Month: November 2018

Pied Piper 2018: Australian students skip school for mass protest

By David Evans

The BBC in Sydney reports:

Thousands of Australian school students have urged greater action on climate change in protests across the country.

The students skipped school on Friday to highlight what they say are inadequate climate policies by the Australian government.

On Monday, Australian PM Scott Morrison rebuked their plans for “activism” during school hours and insisted his government was tackling climate change. …

The idea started with Milou Albrect and Harriet O’Shea Carre, both 14, in the state of Victoria. … Milou said: “We want our government to acknowledge publicly that climate change is a crisis. Stop digging coal, stop making new coal mines, switch to renewable energy.” …

Jean Hinchcliffe, 14, saw the idea to protest grow in Victoria and decided to start one in her home city, Sydney. … “Everyone, all young people, we can see that climate change is a real issue and we’re completely sick of politicians’ inaction.

Like with Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, what would change their minds? How can we convince them they have been misled?

When eventually the carbon dioxide theory is proved to be quite wrong, what will this generation think? Will they […]

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November 30, 2018 at 11:41PM

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Snowiest November EVER in parts of New York and New England

Considering that this is where the first evidence that we’re entering an ice age could appear, I think record snowfall in these areas is very important._______________

30 Nov 2018 – “A historically snowy November,” reads the headline in The Washington Post. 

Snowfall totals across New York and New England have surpassed one to two feet in many areas and three to four feet – and even more! – in others.

This record and near-record November snowfall has accumulated mainly in the past two weeks.

The 19.5 inches (49.5 cm) of snow reported in Burlington, Vermont, since mid-month is almost quadruple thee city’s normal November snowfall of 5.1 inches (13 cm), and makes this their fifth-snowiest November on record.  The record for November snowfall in Burlington is 24 inches (60 cm), set 118 years ago in 1900.

In Maine, Caribou’s 29.3 inches (almost 75 cm) of snow is more than 2½ times the city’s average November snowfall of 11.5 inches (29 cm), making it their third-snowiest November on record.

Meanwhile, the 60.5 inches (154 cm) of snow on New Hampshire’s Mount Washington is the eighth-most on record for the month.

The 46 inches (117 cm) of snow on Vermont’s Mount Mansfield is the most on record this early in the season. Such depths are more typical of  January.

Smugglers’ Notch in Vermont reports 86 inches (218 cm) to date, Bolton Valley reports 84 inches (7 ft), and Jay Peak reports 72 inches (6 ft).

“November never looked so good,” says Jay Peak on its website.

“Winter hasn’t even hit, and we have already received five feet (152 cm) of snow this season,” crows Sunday River Resort in Maine.

https://www.washingtonpost.com/weather/2018/11/30/parts-new-england-new-york-have-seen-historically-snowy-november/?utm_term=.9afc7ee844d0

https://jaypeakresort.com/november-never-looked-so-good

https://www.sundayriver.com/mountain-report

The post Snowiest November EVER in parts of New York and New England appeared first on Ice Age Now.

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November 30, 2018 at 09:19PM

Knowledge, Ignorance and Climate Change

By Dr. Tilak K. Doshi

N. Angel Pinillos, professor of philosophy at Arizona State University, opines in the New York Times about “what philosophy tells us about climate change sceptics”.

As his starting premise, he accepts the well-debunked “97% of scientists believe in climate change” meme. He then combines it with a Stanford poll that states that of those surveyed, the majority (61%) “overwhelmingly agree that the federal government needs to take significant action to curb global warming”. With an objective “97% consensus” and a survey of attitudes, Prof Pinillos constructs an argument that seems to suggest that climate change sceptics, most often conservatives, seems to suffer from some delusion of probabilities.

According to Prof Pinillos, climate sceptics “understand that 97 percent of scientists disagree with them, but they focus on the very tiny fraction of holdouts. As in the lottery case, this focus might be enough to sustain their skepticism. We have seen this pattern before. Anti-vaccine proponents, for example, aware that medical professionals disagree with their position, focus on any bit of fringe research that might say otherwise.”

This sleight of hand, comparing climate sceptics to anti-vaccine proponents focusing on “fringe research” seems a dead giveaway, even for a philosopher. Prof Pinillos goes on to cite “social psychology” literature to support the contention that “climate change deniers tend to espouse conservative views, which suggests that party ideology is partly responsible for these attitudes.”

Rather than launch into a fruitless general discussion on “party ideology”, lets agree on terms, as in all good philosophical inquiry: What does Prof Pinillos actually mean by “sceptic”? The 97% meme is ably brought to its essentials by Matt Ridley, a prominent “lukewarmer”:

· I am not claiming that carbon dioxide is not a greenhouse gas; it is.

