Posts Tagged ‘Alarmism’

Roll on midnight – or why the Doomsday Clock is an abdication to cowardice

August 10, 2014

August 6th is Hiroshima Day and it is now 69 years since the Enola Gay dropped its bomb and the nuclear weapons age began. In 2010, there were about 227,00 hibakusha (被爆者) still alive. In 1945, Hiroshima and Nagasaki met their Doom. But such is the resilience of man that, today, less than 4 generations later, both are thriving cities. Hiroshima has a population today of 1.2 million compared to the 340,000 before the bomb. For Hiroshima and Nagasaki their Doomsday Clocks reached midnight and moved on – into yet another day.

The Doomsday Clock was “invented” in 1947 and, of course is purely symbolic. It is “set” by a group of alarmists to represent the time left before a human induced catastrophe (nuclear war, global warming, genetic modification, disease …) strikes at the “symbolic” hour of midnight. But this symbolism is flawed, rather stupid and just plain wrong. They use midnight as a symbol of the end of things whereas – certainly for me and, I suspect, for most people – midnight is just the start of another day. And when that day ends there will be yet another one to come. When it was first set in 1947 the alarmists of the time reckoned that humanity was 7 minutes away from their “midnight”.  In 1953 the clock was set to 2 minutes to midnight. The time to catastrophe has gone up and down over the years and reached 17 minutes in 1991 when the Berlin Wall fell and optimism ran high – even among the professional pessimists. Currently pessimism has taken over again and we stand just 5 minutes from catastrophe.

Doomsday Clock - Wikipedia

Doomsday Clock – Wikipedia

The Doomsday Clock is nothing more than a subjective – and less than qualitative –  assessment of the state of the world by a group of alarmist pessimists.

Naom Chomsky has a new article in The Unz Review – “How many minutes to midnight”. I’m afraid I do not have the same high opinion of Chomsky – even on language which is his own field – that others seem to have . But on the concept of the Doomsday Clock and the time left for impending disaster, his article is little more than well written drivel. He looks down on most of humanity – apart from himself of course – with a great deal of contempt when he writes

…. August 6, 1945, the first day of the countdown to what may be the inglorious end of this strange species, which attained the intelligence to discover the effective means to destroy itself, but — so the evidence suggests — not the moral and intellectual capacity to control its worst instincts.

Chomsky’s article is not particularly insightful but it serves as an example of the cowardice that alarmists exhibit. Cowardice is the subjugation of actions to fear whereas courage is the subjugation of fears to actions for a purpose. Alarmism and the Doomsday Clock pander to fear. Catastrophe theories never – ever – come to pass. But raising false alarms gets headlines, gets funding and usually provides lucrative opportunities for some. Fending off Doomsday rather than working to some objective becomes the priority of the hour. Political action is diverted to avoidance rather than to achieve goals.

Roll on midnight – and the start of another day!

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Polar bears neither threatened nor endangered

June 10, 2014

It has become increasingly clear that polar bear numbers have been grossly (and probably intentionally) underestimated and that reality is beginning to displace the alarmist myth of the species being under threat. Canada has declined to classify the polar bears as being “threatened or endangered”.

This has not pleased the environmental priesthood  at all. The Center for Biological Diversity has lobbied heavily in the US against the Canadian decision not to toe the politically correct lineThey appealed to an international NAFTA environmental panel to “investigate”  Canada’s failure to implement NAFTA rules by failing to classify the thriving polar bears as “threatened and endangered”.

This appeal has been rejected.

Polar bears remain unthreatened and unendangered in Canada.

An international trade panel has decided not to review whether Canada is enforcing its own environmental legislation to protect its polar bear population.

photo Geoff York/Reuters

cbcnews:

An international trade panel has decided not to review whether Canada is enforcing its own environmental legislation to protect its polar bear population.

The Commission for Environmental Co-operation voted 2-1 to reject a request for an investigation into why Canada has chosen not to designate the bears as threatened or endangered. A U.S. environmental group had filed a submission claiming that decision leaves the bears without protection, despite the ongoing loss of their sea-ice habitat and resulting projections of declining numbers.

Related:

Activists pressure tactics to force Canada to list polar bears as ‘threatened’ have failed June 7th, 2014

Canada under international pressure to list polar bears as threatened, so far holds out January 27, 2013

Canada again under international pressure to list polar bears as threatened November 24, 2013

IPCC is still living in its world of “IF” and is stuck in denial

March 31, 2014

Institutionalised alarmism is difficult to stop. It has a momentum of its own.

