Yesterday's Wall Street Journal carried a Holman Jenkins Jr. column on the patron saint of rising ocean levels, Nobel Prize winner Al Gore, the former VP. It's a very good read, if you can get past the subscriber wall. I found one quote particularly interesting. Mr. Jenkins first notes the psychological work of another couple of Nobel Prize winners:
How this honor has befallen the former Veep could perhaps be explained by another Nobel, awarded in 2002 to Daniel Kahneman for work he and the late Amos Tversky did on "availability bias," roughly the human propensity to judge the validity of a proposition by how easily it comes to mind.
Their insight has been fruitful and multiplied: "Availability cascade" has been coined for the way a proposition can become irresistible simply by the media repeating it; "informational cascade" for the tendency to replace our beliefs with the crowd's beliefs; and "reputational cascade" for the rational incentive to do so.
Think "global warming" as both a concept and a slogan. It becomes irresistible to many to accept it as fact when, per their level of understanding, they have otherwise little basis to do so.
Later in the column Mr. Jenkins quotes a business associate of Mr. Gore's, Vinod Khosla, a venture capitalist with a firm interested in alternative energy investments:
Mr. Khosla told a recent Senate hearing: "One does not need to believe in climate change to support climate change legislation. . . . Many executives would prefer to deal with known legislation even if unwarranted."
Let me translate. "It doesn't matter to me if global warming exists and is man-created or not. I can make a boatload of money if you pass the laws, and the CEO's won't mind. They'll just pass the costs off to the consumer." That, in a nutshell, is reprehensible.
On second thought, let's look at his specific words. Acceptance of the truth of climate change is a "belief." Is such a belief warranted? What if the data don't support it?
No, really. What if the data don't support it?
The IPCC falsified data showing a sea level rise from 1992-2002 according to Dr. Nils-Axel Morner, former head of the Paleogeophysics and Geodynamics department at Stockholm University in Sweden. In an interview by George Murphy, Morner cites various examples of falsification of evidence claiming sea level rises.
Let's go to the original interview for the specifics.
So, for example, those people in the IPCC [Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change], choose Hong Kong, which has six tide gauges, and they choose the record of one, which gives 2.3 mm per year rise of sea level. Every geologist knows that that is a subsiding area. It's the compaction of sediment; it is the only record which you shouldn't use...
And that is just ridiculous. Not even ignorance could be responsible for a thing like that ... From 1992 to 2002, [the graph of the sea level] was a straight line, variability along a straight line, but absolutely no trend whatsoever. We could see those spikes: a very rapid rise, but then in half a year, they fall back again. But absolutely no trend, and to have a sea-level rise, you need a trend.
Then, in 2003, the same data set, which in their [IPCC's] publications, in their website, was a straight line—suddenly it changed, and showed a very strong line of uplift, 2.3 mm per year, the same as from the tide gauge. And that didn't look so nice. It looked as though they had recorded something; but they hadn't recorded anything. It was the original one which they had suddenly twisted up, because they entered a “correction factor,” which they took from the tide gauge.
"Not even ignorance could be responsible for a thing like that." So, what if sea levels aren't rising? Do you still "believe" and succumb to the availability cascade ...?
12/9/07 1325: And I'll be he flew there on a private jet, too.
"Al uses his position for great personal gain. He goes from event to event delivering a similar speech, earning a large fee, and a lot of the time he doesn't actually inform the audience.
"He refused to speak to journalists and security would usher away VIP guests and the Press.
"He was being very precious and demanded his own VIP room before the event, where he held his own exclusive reception.
"The other guests were cut off. It was very clear that many guests were disappointed by this."