Tuesday, July 26, 2011

No Shit Sherlock!

What a surprise... Really, can there have been any doubt that Anders Breivik is insane? It's been apparent from the beginning that he is a classic spree killer. He is closer to Thomas Hamilton, Michael Ryan and Derrick Bird than Tim McVeigh.

Now, can people please stop taking his rationalisations on face value? Enough already on the Left with all that bollocks about the unpoliced internet, equating doubts about immigration with Nazism and the need to clamp down on civil liberties. Equally, let's stop with similar rubbish on the Right about the failures of multiculturalism, the success of political correctness and so on.

We need to debate all of those issues, but on their own terms, not in connection with a fantasist killing scores of young people as a consequence of his own psychological defects.

Monday, July 25, 2011

The Norwegian Massacre

While the response of the Left to the Norwegian massacre is fairly predictable and opportunistic, there is also evidence that there are some on the Right willing to indulge in similar double standards. On the Left there is a palpable sense of relief that the spree killer was white and clearly identified with the Right. It enables them to trot out the old clich├ęs about neo-Nazis and the internet, it tars with the same brush all those who have concerns about multi-culturalism (presumably not those of us who are dark-skinned though), and they can have a pop at Norway for being xenophobic enough not to want to be sucked into the EU. All so predictable and all so boring.

On the Right, however, we have a parallel story. While few outside of Stormfront or other Nazi forum will applaud Anders Behring Breivik for his actions, there are some who will use the attack as a means of getting back at what they see as a corrupt, liberal society. They will suggest that it is the closing down of discussion on multi-culturalism that is at fault here. They will reason that Breivik was robbed of legitimate avenues of protest, that his views have been marginalised and criminalised so that an explosion of violence was inevitable – if not from Breivik, from some other deranged individual.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

The Climate Quadrant

It’s hard not to get angry reading yesterday’s BBC Trust report by Steven Jones. Delingpole does a nice job of laying into it, but there are plenty more bloggers out there covering similar ground. Having read the report it’s pretty poor stuff, and Jones comes across as lazy, arrogant and clearly not interested in attempting to be even handed. But what lies at the heart of his argument is not just another unscientific appeal to consensus, but also a complete lack of understanding that there are endless shades of opinion on the topic of climate change. In his world there are only two camps – the consensus (as represented by the IPCC and supported by the Royal Society) and the denialists (his word). Climate change is a complicated topic, is it really feasible that opinion could neatly fit into two such simplistic categories?

At heart Jones views climate science in the same way that some people view politics. There is an out-dated and unsophisticated view the imagines that political ideas, and those that adhere to them, can easily sit on a single axis of Left vs. Right. All ideologies can be dropped somewhere on this axis. So, simplistically, Hitler is on the extreme right, Stalin on the extreme Left, and everyone else sits somewhere in between. Of course this is redundant in a time when our politicians no longer have much in the way of ideology. But even so, assume that this Left vs Right dichotomy still exists. Where do you place Anarchists on this line? And judged purely on economic policies, surely the BNP are on the Left, having much in common with the authoritarian left (economic protectionism, state control etc).

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Monckton, Pachauri and Hitler

Can somebody help me here, please?

Not that long ago climate change sceptic Christopher Monckton compared Ross Garnaut, a leading climate change alarmist advising the Australian government, to a Nazi there was outrage. Monkcton was criticised not just by the warmist side, but by many people on the sceptical side of the fence (Anthony Watts and Andrew Bolt, for example). He apologised almost immediately, but the damage had been done, and it detracted from what he was actually saying. Some Australian academics even wanted to cancel Monckton's lectures in universities.

It's clear then, that Nazi references are verboten in climate change discussions.

So, can somebody point me to the shock horror from the climate change alarmist side when IPCC Rajendra Pachauri compared Bjorn Lomborg to Hitler? Pachauri was quoted as saying:

"What is the difference between Lomborg's view of humanity and Hitler's? If you were to accept Lomborg's way of thinking, then maybe what Hitler did was the right thing."

Mockton doesn't hold an official position, he's not funded by our taxes. Pachauri is the head of the IPCC, and ultimately funded by tax payers the world over. Mockton compared Garnaut to a Nazi, Pachauri went one better and compared Lomborg (who isn't even a climate change sceptic) to the top Nazi, Hitler himself.

