""But the one truly bonkers thing to do would be to go unilaterally into a policy of subsidising the rich to install technologies that drive up the cost of energy, desecrate the countryside, kill golden eagles, clear-cut swamp forests in North Carolina, turn grain into motor fuel, so driving up the price of food and killing people, and prevent poor people in Africa getting loans to build coal-fired, cheap power stations instead of inhaling smoke from wood fires cut from virgin forests."

Matt Ridley http://www.spectator.co.uk/features/9176121/armageddon-averted/

Monday, 18 August 2014

Background Briefings for Climate Teachers and Concerned Parents - SEPP's weekly compilation

The flood of materials about climate that comes out every week is liable to swamp anyone trying to keep up. The Science and Environmental Policy Project (SEPP) does a weekly email highlighting scientific papers, blog posts or materials in the mass media. You can scan this to find items of particular interest. For example, this week there is an item about the insertion of climate alarmism into English comprehension tests in the new and controversial 'Common Core' curriculum in the United States ( I have added the italics and bold):

'The eighth grade English test included several short written pieces that students had to read and respond to in order to demonstrate English mastery. One such piece was an article originally published on NASA’s website, “The Summer of 2012 –Too Hot To Handle?” The article discusses the high temperatures and drought during the summer of 2012 and looks at whether ordinary weather fluctuations or CO2-driven global warming are to blame.

After reading the article, students were asked to cite the article to describe the overall effect of increased CO2 emissions on the planet’s atmosphere. While the article included input from climate scientists John Christy, a climate change skeptic, the students’ answers were directed to focus exclusively on claims in favor of CO2-driven climate change.

A response receiving full credit will describe the effect of increased CO2 emissions by explaining the relationship between higher temperatures and increased CO2 in the atmosphere,” says an annotation provided for teachers afterwards. Several sample answers were included, with top-scoring answers describing CO2′s effects as including rising sea levels and higher surface temperatures.

The effect of increased CO2 emissions is that the atmosphere becomes a heat source itself… Also the average surface temperature of the entire Earth increases,” reads one answer that was awarded a perfect score.
Common Core standards cover only math and English, and do not concern science standards. Nevertheless, critics of the standards have frequently asserted that the standards will be used to push liberal political causesand questions like that on the New York exam are unlikely to appease them.'

[In the US, the word 'liberal' has been hi-jacked and now denotes 'left-wing' - and, given left-wingers' determination to control the lives and thoughts of others, that is quite a switch.]

You can sign up for the free newsletter here: http://www.sepp.org/newsletter_signup.cfm

You can obtain past issues here: http://www.sepp.org/the-week-that-was.cfm

Saturday, 16 August 2014

Climate Scaremongering Antidote: fight back with optimism and good cheer

'Compared with any time in the past half century, the world as a whole is today wealthier, healthier, happier, cleverer, cleaner, kinder, freer, safer, more peaceful and more equal.'

Matt Ridley, August 2014 : http://www.rationaloptimist.com/blog/reasons-to-be-cheerful-%281%29.aspx

One of the underpinnings of the pathological pessimism such as Paul Ehrlich and other extreme 'environmentalists' have promoted for decades is a sense of foreboding.  A sense that everything is getting worse, and that we need drastic, revolutionary change to have any hope of surviving.  Climate scaremongering is but one vehicle for such promotion, and it was one seized upon with relish by the likes of the Club of Rome, Maurice Strong, and sundry other modern millenarians whose biggest and most successful political monsters have been UNEP and the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC).

The deliberate insertion of climate scaremongering into schools and the mass media has harmed many.  Surveys of children reveal high levels of anxiety about the future.  Several such surveys are reported on here, along with more specific reports of children scared about climate:  http://climatelessons.blogspot.co.uk/p/climate-anxiety-reports-of-frightened.html

But as Matt Ridley points out in his book, The Rational Optimist, and in the recent article from which the quote above is taken, we humans are actually doing pretty well when it comes to progress.  This includes our ability to cope with climate variation.  Unfortunately we are still vulnerable to superstition and deliberate scaremongering, especially when it is dressed up in pseudo-scientific guises and treated with an astonishingly low level of critical review in the mass media.  The reality is that ...

There is a lot to be cheerful about. (hat-tip Richard Drake, http://www.bishop-hill.net/discussion/post/2396918).

And our children should be told about it.

