Mister Mean Green

Don't touch this stuff

On this green St. Paddy’s day, finally, something that explains some of the operators of, and commenters on, some other blogs. Now, if I can just find some fair trade carbon credits to offset my corned beef and cabbage…

From the Guardian:

How going green may make you mean

Ethical consumers less likely to be kind and more likely to steal, study finds

When Al Gore was caught running up huge energy bills at home at the same time as lecturing on the need to save electricity, it turns out that he was only reverting to “green” type.

According to a study, when people feel they have been morally virtuous by saving the planet through their purchases of organic baby food, for example, it leads to the “licensing [of] selfish and morally questionable behaviour”, otherwise known as “moral balancing” or “compensatory ethics”.

Do Green Products Make Us Better People is published in the latest edition of the journal Psychological Science. Its authors, Canadian psychologists Nina Mazar and Chen-Bo Zhong, argue that people who wear what they call the “halo of green consumerism” are less likely to be kind to others, and more likely to cheat and steal. “Virtuous acts can license subsequent asocial and unethical behaviours,” they write.

The pair found that those in their study who bought green products appeared less willing to share with others a set amount of money than those who bought conventional products. When the green consumers were given the chance to boost their money by cheating on a computer game and then given the opportunity to lie about it – in other words, steal – they did, while the conventional consumers did not. Later, in an honour system in which participants were asked to take money from an envelope to pay themselves their spoils, the greens were six times more likely to steal than the conventionals.

Mazar and Zhong said their study showed that just as exposure to pictures of exclusive restaurants can improve table manners but may not lead to an overall improvement in behaviour, “green products do not necessarily make for better people”. They added that one motivation for carrying out the study was that, despite the “stream of research focusing on identifying the ‘green consumer'”, there was a lack of understanding into “how green consumption fits into people’s global sense of responsibility and morality and [how it] affects behaviours outside the consumption domain”.

Complete article at the Guardian

Here is the original press release from the University of Toronto and link to the study:

Buying green can be license for bad behavior, study finds

Those lyin’, cheatin’ green consumers.

Just being around green products can make us behave more altruistically, a new study to be published in a forthcoming issue of Psychological Science has found.

But buying those same products can have the opposite effect. Researchers found that buying green can lead people into less altruistic behaviour, and even make them more likely to steal and lie than after buying conventional products. Buying products that claim to be made with low environmental impact can set up “moral credentials” in people’s minds that give license to selfish or questionable behavior.

“This was not done to point the finger at consumers who buy green products. The message is bigger,” says Nina Mazar, a marketing professor at University of Toronto’s Rotman School of Management and a self-admitted green consumer. “At the end of the day, if we do one moral thing, IT doesn’t necessarily mean we will be morally better in other things as well.”

Mazar, along with her co-author Chen-Bo Zhong, an assistant professor of organizational behaviour at the Rotman School, conducted three experiments. The first found that people perceived green consumers to be more cooperative, altruistic and ethical than those who purchased conventional products. The second experiment showed that participants merely exposed to products from a green store shared more money in a subsequent experimental game, but those who actually made purchases in that store shared less. The final experiment revealed that participants who bought items in the green store showed evidence of lying and stealing money in a subsequent lab game.

But are people conscious of this moral green washing going on when they buy green products and, more importantly, the license they might feel to break ethical standards? Professors Mazar and Zhong don’t know – and look forward to exploring that in further research.

###

The complete study is available at: http://www.rotman.utoronto.ca/newthinking/greenproducts.pdf .

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154 thoughts on “Mister Mean Green

  1. Would this make global warming researchers feel so altruistic in their planet saving enterprise that they would be mean to conventional (sceptical) researchers and would lie and cheat and not share their data,I wonder?

  2. I’ve long sensed that the most evil is done by people who do it in the name of whichever deity they worship. Whether a conventional god or one fabricated for the purposes of do-gooderism such as being green, vegan, or fighting wrong-headed people, they seem to think their noble end justifies whatever means necessary.
    ______ (fill in the blank) save us from those who know what’s best for everyone else.
    cheers

  3. 18 March: UK Times: Anjana Ahuja: Is global warming the new apocalypse?
    Children used to dread nuclear war but we could now be terrorising them with too much talk of global warming
    http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/life_and_style/article7066030.ece
    lots of detail:
    18 March: Australian: European emission trading rocked by scandal over recycled carbon permits
    Two carbon exchanges were forced to suspend trading as panic hit investors fearful that they had bought invalid permits…
    Efforts to tighten up the market have been stymied by recession, which has reduced Europe’s overall carbon dioxide output and kept the carbon price low…
    http://www.theaustralian.com.au/business/news/european-emission-trading-rocked-by-scandal-over-recycled-carbon-permits/story-e6frg90o-1225842148852

  4. I have met some of these people. And they do not have “green” souls. You can see it in their eyes. Hey…but who am I to judge?
    The “greenest” people I know might not be too opposed to hydrocarbons as an intermediate solution until we develop something better, they plant their gardens and flowers, they are unfazed by Al Gore, and they recycle.
    I am not surprised by this study, for, as “green” as I am [hence my name], but also as disassociated with the radical political agendas of most environmentalist movements, I have met these people, and they are not nice.
    They just have an axe to grind…and it is a bitter, psychopathic axe to grind at that.
    One day, soon, we WILL return to what it means to be “green.”
    Paul Vaughan and others talk about this on here.
    And may I say that Lovelock is on to something…
    Even for all the horribleness of our species, Homo Sapiens [to quote War of the Worlds] “have earned their right to be here.”
    We just need to be better stewards. It’s simple.
    We need to be like people who observe science and observe and appreciate the world around us [rbateman I caught your comment of the giant sequoias growing in your yard…damn amazing!].
    Any sane, rational human being….is an environmentalist.
    But along with that unique human trait toward higher logic….we learn to see through the shams and scams….such as the ones looming before us today.
    But when the dust clears….the good-natured LOVE for nature, remains….in all of us….well, at least, the best of us.
    I don’t think Al Gore has it left in him, though. Watch his eyes. You can see it [or the void thereof] in his eyes.
    Chris
    Norfolk, VA, USA

  5. “I’ve long sensed that the most evil is done by people who do it in the name of whichever deity they worship.”
    Dehumanization and alienation are the two quickest ways to justify any sort of evil. The Rwandan genocide happened sans religious difference, so that theory would clearly be false. However, using the Stalinists and their treatment of Russian Jews or the Chinese slaughters of Tibetan Buddhists would provide further evidence that deity is not necessary for violence or deviation.
    Instead, we can assume that violence and self-interested dishonesty are integral parts of humanity, and there are only ways to prevent these things from manifesting themselves in our ordinary behavior, not predispositions to this sort of behavior. I tried to elucidate this point on Motl’s blog last night, but failed miserably, probably due to the early celebration of a certain holiday…
    Anyhow, any one person of any particular religion, ethnicity, race, or culture can be found to have engaged in behavior that fits the mold of deviant from societal norms. So it would seem, from this look at deviance, that communal groupings form the controls on our behavior. This is what Travis Hirschi thought with his theory of control. I do not agree with the one size fits all theories.
    I think that first, we are born with certain tendencies. Some people are genetically inclined to not care, and automatically dehumanize others. Some people are far more altruistic than others. I do not think that these tendencies are strong enough to overcome environmental factors that are extreme in the positive, negative, or neutral sense (the lack of environment actually enhances the original tendency, like allowing kids to act however they wish).
    These people are then placed into their environments, and raised in them. This creates another layer from where we can draw interactional personality. Was this person subject to constant abuse? Excessive affection? Proper balance? Finally, there is the situational determination to make. Given these first two things, how is a certain person and their genetic and environmental background going to react in a given situation?
    The conclusion that people who are greens exhibit more behavior towards dishonesty is true, I question. It is entirely possible that there was an undetected selection bias involving one of the two (they were all in the same situation) factors I listed above. They are still wrong about the AGW thing, though. 😀

  6. There’s an important truth contained in that study. It shows a disconnect between the green mindset and green actions that far exceeds ordinary religious hypocrisy. The pattern is: “If I am doing the will of gawd, everyone who opposes me must be a devil. My every action is thus sanctified and justified by my holy self-will.” There are no secondary considerations, no recourse, no logic, no law, no truth to stand between green religionists and their objectives, no matter how insane.
    Something wicked this way comes.

  7. “Green” has always been a bandwagon and always will be. Until the truth is all sorted out. People need “bandwagons” to ride on to fulfill their lives. It’s a shame that if there is a truth, why can’t the truth fulfill all of our lives for the common good of society? I don’t mean what You think as the truth, I mean the no bones about it, irrefutable truth. Evidence must be exposed and in a way that is black or white, night or day, yes or no. Everyone must comprehend the truth!

