Shock peer-reviewed paper provides ‘rationale’ for ‘information manipulation’ & ‘exaggeration’ in global warming debate to ‘enhance global welfare’


By: - Climate DepotApril 4, 2014 9:34 AM with 28 comments

[Update: Authors of paper claim "misrepresentation" by media.:  The authors Fuhai Hong and Xiaojian Zhao sent out a note to members of the media which read in part: "Unfortunately, our points in the paper have been mis-interpreted and exaggerated by a few media. In the link below, please see our reply to the blog of Jayson Lusk. http://jaysonlusk.com/blog/2014/3/6/information-manipulation-revisited - Hopefully, this link helps clarify our point. We never advocate lying on climate change."]

[Update #2: # Investors Business Daily: In a note to the press, the authors vow that "we never advocate lying on climate change." But as Lusk noted in an earlier comment on the paper, the authors constructed "a mathematical model to suggest that exaggerating consequences can have positive impacts by getting people to 'do the right thing.'" There's also this statement: "Our key result — that overpessimism alleviates the underparticipation problem — implies that the propaganda of climate skepticism may be detrimental to the society." So maybe they would "never advocate lying on climate change," yet they approve of using propaganda and silencing or marginalizing skeptics?]

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A new peer-reviewed paper published in the American Journal of Agricultural Economics, titled “Information Manipulation and Climate Agreements”, is openly providing a “rationale” for global warming proponents to engage in mendacious claims in order to further their cause.

The paper appears to support or provide a formula for why lying or “information manipulation” is able to further the cause of man-made global warming and “enhance global welfare.” The authors use a mathematical formula to study information tactics.

The authors, Assistant Professors of Economics Fuhai Hong and Xiaojian Zhao, note how the media and environmental groups “exaggerate” global warming and then the offer their paper to “provide a rationale for this tendency” to exaggerate for the good of the cause. The paper was published on February 24, 2014

The author’s boldly note in the abstract of the study that the “news media and some pro-environmental have the tendency to accentuate or even exaggerate the damage caused by climate change. This article provides a rationale for this tendency.”

“We find that the information manipulation has an instrumental value, as it ex post induces more countries to participate in an IEA (International Environmental Agreements) which will eventually enhance global welfare.”

The paper conclusions read in part: “This article offers a rationale for the phenomenon of climate change accentuation or exaggeration on the part of the international mainstream media or other pro-environmental organizations.” — ‘We show that the aforementioned exaggeration of climate damage may alleviate the problem of insufficient IEA participation.”

“In fact, our key result—that overpessimism alleviates the underparticipation problem—implies that the propaganda of climate skepticism may be detrimental to the society,” the authors conclude on page two, footnote #5. The authors of the paper are Fuhai Hong, an assistant professor in the Division of Economics, Nanyang Technological University and Xiaojian Zhao is an assistant professor in the Department of Economics, Hong Kong University of Science and Technology. (fhhong@ntu.edu.sg) The complete Abstract of the paper is reproduced below:

“It appears that news media and some pro-environmental organizations have the tendency to accentuate or even exaggerate the damage caused by climate change. This article provides a rationale for this tendency by using a modified International Environmental Agreement (IEA) model with asymmetric information. We find that the information manipulation has an instrumental value, as it ex post induces more countries to participate in an IEA, which will eventually enhance global welfare. From the ex anteperspective, however, the impact that manipulating information has on the level of participation in an IEA and on welfare is ambiguous.”

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Reaction to the paper has been very critical. Craig Rucker of Committee for a Constructive Tomorrow CFACT (Climate Depot’s parent company) noted in an April 4 blog: “What will shock you is that two professors not only candidly admit it, but published a paper in a peer reviewed journal touting the beneficial effects of lying for pushing nations into a UN climate treaty in Paris next year!”

Rucker added: “The authors not only believe that their dubious ends justify their shady means, they institutionalize ‘information manipulation’ as a tactic, host panels about it at climate conferences and publish it in journals. They’re shameless.”

CFACT’s David  Rothbard noted: “Global warming skeptics have long charged that alarmists are over-hyping the dangers of climate change. Now comes a new paper from two economists in Singapore and Hong Kong that actually advocates exaggerating global warming fears to get countries on board international environmental agreements.”

