Moral turpitude. The loaded use of words like ‘denial’ and ‘denying’ is a hideous abuse not only of good people who happen to have views contrary to the establishment’s, but also and more importantly to the memory and the message of the Holocaust itself. But further, to take the good intentions of such as the IPCC at face value is to make a profound error. Good intentions seized upon with enthusiasm and faith in the wisdom of ideologically-driven elites in the 20th century led to horrendous tragedies. In the climate area, the most dramatic of late has been in the imposition of bio-fuels – not just adding to energy costs in the rich world, but bringing further, totally avoidable, misery and starvation to the poor one. The longer-term harm will flow from the accretion of power and wealth by new ‘elites’ using CO2 fear-driven legislation and taxes, while the associated suppressed development, known as ‘sustainable development’, will impoverish most people in both rich and poor countries.
Rotten attitude. Aggressive, politically-loaded one-sided misrepresentation of those who are speaking out against the corruption of both science and politics does not reflect what I imagine most parents would want to see in a teacher, or in a textbook. No pupil would realise, from this material, that very distingusihed, very experience scientists have taken issue with climate alarmism, as have many very well-informed, logical, coherent, and civil commentators. The scarcity of admirable role models on the climate alarmist side is quite stark, and is not alluded to. You can hardly look into any area of climate alarmism without finding matters of great concern, often revealing low levels of integrity in science, in politics, or in journalism. Now a teacher of science or of geography might reasonably wish to protect his pupils from this rather confusing turmoil in order to teach them something of his or her subject matter. Instead, in this textbook, we see propaganda – a one-sided denigration by innuendo of good citizens, freely and reasonably deploying their own minds and finding serious grounds for opposing the headlong rush to legislate and spread fear, ostensibly in the cause of CO2 reduction.
Downright 'stupitude': The poor quality and global coverage of so much climate data is such that to describe the evidence for global warming as ‘overwhelming’ is not a very intelligent thing to say, especially when the context implies that by ‘global warming’ is meant something quite dramatic and scary. There is indeed some evidence, most notably through estimates of that rather hard to define concept of global mean temperature. This is not actually an observed temperature. Many real observations of temperature show no particularly sustained trend in the 20th century for example, some show cooling, some show periods of warming and cooling, and some show warming. Large areas of the earth’s surface have no surface weather stations in their vicinity. The satellite data available for the past 30 years or so, show no clear warming signals. Even the widely accepted global mean temperatures only show a modest overall rise in the 20th century, and furthermore show no evidence of a rise in the 21st. The case against acute, or even any strong alarm about rising CO2 levels is actually a very strong one, and so far it has been well-supported by Mother Nature herself. So many alarmist predictions capable of being put to the test by contemporary data have failed that test that it is rather stupid to pretend that the arguments are over, and we face disaster if the Jeremiahs are ignored. The scientists who are promote acute alarm about rising levels of CO2 are actually very few – perhaps a few dozen or so in my estimation, with their impact amplified by the leadership of scientific institutions and others. The numbers who promote appeals for a more calm, considered discussion of the science are far greater, probably in the hundreds or even thousands if some petitions are to be taken at face value. Finally, picking on such as Andrew Bolt, a highly articulate, well-informed man with a very sharp wit (not to mention newspaper columns a radio slot, a tv show, and a great many enthusiastic followers) is both inappropriate for a school textbook, and a little, shall we say, ill-advised. I suspect he knows far more about the climate debate that the authors of this sorry book.
|Some extracts from the book, with comments.|
Extract 1: 'Despite overwhelming scientific evidence that the planet is warming, there are still people who deny that is a result of human activity. The most vocal of these deniers are conservative political think tanks and the right-wing radio 'shock jocks'.'
This is a straw man, there to allow the authors to vent theirs spleen at what they no doubt sees as 'the enemy'. After a brief CYA sentence including 'there is a range of views', they develop the above theme. Yet what is the reality?
The planet has not been warming for the past 15 years or so by the usual measure of estimated global mean temperatures. When it was warming in the late 20th century. it was at a similar rate and magnitude to the warming of the early 20th century - a rise not attributed by anyone to CO2. Furthermore, many distinguished scientists and other sceptics are perfectly willing to entertain the possibility of a human contribution to warming via CO2. They do not dispute that, they merely observe that the expected and the observed effect are both rather small, and not of much, if any, concern. For a recent illustration of such an approach, I would direct my readers to item 1 and item 2 in the Wall Street Journal.
