[Editor Note: This is the third and final post on the human harm from pseudo-science. Part I Tuesday examined some history of scientific fraud as a precursor to the much more sophisticated misdirection of today. Part II yesterday reviewed the controversies surrounding PM 2.5 and mercury regulations during the Obama Administration.]
“Many eco-activists really do want to fundamentally transform, de-develop and de-industrialize the United States and modern civilization, reduce our living standards, and improve Third World living standards just a bit. But when it comes to themselves on their self-appointed mission, they want – and think they deserve – power, prestige, high-paying jobs, fancy perks, jet travel, big homes, and so on. Societal transformation and de-industrialization are for the commoners.”
Wind and solar and biofuel energy – and Tesla and other large-scale batteries to back up wind and solar energy for multiple windless and sunless days. These are all supposed to be clean, safe, renewable, eco-friendly, sustainable, climate-stabilizing, and whatever else the accolade du jour might be.
If it’s promoted by the Sierra Club, Greenpeace or Climate Industrial Complex, it gets a free pass. No matter how much land is needed … no matter how much steel, copper, concrete, rare earth metals, lithium, cadmium, fiberglass, et cetera … no matter how many parents and children die in Congolese pits or Mongolian processing plants to get those metals – these mandated, subsidized technologies are somehow still “safe, eco-friendly, ethical and sustainable.” That, at least, is the assertion.
In yet another example, American and Canadian companies are cutting down thousands of acres of hardwood forest habitats, and turning millions of trees into hundreds of thousands of tons of wood pellets … which they truck to coastal ports and transport on oil-fueled cargo ships to England.
There the pellets are hauled by train to the Drax Power Plant … and burned to generate electricity … so that Britain “can meet its renewable fuel, sustainability and climate protection targets” – and avoid burning the coal and fracking for the natural gas that the country still has in abundance.
This deforestation is what passes for environmental, climate and sustainability “ethics” today. And it all gets back to the quixotic quest to regulate global climate.
Climate Change: Five Falsehoods
Delving into the “catastrophic, manmade” global warming and climate change topic even half-adequately would require a separate article. But it is useful to summarize several of the primary, ongoing climate deceptions and frauds.
Falsehood One. Carbon dioxide is “carbon pollution” that will harm people and destroy the planet. Carbon dioxide controls Earth’s climate – and humans can control that climate by eliminating fossil fuels and regulating CO2.
In reality, CO2 is the miracle molecule, the gas that makes nearly all life on Earth possible. Claiming that this trace gas (400 ppm or 0.04% of the atmosphere) is a dangerous pollutant amounts to saying that more atmospheric carbon dioxide … slightly warmer temperatures … longer growing seasons … more arable land … faster growing, more drought-resistant crops – the result of rising CO2 levels in our atmosphere – would be an unmitigated disaster.
Falsehood Two. Average global temperatures are setting new records every year, taking Earth ever closer to a “dangerous tipping point.”
Average global temperatures have risen slightly in recent years, primarily during the major El Nino event of 2015-16. However, the overall increase has been just over a tenth of a degree, according to satellite measurements. That’s less than the margin of error for any ground measurement technology, and the state of climatology knowledge still makes it impossible for (honest) scientists to distinguish purely natural temperature fluctuations and cycles from those due to any human influences.
Moreover, in recent years, there have been multiple reports of NOAA, Australian and other climate scientists “homogenizing” and manipulating raw data, to create slight warming trends when there were none in the original data. “Unprecedented” warming also ignores the Dust Bowl era … the urban heat island effect … record cold temperatures and polar ice in recent years … and the fact that September 2018 was the coolest September in the last decade.
In addition, the closing of Siberian weather stations caused average temperatures to get skewed slightly upward, by removing that cold data from the overall global temperature record. Finally, computer models predicted average global temperatures an entire degree F higher than what satellites actually measured.
Harvey ended a record twelve years of no category 3 to 5 hurricanes making US landfall. (Was that due to rising CO2 levels?) Record property destruction in recent years is due to more people building more expensive homes and businesses in hurricane-susceptible coastal areas. There has been no increase in hurricane intensity. And record rainfalls associated with these storms are due to high pressure zones that kept the hurricanes from moving inland; they had nothing whatsoever to do with greenhouse gases.
Falsehood Four. Third World families are at dire risk from unprecedented rising temperatures, unprecedented rising seas, unprecedented extreme weather events.
Those impoverished people have coped with heat, droughts and other natural disasters for countless generations. They would be better able to survive all these climate and weather-related problems if they had modern homes and infrastructure; abundant, reliable electricity; and overall better living standards – and if environmentalist groups, government agencies, multilateral development banks and other organizations did not continue denying them access to these modern technologies, on the ground that letting poor nations reach developed-nation status would not be “sustainable” or “climate friendly.”
Falsehood Five. 97% of scientists agree that manmade climate change is real and catastrophic.
Perhaps 97% of scientists who work for environmentalist pressure groups, for government agencies under President Obama, or for institutions that received major government grants for supporting presidents and regulators who promote the “dangerous manmade climate change” thesis – perhaps 97% of them agree about this.
One of the first sources of the 97% myth devised that number by selecting 75 out of 77 respondents to a survey – that had been sent to 10,257 earth, solar and other scientists. Of those recipients, 3,146 replied – and 3,069 were simply ignored.
Professor John Cook reached the same 97% number by ignoring the fact that only 41 out of 11,944 published papers in his study explicitly said mankind has caused most of the warming since 1950. The rest said nothing about human causes or climate disasters. That means his actual consensus is 0.3 percent.
In reality, there is no consensus on the existence or cause of dangerous manmade global warming and climate change. The climate debate is far from settled.