· I am not saying that its concentration in the atmosphere is not increasing; it is.

· I am not saying the main cause of that increase is not the burning of fossil fuels; it is.

· I am not saying the climate does not change; it does.

· I am not saying that the atmosphere is not warmer today than it was 50 or 100 years ago; it is.

But

· There is no consensus that climate change is going to be dangerous. Even the IPCC says there is a range of possible outcomes, from harmless to catastrophic. I’m in that range: I think the top of that range is very unlikely. But the IPCC also thinks the top of its range is very unlikely.

Perhaps no one informed Prof Pinillos, as Mr. Ridley points out, that the “supposed 97% consensus, based on a hilariously bogus study by John Cook, refers only to the proposition that climate change is real and partly man-made. Nobody has ever shown anything like a consensus among scientists for the proposition that climate change is going to be dangerous”.

One can paraphrase Mr. Ridley, as many other prominent sceptics, in the following arguments that have more or less been the standard sceptic’s (and not necessarily the optimist’s) position:

Most scientists would agree that the climate changes, and has done so for aeons. Many scientists would agree that man may have had something to do with current trends in climate. But few scientists agree on the relative roles of man versus natural variability. The latter include a large number of fundamental climate variables such as the tilt of the earth, its elliptical orbit around the sun, the sunspot cycle and its impact on cosmic waves and cloud formation on earth, atmospheric and ocean currents and tectonic perturbations, etc., that have been operating since the birth of the planet.

And even fewer scientists would agree that climate change is “dangerous” in any clear actionable sense, and that we need to go all out to curtail fossil fuels, change our lifestyles, “downsize” (or in the case of developing economics, to grow slower) and impose enormously costly anti-fossil fuel policies on the basis of an impending potential catastrophe which has known probabilistic outcomes and which can be credibly acted upon by rational policy wonks working for politicians of the day.

“The vaunted scientific consensus around climate change,” notes Daniel Sarewitz, (interestingly also a professor from Arizona State University) “applies only to a narrow claim about the discernible human impact on global warming. The minute you get into questions about the rate and severity of future impacts, or the costs of and best pathways for addressing them, no semblance of consensus among experts remains.” Nevertheless, as Daniel notes, climate models “spew out endless streams of trans-scientific facts that allow for claims and counterclaims, all apparently sanctioned by science, about how urgent the problem is and what needs to be done.”

The other leg of Prof Pinillos’ argument rests on reference to a July 2018 Stanford survey which supposedly conveys the widespread support of those surveyed for “a great deal or a lot of action” by the government to combat climate change. The same poll, it should be noted, finds that “just a bare majority, 51 percent, foresees a very serious problem to the United States if nothing is done to reduce global warming in the future”.

But if it is a question of surveys, then where does one place the 2018 New York Times survey which ranks “climate ‘worry” at the bottom of 18 reasons for not having kids? What about the Gallup poll in which Americans do not even mention global warming as a problem among over 30 problems cited? What about the 2016 UN global poll which surveys people’s greatest concerns, and which put climate change at the bottom of concerns ranging from education and jobs to health and honest government (and some 15 other concerns)?

Polls and surveys can be tricky to interpret. As social scientists and philosophers might well argue, and rightly so, the problems with cognitive dissonance and “talk is cheap” virtue-signalling incentives might suggest that we be more wary of opinion surveys and polls.

It is also odd to put more weight on a survey than on political events that happen around us on the global stage on a regular basis. “Putting your mouth where your money is” may seem more relevant to actual societal outcomes than hypothetical surveys of what people say they are willing to do.

Perhaps one only needs to remind Prof Pinillos about the widespread riots and mass actions by the “Yellow Vest” activists who have vowed to bring the French capital Paris to a standstill, prolonging their campaign of disruption to force President Emmanuel Macron to ease climate change-focused fuel taxes. Or perhaps he needs reminding that the first act of the new Ontario provincial government led by “Canada’s version of Donald Trump”, Doug Ford, was to “fight any efforts by the Federal government to impose a carbon tax on the people of Ontario in court”. Or perhaps we need to turn to Australia for the lesson provided by the Australian PM Malcolm Turnbull’s humiliating backdown over his efforts to seal Australia’s Paris Agreement pledges with actual legislation. He was ultimately forced to turn over leadership to his party’s conservative faction which called for higher investments in the country’s coal sector as well as energy policies to lower Australians’ electricity bills.

