'The environmentalism of my daughter’s preschool is a force-fed potpourri of myth, superstition, and ritual that has much in common with the least reputable varieties of religious Fundamentalism.'
Steven Landsberg, quoted in https://www.aei.org/publication/why-naive-environmentalism-is-like-religious-fundamentalism/
Wednesday, 30 March 2011
Classroom Conundrums of Contradictory Climate Confusions: what are you going to tell them about the effects of climate change?
Steve Goddard has just published an updated list, thanks to a poster called Jimbo, of apparently contradictory conclusions. Also published by Pierre Gosselin. For example:
Amazon dry season greener
Amazon dry season browner
Avalanches may increase
Avalanches may decrease – wet snow more though
Bird migrations longer
Bird migrations shorter
Bird migrations out of fashion
Boreal forest fires may increase
Boreal forest fires may continue decreasing
Chinese locusts swarm when warmer
Chinese locusts swarm when cooler
Columbia spotted frogs decline
Columbia spotted frogs thrive in warming world
Coral island atolls to sink
Coral island atolls to rise
These, and the other links provided, are all to peer-reviewed literature ('but is it peer-reviewed?' was one of the spin options used by crisis-CO2 campaigners when challenged, but it is heard less often now that the IPCC has been exposed as relying very heavily on distinctly non-peer-reviewed literature).
It might be easier to tell your class that not only has climate science been degraded and poisoned by the IPCC activists, but much of the rest of the IPCC, the stuff on consequences, is in a bit of a mess too.
An earlier verion of the list was noted here in February: http://climatelessons.blogspot.com/2011_02_10_archive.html
Thursday, 24 March 2011
'When asked to choose the 3 biggest threats to the world from a list of 9, the most common answer is terrorism, chosen by more than half (59%), followed by climate change (49%).'
Primary school children have been visited by this group in the past. Although their teaching materials are not available to non-members on their site, my concerns that they may be the usual alarmist stuff are not allayed by listening to this song sung and partly composed by children at a NEAD event at a school in October last year:
'The Norfolk Flood Blues'
It is quite hard to make out all the words, but it seems to begin with stamping of feet in time to the music, while chanting
'Rain Flood Rain Flood Rain Flood Rain Flood ...'
Later on, I think I heard these phrases (please email corrections or confirmations about these!):
'Water in my home, Water in my bed'
'It's destroying everything'
'I feel doomed. I feel scared.'
Pictures of the children and some of the adults involved in this can be found here: http://www.flickr.com/photos/nead_dec/sets/72157625120574255/detail/
The pupils will have some difficulty in discerning ‘climate change’ in such a display, dominated as it is by within-year variation. Throughout this period, CO2 levels grew, along with increasingly agitated pleas and warnings from people who ought to have known better, such as James Hansen who in 1986 was warning of mean global temperature rises of several degrees by the year 2010. Since the computer models suggest the temperature rises will be greater away from the equatorial regions towards the poles, a naive observer might well have expected more action in the Lowestoft data by now. Could it be that the models are also useless for predicting such things?
Unfortunately, NEAD fits their bill, as evidenced by information in their most recent annual report:
(1) more than 90% of their funding comes from the Department for International Development (see page 17 of the report)
(2) they seek to influence policy, e.g. on page 7:
Standing on actual or virtual platforms to broadcast your concern for others and demand ‘action’ does not provide any magic to prevent you, in the end, making everyone worse off, not least the very people you wished to help in the first place. You still have a responsibility to do research and check, check, and check again with good data as opposed to good intentions, or the projections of feeble models of the climate. I think development groups in general, and NEAD in particular, would do well to steer clear of the clamour around 'climate change due to humanity'. They may well see some short-term advantage in it, but that will change very rapidly indeed when sufficiently many people have seen through the weak science and strong PR that underpins it. Such as the people who contribute to this site on the topic of 'eco-imperialism'.
That would help adults work on real problems, including those of world development, and perhaps give more children a chance to enjoy their childhood without being pushed prematurely, and without anything like adequate justification, into either anxiety or political action.
Footnote 1 (added 26th March). The survey was not a random sampling of any kind. From the report:
'School Report invited the 804 schools, signed up to the project in the relevant period to take part, 329 did so. There was no maximum or minimum limit to the number of children at each school that could take part. The average participation rate was 73 but figures ranged from 1 to 7841. There is no claim that those responding to the School Report Survey are representative of all 11-16 year olds because of self-selecting nature of the schools that take part and the sample of children therein. However there is some evidence that the schools taking part in School Report are broadly representative of schools across the UK and that those taking part in the Survey are representative of that group2.'
Footnote 2 (added 27th March). That as many as 50% of secondary-age children have this melodramatic view of climate variation has not been established by this survey, in view of the self-selection involved (by schools, and by pupils within them). It only shows that some children in some schools have this view, although the authors of the report indicate that they find it plausible that the national figure could be somewhat similar.
Footnote 3 (added 28th March). An opinion poll reported on today (http://www.mirror.co.uk/news/top-stories/2011/03/25/old-men-in-midlands-are-the-biggest-climate-sceptics-115875-23013783/): 'A poll for this week’s Climate Week also found 45% of the younger generation think climate change is man-made but only 26% of people close to retiring age agree.'.