There has been no global warming for almost 20 years.

The link between carbon dioxide as a significant cause of the non existent global warming is broken.

Yet, the IPCC has come out with part 2 of its wildly alarmist report.

Everything is based on IF.

Lead authors have resigned because the report is too alarmist.

The wolf is dead and they are still crying “Wolf”.

IF global warming continues we COULD be in trouble sometime after 2050.

BUT Global Warming has stalled and the IPCC is in denial

I just have to keep my head when others are losing theirs and dealing in lies-

If you can keep your head when all about you   
    Are losing theirs and blaming it on you,   
If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you,
    But make allowance for their doubting too;   
If you can wait and not be tired by waiting,
    Or being lied about, don’t deal in lies,
Or being hated, don’t give way to hating,
    And yet don’t look too good, nor talk too wise:
(Rudyard Kipling – IF)

Another meaningless Earth hour to ignore today

March 29, 2014

For the same reasons as last year, and all previous years, I shall not be turning down the heat or switching off any lights today.

Earth hour is a morally bankrupt, self-indulgent, “feel-good” gesture. It is a “cheap” and mean action. It does a disservice to humanity. It diverts attention from the real issues of development that face the world’s poor. And the availability of electric power is fundamentally necessary to this development.

Switching off power during Earth hour manifests a self-righteous and a morally bankrupt arrogance. I shall not though respond in kind by the equally arrogant gesture of  turning on all the lights in my house.

The numbers tell the tale:

The world per capita consumption of energy(in tons of oil equivalent – toe)  is about 1.85 toe in 2013 and varying from about 7 toe in the US to 0.2 in the least developed parts of the world. In Europe it is about 3.5 toe with India at about 0.5 toe and China at 0.6 toe.

World population will increase from 7 billion now and stabilise at about 10 billion by 2100. Assuming that most of the world can reach an average level of development commensurate with a total per capita energy consumption of around 3 toe, then total energy production (all sources) has to increase by a factor of 2.3 between now and 2100. There is no shortage of energy availability. Shale gas has removed even the perceived – but false – threat of that. Peak oil and peak gas have disappeared over the horizon. If the developing world is to develop, then this energy has to be consumed and will be produced.

Global warming is a mirage and Earth hour is meaningless.

Why insurance companies love alarmism

March 5, 2014

A fundamental for all insurance companies is that their profits are highest when perceived risk is higher than actual risk. There is a double benefit when the perceived risk can be hyped by alarmism  – whether about hurricanes or earthquakes or epidemics. The greater the alarmist meme, the higher the premiums that can be charged for the perceived risk. It is not surprising therefore that there is no insurance company which will publish a report – any report – about decreasing risks. It’s bad for business. But any alarmist report helps put up premiums for no increased risk. It is why many of them (and Munich Re comes easily to mind) employ many academics to produce alarmist reports. They find new risks to be alarmist about so that new insurance products can be invented.

And as Warren Buffet points out climate change alarmism has simply made hurricane insurance more profitable, driving up premiums without increasing risk”.

CNSNews: Any climate alarmist will tell you that climate change is increasing extreme weather events, but liberal billionaire Warren Buffett easily destroyed that argument.

Buffett told CNBC March 3, that extreme weather events haven’t increased due to climate change, saying that weather events are consistent with how they were 30-50 years ago. Buffett, who is heavily invested in various insurance markets, said that climate change alarmism has simply made hurricane insurance more profitable, driving up premiums without increasing risk

Buffett said the supposed increase in extreme weather “hasn’t been true so far, Joe. We always think it’s cold. We always think it’s cold in Omaha. But, it was cold in Omaha 50 years ago.”

CNBC’s Becky Quick asked Buffett on March 3’s “Squawk Box” if extreme weather events have increased, affecting insurance markets. Buffett responded that “the effects of climate change, if any, have not affected our – they have not affected the insurance market.”

Specifically, Buffett rejected claims that hurricanes have increased due to climate change, citing his experience in hurricane insurance. He said “we’ve been remarkably free of hurricanes in the United States in the last five years.” He added “If you are writing hurricane insurance, it has been all profit.”

