People for the West -Tucson
Newsletter, November, 2020
PO Box 86868, Tucson, AZ 85754-6868
Real environmentalism can go hand in hand with natural resource production, private property rights, and access to public lands
BIASES AND FALLACIES IN LIFE, SCIENCE, AND POLITICS
I’m sending out the November newsletter early to avoid it being lost in possible post-election chaos. We start with an informative, philosophical article on biases and fallacies by Dr. Judith Curry, former Professor and Chair of the School of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences at the Georgia Institute of Technology and currently President (co-owner) of Climate Forecast Applications Network (CFAN).
How we fool ourselves
by Dr. Judith Curry
“The first principle is that you must not fool yourself, and you are the easiest person to fool.” – physicist Richard Feynman
Cognitive biases relate to self-deception that leads to incorrect conclusions based on cognitive factors, including information-processing shortcuts . Cognitive biases can abound when reasoning and making judgments about a complex problem such as climate change.
Cognitive biases affecting belief formation that are of particular relevance to the science of climate change include:
Confirmation bias: the tendency to search for or interpret information in a way that confirms one’s preconceptions.
Anchoring bias: the tendency to rely too heavily on one trait or piece of information, such as the mean or previous results.
Framing bias: using an approach that is too narrow that pre-ordains the conclusion.
Overconfidence effect: unjustified, excessive belief.
Illusory correlations: false identification of relationships with rare or novel occurrences.
Ambiguity effect: the tendency to avoid options for which the probability of a favorable outcome is unknown.
Self-serving bias: a tendency for people to evaluate information in a way that is beneficial to their interests.
Belief bias: evaluating the logical strength of an argument based on belief in the truth or falsity of the conclusion.
Availability heuristic: The tendency to overestimate the likelihood of events with greater ‘availability’ in memory, which can be influenced by how recent the memories are or how unusual or emotionally charged they may be.
A fallacy is logically incorrect reasoning that undermines the logical validity of the argument and leads to its assessment as unsound. There are many different classifications of fallacies. Below are some fallacies that I’ve seen used in arguments about climate science:
Begging the question is a fallacy occurring in deductive reasoning in which the proposition to be proved is assumed implicitly or explicitly in one of the premises.
Correlation implies causation is a logical fallacy by which two events that occur together are claimed to be cause and effect.
Fallacy of distribution occurs when an argument assumes that what is true of the members is true of the class (composition), or what is true of the class is true of its members (division). [My note: An example of this is so-called “white supremacy” or racism.]
Hasty generalization is the logical fallacy of reaching an inductive generalization based on too little evidence.
Statistical special pleading occurs when the interpretation of the relevant statistic is ‘massaged’ by looking for ways to reclassify or requantify data from one portion of results, but not applying the same scrutiny to other categories.
Fallacy of the single cause occurs when it is assumed that there is one simple cause of an outcome when in reality it may have been caused by a number of only jointly sufficient causes.
The category of intentional fallacies is not about how we fool ourselves, but how we try to fool others. Examples of intentional fallacies used routinely in the public debate on climate change include:
Diverting the argument to unrelated issues with a red herring(ignoratio elenchi).
Ad hominem fallacy: asserting that an argument is wrong because of something discreditable/not authoritative about the person? making the argument.
Appeal to motive: challenging a thesis by calling into question the motives of its proposer.
Asserting that everyone agrees (argumentum ad populum, bandwagoning)
Creating a ‘false dilemma’ (either-or fallacy) in which the situation is oversimplified
Selectively using facts (card stacking)
Making false or misleading comparisons (false equivalence and false analogy)
Appeal to consequences of belief (argumentum ad consequentiam): an appeal to emotion that concludes a hypothesis or belief to be either true or false based on whether the premise leads to desirable or undesirable consequences. ☼
What is the ideal global temperature?
by Jonathan DuHamel
It is a tenet of climate alarmism that the world will end if global temperatures exceed two degrees Celsius (now it’s down to 1.5 degrees). The trouble with that claim is that we’ve been there and done that and nothing bad happened. During the past 10,000 years (the Holocene), Earth experienced several cycles of warming and cooling which exceeded the mythical two degree limit.
(See my post: Who Is Afraid of Two Degrees of Warming?)
How Dangerous (or uncommon) is a Temperature Rise of 2°C above Preindustrial Values?
Many people (including the IPCC) are concerned that if the modern warming trend continues and reaches a value that is more than 2°C above pre-industrial times, a climate catastrophe will ensue. Thus the collective mantra of climate alarmists has long been to restrict all warming below this magical value: warming below 2°C is somehow okay, while warming above 2°C will unleash end-of-world disaster.
