Someone needs to manage the Internet, and come September 30, no one is quite sure who will be. Sounds bizarre – an entity worth millions?
Once upon a time, a guy called Jon Postel managed the Net (all the domain names) but he died in 1998 and that job went to ICANN (the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers). Since 1998, that’s been a part of the US Dept of Commerce. They get to decide who gets to use all the dot-somethings (eg, .com, .au, .cpa). ICANN can award them to groups or run an auction and pocket that cash. It is a monopoly, and there are conflicts there. The contract with the Dept of Commerce expires on Sept 30. In a normal world you’d expect the superpower-in-charge to roll that one over unless there was a big payoff for letting it go, or a foreign army on the beaches.
If the US government isn’t in control of ICANN, it can’t run as a separate monopoly thanks to US antitrust laws. So immediately ICANN is set “free” it will need to find a government to adopt it, so it has exemption from anti-trust laws (and more to the point, so it is accountable to something). But when it comes to government, there are a lot of bad choices. The obvious choice is you-know-what, the global bureaucracy that isn’t elected, and never gets held to account. Come October 1 this year (a mere three weeks away) the UN may get control over… the internet. Scary? I think so.
The only thing worse than a monopoly overseen by the U.S. government is a monopoly overseen by no one—or by a Web-censoring U.N. Congress still has time to extend its ban on the Obama administration giving up protection of the internet. Icann has given it every reason to do so.
The Wall Street Journal reported that apparently the Obama administration has no plan for what happens to ICANN on October 1. That seems hard to believe…
Without the U.S. contract, Icann would seek to be overseen by another governmental group so as to keep its antitrust exemption. Authoritarian regimes have already proposed Icann become part of the U.N. to make it easier for them to censor the internet globally. So much for the Obama pledge that the U.S. would never be replaced by a “government-led or an inter-governmental organization solution.”
Rick Manning, president of Americans for Limited Government, called it “simply stunning” that the “politically blinded Obama administration missed the obvious point that Icann loses its antitrust shield should the government relinquish control.”
The other side of the debate is also at The Wall St Journal: Who will oversee the Internet. Gautham Nagesh argues that it’s no big deal, the UN won’t get control, and we should relax and be calm. But I didn’t find this soothing:
Mr. Larry Strickling [head of Commerce Dept] said he’s confident that a solution can be reached; the implication is that the U.S. is not going to back out unless it’s sure another government-led organization isn’t going to take its place.
So three weeks to go, and we’ll be protected by Larry’s sense of “sure-ness”?
And if it’s not the UN, it will still be “like” the UN — global, unaccountable and prone to corruption. Think IOC. Think FIFA.
The U.N. could filter and vet,
The part of the equation that doesn’t make sense to me is why the US would give this up. What’s the US getting in return? This below, is the best answer I could find. If this is it, we’re in deep trouble:
So why is this happening? Couldn’t they just leave things the way they were? The main goal is to reassure other countries that the U.S. isn’t secretly controlling the structure of the Internet. To the extent American businesses have been damaged by the Edward Snowden disclosures, especially those offering cloud and other online services, this is a move aimed at repairing the relationship between the U.S. and other countries on Internet issues.
Make no mistake, this is a concession by the U.S. While the Commerce Department rarely intervened publicly in ICANN’s affairs, the implicit threat of its ability to do so will be gone. That could have an unforeseen impact in the future, particularly if cyberweapons continue to play a larger role in military and counter-intelligence activities.
Apparently the US is making this big concession to earn symbolic brownie points in the reassurance and relationships stakes. It sounds a lot like paying billions to try to change the weather. Symbolic.
For those opposing the overreach of Big Government, our best asset is free speech — The Internet. As long as we have the Net, we can fight back.
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The current state of play in the EU, thanks to the GWPF: The Germans have quietly given up on their own hard climate targets. They have 30% renewables, the most expensive electrons in the world, and their emissions are about the same as five years ago. The EU, climate champion, can’t even agree among the member states about how to ratify the Paris Agreement. Meanwhile the Turks are planning to build 80 new coal fired power stations (eighty!) and are subsidizing them up the kazoo. Turkey wants to use its low grade lignite deposits instead of Russian gas. After the recent purges, no one wants to criticize Erdogan, plus the energy minister happens to be President Erdogans son-in-law.
The E.U.’s over-arching ambitions,
Greens are angry that Germany dropped real targets in Climate Action Plan — call new plan a “Toothless-tiger-skin-rug”:
[CleanEnergyWire] The final version of the German Environment Ministry’s Climate Action Plan has been published. But concrete targets included in previous drafts have been removed, prompting the Green Party to describe the document as an “admission of government failure”.
The Climate Action Plan was announced at the Paris Climate Summit as a framework for how Germany was to reach its goal of cutting greenhouse gas emissions by 80 to 95 percent by 2050.