  8. My flight was delayed at SFO the other day and I was walking around the terminal for many hours looking for quiet places to use my laptop, eat, read, etc. I noticed that the green “carbon offset” kiosk machine went completely unused the entire time I was there. People just passed it by. Occasionally someone would walk up to it (possibly mistaking it for an ATM), look at it, and then walk away. I wonder how much energy is being wasted to keep that thing running? It must be the biggest joke since Al Gore brought a sapling along for his first class flights to exotic PowerPoint destinations in his sci-fi horror flick.

  9. savethesharks (21:29:04) :
    I agree with you! Activists are the most dangerous as they are the “true
    believers” and like any cultist, we unwashed are to be shunned or taxed to
    purgatory. I’m a Cowboy’s kid, the real, dirty, hairy, sweaty thing. Pop taught me a lot about living things and life in general. I think Pop’s Native American
    side was there too. In that love of the land and nature. Now we have Ranchers
    prosituting themselves for the filthy lucre of Wind power. “So we can save or family farm!” Ok, what happens when the green bubble bursts? Now what?
    “Split atoms, not Birds….”

  10. Nothing like wrapping oneself in a cloak of moral superiority with which to justify one’s own contemptible behavior. No surprise here.

  11. Douglas DC (21:50:16) :
    “Split atoms….not birds.”
    Nice….I like that [except if you are talking about pigeons, grackles, or starlings…or flocks of gulls…then I except those.]
    I have this love hate relationship with bird. I truly HATE pigeons…and wish them ALL to be split in half….every last one. Pigeons are devil-birds.
    But I love songbirds and raptors like the peregrine falcon. [I saw one of these urban predators split a pigeon in half and could not have been happier when it happened.]
    I agree with you though…wind energy is washed up at the starting gate.
    Next!
    Chris
    Norfolk, VA, USA
    [REPLY – Leave my Friends the Seagulls and my Peace Pigeons alone, you beast! (You can scrag the starlings, though.) ~ Evan]

  12. Daniel H (21:49:18) :
    “My flight was delayed at SFO the other day and I was walking around the terminal for many hours looking for quiet places to use my laptop, eat, read, etc. I noticed that the green “carbon offset” kiosk machine went completely unused the entire time I was there. People just passed it by.”
    Darwin’s Natural Selection at work.
    Enter Wikipedia entry for said Carbon Offset Kiosk:
    “Failed experiment. Was discontinued in 2011 and the company sponsoring it went bankrupt.”
    Good riddance!
    Chris
    Norfolk, VA, USA

  13. Evan….you are right about the gulls…at least when they are by themselves.
    Read this heart-wrenching story:
    http://hamptonroads.com/2010/01/gull-will-need-new-winter-home-after-dealership-closes
    But as for pigeons, after dealing with the 60-odd deadly pathogens that they happily spread around with their profuse poop in old buildings I am trying to renovate….I give them no mercy.
    It is cool, though, to watch the fastest creature on earth (the real Superman…the Peregrine) pick these nasty plump birds out of the sky like enemy aircraft.
    I wish I could get inside a Peregrine’s head and ask him what it feels like being in a free-fall at 200 MPH….right before he nabs his lunch.
    I mean….we walk into Wendy’s, Del Taco, or CPK, and its like….EASY DAY….meal.
    We don’t have to be aeronautical prodigies and hit our meal at terminal velocity.
    We just have to pull out and swipe our debit cards. 🙂
    Chris
    Norfolk, VA, USA

  14. I like starlings! Two moved in with me.
    Come to think of it, they didn’t actually ask if they could move in, they just showed up in the house, won’t leave, steal food, torment the cat, and poop everywhere.
    Hey, kind of like greens!

  15. When you read the hateful rhetoric of many AGW bloggers, you see the same syndrome – a contempt for human beings. Probably indicating an underlying contempt for themselves.

  16. Reminds me of going to church on Sundays. The people that said their amends the loudest and bragged about their contributions were the ones you had to watch out for the rest of the week. Honest people never bragged about their piouty.

  17. George Turner (22:58:49) :
    You know what you have to do. Time to get rid of the pests. 🙂
    Chris
    Norfolk, VA, USA

  18. These worthless “sociological” “studies” are just red herrings to divert our minds from the real issues such as Climategate and whether CO2 is a pollutant or not. It further gives other fields of pseudo science a place at the ever more capacious trough.
    We should not give them the time of day.

  19. Most greenies dont understand nature and the environment at all. When a person denies his position in the food chain and he actually is grabbing food from the animals lower in food chain. Pauchari’s lecture on his being a vegetarian is actually a selfish act of using brute force to deprive food and life of the animals lower in the food chain. As a conservationist, it is important to conserve animals from extinction especially unnecessary extinction. Biology books are full of examples of animals dying in an ugly and painful death from starvation and diseases because the predators have been removed.

  20. Ahah! And what is the biggest green consumer item being bought?
    Ideas.
    [snip] Ya’ll can quote me on that.
    Reply: Or not ~ ctm

  21. The road to hell is paved with good intentions… I always felt that greenism is all about subconsious fears and human agression but it is impossible to escape the human condition. Repent and we will NOT live for ever. The aggression bit is self evident. Green activists including some climate scientists (think Gavin S) are actually hyper aggressive.

  22. Starlings are intelligent birds. Seagulls, too, though too noisy.
    But pigeons… with all my respect for Tesla, pigeons are stupid, bloodthirsty, fratricidal and stupid pests.
    The French eat them. Let them eat all pigeons. Our parks and boulevards will be cleaner and greener.
    Good thing cows don’t fly.

  23. If you read the paper, you will see that the assumption oft made in the comments that the participants chose green products is wrong. The participants where randomly assigned either a green or a conventional store.

    In the first task, they were randomly assigned to make purchases in either the conventional or green product store.

    Participants who had purchased in the green store, however, identified 51.4% (SD = 2.67%) of trials as having more dots on the right side – suggesting they were lying to earn more money.

    So the conclusion is that actually buying products described as green makes people behave more dishonestly subsequently. This is , as the assignment was random, regardless of their actual desires to buy green products.
    The product causes it (or the act of buying it), not the moral choice in doing so. That’s the way I read it, anyway. As far as I can see, even though each store was not exclusive in it stock, but only heavily weighted toward one type, the result that was achieved (and desired) is that they were effectively forced to buy the goods, either conventional or green. That bit may have been explained badly, however.
    Conclusions:

    While mere exposure to green products can have a positive
    societal effect by inducing pro-social and ethical acts, purchasing green products may license indulgence in self-interested and unethical behaviors.

  24. Well big news. Every greenie i ever knew in real life was in favour of higher energy prizes and higher taxes because that would force us to reduce our consumption. In other words, they all admitted that i needed to be robbed even more. This is no joke, i always ask them directly what they think of energy prizes and taxes and that’s the answer i get. Robbing the money of everybody else is 100% in line with the green ideology and has always been. Also they’re fuming when they see a big Audi overtaking them with 250 km/h. They’re envious little leprechauns. I’m only talking about people i know personally.

  25. Heh heh heh…
    What makes the subjects dishonest is not their “green” status but the halo-wearing, and public display posing. There are folk who have always been organic gardners, not because they are publicly green, but because the food they grow tastes better to them than the pallid produce in the supermarkets, and they take pleasure in the birdlife in their gardens. They are conservationists who take pleasure in their environment, not religious adherents espousing a “noble cause”. I am one such, and at the same time am a cordial opponent of the AGW religion.
    And speaking of religion – those who publicly proclaim their virtue and use “Praise the Lord” as freely as Australians use obsecenities, are usually basically low-lifes. Think about Jim Bakker.
    Think, for that matter, about politicians like Bush and Blair, who launched a crusade in Iraq because God told them to, while lying through their teeth about WMDs – which are about as real as AGW. Halo-wearers all.
    http://www.herkinderkin.com/2010/03/are-humans-the-climate-weapons-of-mass-destruction/
    Reply: I’m allowing this comment for its use of comparison, but will not accept any subsequent debates on the Iraq conflict. ~ ctm

  26. The wandering albatross in flight would have to be one of the most beautiful and graceful birds around. Followed by their close cousin the mollymork. Quite a sight watching them from a steaming fishing boat as they effortlessly and endlessly soar the uplifts generated by sea swells and waves.
    The purity of the scene is a timely reminder that we humans are but poor players strutting our stuff on lifes stage.
    With apologies to Will Shakespeare.

