SciBlogs

Posts Tagged California

Prat Watch #4: Foundation and Empire Gareth Renowden Mar 20

Join the conversation at Hot Topic

While the noble Lord, Viscount Christopher “I’m no potty peer” Monckton tours the USA and Canada at the behest of his friends at the Heartland-lite Committee For A Constructive Tomorrow (aka the Billionaire Liberation Front), his Australian admirers, led by former Climate Sceptic Party candidate Chris Dawson, have announced the creation of… wait for it… The Monckton Foundation. This remarkable institution is set to “open its doors” this month, and has, as you might expect, some laudable, if long-winded goals:

The Lord Monckton Foundation shall conduct research, publish papers, educate students and the public and take every measure that may be necessary to restore the primacy and use of reason in science and public policy worldwide, especially insofar as they may bear upon the rights of the people fairly and fully to be informed, openly and freely to debate, and secretly by ballot to decide who shall govern them, what laws they shall live by and what imposts they shall endure.

It has a vision too — it may be having them still — issued by the charter of Monckton himself:

The Lord Monckton Foundation stands as the wall of the West, the redoubt of reason, the sentinel of science, the fortress of freedom, and the defender of democracy.

Or perhaps a pied-à-terre for a pompous peer? For an organisation spawned in a former colony, the Foundation has a high opinion of Australia’s former rulers:

With the British Empire, governance became truly global for the first time. The world, said the philosopher Santayana, never had sweeter masters.

The Foundation has questions. Lots of them:

Is science dead? Must reason fail? Shall objectivity be slaughtered again on the pagan altar of mere ideology? Is life now objectionable, liberty deplorable, the pursuit of happiness a crime? Has the nation had its day? Is the globalization of governance really a public good? Can democracy survive it? Should not the use of the ballot-box be extended? Should not every supranational and global institution of governance be elected?

Meanwhile, back in the USA, the good Lord demonstrates the full extent of his grasp of reason, objectivity, ideology and the primacy of the ballot box by publicly endorsing “birther” claims that President Obama was not born in the USA and therefore not entitled to be President:

I have watched Sheriff Arpaio’s press conference in AZ and have examined some of the evidence directly. It is clear — as Alex Jones rightly said on the day when Obama first put up his faked ’long-form birth certificate’ on the White House website — that a fraud has been committed, and that, absent a valid official record of Obama’s birth or a very good explanation of the anomalies in the published version, he is not qualified to stand for re-election as President.[…] This is beginning to look like a widespread, high-level fraud.

These frauds are everywhere: hockey sticks, birth certificates, hidden declines. Whatever next, one wonders? A conspiracy to put Monckton in front of any legislature daft enough to have him? Funnily enough

At the invitation of Assemblywoman Shannon Grove, R-Bakersfield, Monckton is coming to Sacramento March 21 to speak to the Legislature, but said that he expects a ’stormy session.’

Not surprising, given his opinion of the sunshine state:

’But flaky la-la-land California will go on pursuing this senseless [climate] policy right into insolvency and bankruptcy,’ Monckton said. ’State expansion will stop. Cap and trade will collapse. And Democrats will be forced out of office, hopefully not to be replaced by the soggy Republicans which have dominated the party for some years.’

And finally: John Abraham, the engineering professor at the University of St Thomas in St Paul, Minnesota, who famously attracted the ire of the potty peer by having the temerity to tenaciously, and devastatingly debunk a Moncktonian peroration, is profiled in a recent St Thomas Magazine. All the 1,000 plus people who signed the Hot Topic post supporting John against threats of legal action by Monckton should read the article. It shows just how much support he received from his university, and what real academic freedom is all about. Perhaps a new campaign? John Abraham for head of the Monckton Foundation! Who better to defend science, objectivity and reason against ideology?

[Build Me Up Buttercup]

The Climate Show #8: Kevin Trenberth and our shaky future Gareth Renowden Mar 03

Join the conversation at Hot Topic

The Climate Show returns with a packed show, featuring one of the world’s best known climate scientists, NZ-born, Colorado-based Dr Kevin Trenberth — star of the Climategate “where’s the missing heat” emails. He’s been in New Zealand to visit family (experiencing the Christchurch quake in the process) and to attend a conference, and his comments on the state of our understanding of climate change should not be missed. John Cook of Skeptical Science returns with his new short urls and an explanation of why declines have never been hidden, and Gareth and Glenn muse on Arnie “Governator” Schwarzenegger riding to the rescue of climate science, cryospheric forcing and carbon cycle feedbacks from melting permafrost, and a new paper that suggests that current policies are pointing us towards extremely dangerous climate change. All that and hyperbranched aminosilica too…

Watch The Climate Show on our Youtube channel, subscribe to the podcast via iTunes, or listen direct/download here:

The Climate Show

Follow The Climate Show at The Climate Show web site, on Facebook and Twitter.

Show notes below the fold.

News & commentary:

Christchurch earthquake, Feb 22 2011. At the time of writing the death toll was expected to rise to over 240. At least 100 of those who died were tourists or foreign students. If you would like to donate to support the recovery effort, please consider the Red Cross appeal.

