We’ve still to wake up from the nightmare of the Swinging Sixties

The Swinging Sixties: the decade people became more liberated – or the beginning of a night-mare? (R. Powell/Daily Express/Getty Images)
The Swinging Sixties: the decade people became more liberated – or the beginning of a night-mare? (R. Powell/Daily Express/Getty Images)

Every day our age seems to be getting madder and madder, in defiance of the notion that man is a rational creature and of the even more risible Whiggish narrative that we’re on a path of continual progress.

I’ll give you some examples: the murder of women’s sport by the transgender agenda; the rejection of nuclear power in favour of renewables; HS2; the possible prosecution of the Bloody Sunday paratroopers; the articles celebrating Shamima Begum as a victim; the idea that only gay actors should play gay characters; the government’s wilful rejection of the biggest popular mandate in British history.

I could go on, as I’m sure could you, but I won’t because it’s too depressing. Instead, I want to tell you about a marvellous book, now celebrating its 50th anniversary but still hugely fresh, perceptive and readable, which will help you put all these horrors into perspective and teach you to be more philosophical: Christopher Booker’s 1969 classic The Neophiliacs.

Read the rest in the Spectator.

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Climategate 2.0: junk science 101 with Michael Mann

At last, I’ve arrived.

Michael Mann: isn’t he pretty?

Michael Mann, inventor of the Hockey Stick, has written to the Wall Street Journal branding me a “denier” and a “contrarian” and “silly.” These are badges of honour I shall wear with pride.

The letter is interesting for lots of reasons, not least its grotesque hypocrisy. “In recent years”, he writes, “attacks on climate science have become personal” – as if somehow the real victims of all this are not the innocent taxpayers being screwed to pay for the great green boondoggle, but ordinary decent climate scientists like Mann and his Hockey Team just trying to get on and do their job.

Every snowflake is unique, but attacks on climate science all seem the same. I should know. I’ve been one of the climate contrarians’ preferred targets for years.

Has Mann actually read any of the Climategate and Climategate 2.0 emails, I wonder? A lot of them have his name on them, so he must have done at one time or another. But perhaps with all that data-fudging and decline-hiding his brain has been overtaxed of late. So let us gently jog his memory with some examples.

Here’s one from New Zealand. (H/T WUWT) It’s 2003 and a Kiwi scientist called Chris de Freitas has published in a journal called Climate Research a meta-analysis by some Harvard astronomers Soon & Baliunas of all the papers that have been written on the Medieval Warming Period (MWP). The conclusion of Soon & Baliunas? That the vast majority of published, peer-reviewed papers on the MWP conclude that it was both geographically widespread (not, as Warmists and their amen corner in Wikipedia like to pretend, a little local anomaly confined to Northern Europe) and significantly warmer than now.

This irritates Michael Mann and his Hockey Team no end, for it contradicts their view that late 20th century warming is both unprecedented and catastrophic. So how do they respond? Do they counter it with new, learned papers demonstrating in closely illustrated detail just where Soon & Baliunas have got it wrong?

Of course they don’t!

Instead, what they do is gang up to shoot the messenger. They conspire to have Climate Research closed down; to have Chris de Freitas sacked; then, they write to the head of his university in Auckland to see if they can’t get de Freitas deprived of his living too. Nice!

Dr Pat Michaels has another good example of this delightful behaviour by members of Mann’s “Team.”

In Forbes magazine, he writes an open letter to the director of the National Center for Atmospheric Research in Boulder, Colorado, describing how one of his “most prestigious employees” Dr Tom Wigley sought to have Michaels deprived of his PhD.

Dr Wigley’s evidence for this potentially libellous claim, widely circulated to a large number of his fellow climate “scientists”? None whatsoever.

But hey, as Mann has taught us many times over the years, who needs evidence or facts when you can go straight in for good old character assassination instead.

