falsely labelled “deniers” and attacked for heresy in often the most ad-hominem way.

Even more shocking has been the bullying lynch mob assembled this year by alarmists to prevent the University of Western Australia, erstwhile employers of the serially debunked conspiracy theorist Stephan Lewandowsky, giving a job to the economist Bjorn Lomborg. The grounds were that Lomborg is a “denier”. But he’s not. He does not challenge the science at all. He challenges on economic grounds some climate change policies, and the skewed priorities that lead to the ineffective spending of money on the wrong environmental solutions. His approach has been repeatedly vindicated over many years in many different topics, by many of the world’s leading economists. Yet there was barely a squeak of protest from the academic establishment at the way he was howled down and defamed for having the temerity to try to set up a research group at a university.

Well, internet trolls are roaming the woods in every subject, so what am I complaining about? The difference is that in the climate debate they have the tacit or explicit support of the scientific establishment. Venerable bodies like the Royal Society almost never criticise journalists for being excessively alarmist, only for being too lukewarm, and increasingly behave like pseudoscientists, explaining away inconvenient facts.

Making excuses for failed predictions

For example, scientists predicted a retreat of Antarctic sea ice but it has expanded instead, and nowadays they are claiming, like any astrologer, that this is because of warming after all. “Please,” says Mark Steyn in The Facts:

No tittering, it’s so puerile—every professor of climatology knows that the thickest ice ever is a clear sign of thin ice, because as the oceans warm, glaciers break off the Himalayas and are carried by the El Ninja down the Gore Stream past the Cape of Good Horn where they merge into the melting ice sheet, named after the awareness-raising rapper Ice Sheet …

Or consider this example, from the Royal Society’s recent booklet on climate change:

Does the recent slowdown of warming mean that climate change is no longer happening? No. Since the very warm surface temperatures of 1998 which followed the strong 1997-98 El Niño, the increase in average surface temperature has slowed relative to the previous decade of rapid temperature increases, with more of the excess heat being stored in the oceans.

You would never know from this that the “it’s hiding in the oceans” excuse is just one unproven hypothesis—and one that implies that natural variation exaggerated the warming in the 1990s, so reinforcing the lukewarm argument. Nor would you know (as Andrew Bolt recounts in his chapter inThe Facts) that the pause in global warming contradicts specific and explicit predictions such as this, from the UK Met Office: “by 2014 we’re predicting it will be 0.3 degrees warmer than in 2004”. Or that the length of the pause is now past the point where many scientists said it would disprove the hypothesis of rapid man-made warming. Dr Phil Jones, head of the Climatic Research Unit at the University of East Anglia, said in 2009: “Bottom line: the ‘no upward trend’ has to continue for a total of 15 years before we get worried.” It now has.

Excusing failed predictions is a staple of astrology; it’s the way pseudoscientists argue. In science, as Karl Popper long ago insisted, if you make predictions and they fail, you don’t just make excuses and insist you’re even more right than before. The Royal Society once used to promise “never to give their opinion, as a body, upon any subject”. Its very motto is “nullius in verba”: take nobody’s word for it. Now it puts out catechisms of what you must believe in. Surely, the handing down of dogmas is for churches, not science academies. Expertise, authority and leadership should count for nothing in science. The great Thomas Henry Huxley put it this way: “The improver of natural knowledge absolutely refuses to acknowledge authority, as such. For him, scepticism is the highest of duties; blind faith the one unpardonable sin.” Richard Feynman was even pithier: “Science is the belief in the ignorance of experts.”

The harm to science

I dread to think what harm this episode will have done to the reputation of science in general when the dust has settled. Science will need a reformation. Garth Paltridge is a distinguished Australian climate scientist, who, in The Facts, pens a wise paragraph that I fear will be the epitaph of climate science:

We have at least to consider the possibility that the scientific establishment behind the global warming issue has been drawn into the trap of seriously overstating the climate problem—or, what is much the same thing, of seriously understating the uncertainties associated with the climate problem—in its effort to promote the cause. It is a particularly nasty trap in the context of science, because it risks destroying, perhaps for centuries to come, the unique and hard-won reputation for honesty which is the basis for society’s respect for scientific endeavour.

And it’s not working anyway. Despite avalanches of money being spent on research to find evidence of rapid man-made warming, despite even more spent on propaganda and marketing and subsidising renewable energy, the public remains unconvinced. The most recent polling data from Gallup shows the number of Americans who worry “a great deal” about climate change is down slightly on thirty years ago, while the number who worry “not at all” has doubled from 12 per cent to 24 per cent—and now exceeds the number who worry “only a little” or “a fair amount”. All that fear-mongering has achieved less than nothing: if anything it has hardened scepticism.

None of this would matter if it was just scientific inquiry, though that rarely comes cheap in itself. The big difference is that these scientists who insist that we take their word for it, and who get cross if we don’t, are also asking us to make huge, expensive and risky changes to the world economy and to people’s livelihoods. They want us to spend a fortune getting emissions down as soon as possible. And they want us to do that even if it hurts poor people today, because, they say, their grandchildren (who, as Nigel Lawson points out, in The Facts, and their models assume, are going to be very wealthy) matter more.

Yet they are not prepared to debate the science behind their concern. That seems wrong to me.

Matt Ridley is an English science journalist whose books include The Rational Optimist: How Prosperity Evolves. A member of the House of Lords, he has a website at http://www.mattridley.co.uk. He declares an interest in coal through the leasing of land for mining.

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In Praise Of Power Stations

You presumably don’t understand how life was “nasty, brutish and short” before them — and still is for the tens of millions of people today who don’t have access to the electricity they can provide.

Spot on Terry McCrann.

PA Pundits - International

Bolt New 01By Andrew Bolt ~

Terry McCrann takes on a victim of the religious fervour of a Fairfax warmist:

Bayswater Power Plant Bayswater Power Plant

The combination of wild-eyed religious belief and both complete denial of fact and total disconnect from reality that is so characteristic of climate change true believers was perfectly displayed by The Age’s theology — correction, supposed economics — editor Peter Martin on Sunday.

He started off by claiming “Abbott” — presumably, the Prime Minister — “doesn’t like power stations”.

He offered no support for the extraordinary and I’d suggest utterly false claim; and followed it with the question: “Who does?”

Well Peter, I — and I suggest the PM — for one do. I like flicking a switch and getting light and heat and power all the other things they provide cleanly, efficiently and safely.

You presumably don’t understand how life was “nasty, brutish and short” before them —…

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