  27. I wonder if a study has been done to determine the relationship between “green enthusiasm” and economic “well being”. It appears to me that people who have little economic hardship will be much more inclined to participate and become passionate about “causes” whether rational or not, especially one’s that appear to have a moral high ground and are socially vogue. The folks on the other end are largely governed by what they can afford even though they might share some of the same ideals. Human behavior is too complex to simply generalize, but I always chuckle when I notice a “green” shopper packing their morals into their V8 SUV.

  28. Noelene (20:49:16) :
    Maybe the people who buy green have that sort of personality in the first place?
    I think Noelene’s got it.
    The people I’ve known who were most apt to jump on the latest eco-bandwagon were also the ones who snagged other folks’ soft drinks from the community fridge.

  29. eo (23:45:49) :
    Most greenies dont understand nature and the environment at all. When a person denies his position in the food chain and he actually is grabbing food from the animals lower in food chain. Pauchari’s lecture on his being a vegetarian is actually a selfish act of using brute force to deprive food and life of the animals lower in the food chain.
    Someone once said that a vegetarian is just another predator — except he picks prey that can’t run away.

  30. Interesting but not a surprise – I have often observed a mindset that assumes that by making a particular “virtuous” decision – working in the charitable sector or so-called environmentally friendly industries, or being a lay preacher, people have discharged their burden to society and are free to behave as badly as they like. By and large, I have seen more ethical and considerate behaviour in red-blooded capitalist businesses (Lehman Bros excepted!) than in achingly nice charitable operations (with honourable exceptions).

  31. One real-world way to confirm this lab test would be to obtain statistics on which book topics show the greatest “shrinkage” (i.e., are shoplifted the most).
    I suspect books on green topics would be near the top.

  32. I have won $405,353,000.00 At slots on my computer and gave away $100,000,000. 00 each to my daughter and mother in law. I called it cyber dollars with the net worth of $0.00
    Anyone else out there a little hard up and could use some cyber dollars?
    I have lots and willing to share.

  33. Jeff Alberts (21:43:36) :
    Be environmental, but not environMENTAL.
    Why the surprise in peoples behaviour? Self-righteousness is always the badge of the hypocrite! Me thinks the lady doth protest too much.

  34. Looks like the faithful from the Church of AGW are having a gathering at the University of Victoria:
    Climate Change and the Media: Scientists, Scribes and Spinmeisters
    Thursday, April 8, 7:30 – 9:30 p.m. | Bob Wright Centre, Room B150, University of Victoria
    For more information, please visit: http://www.pics.uvic.ca or call 250-853-3626
    You are invited to this free panel discussion designed to inform the community about the facts on climate change and the challenges facing media in reporting them.
    Join our panelists as they debate how to determine the facts behind the headlines:
    · Peter Calamai, Science Writer, Toronto Star
    · Lucinda Chodan, Editor-in-Chief, Times Colonist
    · Jim Hoggan, Co-author of the bestseller Climate Cover-Up
    · Tom Pedersen, Director, Pacific Institute for Climate Solutions
    Please arrive early as seating is limited.
    Travel Green: UVic is accessible by many modes of sustainable transportation including regional transit, cycling, walking and taxi. Should you choose to drive, pay parking is in effect for a $2 evening
    rate. The closest parking is across from the building in Lot #1.
    Please let me know if you have any questions. I look forward to seeing you on April 8th.
    Cheers,
    Ivan
    Ivan Watson
    Communications Officer
    Pacific Institute for Climate Solutions
    Sedgewick C132 |University of Victoria
    PO Box 1700 STN CSC |Victoria, BC V8W 2Y2
    Phone (250) 853-3626 | Fax (250) 853-3597
    Website http://www.pics.uvic.ca

  35. ctm, thank you for giving me the benefit of the doubt. You are correct, my comment was for the purpose of comparison.
    Bu I owe you an apology, because I did not consider the risk that it could possibly derail the thread by starting a seriously OT debate. That was inconsiderate (literally I did not consider it). Should you choose to snip it, I shall understand.
    I value this forum for the information it provides and the opportunity to participate in and learn from the debate on the topics presented. I shall be more careful in my responses..

  36. One can see similar behavior in personal efforts to be patriotic, preferring to but goods made in ones country. I used to think that this was good, until a wise Economics Prof said, “So you buy local goods all year, save some money then what? Go on an expensive overseas holiday or buy a Merc?” (We were not in Germany).
    Same with a carbon tax on fossil fuel electricity & gas companies. The Government takes the tax, then hands it out to the needy and worthy ( = swinging voter). First thing the newly rich does is to consume more electricity and gas. Try to imagine a way to spend windfall income without increasing GHG. Let me know if you find one apart from investing in nuclear.
    It’s a circular churn, with the planners taking a cut every time a $ floats by.

  37. James Allison (01:29:11) : “The wandering albatross in flight would have to be one of the most beautiful and graceful birds around”
    Agreed. As an Aussie, I also note that Nature crafted them so that they could not cross the Equator and so make land among the sinful.

  38. Going “Green” was the new marketing ploy to try and induce new products for gullable people. Let’s push the electric cars or carbon capturers. Is it really a good idea to store gases in the ground? At some point they may wnt to escape or be part of our ground water. How deep is viable to the expense? They need some sort of pocket to put any volume down?
    Reasonable ideas BUT only to a point.
    Where is the technology that isn’t outrageously expensive?
    When did the technology develop and test and modify to make a good product?
    We live in the “new” fast paced society that product development is not in the cards as anything really good would be very expensive at first until a knock off is produced in China.

  39. Polar bear ban defeated at UN conservation meeting
    “The Americans argued at the 175-nation Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species that the sale of polar bears skins was compounding the loss of the animals’ sea ice due to climate change.”
    Oh dear, perhaps they’ve heard that polar numbers are exploding!

  40. This report reminds me of an old 20th century report on windmills and local people. Apparently the people most likely to complain about these eyesores were green consumers and green consumers were most likely to be in the AB social group with the highest incomes and as there is a close correlation between your spending power and your damage to the environment, those who said they were most green, were doing the most damage.

  41. “She was a ‘good’ woman, and you could tell by the hunted looks on her friends faces” is fairly descriptive of the type.
    This is an extension of a concept I read about in 2007, that of ‘conspicuous virtue’, which I thought described the type rather well
    http://volokh.com/posts/1174748857.shtml

  42. Moral balancing, aka hypocrisy. Happens in all walks of life involving people trying to make an impression on others, using others for gain, or trying to have a moral high ground over others.

  43. I am constantly amazed by the attitudes of those that worship at the alter of AGW. They truly believe that CO2 is ‘killing the planet’, yet they happily continue to emit the stuff.
    They waste huge amounts of electricity commenting on blogs, pointing out how evil us ‘deniers’ are by wasting electricity.
    Coal trains are apparently ‘death trains’, so what the hell does that say about people that buy carbon credits? “Yes I believe that CO2 is killing the planet for our children, But I am happily BUYING MY WAIT OUT OF IT.” How is that any different to paying off the jury in a murder trial?
    Just because their car does 1 more mile to the gallon than mine, they consider themselves to be reversing global warming. In reality they are far worse than I, because they believe in AGW, yet continue to emit huge amounts of CO2.
    Why are they not living on carbon neutral farming communes with their AGW brethren, instead of buying their way out of guilt?

  44. savethesharks: “The “greenest” people I know might not be too opposed to hydrocarbons as an intermediate solution until we develop something better, they plant their gardens and flowers, they are unfazed by Al Gore, and they recycle.”
    The “greenest” people live in the centre of cities (no need for cars), they live in high density housing (least land use), they can’t afford to recycle, because they can’t afford to buy it in the first place, and they wouldn’t ever in their life consider buying “organic” cause even if they could afford it, it would be a waste of their money.
    In reality “Green” is a luxury good offered to the wealthy classes by slick marketing men to soak up the discretionary dollars/pounds/yen after they have made all their money “trashing their planet” during their highly paid, and therefore highly consumptive (in planetary resource terms) day jobs.
    And as for recycling, if you think about it for even one second, the best way to capture CO2 is to bury as much plastic and organic waste in massive municipal tips and then leave it there. Recycling involves huge quantities of energy in transport and processing all the salve the conscience of people who think that we should not lock as much hydrocarbon as possible in waste tips – and divert as much petrochemicals as quickly as possible from oil well to waste dump thus preventing its CO2 being liberated into the atmosphere.
    Green = Total non-nonsensical market-led hypocrisy to fool the gullible-rich.