So, please help me. Where is Pachauri's apology? And where are the criticisms directed from his own side?

Monday, July 18, 2011

I want my money back

I want my money back. All of it. I was promised global warming. It was guaranteed so long as CO2 continued to rise. I was going to get hot summers and warmer winters. Instead it’s mid-July and it’s cold, grey and miserable. I want the warming I was promised. It was promised to me by Al Gore, James Hansen, the BBC, the UK Met Office, Rajendra Pachauri and the IPCC, Sir David King, Sir Paul Beddington, Tony Blair, Gordon Brown, David Cameron, the BBC, the Guardian, the Daily Telegraph, the Times, the Royal Society, the BBC, Gavin Schmidt, Brian Cox, Leonardo diCaprio and most of Hollywood and the music industry, Greenpeace, Friends of the Earth, Geoffrey Lean, George Monbiot, Michael Mann, Jonathan Porritt, Prince Charles, the BBC, Oxfam, Phil Jones, the Hadley Centre, the CRU, Chris Huhne and the BBC. And that’s just off the top of my head.

So where is it? Where’s this warming I’ve been looking forward to? I just checked the latest figures on the Central England Temperature record. The average temperature for June 2011 was 13.8 C. The 353-year average June temperature is 14.3 C. The 30-year average (1970-1999) June temperature is 14.1 C, the 30-year average for 1980-2009 is higher still at 14.4 C. And before you carp, I know that this is a local temperature for central England and not a global figure. And I know that weather is not climate. But local temperatures have the advantage of being more reality-based than the fictional global temperatures that warmists like.

So, having ranted because of the cold, it seems to me that a refund is in order. Either that or we need to increase the amount of coal we burn to get some of that warmth that we’ve been waiting for.

Friday, July 15, 2011

Chris Huhne and Fuel Poverty

Picture this: You implement policies that are deliberately designed to make energy usage expensive. This you justify on the grounds that it will reduce carbon emmissions. Of course you implement the policy by levying various taxes and additional charges on the power companies and big users of energy (such as the NHS, for example). The energy companies pass the charges on to the consumer, as expected. What's more the systems are so complex that it's not easily possible for the consumer to see how much of the increased cost is down to 'green' policies and how much is down to increased wholesale costs or a desire to increase margins.

In any case, the consumer just gets to see increased power costs. What do you, as the author of these policies do? You pin the blame on the energy companies and encourage users to switch to different providers. Which providers? You know for a fact that all providers will be increasing their charges. But it makes you look good, and you can even convince yourself that you're standing up for the little guy.

When the number of families in fuel power rises, how do you react? With outrage of course. You promise to tackle this injustice, and, as befits a man of principle, you will look at rebates, or tax breaks or some such policy. In other words you will take some of the money that you have grabbed and give a little of it back. And you'll do this by increasing dependence on the state, by increasing the complexity of the tax and benefits system and ultimately by enlarging the state. What you will not do is directly reduce the green levies or make changes to any of your energy policies.

And, just as importantly, you will continue with the narative that the world needs saving from CO2, that the real culprits are the energy companies and that the only defender of the poor is the state.

It's a nice picture, it really is. Chris Huhne really is pissing on our shoes and telling us it's raining.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Aussie climate tax and science journalism

Science journalist Fred Pearce has a piece in the New Scientist on Australia's new carbon tax. The gist of the article is that the tax is so full of loop-holes and rebates and exclusions that it is unlikely to make a dent in what he describes as 'largest per-capita emitter of greenhouse gases in the developed world'. It's the usual New Scientist story - nasty industrialists subverting a policy that is designed to save the planet. One wouldn't expect any different from the New Scientist, which seems to prefer acting as a cheerleader for Greenpeace (and yes, there's a quote from Greenpeace in his article) than in digging any deeper or disturbing the status quo.

What is conspciuously absent from Pearce's careful analysis of Australia's CO2 budget, is what effect any of this is likely to have on global temperatures. The 'per capita' figure is a red herring, Australia's population is relatively small and globally its CO2 emissions come in at 1.32%, putting it 16th in the world rankings (as reported on wikipedia).

