Global Warming: Dissenting Voices
by Michael S. Rozeff
by Michael S. Rozeff
If we value our children's and grandchildren's welfare, we should stop being stampeded by the global warming lobby who want us to waste trillions of dollars on a futile and needless endeavor to lower the Earth's temperature by a trivial amount. We should pull the plug on the political process for controlling climate. That process can only magnify and entrench the power of world government over each of us.
The Earth's atmosphere at present is mostly a commons. The world's governments want to keep it that way so that they can jointly regulate every activity that impinges on the atmosphere, which is everything of any importance.
If the atmosphere is free to use as a commons, the result is a tendency to overuse it. One use is as a dump for emissions of gasses. That's a negative if those emissions harm, which sometimes they do. For example, it was not too long ago that states tested radioactive bombs in the air and caused any number of cancer deaths.
How then do we control emissions that are doing harm? The answer is through courts. Someone has to prove that they have been harmed by someone else. They have to bring a lawsuit. It has to be argued out and proven. This is how we get justice. Once a few cases are decided, a precedent is set. Then all those who are doing similar harm have to change their ways of operating or face lawsuits.
For example, a coal-burning utility that produces sulfur dioxide can choke people and irritate them or worse. It has no right to do that. One or two lawsuits would put an end to it by proving harm. The atmosphere would no longer be free to them as a disposal site.
Carbon dioxide is similar. If it is harming, then let it be shown. Let courts rule on the disputes.
We have not followed this method of controlling atmospheric use. Instead we have gone the legislative and regulatory route. The result is that we have built up powerful institutions geared toward oppression.
Power accumulates gradually
Oppressive structures of power are usually built up piece by piece so as not to generate severe opposition. The first pieces that make the foundation are the foot-in-the-door. They are made to seem innocuous, reasonable, a harmless compromise, or expedient. Opposition is neutralized by making resistance seem an extreme position. Nonetheless, they are victories for power because they are followed later on by further intrusions that build upon the first. The process of power accumulation may be slow or rapid, but it proceeds step by step.
What seem to be short-term political moves end up having very long-term implications. One thing sets the stage for another. The acceptance of one stage becomes the status quo from which movement to the next stage can proceed.
The builders of power take advantage of many aspects of firmly rooted human psychology to build up power. This is why time and again we observe power buildups occur. People weight the present situation more heavily than the future. They value visible action. Their fears are easily stirred up. Their memories are short. They trust leaders. They want security. Their knowledge of past similar situations is slight. They think this situation differs from others, or that they are different. They believe in promises of better things to come. They want to hope. They want something for nothing. They believe that they have the power, not their leaders. In using all these elements of psychology to their own advantage, the power-builders lead people down the garden path.
The U.N. and world government
When it comes to the environment, climate change, and global warming, we are once again being led down this path. Increasing state control over climate sets the stage for immense government control over every human activity. Almost any service, product, and human activity can be related in some way to the environment and thence to climate. Climate control offers statists a wedge into control over the entire economy. Unless the climate control movement is killed off, we will eventually see an article or history being written with the title "How World Government Became A Reality."
World government is gradually solidifying through the United Nations. It is not that the U.N. itself is the new world government. The world government is taking shape by means of treaties and compacts made among the governments of the world that coordinate the world's governments and give them an unchecked say over the entire globe or over large regions thereof. These compacts can be ratified by individual governments and become law without direct action by the world's peoples.
Behind this rather hidden process that goes on behind people's backs also lies a general feeling of trust and assent to the U.N. among the world's peoples. It will take some doing to persuade people that the U.N. is not the benign institution they think it is. The U.N. effectively covers its bad actions and slow accumulation of power by its actions that appear to be good. It can make declarations of human rights that place it on the side of the angels. It can always sell itself as a peacekeeper or as a forum for talk not war. The fact that the U.N. attempt at collective security has completely failed and that there are more wars than ever is swept under the rug.
In 1972, the U.N. took one of these important initial steps in power accumulation. It was called the UN Conference on the Human Environment. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) was formed in 1988 by the UN and the World Meteorological Organization. In 1992 came the UN Conference on Environment and Development (the Earth Summit held in Rio de Janeiro.) It adopted Agenda 21. In 2002 came the World Summit on Sustainable Development.