It may well be that people vote with their pocket-books, whatever those nice-sounding surveys might convey to inform one’s philosophical disposition. And it may well be that climate sceptics are not the products of “party ideology” and a distorted sense of probabilities. They may just be hard working scientists, working at competing hypotheses and aware always that “consensus” is not a scientific concept, it is a political one.

Dr. Tilak K. Doshi

The writer is a consultant in the energy sector, and is the author of “Singapore in a Post-Kyoto World: Energy, Environment and the Economy” published by the Institute of South-east Asian Studies (Singapore, 2015).

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November 30, 2018 at 08:09PM

#Climategate continues – Mann tries to get ahead of his legal problem, releases his own version of emails


Press Release
November 30, 2018

On January 6th, 2011, the University of Virginia was asked to disgorge the emails of Dr. Michael Mann that were associated with his work on global warming. The University refused some, but not all of that request. They did, however, give all the requested public records to Dr. Mann who also refused to make them public. On December 7, 2011, the University of Arizona was asked to disgorge the emails of Dr. Malcolm Hughes on which Dr. Mann was an addressee and the emails of Dr. Jonathan Overpeck for which six individuals were addressees, as well as emails associated with various global warming subjects and publications. On November 19th, 2018, the Free Market Environmental Law Clinic (FME Law) and counsel for the University of Arizona’s Board of Regents appeared before Judge Marner in the Pima County Superior Court to give the court notice that the university would comply with the Court’s previous order and would deliver all Dr. Hughes withheld emails by today, November 30th, 2018 and all of Dr. Overpeck’s withheld emails by January 15th, 2019. The Court’s Minute Entry of that hearing is attached. (see PDF below)

Facing the fact that all the emails Dr. Mann did not want released would now be released, today Dr. Mann made his version of these emails available to the public, but in a form that does not allow them to be downloaded. Because they have now been made public, any Virginia citizen seeking those emails can obtain copies from the University of Virginia, if the University has not destroyed them in the meantime. Otherwise, they will be made available by FME Law.

FME Law will make all the Hughes and Overpeck emails available to the public once it completes its voluntary commitment to the court to assess them and document the professionalism and academic honest of Drs. Hughes and Overpeck which it fully expects will be demonstrated therein. FME Law made this voluntary commitment for two reasons. First, during the litigation, accusations had been made that the purpose of the request was harassment and no value could come from their release other than to use them to tarnish the reputations of Drs. Hughes and Overpeck. FME Law does not harbor such a purpose and has no reason to believe either Hughes or Overpeck behaved beyond the bounds of proper academic ethics, and stated repeatedly to the court that the release of these emails would allow that to be demonstrated. Secondly, FME Law is fully cognizant of the bitter and unwholesome nature of divisiveness with regard to global warming and the professionals within that small academic community. FME Law knew that Dr. Mann and his fellow travelers would accuse FME Law of engaging in cherry picking and attempts to use the emails to embarrass these two faculty members. FME Law has no such intent, nor does its client, the Energy & Environment Legal Institute. FME Law cautions anyone who accesses these emails to do so with respect to the context within which they are written, and for reasons other than ad hominem attacks on Drs. Hughes and Overpeck.

Dr. Schnare, Member-Manager of FME Law and lead attorney on these cases, described the importance of this case. “We did not take this case only to obtain the history of a very controversial period of time in the climate wars. We also took this case to cast sunlight on how public universities work, how they contribute to the formation of public policy, and how professors behave within the policy arena. Core legal issues not addressed in this litigation remain – particularly about how to effectively protect the research process while still allowing the public to learn how this sector of the government works.”

FME Law is committed to engaging this question of academic behavior within the policy arena. The academy itself admits it is rife with research pathologies and only transparency within the ivy-covered walls will expose and allow for corrections of those problems. As Dr. Phillip W. Magness explained this week, with regard to “academic hoax papers that have revealed the crisis of rigor afflicting academic publishing[, t]he fabricated articles only advanced to publication because decades of lax standards have made academically fashionable nonsense—including other forms of fraudulent work—the norm for celebrated scholarship in several of the humanities and social sciences.“

Based on what is found in these emails, the results of a major investigation on public records requests to universities, and intensive review of the law of academic freedom and the notion of a scholar’s privilege, Dr. Schnare will discuss transparency and the academy in a forthcoming major law journal article.


FME Law is a 501(c)(3) public charity dedicated to be an honest, pro-environmental legal presence that represents clients seeking to hold state and federal governments to the ethical and legal requirements that protect and enhance free market environmentalism.


PDF of press release plus court document:

FME Law Press Release Nov 30, 2018

Dr. Mann’s version of the released emails:

Note that the user name and password are both “mail_guest” .

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November 30, 2018 at 05:47PM