31 May 2008, 8:40am
Climate and Weather
by admin

Climate Debate Rejects Science For Ideology

By CHARLES KRAUTHAMMER, Investor’s Business Daily, May 29, 2023 [here]

I’m not a global warming believer. I’m not a global warming denier. I’m a global warming agnostic who believes instinctively that it can’t be very good to pump lots of CO2 into the atmosphere, but is equally convinced that those who presume to know exactly where that leads are talking through their hats.

Predictions of catastrophe depend on models. Models depend on assumptions about complex planetary systems — from ocean currents to cloud formation — that no one fully understands.

Which is why the models are inherently flawed and forever changing. The doomsday scenarios posit a cascade of events, each with a certain probability. The multiple improbability of their simultaneous occurrence renders all such predictions entirely speculative.

Yet on the basis of this speculation, environmental activists, attended by compliant scientists and opportunistic politicians, are advocating radical economic and social regulation.

“The largest threat to freedom, democracy, the market economy and prosperity,” warns Czech President Vaclav Klaus, “is no longer socialism. It is, instead, the ambitious, arrogant, unscrupulous ideology of environmentalism.”

If you doubt the arrogance, you haven’t seen that Newsweek cover story that declared the global warming debate over.

Consider: If Newton’s laws of motion could, after 200 years of unfailing experimental and experiential confirmation, be overthrown, it requires religious fervor to believe that global warming — infinitely more untested, complex and speculative — is a closed issue.

But declaring it closed has its rewards. It not only dismisses skeptics as the running dogs of reaction, i.e., of Exxon, Cheney and now Klaus. By fiat, it also hugely re-empowers the intellectual left.

For a century, an ambitious, arrogant, unscrupulous knowledge class — social planners, scientists, intellectuals, experts and their left-wing political allies — arrogated to themselves the right to rule either in the name of the oppressed working class (communism) or, in its more benign form, by virtue of their superior expertise in achieving the highest social progress by means of state planning (socialism).

A New ‘Ism’

Two decades ago, however, socialism and communism died rudely, then were buried forever by the empirical demonstration of the superiority of market capitalism everywhere from Thatcher’s England to Deng’s China, where just the partial abolition of socialism lifted more people out of poverty more rapidly than ever in human history.

Just as the ash heap of history beckoned, the intellectual left was handed the ultimate salvation: environmentalism.

Now the experts will regulate your life not in the name of the proletariat or Fabian socialism but — even better — in the name of Earth itself.

Environmentalists are Gaia’s priests, instructing us in her proper service and casting out those who refuse to genuflect. (See Newsweek above.)

And having proclaimed the ultimate commandment — carbon chastity — they are preparing the supporting canonical legislation that will tell you how much you can travel, what kind of light you will read by, and at what temperature you may set your bedroom thermostat.

Just Monday, a British parliamentary committee proposed that every citizen be required to carry a carbon card that must be presented, under penalty of law, when buying gasoline, taking an airplane or using electricity. The card contains your yearly carbon ration to be drawn down with every purchase, every trip, every swipe.

There’s no greater social power than the power to ration. And, other than rationing food, there is no greater instrument of social control than rationing energy, the currency of just about everything one does and uses in an advanced society.

So what does the global warming agnostic propose as an alternative?

First, more research — untainted and reliable — to determine (a) whether the carbon footprint of man is or is not lost among the massive natural forces (from sunspot activity to ocean currents) that affect climate, and (b) if the human effect is indeed significant, whether the planetary climate system has the homeostatic mechanisms (like the feedback loops in the human body, for example) with which to compensate.

Second, reduce our carbon footprint in the interim by doing the doable, rather than the economically ruinous and socially destructive. The most obvious step is a major move to nuclear power, which to the atmosphere is the cleanest of the clean.

But your would-be masters have foreseen this contingency. The Church of the Environment promulgates secondary dogmas as well. One of these is a strict nuclear taboo.

Rather convenient, is it not?

Take this major coal-substituting fix off the table and we will be rationing all the more. Guess who does the rationing?

31 May 2008, 9:56am
by Bob Z.


An excellent editorial.

I would modify it in two regards, however:

First, if the proposed research does, indeed, demonstrate human actions as modifying the climate, I would take the further step of determining whether such modifications were mostly beneficial or detrimental to plants and animals. Why do we keep assuming that change is bad, or that it must result in apocalypse? That is likely a research question in itself.

Second, the most obvious step is probably not nuclear power; although it is an obvious step. The more obvious step should be the elimination of forest wildfires and the systematic conversion of dead wood to energy and substitute building and construction materials. The effects of this strategy would be quicker, easier, and cheaper to implement than the conversion to nuclear power ever could be, and the results would be more profound in many ways.

31 May 2008, 12:37pm
by Wes


His first paragraph expresses my opinion much better than I’ve ever been able to. I guess I’ll have to memorize it. The public continues to get led around like sheep on this issue so its nice to see an educated contrary opinion in a major publication. Did you see the article in which a major scientist said his data showed that global warming was on hold for about the next 10 years?

31 May 2008, 6:30pm
by Mike


Wes,

Thanks to all my sharp-eyed advisers, we don’t miss much around here. You are referring to the recent findings of Dr. Noel Keenlyside of the Leibniz Institute of Marine Sciences in Kiel, Germany, and his colleagues, who published a report about their latest climate modeling effort in Nature early in May.

We covered that news in a post entitled “Global Warming Takes a Powder” [here]. Of course, all those climate models are highly suspect, Keenlyside’s included. But the story does illustrate how fishy global warming is.

One thing is for absolute sure: the carbon cap-and-trade tax, if enacted, will have no effect on global temperatures, up or down. It may wreck the U.S. economy and drive billions of people worldwide into abject poverty, but it won’t effect the climate one scintilla of an iota.

31 May 2008, 6:40pm
by Mike


Krauthammer’s key message in his essay really has nothing to do with global warming. He claims that mainstream environmentalists are Marxists who seek domination over free people.

I tend to agree with that, and can supply a thousand examples. Mainstream environmentalists are also (ironically) toxic to nature as well as to freedom and human rights. People need to wake up to those facts before it is too late.

That is why I posted Krauthammer’s essay.

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