This, though, is wearisomely familiar stuff to anyone who has been following the Climategate story. What’s perhaps more interesting about Mann’s WSJ letter is his citation of the lead-in-petrol example from a few years back to try to bolster the credibility of his own brand of climate junk science. As we’ll see, he may have cause to regret this.

Here’s what he says in the letter:

Climate scientists can also find kinship with Dr. Herbert Needleman, who identified a link between lead contamination and impaired childhood brain development in the 1970s. The lead industry accused him of misconduct. Later, the National Institutes of Health exonerated him.

Hmm. The Needleman affair is covered very thoroughly in Christopher Booker’s and Richard North’s Scared To Death (Continuum). It does not reflect at all well on the junk science scare industry.

Dr Herbert Needleman was a US child psychologist who generated headlines in 1979 with his research paper showing that lead poisoning was dramatically affecting children’s IQs. This “evidence” became a vital plank in the case of the Environmental Protection Agency’s regulations from 1986 onwards to have almost all lead removed from petrol. Just one problem: Needleman’s study was about as reliable as Michael Mann’s Hockey Stick.

In the Needleman affair, the McIntyre/McKitrick role was played by another academic child psychologist Dr Claire Ernhart, who worked in the same field as Needleman. She noted that Needleman’s research was based on serious methodological flaws. In particular, she claimed that he had not sufficiently allowed for “confounding variables” that might have explained the difference in IQ scores such as poor schools or parental neglect.

When an expert panel from the EPA tried looking into this, however, Needleman proved as reluctant to reveal the basis of his research as Mann did with raw data underpinning his Hockey Stick.

According to Booker/North:

“When in 1983 the panel visited Needleman’s laboratory to look at his data, he handed over six books of computer printouts, but said that only two panel members could examine them, and only for two hours.”

“Even during this cursory study, the panel found enough evidence to arouse profound doubts about Needleman’s research. Although starting with 3,329 children, he had winnowed out so many, often for apparently arbitrary reasons, that he had ended up basing his conclusions first on 270 subjects, then on just 158. ‘Exclusion of large numbers of eligible participants’ the panel concluded, ‘could have resulted in systematic bias’. In other words, it looked to the panel as though he might have selected his evidence to give the results he wanted.”

Lone bristlecone pines, anyone?

The expert panel concluded that Needleman’s studies “neither support nor refute the hypothesis that low or moderate levels of Pb (lead) exposure lead to cognitive or other behavioural impairments in children.” In other words, that his researches were valueless.

But hey, guess what happened then. Pressure was applied. The expert panel – for reasons which were never satisfactorily explained – completely reversed its decision. And the head of the EPA William Ruckelshaus (the same man responsible for the DDT ban which effectively condemned millions in the third world to die of malaria) was able to use Needleman’s study as the basis for doing what the EPA and environmental campaigners had been wanting to do anyway: ban lead from petrol.

Unsurprisingly, the EU soon eagerly followed suit. As even the Eu Commission admitted, the new rules would cost consumers an additional £4.8 billion a year, raise the average cost of a car by up to £600 a year and force oil companies into £70 billion-worth of new investment. Oh, and also, EU studies estimated, the switch to unleaded (it being less efficient than leaded) would also result in the creation of 15-17 million tonnes a year more greenhouse gas emissions.

But hey, as Michael Mann and his Team could surely tell us, when you’re trying to save the world from non-existent threat no price is too great to pay.

Related posts:

  1. Climategate: sack ‘no longer credible’ Michael Mann from IPCC urges climatologist
  2. Michael Mann as innocent as OJ – possibly more so – finds internal Penn State investigation
  3. Inventor of Mann-made global warming feels the heat
  4. Climategate: how the MSM reported the greatest scandal in modern science

 

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There Is Nothing Cuddly about the WWF

Today in the Sunday Telegraph my colleague Christopher Booker breaks possibly the most important environmental story since Climategate: a devious plan, truly Blofeldian in its scope and menace, by a hard-left-leaning activist body to gain massive global political leverage and earn stupendous sums of money by exploiting and manipulating the world carbon trading market.