An easy way to gain insight into just how dangerous such warming could be is to look to the past — to see if temperatures have ever risen above the so-called “dangerous” 2°C above preindustrial value threshold and if climate Armageddon indeed ensued.
A recent paper examines the details of this record, found considerable decadal variability of temperatures superimposed on a long-term warming trend of more than 6°C from the start of the record until around AD 400. Thereafter temperatures follow a general decline toward the present, with brief warming trends during medieval times and the most recent century interrupting the longer-term cooling trend.
Such supposedly treacherous times of unsafe warming were reached during the Medieval Warm Period (~AD 1200-1400), the Roman Warm Period (~AD 0-550), and during an earlier warm period centered around 500 BC. And how “dangerous” was this warming effect on humanity? This five-century-long period of temperatures within the purported dangerous zone was “characterized by [human] prosperity and expansion,” which warming ultimately brought about conditions that “developed the greatest ancient civilization of all time, the Roman one.”
A New study claims planets’ ‘5 C degrees hotter’ than Earth are the ‘ideal’ temperature & ‘more habitable’
By Robert Vislocky, Ph.D.
A new study from Washington State University identifies two dozen planets outside our solar system that they claim would be more habitable than Earth. What is especially eye-catching is the criteria behind why these planets are considered super-habitable: “older, a little larger, slightly warmer and possibly wetter than Earth.” Even more intriguing is what the researchers (the lead author of which is a geobiologist) consider to be “slightly warmer”. This is clarified farther into the article where it states “a mean surface temperature of about 5 degrees Celsius (or about 8 degrees Fahrenheit) greater than Earth, together with the additional moisture, would be also better for life.” That blows away the so-called 1.5°C tipping point, which we all know is a number picked out of a hat for political reasons. All the efforts to cut CO2 emissions are allegedly designed to avoid such a temperature increase. (Read more) (Read Full Study) ☼
New Study Finds Robust Statistical Probability Temperature Drives CO2 Changes, Upending ‘Scientific Perception’
By Kenneth Richard
Prompted by the observation that dramatic COVID-related reductions in 2020 human CO2 emissions had zero impact on the Earth’s CO2 concentration, two scientists conduct extensive statistical probability analyses to conclude temperature changes lead CO2 changes, not the other way around. (Read more) ☼
UN Contradicts Its Own Data to Promote Weather Disaster Alarm
By H. Sterling Burnett
A new report issued by the United Nations World Meteorological Agency (WMA), “titled The Human Cost of Disasters,” says climate change is causing more frequent and severe weather disasters each year. PBS and other mainstream media outlets uncritically reported on the WMA report. The U.N.’s own data, however, show the claims in the report are false. In particular WMA says drought, floods, hurricanes, and wildfires have increased in number and severity in recent decades as “global warming,” has made the weather more extreme. However, WMA’s data show the number of weather related disasters has declined by 15 percent since 2000, as the earth has modestly warmed. (Read more)
Mean and Unclean: Electric Cars Powered by Child Labor in Africa
by Steve Milloy
The makers of wind turbines, solar panels, electric vehicles and other supposedly environment-friendly technologies, as well as the green activists, politicians and bureaucrats who promote and support them with our tax dollars,continually claim that these technologies are ‘green,’ ‘clean’ and ’just.’ Is that true? In this premier edition of our new series “Mean and Unclean,” JunkScience.com explores the African child labor cruelly exploited to make electric cars go. (Read more) ☼
Study: Renewable Energy does Nothing to Reduce CO2 Emissions
by Eric Worrall (Read article)
Concern for climate change is one of the drivers of new, transitional energy policies oriented towards economic growth and energy security, along with reduced greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and preservation of biodiversity. Since 2010, the Climate Policy Initiative (CPI) has been publishing annual Global Landscape of Climate Finance reports. According to these reports, US$3,660 billion has been spent on global climate change projects over the period 2011–2018. Fifty-five percent of this expenditure has gone to wind and solar energy. According to world energy reports, the contribution of wind and solar to world energy consumption has increased from 0.5% to 3% over this period. Meanwhile, coal, oil, and gas continue to supply 85% of the world’s energy consumption, with hydroelectricity and nuclear providing most of the remainder. With this in mind, we consider the potential engineering challenges and environmental and socioeconomic impacts of the main energy sources (old and new). We find that the literature raises many concerns about the engineering feasibility as well as environmental impacts of wind and solar. However, none of the current or proposed energy sources is a “panacea”. Rather, each technology has pros and cons, and policy-makers should be aware of the cons as well as the pros when making energy policy decisions. We urge policy-makers to identify which priorities are most important to them, and which priorities they are prepared to compromise on. (Read full paper 61 pages)
“Many researchers are concerned about the negative impacts that “green energies” have on biodiversity…Compared with hydrocarbons, green machines entail, on average, a 10-fold increase in the quantities of materials extracted and processed to produce the same amount of energy.” Some note that large-scale wind farms can cause significant local climate change…” “Wind farms cause an increase in the average ground and soil temperature downwind from the turbines at night…” This warming increases CO2 emissions from soil respiration. Globally, “the annual biological CO2 emissions from soil respiration are at least ten times greater than the total annual anthropogenic CO2 emissions.”
