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. ([email protected]) 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’