The Conversation: “Climate Change is the Most Important Mission for Universities”

Guest essay by Eric Worrall

If you thought the most important mission of universities was to provide kids with professional skills to help them get a better job, think again.

Climate change is the most important mission for universities of the 21st century

June 4, 2020 6.09am AEST

Lauren Rickards Associate Professor, Sustainability and Urban Planning, School of Global Urban and Social Studies; Co-leader, Climate Change and Resilience Research Program, Centre for Urban Studies, RMIT University

Tamson Pietsch Associate Professor, Social & Political Sciences, University of Technology Sydney

This essay is based on an episode of the UTS podcast series “The New Social Contract” that examines how the relationship between universities, the state and the public might be reshaped as we live through this global pandemic.

Universities are confronting the possibility of profound sector-wide transformation due to the continuing effects of COVID-19. It is prompting much needed debate about what such transformation should look like and what kind of system is in the public interest.

How can universities credibly claim to be preparing young people for their futures, or to be working with employers, if they do not take into account the kind of world they are helping to bring about?

Universities are key to enabling Australian society to transition to a safer and lower emissions pathway. They are needed to provide the knowledge, skills and technologies for this positive transition. And they are also needed to foster the social dialogue and build the broad public mandate to get there. 

This means old ideas of universities as isolated and values-free zones, and newer notions of them as cheap consultants to the private sector, fundamentally fail to fulfil the role universities now need to play. 

They must become public good, mission-driven organisations devoted to rapidly progressing human understanding and action on the largest threat there has ever been, to what they are taken to represent and advance – human civilisation.

Teaching and research too must change. University students can choose programs and optional modules dedicated to climate change. But this isn’t enough. Climate change has to be integrated in all disciplines.

Read more: https://theconversation.com/climate-change-is-the-most-important-mission-for-universities-of-the-21st-century-139214

I think we should be grateful that universities have clarified their mission, helped us to understand they consider climate indoctrination and shaping social policy to be higher priorities than educating kids and helping private industry.

Next time governments consider cutting costs, funding for universities should be considered part of the climate budget, not part of the education budget.

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78 thoughts on “The Conversation: “Climate Change is the Most Important Mission for Universities”

  1. Just the kind of document that could have been written by a character from 1984, dressed up with a bit of modern language in a weak attempt to disguise its real meaning.

    • It’s kind of antiquated, like telling girls in high school that they HAVE to take “domestic science”, e.g., sewing and cooking classes, if they want to graduate, without considering that there are more important things to do than be mini-Betty Crockers, or that some of us, and even the boys, might like to cook but didn’t like the lack of creativity in those classes. (You have no idea what a bunch of fuddy-duddies….)

      Yeah, let’s just brainwash future generations, which is what those people have been trying to do for how many years now? And it still isn’t working? When you make a branch of anything, including this subject matter, into a pseudo-religious subject, you betray the trust people may have in you.

      • Sounds to me like the authors

        Lauren Rickards
        Associate Professor, Sustainability and Urban Planning, School of Global Urban and Social Studies; Co-leader, Climate Change and Resilience Research Program, Centre for Urban Studies, RMIT University

        Tamson Pietsch
        Associate Professor, Social & Political Sciences, University of Technology Sydney

        Have been nipping at the Klimate Kool-aid a little too much

        • Well, not that I was thinking of shipping my oldest overseas for higher education, but I have to thank the authors for adding their respective institutions to my “do not send” list.

        • One would think that with all of the considerable happenings in democratic controlled urban communities over the past six decades or longer, that Urban Studies professors might get a clue.

          Methinks, with black giving democrats 90% of their votes or more, they might wish to re-examine their tactics of protest, vote democrat, protest, vote democrat. Something needs to change.

          Candice Owens has some good comments on the matter. https://www.pscp.tv/w/1MYGNklYaYZJw

      • Sara, in high school, boys took ‘shops’ and girls took typing. I made a wooden corner bracket for my first project and got 75% for it! Then a bunch of us started copying a kid that was making fishing lures. With a week to go before the second project was due, the teacher announced that, except for John, fishing lures were not acceptable! I took my varnished corner bracket apart, resanded it, painted it blue, and resubmitted it and got 80% for it.

        Next year I persuaded some friends to join me in petitioning the principal, after getting the okay from the typing teacher, to be allowed to take typing with the girls. We suceeded and started a trend. Hey if they had had cooking I would have been for it.

        • I witnessed the end of home economics and shop classes, at least in the schools I attended. Sad that progress made us poorer for it. I wish I had taken typing.

          • My dad had one iron-clad rule regarding high school electives. All five of us were required to take one semester of typing, no questions, no reprieves.

        • And now, the kids in school can take any “home ec” classes (e.g., boys can take sewing) that they want to take. That means I could have taken something that would be a huge help in how to tell a repairman that the oven isn’t working properly, or the water heater needs to be fixed or replaced.

          Skills like those you learn in tech schools now are what gave kids jobs if they didn’t plan to go to college back in the Dark Ages. 🙂 It cost nothing back then. Now you have to pay tuition for it, but there are plenty of those jobs available.

  2. Do not be too harsh. These are nice people, they are not in it for the money. Are they?

    • The “sector-wide” impacts they discuss is the anticipated loss of revenue from COVID-19 effects. So it seems they are.