Surprising science – There’s no such thing as clean energy
by Anthony Watts
A meticulous new review published in the scientific journal, Energies, conducted by a team of Irish and US-based researchers including CERES researchers, raises surprising and unsettling questions about the feasibility and the environmental impacts of the transition to renewable energy sources. Concern for climate change has driven massive investment in new “green energy” policies intended to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and other environmental impacts from the fossil fuel industry. The world spent US$3,660 billion ($3.66 trillion) on climate change projects over the eight-year period 2011–2018. A total of 55% of this sum was spent on solar and wind energy, while only 5% was spent on adapting to the impacts of extreme weather events.
The researchers discovered that renewable energy sources sometimes contribute to problems they were designed to solve. For example, a series of international studies have found that both wind and solar farms are themselves causing local climate change. Wind farms increase the temperature of the soil beneath them, and this warming causes soil microbes to release more carbon dioxide. So, ironically, while wind energy might be partially reducing human “carbon emissions”, it is also increasing the “carbon emissions” from natural sources.
Green energy technologies require a 10-fold increase in mineral extraction compared to fossil fuel electricity. Similarly, replacing just 50 million of the world’s estimated 1.3 billion cars with electric vehicles would require more than doubling the world’s annual production of cobalt, neodymium, and lithium, and using more than half the world’s current annual copper production.
Solar and wind farms also need 100 times the land area of fossil fuel-generated electricity, and these resulting changes in land use can have a devastating effect on biodiversity. (Read more)
Wildfires and the spotted owl hoax
By Bonner Cohen, Ph. D.
The owls have come home to roost.
In a world convulsed by COVID-19, economic lockdowns, urban violence, and a presidential election, some may find it hard to believe that 30 years ago the nation was in the grips of a raging dispute over – owls. Not just any owl, mind you, but the northern spotted owl, a winged predator and longtime resident of the forests in the Pacific Northwest.
Even those who remember the conflict have for the most part filed it away, along with other “current events” that no longer seem current. But the spotted owl is back, and it’s back with a vengeance.
Rapidly spreading wildfires have laid waste to hundreds of thousands of acres of timberland and grassland, destroyed homes and businesses, and killed dozens of people in an area stretching from western Oregon south to Napa and Sonoma counties in California’s wine country. The fires took advantage of the region’s hopelessly overgrown forests, which provide combustible fuel for the destructive conflagrations.
And that’s where the spotted owl comes in.
As a result of the owl’s being placed on the federal Endangered Species List in 1990, severe restrictions were placed on the cutting of trees on millions of acres in the region’s national forests. The listing of the owl under the Endangered Species Act (ESA) devastated timber-dependent communities throughout the region and, as it turns out, inflicted enormous ecological harm on the region’s forests.
How it came to that is a story well worth retelling. (Read more) ☼
Thoughts from George Orwell:
“Political language is designed to make lies sound truthful and murder respectable, and to give an appearance of solidity to pure wind. ”
“If liberty means anything at all, it means the right to tell people what they do not want to hear.”
“Every generation imagines itself to be more intelligent than the one that went before it, and wiser than the one that comes after it.”
“The most effective way to destroy people is to deny and obliterate their own understanding of their history.”
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1) Support private property rights.
2) Support multiple use management of federal lands for agriculture, livestock grazing, mining, oil and gas production, recreation, timber harvesting and water development activities.
3) Support a balance of environmental responsibility and economic benefit for all Americans by urging that environmental policy be based on good science and sound economic principles.
Newsletters can be viewed online on Jonathan’s Wryheat Blog:
See my essay on climate change:
The Constitution is the real contract with America.
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People for the West – Tucson, Inc.
PO Box 86868
Tucson, AZ 85754-6868
Jonathan DuHamel, President & Editor
Dr. John Forrester, Vice President
Lonni Lees, Associate Editor
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