According to Kevin Glass of Townhall.com, the paper claims that the urgency of climate change makes it OK to deceive the public about the projected consequences of global warming. They don’t actually use the word “lying,” but by calling for “informational manipulation and exaggeration,” they certainly think the ends justify these very questionable and over-heated means.”

This is not the first time that global warming advocates have been accused of being deceptive. The late Stanford University professor Stephen Schneider wrote in 1989: “So we have to offer up scary scenarios, make simplified, dramatic statements, and make little mention of any doubts we might have. This “double ethical bind” which we frequently find ourselves in cannot be solved by any formula. Each of us has to decide what the right balance is between being effective and being honest. I hope that means being both.” Discovery Magazine (October, 1989, p. 45-48).

Former NASA global warming scientist James Hansen conceded in a 2003 issue of Natural Science that the use of “extreme scenarios” to dramatize global warming “may have been appropriate at one time” to drive the public’s attention to the issue.

Update #1: Former Harvard University Physicist Dr. Lubos Motl ‘stunned’ by paper – Motl sums up paper’s message: ‘It’s valuable to lie and cheat in the name of AGW - Motl: ‘The paper discusses a simple mathematical model in “game theory” of a sort and concludes that if you want many countries to join the climatic hysterical treaties, it’s a great idea to lie and manipulate/varnish the information. They explicitly state that “Al Gore, the IPCC, and the mainstream media varnish their reports to accentuate the damages of climate change” and they ask why it is so. Their shocking answer is that such “manipulation of information has a great instrumental value”. Yes, they lie, Hong and Zhao write, and it’s great that they do! More precisely, they say that the lies are only calculably effective once a sufficient number of countries has already joined the climate hysterical treaties. For the initial countries, the effect cannot be distinguished from zero at this moment. These two different predictions are described by the Latin phrases “ex ante” and “ex post” for the authors to sound smarter.

Motl Concludes: ‘As far as my reading of the IPCC reports was sufficiently detailed, the authors of the IPCC reports or Al Gore haven’t admitted inside the report that the report books or movies are piles of lies and trash. Hong and Zhao have finally done so.’

Related Links:

The global warming movement continues to lose scientists, many formerly with the UN IPCC. 

Another Prominent Scientist Dissents! Fmr. NASA Scientist Dr. Les Woodcock ‘Laughs’ at Global Warming – ‘Global warming is nonsense’ Top Prof. Declares – Asserts ‘professional misconduct by Government advisors around the world’ 

Green Guru James Lovelock on Climate Change: ‘I don’t think anybody really knows what’s happening. They just guess’ – Lovelock Reverses Himself on Global Warming

A UN Lead Author, Dr. Richard Tol, joined Lovelock this week in slamming the UN and had his name removed from the IPCC report.

See: UN IPCC LEAD AUTHOR Dr. Richard Tol rips IPCC: ‘The idea that climate change poses an existential threat to humankind is laughable’ Pre-Determined ‘Science’: Round Up of New UN IPCC Report: Human Extinction? IPCC at ‘beck and call’ of Govts – UN Officials Predicted Alarming Report Years Ago

Freeman Dyson — the world-renowned mathematical physicist: ‘I have strong views about climate because I think the majority is badly wrong’

More Than 1000 International Scientists Dissent Over Man-Made Global Warming Claims – Challenge UN IPCC & Gore

Top Swedish Climate Scientist Says Warming Not Noticeable: ‘The warming we have had last a 100 years is so small that if we didn’t have climatologists to measure it we wouldn’t have noticed it at all’ – Award-Winning Dr. Lennart Bengtsson, formerly of UN IPCC: ‘We Are Creating Great Anxiety Without It Being Justified’

‘High Priestess of Global Warming’ No More! Former Warmist Climate Scientist Judith Curry Admits To Being ‘Duped Into Supporting IPCC’ – ‘If the IPCC is dogma, then count me in as a heretic’

German Meteorologist reverses belief in man-made global warming: Now calls idea that CO2 Can Regulate Climate ‘Sheer Absurdity’ — ‘Ten years ago I simply parroted what the IPCC told us’

UN Scientists Who Have Turned on the UN IPCC & Man-Made Climate Fears — A Climate Depot Flashback Report - Warming fears are the “worst scientific scandal in the history…When people come to know what the truth is, they will feel deceived by science and scientists.” – UN IPCC Japanese Scientist Dr. Kiminori Itoh, an award-winning PhD environmental physical chemist.

