Climate Extremism: the Real Threat to Civilization
Gore, Boxer, Suzuki lead an all-star cast exploiting science
By Dr. Timothy Ball and Tom Harris
Friday, July 20, 2007
There is nothing particularly unusual about current weather and climate change – it is generally well within long-term normal patterns. However, the public believes otherwise due to a combination of the way in which people have been taught to view nature, political exploitation of science and the hidden motives of environmental extremists. How did this happen and where are we headed if climate change hysteria continues unchecked?
Western education automatically assumes a ‘uniformitarian’ view of the World, a concept that change is gradual over long periods of time. As a consequence, sudden or extreme changes are considered abnormal by most of society. Yet even a cursory examination of climate records reveals variations in centuries past that are far faster and more severe than anything we are experiencing today.
Humans are naturally selective in what we notice. For instance, selectivity occurs when, after being introduced to someone, you seem to meet them frequently. They were always there, but just not part of your “noticing.” Similarly, the media and the public have started to “notice” extreme weather, glacier melting, sea level rise, etc. more because alarmists tell us that an increase in such events is a precursor to the coming ‘climate crisis’. Since people are on the lookout for such trends they seem to be accelerating even though recent quantitative studies demonstrate they are not (NRSP ‘allied scientist’ Dr. Madhav Khandekar has shown this clearly in his studies for the Alberta government, for example).
Phenomena such as severe weather events are now often presented as unusual or unique: it was the highest or lowest temperature, rainfall, etc., ’ever.’ What is referred to is the barely century-old instrumental data-based official weather record, an inadequate sample of the Earth’s five billion year history. Long term geologic records indicate much greater and more rapid changes occurred long before civilizations started.
Besides the public’s lack of awareness of our planet’s dynamic climate history, a difficulty in comprehending long time frames has made them susceptible to the propaganda of Al Gore and David Suzuki. Echoing Suzuki’s myth of nature’s “gentle rhythms”, then Canadian environment minister Stéphane Dion told the Commons Committee on Environment and Sustainable Development on October 4, 2005, “Climate change is a new phenomenon, a very worrying one, but a new phenomenon.” Dion’s total ignorance of the issue is revealed by simply noting one historical fact – half of North America was under a vast ice sheet just 22,000 years ago.
Political Exploitation of Science
The exploitation of climate science for purely political goals is occurring throughout the developed world. For example, politicians inCanada have started to ban inexpensive and convenient technologies such as light bulbs, coal fired electricity generation and used oil heating to “stop climate change.” They can’t show how the alternatives being promoted will actually help the environment – we are expected to simply believe that such sacrifices for the climate will benefit us all, even if real pollution levels rise, food prices increase as agricultural land is converted to biofuels production and millions of birds are cut to pieces by wind turbines. ‘Believe’ is the key word here, not ‘think’.
Even the United States, previously one of the last bastions of common sense in climate wars, is being swept up in this dangerous movement. Besides the rise of ex-Vice President Al Gore to the status of climate change ‘superstar’, rhetoric has reached a fever pitch in the U.S. Senate now that an environmental extremist, Senator Barbara Boxer of California, has taken over as Chair of the powerful Committee on Environment and Public Works. Exposing her extraordinary naiveté Boxer maintains, “The American people have the will to slow, stop, and reverse global warming, and they sent a new cast of characters to Washington, and people are really hopeful that this new Congress will be able to do it.” Claiming Gore as her hero, Boxer has even initiated an “online thank you card to Al Gore… — thanking him for everything he has done to stop global warming!” To date, it has attracted over 77,000 endorsers.
Along with Vermont Senator Bernard Sanders and a handful of other Democrats, Boxer is promoting the ludicrously titled “Global Warming Pollution Reduction Act”, also referred to as the” Sanders/Boxer bill, S.309″. The phrase ‘global warming pollution’ is wildly inappropriate but is used repeatedly by Gore, Boxer and others in the hopes that the public will look upon their actions as honest attempts to help the environment by reducing pollution. In reality, the major target of the act, Gore’s crusade and other futile attempts to ‘stop climate change’ (e.g. the Kyoto Protocol) is carbon dioxide (CO2), a gas essential to life and in no way a pollutant. Usingthe sweeping and more threatening sounding term “greenhouse gases” (of which CO2 is only one), environmental alarmists clearly hope the public don’t wake up to the fact that they are really speaking mostly about the benign gas CO2. While many politicians know very well that CO2 emission reduction is pointless and will have little if any impact on climate, some truly don’t know the difference between CO2 and pollution – witness the Boxer-like statement of Canadian Liberal MP Joe Volpe before entering the House of Commons to vote in favour of Canada’s ratification of Kyoto in 2002, “For all intents and purposes, there isn’t anybody that I know that doesn’t want cleaner air and a cleaner environment, so why would you vote no?”
