Friday, February 13, 2015

Rampant alarmism at WUWT (again) about UN climate talks in Geneva

Sou | 8:14 AM Go to the first of 13 comments. Add a comment

WUWT is veering once again into rampant alarmism. Eric Worrall (he's just a run-of-the-mill denier from Australia, one of Anthony Watts' useful idiots) has written one of his very short "guest essays" (archived here), most of which is a copy and paste of a segment from the Sydney Morning Herald. It's a contrast to the tedious verbose "guest essays" by some other contributors I suppose.

The SMH article was about how, for the Geneva talks, the draft UN agreement to combat climate change has now swollen to 100 pages, from the 38 page document drafted at Lima.

Eric sets the ball rolling with alarmism, writing:
Given the fact that countries are free to write their own terms, including joke effort’s like China’s agreement to do nothing until the 2030s, in return for America agreeing to commit economic suicide, the greatest contribution to CO2 reduction Paris is likely to produce, will be the sequestration in some dusty filing cabinet, of all the carbon copies, of what promises to be the longest climate agreement ever written.

Eric just made up the part about China - out of thin air. China is reportedly bringing forward its plan for carbon trading. As for America agreeing to "commit economic suicide" - I don't see that happening any time soon.

(Is this really the best that people who want the globe to warm faster have to offer? Seems pathetically weak to me. Thankfully, many world leaders are taking the UN meetings very seriously.)

Framing climate policies for public support

Now all this rampant alarmism gives me a good reason for alerting readers to a new paper by Mark Hurlstone and his colleagues.  Mark and one of his co-authors, Stephan Lewandowsky, have written about the paper at Shaping Tomorrow's World.  The research was exploring how best to frame messages to build support for climate policies.

They found that when messages about the effect of climate policies on future national income are framed as "foregone gain" rather than "loss", people are more inclined to support them. The "foregone gain" is that incomes will rise, but not by as much as they would without emission cuts.

They also found that Australians weren't persuaded to change their thinking by the fact that Australia is one of the highest per capita emitters of CO2. However they were more likely to be persuaded if they thought that most other people were persuaded. People like to adhere to social norms.

Deniers look for other people who share their warped "norms"

That's why blogs like WUWT survive, in my view. Deniers are comforted by the fact that there are other deniers somewhere in the world. WUWT-ers don't come across many deniers in real life - so they herd together in the dimmest darkest corners of cyberspace, seeking solace.

Deniers run away from the hundreds, probably thousands of websites and blogs about climate science and climate policy, preferring to settle in on pseudo-science and conspiracy blogs. Deniers play make believe with each other. They pretend they are the sane, rational ones, despite all evidence to the contrary. Read on to see how utterly irrational deniers can be.

From the WUWT comments

The comments showed there are lots of deniers who are at least as alarmist as Eric. Deniers really are a fearful and greedy lot when it comes to fossil fuels and money.

Bruce Cobb went for the modern-day version of Godwin's Law:
February 12, 2015 at 9:18 am
Let’s see, on the one hand we have ISIS, and on the other, ASIS. But, ASIS at least just uses emotional blackmail and temper tantrums to get their way.

rtj1211 is alarmist about jobs in Europe:
February 12, 2015 at 9:21 am
And what are they going to DO about India building huge numbers of coal-fired power stations??
All this bullshit is just paid for junkets. Destroying jobs in Europe to create them in India and China.
Turn off the tap funding this rubbish…….

This is what is happening in India -
India's renewable energy sector is looking at attracting $ 200 billion in investments as several domestic and international firms queue up to tap the potential of green power, the government said today...
... "We are looking at nearly twice the amount of interest than what our target is, more than 200 GW or 2,00,000 MW, with investments of $ 200 billion," he said. 

Crispin in Waterloo but really in Jakarta is alarmist about money in general:
February 12, 2015 at 10:08 am (extract from a longer comment)
rtj1211, that is the final cure. No one would do this were it not for the money. Those who would do it ‘for ideological reasons’ would be far less of a threat because there would not be thousands jumping on board merely to get their hands on the dough. They would be picking other pockets.

highflight56433 is alarmist about the ice age that isn't comething:
February 12, 2015 at 9:41 am
Such contradictions! Scrub the atmosphere of CO2: Starve the plants and freeze to death. Smart

Peter Miller isn't just alarmist, he's really, really scared of clean, cheap energy and, of course, money:
February 12, 2015 at 9:49 am
It would be funny if it wasn’t so scary.
The Paris climate meeting later this year is like an event asking everyone to sign up for another Great Depression, and for everyone to do this knowingly and willingly.
The scary thing is that there are a lot of western leaders who think this is a great idea, from Obama to Cameron to Hollande, the message is the same, “Let’s follow the trendy dodgy science of climate change and force everyone to switch from safe, cheap and reliable energy sources to bird killing, unreliable, expensive sources.” 