  3. As Prof. C.P. Snow pointed out in his 1959 “Two Cultures” Rede lecture – that 9 out of 10 academics has less knowledge of physics than his neolithic ancestors.
    He had the courage to stand before the Cambridge senate and call them cavemen.
    And as Richard Lindzen commented “I fear that little has changed since Snow’s assessment 60 years ago.”

    Academia is dominated by cavemen – as far as understanding this complex subject is concerned.

    • Green energy is the greatest scam, in dollar terms, in the history of humanity. I think green energy proponents have known this was fraudulent nonsense, but there was much money to be made and the added benefit (for them) of damaging the economy.

      NOBODY CAN BE THIS STUPID FOR THIS LONG – I suggest it was deliberate leftist sabotage of economies – that is how the left takes power – promise imbecilic voters lots of free stuff, destroy the economy, and then live like kings on top of a ruined state – because you can’t be kings without lots of peasants – see Venezuela, Zimbabwe, North Korea, Cuba, and scores of other countries for examples.

      Excerpted from:
      https://wattsupwiththat.com/2018/10/24/collusions-ahoy-law-enforcement-for-rent-because-climate/#comment-2500770

      Green energy schemes are much worse than “window dressing” – not only extremely costly , but also highly destructive – driving up energy costs, destabilizing electric grids, and increasing energy poverty and winter mortality. As an energy expert, I have known this forever and have written about it since 2002. My recent post is excerpted below.

      Green energy is the greatest scam, in dollar terms, in the history of humanity. I think green energy proponents have known this was fraudulent nonsense, but there was much money to be made and the added benefit (for them) of damaging the economy.

      Nobody can be this stupid for this long – I suggest it was deliberate leftist sabotage of economies – that is how the left takes power – promise imbecilic voters lots of free stuff, destroy the economy, and then live like kings on top of a ruined state – because you can’t be kings without lots of peasants – see Venezuela, Zimbabwe, North Korea, Cuba, and scores of other countries for examples.

      https://wattsupwiththat.com/2018/10/23/president-trump-thinks-scientists-are-split-on-climate-change-hes-right-dana-nuccitelli-is-wrong/#comment-2500191

      [excerpt]

      Green energy is typically not green and produces little useful (dispatchable) energy. The core problem is intermittency, which is the fatal flaw of grid-connected wind and solar power. Green energy enthusiasts then ASSUMED they can solve this fatal flaw with battery storage, which is more uneconomic nonsense.

      The fatal flaw of intermittency in green energy IS just that simple, but this obvious fact continues to elude many politicians and their minions.

      My co-authors and I correctly predicted the failure of most green energy schemes in 2002, as follows:
      “The ultimate agenda of pro-Kyoto advocates is to eliminate fossil fuels, but this would result in a catastrophic shortfall in global energy supply – the wasteful, inefficient energy solutions proposed by Kyoto advocates simply cannot replace fossil fuels.”

      In the same debate, we also wrote::
      “Climate science does not support the theory of catastrophic human-made global warming – the alleged warming crisis does not exist.”

      Since then, tens of trillions of dollars of scarce global resources have been squandered on destructive green energy schemes that have driven up energy costs and destabilized electrical grids.

      An audit in 2018 of the EU’s leading climate alarmist energy policy program by Germany’s Federal Audit Office concluded that Germany’s Energiewende was a colossal and hugely expensive debacle. Almost a trillion dollars was squandered in Germany alone, just on wind power – the German audit estimated the loss at about $800 billion, as reported here on wattsup.

      Then there is all the wind power in other countries, and all the solar, and corn ethanol in North America and sugar cane ethanol in Brazil etc. and all the canola and palm oil biodiesel and … and … and ….

      Side-effects of these green energy scams included rapid draining of the vital Ogalalla Aquifer for corn ethanol production in the USA and clear-cutting of the rainforests in South America and Southeast Asia to grow biofuels. These actions caused huge environmental damage.

      A fraction of these wasted trillions could have put safe water and sanitation systems into every village on Earth, and run them forever. About two million kids below the age of five die from contaminated water every year – over sixty million dead kids from bad water alone since the advent of global warming alarmism.

      The remaining squandered funds, properly deployed, could have gone a long way to ending malaria and world hunger.

      Regards, Allan MacRae

  4. Oh dear. I feel like Sergeant Frazer in Dad’s Army : “we’re doomed.” not from GW but the corruption of our universities.

  5. Eric,
    I had occasion to look at one of the members of the Climate Change Institute at the Australian National University given his appointment to the Binskin Royal Commission into the recent bushfires.
    I am sure that Professor Andrew Macintosh, the appointee, is well qualified, genuine and industrious and I mean to cast no aspersions against him.
    However, what staggered me was the sheer number of members of the Climate Change Institute at ANU (some 302 academics) and the breadth of activities and policy reach by this group.
    It dwarfs the more notorious University of New South Wales, I believe.
    I would invite you to examine their site if you have not already done so.
    From their substantial involvement in the UN IPCC at Madrid to the spread of policy ideas at the level of the smallest local communities, the extent of what I might term “infiltration” is enormously depressing.
    If the theory of CAGW is misconceived and the “climate crisis” is nonsense, what a waste of Human Resources.
    And this is one of innumerable universities worldwide!

    • most oftheaus uni are corrupted by the warmists all got thinktanks running with abc /conversation mobs
      the ripper thing is most are in deep sh*t right now as the chinese and other os students arent here and paying gross fees
      praying a huge amt of the profs get the boot, and whatsleft are the ones actuallyteaching useful skills
      though I have doubts, they’ d know a useful skill if it bit em.

