I received one direct response e-mail regarding the said essay. The e-mail was not exactly of a polite nature, although I wouldn’t characterize it as hate mail. The subject line of the e-mail read:
Al Gore blast uncalled for and uninformed
The body of the e-mail was basically [spelling errors intentionally left intact]:
Your blast of Al Gore was ignorant, arrogant and completely off track.
How can anyone believe that social issues are more important that environmental issues? Without an environment there will be no humans.
Keep studying and researching whole systems thinking, permaculture, etc.
First of all, I never said that social issues are more important than environmental issues. I never suggested it either. I would suggest that people read what I write, and stick to that. Especially, I would recommend those who accuse me of arrogance to heed that advice. To be fair, the e-mailer hasn’t directly said that I believe, or have suggested, that social issues are more important than environmental, but it is suggested.
Strictly speaking, if issue A is more important than issue B, measures within issue A must be implemented at all costs with no regard for issue B if there are conflicts of interest. I never said that there are things more important than the environment. I never said the opposite either.
That said, I do believe that there are things more important than the environment. I believe mankind is more important than the environment. Yes, mankind is dependent on the environment, so the environment is something that we should care about, but — as I have said before — there are also other things to be considered.
The e-mail suggests that I was right in my claim that the slightest sign of deviation from the climate orthodoxy will result in name-calling. In this case the name-calling was directed at my piece and not directly at me personally, but it still is an example of name-calling.
As for the statement that there will be no humans without an environment, I find it meaningless. As long as this planet and its atmosphere exist, there will be an environment on this planet. A relevant question may be if the environment is friendly enough towards us for us to survive. That the environment will become too fierce for us because of certain present activities of mankind I believe is highly unlikely. Many of us may have to move due to, e.g., a rising average sea level, even give up lots of fertile land, but the environment will likely not become too fierce as such.
I am not here doing an in-depth study of the issue of rising sea levels. Nor am I doing a complete survey of all aspects, if anyone should be in doubt. However, I will mention a few things. According to Dr. Bjørn Lomborg, 98% of the Antarctic is getting colder. Most of the ice that would threaten our current sea level is in the Antarctic and Greenland. However, that is not what primarily has been contributing to the rising sea level lately according to the IPCC. The IPCC has actually reduced its estimate on the rise in global average sea level to the range 18 to 59 centimeters — less than two feet — in its recent report from the 9 to 88 centimeters range in its last report. The IPCC estimates an increase in average sea level of less than two feet over a period of more than a century. This may be a lot to a whole lot of people, but the change is said to take time, and this estimate is no grounds for proclaiming a crisis. There is ample time to adjust. There is ample time for technological development.
Now, if we do stop emitting tomorrow and the climate changes are due to our emissions, system delays may cause man-made global warming to continue for quite some time.
I’m not saying the IPCC necessarily represents the truth. What I am saying is that its estimates are not particularly alarming. With respect to alternative views to the climate orthodoxy, Dr. Tom V. Segalstad may, amongst others, be worth having a look at.
Environmental taxes have been used supposedly to help the environment, but do they help with other things than fiscally strengthening government?
These days you can hear complaining about the climate, and it is implied — sometimes explicitly, sometimes implicitly — that this is because of our emissions. However, a completely stable climate is an abnormal phenomenon. The Vikings settled in Greenland, research has shown, in a significantly warmer climate than Greenland has today. It may be so that emission from modern human activity is largely responsible for "permanent" changes to the climate, but whether this is so or not; it is in both cases on the verge of insanity this obsessiveness with weather and climate variations. Variations will be here, whether emissions from modern human activity have an impact or not.
Permaculture is, according to Wikipedia, amongst other things, a philosophy that "started with the belief that for people to feed themselves sustainably they need to move away from reliance on industrialized agriculture." What implications does this have for the amount of land needed for producing enough food for the billions of people we have on this planet? Is it sustainable?
As for the concept of whole systems thinking, I believe it is completely in pact with "whole systems thinking" to consider other things than the environment, such as society’s ability to support a human population of several billion, the concern for liberty, and the danger that government power may rise to even further heights.