Wednesday, September 05, 2012

2 ecologists on the facts and fictions of climate change

imageThere’s a great two-part interview on climate change and environmentalism with the co-founder of Greenpeace, Patrick Moore, that appeared in this week’s Washington Times:

The interviews themselves are interesting enough…

  • “People should realize that intensive agriculture, using science and technology, chemistry (fertilizers and pesticides), genetics and biotechnology (GMOs) is one of the best ways to reduce the conversion of natural ecosystems into food production.”
  • “If it is the aim of ‘environmentalists’ to stop fossil fuel production and use, end fracking, end coal mining, end the use of oil, then they are promoting a policy that would have disastrous consequences for human civilization and the environment. If we stopped using fossil fuel today, or by 2020 as Al Gore proposes, at least half the human population would perish…”
  • “Today Greenpeace's efforts are largely counter-productive and parasitical on political agendas such as trade disputes. Their vision of a world run on wind and solar energy is a green dream that is actually a green fantasy that is rapidly turning into a green nightmare for ratepayers in the countries that have provided exorbitant subsidies for these technologies which don't even work most of the time…”
  • “Q: During the years ahead, what do you think that the greatest challenge will be to environmental sustainability?
    Dr. Moore: The elimination of poverty and the slowing of population growth and its eventual stabilization. The key to this is the mechanization of agriculture in the developing countries that still depend on subsistence agriculture. When agriculture is mechanized people have smaller families, the majority of the population can do other things besides growing food, wealth increases…”
  • "Environmentalism" is an ‘ism’ like capitalism and socialism. In that sense it connotes an ideology or shared set of beliefs, not necessarily based on scientific proof or evidence. An environmentalist is therefore distinct from and ecologist, as ecology is a science.
        “If someone claims to be an environmentalist, I assume they care about nature and about our impact on it. But one must dig deeper to find if they are misanthropic or accepting of humans as part of the environment. This is really a question of attitude rather than facts.”
  • “I explain in my presentations that as a scientist who is fully qualified to understand climate change, I seem dumber than the people who say they "know" the answers because I do not profess to know the future, especially of something so complicated as the global climate.
        “One thing is certain, there is no "scientific proof" as the term is generally understood, that human emissions are the main cause of climate change today. Even the IPCC only claims that it is "very likely" (a judgement, in their own words, not a proof) that human emissions are responsible for "most" of the warming "since the mid-20th century" (1950). Therefore they are not claiming that humans caused the 0.4C warming between 1910-1940, but they are claiming that we are the main cause of the 0.4C warming between 1970 and 2000. Yet they provide no opinion as to what did cause the warming between 1910-1940. There is a logical inconsistency here that has never been addressed. It is also important to note that the IPCC does not speak of "catastrophe", that is left to the fanatics and perpetual doom-sayers.”
  • “What most people don't realize, partly because the media never explains it, is that there is no dispute over whether CO2 is a greenhouse gas, and all else being equal would result in a warming of the climate. The fundamental dispute is about water in the atmosphere, either in the form of water vapour (a gas) or clouds (water in liquid form).”
  • “The global average temperature has now been flat for the past 15 years, as all the while CO2 emissions have continued to increase. There are only 2 possible explanations for, either there is some equally powerful natural factor that is suppressing the warming that should be caused by CO2, or CO2 is only a minor contributor to warming in the first place.”
  • “No. I do not believe alarmism and fear are the correct responses even if our emissions are causing some warming. In particular I do not believe it makes sense to adopt policies that would obviously cause more harm that the supposed ‘catastrophe’ that might be caused by warming…
        ‘I fear the irrational policies of extreme environmentalists far more that a warmer climate on this relatively cold planet (14.5 C global average temperature today compared with 25C during the Greenhouse Ages.”

