Why is there so much preoccupation with atmospheric CO2 concentrations and reducing anthropogenic CO2 emissions when it is well documented in the peer-reviewed scientific literature that the CO2 contribution to the overall greenhouse effect is so weak that it can be easily supplanted by small changes in clouds and water vapor, or natural climate-changing constituents?


Thursday, 14 April 2011

Not Just Another Brick in the Wall: hey! teachers! leave them kids alone! – a climate change activist and psychotherapist has second thoughts about pushing her beliefs on to children

Ro Randall, who describes herself as ' psychoanalytically trained psychotherapist researching, writing and blogging on climate change', has posted some good thoughts on why climate activists pick on children, and why they might want to stop doing so:

There is a real risk of raising levels of anxiety amongst children that will not only cause distress in the immediate term but will in the long term lead to those children turning against the environmental causes we hoped they might espouse.’

[She is right there.  I have collected links to examples of such anxieties here] .  

Later in the same post, she writes:

‘But the deeper question is – why are adults so keen to focus on children? Why concentrate on the weakest, least influential members of society and ask them to act? The answer I think lies in the process psychoanalysis calls projection where unwanted feelings or parts of the self are split off and attributed to somebody else. “I’m not angry/selfish/mean/neglectful – you are/he is/she is/they are.”

Climate change makes most adults working on it feel powerless. We compare the actions we are capable of with the scale of the problem and feel weak. We look at the extent of our influence and feel helpless. We struggle to combat our contrary desires to consume and feel shame. We feel like children. Children – who are actually socially and politically powerless – are an ideal receptacle for the projection of these uncomfortable and unacceptable feelings.

By focusing on the weakest members of society and influencing them, the not-very-powerful adults make themselves feel better at the expense of the absolutely-not-powerful children. By making them act, we prove that we are not as powerless as we feel.’

I welcome this essay as a step in the right direction.  But the writer clearly assumes that the arguments for ‘climate change’ (used here in the political, 'it is a crisis due to us' sense) are convincing.  But at least she is digging into things, and raising questions about the value of targeting children for the sake of the 'cause'.

When will we see a psychiatric investigation into what has driven so many people to be so agitated about a weak theory, unsupported by observational evidence of weather, sea levels, ice extents, etc?  Part of it is due to the slick PR of such as the IPCC, WWF, and many other groups who have found great advantage in campaigning on this topic.  But yet, what about these things:

# the lack of observational support for CO2 as a major driver of climate, and a long list of failed ‘projections’ and doomsayings (1) [this number links to illustrative References, below]

# the cogent criticisms of the alarmism made by distinguished scientists and others with valid insights to contribute (2)

# the shoddy sub-culture of a few dozen scientists and computer modellers revealed by Climategate and by investigations into the IPCC – the false claims of consensus, the misleading talk of ‘thousands of scientists’, the sneaky deviousness of ‘hide the decline’, the speciousness of the hockey stick and other suppressions of the Medieval Warm Period, and much more. (3)

# the clearly vested interests of many campaigners, whether it be to attract investment into carbon trading, alternative energy, or merely financial donations to political bodies and fake charities.  There is a great deal of money sloshing around out there promoting 'climate change, the crisis'. (4)

# the occasional glimpses into an ugly, totalitarian impulse in some climate campaigners  (5)

# the fatuous ‘solutions’ put forward which even proponents admit they have neither costed nor estimated the efficacy of, or they concede that the possible effects of which will be rather hard to detect for a thousand years or so (6)

Given all this, why are so few journalists, or psychologists for that matter, having a field day with exposing it all?  I can only think of 2 doing so at all frequently in the UK (Booker, Delingpole).  Why are so few politicians enraged by the nonsense policies being foisted upon them, of which the UK's Climate Change Act must be the front-runner in madness. 

I hope that Ro Randall will one day turn her talents in this direction: to help us understand this worldwide  ‘madness of crowds’ that has so poisoned discourse about climate and the future, and caused a yet-to-be-reckoned harm to the spirits and attitudes of young people across the world, and a more easily reckoned harm to the physical wellbeing and prospects of, in particular, the poorest people in a wide range of countries.

