Wednesday, November 23, 2011

climategate 2.0

So the timing is either suspect or very carefully planned, but either way the morass that is Climategate was given a new lease of media fame this week with the release of a second round of emails further damaging the reputations of the climatocacy, the Universities of East Anglia and Penn State in particular and those in the media who were so obsequious for so long to the cadre of climate conspirators.

This is not a story that will blow over quickly nor easily.  AGW hysteria is already on the wane. Politically, climate is no longer a sexy topic for upwardly mobile politicos.  For the public, energy, and especially rising energy costs, has supplanted the nebulous possibility of climate change with an immediate policy concern that has tangible cost and lifestyle implications: windmills are done, dusted and stigmatized; solar has been Solyndra-ized and exposed as a fraudulent waste of taxpayers money, and; the opportunities afforded by shale gas will burn the last bridges of the limits crowd.  Globally, poverty and political freedom, not weather, remain the main challenges facing humanity.

Climategate 2.0 will finally elevate the whole sorry debacle out of the confines of the climate wars and into a broader consideration of:
as might be expected, the plethora of indictment within Climategate2 has eviscerated the remaining shreds of credibility of many climate activists and revealed the personal doubts several had about the public mantra of alarmism and certainty.  

Stupidly, some political activists insist on asserting what is now a very disgraced narrative.  For this, they are being called into account.  This example from Delingpole was too good to bypass:
  • Have you noticed that whenever our beloved Energy and Climate Change Secretary Chris Huhne speaks his lips never move, only his butt cheeks? It was the same again on BBC Question Time last night. "But Huhne, this is just arrant nonsense," you kept wanting to scream at the TV. "And either you know it's nonsense in which case you're a liar. Or you don't know it's nonsense, in which case you're more incredibly stupid, more badly informed and more ill-advised than any Minister of the Crown has any decency to be."
  • Delingpole then goes on to present the much more polite but even more dismissive letter to Huhne from Lords Lawson and Turnbull.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

life, liberty and social change

Ever since my first exposure to the writings of Virgina Postrel, one of my favorite reads is the magazine Reason, not so much in its print version but certainly its on line manifestation.  Along with being home to Postrel for a while, Reason also acts (or has acted) as host to insightful posts by John Stossel, Ronald Bailey and Nick Gillespie amongst others.

One of the contributing editors at Reason is Radley Balko, a worthwhile read in his own right and an editor with an astute sense of proportion and justice. Here is Balko in response to an interview published by the Economist (h/t Samiizdata quote of the day)

  •  In theory, libertarians share about half of our positions with the right, and about half with the left. Broadly speaking, we're social liberals and fiscal conservatives. The problem is that once in power, neither side pays much heed to the issues they have in common with libertarians, because that would require them to voluntarily put limits on their own power. And politicians don't generally seek higher office for the purpose of limiting what they can do when they get there. So the libertarian stuff is where they're most willing to compromise. And it's what they're least willing to spend political capital defending. 
  •   I think there's reason for some optimism for libertarians. The generations raised on the internet will be more educated, aware, and informed than any before them, and I think that has instilled in them some naturally libertarian instincts, particularly when it comes to issues like government transparency, accountability, censorship, and police power.
  • George Orwell wrote of government power, "If you want a vision of the future, imagine a boot stamping on a human face—forever." He may still be right, but there's now a decent chance someone will be there with a cell-phone camera to post it on YouTube. And exposing abuse of power is half the battle.
One of the staple exam questions in my 3rd year course on sustainability and change, is to ask " what are the prospects for widespread adoption of dynamism?".  Balko's remarks give me cause for optimism that the firmament for continued progressive change is intensifying.  And, that in an era of globalized information accessibility, empowerment and personal publishing, a libertarian dynamic is in the ascendency.  Hopefully so, because there is precious little sign of it within the halls of academia.

Tuesday, November 08, 2011

Reforming the money system

Much of the furor over ecomyths gets conflated with -isms: capitalism, corporatism, consumerism, etc. . Environment becomes an emotional sub-set of a larger, ideologically constructed narrative within a stasist prescription necessitating greater levels of increased governance.  The most recent incarnation is the Occupy Wall Street event and its affiliated franchises. 

Which leads to the central question of fiscal reform and the world's banking industry which is patently no longer suited to the globalized reality of today's economy.  So the question that arises is: how to address the failings of the system and the systemic inflation, under-employment and lack of economic sustainability of many nation states?

Here is one voice who seems to know what to do and, more importantly, what not to do.

Thursday, November 03, 2011

Matt Ridley on heresy

Very happy to assist in disseminating this excellent talk by Matt Ridley.   One of the most erudite public speakers on environmental issues, Matt is speaking about scientific heresy, which naturally enough leads him to discuss climate.

He states:

  • let me be quite clear. I am not a “denier”. I fully accept that carbon dioxide is a greenhouse gas, the climate has been warming and that man is very likely to be at least partly responsible.
  • So what’s the problem? The problem is that you can accept all the basic tenets of greenhouse physics and still conclude that the threat of a dangerously large warming is so improbable as to be negligible, while the threat of real harm from climate-mitigation policies is already so high as to be worrying, that the cure is proving far worse than the disease is ever likely to be. Or as I put it once, we may be putting a tourniquet round our necks to stop a nosebleed.
  • I’ve looked and looked but I cannot find one piece of data – as opposed to a model – that shows either unprecedented change or change is that is anywhere close to causing real harm.
  • A theory so flexible it can rationalize any outcome is a pseudoscientific theory.
  • So to say there is a consensus about some global warming is true; to say there is a consensus about dangerous global warming is false.
  • We are below even the zero-emission path expected by the IPCC in 1990*
  • Does it matter? Suppose I am right that much of what passes for mainstream climate science is now infested with pseudoscience, buttressed by a bad case of confirmation bias, reliant on wishful thinking, given a free pass by biased reporting and dogmatically intolerant of dissent. So what?
His "so what?" conclusion is that, yes, it does matter a great deal.  Stasism relies upon the perpetuation and indoctrination of conformity.  Politicization of science is conducted to provide the desire for stasist control of society with a sheen of compelling logic and self interest.  The present climate debate is fraudulent in that it less about the integrity of the sconce and more about the manipulation of society for the purposes of elitist social engineering.