Divorcing themselves entirely from science, political opportunists proceed to claim the moral high ground by appealing to our natural instinct to protect children. Combining such sentiments with religiosity and an adolescent ‘we can do anything’ approach, they end up with assertions so removed from the real world as to be laughable, were the consequences not so serious.
“Just as we lift our children up to feed them, and we hold them close to comfort them, and to protect them from any manner of harm, just as we would never, ever leave them trapped in a locked car in the hot sun, we must protect them from global warming.” Boxer told an April 14, 2007 National Press Club audience. “The ancient religious writings say, “See to it that you do not destroy my world for there is no one to repair it after you.” Today for us, it should be simple. Working Together we can reverse Global Warming! We must lead on this issue, not follow; its our job. I truly believe when we do our job, our country and our families will be better and stronger and the world will be safer.”
Of course we have no chance of “reversing global warming” (and why would we want to? Global cooling is far more dangerous and climate is never constant). Boxer’s rhetoric is simply an appeal to emotion over rational thought. Such an unscientific stance is bad for society and, ultimately, bad for the environment as well, but political spin doctors seem to have concluded that it still attracts many voters. As the public learn more about the issue, this will eventually backfire politically. This is why groups like the Natural Resources Stewardship Project focus so strongly on public education. Once a majority of the public recognize that many of the assertions of Boxer, Gore, Dion and Volpe have no basis in reality, politicians will have little choice but to radically alter their approach – either that or be voted out of office in disgrace.
Besides ignorance and political opportunism, what is driving this movement?
The principle target in all this is fossil-fueled based energy sources. Boxer summed it up neatly in her introduction to the June 28 Senate committee hearing, “reducing emissions from powerplants is a fundamental part of any solution to global warming.”
Besides vote-seeking politicians, who else would want to dismantle our fossil fuel-based economy? Some beneficiaries of such an agenda are obvious – alternative energy providers are already reaping financial windfalls from the scare. Nuclear power companies stand to make significant gains as well, provided they are not shut down entirely by environmentalists who oppose them even more fiercely than they do fossil fuel corporations. Many scientists and engineers who support nuclear power for its real benefits understand how today’s climate scare is largely groundless and so do not boost nuclear power as a means to avert a climate crisis.
However, some spokespeople are not so careful. John Ritch, Director General of the London-based World Nuclear Association, uses language even more extreme than Gore and Suzuki. At the October 2006 Pacific Basin Nuclear Conference in Sydney, Australia, Ritch said,
“The fact of this planetary crisis should no longer be a matter of psychological or political denial. For our best Earth-system scientists now warn, with ever increasing certainty, that greenhouse gas emissions, if continued at the present massive scale, will yield consequences that are – quite literally – apocalyptic: increasingly radical temperature changes, a worldwide upsurge in violent weather events, widespread drought, flooding, wildfires, famine, species extinction, rising sea levels, mass migration and epidemic disease that will leave no country untouched.
If these predictions hold true, the combined effect would be the death of not just millions but of billions of people – and the destruction of much of civilization on all continents.”
NRSP scientists immediately sent Ritch solid evidence that his assertions were out of touch with modern climate science and expressed the hope that his “remarks are greatly tuned to a more realistic stance if the topic is brought up again in the future.” NRSP continued, “Nuclear power clearly has important benefits to mankind but “stopping global climate catastrophe” is surely not one of them. [We] fear we undermine the whole effort when such extreme arguments are presented.”
Ritch did not respond. Instead NRSP was answered by Jonathan Cobb, the association’s “climate change advisor”, who dismissed our concerns saying, “I can assure you that Mr Ritch pays close attention to the scientific discussion on climate change and he will continue to accurately report the overwhelming scientific consensus.” That a climate change advisor would simply brush aside evidence that his employer had little need of his services is perhaps not surprising. However, that Ritch continues to use precisely the same language as above in his most recent speeches (June 2007) is inexcusable.