All of this was quite gradual, covering 35 years; and the U.N. institutions that precede these actions go back to 1945 or even to the League of Nations. This gradualness does not make the movement any less dangerous. It makes it all the more dangerous because the underlying bureaucracies have time to establish themselves and work their way into society. They are like a slow but deadly growth of cancer that, once widely established, is hard to extirpate.
Global warming lobby
Who are the people that are pushing for control over global climate and the resulting waste of resources? Who stands to gain? Who has gotten the ears and votes of the politicians?
Governments and states stand to gain inasmuch as they obtain significant leverage and power over people's lives. Within government are usually some specific environmentally-related agencies that will strongly promote the climate control agenda. These bureaucratic elements within government stand to gain.
Next, there are business interests in various industries that supply products and contract out to states for climate control. They include a wide variety of products that are supposed to raise energy-efficiency and/or reduce various emissions. Companies lobby the state for subsidies all the time in matters such as bio-mass, fuel cells, solar panels, ethanol, and instruments.
Third, there is an environmental lobby that has popular roots. This is a very popular issue.
Fourth are Green Parties in some countries. They can hold the balance of power in a parliamentary system.
Fifth, there is a significant science/weather/meteorology lobby. Scientists in government are a factor. Scientists outside of government are subsidized by the state. They receive big money. This brings in universities as another lobbying group. The corruption of science is a natural concomitant of state power.
Sixth, there are some industries dominated by established companies that want to have environmental regulation by the state. This benefits them by raising the costs of smaller businesses entering the industry and competing. It creates cartels.
All of these groups combined are what give us the global warming lobby and the production of biased science, as in the case of global warming and manmade global warming.
Without delving into the scientific aspects of global warming, I'd like to buttress these remarks by providing a small sample of press reports and quotes from reputable scientists who take issue with the global warming lobby.
(1) From the Canada Free Press:
"Professor Bob Carter of the Marine Geophysical Laboratory at James Cook University, in Australia gives what, for many Canadians, is a surprising assessment: ‘Gore's circumstantial arguments are so weak that they are pathetic. It is simply incredible that they, and his film, are commanding public attention.'
"But surely Carter is merely part of what most people regard as a tiny cadre of ‘climate change skeptics' who disagree with the ‘vast majority of scientists' Gore cites?
"No; Carter is one of hundreds of highly qualified non-governmental, non-industry, non-lobby group climate experts who contest the hypothesis that human emissions of carbon dioxide (CO2) are causing significant global climate change. ‘Climate experts' is the operative term here. Why? Because what Gore's ‘majority of scientists' think is immaterial when only a very small fraction of them actually work in the climate field.
"Appearing before the Commons Committee on Environment and Sustainable Development last year, Carleton University paleoclimatologist Professor Tim Patterson testified, ‘There is no meaningful correlation between CO2 levels and Earth's temperature over this [geologic] time frame. In fact, when CO2 levels were over ten times higher than they are now, about 450 million years ago, the planet was in the depths of the absolute coldest period in the last half billion years.' Patterson asked the committee, ‘On the basis of this evidence, how could anyone still believe that the recent relatively small increase in CO2 levels would be the major cause of the past century's modest warming?'
"Patterson concluded his testimony by explaining what his research and ‘hundreds of other studies' reveal: on all time scales, there is very good correlation between Earth's temperature and natural celestial phenomena such as changes in the brightness of the Sun.
"Dr. Boris Winterhalter, former marine researcher at the Geological Survey of Finland and professor in marine geology, University of Helsinki, takes apart Gore's dramatic display of Antarctic glaciers collapsing into the sea. ‘The breaking glacier wall is a normally occurring phenomenon which is due to the normal advance of a glacier,' says Winterhalter. ‘In Antarctica the temperature is low enough to prohibit melting of the ice front, so if the ice is grounded, it has to break off in beautiful ice cascades. If the water is deep enough icebergs will form.'
"Dr. Wibjorn Karlen, emeritus professor, Dept. of Physical Geography and Quaternary Geology, Stockholm University, Sweden, admits, ‘Some small areas in the Antarctic Peninsula have broken up recently, just like it has done back in time. The temperature in this part of Antarctica has increased recently, probably because of a small change in the position of the low pressure systems.'
"But Karlen clarifies that the 'mass balance' of Antarctica is positive — more snow is accumulating than melting off. As a result, Ball explains, there is an increase in the 'calving' of icebergs as the ice dome of Antarctica is growing and flowing to the oceans. When Greenland and Antarctica are assessed together, ‘their mass balance is considered to possibly increase the sea level by 0.03 mm/year — not much of an effect,' Karlen concludes.