References (these are just illustrative - the tips of various information icebergs)

(1) Examples using one web site alone: http://hockeyschtick.blogspot.com/search?q=predictions

(2) Examples of scientists objecting to climate alarmism, using one web site alone:





(3) Donna Laframboise has led the way on researching into the practices of the IPCC:


(4) Jo Nova has identified some financial heavyweights in the climate alarmism sector:


This pdf copy of her SPPI report is worth getting:  http://scienceandpublicpolicy.org/images/stories/papers/originals/climate_money.pdf

(5) Where to begin?  Use the search box here with ‘No Pressure’: http://climatelessons.blogspot.com/

(6) Andrew Bolt has exposed much of the climate nonsense in Australian politics:



http://blogs.telegraph.co.uk/news/jamesdelingpole/100079237/aussie-sceptics-destroy-eu-carbon-commissioner/ (follow link given to hear Bolt interviewing a hapless EU apparatchik)


  1. John Shade,
    I have found the link to your post through Ro Randall's blog post, and I wanted to voice my concern over your post. You have made numerous incorrect statements, and have incorrectly interpreted the information that you've posted. I do appreciate that you are critically thinking about what information is out there, but I must point out that you are on the wrong track. What are your qualifications in this field?

    Please stop your campaign of misleading and misinformation. Update your website with findings through 2012, at least. Let people make their own decisions with CORRECT and ACCURATE scientific findings from the research community. I work in the field of oceanographic research, and I must point out that we have reached a point of scientific consensus on this issue across many fields. From NASA's website:

    "Ninety-seven percent of climate scientists agree that climate-warming trends over the past century are very likely due to human activities, and most of the leading scientific organizations worldwide have issued public statements endorsing this position."

    Here's the link to that statement:

    Let's move on and work together to figure out how we can problem solve this issue, rather than turning this into a battle. There are only things to be gained. A great new book out there on the economics of change is "Reinventing Fire" by Amory Lovins.

  2. Stephanie,
    Thank you very much for your thoughtful comments. One important downside of the public attention being given to climate, and the prominence given to people with extreme views such as James Hansen or Al Gore, is that the discussion has become severely polarised. Thus I suspect you and I are on opposite sides, and are inclined to confrontation too readily.

    You tell me I have made ‘numerous incorrect statements’. Well, I probably have. But please be assured that none are deliberately so. I am trying to make what sense I can of the alarm being raised over CO2, and no doubt there are problems due to the limitations of my knowledge and of my patience with those who, in particular, choose to scare children with lurid tales of doom. Perhaps you might care to point out a couple of the most serious errors you have found, and I would be both grateful and promise to study the issues in question a bit more in order to review my position.

    My own qualifications are in physics with theoretical physics (BSc Hons), atmospheric physics (MSc), and applied statistics (MSc).

    The ‘97%’ figure you quote from NASA is both misleading, and almost irrelevant. The source of this statistic is from a very poorly designed, conducted, and analysed survey conducted as a degree project by a postgrad. It comes from the ratio 75/77. The 77 were a subset of a subset of people who chose to respond to an on-line survey (self-selected in other words). The key questions were so anodyne that most so-called sceptics I know of would also have answered them in the same way. We recognise that climate changes. We recognise that there has been global warming. We recognise that human actions are likely to have contributed to it. What we fail to see, are the grounds for the dramatic alarm that has been promoted around this. For a detailed view of this ‘97%’ from my side of the divide, please see: http://climatelessons.blogspot.co.uk/2012/11/climate-campaigning-corruptions-to.html, and http://wattsupwiththat.com/2012/07/18/what-else-did-the-97-of-scientists-say/ . For another survey sometimes used to promote the notion of a large majority on alarmism, see http://www.yaleclimatemediaforum.org/2012/05/changing-the-cultural-climate-on-climate-change/#comment-81702

    Thank you for the book suggestion. I met Amory Lovins at the Friends of the Earth office in London in the 1970s when I was a bit of an environmental campaigner myself. I will buy the book and study it.

  3. Stephanie,

    JS is gracious enough to call your comments "thoughtful," but the truth is they're childish. You allude to, but you never specify, some number of "scientific findings from the research community," yet the closest thing to a "finding" you can name is.... an *opinion* statistic! Even if NASA's 97% claim were correct, which it isn't, it would still be a claim about *what a bunch of people think.* Therefore it would have ZERO scientific relevance.

    This is a basic axiom of all modern science (though perhaps it's not widely understood in the "oceanographic research" community): OPINION IS NOT A FORM OF EVIDENCE. Every scientist is acutely, implicitly, absolutely aware of this. That's been the rule for 250 years. The moment the climate-catastrophism movement forgot, ignored, or denied this rule in its desperation to come up with an argument for alarm, it instantly lost any appeal it may have had to scientifically-literate people. It is now a dwindling cult of mistaken (if well-meaning) pre-scientific thinkers.

    If only you knew how fatuous you sounded to us. When you cite "consensus", we hear a declaration of evidentiary bankruptcy.

    Sorry to be so blunt, Stephanie, but someone had to tell you.