    • I completely agree. What immediately came to mind is similarly the enormous waste of manpower and resources put to bear on recycling. Another idea championed by the greens with little to no benefit to society.

      • “In my study of communist societies, I came to the conclusion that the purpose of communist propaganda was not to persuade or convince, not to inform, but to humiliate; and therefore, the less it corresponded to reality the better. When people are forced to remain silent when they are being told the most obvious lies, or even worse when they are forced to repeat the lies themselves, they lose once and for all their sense of probity.” – Theodore Dalrymple

        There’s not meant to be any benefit to society. It’s all about envious, hateful little people making the masses do pointless stuff just because the little people say so.

      • I’m a little confused by that statement DBidwell, they are planning to cover millions of hectares of the globe in wind and solar renewables. What suggestion do you have for when they are passed their used by date? Seriously, so far none of the ‘environmentalists’ seem to to think there’ll be a problem.

        They’re already burying the blades of the turbines, so what space is left over after building the new infrastructure can be used to bury the old (20 years if you’re lucky) infrastructure. Or maybe we could bury the old stuff and build on top of it!

        Hmmm….where are we going to grow the food?

  6. https://wattsupwiththat.com/2020/02/22/liz-warren-explains-why-she-believes-ocasio-cortezs-green-new-deal-doesnt-go-far-enough/#comment-2923090

    When I started writing my current series of papers in 2019, almost nobody believed that the political situation could be as extreme as I then stated. Our core debate was still a scientific argument about the magnitude of climate sensitivity, and the skeptics kept repeating – correctly – that the alarmists’ estimates of climate sensitivity were far too high, and there was no real global warming crisis.

    The reality is that the extremists’ argument was never really about the climate – their climate argument was always a false narrative, a smokescreen for their true objective – their use of the false climate scare was always political, not scientific, and was intended to achieve totalitarian control.

    When I stated as early as 2012 – correctly – that the alarmists had a covert agenda and that nobody, not even the alarmists, could be this stupid for this long, my statement was initially rejected as extreme, even by many climate skeptics. However, the alarmists have recently proved me correct.

    Since ~late-2019, the climate extremists have engaged in a bidding war to see who could propose the most costly and ineffective “energy” programs to destroy the economies of the Western democracies. For a while, the winner was “carbon-free by 2050”, as adopted by the leftists in the USA, Canada, Britain and elsewhere.

    Recently, the Democrats in the USA have doubled-down, advocating even more extreme measures, to destroy their energy systems even sooner.

    When I first started studying this subject in ~1985, I knew the alarmists’ argument was false. Like many scientists, I assumed the alarmists were simply technically wrong. It is now obvious that they knew from the beginning that their entire narrative was technically false. Still, with huge financing from largely unknown sources they have managed to deceive the public – wolves stampeding the sheep on the way to slaughter.

    By now, even the most stupid of the global warming/climate change acolytes should realize something is amiss. Maybe, maybe not.

    As Einstein said, “Nothing is infinite except the universe and humans stupidity, and I‘m not sure about the universe.”
    _______________________________________

  7. The key is in her title.
    Associate Prof SUSTAINABILITY.
    At all costs she must sustain her position and salary = publish etc……

    • From the article: ‘ cheap consultants to the private sector’.

      Has anyone here actually tried to hire a university or professor to do some consultancy/research?
      I have and the costs are ridiculous, especially the amount of ‘overhead’ added to the staff salaries and use of lab facilities. One also has to take into account that most academics have ZERO practical experience so you need to allocate one of your own researchers to the project (at least part-time) to make sure that whatever comes out of the uni makes sense in the real world. Plus you generally have to share any intellectual property with them, even when paying 100% of the bill, and the results will be published so you could end up losing any competitive advantage if you’re not careful.

      So all in all working with a uni on research is definitely not cheap!
      Getting rid of all the ‘administrators’ and letting the professor run his/her own show like they used to would help.

      Stay sane,
      Willem

    • It’s telling that obsolete wind turbine blades and solar panels end up polluting the landscape or buried in landfills. Sustainability is obviously missing.

  8. “The New Social Contract podcast team
    Host: Tamson Pietsch, Associate Professor, Social and Political Sciences
    Impact Studios Executive Producer: Emma Lancaster
    Impact Studios Digital Communications Manager: Ben Vozzo
    Audio Producer: Allison Chan
    Journalist: Kathy Marks
    Sound Engineer: Adrian Walton”

    https://tambonthongchai.com/2020/06/04/sample-of-research-by-climate-scientist-tamson-pietsch/

    See also:

    https://tambonthongchai.com/2018/12/14/climateaction/

    https://tambonthongchai.com/2020/05/28/the-science-of-climate-change/

  9. This is an absolute call to brainwash university students. Traditional university activities include familiarization with the norms and language of a specialty, conduct expected of professional graduates, and, if the student is lucky, motivation by a mentor (for me Cy Field and Bill Taubeneck). Instead we see a stated intent to indoctrinate students into a belief system of debatable correctness. Thanks for the posting, Eric. Now I will go try to eat some breakfast.

    • If it’s any comfort, the gullible and unquestioning were likely indoctrinated well before reaching the hallowed halls of higher education. Those that survived either believe or know when to keep quiet.

