A Forum for Opinions on News, Politics, and Life
January 26th, 2010
In 2007, the International Panel on Climate Change issued a dire warning that the Himalayan glaciers will have disappeared by the year 2035 due to the scourge of global warming. This assertion worked wonderfully to fuel the climate change activists into thinking that everybody needed to chip in to “Please help the world” — until it eventually emerged that the IPCC warning was actually based on a news story published in 1999, which in turn was based on a speculative claim made by a scientist in a short telephone interview that was not actually backed by research of any sort.
So much for the environmental activists (not to mention accredited authors and research scientists) who spent years of their lives crying that ice melting and not coming back isn’t an interpretation, it is a fact, and “Those magnificent glaciers… are now wasting away on an overheated planet and no one knows what to do about it.” (Lester Brown). Chairman Rajendra Pachauri of the IPCC might still have the bravado to compare climate change skeptics to The Flat Earth Society, but his assertions are ringing as flat to most ears as Obama’s assertions that Republican Scott Brown won in Massachusetts because people were unhappy with the Republican Bush Administration.
As for my own disbelief on the issues of global warming, I must admit that my skepticism rests not so much on a detailed consideration of the scientific evidence (though I have not neglected it entirely). Rather, it is primarily based on the attitudes and behaviors of those who have been some of global warming’s strongest proponents (“Kevin and I will keep [these skeptic papers] out somehow — even if we have to redefine what the peer-review literature is!”) as well as the benefits to government of a united humanity that has become afraid of questioning the motives and actions of its leaders. For example, take this gem from the Report From Iron Mountain, which was commissioned to study the effects of a world transition to peace and instead became mostly a study on the purposes and necessity of war — or at least, of some credible substitute:
When it comes to postulating a credible substitute for war capable of directing human behavior patterns in behalf of social organization, few options suggest themselves. Like its political function, the motivational function of war requires the existence of a genuinely menacing social enemy. The principal difference is that for purposes of motivating basic allegiance, as distinct from accepting political authority, the “alternate enemy” must imply a more immediate, tangible, and directly felt threat of destruction. It must justify the need for taking and paying a “blood price” in wide areas of human concern. In this respect, the possible enemies noted earlier would be insufficient. One exception might be the environmental-pollution model, if the danger to society it posed was genuinely imminent. The fictive models would have to carry the weight of extraordinary conviction, underscored with a not inconsiderable actual sacrifice of life; the construction of an up-to-date mythological or religious structure for this purpose would present difficulties in our era, but must certainly be considered.
To summarize, the Report spoke of how war — or at least, something a lot like it — was necessary in order to ensure “societal stability,” which in the report is basically used as a polite euphemism for governmental stability. Their basic verdict was that in the event of a “transition to peace,” some credible substitute for war would have to be discovered and that one of the best was the “environmental-pollution model.” The threat would have to be genuinely menacing (global warming will destroy the planet!), motivate basic allegiance (I pledge allegiance, to the Earth), justify the need for taking and paying a blood price (“Under my plan… electricity rates would necessarily skyrocket.”), carry the weight of extraordinary conviction (the debate is over), be underscored with a not inconsiderable actual sacrifice of life (having children increases the carbon footprint), and require the construction of an up-to-date mythological or religious structure (Avatar, anyone?). And while I suppose it could be true that the Report was in fact a hoax as some claimed, in the end I don’t think it matters much who actually wrote the document. Rather, what matters most is the Report’s ability to explain the world around us — and unfortunately for us, it explains quite a bit.
But again, please do not take my word for it — or at least, do not take my word alone. Research the claims of the NOAA and NASA, the IPCC, the climate skeptics, and the ClimateGate emails. Read the Report From Iron Mountain, along with the arguments both for and against its possible inauthenticity. Examine the arguments of Monbiot, Monckton, Plimer, Hanson, Pachauri and Gore. We may not be able to understand all of the intricacies of the various scientific arguments, but the basics are not beyond most people’s grasp, and we’re all able to distinguish honest men from liars and fools. Take some time to examine the facts for and against, and then decide how serious global warming is and what, if anything, should be done about it.
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