Tuesday, August 15, 2017

GWPF Newsletter: An Inconvenient Split?








Some Of The World's Largest Non-Polar Glaciers Are Expanding, Despite Global Warming

In this newsletter:

1) An Inconvenient Split?
Paul Matthews, Climate Scepticism, 13 August 2017

2) Some Of The World's Largest Non-Polar Glaciers Are Expanding, Despite Global Warming
Michael Bastasch, Daily Caller, 11 August 2017
3) Robert Meyer: Climate Activists Need A New Strategy If They Want To Convince A Sceptical Pubic
The Post-Crescent, 13 August 2017

4) Al Gore Skewered By BBC Host For Doomsday Climate Change Claims
Chris Campbell, Daily Express, 11 August 2017

5) Tim Newark: Lord Lawson Was Right To Criticise Al Gore's Scare-Mongering
Sunday Express, 12 August 2017

6) Dominic Lawson: A Spooky Political Diagnosis Of Dementia
Daily Mail, 14 August 2017

Full details:

1) An Inconvenient Split?
Paul Matthews, Climate Scepticism, 13 August 2017


A split may be developing on the ‘warmist’ side, between what we might call the ‘extremists’ and the ‘moderates’.


In many ways, the climate debate has hardly changed since I got interested in it about ten years ago. Public opinion wobbles up and down with hardly any real change. The same tired arguments and claims come round again: every climate conference is the last chance to save the planet; the Arctic ice is always about to vanish in one or two years, or ten years; climate scientists continue to be accused of selecting data sets to create hockeysticks and manipulating data; and teams of climate scientists keep producing reports saying almost exactly the same thing as the previous reports, which then get misrepresented and hyped by the media.

So when something does appear to change it’s worth taking note of. I have a feeling that a split may be developing on the ‘warmist’ side, between what we might call the ‘extremists’ and the ‘moderates’. Here are three recent examples of this.


Consensus?

 
Some social scientists believe that telling people that there’s a consensus on climate change acts as a ‘gateway belief‘ leading to public action, even though their own data does not really support this claim.  Others have questioned this, saying that consensus messaging is an unhelpful distraction, see Geoff’s recent post and also this paper that says that other factors such as scientific integrity are more important.


Uninhabitable Earth?


One of the most ridiculous recent alarmist articles was The Uninhabitable Earth, by a journalist for New Yorker magazine, full of doom, terror, alarm, starvation and plagues. Because of this, it got a lot of attention, which presumably was the intention, and it even has its own wikipedia page. While David Roberts at Vox said that trying to scare people in this way was fine, many mainstream climate scientists criticised the article. A team at Climate Feedback (usually used to attack sceptical articles in the media) said that its scientific credibility was low and it exaggerated the risks. New Scientist said that such doomsday scenarios were unlikely to happen, and even Michael Mann thought that the article overstated the evidence.


Gore’s sequel?

 
Al Gore has a new film out, called “An Inconvenient Sequel”. He’s currently in the UK promoting it, which started the recent Lawson kerfuffle.  Apparently his film has been an inconvenient flop at the box office.  It’s no surprise that Bjorn Lomborg in the Wall Street Journal says that the film misses a few inconvenient facts. But what is more inconvenient for Mr Gore is that the Guardian doesn’t like it either, describing it as “desultory and surprisingly vainglorious” and awarding it only two stars. Apparently it is “more a portrait of Gore than a call to arms”.

 

Full post


2) Some Of The World's Largest Non-Polar Glaciers Are Expanding, Despite Global Warming
Michael Bastasch, Daily Caller, 11 August 2017

 

Some of the largest non-polar glaciers in the world are either stable or growing due to a “vortex” of cold air over a 1,200-mile section of the greater Himalayan mountain range in central Asia, according to a new study.

Animating the “Karakoram Anomaly”

Climate models haven’t been able to reproduce the phenomenon, which is keeping Karakoram mountain range glaciers from melting like most of the world’s other glaciers, the study found.

“While most glaciers are retreating as a result of global warming, the glaciers of the Karakoram range in South Asia are stable or even growing,” Hayley Fowler, the study’s co-author and professor at Newcastle University, said in a statement.