Germany is already struggling to meet its 2020 climate targets, and is under additional pressure after Chancellor Angela Merkel repeatedly said she would make climate policy a priority of Germany’s G20 presidency next year.
But the Green Party and environmental organisations said the Climate Action Plan has lost all power as a blueprint for decarbonising Germany.
“Hendrick’s Climate Action Plan started as a tiger, but turned out to be a toothless tiger-skin rug,” said Green parliamentarians Bärbel Höhn and Oliver Krischer.
Germany increased power production from renewables to over 30 percent in 2015, yet overall CO2 emissions, as well as emissions from the power and transport sector, have stagnated or increased slightly over the last five years.
The EU is running at full Gigacrat speed — the velocity of bureaucrats in a vacuum:
The inability of the EU’s member states to agree on an effort-sharing deal could delay the ratification of the Paris Agreement until late 2017. This would see the climate deal enter into force without the world’s biggest economic bloc.
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It’s “depressing”, “hopeless” and “dismal”
The climate debate is more polarised than ever. David Roberts at Vox is very honest about the challenges believers face to solve the deep partisan political divide. But despite all the grants and funding to solve this problem, the experts miss the obvious. I explain below why polarization will solve itself. Indeed, all their best efforts to reduce polarization in the climate debate are creating the polarization. It takes a sustained effort and millions of dollars to keep a false belief alive.
Now Dunlap and McCright (along with Oklahoma State’s Jerrod Yarosh) have updated their study, giving us a fresh look at public opinion on climate change at the end of the Obama era.
The findings are dismal, if not very surprising: Polarization only accelerated after 2008, the gap between the parties is wider than ever, and the trend shows no sign of stopping.
The League of Conservation Voters (LCV) scores politicians. It tracks the voting records of members of Congress. Way back in 1970 both sides of politics wanted to approve environmental legislation about equally.
Public opinion has a similar trend. Here are Gallup poll results since 1997. (The recent up-spike in Republican “belief” was recorded in March this year and is probably due to the record warmest US winter thanks to the El Nino. I expect that to revert to trend next year.)
Feel the pain as experts hunt in vain to solve the split
The experts and paid up researchers are scratching their heads trying to think of everything to fix this. But they miss the most obvious solution completely:
Hopes for reducing polarization are mostly forlorn
There are three sources of hope for reducing polarization in the short term. Dunlap et. al. shoot them all down.
The first is education — better informing the public about climate science. The much-derided “information deficit model” has proven a failure in practice. “Two decades of news coverage and educational campaigns since 1997 have produced only modest increases in Americans’ belief in the reality and human cause of climate change, with gains among Democrats often offset by declines among Republicans,” the authors write.
After three decades of propaganda, more propaganda pushes skeptics away. Badgering people with the 97% consensus only reminds them of how pathetically political and unscientific this debate is. Faking it up to a 99% consensus makes it worse. The consensus message only works on those prone to “follow the herd” and those people have all been reached already.
The second is better “framing,” pitching climate to conservatives in terms more likely to appeal to their values — climate as a national security threat, or an economic opportunity, or a threat to God’s covenant. However, dozens of studies have found small or negligible effects from these strategies. “The evidence so far gives little basis for optimism,” they conclude.
Lipstick on a pig. The problem is the pig, not the lipstick.
The third is personal experiences with extreme weather events, which, it is often hoped, will drive home the reality of climate change. But what evidence exists shows that such experiences have little-to-no effect on climate beliefs, especially among committed partisans. People interpret their experiences through their preexisting worldviews. “Again,” Dunlap et. al. write, “the evidence thus far does not provide much support for optimism.”
Extreme weather events have no scientific justification as “proof” of man-made climate change. Believers are stooping to falsely and unscientifically preying on people’s innate tendency to find patterns which are not real. This is about as low as any science communicator can get, but despite scraping this barrel, believers can still not win.
The blindingly simple answer — why polarization will resolve itself
The good news for Dunlap, McRight, Roberts, etc is that polarization is going to resolve — but the lines are trending to zero, not 100.
The bigger truth they all miss is that polarization will only end when politics matches reality. This science debate starts and ends with empirical evidence, not consensus’s or “framing” or the emotional ploy of random big storms. The empirical evidence shows the climate models are wrong, the hot spot “fingerprint” was never there, the predictions have failed. The model architecture is missing a whole class of feedbacks. The Sun is probably controlling the climate through its effect on clouds with dynamic magnetic fluxes, solar winds, or spectral changes.
Currently it’s taking a billion dollars of propaganda to keep the Democrat belief so high, so far from reality.
Reality will bite, and sooner or later the public will all realize that like the fear of Witches, the man-made climate crisis was overblown, exaggerated, based on poor data, badly managed and overrun with political self interest and confirmation bias.