‘Some of the most formidable opponents of climate hysteria include politically liberal physics Nobel laureate, Ivar Giaever; Freeman Dyson; father of the Gaia Hypothesis, James Lovelock — ‘Left-center chemist, Fritz Vahrenholt, one of the fathers of the German environmental movement’

Flashback: Left-wing Env. Scientist Bails Out Of Global Warming Movement: Declares it a ‘corrupt social phenomenon…strictly an imaginary problem of the 1st World middleclass’


  • cupera1

    It’s never been about “saving the planet” and it’s not about clean air or water. It IS a scam to keep people from having a better life by controlling how you live your life; what food you are allowed to eat and how much, the # kids you can have, the house you can live in, how warm or cool it can be, how/when/where you are allowed to travel and the job that you are assigned. For people in undeveloped countries it forces them to live just above a caveman with; starvation, no clean water and no hope of a better future for their children. The eco-nazis will NEVER live with any of these restrictions on themselves. They will continue to travel around to their four mansions, fly on private jets, sail on their luxury yachts, ride in stretch limos, consume 20X the electricity and water and continue to live the life-styles of the rich and famous while the rest of us have to live in caves. I heard ALL these same arguments and reasons before with the same kind of energy restrictions and my limits of my personal freedoms back when the eco nazis were saying it was man made global cooling back in the 70’s that was causing a new Ice Age to start. They will manufacture ANY crises and exploit any disaster to push their agenda. “We can run your life better than you so shut-up and do and we say not as we do”.

  • http://CoSy.com/ Bob Armstrong

    I’ve recently started using the phrase ” Crimes against reality ” to describe the watermelons’ willfully dishonest nonscience .

  • Macon Sense

    How many times must they be caught before the sheep leave the religion?

  • Tenore

    This is Plato’s “Noble Lie”: From Wikipedia, “In politics, a noble lie is a myth or untruth, often, but not invariably, of a religious nature, knowingly told by an elite to maintain social harmony or to advance an agenda. The noble lie is a concept originated by Plato as described in the Republic.”

  • TruthTeller

    Science is all but dead. These are the true Flat-Earthers. The ones who promote the idea that science can be “settled”, and that those who disagree must be branded as heretics and eliminated. It’s not their belief in a flat Earth, it’s their attempts to prevent questioning, which is the root of all science. If it cannot be questioned, its a religion, not science.

    • Simsy

      People (including Scientists) did believe believe that the Earth was flat (100% consensus)

      People (including Scientists) did believe believe that the Earth was the center of the Universe (100% consensus) People (including Scientists) did believe believe that the laws of motion and gravity discovered by Newton were correct.(100% consensus).
      All of the above were challenged, sometimes at great personal cost, and the challengers always ridiculed because they went against the scientific consensus.

      The lesson, is that science should always be challenged. Those that do not believe that are of the same mindset of those bigots who did not want to believe that the earth was not flat.

      • Minicapt

        There are ways to detect the deliberately ignorant through their scientism assertions; you have provided three prime examples of this. Well done!!

        Cheers

  • Sparrow

    international jewry.
    just one piece of the machine that is pushing us towards global communism.
    just think, in a few generations we’ll all be known as “selfish, world destroying barbarians”.
    I fucking guarantee, in 20 years Israel will have come forward with some sort of snake oil to fix a problem that never existed and will be touted as the saviors of humanity.
    fuck that.

    • Python

      Yep those darn Jews have been up to stuff for years. I mean, seriously, they’ve done all sorts of horrible things. They took F-Troop off the TV, started the Korean War, made sure the Edsel never sold, tricked the Japs into bombing Pearl Harbour, actually created Islam, caused the Irish Potato Famine, held a gun to Maos head and forced him to kill 150 million of his own people, made cats and dogs fight, caused the extinction of the dinosaurs, made Windows 8, made sure that we cant use the one phone charger for any other mobile phone. Man the list goes on. Oh the humanity I tells ya.

      • Ray Hasto

        Python, nicely done.

    • Hockey

      You r an anti- Semite and disgust me

      • nobaddog

        More and more people are seeing the distasteful things that the organized Jew is doing. Not all Jewish people are in the gang either so to be an anti semite we need to hate all Jews and thats not the case. Dont be afraid to open your eyes and get off your high horse. If not then you disgust me.

