Sunday, June 15, 2008

The cult of global warming

Dr. Mark W. Hendrickson writes about the cult of global warming and its high priest, Al Gore.

Cynical politics” may be a redundancy, but it is hard to imagine a more cynical political issue than global warming (GW). In his 1992 book Earth in the Balance, Al Gore called for a “wrenching transformation of society.” Leftists, with their elitist penchant for social engineering, didn’t need any convincing. The challenge for Gore was the inconvenient truth that, in a democracy, a would-be central planner needs to get the masses on his side, too. To do that, he borrowed a strategy encapsulated in H.L. Mencken’s statement, “The whole aim of practical politics is to keep the populace alarmed by menacing it with an endless series of hobgoblins, all of them imaginary.” Apocalyptic GW became Al Gore’s hobgoblin of choice.

This is why I say that the left will not give up the myth of human-caused global warming until they find another hobgoblin with which to terrorize the population into surrendering their wealth and freedom.

Gore needed the scientific community to back up his assertions and the media to spread the word. Enlisting the help of the media was easy (apocalyptic fantasies are sure ratings winners), but getting enough scientists on board was trickier. When Gore started his GW campaign in the early 1990s, a contemporary Gallup poll of scientists showed that only 18 percent thought there was any evidence to support Gore’s theory. Even a survey conducted by Greenpeace found only 13 percent of climatologists willing to declare GW “probable.”

Nevertheless, Gore repeatedly claimed that (literally) 98 percent of scientists agreed with him, and he exhorted reporters to ignore skeptics. Right from the outset, the GW cult (like other illiberal movements, such as communism and fascism) had to resort to the “big lie” technique to make it appear that the science of GW was settled. (See my prior article, "Questions About Global Warming," for some of the holes in the “science” of global warming.)

As senator, and then vice president, Gore used his power to channel money toward those who “played ball” and away from those who doubted GW. The latter found that grant money dried up, promotions were denied, and even jobs were terminated. Gore’s colleague, Colorado Senator Timothy Wirth, became Undersecretary of State for Global Affairs in charge of promoting GW theory and international agreements to address the alleged problem. Wirth was quoted as bragging that he could change a lot of minds with a billion dollars per year of State Department money. Indeed, recent estimates are that $50 billion has been spent promoting the GW theory (mostly governments and international organizations using tax money) and less that $1 billion to question it. Advantage: GW.

This is richly ironic. GW fanatics routinely accuse skeptics of having been bought off by Big Oil. They expect Americans to disbelieve private-sector scientists while trusting government-funded scientists (i.e., virtually all the scientists on the GW bandwagon) as if, a priori, government funding is holy, but private funding corrupt.

History will show that of all the ways in which human beings have harmed the progress of science the most damaging has been the public funding of scientific research. We are literally in danger 0f forcing the taxpayers to underwrite the beginning of a new Dark Age.

In the 20th century there were two great successful enterprises of scientific and engineering research which received public funding. One was the Manhattan Project and the other was the American lunar program. The spectacular success of these efforts has tended to obscure the fact that almost no other area of publicly funded scientific research has produced anywhere near the results of these two programs.

Some might point out the rapid advance of military technology however this is due to private corporations competing with each other for lucrative military contracts, not the work of grant funded scientists working in government labs.

The only other example of a government funded project achieving major success would be the way in which DARPANet became the Internet. However what we know as the Internet today was not built upon DARPANet. What we see when we log on today is the result of development by the private sector.

The Kyoto Protocol—which called for the developed nations to curb their CO2 emissions—was the international front of Gore’s GW agenda. For the last seven years, Gore’s media allies have denounced George Bush for “killing” Kyoto. Poppycock! The history is this: after the Clinton administration signed Kyoto, the senate voted 95-0 against implementing Kyoto’s provisions because they were slanted so unfairly against the United States. Clinton then signed an executive order barring the executive branch from enforcing any part of Kyoto. Bush didn’t kill Kyoto; he inherited a corpse. (Factoid: since Kyoto was written, greenhouse emissions in the countries that adopted it increased 21.1 percent on average, while U.S. emissions increased only 6.6 percent; yet, the United States has been singled out as the irresponsible global citizen. That’s politics!)

Kyoto’s agenda wasn’t to save the world, but to shackle economic activity in this country through curbing energy consumption. It’s easy to understand why foreign economic competitors would want this, but why would Gore and American liberals want to do this to the American people? The answer is simple: the lust for power and importance. Remember: control energy and you control people.

This is why conservatives call environmentalists "watermelons", because they are green on the outside but red on the inside. The radical environmental movement is the new home of the communists and socialists who found their ideology discredited by the collapse of the Soviet Union.

The idea of communism no longer held credibility but they had not lost either their desire to wield power over a global collective or their hatred for the United States for serving as a living example of how free market capitalism and individualism provide for greater wealth, liberty and happiness than any form of collectivism.

A new ideology had to be found which would induce the masses to surrender their own self interest and submit themselves to a new master class which would drastically diminish their quality of life. So far global warming is the best thing they have come up with.

There are signs that Gore’s movement is losing credibility. An English judge ruled that Gore’s award-winning film An Inconvenient Truth may not be shown in U.K. schools without disclaimers and the inclusion of opposing opinions, on the grounds that it is a work of political propaganda, and not scientifically sound. Various scientists on the political left who formerly endorsed the GW dogma now repudiate it. Remarkably, 19,000 scientists have signed a statement urging our government not to take any rash, costly actions to curb CO2 emissions.

Most scientists were originally attracted to science out of a desire to pursue the truth, solve mysteries and serve their fellow man by pushing back the frontiers of knowledge. However most "pure science" today is done on the government's dime and if they want to keep employed and funded they have to play ball. One scientist explained it this way, if you want to study the deer population in the Appalachian mountains you don't request a grant just to study the deer in the Appalachian mountains, you ask for a grant to study the effect of global warming on the deer population in the Appalachian mountains.

However this kind of jiggery-pokery with the truth offends true men of science and if they sense the opportunity to speak the truth without destroying their careers they will do it. The number of scientists willing to come forward and say that the global warming emperor has no cloths is growing and will soon constitute a majority.

As the politicians and activists who are feeding off global warming see the end approaching expect them to grow more desperate. You will know that the global warming house of cards has began its final collapse when Al Gore begins calling for criminal penalties for those who publically express doubts abut the reality of human-caused global warming.

Unfortunately, taking rash, costly action may be the eventual outcome. Last week, the Senate considered setting limits on CO2 emissions through the colossally expensive and grandiloquently named “Lieberman-Warner Climate Security Act.” Fortunately, this destructive proposal doesn't have enough support to pass now, but it raises the possibility that Al Gore will get the last laugh after all. What an irony it would be if, even as scientific support for his GW theory crumbles, his years of propagating the “big lie” of the GW hobgoblin were to cause Congress to impose the “wrenching transformation of society” that he has long yearned for.

The chance that "rash costly action" will be taken is made vastly greater by the fact that not only is the Marxist Democrat presidential candidate Barack Obama a global warming believer but the nominal Republican candidate John McCain is also riding on the GW bandwagon.

America is just so damn screwed.