The specter of industry-caused “climate chaos” – a ridiculous term used by Canadian Green Party Leader Elizabeth May – ultimately leading to the ‘destruction of the planet’ is a perfect vehicle for people who want to radically alter, or even dismantle, western civilization. Chief among these is Canadian Maurice Strong, head of the 1992 Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro and until recently, Executive Officer for Reform in the U.N. Secretary General’s office. His comment, “Isn’t the only hope for the planet that the industrialized nations collapse? Isn’t it our responsibility to bring that about?” speaks volumes about what is really going on in the minds of some environmentalists.
Industry runs on energy, but you cannot directly attack the energy source because this would alienate the vast majority of the public who benefit from industrialization. The easiest way is to show that the byproducts of industrial activity are causing a planetary collapse. Even though untrue, this claim provides another popular moral high ground for activists. Demanding carbon dioxide reductions provided the vehicle and the United Nations supposedly provided the science for the theory that human addition of CO2 would lead to uncontrolled global warming. The theory quickly became fact, and the scientific method of testing, and accepting or rejecting, was effectively thwarted. Scientists who tried to pursue a normal scientific approach to the issue were quickly branded as pawns of the energy sector.
There are negative side-effects of industrialization of course, but eliminating industry also eliminates its exceptionally beneficial impacts on quality of life. Besides ignoring the natural evolution of the human species, in the extreme, today’s climate alarmism is decidedly anti-human. Human progress is seen, not as a natural evolution, but an unnatural aberration.
The following quotes illustrate the dangerous anti-human nature of cells within the environmental movement, many of whom have adopted today’s climate crusade as their primary raison d’être:
Biologist David Graber (U.S. National Park Service): “They [natural things] have intrinsic value, more value – to me – than another human body, or a billion of them. Human happiness, and certainly human fecundity, are not as important as a wild and healthy planet. Somewhere along the line – about a billion years ago – we quit the contract and became a cancer. We have become a plague upon ourselves and upon the Earth. Until such time as Homo Sapiens should decide to rejoin nature, some of us can only hope for the right virus to come along.”
Philosophy Professor Paul Taylor, City University of New York in “Respect for Nature: A Theory of Environmental Ethics”, p. 115): “Given the total, absolute, and final disappearance of Homo Sapiens, not only would the Earth’s community of life continue to exist, but in all probability, its well-being would be enhanced. Our presence, in short, is not needed. And if we were to take the standpoint of that Life Community and give voice to its true interests, the ending of the human epoch on Earth would most likely be greeted with a hearty “Good riddance!”
Dave Forman, Founder of Earth First!: “Phasing out the human race will solve every problem on earth, social and environmental.”
Earth First! Journal editor John Daily: “Human beings, as a species, have no more value than slugs.”
An equally extreme case is Peter Singer, a ‘bioethicist’ at Princeton University. He maintains that the suffering of a crippled ant deserves equal consideration to that of a crippled human child. If we could only save one, he says, we should decide by the flip a coin or else we would be “speciests”.
And of course the macabre “Voluntary Human Extinction Movement” is apparently alive and well with its “volunteer” class members agreeing that, “All of us should voluntarily refrain from reproducing further, bringing about the eventual extinction of Homo sapiens.” Asserting that “Phasing out the human race by voluntarily ceasing to breed will allow Earth’s biosphere to return to good health”, the group’s motto is “May we live long and die out.”
In the extraordinary book “Memoirs of Extraordinary Popular Delusions and the Madness of Crowds” written 150 years ago by Charles Mackay, is written, “Men … think in herds; it will be seen that they go mad in herds, while they only recover their senses slowly, and one by one.”
Let’s hope that Mackay’s pessimism is no longer quite so applicable in a world where instantaneous and inexpensive mass communications is a fact of life – certainly society cannot afford to continue to sleep at the switch while eco-activists rapidly come to dominate governments. Environmental extremism is the real threat to society, not the miniscule contribution human-emitted carbon dioxide might make to global climate. It will take time for the general public to finally recognize this but, when they do, expect the whole environmental movement, its good aspects included, to be set back at least a generation. That will be the sad legacy of Al Gore, Barbara Boxer and David Suzuki.