When will the polarisation resolve? It depends on the US election:
”Whether, and how, individual Americans vote this November,” Dunlap et. al. write, “may well be the most consequential climate-related decision most of them will have ever taken.”
Trump would give voice to the part of the herd that is closer to reality (ie. observations by satellites, weather balloons, etc etc). As this side of the debate is finally aired, and funding is turned down for propaganda, the followers will gradually follow – and herd-thinkers will shift towards the new more dominant herd position. If Clinton wins, the propaganda will keep the tribal split alive for longer.
The researchers can always find faux scientificy reasons to support their own confirmation bias:
Skepticism toward climate change and hostility toward climate policy have been yoked to conservative identity. To reject them is to risk rejecting that identity and harming the social relationships that come with it. And most people have much stronger commitment to their core identity than they do to any individual political issue.
Just as skepticism has become yoked to conservative identity — hostility, namecalling and religious climate fervour have become yoked to Democrat identity.
What happens when scientists “stop reasoning like a scientist”?
Once an issue has been yoked to our core identities, we stop reasoning like scientists (gathering evidence, seeing where it leads) and start reasoning like lawyers (start with a conclusion, work backward to build a case). Yale psychologist Dan Kahan calls it“motivated reasoning”— “the unconscious tendency of individuals to process information in a manner that suits some end or goal extrinsic to the formation of accurate beliefs.” In this case, the “end or goal” is preserving commitments core to identity.
Dan Kahan, Dunlap and McCright are all their own case study in motivated reasoning. They simply cannot process the possibility that the groupthink is wrong. It mars all their research, stopping them from even considering the possibility that the “motivated” reasoning is a bigger badder problem on the side driven by irrational fear and herd behaviour and backed by gazillions of dollars.
As a former Green my motivated reasoning was to find evidence to support the theory of a man-made crisis, but the harder I looked the less I found. Some of us can overcome that confirmation bias. Why won’t psychologists research that?
A survey in Asia found that 69% of financial institutions there don’t bother with assessing climate change risks when considering financing projects. Either these bankers have missed the last 20 years of IPCC messaging (careless inattentive bankers), or they’ve seen it and they know it’s baloney (skeptical bankers). Hmmm. What’s more likely?
Looks like two thirds of Asian banks don’t believe the IPCC:
[The new survey] …undertaken by Asia Research and Engagement with support of Australia and New Zealand Banking Group Limited, … found that 31 per cent of the institutions factored climate change risks into their financing operations, with 61 per cent of banks referring to green products and 56 per cent providing some quantification of their exposure.
It said financial institution were factoring climate change risks into their policies and offered green finance products. But only over a quarter of banks referred to climate change factors as a reason to limit financing .…
The bottom line is always where the money goes.
So over two thirds of financial institutions couldn’t care less about those forecasts of beachside apartments sinking under the waves, or cities becoming unlivable, nor of coal mines supposedly going broke. Nor do they think the average investor is likely to run from these either.
How many rich bankers are there that read the UN First Assessment Report in 1990 and knocked back loans to coal, oil, and car magnates, and beach-side property moguls? The IPCC has made some people rich, but it wasn’t the investors who believed their climate predictions.
The article waxes lyrical about the wondrous trillion dollar investment opportunity. If someone discovered $7 trillion dollars of gold in Kazakhstan, who thinks they would have to survey bankers 20 years later to find out whether they were aware of the risks and opportunities…?
Read more at: Economic Times, India
Last year there were warnings from crop modelers in Nature that heat kills wheat and yields were going to fall in the “near future”, if temperatures rose. In fact global warming was “already slowing wheat gains”. What followed was a record El Nino, and 2015 was the hottest ever year, with 2016 vying to beat it. But instead of wheat doom, this month the USDA forecasts a record yield of wheat with bumper crops globally. Wheat output has grown in Australia, the US, Russia, Ukraine, everywhere pretty much, except the EU where it has been too rainy. Where are the mea culpas? h/t to the GWPF
Jan 2015, published in Nature. “Global Wheat Yield May Drop as Temperatures Rise”
“… researchers are now letting farmers know that the world’s wheat yields are excepted decline in the near future, with the world standing to lose six percent of its wheat crop for every degree Celsius that the annual global temperature increases.
“The simulations with the multi-crop models showed that warming is already slowing yield gains, despite observed yield increases in the past, at a majority of wheat-growing locations across the globe,” researcher Senthold Asseng, at the University of Florida, explained in a statement.”
August 2016: USDA projects 743m ton wheat production from 2016/2017 year
USDA current August forecast is for 743 million tons, up from 734 million last year (estimated).
Looks like yet another global warming disaster:
September 2016: Climate chicken Littles Choke on Record Wheat Crop
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