  45. This study of mean green consumers is enlightening. I’d like to see the results of a psychological study of “mean green marketing”. In the past, a knock on the door by a peddler was usually a magazine or vacuum cleaner salesman. Now “green alternative energy” suppliers are knocking on doors trying to sell their wares. I received such a visit last year. The salesman used a deceptive approach, “We are working with your electric utility company”, “We’re promoting green energy use”. My initial thoughts were that he was offering an energy audit. Before I realized the real purpose of his visit, he said he needed to see one of my electric bills. After I complied, he then explained that “We are selling green electricity” generated by wind power, you are currently buying “brown electricity” from your utility company. (This statement was made to get me, the prospect, feeling guilty that I am not a good environmental citizen). He then quoted an electricity supply price that was more than double of what I was currently paying. Before I had a chance to respond (indicating my willingness or not), he said “I need to have you sign right here”. Taken aback by his deceptive and aggressive approach, as well as my unwillingness to see my electric supply costs more than double, I told him no deal. After he left, I went back into my house and got out my flashlight and magnifier to see if I could track down a few of those brown electrons darting up and down my copper wires. 🙂
    I did a bit of research afterwards, and found that if the demand for “green electricity” exceeds supply (as often happens during periods of low wind activity), the wind energy supply company simply pays an offset to another energy supply company for the deficiency. There is no guarantee that the green energy customer is truly buying electricity from green sources 100% of the time, but he is certainly paying much more. And in the vice-versa case of non-green energy customers, usually a portion of their energy really does comes from green sources.
    Penn and Teller did one of their shows on the topic of AGW alarmism and green marketers using guilt to market their products, as well as convincing people to calculate their carbon footprint, and if positive, to purchase offsets through a trading scheme. My belief is that “mean green marketing” is only going to get worse, especially with its encouragement by the government.

  46. JER0ME (01:02:07) :

    So the conclusion is that actually buying products described as green makes people behave more dishonestly subsequently. This is , as the assignment was random, regardless of their actual desires to buy green products.
    The product causes it (or the act of buying it), not the moral choice in doing so.

    A good point, and if true, does not bode well. As we are ‘forced’ to purchase more and more green products (“Our bread is Green!”) it would suggest we get a little less honest.
    But then again, green products are invariably more expensive than ‘regular’ products. When we are forced (through little or no choice) to buy more expensive products with dubious claims, I think people do become more willing to fight back – when you effectively steal from me, I will retaliate.
    I think we can all see the political ramifications.
    [Note, ‘green’ does not necessarily mean they have any kind of lesser environmental effect than any other product]

  47. This is where carbon credits will lead people. Buy credits and behave badly, then sell it off to poor people in developing countries who will promptly ignore them and do what they have to do to cook food and improve the lot of their kids.
    Al Gore comes to mind. What a Watermelon hypocrite!
    I am certain Anthony Watts has a lower carbon footprint than Al Gore.
    http://wattsupwiththat.wordpress.com/2007/02/28/er-outlook-sustainability-my-missing-article/
    http://wattsupwiththat.wordpress.com/2008/05/12/what-ive-been-up-to-electrifying-my-ride/
    http://wattsupwiththat.wordpress.com/2007/11/25/sustainable-bathrooms-and-closets/
    http://wattsupwiththat.com/2010/02/07/swapping-my-lights-fantastic/
    Gore:
    http://www.thedailygreen.com/environmental-news/latest/al-gore-house-47062202

  48. It may be an interesting comment on human psychology that people who are called to follow a Big Cause soon begin to believe that all other lesser good causes can be sacrificed to it. Animal rights and “Pro-Life” advocates beigin to believe that it is correct to murder pharmaceutical researchers and abortionists in order to promote thier Big Cause, and don’t get me started on religion. Similarly, colonists of other nations (the British in India, the European settlers in the US) believed that they had a moral duty to pursue their Big Cause of bringing enlightenment to the noble savages / building a homeland for the poor and huddled masses… and here we go, I’ve now reached Godwin’s rule. It is so easy for large groups of people to be brought into lockstep (or goose-step) behind a cause. It can make them blind to the evil being done in their names.
    A more adult and less simplistic mindset occurs when people can balance a number of “goods” in their minds, to produce a harmonised best solution in society. This takes the opposite of single-mindedness and is a rare commodity in humans.
    I think it is evolutionary – there are times when, for survival, you need to focus the tribe on a great task – and this psychological quirk persists and causes one heck of a lot of trouble in a pluralistic society.

  49. I think I’ll take some of my cyber dollars and buy carbon credits.
    Value on paper would be at par.

  50. This seems to tie in with stuff from developmental psychology.
    Green is linked to postmodernism, which was anti-authority, because sometimes authorities can be oppressive.
    So postmodernist education tends to teach people to value themselves for who they are, and not how some authority might judge them.
    However, this has the unfortunate side effect that people become taught to value themselves for who they are, regardless of whether who they are is worth valuing. Ahem.
    Many kids could do with just learning to fit in with society’s norms about basic ethics, like, don’t steal, be kind, be considerate, etc.
    But authorities were the traditional source for these teachings; the church, the teachers, the parents, etc.
    So by postmodernism’s deconstruction of all authorities, kids don’t learn much from authorities anymore. They just learn to “value themselves”. So the net effect is that they can actually become more selfish.
    Plus, thanks to postmodernism’s intellectualising about “oppressive power structures”, it is very hard to teach someone that they are being selfish, as they can just come back at you and accuse you of sexism, racism, imperialism, being a middle class white guy, or whatever.
    So you get this weird combination of “high ideals” but in practice they really aren’t willing to be told that they are wrong. They won’t abide to standards of objectivity.
    Very much like global warming.
    And that’s how Stef. sees it.

  51. savethesharks (22:49:06) :
    Observing the birds at the feeder:
    The Starlings love to buzz in and run all the other birds off, showing off. Thier tactics include slamming into the feeder, tossing thier ‘hair’ about to act menacing, strewing seed and making plenty of alarming noise.
    They give way to one bird: Woody Woodpecker doesn’t come around very often, but when he does, it’s to make sure Wilma Woodpecker is looked after, and he’ll get right in the the Starlings face and challenge their B.S.
    It’s a great contrast in behavior.

  52. I don’t think people who are randomly forced into a “green” shop can be equated to be “geeenies” in the first place.
    What this study shows me, is that people who believe bogus “green” marketing are more likely to cheat/steal.
    The definition of “greenie” seems out of context. Just because people choose a product with a “green” sticker (applied by marketing) does not make them greener than someone who sees through the hype, who probably chooses a product based on lowest cost.
    What I find amazing, is that this study was funded in the first place. The whole premise is bogus, it’s throw away science supplied for tabloid fodder, and self supporting job justification, made obvious by the lack of conclusion and obligatory call for more funding to “look forward to exploring that in further research.”
    I wonder who was taxed (mugged) to pay for this. Are there no proper jobs for these people?

  53. I’ve observed something similar in the behaviour of cyclists. Running red lights, riding on the pavement, travelling the wrong way down a ‘one way street’ and other similar things. I’ve often wondered if they might have felt themselves morally superior in some way and used this as justification for their rulebreaking.
    I used to think that was just me being a ‘grumpy old git’ but I’m not so sure now.
    –Phil

  54. “green” makes you mean, all right – and sanctimonious, judgmental, condescending, and removes the possibility for empathy of others less well off.
    And bombastic to boot.

  55. Perhaps I could explain the greenies without such nefarious undertones… for everything they do they’re paying ridiculous markups. Organic whatever – at least double if not triple. Organic or earth friendly sheets and clothes, cleaning supplies, solar panels for the house, Prius, nontoxic paints for the home remodel, bamboo floors, etc
    These poor people, I posit, are struggling to make ends meet. In all likelihood they are living of their *snicker* plastic – it’s tough for them to keep up with the other Greenses down the street.
    Watch Discovery Planet Green sometime or check out their website. The “green” movement (not the real greens but the Goreist-types, Neo-Greens) is as much if not more about conspicuos consumption than it is the environment. I think that for every 5, maybe 10 greens there is at least one guy/gal asking them to “save the planet by buying my product”
    These folks might not be mean, maybe they’re just broke!
    /sarcoff

  56. Carbon offsets, moral offsets. No difference really. Years ago, I rather poorly dubbed it “guilt liberation” and it’s entirely predictable behaviour.. a person who holds the door for another person is LESS likely to do it a 2nd time. A person who goes to church every Sunday is LESS likely to give charitably (hold the door) during the week.
    Green living is a way for people to “pay it forward”, enabling them to build the balance of credit in their moral chequing account. The more recycled bog-roll they buy, the further they will then be able to drive, guilt-free, in their SUVs.

  57. Stefan,
    I’m not sure if you recall a few months back you thoroughly schooling me in developmental stages. Do you have any recommendations on reasonably approachable writings/books on the subject?
    ..and thanks again for your replies in that thread, very enlightening!