  10. Funny that neither of these two clowns have none of the science, maths or engineering comprehension to know anything about climate. !

  11. Universities trained the scientists who created gain of function virus forms, some research done at Geelong.
    Apologise, university people, for creating potential or actual excess harm.
    Do not blame the victims.
    That is intellectual cowardice. Geoff S

  12. My own devolved government are playing little gods during the covid plandemic ,but rumbling in the background for years ,is this left wing ideology of environmental agendas,they have openly admitted to indoctrination through schools ,the university’s, they have engaged a member of the environment climate committee who report and advise UK government on policy. Engaged a ex UK prime minister Gordon brown ( left wing labour party) the Welsh government is a ideal study of how left wing extremists are talking over a country and destroying it for environment agendas, we in Wales are under the most stricken lockdown rules across Europe, unless you have to travel for medical reasons ,food, your restricted to travel within 5 miles, police concentrating on border crossings turning anyone away from England issuing fines,closed all car parks at tourist destinations, closing roads,using council staff to patrol rural areas to report movement, public transport reduced by 90% can only be used for essential journeys and has to be pre booked and justified. Can not get to see a doctor even though there encouraging you to do so if your ill. And there is no sign of any restrictions being lifted apart from some schools returning to a closed shift system at the end of the month. Left wing politics in action.

    • And how effective has that policy been?
      I cannot find a comparison chart of the progressive history of cases and deaths (total or per capita) for Wales compared to England or Scotland , but it does seem that Wales has been hit more heavily than other areas of the UK . So is the strict lockdown a consequence of a greater susceptibility in Wales recognised early in the history of the epidemic? Or is the greater toll in Wales a result of confinement ?

      • As of yesterday there was 82 new cases confirmed with no details of were and who, I suspect the majority were in old folks homes, 60% down on the peak in mid April, even if the border remained closed there is no reason to internal travel restrictions, there are some 3 million people live in Wales , the restrictions in England have been greatly reduced with no signs of a second wave, numbers continue to drop in England.

      • Update

        As of now 8 new deaths and 35 new cases ,that’s a substantial drop on yesterday.

        As for is the policy working ,that’s a strawman argument ,we could never know as we cant compare to a unlock down policy,

        I begrudgingly agreed with the lockdown just before and during the hight of infection, there has been no need for the sever restrictions for at least 3 weeks.

  13. The trend at universities to move away from supporting the need of the industry, has been going on for for a very long time.
    In the 1970’s Denmark, the electronic engineering curriculum had become so inferior and behind the development, that the industry created their own education centers for students of electronic engineering.
    The former engineers had become more useful as business engineers and less useful for designing new electronic circuits and components. The industry ended up taking this into their own hands, creating the needed education.

    In the New Green World we are storming towards, the development of electronics is centralized to few power houses, thus I don’t think we will encounter too few qualified engineers in any foreseeable future.

    As the universities have moved towards ecological studies, there will be an increasingly fears fight for job opportunities within the state and private enterprise Green social industry.

    Which educations will the universities prioritize post the Green revolution?
    Okay, in reality I dare to hope that the western universities will be forced to serve humanity, the industry and the common people sooner, rather than too late.

    • I subcontracted a graduate a few years back, he was clever but very junior. He claimed he had learned how to program on his own time, that you could complete an IT degree at the major Australian university he attended without ever writing a single line of code.

      I believe him.

      I’ve trained a lot of graduates, the one thing most of them didn’t have when they started was programming skill.

      • Considering that nearly all EE departments at U.S. universities were combined with computer science departments in the 1980s to form EECS departments, this is a bit surprising.

  14. This is interesting. I’ve been through four full power outages in my county in the past 10 years. One was, of course, in the middle of a heat wave (DO NOT OPEN THE FRIDGE DOOR!), and the other three were in the winter, and all of them were due to weather-related causes.

    It’s a failure on the part of these “scientists” to ignore or not recognize that they have absolutely NO power over the weather, never mind the climate itself, and that Mother Nature has her own agenda. There is no way to reach them when they are awash in unwarranted conceit and grant greed.

  15. Nothing shocking here, given the swarms of morally and intellectually bereft robotic social justice warriors they’ve been churning out for years already.

  16. Like British universities in the nineteenth century, except you now have to be a devout believer in Global Warming rather than Anglicanism.

  17. Not that I didn’t know that’s how they feel, but still makes me sick to my stomach to hear them say it!

  18. “A profound sector wide transformation”

    How big is that really? Sector WIDE sound huge but it is a simple matter of scale. How large of a sector of the whole are we talking about here?

    A very simple question: on what scale?

    I learned the importance of asking that question very early on in Physics 101, luckily I had a professor who believed in real physics and science and would always ask anyone that brought something so “monumental” to the class the same question: on what scale? One time someone said, “global” and she asked again: “on what time scale of the globe?” Again, scale. Then she explained why scale is important.

    If you apply these two very simple questions to any climate alarmist you can simply measure out their itsy bitsy teeny weeny tiny bikini clad scales they are trying to cover the truth with. Its really that simple. 100 years sounds like a long time to those that probably won’t live that long, but 100 years against 4.5 BILLION years (or is it now 6B years?), tiny scale. 400ppm sounds like a crap ton until you realize how small that is in comparison to the sheer volume of the atmosphere (go with me on this, I’m making a point). Climate alarmists would have you believe that 1 drop of bleach in the ocean is enough so that even the deepest red crab will be harmed because they approximated 1 drop of bleach in a water bottle with a red dot at the bottom and it turned a bit pinker over the course of 30 years. (without wondering if that water bottle approximated the ocean volume).