Buffett compared the climate to previous decades, dismissing claims that weather events have been more unusual. He said “I think that the public has the impression that because there has been so much talk about climate, that events of the last 10 years, from an insured standpoint on climate, have been unusual. The answer is, they haven’t.”

 

Airport security and the monetisation of distrust

February 25, 2014

I am just back after a trip of 10 days and have suffered the travails of airport security at 5 airports.

It occurs to me that the behaviour of the security personnel (by definition composed of people required to follow a particular protocol and required NOT TO THINK) is primarily a measure of distrust.

  1. The “security” industry is just too large and too lucrative to disappear.
  2. Whether or not airport security achieves its purpose is not measurable and it is to the industry’s benefit that it not be measurable.
  3. The greater the inconvenience and hassle generated, the greater the perception that something useful is being achieved. (Hassle free security checks – which could be done – is not beneficial to the industry).
  4. The security checks are the single most disruptive and stressful part of the journey.
  5. Idiot security staff (chosen so since they are not required to think) are vested with a power to ruin your travel experience and doing so is one of the little pleasures they have in their jobs. They are more formidable than any immigration control officer.

Distrust has been monetised and some industries are making a killing. It is the monetisation of the precautionary principle where it pays handsomely to be alarmist.

I will not see a return in my lifetime to the days when the travel itself was a pleasurable experience. Those days are long since gone and will probably never return.

Fortunately it is still exciting to arrive.

2013 report card – the year some alarmist bubbles burst

December 31, 2013
  • The global warming fantasy is falling apart
  • Fossil fuels have no significant part to play in climate
  • There is no over-population crisis as fertility rates decrease globally (but there may be a population decline by 2100)
  • There is no food crisis 
  • Poverty levels have decreased globally and are continuing to decrease
  • Infant mortality rates have decreased globally and are continuing to decrease
  • Nuclear power policy is beginning to recognise that fears about safety (Three Mile Island, Chernobyl and Fukushima not withstanding) are grossly exaggerated
  • Shale gas and methane hydrates have delayed any energy crisis by about 1,000 years
  • Fossil fuels and nuclear power are recognised as being critical in withstanding a Little Ice Age or a new glaciation
  • There is no resource crisis (whether for fuels or rare earths or trace metals), and finding new sources or alternatives responds to need and demand
  • There is no crisis of culture as Occidental decadence and Oriental thrift are combining to rejuvenate a global culture
  • Longevity is increasing
  • The crisis of religious fanaticism continues and will remain till religion becomes obsolete
  • The days of the nation states and their tensions are not yet over
  • The conflict between individuals and authoritarian societies continues (irrespective of type of political system they exist in)
  • Parents are increasingly abdicating their responsibilities for their children and passing them on to society
  • “Fact” is being increasingly determined by majority opinion
  • “Consensus” of belief rather than evidence is being taken as proof of scientific hypotheses
  • Aging is increasing but the elderly are underused
  • Democracies are getting less democratic
  • “Democracy” is over-rated

Global cooling alarmism of the 1970’s

December 23, 2013

What remains constant is Alarmism.

If it is not global warming it is global cooling or the ozone hole or population or food shortages or water shortages or energy shortages. It does not matter what is to cause the catastrophe. What is important to some people is to assert that a catastrophe – any catastrophe – will happen if we don’t do as they say.

Which is of course why anybody with any kind of a catastrophe scenario (including the IPCC) must be treated with the utmost suspicion and subjected to the most rigorous, inquisitorial scepticism possible.

Popular Technology carried an excellent round-up of the Global Cooling Alamism of the 1970’s. And it is often the same Alarmists who are now bleating about Global Warming.

Just a couple of examples:

While a silent majority of the scientific community may have been more skeptical, you ironically find one of the most outspoken supporters of modern day Al Gore style global warming alarmism was promoting global cooling in the 1970s, the late Dr. Steven Schneider;

and

From the BBC’s 1974 documentary, “The Weather Machine”;
The ice age is due now anytime – Professor George Kukla, Columbia University, 1974

In a few years we will be back to Ice Age Alarmism. Perhaps easily duped politicians will introduce incentives to consume more energy and hold back the advance of the ice-sheets!

UK maintains a stiff upper lip as the great St. Jude’s storm drizzles past

October 28, 2013

Well the St. Jude’s storm  came and it is going. It will be gone in about 3 hours.

Some people apparently noticed it.

