'Finally, it is essential that intellectual integrity be restored to the scientific profession. Too much money has been devoted to funding global warming scientists, who have depended for their livelihood on a high level of public and political anxiety about global warming, and have hence tended to suppress the evidence against the popular hysteria. .... Enlightenment standards of scientific integrity have been subverted by government cash and media hysteria. For the sake of all our futures this must never be allowed to happen again.'
Martin Hutchinson, http://www.tbwns.com/2015/07/20/the-bears-lair-global-warming-hysteria-one-huge-ghastly-mistake/

Friday, 10 February 2012

First you scare ‘em, then you snare ‘em – how the UEA treats 13 and 14 year olds


That epicentre of scarequakes on climate and carbon dioxide, the University of East Anglia (UEA) has been lowering its sights recently to target more than 60 early teenagers in their neighbourhood. (hat-tip: Dave W).  Power Engineering carries the story, as does the print edition of the Norwich Evening News on 9th February (see below).  The impression it gives me is that they want them to be receptive to renewables as a source of energy, and at the same time get them involved in a scary scenario about a planetary emergency to get them on side.

Why would a university stoop to such a thing?  Let us first look at it:

First, you get the youngsters to imagine that fossil fuels have disappeared, that this is really scary, and that they must come up with ideas to save the world.  You pay an outside consultancy to do this, since it is one of their suite of activities for the young, and they no doubt have it down to a fine art.  Now by itself, I can imagine really good teachers, with the right type of pupils, engaging their attention in such a way (with no need of course to pay others to do so).  It is easy to imagine this could lead to lots of ideas and useful discussions.  But what about the rest of it?

Second, you bring in people with a vested interest in renewable energy (in this case AquaterraSeajacks and a tiny start-up called Wind Elements Ltd) and/or carbon reduction schemes and devices (in this case, Lotus Cars and  the University of East Anglia – the UEA, home of the Low Carbon Innovation Centre , commented on here in 2010, and of course of CRU, perhaps most widely known as the source of the Climategate materials ).  You arrange for the pupils to speed-date their way amongst them.

Third, you alert the press to what you are up to, perhaps invite them to be there.
 Fourth, you invite a children’s hero to attend, in this case a local footballer, perhaps in order to increase the possibility of a positive response from the press, and maybe even encourage more pupils to attend.

Now how does it look?  Can you imagine this happening in the old Soviet Union (‘First, imagine the capitalists have closed down all their businesses in some yet-to-be-liberated land, and you have to save the people there from starvation.  Second, let me introduce Commissar Crulcicski who wishes to tell the class about the new 5 year plan, and the glorious ideals of the Party.  You will each have to talk with him.  You need pay no attention to the comrade reporter from Pravda sitting at the back, but the famous footballer Stakhanovily Matthewski is here to distract deal with any technical questions that may arise.  Let us begin.’)


There’s more.  The no doubt well-intentioned facilitators of the simulation game (Camouflaged Learning) describe it as follows:
As the day begins, the students are informed that the Earth’s remaining reserves of fossil fuels have finally been exhausted and, as a result, the fabric of what we consider normal life has immediately started to crumble. No more light, no more heat, no more iPods. No more anything, in fact, meaning something needs to be done- and soon- before the world falls into total chaos.’

The UEA representative at the event is reported as hyping this up just a bit:

‘The students must solve the most catastrophic, significant and terrifying crisis imaginable – a world without power’, she said, ‘…It is essential that they act fast because, unless they’re successful, life as we know it could come to an end.’


If I were of a cynical disposition, I’d call this event ‘Camouflaged Selling – of renewables by the companies, and of alarmism by the university’.  Perish the thought.  Who would do such a thing with such young people?


Footnote
Poor pupils of Norwich.  A similar wheeze was followed by energy giant, EDF, last year at a high school in Norwich when they invited a famous athlete to attend a sustainability day of their devising.  To their credit though, it seems they might have skipped the bit where you first scare the kids:

“Days like these are something that pupils will remember for the rest of their lives and it is great that EDF Energy can combine this with a way of getting people together to fight climate change.”
It is hoped that the school’s sustainable efforts will inspire others in the local community to follow in its footsteps and think about what they can do differently in their lives to be greener.
Clive Steed, sustainability manager for EDF Energy said: “We can only tackle climate change effectively by taking action together. As a leading energy company, EDF Energy has an ethical responsibility and the expertise to inspire people to reduce their carbon footprint, which is why we kicked off Green Britain Day.’
 
More on EDF’s marketing-through-kids efforts here: http://www.jointhepod.org/