    Scale.

  19. Anyone with a PhD in anything is operating on a strange set of social motivations. People that smart had a pretty easy time of it in school as children. They were always the smart kids that teachers and other adults liked, and as a consequence they developed opinions of themselves that may have been a tad high.

    When I was in university (from which I did not graduate), I knew two post-doctoral fellows. These were men who, even though they had doctorates (one in Math and the other in Chemistry), could not find jobs in their fields.. They worked as lab and tutorial instructors, for low wages and no benefits. They were kind of sad lads, because they had been little gods of intelligence, and then had found that there was no place in the economy for their marvelous talents. They probably thought that they’d been had.

    What I mean is, many academics have it rough in adulthood because they have to justify the time, money and effort they spent on acquiring their degrees. They have to get out there and sell, just like everybody else, and what a lot of them try to sell is moral superiority. Climate change is pretty handy if that’s what you want to do. Nobody can falsify your theory, and you get to be a Jeremiah, and assert your moral authority over everybody else. And you still get to fly in airplanes and drive a car and use electricity. But it’s a bit of self-con, which is why they get so angry when anybody says, wait a minute, how do you know you’re right?

    • Ian, I agree with your take. I have a little difference perspective based on my experience. I worked for 30 years in a small physics “research” group. I’m not a physicist, I was running the Optics Lab that just was in the organization. My view is PhD folks have tough time of it. Not only is the physics doctoral process hard and … iffy, at the end of it you are faced with a few years of “Post Docs”, basically low pay and no guarantee you have a job next year. So, the younger not yet established PhD’s I knew were kind of “put upon”, not getting the security and respect they thought they had earned. I have respect for someone that goes through the PhD ordeal, like I have respect for the small business owner.

    • The trade-off is eventually becoming a tenured professor, in which case you’re all but set and have to try really, really hard to screw that up.

      I know plenty of PhDs who were not well-liked in school. Lots of smart kids are insecure…smart isn’t always popular growing-up.

  20. A new mission for Unis. The old one brought us into the Age of Reason/Age of Enlightenment, the Industrial/ Agricultural Revolutions, the Technological/Space Age and rapidly unfolding prosperity for humankind (Bangladesh has 8+% annual GDP growth, India, once out of one famine and into another is a major producer of wheat and industrial products).

    Yes, the universities have to change big time, but its not going to be anything like they think. The first thing international socialists did was chop standards for enrollment in half about 50yrs ago by new gov funding arrangements that was dollar for dollar based on numbers of students enrolled. Over less than a decade, doors were flung wide open and the hordes were let in.

    A retired professor friend of mine said they had to invent a pre-first year because, having to add on the the fat part of the bell curve to the right hand skinny tail, meant most of their new students were functionally illiterate and innumerate. They developed crash English courses for English-speaking students, and clever math shortcuts for innumes that dispensed with understanding the math. With the old style curriculum, more than half the students failed, even in sociology and political science which had already been fully co-opted for purpose by socialists in the 1930s.

    The solution to the enormous failure rate was to invent an ever-growing list of new puff courses to spunge up this problem, a sort of ‘University for Dummies’ curriculum. Socialists put this to work as an induction factory for their ends.

    Now, with a tech and space revolution, the so-called STEM (I hate this term because technology IS engineering, period. Rocket science is an oxymoron), very smart people stuck out like a sore thumb, showing up the shoddy handiwork of the U expansion program. Efforts to do to science and engineering what they did to a scholarly humanities of long ago became a concerted goal. Everybody, Lewandowski, Oreskes, philosophers, geographers, cartoonists, butchers bakers and candlestickmakers are all scientists now.

  21. “They must become public good, mission-driven organisations devoted to rapidly progressing human understanding and action on the largest threat there has ever been, to what they are taken to represent and advance – human civilisation.”

    Farewell Peter Ridd et al as you must be expunged from the re-education camps for having impure thoughts about advancing human civilisation. Now where have we seen that before?

  22. Here is what Phaedrus (Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance) had to say about Universities: “The real University is a state of mind. It is that great heritage of rational thought that has been brought down to us through the centuries and which does not exist at any specific location. It’s a state of mind which is regenerated throughout the centuries by a body of people who traditionally carry the title of professor, but even that title is not part of the real University. The real University is nothing less than the continuing body of reason itself.”
    What these half-wits are describing is nothing less than a giant machine, designed to grind up and spit out mindless automatons devoid of rationality, of originality, or an ability to think for themselves.

  23. “Associate Professor, Sustainability and Urban Planning, School of Global Urban and Social Studies”

    OMG ROFLMATD And this person obviously takes himself very seriously, despite having no actual credentials in anything remotely scientific.

    The most important thing any university can ever teach, is how to think critically, independently, and how to use the scientific method to uncover the truth behind things.

    Most universities have lost their way to post-scientific methods (i.e. a newer form of VooDoo) run by unqualified politicians and social justice idiots. They believe that promoting their own form of social justice is more important than being competent. These are all reasons places like NASA are failing.