Karakoram is one of the most heavily-glaciated areas of the world outside the poles, and boasts the world’s second- and third-largest non-polar glaciers. It’s also home to the world’s second-largest peak, K2 — Vertical Limit, anyone?

The study found that ‘anomalous cooling’ over Karakoram could have an impact on river flows, which are heavily dependent on ice melt. The call it the “Karakoram vortex.”

“Most climate models suggest warming over the whole region in summer as well as in winter,” Fowler said. “However, our study has shown that large-scale circulation is controlling regional variability in atmospheric temperatures, with recent cooling of summer temperatures.”

“This suggests that climate models do not reproduce this feature well,” Fowler said.

Fowler isn’t the first to wonder why Karakoram glaciers aren’t melting like the models predicted. Several studies have been published over the years asking the same question — what’s happening?

A 2014 study found climate models tended to over-predict warming over Karakoram, meaning they under-predicted snowfall in the region. The region gets colder westerly winds from Afghanistan, which is increasing winter snow. Other mountains are getting more rain.

Most other major glaciers are receding, according to Fowler, which only makes the case of Karakoram more interesting. It also shows the pitfalls of model predictions.

 

Full story


3) Climate Activists Need A New Strategy If They Want To Convince A Sceptical Pubic
Robert E. Meyer, The Post-Crescent, 13 August 2017

 

Regardless of your position on the issue of human induced global warming, one thing remains undeniable: Those who are apologists for the “save the planet” approach have done an abysmal job of graciously persuading the public to participate in the cause.

 

If I were on that side of this issue, I would emphasize the economic benefits of reducing emissions and encourage the virtues of environmental stewardship.

Instead, they have chosen to bully or insult people who don’t subscribe to a fully-orbited “humans are responsible for destroying the planet or bust” narrative. Is that really necessary?

What such antics have accomplished is further fortifying resistance against the cause. It’s yet another example of otherwise intelligent people acting in ways detrimental to their own objectives. Embracing ideology has become more important than voluntarily engaging in responsible practices.

To pretend that skeptics don’t have rational reasons for their cynical posture is intellectually dishonest. Even if they ultimately are wrong, they believe global warming is about more than a changing climate. Space here will allow us to consider only a few reasons.

The most blatant observation summarily ignored is that viewpoints on this issue are so closely aligned with political ideology. That alone can’t help leaving the impression that this issue, as so many others, has become politicized. The varying narratives seem to be products of location on the political spectrum rather than conclusions of independent investigation.

Of course, people will frequently appeal to scientific objectivity when making their case. We habitually conflate the positive definition of science with the normative applications and procedures.

This distinction is best articulated by the late Harvard paleontologist Dr. Stephen Jay Gould. He was a committed and uncompromising evolutionist, but scoffed at presumptions of pure scientific objectivity:

“Our [scientists’] ways of learning about the world are strongly influenced by the social preconceptions and biased modes of thinking that each scientist must apply to any problem. The stereotype of a fully rational and objective ‘scientific method,’ with individual scientists as logical and interchangeable robots, is self-serving mythology.”

Concepts such as consensus and peer review seem impressive and decisive, until we consider the possibility of groupthink relationships existing between the presenter and the reviewers, resulting in an unchallengeable orthodoxy.

Baby Boomers who were high school students from the late 60’s to mid 70’s, probably remember reading a 1968 blockbuster by Paul Ehrlich, The Population Bomb, as part of required social studies curriculum. Ehrlich made numerous dire (but unrealized) predictions that seemed plausible, if not inevitable, to highly impressionable minds.

Concurrently, there was also the highly publicized prognostication of “Peak Oil,” featuring a bell curve graph that illustrated maximum petroleum extraction occurring around 1970.

These hypotheses were buttressed by scientific/empirical evidence.

The point is that taking a snapshot of current conditions, then extrapolating out to a theoretical “tipping point,” has hardly been a fool proof methodology for actually predicting future events.

Some see calls for “carbon taxes” as ploys for wealth transfers and further encroachments on individual freedom.

It’s part and parcel of what literary luminary C.S. Lewis decried as “government in the name of science.” It isn’t that people disrespect the scientific enterprise, but they are suspect of ideology cloaked as science, backed by coercive compliance.


Much angst has been generated over the U.S. dropping out of the Paris Accord. Is a global treaty required for responsible stewardship? Insisting on “treaties” that transparently penalize our country are harmful economically and threaten our national sovereignty, which will obviously generate opposition.

