25.1.10

Climate Crooks

The fraudulent researcher who claimed the Himalayan glaciers could disappear in three decades is on the payroll of the Chairman of the United Nation’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.

The invented research even helped the global warmers' favourite maharishi, Dr Pachauri, win $4 million in research grants for his own private company.

So a lucrative job with the UN was not enough!

Even though the Himalayas are not melting, not even the rocks, it looks like we have a corruption scandal here.

To recap, the IPCC’s 2007 report claiming the world is going to hell contained supposed research showing the Himalayan glaciers, supplying water to 40% of the world’s population, could disappear by 2035.

GREENPIECE THE PIONEER

It was the work of one Dr Hasnain, criticized by  at the time by his colleagues as "so wrong that it is not even worth dismissing". Yet it still went into the IPCC’s 2007 report.

Now even the IPCC admits it was codswallop. Will Dr Pachauri repay the $4 million in research grants that he’s managed to raise for his own private business?

The environmental movement had more than its fair share of crooks long before people started spelling its most famous institution, Greenpiece, after the US dollar.

The founding father of EU environmentalism Sir Maurice Strong is a crook and it looks very much like the railway engineer-cum-chairman of the IPCC is, too. Don’t mention Al Gore.

ANYTHING WHICH IS DELIBERATELY OPAQUE IS LIKELY TO BE FRAUDULENT


Few people tend to be against the concept of cutting pollution.  The far most effective way is to control what you burn, not what you emit!



Even carbon traders admit, "If you want to keep a donkey healthy, you don't regulate what comes out of it: you regulate what goes in."

Yet look what we have. A system of carbon trading so opaque, that the biggest polluting companies are enthusiastic supporters!

As one poster to the FT wrote: “Monetising by political and administrative fiat something intrinsically worthless - ie CO2 - could only make sense to people accustomed to a financial system based upon monetising intrinsically worthless bank IOUs. IMHO for a carbon market that actually works, we must look at ways in which we may monetise the intrinsic energy value of carbon.”

Carbon trading is so complicated it makes derivatives easy.  It's also a very risky basis for saving the planet, as the FT reports:

"According to the newspaper, banks and investors are already pulling out of planned clean-energy projects in the developing world on a large scale because of the lack of certainty over international carbon trading rules after 2012, when the Kyoto protocol expires, while the recession is blamed for dampening demand for credits under the current regime. Staffing levels on carbon trading desks, meanwhile, are reportedly also beginning to be cut."

2.1.10

Working For Seagulls

Charity, like work, has less to do with achieving anything, but lots to do with feeling good. This article in the Guardian gets to the heart of Big Numbers and the Warm, Fuzzy Feeling

"What's going on here, some psychologists argue, is the "purchase of moral satisfaction": instead of trying to picture the scale of the problem and donate accordingly, people just name the price required to achieve the fuzzy feeling of having done their bit. "The level of spending needed to purchase a warm glow depends on personality and financial situation," writes Eliezer Yudkowsky, at the blog Less Wrong. "But it certainly has nothing to do with the number of birds."

Work, also, is about gaining "moral satisfaction". The feel of having done something, rather than achieving measurable output.

Thus, managers feel they have done their job if they have got everyone busy on little tasks, even if those tasks are poaintless and produce nothing of value.

ЧАЙКА MANAGEMENT


The Seagull Manager is a typical example: flies in, dumps on everyone, flies out again. I suppose the less numerate managers are, the less they can visualise big numbers, so the more they are going to be wasting their employees' time.

More excerpts from the Guardian:

"Humans are terrible with big numbers. The financial meltdown has reminded us that even highly numerate people can't really feel, in their bones, the vast difference between a million, a billion and a trillion... Trying to be helpful, commentators will explain that, say, the £850bn spent to bail out Britain's banks would, in the form of £1 coins, stretch several times "to the moon and back". But this is worse than useless, because the distance from Earth to the moon is exactly the kind of big number we struggle to visualise."

"As any charity fundraising expert will tell you, one consequence of this is the phenomenon known as "scope insensitivity": we're troubled by the thought of a starving child, but we're definitely not 1,000 times more troubled by the thought of 1,000 starving children. One famous study asked people how much they'd be willing to pay to save 2,000 birds from dying in oil ponds; the average answer was about £49. And 20,000 or 200,000? The answers were £48 and £53, respectively."

"Come to think of it, isn't the whole world of work designed to encourage us in the mistaken idea that a 12-hour day is more effective than a three-hour day?"