    Climate change is about the least important subject I can think of. It occurs slowly, we can easily adapt to it, and it’s extremely questionable that man has any major impact to it. With an adaptation strategy we remove all the guessing – resources are used in reasonable ways where they are needed. What a concept.

  24. When Thomas Carlyle coined the term “The Dismal Science ” in reference to Economics, he could not possibly imagine that Social Science would soon appropriate that title. Where nothing is quantifiable and everything has value.

  25. It is a social imperative, more than the just universities, have commented many times about Sigma Xi doing this sort of thing, but this is going to be really interesting. CERF [Coastal and Estuarine Research Federation] which I was formerly a member since its inception has a new –“Rising TIDES initiatives are planned to benefit all career stages, from supporting underrepresented minority students with cohort-building and focused mentoring activities to training professionals in becoming champions of inclusivity…..As a scientific society, CERF respects and values the many facets of diversity. These include differences among individuals in social identity such as race, ethnicity, national origin, gender, gender identity and expression, religion, sexual orientation, physical ability, and socioeconomic background, as well as differences in discipline, career path, and life experience.”

    “CERF Broadening Participation Comprehensive Plan The Coastal and Estuarine Research Federation (CERF) is dedicated to broadening participation in coastal and estuarine science and management. Rising TIDES (Toward an Inclusive, Diverse, and Enriched Society) is a comprehensive program for enhancing the diversity and inclusion of our scientific society and CERF conferences. As a scientific society, CERF respects and values the many facets of diversity. These include differences among individuals in social identity such as race, ethnicity, national origin, gender, gender identity and expression, religion, sexual orientation, physical ability, and socioeconomic background, as well as differences in discipline, career path, and life experience.”

    https://cerf.memberclicks.net/assets/site/CERF_Broadening_Participation_Comprehensive_Plan.pdf

    I still get their mail and they asked for suggestions, so I wrote a nice letter about how we had been through most of this a half century + ago and some of their crowd probably benefited. I added what some of the real problems were. They have a long history of real science and some officers that do real science, and they just got into this from the American Statistical Association “Ending Reliance on Statistical Significance Will Improve Environmental Inference and Communication” which the editors acknowledged with sense.

    https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s12237-019-00679-y

    My mentors are up to warp speed.

    • “…differences in discipline, career path, and life experience.”

      Hey, I have zero experience in coastal and estuarine science and management! Can I please have a job? I lose out on being white and gendernormative, but I think the lack of experience more than makes up for that.

      I know I can look forward to your offer, because I know you don’t want to talk to my lawyer. Have a nice equality-infused day!

  26. It’s worse than we thought. they’re not actually talking about climate change. It’s phony climate change. They can’t even get that part right.

  27. So the core curriculum moving forward is…

    Climate Change
    Gender
    Social Justice

    What else?

  28. Over the last few years academia has been very busy destroying its reputation as it has lost the plot. Education is teaching students HOW to think not WHAT to think.

  29. Some here have commented about putting scale an issue, to evaluate proportions, does the data have any significance in relation to the whole.
    During the first year of collage and university in the early 1970’s, we used slide rule or slipstick. The advantage or problem with the slide rule was that you had to have a sense of proportion in order to put the decimal separator correct. You would also have to evaluate the precision needed, like if you had to utilize a computer terminal or if the slide rule was adequate.

    I strongly believe these evaluations became a strength you don’t easily gain from using the modern calculator. The evaluation of proportions is important, also in climate science. I am sure all engineers and scientist knows about precision and proportions, but the common layman not so much.
    If AOC and her fellow culprits had grown up with this learned wisdom, they would better understand how futile and out of proportion their GND is.

    PS: I do not suggest we go back to the slide rule though, I prefer my good old Galaxy 40x from Texas Instruments.

  30. This is really just solid, incontrovertible evidence that Climate Change is a pagan religion to these academic IYI’s.

    They way that Lauren and Tamson here talk with reverence towards “climate” (as though it were a divine deity) and how it must be integrated into all facets of teachings at the university is no different than a theologians of the Enlightenment advocating the The Word of God into all facets of life. Of course a word as interpreted by those same theologians of the Church, and it be integrated into the teachings of all students.

  31. Here in France back in the summer of 2019, some of our esteemed parliamentarians (Macrons morons and others) proposed a new bill to do exactly this.

    The bill proposed that higher education institutions systematically integrate “the teaching of issues related to the preservation of the environment and biological diversity and to climate change within planetary boundaries” into their training so that all students are taught (indoctrinated), whatever the course chosen.

    The presidents of eight major French universities signed a letter in opposition to the proposed law, their main beef was of course about academic freedom.

    “In which democratic country are university programs dictated by law? If universities have a public service mission to assume, the law guarantees them autonomy and academic freedom to determine the best way to ensure it, in particular by defining the content of its teaching programs.” they said.

    They (certain political persuasions) want to create an army of Non Player Characters that will conform to ideology, rather than have educated free minded individuals that will ask questions.

  32. “Universities are key to enabling Australian society to transition to a safer and lower emissions pathway. They are needed to provide the knowledge, skills and technologies for this positive transition.”

    Every totalitarian or would be totalitarian has a similar mindset. I am right, you are stupid and that gives me the right to utterly ignore your point of view and instead dictate to you how to live your life. The passion to rule. The reality is nearly always inverted. Just another example of arrogant, conceited, delusional people enamoured of their distorted self perception and puffed up belief in their own superiority.