"The Antarctica has survived warm and cold events over millions of years. A meltdown is simply not a realistic scenario in the foreseeable future."
(2) Henry Lamb is the executive vice president of the Environmental Conservation Organization. He wonders:
"Now suppose Al Gore lived a hundred years ago, with Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid in control of Congress, and any one of the current Democrat candidates in the White House. Had all this collected genius lived in 1907, they would have, no doubt, convinced the nation that growth in atmospheric carbon dioxide had to be stopped to prevent Florida and half of New York from being flooded by a 20-foot sea-level rise. Suppose they had succeeded in enacting legislation to virtually stop the growth in CO2 in the atmosphere.
"Using the value of a dollar in 2000 as a basis, per capita GDP in 1907 was $5,649, compared to $37,232 in 2005. This means that even with population expanding from 87 million to nearly 300 million over the period, the per capita GDP increased $4,512 every time the global mean temperature increased one-tenth of one degree.
"Had our current collection of national leaders been in power in 1907, they could have spared us this horrible fate. Ninety-two percent of the nation's households and buildings would not be puffing carbon dioxide into the atmosphere, because they would not be using any electricity.
"There would certainly be no traffic problems in any of our cities, except, perhaps, dodging the exhaust from the two-and-four real-horsepower conveyances."
(3) In 2001, Dr. Richard S. Lindzen criticized the politicization of the IPCC:
"Dr. Richard S. Lindzen, the Alfred P. Sloan professor of meteorology at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and one of the world's leading atmospheric scientists, told a standing-room only audience at a briefing sponsored by the Cooler Heads Coalition in the U.S. Senate Environment Committee Room, that the IPCC process is driven by politics rather than science.
"What are some of the problems with the IPCC process, according to Lindzen? It uses summaries to misrepresent what scientists say. It uses language that means different things to scientists and laymen. It exploits public ignorance over quantitative matters. It exploits what scientists can agree on, while ignoring disagreements, to support the global warming agenda. And it exaggerates scientific accuracy and certainty and the authority of undistinguished scientists."
In February, of this year, Lindzen renewed his criticism:
"The IPCC Summary for Policymakers, roughly 20 pages long, is primarily the work of political appointees, not of scientists, according to Richard Lindzen, professor of atmospheric science at MIT."
(4) "These people are openly declaring that they are going to commit scientific misconduct that will be paid for by the United Nations," according to Harvard University physicist Lubos Motl.
"If they find an error in the summary, they won't fix it," Motl said. "Instead, they will 'adjust' the technical report so that it looks consistent."
(5) From the same article:
"Christopher Landsea, who is now science and operations officer at the National Hurricane Center in Miami, resigned from the IPCC's fourth assessment team two years ago.
"In his resignation letter, Landsea expressed concern over statements by the IPCC to the media, which he said were ‘far outside current scientific understandings.'
"Landsea told Cybercast News Service his primary concern was with how lead authors representing the IPCC were interacting with the public and the media.
"The hurricane activity Landsea has observed over the past 12 years is not, in his estimation, out of proportion with what was experienced in the mid-20th century during the last active hurricane cycle."
Also from the same article:
"According to Sterling Burnett, senior fellow with the National Center for Policy Analysis, the IPCC draws from experts in fields that don't necessarily have the best perspective to properly assess the factors behind warming and cooling periods."
(6) Dr. S. Fred Singer is another dissenter:
"‘Some cite the fact that the climate is currently warming and the level of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere is increasing. This is true, but correlation is never proof of causation. In Europe, the birth rate is decreasing and so is the number of storks. Does this correlation prove that storks bring babies? Besides, the climate cooled for much of the 20th century, between 1940 and 1975, even while carbon dioxide was increasing rapidly.'
"Singer also dismissed the true value of ‘consensus,' were one to actually exist on the subject:
"‘But even if a majority of scientists had voted for human-caused global warming, that's not how science works. Unlike in politics, the majority does not rule. Rather, every advance in science has come from a minority that found that observed facts contradicted the prevailing hypothesis. Sometimes it took only one scientist; think of Galileo or Einstein.'
"Singer's book suggests that the sun is the cause of the warming and cooling cycles."