If they desire more cooperation, climate change activists need a different playbook that addresses the concerns of skeptics.

Full post & comments

4) Al Gore Skewered By BBC Host For Doomsday Climate Change Claims
Chris Campbell, Daily Express, 11 August 2017



Al Gore was skewered by a BBC radio host for his doomsday rhetoric on climate change and the state of the planet.

 

Justin Webb put it to the environmentalist and former US vice president that he was “joining the dots” and making claims that were “going further” than scientists would.Mr Gore has hit out at Donald Trump claiming the president has isolated himself over his decision to withdraw the US from the Paris agreement, a pact by 159 nations to deal with greenhouse gas emissions.

Speaking on the Today programme on BBC Radio 4, Mr Gore said looking at current weather conditions was enough to convince work needed to be done.

The Nobel Peace Prize winner said: “Mother nature is the chief advocate for fighting the climate crisis right now.”

But Webb hit back and suggested the former vice president’s second film on tackling climate change, An Inconvenient Sequel, exaggerated facts.

He said: “But that’s the problem isn’t it, you make the case that they’re climate related.“If I said to you, it’s a cold day in London right now, so there’s no such thing as climate change, you’d say you’re a moron, it’s an idiotic thing to say.

“Yet in your film, you have repeated shots of storms and you, as you put it, join the dots and suggest that they have to be because of man-made climate change.

“You’re going a little bit further than all the scientists would.”

But Al Gore tried to defend his position and said there was “clear evidence”.He said: “Oh no. Of course the Royal Academy of Science (sic) here in the United Kingdom and all of the academies of science throughout the world are virtually unanimous on this and have been for decades

“You’ve had clear evidence here in the UK, just in the last couple of years, the all-time record downpours and the high temperatures and just this past week in southern Europe, the record high temperatures and fires.

“All of these things are consistent with what the scientific community has been saying for decades.”

 

Full story 


5) Lord Lawson Was Right To Criticise Al Gore's Scare-Mongering
Tim Newark, Sunday Express, 12 August 2017

 

Lord Lawson has been strongly criticised for his attack on An Inconvenient Sequel, the latest scaremongering climate change film by Al Gore, but he is right to say our energy bills could be reduced if we cut out bogus green fuel taxes.


Following Lord Lawson’s Radio 4 interview on the Today programme, the Green Party co-leader Jonathan Bartley condemned the BBC for giving any airtime to the former chancellor, who now heads the Global Warming Policy Foundation.The Green Party claimed it was “false balance” even though Lawson was given half the time allowed to former US vice-president Al Gore to plug the sequel to his climate change propaganda movie An Inconvenient Truth.Scientist and broadcaster Jim al-Khalili went further, saying: “There should be no debate any more about climate change.”

No debate at all? That sounds a very extreme response to Lawson’s reasonable comments. There should always be debate about policies that are costing every one of us hundreds of pounds every year in extra taxes on our fuel bills to subsidise a renewable energy industry that may well have no effect on climate change over the next century.

That is the real Inconvenient Truth.“We tax fossil fuel energy, we subsidise renewable energy,” said Lawson. “Conventional energy is more reliable and cheaper.”
 

Lord Lawson has slammed Al Gore for his latest climate change film — Getty


That is a fact. Even David Cameron, as environmentally friendly a Conservative leader as you could ever get, reportedly told his government ministers in 2013 to cut the “green c***” that was driving up energy bills for households and businesses.It has been estimated that 13 per cent of our electricity and gas bills go towards environmental and social costs.Said one energy supplier recently: “We’ve been trying to explain to our customers for years that most of the extra costs on their bills is from levies we have to pay the government but we still get blamed for price hikes.” That’s bad enough for hard-pressed families but the extra energy costs plus carbon taxes are making our industries uncompetitive in the world market, which means fewer jobs for our workers.

Lord Lawson blames this all on “our absurd, climate-driven energy policy”. Across the Atlantic the USA is enjoying a boom in fossil fuel driven by its embrace of shale gas, forcing down consumer prices and giving a boost to manufacturers.