…but even more fascinating was the exchange that followed between Patrick Moore, PhD, ecologist, scientist and co-founder of Greenpeace and John Mason, “author, minister, speaker and founder and president of Insight International, dedicated to helping people reach their God-given dreams...”, which you can read here: “A Reply to John Mason”:

  • “It is now fashionable to oppose all coal, all oil pipelines, all tankers, all fracking for gas, all offshore oil, all oilsands, all shale oil, and oil in general. The fossil fuel industry is vilified as a criminal element pushing a toxic product, while nuclear is said by opponents to be unsafe and uneconomic. Gore does not actually propose any alternative but simply generalizes as if it is a wish rather that anything substantive. So even if you take out ‘or by 2020 as Al Gore proposes’ my statement is true. I make it to emphasize how dependent we are on fossil fuels, and that a rapid end to their use would have far more catastrophic results than the wildest climate scare scenario. (see:http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/blog/2009/mar/16/climate-change-al-gore).”
  • “Humans have evolved in the most fluctuating period of global climate since the mass extinction caused by a meteor impact 65 million years ago. Humans have survived as the major glaciations have come and gone during this Ice Age. When hominids first appeared the world was warmer, and they were all in the tropics where it has been warm even during the major glaciations. There is a reason there are 24 million people in Sao Paulo, Brazil and only 800 in Barrow, Alaska. It is a testament to the adaptability of humans that they have survived the Ice Age when from an evolutionary perspective we clearly favor a climate where it does not freeze. Even during the more recent times, during the 10,000 years since the development of agriculture, the climate has varied. It was warm during the Egyptian and Roman eras, cool in the Dark Ages, warm in the Medieval Period, cool during the Little Ice Age, and warmer now. Still, the world is considerably colder now than it was before the onset of the present Ice Age.”
  • “I do not believe that a warming of 2-3C in this century would have catastrophic consequences. Most of the warming would be in the temperate and arctic regions, places where it freezes now. If you count the species in a tropical forest compared to the arctic tundra it is obvious that far more species prefer warm climates to cold climates, including humans.”
  • “The polar bear population has actually increased dramatically since unregulated hunting was ended in the 1960s. If the world climate, over the next thousands of years, returned to a Greenhouse Age, it may not be hospitable to polar bears, but the arctic regions would be hospitable to hundreds of thousands of species that can’t survive there today. And I would not adopt policies that would threaten our entire civilization just to protect polar bears.”
  • “Mason cites the reduced extent of summer Arctic sea ice as evidence that the world is gaining heat. He, like other warmists, belittles the fact that Antarctic ice has been growing in extent:
  • “In the same year, 2007, that Arctic Ice was at a minimum, Antarctic ice was at a maximum. This should at least be recognized.”

  • “[Oceans are accumulating energy, says Mason, which explains why temperatures have been flat for 15 years.] “In 2003, 3000 Argo Bouys were deployed into the world’s oceans. This has given us, for the first time, an accurate measure of global ocean temperatures. The bouys float free, alternately sinking to 700 meters depth and then rising slowly while taking a profile of the temperature. When the bouys surface they send the temperature record to a satellite. Here is the actual record of global average ocean temperature (heat content) vs. the prediction made by the climate models:
  • “Clearly, there has been no upward trend in ocean temperatures since 2003.”

  • “Sea-level has been relatively stable for the past 5,000 years or more.. It is extremely unlikely that the Greenland and Antarctic ice caps could melt in less than thousands of years. It took millions of years for them to accumulate. And we are quite capable of adapting to sea level rise, look at what the Dutch have done, reclaiming the seabed for farmland. After devastating wars whole cities are rebuilt in a matter of a few years. And if the warming is natural, it seems we would be better served by focusing on adaptation rather than holding back natural trends which are inevitable.”
  • “It is ironic, and sad, that the EPA has declared CO2 to be a toxic pollutant when it is the most important nutrient (food) for all life on earth. Through the miracle of photosynthesis, green plants turn CO2, water, nitrogen, and a pinch of minerals from the soil into the food that we and all other animals, insects and invertebrates use as our means of survival. To vilify CO2 is to vilify life itself. Carbon is the currency of life and we are part of that life so we should pay homage to CO2 and the carbon it provides.”

Patrick Moore’s websites are www.greenspiritstrategies.com and www.greenspirit.com.

Meanwhile, while the increasingly impressive Moore was taking on an alleged scientist, Bjorn Lomborg was taking on an alleged economist, challenging Paul Krugman on his climate science in “How "Policy By Panic" Can Backfire for Environmentalists.”