    Do they ever wake up to their arrogance and idiocy? I very much doubt it. One could of course point out for example that most major transformational inventions/advances come from industry not universities, from people who live and work in the real world not some fantasy environment but I doubt the people making the comments in the article have enough handle on reality to understand the point.

    • Michael you are right about the statements coming from the people in the article. In the last couple of decades education at all levels has been dumbed down and turned into a propaganda machine. Freedom of speech has gone, along with the freedom to research subjects more broadly.

      Political Scientist, those words do not belong together. Science has become a part of politics and I am sure it wasn’t always that way. Science should be helping politicians make policies not the other way around, which is politicians paying scientists to justify their policies. Politicians should not be allowed to influence scientists.

      Social Scientist, really, all they have to do is tag on the word ‘Scientist’ and they are one? This must be revised, you can’t invent a new field of study and simply tag on the word Scientist as though it means something.

      It just occurred to me that it’s in the interests of politicians to have as many ‘scientific’ fields as possible just so they can say “The science says…” just to justify whatever scam they’ve come up with.

  33. There is nothing like fear to feed the gravy train that was invented by bureaucrats with the commercialisation of tertiary education.

  34. Academia may want to first ensure that human activity has some impact on temperature (apart from the Urban Heat Island effect.)

    More than a century ago commodity speculators in England noticed a correlation between some crop yields and sunspot activity. That correlation was consistent enough to attract hedging and speculating. While correlation does not necessarily imply causation, it was not unreasonable to suspect that varying sun activity may have had some impact on crop yield.

    The obvious influence of cloud cover on temperature has been a concern of climatologists but direct measure of cloud cover was not even a possibility before satellites were launched. So far it has been convenient to just assume that “climate” itself was responsible for cloud cover.

    However, more than two decades ago Henrik Svensmark, a Danish physicist, and his associates (an astrophysicist and an oceanographer) proposed a new climate theory which, incidentally, did not involve CO2. Svensmark claimed that both warming and cooling periods were brought on by variations in sun activity cycles. Svensmark claimed that sun activity has an impact on a relatively constant stream of cosmic rays which otherwise penetrate the lower atmosphere. During periods when more cosmic rays penetrate the lower atmosphere that leads to cooling because more cloud cover results in the deflection of more sun radiation back to space. (CERN subsequently confirmed Svensmark’s theory that cosmic rays can influence cloud cover.) The reverse is also true. When there is less penetration of cosmic rays into the lower atmosphere that leads to less cloud cover so more sun radiation reaches the earth’s surface which leads to warming. These variations in sunspot activity often occur in 11 year cycles.

    The average level of cloud cover during one of these cycles determines whether there has been global warming or global cooling. More dramatic interpretations are that the universe controls our climate, or cloud cover determines climate. Recently (December 2019) sun activity dropped significantly. The prior low in sun activity was about 11 years earlier, in 2008, but that low was not as significant as the inactivity level beginning during 2019. If this new inactive sun cycle persists for the usual decade or more, it will result in a cyclic increase in the average cloud cover which, according to Svensmark, should result in another cooling period.

    Recently Don Easterbrook, a well-known geologist, published a comprehensive study (an entire book, accessible via Amazon) which makes use of data covering the past 800,000 years. That extended duration even includes the last few ice ages. (Each ice age is now referred to as a “glaciation”, apparently because the past 65 million years shows a long-term cooling trend!) Easterbrook’s book title says it all: “The Solar Magnetic Cause of Climate Changes and Origin of the Ice Ages”.

    The conclusions in Easterbrook’s book are clearly not wishy-washy. He has put his reputation on the line, probably recognizing that the usual peer-review by a like-minded scientist at the adjacent desk would end with the results being filed away in that special black hole containing all the other unmentionables.

    Easterbrook’s firm conclusions (page 176) follow:

    “EVERY cool period was characterized by low sunspot numbers, indicating low strength of the sun’s magnetic field, and high production rates of beryllium-10 and radiocarbon, indicating a high intensity of cosmic rays. EVERY warm period was coincident with high sunspot numbers and low production rates of beryllium-10 and radiocarbon. Thus, it is unequivocally clear that climate changes, large and small, are driven by fluctuations of the sun’s magnetic field.”

    While Easterbrook claims that his data and conclusions stand, whether or not Svensmark’s theory survives, his results appear to further validate Svensmark’s theory.

    Alarmists insist that neither the Medieval Warming Period nor the subsequent Little Ice Age were global events. Where is their justification? Easterbrook’s analysis implies that all prior warmings were caused by sun activity. If true, the data itself demonstrates that ALL prior warmings (and coolings) were, by definition, global events. This clearly implies that the alarmist version of climate science must be re-examined.

    Even if there is no further increase in the CO2 level the alarmist theory demands that the current warming level must persist, at least until some of the CO2 is re-absorbed into the biomass. But the same suspects declare that CO2 disappearance from the atmosphere will take a very long time. There are other conflicts with the alarmist position, including a three decade cooling from 1945-1975 as CO2 continued to increase, and also the IPCC recognition of a “hiatus” in temperature during the 2000s as CO2 continued its increase.

    Finally, the year 1998 still holds the record as the warmist recent year. Follow-up “corrections” to previously recorded temperature data brings up another suspicious issue. There has been a consistent record of biased revisions to the temperature database. Older temperature data revisions ALWAYS show more cooling, and revisions to more current data are ALWAYS biased towards more warming.