Extract 2 ‘Shaping the nature of the public debate about the issue is an important focus for those groups opposed to any program designed to reduce CO2 emissions. In February 2007, The Guardian (UK) reported that a conservative American think tank, the American Enterprise Institute, was offering scientists and economists US$10,000 each to ‘undermine a major climate change report’ from the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’
$10,000 dollars will sound like a life-changing amount to a schoolchild, and being paid to ‘undermine’ something does sound very dubious indeed. Yet let us look at some facts:
That Guardian article by the way, came complete with this picture of a polar bear. Such bears might well become symbols of the shallow opportunism of some climate alarmists since many bear populations have been growing despite being held up to us, and to children in particular, as already being harmed by the awful warming underway.
Extract 3. ‘Many large fossil fuel-based industries have also tried to discredit the work of scientists. Exxon Mobil, the giant American Oil Company, has, for example, spent millions supporting conservative (right-wing) organizations that cast doubt on the science on which the warnings about a warming climate have been based.’
Some people really have it in for Big Oil in general, and Exxon in particular. Yet these companies are noticeable by their low profile on the sceptic side of the debate, and their prominence on the warming side with their campaigns, investments, and support for the global warming worldview that ‘something must be done’. The recent theft and publication of Heartland Institute documents is informative here I think. This is an example of what the authors refer to as a ‘conservative think tank’. First of all for the insight into the ethics of climate alarmed scientist-activists and their supporters in the mass media, but also for the remarkable absence of millions in funding by Big Oil or other fossil-fuel based industries (how much of modern industry, or indeed living, is not fossil-fuel based, by the way?). For more insight into the far larger sums flowing into the climate alarm industry, see this post by Jo Nova.
Extract 4: 'In Australia, journalists such as the Herald Sun's Andrew Bolt, the Sydney Morning Herald's Miranda Devine, the Telegraph's Piers Akerman and the radio 'shock jocks' Alan Jones and Ray Hadley dismiss the science underpinning warnings about global warming.'
This, remember, is in a school textbook on geography aimed at 13 and 14 year olds. I am not familiar with the output of all on that list, only some of Bolt's work and a little of Alan Jones'. If it is typical of this lumped together group, then a more accurate focus would be 'scientific speculations underpinning warnings about global warming'. And a more accurate term than 'dismiss' might be 'examine' or even 'draw attention to criticisms of'. 'Dismiss' does imply an attempt to ignore or downplay, but both Bolt and Jones seem to go out of their way to draw attention to them (thank goodness). For example, on 17th March, 2011, Bolt wrote this:
[there follows an annotated list of some of the most distinguished scientists who do not take Ms Gillard's alarmist view of the climate system - no dismissal of science there, I'd say]
Or you might prefer to listen to Andrew Bolt interviewing a hapless EU apparatchik called Jill Duggan, who was in Australia to promote the EU's carbon policy without having a clue about what it might achieve.
Or watch him on TV.
In all three cases, he seems to me to be taking climate science very seriously indeed. He is far from dismissing it. The TV slot also includes an interview with Prof Lindzen who is a known believer in anthropogenic global warming. He just doesn't think it amounts to much.
Extract 5 ‘Fortunately, a new generation of world leaders is taking global warming seriously. In the United States of America, President Barack Obama is working to reduce America’s reliance on fossil fuels and is providing leadership in international efforts to reduce CO2 emissions.’
This is so misleading. President Obama may be noted for some things, but providing such leadership is demonstrably not one of them. And why the ‘fortunately’ when so much harm is coming from political decisions driven by alarmist posturing?
In Bolt's own words, in reaction to this book:
Footnote (1) added 25 Feb 2012. A supporter of the UK's absurd Climate Change Act gets c. $30.000 a day for consulting, and an average of $25,000 for each of 8 speeches last year.
Socialist greenies - you've to hand it to them - they know how to look after themselves!
More here: http://eureferendum.blogspot.com/2012/02/this-is-wrong.html
Will this get into the next (heaven forbid) edition of this textbook?