“Saying that droughts are caused by global warming leads to public distrust and disengagement when the rain starts to fall,” points out Lomborg—something calamatists like Australian Tim Flannery must surely be aware of by now. Krugman, apparently not:

Paul Krugman, writing breathlessly in the New York Times about the “rising incidence of extreme events” and how “large-scale damage from climate change is … happening now.” He claims that global warming caused the current drought in America’s Midwest, and that supposedly record-high corn prices could cause a global food crisis.
    But the United Nations climate panel’s
latest assessment tells us precisely the opposite: For “North America, there is medium confidence that there has been an overall slight tendency toward less dryness (wetting trend with more soil moisture and runoff).” Moreover, there is no way that Krugman could have identified this drought as being caused by global warming without a time machine: Climate models estimate that such detection will be possible by 2048, at the earliest.
    And, fortunately, this year’s drought appears unlikely to cause a food crisis. According to the Economist, “price increases in corn and soybeans are not thought likely to trigger a food crisis, as they did in 2007-08, as global rice and wheat supplies remain plentiful.” Moreover, Krugman overlooks inflation: Prices have increased six-fold since 1969, so, while corn futures did set a record of about $8 per bushel in late July, the inflation-adjusted price of corn was higher throughout most of the 1970s, reaching a whopping $16 in 1974.
    Finally, Krugman conveniently forgets that concerns about global warming are the main reason that corn prices have skyrocketed since 2005. Nowadays 40 percent of corn grown in the United States is used to produce ethanol, which does absolutely nothing for the climate, but certainly distorts the price of corn—at the expense of many of the world’s poorest people.

Global warming is already hurting people. That is to say, policies based on fears about catastrophic global warming are already hurting people. That hurt will get worse if misanthropic green fantasies and breathless misinformation continue to increase.

[Hat tip Cafe Hayek & Climate Depot]

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3 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Interesting...."The key to this is the mechanization of agriculture in the developing countries that still depend on subsistence agriculture. When agriculture is mechanized people have smaller families, the majority of the population can do other things besides growing food, wealth increases…”. Most evidence I've seen shows that the mechanisation of agriculture only provides economies of scale and efficiencies in harvesting when mono cropping on a large scale. Which in turn creates a whole host of other problems. Yes they may have smaller families but the focus shifts to export crops which in turn require expensive and often imported inputs to keep that type of agriculture going. Due to a lack of diversity the dependence on expensive synthetic means of controlling problems and restoring soil fertility increases. Statements such as the quote above really do a disservice to the debate as they fail to identify the full picture. To focus on the world population without actually looking at general consumption is flawed.

9/05/2012 12:09:00 pm  
Blogger Kiwiwit said...

Half a dozen years ago, those of us on the sceptical side of the climate change debate were frustrated at the prospect of having to do the seemingly impossible - prove a negative (i.e. that there is not a direct link between human fossil fuel emissions and increased average global temperatures). But amazingly, recent studies by such eminent climate scientists as Akasofu, Salby and Pielke have gone a long way to doing just that.

As the evidence against the AGW case has mounted, the response of the global warming movement and their fellow travelers (like the Socialist economist Krugman) have become ever more desperate. Their tactics now seem to be to ignore the science completely and just keep on making ever more vehement claims and engaging in ad hominem attacks.

It is now very apparent, if it wasn't before, that the scientific debate is, for them, just a smokescreen to promote their goal of a global Marxist dictatorship. They lost the battle with the fall of the Soviet Union and the liberalisation of China, but they are still engaged in the war and the environmental movement has been their Fifth Column in Western countries ever since.

Partick Moore rightly concludes that if they are unchecked in their political aims, "at least half the human population would perish". But really, does he think they don't know that? Like all Marxists, they know their political aims are dependent on genocide. Frankly, saying such things will only encourage them.

9/05/2012 01:29:00 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thanks for posting this. I find it hard to disagree with this Moore bloke's position, but I ask myself what on earth he was aiming for when he started Greenpeace?

More to the point, why have governments, NGOs, corporates and huge numbers of people all over the world bought in to eco-hysteria in such numbers in the last 30 years? It's almost as if the while western world suddenly decided that humanity is an evil blight and should be prevented from thriving at all costs. Is there a 'suicide' urge at work here?

I trace it to 2 devastating world wars followed by a 30-40 year nuclear standoff which had the potential to destroy human civilisation. I think this probably made people lose faith in humanity's potential and turn instead to this new religion which, like it's predecessors, is based on guilt and fear.

How can we promote the idea that science, technology and progress is ultimately good for humanity and that the more people there are the better off we'll actually be? On a purely species level, though, perhaps if the western world sinks back into the dark ages, humanity will still thrive and progress in China and Asia, so we won't die out completely. It's a bleak future under the steel boots of eco-fascism for the rest of us, though, if we don't start to resist soon.

Dave Mann

9/06/2012 08:48:00 am  

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