There has been more disruption by precautionary measures than by the storm itself. “Precautionary” measures have included cancellation of trains and planes and buses. Some consumers had their electricity turned off in areas where damage was possible. It was going to be the greatest storm since 1987!

The reality is just sinking in. Leaves have been blown down. They have been blowing about chaotically. Waves have crashed on to land in several coastal areas. They could be seen reaching the shore in Brighton. In the worst hit areas some twigs were violently torn of the trees and blown several feet away. Flags flapped ominously outside Broadcasting House where the intrepid BBC Radio reporter braved the storm of the century. The wind was clearly audible. It may not have been raining but our reporter could only see a very few patches of blue sky.

The Met Office spokesman is on air just now explaining – defending – the alarmism. He admitted that this was not a hurricane but they never said it was going to be one. And in any event, even if the storm would pass the UK within about 3 hours it could cause great damage in Denmark and the Netherlands and northern Germany!

Ripples in a tea-cup. A listener has just complained that he does not really need the mighty BBC news machine to inform him that flags can flap in the wind.

This comment from a Guardian reader just about sums it up:

flaviaforbes

Looking outside my bedroom window here in Birmingham I can hardly believe the scale of the destruction. At least 5 wet, shattered, leaves, are lying haphazardly across my back garden, creating a biblical scene of leaf-chaos. At the front of the house, last nights gale has wrenched a Lidl plastic bag and a Twix wrapper from their usual resting places in the gutter, and they now lie, a full four feet away, against my door step. And dont get me started on the rain! There’s enough water on the windscreen of my car to necessitate me using the wipers at least once to clear it.

Its a sobering reminder what nature is capable of. Thank God we were warned.

Phailin came and Phailin went: Alarmists and Warmists disappointed

October 13, 2013

Cyclone Phaelin came and it has now gone.

The Greens around the world are somewhat disappointed that many thousands have not died.

It was a very severe cyclone when it hit (windspeed 200km/h) but it did not reach the classification as a Super Cyclone (>220km/h windspeed).

It was a massive evacuation and that itself was somethiing of an achievement. More than 600,000 (and maybe as many as 1 million) moved or were moved out of harms way. 7 are known to have died in cyclone related events (falling trees in the main). Damage reports have yet to be assessed. Some fishermen are known to be stranded. The military is mobilised and stands ready for rescue and rehabilitation.

The Indian Meteorological community got it about right. But there were those who predicted that it would not only be a Super Cyclone at 220km/h but would be a Super Dooper Cyclone with winds up to 315km/h.

The US Navy’s Joint Typhoon Warning Center (JTWC) in Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, on Friday said Phailin is now expected to break the Indian Ocean intensity record set by the 1999 Cyclone in which at least 9,000 people were killed in Odisha.

Alarmists started criticising the preparations and the evacuations and suggested it would be worse than 1999 where at least 15,000 (unofficially 45,000) died. The Global Warmists at Huffington Post almost seemed to want the loss of life to be as high as possible so that they could blame Global warming (but note that they manage to blame any untoward weather event on Global Warming)

India should rename this meaningless obfuscation and call attention to global warming immediately. .. The anthropogenic global warming caused by accumulation of greenhouse gases is making the oceans warmer, which in turn is causing more frequent and more intense cyclones/hurricanes and floods.

Needless to say the Environ-Mentalists at Greenpeace were also hoping for a major disaster

Intense and destructive storms are likely to occur more frequently as global warming intensifies, Greenpeace said Saturday. “Such intense and destructive storms are likely to become more frequent in the future as global warming intensifies.  India member Biswajit Mohanty. According to the organisation, cyclone Phailin which is expected to hit the coastal areas of Odisha and Andhra Pradesh is likely to be the strongest such to affect India in 14 years, since the 1999 Odisha cyclone.

The Green Brigade conveniently forget that a Super Cyclone is generated in the Bay of Bengal every 10-20 years. It is a natural phenomenon known for at least the last 200 years. The super Cyclone of 1970 killed over 500,000 people. And the lessons learned since 1999, the major evacuation and the other preparations made seem to have achieved their objective and minimised the loss of life.

It was a severe storm and has surely caused some significant damage. But it is something which happens regularly and not anything unprecedented. It was not a Super Cyclone.

And it was nowhere near the major disaster that Alarmists, Greenpeace, Global Warmists and Environ-Mentalists were hoping for.


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