Friday, March 18, 2005

Global Warming and The Psychology of Leftists

According to Dr. John Ray, a psychometrician from Brisbane, Australia, Leftists are people who are “motivated by strong ego needs -- needs for power, attention, praise and fame. And in the USA and other developed countries they satisfy this need by advocating large changes in the society around them -- thus drawing attention to themselves and hopefully causing themselves to be seen as wise, innovative, caring etc.” Given that analysis, the debate over global warming takes on a wholly new shape.

Those who are the most ardent promoters of the theory of human-induced global warming are Leftists. As a skeptic of global warming, at least the human-induced part of the debate, I have argued elsewhere and passionately that the real objective of global warming believers is to define capitalism and the spread of the pursuit of corporate profits as evil and of destroying our natural resources. However, when viewed through Dr. Ray’s perspective on the motivations and psychology of Leftists, it would seem that their real aim is to create this ‘crisis’ of global warming, and then to come to the rescue of Mankind by banning SUV’s, logging, and other forms of capitalist pursuits. That way, they can be seen as, “wise, innovative, caring etc.” Dr. Ray has also written extensively on this phenomena.

The reasons I remain a skeptic on global warming are many and complex. First, while there is almost no rational person who is arguing that the atmosphere is not currently warming, there is real debate—among scientists—on the cause of the warming. It’s only since 1979 that we have been able to analyze temperature data on a truly global scale using satellite measurements. All previous data relies on surface measurements on land or by ships at sea, or, since 1954 from balloon-measured temperatures. The "reliable" temperature record is usually viewed as being from about 1850, though measurement devices, locations, times, and techniques have varied widely over the decades. As a result, the historical temperature record, the very foundation of global warming theory, is still in dispute.

Second, one of the pillars of the global warming belief is the so-called “Hockey-Stick” temperature analysis cited in the 2nd Assessment Report of the IPCC, (summary) which eventually led to the Kyoto Protocol that recently went into effect. Two Canadian statisticians have analyzed the data and found that the original study used a statistical model that would find a “hockey stick” (the shape of the graph of rising temperatures) in almost any group of random data. The Hockey Stick debate rages on, with the authors of the original study now claiming that it mostly relied on tree ring data from ancient Bristlecone pines in the high deserts of California. If so, then it certainly would seem to me that they are basing their entire argument on the temperature around a few small trees in one very small and remote (even today) area.

OK, so there are other data points to support the position of the global warming believer. They claim that the ice caps are melting at an increasing rate, and that many of the glaciers on mountains such as Kilimanjaro in Africa and Fuji in Japan are retreating in alarming ways. They cite the rise of CO2 in the atmosphere as evidence of human activity and the burning of fossil fuels. They cite evidence of warming oceans and ozone holes, and offer evidence that human activity as the cause. I won't reference these things here since they are readily available in the MSM.

However, there are also competing claims by other scientists who say that all these things can be explained by natural processes. The icecaps have been retreating since at least the end of the last ice age, and an acceleration of the rate of retreat seems to me to be entirely logical given a warming climate, just as ice in your soft drink melts slowly at first, the last few cubes disappear rapidly as the temperature in the glass rises over time. And the retreating glaciers on Mount Kilimanjaro, at least, have also been explained as having local causes related to deforestation, not a change in climate.

The undisputed rise in atmospheric CO2 levels, despite claims by global warming believers as evidence of the burning of fossil fuels, has been shown to follow rising ocean temperatures rather than precede them. Since water has a much higher thermal inertia than does the atmosphere, it takes a tremendous amount of “forcing” to change up or down the temperature of water. I am no scientist, but I am pretty sure that for the atmosphere to be warming the oceans, the atmosphere would need to be very, very, hot, for a very, very long time. The Earth’s surface, remember, is 70% water, and that’s just the top of it. The average depth of the ocean is about 3.2 km (2 miles). That’s a lot of water, and it is constantly churning, upwelling, etc., so to see any change in temperature of the oceans by a warming of the atmosphere seems unlikely to me.

But the oceans do appear to be warming, as some scientists supporting global warming have recently reported. But could there be an alternative to human-induced global warming? Of course! I read recently of increased volcanic activity on the ocean floor as being a strong contender for the cause. That is certainly a more believable alternative, since the thermal inertia of highly dense molten rock at upwards of 1,200ºC (2,192ºF) is much higher than that of our atmosphere.

In addition to the above, there has been lots of scientific work recently on fluctuations in solar output and how that affects atmospheric temperatures. I am no scientist, and all I know is what I read, but I find these competing theories fascinating and, frankly, compelling.

But to get back to the premise of this article, since to me—once again, a non-scientist—the science on global warming is in dispute, I have to wonder about the unusually strong motivations behind those to whom global warming has become almost a religious experience, hence the reference to Dr. Ray’s analysis of Leftists.

Viewing the debate about global warming from this perspective, it seems clear that to the average Leftist, this debate is about much more than global warming. It is about power, control, and ego, and the insatiable need of the Leftist to acquire such things. They are so passionate about their views on this because it not only feeds their addiction, it also comports nicely with their views on capitalism, democracy, socialism, and central control.

Leftists despise capitalism and democracy because these concepts are founded in liberty. Liberty, despite the Leftist’s most fervent claims to the contrary, runs completely counter to everything the Leftist stands for. To achieve their goals of controlling everyone and everything, they must work to eliminate liberty. In the words of Ronald Reagan, “When government expands, liberty contracts.” They have discovered global warming as a very effective weapon in their pursuit of power and influence, and will let nothing and no one get in their way. Those who dare challenge the popular notions of human-induced global warming are held out as heretics and charlatans on the payroll of evil and corrupt corporations who are trashing our environment and impoverishing most of the people of the world.

The debate over global warming has become a great struggle between those who favor liberty and those who favor regulation and central control. We must return the debate to the simple pursuit of scientific truth, regardless of which side of the debate the facts come down on.

If I haven’t mentioned it before, I am not a scientist, but as I have just laid out, the science is not yet settled on global warming, and it probably will not be for years or decades to come. At the same time, I strongly favor careful review of what things we are doing that could adversely affect the environment. We should strengthen environmental laws that are effective and useful, and discard those that have little or no value, or are actually counterproductive. Those regulations that have a significant dollar cost should be carefully evaluated against benefit. I welcome a debate over pollution, as I, like most reasonable people, am strongly in favor of improving our environment and cleaning up polluted areas and protecting most areas that have yet to show much human influence.

Many of the proponents of global warming theory have a much larger agenda than one as simple as ‘saving the planet’. Keep that in mind as you read and hear more on this subject.

[Special thanks to Greenie Watch for so much research into this subject]

This post can also be seen on Blogger News Network.

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