There is no need to “act now, before it’s too late.” Climatologists simply do not yet know enough about Earth’s climate – or what caused past climate changes, cycles or temporary fluctuations – to separate current human influences from the powerful natural forces that have caused minor to major climate changes throughout history – including at least five ice ages, the Little Ice Age, and the Roman and Medieval Warm Periods.
Alarmists simply attribute all recent climate changes, extreme weather events and other unusual phenomena to human use of fossil fuels, with only computer models, manipulated data and bald assertions to support them. Moreover, nothing suggests that wealthy, modern, technologically advanced societies will be incapable of coping with current or future hurricanes, tornadoes, floods, droughts, sea level increases and other problems – far better than our predecessors did in ages past.
There is simply no convincing, real-world evidence that humanity needs to keep fossil fuels in the ground, de-industrialize the developed countries – and allow Third World countries to develop and improve their health, nutrition and living standards only as much as they can using just wind and solar power and other supposedly “clean, safe, renewable, eco-friendly, sustainable, climate-stabilizing” technologies.
There is simply no convincing reason why the United States and the world should keep supporting what has become is a $2-trillion-per-year Climate Industrial Complex – built, sustained and justified by unproven, even fraudulent claims that humanity faces unprecedented climate cataclysms.
There is no reason humanity needs to surrender its livelihoods, living standards and liberties to would-be global governing elites who seek to rule virtually every society, business and family – with no transparency for the way they operate and no accountability for the lies they tell, mistakes they make, or harms they inflict in the name of sustainability, environmental protection and climate stability.
Behind the Alarmist Curtain
The Climate Industrial Complex, mass tort legal industry, and politicians and regulators who serve it and are sustained by it are aided by a US environmentalist movement that gets some $6.6 billion per year in contributions – much of it from the Rockefeller, Soros, Steyer and other foundations … and from corporations that want to burnish their green credentials or buy short-term peace with eco agitators.
Add to that the powerful government agencies, the news and social media, academia, and leftist-socialist politicians who derive their power and longevity from cash and in-kind help from these groups – and it is obvious that we are dealing with formidable foes – formidable enemies of energy and humanity, especially blue-collar working class families and dark-skinned people around the world.
Many eco-activists really do want to fundamentally transform, de-develop and de-industrialize the United States and modern civilization, reduce our living standards, and improve Third World living standards just a bit. But when it comes to themselves on their self-appointed mission, they want – and think they deserve – power, prestige, high-paying jobs, fancy perks, jet travel, big homes, and so on. Societal transformation and de-industrialization are for “commoners.”
These people demand and praise diversity of all things … except diversity of opinion, thinking and discussion – especially in government, academia, the news media and social media. They likewise do not want transparency – or accountability for anything they do.
The Trump Administration has taken a number of steps to challenge them, end some of their abuses, and roll back many of their most fraudulent and costly regulations. But up to now Congress, especially the Senate, has dragged its feet. Even more worrisome, despite all that the Trump Administration has done, there are no guarantees that the efforts will continue or that the next administration won’t undo many of these reforms.
What to Do in an Era of Scientific Misdirection?
Here’s an initial wish list.
Mete out fines, jail time or other actual punishment to government officials who mislead or lie to Congress and the American people – just as the EPA, IRS, FBI and Congress punish those of us who provide false or misleading information to them.
Retract, terminate and abolish existing rules that were based on government fraud. Suspend them immediately by executive order, then go through a rulemaking process that is honest, fair and transparent, so that the reversals become permanent.
Reduce EPA’s budget, and turn most of its powers and responsibilities over to the states. Or make EPA an independent agency directed by five commissioners, three appointed by the party holding the presidency and two from the other party – so as to limit the agency’s power to act, by requiring that any final regulation be approved by a majority of the commissioners, all of whom have access to all underlying data, assumptions, computer algorithms, and other material evidence.
Reform all agency advisory committees – the way Scott Pruitt did with CASAC. Require a balance of industry, environmental, university and truly independent experts – all of whom have full access to reports and underlying data, computer codes, and other relevant records and analyses.
Require honest, realistic cost-benefit analyses – on social cost of carbon and other programs. No agency should be permitted to concoct huge costs for the alleged impact of US fossil fuels on alleged global climate change – and ignore the enormous benefits of fossil fuels to the US and world economies, for example.
If public money is used for research, the raw data, computer codes and analyses are automatically public and transparent, unless they involve true national security matters. They are not the private property of taxpayer funded scientists.
End secret science, preferably by legislation. If that is not possible, do so by executive order and a formal rulemaking process which makes the case for reform so compelling and popular that no court, congress or future administration would dream of (or succeed in) reversing it.
End the “Chevron Rule” – which defers to government agencies and their studies, decisions and regulations … if there is anything reasonable about them, even if only remotely so.
Reform the tort system at the federal level and in every state. At the very least, require solid proof of cause-effect harm before any compensatory and punitive damages can be awarded – employing the honesty and transparency ideas described above.
End United States contributions to EU, US and international organizations that are involved in fraud: the IARC and IPCC for example.
Establish accountability for deliberate violations of these commonsense rules: lost jobs, lost tenure, lost pensions; no future access to taxpayer money for grants – for any person, university or other institution involved in frauds or illegal human experiments, for example.
The facts, constitutional principles, traditional ethics, and probably a solid majority of Americans would support these reforms. A concerted effort to implement them would beat the Cancer and Climate Fraud Machine at its own game.
Paul Driessen is senior policy analyst for several think tanks and author of Eco-Imperialism: Green power – Black Death and other books and articles on energy, climate change, economic development and human rights.