Max Photon is another money-mad (crazy) WUWT-er, juxtaposing psychiatric disorders and a zillion dollar signs:
February 12, 2015 at 10:52 am
This whole thing reminds me of psychiatry’s Diagnostic and Statistical Manual (DSM) of “mental disorders,” an ever-growing compendium of “diseases” — for which no tests exist — that are basically new and improved ways to bill health care insurance companies and the government for throwing darts at a dartboard.
It’s such an awesome scam! In two minutes any psychiatrist can label any person as having a “chemical imbalance of the brain,” for which there is “no cure.”
Presto!! A patient (read: victim) for life!!!
Can you say $$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$

Richard of NZ wants energy companies (presumably just the fossil fuel ones) to stop supply. He is convinced that world leaders are set on "destroying the world". That's WUWT alarmism for you.
February 12, 2015 at 10:54 am
I fear that there is a need for “fossil” fuel companies to stop supplying a small area of the western world with their products. If, for example, the energy companies stopped supply to New York State, New Jersey, Maryland, Georgia and North Carolina the people would rebel and put the politicians firmly in their place. You might say that the companies have contractual obligations, but it is my understanding (possibly incorrectly) that contracts that require illegal or immoral activities are unenforcible. Also there is no obligation for transport fuel companies to provide their wares. Nothing can be more immoral than destroying the world. There is a saying “Don’t put off ’til tomorrow what can be done today” even though this is exactly what the International treaties are attempting to do.
A mere week or less would bring most, if not all, people and politicians to their senses and make them realise just how vital carbon based energy really is.

Extra heavy snow and heat waves already cause energy companies to stop providing power. That will get more common as climate change kicks in.

Mac the Knife says it's all the fault of the small island states and wants to extract revenge - suggesting payback.
February 12, 2015 at 10:58 am
“… It’s like 195 authors trying to write a book together,” said Ahmed Sareer of the Maldives, chair of the 44-nation Alliance of Small Island States, which added text including stress on a need for deep cuts in greenhouse gas emissions.
About 20% of the Maldives GDP is generated from tourism. I strongly urge all potential tourist to assist the Maldives with ‘deep cuts to green house gas emissions’ by not traveling to the Maldives or any of the other 44 nation Alliance of Small Island States.
Give them all exactly what they ask for… and the +20% cut to their island economies that ‘no tourism travel’ will induce. The reduced stress on their water resources and waste processing facilities will be a bonus.  

Hurlstone, Mark J., Stephan Lewandowsky, Ben R. Newell, and Brittany Sewell. "The effect of framing and normative messages in building support for climate policies." PloS one 9, no. 12 (2014): e114335. DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0114335 (open access)


  1. They're hysterical, aren't they?

    1. Yes Cugel and so is The Daily Mail, The climate page of the WSJ (AKA it's front page) and The Telegraph. Hysterically influential.
      When my highly intelligent mother in law reads this stuff, why wouldn't she accept it on face value? Seriously, who could blame her?

      Thus the necessity of the BBC, the ABC and yes, HotWhopper and its ilk.

    2. My very intelligent mother always checks things with me, but then I'm the one who favoured reading over breeding :)

      I don't blame people at all for the FUD they're presented with; most of them don't have the time or inclination to look deeper into it. Even so, awareness and concern is growing amongst the general population.

      I don't think decision-makers have ever been much influenced by the AGW denial movement, they've done pretty much what you'd expect - set up a committee to make a report, get them to refine it, and again, set targets for 2030 and call it action. Now I think it's coming home to politicians that the problems thrown up by AGW will pepper their own careers, not the next generation's. That gets their attention.

    3. I have no doubt that the change in the frequency and style of climate coverage by US network news in mid 2014 is responsible for the hike in AGW concern amongst the US public. The TV coverage in the previous the six (Obama) years was vastly damaging.

      The filthy manner in which the CRU thefts were dealt became the instruction manual for professional deniers on how to change public opinion overnight.

      Judith Curry, a climate scientist who has a 'trick' or two up her own sleeve employed that theft to construct a reason to go all heterodoxy on us.
      The Telegraph via Christopher Booker and others have followed that CRU theft model. I’ll bet that public polling following the Telegraph’s misleading temp data coverage, will show a dip in warming concerns. I can’t wait for Mosher to write a book about it…Oh wait.

      Cudgel you say “I don't think decision-makers have ever been much influenced by the AGW denial movement”. Well I’m not a scientist but you are wrong.

      Nearly all US lawmakers on the right have had their climate stance bolstered or dictated to by their electorate. Those in the GOP who acknowledged science had to ditch it in favor of getting elected. Think Mitt Romney in 2012.
      Those who found themselves re-contesting Senate seats in educated electorates like Massachusetts (where the GOP did not expect to win in 2010) suddenly embraced science. Think Scott Brown.