It’s also good to see their home produced energy cutting the demand for oil and gas from less stable parts of the world, including the Middle East and Russia. Of course this should never be done at the cost of endangering the environment or our health but so much of the opposition to this exciting new industry is driven by the sort of prejudices peddled by Al Gore. It should never be forgotten that the laudable anti-pollution Green movement of the 1970s was hijacked by Left-wingers who saw it as a way of attacking capitalism, long after conventional socialism had been seen to fail.I remember interviewing Sara Parkin, one of the leaders of the Green Party who won millions of votes in 1989, but was then forced out of the party by hard-Left radicals.“I resigned first of all,” she told me, “because some of the most unpleasant and nasty things that have ever been said or done to me in my entire life were at the hands of members of the Green Party.”

Having brought her party great electoral success she then explained that the movement took a downward turn to “ideological daftness” and was indulging in “collective madness”. Many of those people who subverted the Green Party then are still members today and that same party was quick to condemn Lord Lawson’s comments on the Today programme.

Critics of Lord Lawson love to brand his supporters “climate change deniers” but that is not really the point.

Our climate has always changed, that is indisputable. In the Middle Ages Britain enjoyed a period of warming followed by a Little Ice Age in the 17th century and since then temperatures have slowly risen.The point is: can we do anything about it anyway and are we just wasting billions of pounds of our hard-earned money on a great delusion? Environmentalists seem to think that subsidising wind turbines can somehow turn back a tide of climate change that occurs over thousands of years. One volcano throws more pollution into the air than any human activity.Expert Bjorn Lomborg has long made the case for spending our money more wisely on mitigating the direct effects of climate change rather than blowing billions on trying to stop something than cannot be halted.

A study by York University ecologist Chris D Thomas argues that the impact of man has seen plant and animal species thrive as never before.

The warmer, wetter and more carbon-rich our world is becoming the more vegetation grows. Maybe we should be embracing the positive sides of global warming rather than always claiming doom awaits.After all, it was that 12th century spike in temperature that saw grape vines widely grown in the UK and a boom in farming that led to the glorious age of great cathedral building. If the BBC wants balance it should cover more of these alternative views.

In the meantime I’ll raise a glass of English wine to Lord Lawson for having the courage to speak out against attitudes that are costing us all too much money.
 

Full post & comments


6) Dominic Lawson: A Spooky Political Diagnosis Of Dementia
Daily Mail, 14 August 2017

 

I received a puzzling email from a doctor last week. It was headed ‘Climate Change’ and warned: ‘Your paps needs a dementia screening soon.’ Because of climate change?


Not exactly. Juergen Messner — that was the sender’s name — was referring to an interview my father Nigel Lawson had just given to the BBC, in which he said there had been no increase in ‘extreme weather events’ and that we should stop panicking about climate change.


Dr Messner, a registrar in trauma and orthopaedic surgery at an NHS teaching facility in Yorkshire, seemed to think my 85-year-old father’s opinions indicated that he was losing his mind to dementia.


He isn’t, as it happens — but I emailed Dr Messner to ask if, as a bone rather than a brain specialist, he was qualified to diagnose dementia. He replied with the garbled: ‘Assessing mental capacity is part of most clinical doctors.’


I emailed back that surely any doctor with respect for the proprieties of his profession does not give anyone a diagnosis of a potentially terminal condition in one of their relatives without personally having responsibility for the patient — Dr Messner has never met my father. I added that I would consult the General Medical Council to check if I was right.


Dr Messner responded by asserting his rights to freedom of speech under Article 10 of the European Convention on Human Rights, followed by what some would term ‘a religious profanity’.


Actually, he has a good point about freedom of speech — and it covers abuse (which basically is what Dr Messner’s original email was). But it is a little spooky when a doctor in this country regards dissent from establishment views on the effects of climate change as evidence of mental incapacity.


Totalitarian regimes in the past — notably the Soviet Union — often treated dissent as a form of mental illness. Such dissidents would be consigned to psychiatric units, where they were drugged by doctors compliant with the prevailing political orthodoxy.


I would advise elderly patients at Dr Messner’s orthopaedic clinic not to engage him in discussions about climate change. They may get a diagnosis they hadn’t bargained for.


The London-based Global Warming Policy Forum is a world leading think tank on global warming policy issues. The GWPF newsletter is prepared by Director Dr Benny Peiser - for more information, please visit the website at www.thegwpf.com.

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