        • Hockey

          You sound like a parrot who was trained the liberal way – given talking points and brainwashed to hate. Apparently you don’t understand by calling out the group, “Jews”, you are stereotyping. Glad you are being defensive, though – shows your TRUE colors. You are an ugly, racist, hater of Jewish people. Have a great day knowing that I educated you on who you truly are.

  • RedstateDawnRising

    Government Science.. where, when, and who will be paying my next grant check.. I’ll fall in line! You want the World to be flat? You got it!!!

  • souphands

    The paper begins with the premise “It appears that news media and some pro-environmental organizations have the tendency to accentuate or even exaggerate the damage caused by climate change.” The paper does not study this statement or substantiate it in any way. It’s “peer reviewed” by agricultural economists, not climate scientists. Sorry but this is a big flop if you’re trying to build a scandal around it.

    • Res Bum

      If you go look at the “Related Links” at the end of this article you will find a bunch of very notable “climate scientists” who are jumping of the global warming band wagon. Just maybe they don’t want to be a part of said, “scandal”

  • SoybeanDoc

    Ironic: Skepticism is propaganda that “may be detrimental to the society:, but “overpessimism alleviates the under participation problem”. “overpessimism” is lying. Skeptics are causing the problem?!? Who knew that questioning scientific dogma from a science viewpoint is causing under participation by governments? Such power, concentrate in the hands of so few! What a rush of adrenaline this causes. I’m going to run out and drive my 4WD pickup some extra miles tonight while I think of new scientific approaches to supporting my skepticism, er, I mean agnosticism, er, I mean atheism.

  • Darryl

    Ummmm…I don’t believe Mr. Morano actually READ the paper in question. Either that, or he is entirely clueless about how economists study human behavior. The paper engages in no advocacy and attempts no rationalization for climate change exaggerations. Rather, it starts with exaggerations as an empirical observation and then uses a game theoretic model to understand effects on IEA participation. It’s a wonky economics paper that concludes no net effect. “This is the silliest stuff that ever I heard.”

    • ken_lov

      “I don’t believe Mr. Morano actually READ the paper in question. Either that, or he is entirely clueless about how economists study human behavior.”

      They are not mutually exclusive. But you’re missing the point – his purpose was not to give an honest interpretation of the article’s implications, but to seize on the association of “exaggeration and manipulation” with “value” to concoct another spurious argument about the evil scientists deliberately leading us all down the path to One World Government.

  • Ralph1001

    It’s time for someone to start fraud proceedings against some climate scientists and their associates.

    • aussieguy64

      Start by looking at finances…The taxpayer (regardless of country), has every right to see where the money trail leads to.

  • Chuck_Key

    This is a cute article. If you;re going to call people frauds, shouldn’t you provide PROOF? Name-calling is not proof.

  • theZengerite

    The “GAIA Guy”, James Lovelock is listed as one of the former “global warming” spearheaders. He was the scientist that discovered CFC’s in the atmosphere that created the scare tactic: “Civilization in its present form hasn’t got long”, but In 2012, he admitted in an interview he was an “alarmist” and that “we were supposed to be half way toward a frying world” and that he “extrapolated too far”.

    He must have been steered back onto the GW reservation because his new book “A Rough Ride For The Future” just hit the bookstores; his newest message: we are now changing the atmosphere again. There is little that can be done about this, but instead of feeling guilty about it we should recognise what is happening, prepare for change, and ensure that we survive as a species.

  • Arthur F Lange

    It’s time for someone to start fraud proceedings against climate deniers and anti-science charlatans.

  • useless eater

    So, the Hong, Zhao paper offers only a commentary on MSM’s tendency to accentuate and exaggerate the findings of the IPCC? Zhao and Hong don’t dispute the validity nor application of the science behind the IPCC’s findings, nor do they seem to dispute the predictions made by the IPCC itself. In cases where there are distortions of the IPCC’s findings, they offer mainly a commentary and explanation of those distortions on the part of media?

    Have i got that right so far?

    • justjohn

      No! The IPCC predictions themselves are a distortion; they are not based on observed climate. Science is supposed to be based on fact and what is and can be observed.

      • useless eater

        I obviously disagree with your claims. However, your paltry harangue has nothing to do with the article as presented. The authors were describing the dissemination of information.

  • jerseydave

    Not only are jobs being lost but the west continues to handicap our own energy production, keeping Europe dependent on Russian energy. There are legitimate national security implications and they are being ignored in favor of the boogey monster nonsense.