    The greenhouse gas theory, apparently a substitute for actual evidence and used as justification by alarmists, must in some cases be accompanied by a necessary (but not sufficient) condition. When the GHG application involves the open atmosphere there must also be an accompanying “signature”, a warmer region about 10km above the tropics. Despite decades of radiosondes that necessary “hot spot” has never been found and it’s not a matter of missing data. Actual temperatures have been recorded both above and below 10km. The two attempts by CAGW proponents (Sherwood and Santer) claiming to explain that missing “hot spot” both ignore the existing data and further exacerbate that dubious act with speculation about what happened to the required “hot spot”. But this is no surprise. The open atmosphere is not a greenhouse. Satellites detect heat escaping to space. This fact, along with the missing “hot spot” have apparently also been filed away in that same unmentionable black hole, and not only by alarmists, but also with the concurrence of an agenda-driven major news media.

    It is amazing that most of the major news media science writers ignore what appear to be obvious implications of Easterbrook’s study. The MWP and earlier warmings were global (and, as Phil Jones, an early proponent of anthropogenic-caused warming, has publicly stated, namely, if the MWP was global it’s a different ballgame. Jones’ uncertainty indicates that the alarmists do not have much in the way of supporting evidence.) Actually it is not difficult these days to demonstrate from existing MWP studies (@co2science.org) that the MWP was global. The alarmists’ silly argument that the MWP warmings must be “synchronous” would also disqualify our current warming from being classified as global.

    Any credible climatologist should by now feel obligated to investigate and verify or rebut Easterbrook’s data. If that data is valid the conclusions are a no-brainer. ALL prior warmings (and coolings) were brought on by sun activity so were global events. Since there is no evidence that CO2, a trace gas, has ever had any impact on our global temperature, why should we even suspect that the cause of our most recent warming, beginning in about 1975, was related to CO2 (a trace gas) increase? As pointed out earlier, correlation, particularly a cherry-picked short term duration, does not imply causation. The GHG theory, insofar as its applicability to the open atmosphere, is clearly not settled.

    Increasing CO2 level remains an important concern but that is likely unrelated to warming or cooling, so also unrelated to various other events, all supposedly brought on by increasing temperature, such as sea level rise, hurricanes, tornados, droughts, floods, or your grandpa’s arthritis. Claims that sea level rise is caused by human activity is laughable, given that the sea level has risen over 400 feet since the last glaciation began melting and during the last century (during human supposed involvement) the total sea level rise has been a few inches!

    It appears that it is the cosmos, rather than human activity, which remains in charge of our climate. CO2 concern is best left to such disciplines as health researchers and botanists rather than climatologists.

  35. Eric,
    What the bloody hell has changed regarding what is taught at Australian universities?
    I completed an Engineering degree in the mid seventies and the socialist, climate awareness/catastrophe permeated the subjects then. Put forward cogent argument on subject content and you were “put down” by lecturers. I expect, most of us wanted to pass and rid ourselves of the confines of the uni. So you went along with the flow.
    It would seem that the Communist axiom of achieving “the long march through the Institutions” has succeeded.

    • Correct Tony. When ex prime minister Julia Gillard announced her ‘Education Revolution’ it wasn’t just about building school halls.

  36. “If you thought the most important mission of universities was to provide kids with professional skills to help them get a better job, think again.”

    I never thought that. I thought that universities had two missions. One was research, to increase knowledge and understanding of ourselves and the world. The other was education, both general and professional. Both types were intended to make better people and better professionals. But in neither case was the mission to help them to get a better job.

    And how do you include Climate Change (TM) into courses on symbolic logic, mediaeval Persian literature, astrophysics, or brain surgery?

    • I agree RoHa, if people want to study climate then it should be a stand alone course including subjects that they choose to study. Climate is complex, it is not something that should be tagged on to all subjects so that anyone can call themselves an ‘expert’ or even worse a scientist.

    • In their simplest form, the purpose of universities is to provide young people with meal-tickets by teaching them new skills.

  37. Hmm, The Conversation….

    Ooh, you know the art of conversation must be dying
    Ooh, when a romance depends on
    Cliches and toupees and threepes
    – 10cc

  38. ‘The Conversation’ might as well be called ‘The Overton Window’, or what ‘white liberals’ think we should be talking about now.

    I mean, really, what else did you think it was about? Time to take all that high-octane IQ and generalize a little to regions hitherto unknown, at least unknown to you.

    Has it never occurred to any of you that our highest achieving are also our most completely brainwashed? Well, ‘The Conversation’ basically celebrates that fact.

    • Are you new to the site DMH? I’d say confidently that all the regulars to this site understand that Universities are more about leftist propaganda than they are about education. Sadly though, it’s not just universities, it starts in kindergarten.

    • DMH you will often seen articles on this site written by The Guardian, the ABC and The Conversation and other leftist organisations. The Conversation is commonly referred to as The Monologue by regular contributors here, if you refute what they say on their site they won’t publish it anyway. Propaganda obviously.

      The articles are ‘on topic’ at least in the eyes of the leftists and are easily picked apart on this site, trouble is it’s not easy to find MSM or newsprint that will publish anything other than leftist propaganda and of course that’s the plan.

      Rather than criticise you could consider having an actual conversation. There are many here with qualifications in ‘real’ science as opposed to ‘Social Sciences’ and such.

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