  58. pat (21:18:33) :
    “Children used to dread nuclear war but we could now be terrorising them with too much talk of global warming”

    ———-
    Furthermore:
    “But, Dr Rudkin says, parents shouldn’t fret too much: if it were not climate change, children would find other issues to fixate on: “My personal opinion is that we all need something to worry about.””
    http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/life_and_style/article7066030.ece
    ———-
    RESPONSE:
    They don’t need to find, it is being rammed down their throats in Government TV propaganda between kid’s shows. This would be funny if it did not have such dire potential consequences for the future.
    1 March, 2010
    “Baby survives parents’ global warming suicide pact”
    “A seven-month-old girl survived for three days alone with a bullet in her chest after being shot by her parents as part of a suicide pact”
    “Francisco Lotero, 56, and Miriam Coletti, 23, shot their daughter and her toddler brother before killing themselves.”
    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/southamerica/argentina/7344329/Baby-survives-parents-global-warming-suicide-pact.html

  59. Peter (04:14:00) :

    I don’t think people who are randomly forced into a “green” shop can be equated to be “geeenies” in the first place.

    quite right. That is why the study was not about ‘greenies’ at all, but the purchase of ‘green’ products by anyone.
    What this study shows me, is that people who believe bogus “green” marketing are more likely to cheat/steal.
    The definition of “greenie” seems out of context. Just because people choose a product with a “green” sticker (applied by marketing) does not make them greener than someone who sees through the hype, who probably chooses a product based on lowest cost.
    But the study shows us that anybody buying ‘green’ products are then more likely to cheat.
    Regarding the rest of your comment, I think it is a valuable study. We are prone to very poorly understood impulses, and this highlights the theory that ‘green’ products are actually bad for the general social well-being. We need to rethink the whole concept altogether. This is entirely regardless of the actual ecological benefit of the product in question.
    It is much better to read the study itself and wholly ignore the press article IMO.
    A good allegorical case:
    One day you read an article on subject ‘X’. It seems fairly accurate, although you have little knowledge of the subject itself. You take it at face value.
    The next day you read an article about a subject ‘Y’ you understand extremely well. You can immediately see how completely uninformed the writer is, and how much of it is merely made up to fill column inches, and that most of it is completely wrong.
    Why would you believe anything different about the first article? I don’t any more, having seen so many of subject ‘Y’.

  60. Phil Rowlands (04:20:12) :

    I’ve observed something similar in the behaviour of cyclists. Running red lights, riding on the pavement, travelling the wrong way down a ‘one way street’ and other similar things. I’ve often wondered if they might have felt themselves morally superior in some way and used this as justification for their rulebreaking.
    I used to think that was just me being a ‘grumpy old git’ but I’m not so sure now.

    From my days on a bike, I think the reason is the sense of freedom you get from being on a bike. You really do feel the rules do not apply to you, and 99 times out of 100, you get away with it merely because you can change direction so fast.
    Trouble comes when the laws of physics turn out to apply. That Mack truck just cannot stop or get out of your way. An extreme example, but not an unknown one. I’ve cruised at 30 mph, and even hit 50 mph (in Scotland down Glen Coe). None of it was what I would consider safe these days. Cities were the worst, though.

  61. Phil Rowlands: “I’ve observed something similar in the behaviour of cyclists. Running red lights, riding on the pavement, travelling the wrong way down a ‘one way street’”
    As someone who has been an off-on regular cyclist for over 4 decades, riding on a busy street is not a time to start thinking about morality. Let me put it this way, imagine you are in your car, driving at 30mph and suddenly a vehicle the size of a small battleship (30feet across), with 1foot thick armour plating comes past you at 200mph.
    Would you:
    a) crap yourself?
    b) Get off the road?
    That’s the relative proportions/speed of a car/bike!
    And over the years, as less and less people and more and more people drive, car owners have become less and less tolerant of cyclists to the point that I will not let my teenage children cycle on roads that I as a 6year old would have been safe to cycle on in my youth.
    The behaviour of cyclists is caused by car drivers, and not vica versa (That and there drug soaked bodies — because when you a filled from adrenalin from the fear of all those cars around you, — and you need that adrenalin to get the added boost to get away safely from traffic lights etc. where you are extremely vunerable until you are out in front of the cars and even the most dopey drivers doing their lipstick can see you

  62. I think Noelene is right. This is a clear case of failure to isolate the variable. It is possible that people who buy “green” just because it is “green”; are just self righteous twits who only do it so they can feel superior and therefore justified in being less ethical elsewhere in life.
    Or maybe constant exposure to people like our jet setting AGW nutballs has biased me a bit.

  63. If you read the comments below the article on the Guardian website you get the impression the report certainly touched a nerve. Funnily enough the science of psychology most certainly isn’t settled.

  64. Any body heard from birthday boy Charles? A couple of jiggers of this green hotsauce in a bloodmary will snap him out of a hangover.

  65. I agree with other commenters that the authors may have it backwards – that those buying “green” products may be already doing these other bad things & they are simply buying “green” to sooth some sort of guilty conscience. That being said, I do know people who buy green that I would not put into that category. The human mind is a very complicated thing & it is hard to lump everyone based on a study. The climate is simple compared to individual psychology.

  66. “Professional liberals are too arrogant to compromise. In my experience, they were also very unpleasant people on a personal level. Behind their slogans about saving the world and sharing the wealth with the common man lurked a nasty hunger for power.
    They’d double-cross their own mothers to get it or keep it.”
    – Harry S Truman

  67. “Richard Heg (04:18:00) :
    Would be interesting to apply this research to those who claim they are religious.”
    Been done.
    Religious (and conservative) people give infinitly more to voluntary charitable causes than the reactionary leftists who want the government to force people into “good” behavior.
    “Good” being defined by the lefties, of course.

  68. That explains why some of the faster speeders I see on the interstate are Prius drivers.
    “I’m saving gas, so I get to go faster than everyone else!”

  69. Makes sense. You see, the greens are already trying to steal our money by cap-and-trade, huge government subsidies, and “studies” into what ways we are messing the earth up now. And the greens you see promoting this are self-righteous and holier-than-thou. This is not surprising at all.

  70. Note that clicking on the hot sauce picture will lead you to the NSFW full name of that hot sauce. One that ~ctm would [snip] and possibly warn. This is your only warning. 😉

  71. The biggest ‘group’ I’ve belonged to is WUWT, and what I enjoy here are the diverse comments and the humour of all you sceptic participants. WUWT is a bit like some of the Edinburgh Clubs in the Scotish Enlightenment, Tuesday Club, Oyster Club etc except we don’t eat oysters drink copious drafts of claret and play leapfrog on the snow, well, not as an online group any way. Maybe Charles the Moderator is doing some of these things at his ongoing birthday celebration.
    Save the Sharks, don’t be so hard on pigeons, we have some wonderful bronze wing pigeons in Australia and crested doves that make whirring sounds with their wings when they take off. Evan, starlings gotta live too. Show some empathy! My favorites are the little blue wrens that hop on to my doorstep on the Mornington Peninsular.

  72. JER0ME (02:50:52) :
    “Albatrosses cannot cross the equator? Tell us more…..”
    It is indeed such an interesting issue, that it is enough for a separate posting, if you ask me.
    But please, no feel-good-science…..

  73. We are forgetting the political component of this, which is by far the more important aspect. Let me remind everyone that when the current battle over healthcare is resolved that Cap&Trade (or whatever the current title is ) is next up in the ring of public and political debate.
    http://www.dtnprogressivefarmer.com/dtnag/common/link.do?symbolicName=/ag/blogs/template1&blogHandle=policy&blogEntryId=8a82c0bc268be2db01277155f7330b47&showCommentsOverride=false
    Articles from Wednesday report the senators briefed some business groups on the proposal, which had eight separate titles to it: Refining, America’s Farmers, Consumer Refunds, Clean Energy Innovation, Coal, Natural Gas, Nuclear and Energy Independence.
    Kind of interesting that they laid out some details to business people on St. Patrick’s Day. Maybe they are counting on the luck of the Irish.
    Reports stated that comparable to the House bill the proposal would reduce carbon emissions by 17 percent in 2020 and up to 80 percent by 2050. (The House bill passed last year went to 83 percent).
    The bill also would supersede the EPA using the Clean Air Act to regulate emissions and ensure that it would only go after major emitters, those producing over 25,000 tons of greenhouse-gases per year.
    Like a bill proposed by Sens. Maria Cantwell, D-Wash., and Susan Collins, R-Maine, the bill also would have a “cap-and-dividend” model which would include rebates back to consumers on the sale of pollution permits.

  74. I think this study could well be valid.
    Some research I read about diet drinks showed a similar psychology.
    The study was on why those who drank a lot of these drinks actually put weight on.
    Those who drank diet drinks felt that they could ‘reward’ themselves with extra calories because there were none (or very few) in the drinks.
    This thinking seems to apply to various behaviours.

