Why is this so hard?

By Lex, Posted on March 11, 2007

I don’t know what to think about Global Warming, and it’s driving me rather bonkers. Having lived through a time when we were threatened with an Imminent Ice Age, having had people try to frighten me about Our Fatally Diminished Ozone Layer – whatever happened to that, by the way? – and now seeing the same groups of people agitating for Less Debate and More Instant Action on Global Warming I have inherited the right to skepticism, I believe.

And yet, if the alarmists are right – not just niche scientists fanning the flames of ecological hysteria in search of government grants to support their continued employment research, not just anti-globalization nihilists, not just reflexively anti-American or anti-industry anarchists, not just political partisans who cynically manipulate the emotions of wolly-headed Gaians and other people who “just want to do some good” – if none of those things are true individually or in combination, then we ought to have an frank and open discussion about what impact humanity is actually having on the environment, what the potential cost of that impact might be and whether or not it’s technologically, economically and morally feasible to do something about it.

Which is increasingly difficult to do because the alarmist set – which quite certainly counts as members in their ranks the kinds of people enumerated above, along with good people trying to do the right thing, of course – have begged the question, declared the debate to be over and insisted that everyone else kindly shut the hell up. But even though a lot of these people have been horribly wrong about pretty much everything, they might be right in this case, even given their antecedents.

And it’s not as if we can simply make up our own minds on this: If there is unseasonably warm winter weather, the Global Warmers say, “Aha! It’s been proven!” while if the weather is unseasonably cold, or there are more hurricanes than usual, or less hurricanes, we are told that “extremes are predicted by the model.” Which, is wonderful, if true, because we now have a unified field theory that can explain everything: Warm weather and cold, calm winds and violent.

Of course, a theory that can placidly claim to explain extreme weather and mild doesn’t really explain anything at all, or at least, it doesn’t explain anything in a very useful way. The passion of environmental activists on this subject is something very closely akin to religion. In fact, for some enviro-activists Global Warming appears to fill the hole – a need to feel virtuous about oneself, even while defining the sins of others – that a sense of the sacred fills in people of faith. Non-believers in mankind’s contribution to climate change are actually labeled as “heretics,” rather than openly debated.

Pardon me, but I’ve only got room for one religion in my life and the spot is pretty much filled, while science? It doesn’t work that way.

And into the breach of my continued uncertainty, the UK’s Channel 4 has leapt with this video  * – “The Great Global Warming Swindle”:

The video runs a bit more than an hour and appears to substantially demolish a great deal of what is the accepted Global Warming narrative. A good outline of the program’s thesis is laid out here, in a blog whose point of view is probably very far from my own in significant ways, yet whose owner shares my concern that spending a great deal of money unwisely might be the worst possible thing we can do. To excerpt:

  1. Our climate is always changing. The current change is not out of the ordinary if one considers the Little Ice Age of C16-C18th, or the Medieval Warm Period.
  2. Man produces only a small amount of carbon dioxide compared with natural causes.
  3. Changes in carbon dioxide do not precede global warming. They follow global warming.
  4. If the theory of climate change science is correct, temperatures should be rising more rapidly in the troposphere. This is not the case.
  5. Global temperatures are dependent on cloud formation, which in turn are seeded by sub-atomic particles from the sun. In periods of high solar activity, such as now, fewer particles reach the earth leading to fewer clouds and therefore more warming.
  6. Support for global warming science began in the 1980s with an unholy alliance of anti-capitalists and anti-coal Thatcherites; after the death of communism, environmentalism became a useful rack on which to hang otherwise-discredited socialist beliefs.
  7. Promoting climate change was a great way for climate scientists to leverage money for their research. It has since become a way for any researcher to attract cash. It has spawned a massive industry that is now devoted to protecting its “rents”.
  8. The Inter-governmental Panel on Climate Change is a political body, and its findings are shaped by politics, not science. Of the thousands of scientists listed as contributing, many are not scientific contributors but reviewers and government officials. Other scientists that demurred from the agreed position had their names added to the IPCC’s list of supporting scientists anyway. Sceptical portions of the IPCC’s report were excluded in the final draft.
  9. The global environmental movement has been radicalised (sic) by its own success: once they became mainstream, movements such as Greenpeace could only continue to make headlines and generate revenue by becoming ever more extreme (e.g. their campaign to ban chlorine, an element!).
  10. Efforts to convince Third World nations to limit their development to the use of renewable energy sources will retard their economic development and leave them mired in poverty.

In comments at his site, others try to rebut the arguments made in “The Great Global Warming Swindle,” but to my ears their points sound forced and unpersuasive: Good enough to buttress the waverers in ranks perhaps, but not good enough to sway the unconvinced.

I am not a doctrinaire on this issue – I remain willing to be convinced. Why is it that, despite the fact that I’ve done my homework on this, no one can do so? Why is this so hard? Because if the climate change activists are right, we’re potentially going to have to make some very difficult decisions, because for the kind of cash numbers the activists are throwing around? You could educate a lot of school children. You could provide for a lot of health care. You could cure any number of horrible Third World diseases.

But if they’re wrong, on the other hand, it would sort of explain that whole Al Gore super-consumption gig. You know, from an ontological standpoint. Because if flying around the country in a private jet in order to frighten people is not really about a personal commitment to the environment but just a good way of making an old fashioned televangelist-type killing in an increasingly secular market, well then: Crank up the heated pool!

** Link reestablished on YouTube – Ed

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1 Comment

Filed under Best of Neptunus Lex, Carroll "Lex" LeFon, Carroll LeFon, Lex, Politics and Culture

One response to “Why is this so hard?

  1. Pingback: Index – The Rest of Neptunus Lex | The Lexicans

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