(7) William Gray, 78, and a respected meteorologist was outspoken about the Gore win:
"CHARLOTTE, N.C. — One of the world's foremost meteorologists Friday called the theory that helped Al Gore win a share of the Nobel Prize ‘ridiculous' and the product of ‘people who don't understand how the atmosphere works.'
"William Gray, a pioneer in the science of seasonal hurricane forecasts, spoke to a packed lecture hall at UNC Charlotte and said humans are not responsible for the warming of the Earth.
"‘The human impact on the atmosphere is simply too small to have a major effect on global temperatures,' Gray said. ‘It bothers me that my fellow scientists are not speaking out against something they know is wrong,' he said. ‘But they also know that they'd never get any grants if they spoke out. I don't care about grants.'"
(8) From an October 1 editorial in the Investor's Business Daily:
Robert Giegengack, chairman of the Department of Earth and Environmental Science, University of Pennsylvania says of Gore's claim that temperatures are increasing solely because of manmade CO2: "That's plain wrong...It's a natural interplay. As temperature rises, CO2 rises, and vice versa. It's hard for us to say CO2 drives temperature. It's easier to say temperature drives CO2."
R. Timothy Patterson, professor of geology and director of the Ottawa-Carleton Geoscience Centre at Carleton University says that "CO2 variations show little correlation with our planet's climate on long, medium and even short time scales...It is global cooling, not warming, that is the major climate threat to the world, especially Canada."
"Patterson says he and his colleagues ‘are consistently finding excellent correlations between the regular fluctuations of the sun and earthly climate...by 2020, the sun will be starting into its weakest Schwabe cycle of the past two centuries, likely leading to unusually cool conditions on Earth. Solar activity has overpowered any effect that CO2 has had before, and it most likely will again.'"
"Reid Bryson, founding chairman of the department of meteorology at University of Wisconsin says the new study shows ‘you can go outside and spit and have the same effect as doubling carbon dioxide.'
"Bryson agrees that the Earth's temperature is rising, but says man has little to do with it: ‘Of course it's going up. It has gone up since the early 1800s, because we're coming out of the Little Ice Age, not because we're putting more carbon dioxide into the air.'"
"In his new book, Cool It, economist Bjorn Lomborg reckons Kyoto would have cost...$9 trillion to lower the Earth's temperature by a mere one-third of a degree by 2100."
Climate is always changing and people are always adapting to it in a dispersed and spontaneous way according to their own personal assessments of costs and benefits in their lives. This is far and away the most efficient and effective response to the vagaries of climate change.
Whether courts rule on emissions as they should or whether legislatures directly regulate them, we can expect that economical solutions will come from outside the state. For example, chemical engineers are working on technologies that reduce emission from coal-fueled plants by 90 percent.
The Nobel Prize to Al Gore and the IPCC signals a serious problem, not with climate change and not only with Al Gore and the IPCC, but with our faith in a political governance that coerces and taxes. This problem is deeper and more basic than any single person or agency.
What we have to deal with here concerning manmade global warming is reasonably clear.
Global warming is a political football arising from a political lobby that stands to benefit. It is not the matter of life and death that it has been propagandized as. There are far more immediate and serious problems.
It would be very costly to attempt to change the climate by means of worldwide regulation. The benefits, on the other hand, are unknown and invisible. It is folly to commit to such an effort.
The sun could easily alter the climate.
A single volcanic eruption could cool the earth.
Scientists can't really predict climate change over the long run.
There is great doubt that the publicized scientific results and their interpretations are meaningful. There is even more doubt that they support concerted political action. Many voices of dissent have been raised.
More and more, science is a government-subsidized enterprise. A few people control the IPCC report summaries. We must factor in an expectation of biased scientific findings and/or interpretations.
Implementing Kyoto means motion toward a world government. World climate control is being used as means toward greater government. It means more government in everyone's lives.
Each political step leads to another in the matter of climate control and in other similar matters. After a few such steps, there is no easy way to reverse direction. We find ourselves worse off and thwarted from rectifying matters.
The simple fact is that people distrust the invisible (and righteous) actions of their fellow man at work in markets and trust the visible (and unrighteous) action of governments, no matter how flawed.
If they heeded the advice of Jesus, they'd be better off: "But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you." (Matthew 6:33.)
October 18, 2007
Michael S. Rozeff [send him mail] is a retired Professor of Finance living in East Amherst, New York.
Copyright © 2007 LewRockwell.com