Tuesday, 22 March 2011
A blog post by Denis Rancourt which I came across today (Hat-tip: http://tomnelson.blogspot.com/) is based on a contribution by him to an event organised by the geography student association at the University of Quebec in Montreal. He begins by listing in leftspeak such things as
# 'the majority of service intellectuals (high priests) in each civilization was only created and maintained to support the hierarchy'
# 'the whole climate change scam is now driven by the top-level financiers newly eyeing a multi-trillion-dollar paper economy of carbon trading and that this is the reason it’s now a dominant mainstream media and corporate messaging presence'
#' the invention of the US-centered military-backed global finance structure of predation'
# 'establishment scientists are service intellectuals who virtually never diverge from supporting power, who at best look for sanitized and hypothetical “problems” that do not threaten hierarchy and who feed their false self-image of relevance'
But then, mercifully, he says:
'Never mind all that.'
And goes on to examine some aspects of climate science under 5 'story-elements'. These are indeed key parts of 'the narrative' so loved by political activists and their spinners everywhere, but Rancourt is decidedly unimpressed by them:
Step-1: Combustion of fossil fuels produces CO2
Step-2: This large amount of CO2 from fossil fuel burning goes into the atmosphere
Step-3: Post-industrial atmospheric CO2 produces an increased planetary greenhouse effect
Step-4: The increased planetary greenhouse effect causes planetary warming
Step-5: Climate chaos and melting glaciers
The first of these steps he concedes as correct, albeit banal. The second he deals with by noting the relative unimportance of the anthropogenic contribution to the great and still poorly understood fluxes and stores of carbon dioxide and carbon, and declares, somewhat vividly 'Environmental scientists working from the CO2 climate hypothesis want post-industrial atmospheric CO2 to be large for the same reason they want their penises to be large.' For the third step, he notes many of the reasons why it is implausible that CO2 is a driver of climate, and highlights some of the controversy over its role in the atmosphere through the so-called greenhouse effect and the mythical positive feedbacks which form key pillars of the alarmist faith.
As for step four, he comments on and references papers with more technical background on such topics as the difficulty of defining a global temperature and the shoddy disregard of good forecasting practices by the IPCC, and concludes: 'These are the reasons that “global warming” became “climate change”. Model extractions and empirical evaluations of a mean global temperature were shown to be hog wash.' On step five, he points to the fatuous, but required of the faithful, blaming of anything and everything bad on 'climate change': 'We pull climate chaos out of the non-linear physics hat and every weather event and habitat destruction observation on the planet becomes evidence for climate change.' He describes this as a circus.
His final paragraphs draw overall conclusions which are also out of a radical playbook and are not at all to my taste as a ex-leftie. However, I believe it is the case that many teachers veer to the left and so might lap it all up. And that is the interesting point for this blog. Is this a straw in the wind, a wind blowing from the left that will make climate change activism look so reactionary and harmful that it will be anathema for any self-respecting radical? And will that mean less indoctrination in our schools? We can but hope.
Note added 22 January 2013. Rancourt was dismissed from his university in 2008, ostensibly because he refused to go along with the grading of students. More details here: http://arts.uwaterloo.ca/~kwesthue/Rancourt09.htm, where it is described as an example of academic 'mobbing'.
Monday, 21 March 2011
'A variety of claims are routinely made about the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). These have to do with:
- the organization itself
- its reports
- its processes
- the IPCC is comprised of the world’s top scientists
- it produces authoritative, trustworthy reports
- its processes are rigorous and transparent
- it cites only peer-reviewed literature
Now these claims have been refuted, not least by Donna Laframboise's carefully documented investigations. So, if you have a class that has passed the relevant exams, or is good enough to be able to do so while at the same time also having a more realistic view of climate change, then here is a rich field for mini-projects:
(1) First find a matching phrase from materials/events in your school - the database is here
(2) Next do some investigation and write up a brief report or presentation on the veracity of the selected phrase.
(3) Rinse and repeat - it promises to be a lot of fun.
Friday, 11 March 2011
Prof. Knut Löschke, a solid state physicist, who conducted research until 1986, founded PC-Ware AG, and then turned it into a European IT company before leaving in 2009.
Visit the NoTricksZone for more details and links.
The words of Prof Löschke are also quoted here, with the additional apercu 'We are sawing the branch we are sitting on.': http://oekowatch.org/index.php/en/component/content/article/357-professor-knut-loeschke-wir-saegen-gerade-den-ast-ab-auf-dem-wir-sitzen
The quotation is taken from an interview published in the magazine 'Smart Investor'.
Thursday, 10 March 2011
Jo Nova has posted a handy overview of the sorry saga of the shoddy-science, devious politics, and historical ignorance which degrades so much of this 'CO2-based activism':
'Almost everything you thought you knew about man made global warming might be a worthless half-truth.'
Her 'Skeptic's Handbook' is an excellent place to start:
'Donors have paid for over 160,000 copies so far in the US, Australia, New Zealand, Sweden and soon in Germany. Over 60,000 copies have been downloaded from this site (and countless others from copies on other sites.) Plus volunteers have translated it into German, French, Norwegian, Finnish, Swedish, Turkish, Portuguese, Danish, Japanese, Balkan, Spanish, Thai, Czech, Lao and Italian. The second Skeptics Handbook is available in French and Turkish. (Versions in Dutch, and possibly Italian are on the way). Updates are placed here, along with translations, as well as places to read comments and links to the web-pages where each part of the handbook will be discussed.'