  75. Shakespeare was a wonderful judge of character and got it right all those years ago back in the Little Ice Age, with this quote from Julius Caeser
    Let me have men about me that are fat,
    Sleek-headed men and such as sleep a-nights.
    Yond Cassius has a lean and hungry look,
    He thinks too much; such men are dangerous.
    And look what happened to poor Caesar. Apologise in advance to all those lean readers who are not Vegie “Green” card holders.

  76. 1) it could be that this started with Ed Abbey’s book: “The Monkey Wrench Gang”, which was an early advocate of ecoterrorism.
    2) The TV comedy “South Park” also did a take off on this with an episode regarding the sanctimoniousness of Prius owners, whose farts didn’t stink.

  77. WUWT, given your post I advise you to check your premises.
    In that regard, I suggest the last stanza of Robert Frosts poem “The Road Less Traveled” ~1920;
    “I shall be telling this with a sigh
    Somewhere ages and ages hence:
    Two roads diverged in a wood, and I—
    I took the one less traveled by,
    And that has made all the difference.” 
    WUWT, check you premises. Your road taken on this post is, unfortunately, very well traveled.
    John

  78. Obviously none of you are aware that according to South Park people who drive Hybrids create “smug” and that this “smug” when concentrated in cities like “San Francisco” make the living environment there unbearable. So yes, going green can actually have a detrimental effect on the environment. Check out the lated episode of South Park for details. Hilarious!

  79. George Turner, you sound like Dr Doolittle with your appealing menagerie. We have a few adoptees too, including a duckling we bought at the Market for $3. A couple of years later she cost us $500 for a hysterectomy. Ducks often develop problems with egg laying, as we learned to our cost.

  80. I noticed the same tendency of folks who like to advertise their benevolent attitudes are often not all that benevolent at all. Years ago I lived up in Coal Creek Canyon here in Colorado just above Boulder. There were lots of “save the whales” folks who lived up there as well. You could tell because they had 4 or 5 stickers on their cars attesting to their love for ecology and the planet.
    One day after work a line of about 15 cars was headed up the canyon, (I was near the end of the line), when a doe tried to cross the road. She came over the top of the rise on my right and was going a bit too fast when she saw the line of cars moving up the road, and locked up all four and tried to come to a stop, but she was too near the edge of the precipice and slide down the dirt slope and slammed into the side of a car going about 30 mph farther up the line. The impact spun her around and bounced her off the dirt embankment and then she rolled into traffic, and spun like a top a couple revolutions. She sort of sat there in a pile for second then scrambled to her feet and tried to get off the road, walking into the brush on the other side of the road some what awkwardly. The driver of the car who she hit never even slowed down, the car in front of me only tapped the brakes and pulled around her like she was a pile of trash in the middle of the road and went on.
    Out of 15 or so cars who saw the incident only two people stopped to see if the deer had been injured.
    It was not any of the folks who had “save the whales”, or “earth day” stickers on their bumpers.
    Larry

  81. I think that if you tar all environmentalists with the same brush then the argument will be lost.
    The problem is the extremists, politicians,WWF and others and vested interests. These are where the attacks should be made. Also turning the matter into a left/ right debate will get nowhere there are many on the right that believe in Climate Change nee Dangerous Global Warming.

  82. People give lip service to being green. Who wants to be accused of hating the planet and wanting to destroy every living thing.
    Our school children are indoctrinated about environmentalism. The are conditioned to respond with green platitudes, even if they don’t believe them. Our children are also taught that nearly every great American in our past achieved success by lying, cheating, stealing, destroying the environment and exploiting the weak, the poor and minorities.
    It’s no wonder many people lie, cheat and steal these days. They have learned this is the only way to get ahead.

  83. The anti-American enviro lobby, which owns Congress, puts offshore drilling off-limits. This harms Americans, while greatly benefitting Russia and China, which fill the vacuum: click

  84. @Stacey,
    We are not tarring anybody with any brushes. According to the article, the research has been done. It has been published and peer reviewed here.
    The science is settled. smug is a serious problem.

  85. Geoff Sherrington (02:34:56) :
    James Allison (01:29:11) : “The wandering albatross in flight would have to be one of the most beautiful and graceful birds around”
    Agreed. As an Aussie, I also note that Nature crafted them so that they could not cross the Equator and so make land among the sinful.

    There are plenty of goony birds on Midway.

    Phil Rowlands (04:20:12) :
    I’ve observed something similar in the behaviour of cyclists. Running red lights, riding on the pavement, travelling the wrong way down a ‘one way street’ and other similar things.

    Like “Critical Mass” traffic obstructions.

  86. Kwik & Jerome
    Albatrosses can cross the equator. But they are too damn smart (or scared) to try.
    The albatross cannot get airborne again if it lands on flat calm water, because it is too heavy to overcome the drag. It needs big waves so that it can break free at a wave-crest and gain enough airspeed as it flies down into the trough to be able to soar above the next wave. The doldrums on or about the equator produce flat calm water, so the albatross won’t fly over it.

  87. When I was a wee young lad, growing up in Southern California, I used to go camping in the mountains east of San Diego and L.A. and in the Sierra’s in the summers. I used to see the California Conservation Core battling brush fires started by lightening or maybe a stray campfire. Generally, these fires were brought under control pretty quickly or at least contained. The CCC used to spend summers clearing away the dead undergrowth that fed these fires. Then we had to save the spotted owls and field mice, etc, (due to the greenies) and the CCC were forced to stop clearing the dead kindling. Now, every summer, we see ginourmous forest fires that burn down people’s houses and kill people. Me thinks the greenies rejoice.
    hmmm….

  88. Gary Turner (21:02:37) :
    I’ve long sensed that the most evil is done by people who do it in the name of whichever deity they worship. Whether a conventional god or one fabricated for the purposes of do-gooderism such as being green, vegan, or fighting wrong-headed people, they seem to think their noble end justifies whatever means necessary………….
    ————————————————————
    And where would Stalin, Pol Pot, Hitler, Jack-the-Ripper, ad neaseum fit in with your incoherrence?

  89. May I have another turn, please, to smash watermelons in the road?
    I believe people who want (demand) others to act their beliefs about AGW etc are genuinely misanthropic, because they don’t (or couldn’t) care about the repercussions that others will be forced to accept – all because of unfounded paranoia.
    In general, those forced to accept the consequences of “elite” beliefs aren’t noted for their voice to speak up for themselves, nor have the money or political wherewithal to induce politicians to act in response to their delusions.
    People who buy into the green goop aren’t nice people, I have found. They couldn’t care less if their delusions might force some people to starve or freeze to death.
    On behalf of such people, I am committed with all I have in me to smash watermelon dreams and desires

  90. Do we have to assume the authors of the study controlled for other factors such as age, socio-economic group, income, etc?
    And who coined the term “ethical consumer?” Is this a term the green shoppers used to describe themselves?

  91. “Daniel H (21:49:18) :
    I noticed that the green “carbon offset” kiosk machine went completely unused the entire time I was there. People just passed it by.”
    I bet Dr Who will soon be travelling the multiverse in a green TARDIS, maybe that was it.

  92. Gary Turner (21:02:37) :
    I’ve long sensed that the most evil is done by people who do it in the name of whichever deity they worship. Whether a conventional god or one fabricated for the purposes of do-gooderism such as being green, vegan, or fighting wrong-headed people, they seem to think their noble end justifies whatever means necessary.
    ______ (fill in the blank) save us from those who know what’s best for everyone else.
    cheers

    I don’t know of any tenets of mainstream Christianity, Judaism or Buddhism* that allows for lying, cheating and stealing. I know of plenty of people who twist religion to suit there purposes and thereby justify their behavior.
    The greatest evil is done by people who believe they are doing the right thing. The greatest mass murderers all thought they were doing good and were all subscribers to some form of socialism (Mao, Stalin, Hitler). What deity did those men worship? Was Soviet Communism a deity? How about National Socialism?
    * Buddhists do not worship a deity, btw.

  93. @Mike Haseler (05:49:30) :
    [somethingawfull mode]
    At this point in the thread i should remind people that the Dutch ride their bicycles without a helmet and that even an old granny still rides a bike with with 2 heavy shopping bags and a crying grandchild in the childseat up front 🙂
    [/somethingawfull mode]
    Its all about the numbers participating on the road and you would not dare to hit a a cyclist on a road somewhere in the Netherlands.
    Japan is even worse, they drive on the sidewalk there in a manner that even the Dutch consider insane (and i know because i have been there quite often now)
    *ding* *ding*

  94. However much fun the conclusion of this study is, it should be noted that the study is poorly designed. First, the effect sizes are marginal and the distibution of the effects is not reported as I recall. Second the assignment of individuals to treatment groups should have ensured that similar attitudes to “green” and “non green” products were equal. Randomly assigning folks is not sufficient to ensure a valid result (Matt Briggs is actually discussing this today at http://www.wmbriggs.com ). Thirdly, no effort was made to ask the experimental subjects to explain what they did – the experimental treatment was essentially a game and subjects may have varied significantly in their response to the game aspects of the experiment.
    Alternative hypotheses for the observed behavior are not explored.

