[Continuing our series on deception in politics and public policy.]
Perhaps you’re detected a weariness in my authorial voice when I write about Global Warming theory. There’s a good reason I’m tired. I’ve been writing about this nonsense for more than 25 years.
Imagine my joy when the Obama administration’s NASA and the Obama administration’s NOAA announced recently that, even according to their own (highly questionable) figures, the amount of Global Warming in the past nine years was too small to detect! The fight over Global Warming theory is finally over, I thought for an instant. It’s like V-J Day in Times Square—time to go kiss a nurse or, if you’d prefer, a sailor.
Alas! Being bureaucrats, the folks at NASA and NOAA covered their backsides by putting out a press release claiming that 2014 was “the hottest year on record,” as if their calculations had confirmed Global Warming theory instead of shooting it down in flames. And, of course, the no-measurable-warming revelation missed the attention of most reporters, since most reporters are too stupid or lazy to look at the actual figures in government reports but only repeat what they see in the headline of the official press release (or, worse, repeat what they see in the New York Times article based on the official press release or the NBC News story based on the New York Times article).
I shouldn’t have gotten my hopes up. Years from now, when Global Warming theory is on the ashheap of history with supposed science like white supremacy, Piltdown Man, canals on Mars, Keynesianism, and N-rays, taxpayers will probably still be stuck paying for insane subsidies and mandates for ancient technologies repackaged as waves of the future—wind, solar, biofuels, dippy birds, whatever—and the I-Love-Science-When-It-Supports-My-Prejudices “Progressives” will probably still be pushing policies like the Obama War on Coal, although, by then, they may have moved on to, say, a War on Fire conducted by the administration of President Chelsea Clinton or perhaps President Charlotte Clinton Mezvinsky-Kennedy, who will get elected on an “anti-dynasty” platform.
Don’t believe me when I claim to have been writing about Global Warming for more than 25 years? Here’s the proof: a column of mine from 9,295 days ago, republished verbatim. (For any Proglodytes out there, I should explain that “verbatim” means word-for-word the same.)
Hey, Warmers! I hereby challenge you to republish something that you wrote on the subject back then, without changing a word, and let the world see whether your work holds up.
Without further ado, or “without further adieu” as a Proglodyte might put it, I present to you—
THE GREENHOUSE GANG
By Steven J. Allen
November 8, 1989
WASHINGTON, D.C. – In his book One Hundred Pages for the Future, Aurelio Peccei, president of the world’s leading environmentalist organization, the Club of Rome, issues a warning.
As it says on the book’s back cover: “human life on this planet is swiftly approaching the point of no return. Exploding population, diminishing resources, environmental pollution, decaying political and social structures, and science gone beyond conscience or constructive purpose — all of these factors combine to threaten our existence.”
0oooo, I’m so scared. Peccei’s doomsday scenario includes every imaginable disaster this side of Godzilla stomping Tokyo. But he backs up his predictions with carefully-documented facts, right?
Well, no. As he writes on page 73, “Do not look for exact figures, or mathematically accurate data. There are none, and by the time they exist it will be too late.” Or, as New York Times columnist Tom Wicker put it recently, “environmental dangers are not always visable or even provable.” Heaven forbid that we should ask for proof!
Thus, according to Time magazine, “Exaggeration is many environmentalists’ stock in trade. But cries that the sky is falling have moved the political system toward decisions that are in society’s interest.” In other words, we should thank them for misleading us.
Thus, Stephen Schneider of the Natural Resources Defense Council told Discover magazine that “To capture the public imagination . . . we have to offer up some scary scenarios, make simplified dramatic statements and little mention of any doubts one might have. Each of us has to decide what the right balance is between being effective and being honest.”
It’s the theme of the Greenhouse Gang: that, although there is little — some would say no — evidence for such threats to the environment as global warming, we must accept them as real and act accordingly. “Accordingly,” in their view, means that we must drastically reduce our standard of living and surrender some of our most basic freedoms. To wait for evidence would put off action until it is too late, they argue.