Even if, (and it's a huge IF), we accept that CO2 emmissions cause warming, the effect of Australia reducing its emmissions is not going to make a blind bit of difference. Or at least not that you'd be able to notice with the sort of thermometer that you or I can use. So, whether there are loopholes and get out clauses, what we have is a massive new tax, an army of bureaucrats to administer it, all kinds of pain and aggravation and for what? To ultimately make no real difference to a projected (not predicted) temperature change at some point in the distant future.

Forget the science, the question that needs to be asked by Pearce and others in the media, is simple. What are the benefits of this policy relative to the costs? Is the massive cost of making a projected difference of fractions of a degree in the future worth it? Arguing over whether these expensive and intrusive measures will reduce CO2 emmissions by x% or not is almost immaterial.

A public scandal

I have avoided any comment on the whole News International phone hacking scandal. It's sickening. Really, really, really sickening. The orgy of sanctimonious, hypocritical cant on display at Westminster yesterday was hard to stomach. All that bollocks from all sides on how it was parliament responding to the public was especially vomit-inducing. This is the same parliament that has listened to the public on all the important issues, like going to war, handing power to the EU, bailing out the failed Euro, passing the climate change act...

Thanks to intensive therapy, the Progressive Contrarian is able to mix with members of the public (yes, even without a minder these days), and the overwhelming feeling that is expressed by most people is contempt. Contempt for Murdoch and his minions, but even more there's a contempt for our political classes who are jumping at the chance to occupy what they think is the moral high ground. It's a times like these that one feels that removing our politicians from the gene pool would be a gift to humanity.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Science journalism and climate change

In a previous post I posed the question of why our so-called leaders have fallen hook, line and sinker for man-made global warming – which is, at best, a hypothesis which is increasingly being demolished by newer results and empirical facts. It certainly does not look like the science is settled. Nor do the alarmist predictions that were being made a decade ago seem to be coming true. Despite all of this, and in spite of the increasing scepticism of the public, there seems to be no signs that our political leaders harbour any  doubts. I would joke about the lights being on but nobody being home, but the lights in politicians heads are powered by wind – there are only occasional flickers of intermittent light at best.

But it’s not just the politicians at fault here. Arguably the mania for global warming would not be half as strong had there not been a near unanimous chorus of approval from the mass media. From repeating the mantra about scientific consensus, to labelling sceptics as oil-industry funded ‘deniers’ to trumpeting the most absurd alarmist claims of impending disaster – the media are complicit in furthering the green agenda and propagandising for global warming alarmism. The question we have to ask then, is what are the forces at work here? Why are there so few sceptic voices heard in public?

In a recent post at the Global Warming Policy Foundation, David Whitehouse points out that:

Many science reporters haven’t been scientists and haven’t been general reporters. Like the rise of the career politician that goes straight from University to politics it is a worrying trend.

Monday, July 04, 2011

Why Do They Believe?

I must admit that this is a topic that I continually struggle with. I’m sure I’m not the only one, and that in years to come diligent young historians will be earning their PhDs off the same question: how is that the ruling elites in the West bought in so totally into the whole anthropogenic global warming (AGW) theory. And, despite the increasing scepticism of electorates and the growing number of scientists willing to admit to doubts as the evidence grows ever weaker, our politicians shown no signs of coming to their senses. If anything the mania seems to be getting worse as they bet everything on windfarms, solar energy and cutting CO2 emissions.

So why is it? Now there are some who survey the scene and conclude that it only makes sense in the context of some grand conspiracy. You know the score. Evil one worlders out to impose a de facto UN government under cover of saving the planet. They’ll even point the finger at specific individuals, like Maurice Strong, as being behind this conspiracy. But, I’m afraid that being a sceptic means remaining sceptical about conspiracies too. Sure, the IPCC, the major scientific societies, huge chunks of academia, almost the entire mass media and so on are completely over-run by warmista comrades, but that doesn’t make for a conspiracy. Instead I see networks of mutual aid and support, all buying in because that’s where the money and the prestige lie.

Absenting a conspiracy, is there another explanation?