  95. @Jimbo: your suicide pact example is what is known as a straw man argument. My guess is that, if they hadn’t had a suicide pact over global warming, they’d have picked another suitably crazy reason to kill themselves.

  96. I’m a medical research scientist who knew nothing about climate science. When I first took an interest in global warming, I found a few pro-AGW web sites to ask some ignorant but sincere questions. What I discovered was a mean spirited, self righteous, and abusive group of people who i just couldn’t identify with. That led me to sites like WUWT where I can now get factually grounded answers in a community of much kinder, better informed folks with a diversity of experience and a willingness to share what they know. For me, WUWT is a site were I can expand my understanding without being turned off by all the ad hom, disparaging, and self edification found at the pro-AGW sites.

  97. This reminds me of one of my favorite quotes:
    “Of all tyrannies, a tyranny sincerely exercised for the good of its victims may be the most oppressive. It would be better to live under robber barons than under omnipotent moral busybodies. The robber baron’s cruelty may sometimes sleep, his cupidity may at some point be satiated; but those who torment us for our own good will torment us without end for they do so with the approval of their own conscience.” – C. S. Lewis

  98. I’m certain there will be people who refuse to believe this study. And there will be those surprised by it. But for anyone who follows climate issues they will be no more surprised then the were with climategate. It’s always been obvious. Just look at how the AGW crowd lives. Besides Al Gore’s $1200/mo elec. bill mansion (that sports a heated swimming pool) he owns other properties including a 100′ houseboat. Of course he claims it burns biodiesel. But there’s reportedly no facilities for that on the lake. And, of course, there’s a jet ski parked on the back deck. And I’ve been told that John Travolta attended the Copenhagen conference; flying there on one of his 5 private jets. (Was it the 707?). How about Robert Redford for whom relinquishing his Porsche is not negotiable. The list is endless. And these people will not suffer the deprivations they’ll impose on us. Or how about where these climate conferences are held? Rio de Janeiro with it’s tropical white sand beaches populated by thong bikinis? Or Kyoto, itself: historic provincial capital and premier Japanese tourist destination. Or, Bali? Or Marrakech, Morrocco; immortalized in a rock and roll song and sporting 3 golf courses and a casino. I’ve heard this year it’ll be Mexico City but are we confusing Mexico City with Mexico because I’ve heard another report that it’ll be Cancun. I know where I’d place my bets.
    Perhaps even more ironical than all of the above is the one coauthor of the cap & trade legislation in the Senate: John Kerry who co-owns 5 (or is it 6?) mansions worth an estimated total of 32 mil, and flies exclusively on private jets.
    We need a study to tell us that green is mean?

  99. Jeff (08:04:36)
    Thanks for the link to ‘Nuts in May’. I haven’t seen it since it came out in the ’70s.
    I just watched the first segment. If anything, Keith and Candice-Marie are even worse than I remember!
    I recollect my friend and I watching it and laughing our heads off. I don’t think we’ll laugh quite so freely now…………….

  100. I guess I offended someone with my last question, so I’ll rephrase it, but it’s based on the overwhelming number of anti-green comments in this thread. In all seriousness, are any of you willing to say that, because I drive a hybrid, use a push reel mower, turn off lights when I leave a room, use lower-power appliances, recycle my aluminum cans, recycle my cardboard and paper, reuse rather than buy new, all in an effort to save money and be an intelligent factor in the free market, I’m a bad person? Silly me, I thought I was saving money. :->

  101. The best I’ve heard about being green was what Sarah Palin declared when asked something like this “what to do with endangered species, and she responded: “In Alaska we serve them with mashed potatoes” LOL.

  102. Smokey (12:03:07): Specially when the whole world is changing “greens” into other colored currencies asap. 🙂

  103. In internet blogs on climate, the warmers generally seem to prefer making vile comments about skeptics rather than discussing scientific evidence. If you show them a list of scientists who are skeptics they immediately attack them as shills of the oil industry without even one shred of proof. Sometimes their comments degenerate to the point of just plain venom-spitting hatred.
    So it’s no surprise to find out they aren’t nice people.

  104. Someone above mentioned greens being vegans which provides an excellent lead-in to this slightly off-topic post:
    Our governor has proclaimed this Saturday 3/20/2010 to be a meatless day:
    “Now, Therefore, be it Resolved, That I, Jennifer M. Granholm, governor of the state of Michigan, do hereby proclaim March 20, 2010, Michigan Meatout Day in Michigan. In observance of this day, I encourage the residents of this state to choose not to eat meat. Eating a healthy diet can be fun. Explore the different recipes that can be created by using fresh ingredients and by having a sense of adventure.” http://www.michigan.gov/gov/0,1607,7-168-25488-232493–,00.html
    Being the civic minded person that I am I’ve decided to take my wife out to dinner that day at the local steak house.

  105. Now the Beatles split in 1970. However I seem to recall some reference to green meanies on one of their albums. May have been the double EP Magical Mystery Tour
    DaveE.

  106. regeya (12:52:14) :
    Sounds to me like you’re doing it for the right reasons, not as some for the moral superiority aspect.
    I am quite poor & do many similar things.
    Some recycling however is pointless, (read plastic which is better burned efficiently).
    DaveE.

  107. savethesharks (21:29:04) :
    I have met some of these people. And they do not have “green” souls. You can see it in their eyes. Hey…but who am I to judge? I am not surprised by this study, for, as “green” as I am [hence my name], but also as disassociated with the radical political agendas of most environmentalist movements, I have met these people, and they are not nice.
    And we are seeing the same look rising now with the skeptics. Monckton is spouting big whoppers like biofuels have caused prices to double and food riots around the world.
    Cries that Mann is a “criminal” are written with the same hand that have Hansen criminalizing coal barons. And now we have the shocking story of an Argentine couple who signed “an apparent suicide pact over fears of global warming.”
    http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/worldnews/article-1254619/Baby-girl-survives-shot-chest-parents-global-warming-suicide-pact.html?ITO=1490#ixzz0gw4V50ru
    Virtual rubbish all around. Alarmist and skeptic are the fodder of not-so-clever deceptionists writing here and now!

  108. Steve Goddard (23:01:40) :
    “When you read the hateful rhetoric of many AGW bloggers, you see the same syndrome – a contempt for human beings. Probably indicating an underlying contempt for themselves.”
    I said exactly the same thing to my wife. These very public acts of “altruism” typically are really acts of self-loathing. It is that lack of self esteem that allows folks to behave very badly indeed.
    M

  109. Wow.
    This has become a ‘greenie bashing’ thread, and the study (valid or not, and I agree with the commenter criticising the validity) has nothing whatsoever to do with being green or not.
    Just read it before brining your prejudices out to wave in the wind, why not?

  110. regeya (12:52:14) :
    I guess I offended someone with my last question, so I’ll rephrase it, but it’s based on the overwhelming number of anti-green comments in this thread…
    Don’t let the anti-greenists prevent you from doing what you know best. Skepticism expressed here is mostly focused on the non-science of anthropogenic global warming. Last I heard, human activities expressed as UHI represent about .00056C of warming. There is no atmospheric data proving man-made CO2 has caused warming. End of AGW.
    Energy reduction, recycling, picking up trash, driving a fuel efficient car, are all logical ways to save money and resources. I’m buying a GM VOLT made in the USA when they’re available. And I don’t want to keep sending $450B annually to buy foreign oil. I don’t give a flying eff what you call me. I want domestic energy independence and I make efforts daily to get it.
    Stick around kid. You might teach these old coots a thing or two.

  111. regeya (12:52:14) :
    In a word, no. I think that your actions mirror our host’s and mine and many others here, for the most part.
    Basically what many of us are responding to is the difference between living in the world in a way that is consistent with our values vs. doing some expensive and largely meaningless things that are asserted to have some manner of “altruistic value”.
    M

  112. regeya, “being Green” is more about “saving the planet” than saving money. In fact, most things purported to be “green” actually cost more, or save only infinitesimally small amounts of money. The important thing is that it appear that you are “saving the planet”, thus giving you Brownie points, or bragging rights when with like-minded people. It all comes down to motivation.
    Take “Earth Hour”. Please. That is an event just dripping with hypocrisy, perfect for Greenies. It is all about feeling good about oneself, having nothing to do with the environment. About all it does is to raise the level of smug, to possibly toxic levels.

