Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Another great article by Tim Ball

Bernard Baruch said, “Vote for the man who promises least; he’ll be the least disappointing.” Barack Obama promised a great deal. He was rarely specific, but his generalities were interpreted to mean he would deal with each voter’s specific concerns. His promise of change was nothing new, but people believed it was different than any thing seen before in Washington. He is not President yet, but already he has demonstrated an inability to satisfy the expectations raised by his eloquence and vagueness. For example, Republicans say his appointments are not change but simply a return to the Clinton regime. Democrats claim he needs experience and the Clinton years were good ones so this does not affect the concept of change he promoted.

Everyone hopes he is successful in resolving at least some of the issues facing the US and the world. However, this assumes in every case that there is a problem that the cause is generally understood, and the solution resolves rather than exacerbates. For example, all the financial fixes may achieve short-term and apparent resolutions, but if they don’t address the fundamental fact that you can’t spend more than you make as an individual or a government you will make the problem worse.

Obama, knowingly and unknowingly, has raised the bar of expectation very high. In the area of climate change he has done it with almost messianic fervor. How else can you interpret the objective to stop climate change? He is not alone in this arrogant objective, but all it means is he is not alone in the fact that it displays a complete lack of understanding of climate and the natural extent of climate change. In his case, he provided evidence when he announced plans to list CO2 as a toxic substance and a pollutant. When he was specific he simply underscored his lack of knowledge and understanding.

This is not surprising as Al Gore is apparently his source of information. Indeed, many were touting Gore as the new climate Tsar in the Obama administration. Even if Gore wasn’t chosen and reports say he has already rejected the possibility, his position as the guru of climate change within the Democratic Party make him impossible to ignore.

A German proverb says, “He who would rule must hear and be deaf, see and be blind.” This is ideal but not realistic. It assumes the leader hears and sees all sides of an issue and reaches a conclusion independent of biased advisers. It also assumes the leader understands the details and complexities of the issue. That is clearly not the situation with Obama and climate change. It is also untrue about Gore. So who becomes the player of influence on climate and energy policy in the Obama regime?

The answer is James Hansen, the same person who has influenced Gore since 1988 when he appeared before Gore’s Senate Committee. Stephen Schneider introduced him at a Stanford University presentation recently as “an iconic leader”.

Schneider made the following statement reported in Discover magazine (October 1989). “Scientists need to get some broader base support, to capture the public’s imagination… that, of course, entails getting loads of media coverage. So we have to offer up scary scenarios, make simplified dramatic statements, and make little mention of doubts we may have… Each of us has to decide what the right balance is between being effective and being honest.” No wonder Schneider defines him as iconic because nobody has practiced what Schneider preached more than Hansen.

John Daly described Schneider as a “Greenhouse Superstar.”

Schneider continued his career in climate even though he is a biologist and his most recent influence was in the latest Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) report. He was an author for the Summary for Policymaker (SPM), the document most important in determining what the media and public know about the science of climate change. It is a political document produced before the final scientific report is produced.

So Schneider has been involved with the deception that is the IPCC from the very beginning.

Schneider operates behind the scenes, but Hansen is very prominent. Despite being a Director of NASA’s Goddard Institute for Space Studies (GISS), he appears before Congressional Committees sometimes as bureaucrat and sometimes as private citizen. This practice is typical Hansen. He is entitled to his personal opinions, but it is impossible for a committee to consider his views equal to another private citizen in a matter related to his expertise. Professor Bob Carter classifies this behavior as `Hansenism’. After making statements about three generally held but false beliefs about climate and climate change, he says;

Their assertion is a symptom of a disease called Hansenism which has gripped western media sources and political, business and public opinion in a deadly grasp. Hansenist climate hysteria is driven by relentless, ideological, pseudo-scientific drivel, most of which issues from green political activists and their supporters, and is then promulgated by compliant media commentators who are innocent of knowledge of true scientific method.

Carter says Hansenism is more dangerous than Lysenkoism. This was ideological control of genetics by Trofim Lysenko, Director of the Institute of Genetics of the Russian Academy of Sciences, which evolved around four main themes Carter identifies as follows:

  • A necessity to demonstrate the practical relevance of science to the needs of society;
  • The amassing of evidence to show the “correctness” of the concept as a substitute for causal proof;
  • Noble cause corruption, whereby data are manipulated to support a cause which is seen as a higher truth; and
  • Ideological zeal, such the dissidents are silenced as “enemies of the truth”.

  • At his Stanford speech Hansen showed photos of his grandchildren and said, “It is a basic conflict between fossil fuel special interests and the interests of young people, nature and animals.” Surely this is a classic case of noble cause corruption to justify the pattern of his behavior.

    From the time of his appearance before Gore’s committee to the speech at Stanford, Hansen continued his tactics. Fear, threats of impending doom, running out of time, are all used and backed by misinformation, unjustified speculation, and inaccurate information. “ Time is running out to prevent catastrophic consequences from global warming,” “We’ve reached a point where we have a crisis, an emergency, but people don’t know that”. They do know about it, but they are less and less convinced as the evidence shows humans and their CO2 are not the cause. In another Hansenism he claims, “There’s a big gap between what’s understood about global warming by the scientific community and what is known by the public and policymakers.” He is right for the wrong reason. It is the IPCC and his own public statements that have created the gap. Data put out by NASA GISS for which he is Director has created serious misdirection.

    His agency claimed 1998 the warmest year in the US and the eight warmest years occurred since 1998. Steve McIntyre showed that the numbers were due to an error and 1934 was the warmest year and four of the top ten warmest years were in the 1930s.

    The incident was classified as an error, but many considered it suspicious in light of a pattern of “errors” and adjustments of the record NASA GISS. All these adjustments made past temperatures lower thus making current conditions apparently warmer. GISS is not alone in this practice. The infamous ‘hockey stick’ achieved the goal of “getting rid of the Medieval Warm Period as reported here.

    More recently NASA GISS claimed October 2008 was the second warmest on record. It was claimed they did not produce the data, but they accepted it and put it out under their name. The error was large and should have raised alarms. Record low temperatures and early snow were reported in many regions, but this was ignored in the eagerness to promote global warming.

    It is not possible to prove the errors were deliberate even though all the changes made were always to enhance current warming. However, the errors are serious enough to require removal for incompetence, especially when combined with with Hansen’s public activities as a bureaucrat. For example, he testified before Congress that oil executive’s should be tried for crimes against humanity. He was testifying in his charade as a private citizen.

    He was also a private citizen when he appeared before a British court recently. He testified for the defense of Greenpeace supporters accused of damaging a coal plant. He said they were justified because it was part of a need to protect the world from global warming. The defendants were acquitted.

    Apparently in 2006, and clearly with justification, concern was growing over the activities of the highly political bureaucrat. Hansen’s defense was a strong offense. He appeared before the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform claiming political interference. His claim raises questions about the role of bureaucrats in a democracy. He pursued the topic again in a paper published in early 2008.

    Roger Pielke Jr discussed Hansen’s position at length here;

    Pielke Jr’s most telling comment says; “Hansen does not like the political control of government communications, regardless of who has been elected into power.” If this is true, then Barack Obama will have a problem if he decides to delay action on reduction of CO2. Hansen says at 385 ppm it is well above a ‘safe’ level of 350 ppm. Reduction to that level is necessary as he told the Stanford audience, “To preserve creation, the planet on which civilization developed.” The fact there is no so such thing as a safe level and a reduction will have serious implications for plants, oxygen production and thereby life is what Obama needs to hear. But he won’t because he has promised too much already; he doesn’t understand climate science and Hansen will make him hear when he should be deaf.

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