My cynical prediction is that this vitally important story will gain little traction in the wider media, especially not with organisations like the BBC. Why? Because the activist body in question has a lovely, cuddly panda as its motif, and a reputation – brainwashed into children from an early age – for truly caring about the state of our planet. What’s more, this latest campaign by the WWF (formerly the World Wildlife Fund) is very easy to spin as something unimpeachably noble and right. After all, what kind of fascistic, Gaia-hating sicko would you have to be NOT to applaud a delightful heartwarming scheme to buy up whole swathes of the beauteous, diversity-rich, Na’avi-style, Truffula-tree dotted Amazon rainforest to preserve it for all time from the depredations of evil loggers, cattleranchers and other such profiteering scum?

Hence the understandably cautious tone in Booker’s opening par:

If the world’s largest, richest environmental campaigning group, the WWF – formerly the World Wildlife Fund – announced that it was playing a leading role in a scheme to preserve an area of the Amazon rainforest twice the size of Switzerland, many people might applaud, thinking this was just the kind of cause the WWF was set up to promote. Amazonia has long been near the top of the list of the world’s environmental cconcerns, not just because it includes easily the largest and most bio-diverse area of rainforest on the planet, but because its billions of trees contain the world’s largest land-based store of CO2 – so any serious threat to the forest can be portrayed as a major contributor to global warming.

Only after this nod to fashionable concerns is Booker able to stick in the knife:

If it then emerged, however, that a hidden agenda of the scheme to preserve this chunk of the forest was to allow the WWF and its partners to share the selling of carbon credits worth $60 billion, to enable firms in the industrial world to carry on emitting CO2 just as before, more than a few eyebrows might be raised. The idea is that credits representing the CO2 locked into this particular area of jungle – so remote that it is not under any threat – should be sold on the international market, allowing thousands of companies in the developed world to buy their way out of having to restrict their carbon emissions. The net effect would simply be to make the WWF and its partners much richer while making no contribution to lowering overall CO2 emissions.
WWF, which already earns £400 million yearly, much of it contributed by governments and taxpayers, has long been at the centre of efforts to talk up the threat to the Amazon rainforest – as shown recently by the furore over a much-publicised passage in the 2007 report of the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. The IPCC’s claim that 40 per cent of the forest is threatened by global warming, it turned out, was not based on any scientific evidence, but simply on WWF propaganda, which had wholly distorted the findings of an earlier study on the threat posed to the forest, not by climate change but by logging.

Read the full story here. Then, for even more grisly details – about how, for example, the WWF’s scheme rides roughshod over the interests of native peoples, in way that might rather shock those who think of the organisation purely in terms of that cute panda – turn to Richard North’s comprehensive analysis at Eureferendum. The work North and Booker have done exposing the great AGW scam is quite beyond admiration. Truly they are the McIntyre and McKitrick of British journalism.

But why does the story matter so much? Because it goes to the heart of what is truly the most shocking and evil aspect of the Global Warming Industry: the way democratically unaccountable – but quite astonishingly well-funded – activist groups like the WWF (annual income: £400 MILLION) have been able to subvert the scientific process, and coax and bully politicians into making policies which will benefit the environment barely one jot, but which will fleece the taxpayer, increase energy bills, and make a handful of filthy rich investors even richer. If this scheme ever comes off – and it still might, if Americans are foolish enough to vote for Cap and Trade – then the WWF will have the financial clout of decent mid-ranking economy and a political influence as great as any G8 nation. For WWF, read New World Order.

Related posts:

  1. After Climategate, Pachaurigate and Glaciergate: Amazongate
  2. ‘Global warming’: time to get angry
  3. Meet the man who has exposed the great climate change con trick
  4. Memo to Prince Charles: CO2 is not a pollutant. CO2 is plant food.

 

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