Thursday, November 26, 2009

out in the open

Slowly but surely the mainstream media is being forced to cover the leaked emails from the Hadley CRU and the ramifications therein.

Some good examples from the National Post are here, here and here.

Its way too soon to see if the story has legs but the viral nature of its extensive coverage on the Internet suggests that it might. Why does it matter? It matters because the story has yet to emerge from underneath the allegations and smears that warmists have thrown up as an initial knee-jerk response. Steadily, however, the tide of comments is turning. The realists are not the loony posters any more. Rather they now represent the voice of quite reason and the shrillness is entirely within the die-hard alarmists going the seven stages of AGW death: shock, denial, bargaining, guilt, anger, depression and acceptance.

Somewhere around the guilt and anger phase, some of the key players will either resign or be encouraged to take early retirement -- right now shock and denial are common, with the last chance hope that the bargaining at Copenhagen will somehow yet pull a rabbit from out of the climate change looking glass.

The news that many world leaders will still attend the Copenhagen talks is seen a life raft for those wanting to jump from the AGW ship. Conversely, the Copenhagen talks can be viewed as the meeting where world leaders collude, sorry -- reach "consensus" -- on the new language to frame their social engineering efforts now that AGW has morphed into climate change and added the moniker "discredited".

Look back at the sixties Rachel Carson inspired framing for environmentalism: pollution became limits, became sustainability, became precautionary principle, became global warming, became climate change. With the events of the past few days, it is expedient to morph from climate change and re-frame the dominant environmental ideology as "stewardship". Same stuff, new packaging: recycle, re-use and reduce. Don't think of anything new, just re-use the existing ideas, recycle the existing constructs and reduce everything to a false moral dichotomy of good (conformity to the dogma) versus evil (non-conformists, individuals, realists, skeptics, deniers...people we don't like, won't let play with our ball).

Alarmism is the basic currency. Chicken Little is employed as chief media consultant and the framing of the problem is adjusted decade by decade but the underlying concepts and defining constructs are not measurably altered, extended nor deepened in sophistication. The ideology is enforced by dogma that the data do not substantiate and each phase of the indoctrination is revealed by the iconoclast who dares question the hegemony of axiomatic assertion: first Julian Simon, then Bjorn Lomborg and now, Steve McIntyre.

But then it only takes one person to identify the truth. Its up to the rest of us to wake up and recognize it and then be empowered to overcome the oppressive forces of authoritarianism in politics, in science and within civil society.

The real shock for many greens, is to discover that far from being the agents of change, they are the forces of oppression. Human beings are not a cancer on the planet. But authoritarianism, in whatever guise it takes, is a cancer on society.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

The CRU of a sinking ship?

The issue of the leaked emails from the University of East Anglia Hadley Climate Research Unit continues to gain traction. The UEAs rather defensive press release further fuels speculation that the emails were leaked rather than hacked.

At the same time, analysis and explanation is appearing that clarifies the true nature of the malfeasance documented by the leaked files. One of the best concerns the conduct of the CRU in response to various Freedom of Information requests.

Clearly, this is an issue that is continue to play over both the short term and medium future. It appears to me, that continued stonewalling, deflection and denial are not going to be enough and that the various protagonists represent the CRU of a shrinking ship: AGW.

But a word of caution also is in order. It was Bertold Brecht who wrote:

  • The dog of war is dead. But do not rejoice in his defeat, you men. For though the world has stood up and stopped the bastard, the bitch that bore him is in heat again.
And in that vain, the guys at Climate Resistance suggest viewing the CRU leak and the possible demise of AGW in a wider perspective.

  • The point is that any detected or projected rise in temperature does not speak for itself, no matter how sound the science behind it actually is. Any such data needs to be interpreted. That is to say that before you know what ’science says’, you have to know what has been asked of it.
  • In the logic of environmentalism, the sensitivity of climate to CO2 is held to be equivalent to the sensitivity of society to climate. But this, again, has no basis in science. Instead it is an entirely political, or ethical precept, centered on the concept of ‘balance’ and ‘harmony’ with ‘nature’. The function of ’science’, in what follows from environmental logic, is the search for ‘evidence’ of the status of this mythical balance. But, again, ‘evidence’ does not speak for itself, because, again, it requires interpretation. Anything that is not ‘normal’, implies ‘imbalanced’ in this way of thinking.
  • The mistake many sceptics have been making appears to be the mirror of the mistake that environmentalists have been making – they both assume that the argument for environmental politics emerges from environmental science, either correctly as a process that produces objectively sound analysis, or as an institution prone to corruption. It doesn’t.
  • to understand the ascendancy of environmental politics, it must be seen principally as a political phenomenon. The politics is prior to the science.
Environmentalism as an ideology does not rest on the certitude of its science. It co-opts and utilities whatever science is convenient to the political argument it is seeking to make at the moment. What drives environmentalism is not the science but the politics of the precautionary principle.

Ultimately, what will sink the AGW ship will not be a scandal about it's shoddy constituent science and practices. No the undoing of the AGW myth will be the desertion of its political cache. Politicos like to launch ships, not go down with them.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

The Hadley CRU emails

The major topic of a lot of blogs is obviously the release of the hacked/leaked emails from the Hadley CRU.