Wednesday, 13 August 2014

10-minute trainer: Hansen's faulty faith at Wirth's Sauna Session in 1988

ScreenHunter_1907 Aug. 13 09.41
On a hot day in 1988, Hansen told this to the US Congress
His Bold Statement Transforms the Debate On Greenhouse Effect
He held up one die representing the climate for the period 1950-1980. Two sides were white for an average summer, and two other sides were blue for colder-than-average summers. The other two sides were red for hotter-than-average summers. Thus, on a roll of the die for that period, there were two chances in six of having a hot summer at any given location in the country.
Then Dr. Hansen picked up the die for the 1990’s and explained:
If our climate model calculations are approximately correct, the greenhouse warming in the 1990’s will be sufficient to shift the probabilities such that the chance of a hot summer in most of the country will be in the range of 55 to 80 percent. Four sides of the die are red. I believe it is obvious that the man in the street will notice that by then the dice are loaded. There will be more hot summers than normal, and the hottest ones will be hotter than they used to be.” 
His forecast couldn’t possibly have done any worse. He gave it during the hottest summer on record in DC, and this year has been second coolest
So far this year, less than 2.5% of days in Maryland have been over 90 degrees, which is the second lowest on record. Compare to the peak year of 1988, when over 19% of days through August 11 were over 90 degrees.
ScreenHunter_1906 Aug. 13 09.26
For the entire US, the frequency of 90 degree days has plummeted, and is near record lows
ScreenHunter_1910 Aug. 13 09.51

Tuesday, 12 August 2014

Teachers: prepare for a new piece of climate scaremongering guff – a button-badge, and fight back

The next 'last refuge' of the climate scoundrels?

Jo Nova has reacted to the new button-badge which has apparently been designed to give the climate scaremongering campaign a boost. The circular badge is mostly black, with a bit of green at the foot, perhaps to suggest a decaying plant stalk with just a hint of life left in it, and of course the circle is also used to invoke 'planet earth' since it comes with the tag-line 'It's Not Warming. It's Dying.' Jo has added a footnote to this latest piece of glib and irresponsble scaremongering to the effect that what may be dying is the fear of a carbon crisis.  Let us hope so.

The planet is, if anything, greening.  Furthermore, we humans are doing a pretty decent job of improving it wherever and whenever we have the spare wealth to do so.  And almost all of those countries which are still beset with great poverty and deprivation have been making spectacular progress in becoming wealthier.  Thanks in part to their increased use of fossil-fuels, just as those fuels were vital for the already developed nations.  They remain vital to us today, but we have several options that might allow us to reduce our use of them over the rest of this century if we should wish to do so, for example to reduce air pollution, or to conserve valuable chemical feedstocks.

If the climate scare campaigners start pushing these buttons at the school gates, or even from within your school, here are some links that expose the flimsy basis of this latest attempt to terrify the ill-informed and vulnerable in our societies:

(1) The IPCC is biased.  In a court of law, their case would not survive examination as a neutral brief.  It is blatant advocacy of a particular point of view.  It is not to be trusted for making a balanced case.  See this link for a legal analysis to this effect:  http://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=1612851 .  The IPCC makes the case for the prosecution of CO2, and it is a far from convincing one.  See this link for materials that expose the advocacy by marshalling the substantial scientific case for a calmer view of our impact on biological systems: Climate Change Reconsidered II: Biological Impacts.

Matt Ridley on 'greening'
(2) The  author of 'The Rational Optimist' (a book that would be good to see in every school's library, and staffroom) Matt Ridley appears in the following video to explain how the planet in greening, not least as a result of our CO2 and our wealth: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=S-nsU_DaIZE

Mueller Report

(3) The GWPF has published a short and informative report on the greening of the Sahara: http://www.thegwpf.org/images/stories/gwpf-reports/mueller-sahel.pdf

Doug Hoffman has also reported on other studies showing beneficial, greening, trends in recent years: http://theresilientearth.com/?q=content/going-green-rising-co2

Thursday, 19 June 2014

Taking a Break

Source: http://earth.nullschool.net/#current/wind/surface/level/orthographic=-14.76,84.65,349

My apologies to any regular visitors here, but I am taking a break from blogging for another couple of weeks or so.  In the meantime, here is an entrancing site showing recently estimated surface winds in an animation (with numerical values for speed and direction at any point clicked).  The view can be rotated and zoomed, and additional computer-model generated fields can be added (click on 'earth' at bottom left to get the menu):

Note added 3rd July.  The model gives a dramatic picture of tropical storm Arthur's surface winds off the east coast of the States:  http://earth.nullschool.net/#current/wind/surface/level/orthographic=-73.54,30.96,1512

Monday, 19 May 2014

Should teachers use the classroom for campaigning on climate change?