The greenhouse effect, according to Richard Ayres of the Natural Resources Defense Council, is “a new specter of man-made global catastrophe” that will cause “destruction of forests, unstable weather, destabilization of humanity’s food supply . and inundation of whole nations.” Rafe Pomerance of the World Resources Institute told columnist Alston Chase that it “is the greatest environmental problem there was or will be.”
The problem with these doomsday predictions is that, according to existing computer models of the qreenhouse effect, the increase in carbon dioxide since the middle of the 19th century should have increased temperatures 1 to 5 deqrees. It didn’t; the increase was between 0.3 and 0.7 degrees, or less (maybe zero) if urbanization is taken into account. The November/December issue of MIT’s Technology Review reports that “There appears to have been little or no global warming over the past century.”
Of course, “We’re not dealing with an exact science here,” Tony Slingo of the National Center for Atmospheric Research said in September. “Until recently the modelers operated on gut feelings and intuition,” said V. Ramanathan of the University of Chicago. Models that cannot “predict” the past are, of course, less than useless for predicting the future.
Unfortunately, most Americans hear only the hysterical warnings, not the muted qualifications. At a recent conference on the environment, speakers from Time magazine, NBC, and The Washington Post bragged, to applause, that their organizations had (as the Time science editor put it) “crossed the boundary from news reporting to advocacy” when it comes to the greenhouse effect.
Another conference speaker, Paul Ehrlich, declared that “We’ve already had too much economic growth in the United States. . . . Economic growth in rich countries like ours is a disease, not the cure.”
This is the same Paul Ehrlich who wrote in 1968 that “The battle to feed all of humanity is over. In the 1970s the world will undergo famines — hundreds of millions of people are going to starve to death in spite of any crash programs embarked upon now.” By 1983, he predicted, food rationing would be imposed; steak would be “a memory.”
During the late 1970s — about the time Ehrlich predicted we would begin starving — environmentalism reached the highest levels of government. Consider the Global 2000 report. The report, prepared by top officials of the Carter Administration, was intended as a guide for leaders all over the world, to help them prepare the people of their countries for a future of near-universal poverty. Its conclusion:
“Environmental, resource and population stresses are intensifying and will increasingly determine the quality of human life on our planet. These stresses are already severe enough to deny many millions of people basic needs for food, shelter, health, and jobs, or any hope for betterment. At the same time, the earth’s carrying capacity — the ability of biological systems to provide resources for human needs — is eroding.” The report urged leaders to plan for dramatic increases in the prices of food and energy; those prices have fallen. Meanwhile, humanity as a whole is healthier than ever before.
Columnist Warren Brookes notes that the 1976 book The Genesis Strategy supported the accepted scientific opinion of the day that the earth was cooling and that we were facing a calamity, (in the book’s words) “perhaps one akin to the Little Ice Age — and that climatic variability, which is the bane of reliable food production, can be expected to increase along with the cooling.” The author: the same Stephen Schneider (quoted above) who today offers up “scary scenarios” about global warming.
Because of the predictions of Ehrlich and his fellow environmentalists, the U.S. government spent billions on failures such as gasohol, solar energy credits, a strategic petroleum reserve, and literally hundreds of other programs. Auto makers were forced to build smaller and smaller cars to meet fuel economy standards, without regard to the lives that were lost in those little tin boxes. Regulations stymied innovation in industry, agriculture, and biotechnology.
A global reduction of 20 percent in carbon dioxide emissions, which President Bush is being urged to endorse, would cost the world $3.6 trillion. It would cost the United states $500 billion a year by the year 2030. It would throw millions of people out of work. How much are we willing to give up to prevent the greenhouse disaster now predicted by the same folks who told us ten years ago that, unless we took immediate drastic action, we were headed for a new Ice Age?
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