This summation seems accurate to me:

  • I have seen the files—not all of them, there are too many—and my early take doesn’t change the view I have already formed: climate models have no skill beyond about one year. The models predict warming, but the warming isn’t there, therefore the models are wrong. Why they are wrong is an interesting question, and worth investigating. Many of the emails responsibly take this tack. And they should.
  • I have not seen open acknowledgment that the premise that forms the models is false. That is, that it is possible, even with the observed small increase in atmospheric CO2, that that gas has at best a marginal effect. As far as I can tell by my early reading, all the folks in those emails truly believe their models (it’s the observations they don’t love).
  • There is no conspiracy, as far as I can tell. A conspiracy would obtain if the participants knew their stated beliefs were false, yet the still espoused them with the goal of winning either money, or power, or control, or whatever. My early, and admittedly incomplete, judgment is that all of these people really are convinced that catastrophic warming is on the way and that it will be caused by mankind. Further, they believe it fervently.
Until the basic premise is questioned, alarmist climate change will persist as an ecomyth.

What these emails do is add credence to the claims that belief in global warming is just that: a belief. Moreover, it is a widely held belief amongst many committed scientists. But belief, even that of qualified scientists, is not science: it is ideology. The models of climate are not real, they are virtual. The real climate is the observations and empirical data, and those do not seemingly want to play nice with the warmist beliefs despite their many and varied attempts to have the data conform to their wishes. These emails reveal the extent to which the Team sought to enforce conformity of belief, a consensus on science that by its very definitions is predicated on skepticism and not conformity.

Perhaps this revelation will be enough for the questioning of AGW as an axiomatic construct to commence, which is about all climate realists and skeptics have been seeking.

Friday, November 20, 2009

biggest scandal of the day

So here is a difficult one: which of the following represents the biggest scandal?

  • the complete lack of profile and media attention paid to the UN summit on food security?
  • the revelation that an extensive and highly embarrassing set of files and emails from the Hadley climate center has been hacked, leaked and publicly disclosed? or
  • that cheating in sport is acceptable if the "right" team ends up winning and qualifying for the planet's biggest sports event, the world cup of soccer?
Wow! Tough call.

Political indifference. Corruption. Arrogance. Absence of integrity.

Everywhere you go -- politics, science, sports -- the same ethics appear to be manifest.

Still, where's the harm? Its only the poor, the free thinkers and the Irish that have suffered. And what's the point of principles anyways?

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Consensus on climate change

The problem with politicizing science is the inevitability that the science will always be subservient to the politics.

The nail in the coffin of climate alarmists are polls such as this one from the UK.

The one trait all successful politicians share is the ability to accurately interpret polling data. In every jurisdiction, public opinion polls have turned and AGW has officially lost political traction.

The conference in Copenhagen will be more of a wake than a celebration and the only real question that remains is what issue will emerge as the newly framed disaster for widespread alarm, dogma and boondoggling to replace the politically defunct AGW.

Environmentalism suffers from the malaise of moral certitude. Consequently, political framing of environmental issues tends to be partisan and, in the case of AGW, has given rise to climate McCarthyism.

Here is good discussion on the continuing way environmental issues will be framed for political discussion:

  • The green movement isn’t really a movement at all. At best, it is a phenomenon of individuals whose only thing in common is their sense of disconnect and disorientation. At worst, it is a self-serving elitist club.
Even more alarming for environmentalists and scientists alike is the realization that the politicization of climate may completely backfire:
  • Indeed, science often has the quality of a quasi-religious dogma these days, especially in the arena of climate-change alarmism.
  • (which)...actually serves to undermine the pre-eminent authority of science today.
  • (reflecting)...the erosion of the line between science and moralising
Politics involves the manipulation of emotions for control and the expression of power over people. When science gets into bed with politics, it too becomes infused with manipulation and emotion, bias and moral certitude. At this point, science becomes just another ideological construct, subject to the same prevarications and predilections as other ideologies. In short, it becomes more used than useful.

Thursday, November 05, 2009

The Double Standard About Bias in Journalism

One of my favourite TV correspondents is John Stossel. I find his reporting is consistently forthright, provocative, challenging to axiomatic ideas and both well presented and well researched. In short, what good journalism ought to be.

Stossel has recently changed networks, switching from the politically accepted ABC to the unfashionable (read right of center) Fox. Here is his take on the situation. (Also see here).

Interesting. A journalist is upfront and candid about his politics and is vilified (of course, his are the wrong politics). On the contrary, an explicit declaration of ideology removes bias and clearly identifies the author's advocacy of that ideological perspective: bias is the manipulation of data or facts to align with an ideological perspective that remains implicit and surreptitious.

Keep these constructs in mind, especially when reading blogs and especially in the mainstream media's reporting of environmental issues. Ask yourself:

  • what is explicitly ideological and therefore advocacy?
  • and what is assumptive in its perspective, implicit in its tacit acceptance of axiomatic ideas and biased in its presentation of politically correct dogma?
Now, no ideology is immune to corruption or abuse. But Stossel is right when he says that only one perspective is labeled as biased and objectionable. Just ask the guys over at Superfreakonomics.

Besides, the UK is only one step away from making environmentalism the official state religion and everywhere else, it is the de facto alternative to the evils of capitalism: things like freedom, prosperity, wealth, a free press....thank goodness for George Orwell. Without him, we'd have to conjure up a new term for doublespeak (spin?) to assist people in differentiating advocacy from bias. Of course, Penn and Teller have a more succinct phrase.