'Is the teaching of basic skills and basic knowledge not hard enough without adding the complication of deliberate political manipulation into the mix? Are teachers to be the willing servants of whichever government or ideological position happens to be currently fashionable or empowered? Are they also to willingly intervene between parents and their children in ways which seem intended to weaken the special bonds within a family?
I am particularly concerned with climate change and the associated wish of some powerful groups, not least in international agencies and NGOs, to make use of children as political tools with which to promote fundamental views about life, and even lifestyle and political choices, on to their parents. There are materials out there aimed at scaring children about their future, and surveys show that many are in fact living with a fear that they may not survive thanks to environmental catastrophes heading their way. There are materials aimed at distancing children from their own parents by persuading them, the children, that their parents are part of ‘the problem’ and need to be changed.
This combination of fear about the future and separation from previous sources of trust and guidance, are basic elements of brainwashing as described by Sowell (1993) in his book ‘Inside American Education’ where he provides several examples of such ‘stripping away of defences’ in schools in a range of programmes.
Andrew Montford and I have written a report entitled ‘Climate Control: Brainwashing in schools’ (GWPF, 2014) in which we focus on eco-alarms in general, and climate-related ones in particular. This was reported on here on the Schools Improvement Net (2014), where it attracted a few generally disparaging comments. None addressed our concerns that there may be widespread targeting of children in our schools with what amounts to eco-propaganda or, at the very least, inadequate treatment of important topics. But why should teachers be engaged at all with such campaigning in their classrooms and in extra-curricular events for their pupils? By all means, let them campaign with other adults, and engage them in debate on controversial issues. But surely it should be beneath them to seek to take advantage of their position in the classroom to try to persuade their pupils of their views?'

Extract from a guest post on the Schools Improvement site: http://schoolsimprovement.net/guest-post-teachers-classroom-campaigning-climate-change/

Friday, 9 May 2014

'Too many of today's "educators" see students as a captive audience for them to manipulate and propagandize.'

'There was a time when common sense and common decency counted for something. Educators felt a responsibility to equip students with solid skills that could take them anywhere they wanted to go in later life -- enable them to become doctors, engineers or whatever they wanted to be.

Too many of today's "educators" see students as a captive audience for them to manipulate and propagandize.'

The quotes above, and in the title of this post, are from an article by the scholar Thomas Sowell, published two days ago at Townhall.com under the title 'Moral Bankruptcy'.  The article is not about climate alarm or other eco-campaigning in schools, but it could have been.  It is about forced visits of children from a low income district of New York to a private school somewhere wealthier.  Sowell points out that this part of a shocking waste of educational time.  He notes:

 'When the low-income youngsters visited the posh private school, "they were just overwhelmed" by it, according to the New York Times. "One kid ran crying off campus." Apparently others felt "so disheartened about their own circumstances."
What earthly good did that do for these young people? Thank heaven no one was calloused enough to take me on a tour of a posh private school when I was growing up in Harlem.'
One imagines it was the brainwave of some determined campaigner for something or other who saw an opportunity to exploit the children for his or her own ends.  Let us note that surveys have shown anxious and despondent children scared by climate alarmism.  They too are no doubt 'disheartened about their own circumstances'.  Sowell was not impressed:
'No doubt those adults who believe in envy and resentment get their jollies from doing things like this -- and from feeling that they are creating future envy and resentment voters to forward the ideological agenda of the big government left.
But at the expense of kids?'
This was part of a programme which paired children from each of the two schools.  It not only upset some of them, but as Sowell points out, it wasted the time of the poor kids in particular:
'This school visit was not just an isolated event. It was part of a whole program of pairing individual youngsters from a poverty-stricken neighborhood with youngsters from families that can pay 43 grand a year for their schooling.
What do these kids do? They tell each other stories based on their young lives' unripened judgment. They go to a big park in the Bronx together and take part in a garden project there. They talk about issues like gun violence and race relations.
They have a whole lifetime ahead of them to talk about such issues. But poor kids, especially, have just one time, during their school years, to equip their minds with math, science and other solid skills that will give them a shot at a better life.
To squander their time on rap sessions and navel-gazing is unconscionable.
This is just one of many programs dreamed up by "educators" who seem determined to do anything except educate. They see school children as guinea pigs for their pet notions.'
The same kind of callousness or detachment from reality must be found in those who insist on scaring children into being political activists for 'sustainable development' or some other climate-scare driven activity.  Sowell finishes with these words, which could readily be applied to no end of climate-related materials and events aimed at school-children on and around climate alarms:
'At a time when American youngsters are consistently outperformed on international tests by youngsters in other countries, do we have the luxury of spending our children's time on things that will do absolutely nothing for them in the years ahead? Are children just playthings for adults?
Maybe the affluent kids can afford to waste their time this way, because they will be taken care of, one way or another, in later life.
But to squander the time of poor kids, for whom education is often their only hope of escaping poverty, is truly an irresponsible self-indulgence by adults who should know better, and it is one more sign of the moral bankruptcy of too many people in our schools.'