  113. Oh my God, this is too hilarious. Sorry folks, I couldn’t wait to read all comments before firing this one off. Apologies if I am repeating somebody… You just can’t make this stuff up!
    Unfortunately, the study muddies the water, by widening the potential motives of AGW-leaning climatologists’ to fudge, cherry pick and generally bully skeptics, to either the paper’s claim of, “…subsequent asocial and unethical behaviours,” and/or the original thesis of megalomania.

  114. regeya (12:52:14) :
    “[…] are any of you willing to say that, because I drive a hybrid, use a push reel mower, turn off lights when I leave a room, use lower-power appliances, recycle my aluminum cans, recycle my cardboard and paper, reuse rather than buy new, all in an effort to save money and be an intelligent factor in the free market, I’m a bad person? […]”
    Nahhh… what you’re doing is fine by me, particularly your motivation. I do many of the same things myself at home and a part of my job at work is to reduce energy usage wherever feasible.
    I’m not fond of being preached at by sanctimonius hypocrites that want ME to conserve but use energy like there is no tomorrow (a certain ex Vice President springs to mind).

  115. I believe that in the 1500s the Catholic Church would sell sin-offset credits. They were called indulgences.

  116. David Alan Evans (14:12:33) :
    Now the Beatles split in 1970. However I seem to recall some reference to green meanies on one of their albums.

    That was to blue meanies.

  117. Disappointed (14:46:53) : ” And we are seeing the same look rising now with the skeptics. Monckton is spouting big whoppers like biofuels have caused prices to double and food riots around the world. Cries that Mann is a “criminal” are written with the same hand that have Hansen criminalizing coal barons.”
    Nah….not quite.
    Not evenly or equally distributed. Granted….there are overreactions on both sides….however:
    Monckton’s point is a very VALID one: Namely, all of this wasted energy on biofuel [which is actually more sketchy than hydrocarbons] have been the cause of the spike in world food prices and the reason that there are people in Haiti who actually have had to eat mud for nutrition.
    Ever eat a mud pie? Not too tasty. [Although I confess as a kid trying to make mud biscuits].
    Monkton has a point…and it is point with moral implications.
    In regards to Mann…well….you tell me.
    You give me your assessment if his fraudulent doctorings of science…and if they have not contributed to the negative net effect of the breach of trust in science today…not to mention the sham policies which Monckton is talking about.
    1/3 of the world’s population today does not have electricity….so you would rather hold them in the stone age??
    As to Hansen…any USA taxpayer-funded [ie public servant] “scientist” who is galavanting around in his own sovereignty…and disrupting others’, using Third Reich imagery…has forfeited his right to say anything.
    So….you are correct about the smoke and mirrors on both political sides of the debate.
    But they are NOT equal….and not positively weighted in the direction of Mann and Hansen.
    Res ipsa loquiter.
    Chris
    Norfolk, VA, USA

  118. Grumpy Old Man (07:40:00) :
    The albatross cannot get airborne again if it lands on flat calm water, because it is too heavy to overcome the drag. It needs big waves so that it can break free at a wave-crest and gain enough airspeed as it flies down into the trough to be able to soar above the next wave. The doldrums on or about the equator produce flat calm water, so the albatross won’t fly over it.
    An albatross can take off from calm water quite nicely — they flail those huge webbed feet until they build up enough speed to *run* across the water’s surface. But they’re *soaring* birds, so when they have their “druthers,” they’ll hang around where they can find thermals — and they’ll climb to amazing altitudes to glide across areas of downdrafts.
    Watch a sailplane in flight and you’re watching an aircraft designer’s interpretation of an albatross designed to hold a pilot.

  119. Roger Knights (21:07:34) :

    That was to blue meanies.

    So I’m colour blind 😉
    DaveE.

  120. H.R. (16:20:37) :
    regeya (12:52:14) :
    “[…] are any of you willing to say that, because I drive a hybrid, use a push reel mower, turn off lights when I leave a room, use lower-power appliances, recycle my aluminum cans, recycle my cardboard and paper, reuse rather than buy new, all in an effort to save money and be an intelligent factor in the free market, I’m a bad person? […]“
    Nahhh… what you’re doing is fine by me, particularly your motivation. I do many of the same things myself at home and a part of my job at work is to reduce energy usage wherever feasible.
    I’m not fond of being preached at by sanctimonius hypocrites that want ME to conserve but use energy like there is no tomorrow (a certain ex Vice President springs to mind).

    Absolutely! Fewer preachers/dictators; more education and personal responsibility. You can be ‘greener’ without being ‘green’.

  121. I’ve always suspected this sort of thing. People that obtain reinforcement of their morality by simply ascribing to something like “Save the Planet” or “Corporations are Greedy” or “Free Tibet” or whatever, get said reinforcement automatically without doing much of anything. No actual personal responsibility just advertise to anybody who will listen that you are for this and that cause to obtain absolution. When you are morally superior without any effort that leads to all sorts of bad actions rationalized by an artificially inflated sense of personal morality.

  122. About all it does is to raise the level of smug, to possibly toxic levels.
    We need to be careful that it doesn’t mix with the smug storm caused by George Clooney’s speech at the Oscars.

  123. Regeya; perhaps we should differentiate.
    You and I and the like minded others above can be the light greens, and the AGW crowd can be the dark greens.

  124. regeya (10:48:30) :
    “@Jimbo: your suicide pact example is what is known as a straw man argument. My guess is that, if they hadn’t had a suicide pact over global warming, they’d have picked another suitably crazy reason to kill themselves.”
    You are probably correct. My point was what must all the alarmism be doing to children’s psychology? If it’s scaring kids then how will they think when they become insecure teenagers or rabid, middle aged greens. I remember being scared out of my mind in the 1970s about the end of the world due to nuclear war.

  125. regeya (10:48:30) :
    “@Jimbo: your suicide pact example is what is known as a straw man argument. My guess is that, if they hadn’t had a suicide pact over global warming, they’d have picked another suitably crazy reason to kill themselves.”
    Furthermore, this really bears thinking about:
    Suicide cults (does cult sound familiar?) Dozens of people persuaded by an individual to kill themselves. Now multiply that by over 150 governments telling billions of people that our children will meet their maker unless Co2 is reduced now! Think about it for a while, the kids aged 7 years still have 10 more years to get to 17 and who knows what will happen. I don’t know and you don’t know.
    – Peoples Temple
    – Solar Temple
    – Heaven’s Gate
    – Branch Davidians

  126. This article is just just shows another example where if we “put our blinders on” and buy green we may actually be doing the opposite.
    I remember years ago when the tree huggers were saying “no plastic bags” and trying to drive all of us to paper grocery bags. It turned out that the paper bags were a much larger impact on the ecology.
    Tom

  127. The albatross.
    When I am wrong, I correct and apologise. I generalised that the albatross does not cross the Equator. In more particular terms –
    “Only three Albatross species are regular in the North Pacific – the Short-tailed Albatross, the Laysan Albatross and the Black-footed Albatross, although other species are sometimes recorded as vagrants, although Albatross find it hard to cross the Doldrums of the equator. However at least 4 species of Albatross have managed to pass into the Northern Hemisphere in the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans over the years, with some returning yearly to seabird colonies, such as the Black-browed Albatross which returned to seabird nesting sites in Scotland for over 25 years.”
    http://www.birdinghawaii.co.uk/XShorttailedAlbatross2.htm

  128. Isaiah 58 (Bible)
    3 ‘Why have we fasted,’ they say,
    ‘and you have not seen it?
    Why have we humbled ourselves,
    and you have not noticed?’
    “Yet on the day of your fasting, you do as you please
    and exploit all your workers.
    4 Your fasting ends in quarreling and strife,
    and in striking each other with wicked fists.
    You cannot fast as you do today
    and expect your voice to be heard on high.
    5 Is this the kind of fast I have chosen,
    only a day for a man to humble himself?
    Is it only for bowing one’s head like a reed
    and for lying on sackcloth and ashes?
    Is that what you call a fast,
    a day acceptable to the LORD ?
    6 “Is not this the kind of fasting I have chosen:
    to loose the chains of injustice
    and untie the cords of the yoke,
    to set the oppressed free
    and break every yoke?
    7 Is it not to share your food with the hungry
    and to provide the poor wanderer with shelter—
    when you see the naked, to clothe him,
    and not to turn away from your own flesh and blood?

  129. I think the comments on this post clearly articulate the divide between environmental skepticism and an unfettered evangilism towards all things green. I’m not suggesting by any means that climate change isn’t a genuine concern but it seems obvious that there are those who will cling to a concept of activism, one way or the other, and will close their minds to any argument to the contrary.

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