      Australia’s Prime Minister Tony Abbott hosted the G-20 conference in Brisbane in November. Li Keqiang, Francois Hollande, Angela Merkel, David Cameron and the EU reps all agreed with President Obama that member climate responses should be on the G-20 agenda. Abbott as host said ‘stick it up your arse it ain’t happening’. In very Putin-esque tones he told the world’s leaders that his greatest policy achievement was to ditch carbon pricing. I kid you not. He made a spectacle of himself and Australia because he felt safe that the electorate would back him as it did 12 months earlier in the federal election.

      President Obama went all ninja on Abbott by organizing a speech at the University of Queensland where he gave a big verbal hi-5 to Cook at al. Needless to say President Obama won that bout. Climate was on the table in Brisbane.

      Abbott’s anti science triumphalism is informed by his anti-science election victory. That’s how it works – everywhere. It’s up to us. The voters.

  2. Eric's either ignorant of, or misrepresenting, the drafting process leading up to the Geneva meeting. I leave it to you to decide which.

    For agreements developed under UN auspices, the process is pretty much the same- a preliminary draft is produced by a small group/Secretariat to provide starting point for wider discussion. A series of negotiating meetings are held. Text is added and removed on the basis of discussions at these meetings.

    More significantly for the apparent blowout in length, where there are differing suggestions on an issue, all the options will be included in the text. Consequently, there are frequently situations where the text emerging from a negotiating meeting may contain two, three or more items of text addressing the same issue, representing the views of each of the main blocs at the meeting, say one from the EU, one from the G77 (or G77 + China), one from the USA, one from the Small Island States etc. This is the square-bracketed text beloved of diplomats. With a process like this, perhaps the wonder is that the 38 page draft blew out to only 100 pages.

    At the following meeting, these options are worked through in order to achieve an agreed common position. Compromises are reached, deals are done, and the text shrinks back to a manageable size.

    1. This is the stuff of life for diplomats; thousands (if not tens of thousands) of them are swarming over this, all jockeying for something they can point to as vbeing in their nation's interest, just to justify their very existence and expense-accounts.

      And some people at the UN are supposed to be herding that lot along some pre-laid track? I think not. Only the mighty Al Gore could do that :)

    2. Expense accounts? Another instance of the denialists engaging in the politics of envy.
      Maybe it's so for some of the G77 participants, but these days it's pretty much a fact of the international negotiator's life that you will come back from these meetings out of pocket and bleary-eyed.

    3. I'm referring to professional diplomats, who are not expected to pay their own way these days.

    4. What do you mean by 'these days'? A couple of decades ago, most governments began tightening up accounting procedures for all employees sent overseas on official business. 'These days, in theory, you can get properly reimbursed, if you have prior approval for all the expenses you incur. In practice, sh*t happens, and you don't/can't.

      I'd hate to think you're trying to feed the denialist meme about armies of generously paid officials spending their lives junketing on the conference circuit. That tactic's called the politics of envy, isn't it?

  3. "WUWT-ers don't come across many deniers in real life"

    ...unless they live in Alabama.

    - sigh -

    Adam R.
    Mobile, AL USA

  4. It is telling that below a WUWT post on the political UN climate negotiations, several comments complain about the IPCC, which only makes a scientific assessment of the science and is not a party in the negotiations. For them it is all the same; good they are not doing science.

    1. It's a variant of the Serengeti Strategy; rather than attack all the institutions where the research is actually done they attribute everything to the IPCC and then demonise it.

  5. Cugel,

    Smokey doesn't like it when the same playbook is used against him. Start around:

    Brandon Gates
    February 12, 2015 at 7:01 am

    “Arch-warmist Dr. Phil Jones shows us that natural variability causes the same changes whether human emissions are low, or high …

    There’s just no fixing your particular brand of stupid dishonesty, is there.

    And watch it twist and wind (and whine) until about here:

    February 13, 2015 at 5:17 am
    rooter says:
    dbstealey has problems
    No, rooter, YOU have problems. Psychological problems. Big ones.
    You’ve been bird-dogging my comments again — six times tonight alone. It’s like that every night. You need to get a real life. I don’t chase you around the threads, pestering you with inane comments. Why do you do it You are certainly convincing no one of anything with your religious beliefs.

    The WUWT enforcer, party whip and minister of propaganda complains about being singled out of the herd. Bawww, I'm crying a river of crocodile tears too. [sniff sniff]


    Ironically, from the "AGU are trough-feeding pigs" article Sou covered previously, but the pack-hunters not liking it when they get pack-hunted psychology more relevant here.


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