Schwarzenegger: It’s Time to Terminate Skepticism on Climate Change

Good northern hemisphere cryosphere graphic from NASA, and bad news from the permafrost.

Models guiding climate policy are ‘dangerously optimistic’: Computer models predicting future climate change are underestimating emissions and overestimating technology, warns climate scientist Kevin Anderson. Guardian story here, and full paper [Anderson and Bows. Beyond 'dangerous' climate change: emission scenarios for a new world. Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society A: Mathematical, Physical and Engineering Sciences (2011) vol. 369 (1934) pp. 20-44 -- PDF], and Bryan Walker’s discussion at Hot Topic.

Increased flood risk linked to global warming

Feature interview:: Kevin Trenberth, head of the Climate Analysis Section at the National Center for Atmospheric Research in Boulder Colorado. Born in NZ, worked at MetService, now based in Colorado, one of the highest profile climate scientists in the world, and a regular subject of attacks by denialists. The AMS paper referenced is available from KT’s web site linked above.

Debunking the skeptic with John Cook from Skeptical Science.
Skeptical Science Short URLs: http://sks.to/url

http://www.skepticalscience.com/Link-to-skeptic-rebuttals-with-short-URLs.html

Clearing up misconceptions about ’Hide the Decline’

1. It’s not about ’global temperatures’ but a small number of high latitude tree rings:
http://sks.to/diverge

2. ’Hide the decline’ has nothing to do with ’Mike’s trick’ which is the simple technique of plotting instrumental temperature and reconstructions on the same graph.

3. It’s not hidden at all but openly discussed in the peer-reviewed literature since 1995:
http://sks.to/decline

Solutions

Green Machine: Sucking carbon dioxide out of the air.

Thanks to our media partners: Celsias.co.nz, Scoop and KiwiFM.

Theme music: A Drop In The Ocean by The Bads.

Handle with care Bryan Walker Nov 22

Join the conversation at Hot Topic

Who is to temper the message of climate science to fit the psychology of those who receive it?

According to a report in Science Daily a forthcoming study will show that people may discount the evidence for global warming if it threatens their fundamental tendency to see the world as safe, stable and fair. On the other hand they may get past their scepticism if the findings of climate science are not presented apocalyptically and solutions to the problem are offered. Robb Willer, UC Berkeley social psychologist and doctoral student Matthew Feinberg have co-authored the study which will appear in the January issue of the journal Psychological Science.

I won’t report the details of their experiments, which are outlined in the Science Daily report for any who would like further information. The claim that people don’t respond to doomsday themes is common enough, though the study’s investigation of how this is related to their view of the world as just and fair may well be illuminating. What I found myself thinking as I was reading the report of the study was not so much whether it is revealing as what it is supposed to imply for those who practise climate science.

I can’t really see that it carries any implication at all for the scientists. Their work is to report what they detect is happening and will happen in the future if we continue to overload the atmosphere with greenhouse gases. There’s no way in which what they discover can be communicated as anything other than serious in its consequences.  I wrote some months ago about the unedifying spectacle of Bjorn Lomborg attempting to downplay the seriousness by talking about ’balanced information’ and moving away from end-of-the-world stories. He was on a climate change panel at a PEN conference and his address immediately followed James Hansen’s. Hansen had said that if we burn all of the fossil fuels we are guaranteed to pass tipping points, the most imminent major one being disintegration of ice sheets in Greenland and Antarctica. Lomborg didn’t address the science at all, but simply said that ’apocalyptic information’ turns people off and is part of the reason why we’ve seen a decline in public concern about global warming. The sombre warnings of the scientist were simply swept away by the economist. Easy. But not an option for the scientist who can hardly moderate the message because it might turn people off. In fact the possible public response cannot be allowed any influence on the studies climate scientists are conducting.

However there are solutions which come hand in hand with the serious findings of the science, and there’s nothing to say we can’t embrace the solutions without dwelling on the consequences of what will happen if we don’t. I notice that Arnold Schwarzenegger in his planned new role of environmental activist is likely to avoid mention of the words climate change or greenhouse gas emissions, which he thinks are a turn-off for some people. “You’ve got to make it hip. You’ve got to make it sexy to be part of this movement.” I hope he meets with success. Nevertheless he is launching on his role because he is aware of how great a threat climate change poses to the human future. It’s there as background reference for him.

I wonder how the experiments described by the psychologists would turn out if they were administered to the population of a Pacific island threatened by sea level rise. Or to Peruvian or Bolivian farmers hit by glacier retreat. Their sense of stability and safety has already been eroded and is hardly likely to interfere with their estimation of the evidence for climate change. They’re not turned off by information that the effects of climate change are potentially catastrophic. They can see that. It’s seemingly the wealthy and protected societies which require communication so delicate that it won’t arouse any sense of fear.

Any approach that will result in drastically lowered emissions and green energy is to be welcomed. But the science is implacable. There’s no way of making it unthreatening.

[Traveling Wilburys]

Network-wide options by YD - Freelance Wordpress Developer