Monday, November 24, 2008

Global Warming Fear Mongering

The Sunday 11/16/08 Detroit Free Press had a global warming article by Scott Canon of McClatchy Newspapers that is pure fear mongering based on nothing but conjecture. The title proudly announces the article's speculative nature "Violence could mount as Earth's temperature rises."

The arbitrary assertions run wild in this piece. First we are told that:

"The Earth's fast-changing climate has a range of serious thinkers -- from military brass to geographers to diplomats -- predicting a spate of armed conflicts driven by the weather."
Of course these 'serious thinkers' have concluded that:
"Shifting temperatures lead to shifting populations, they say, and that throws together groups with long-standing rivalries and thrusts them into competition for food and water.

"It's not hard to imagine violent outbursts," said Julianne Smith of the Center for Strategic and International Studies."
This sounds like something out of a junior high school class. No evidence is provided for any of this, it's just asserted. I can imagine things too. I can imagine that just uttering the word green causes the storm clouds to part, the sun to shine through, birdies to sing and bunnies to play. And it would have as much relevance to reality as Ms. Smith's, none. Just reading this article could spark 'violent outbursts' from rational people.

Evidently Ms. Smith authored one of 4 major studies trying to predict the future:
"Each report predicted starkly similar problems: gunfire over land and natural resources as once-bountiful soil turns to desert and coastlines slip below the sea. They also expect violent storms to unsettle weak governments and set up dispirited radicals in revolt."
Yes! We must fear those touchy, dispirited radicals who will be set off by bad weather which, of course, will be all our fault.

The article continues with more arbitrary assertions and even leans on the notion that:
"...[T]he scientific consensus is that the industrial revolution increased global-warming gases that set off an unprecedented rate of climate change."
'Scientific consensus' is an oxymoron. 'Consensus' is a political concept. It is used in science only when there is no evidence for something and only opinions and conjecture are available. Michael Crichton got it right when he said:
"I want to pause here and talk about this notion of consensus, and the rise of what has been called consensus science. I regard consensus science as an extremely pernicious development that ought to be stopped cold in its tracks. Historically, the claim of consensus has been the first refuge of scoundrels; it is a way to avoid debate by claiming that the matter is already settled. Whenever you hear the consensus of scientists agrees on something or other, reach for your wallet, because you're being had." (From his 2003 speech "Aliens Cause Global Warming")
To see more on how unscientific the concept 'scientific consensus' is see here.

The article goes on to make some more predictions starting with some possible good ones:
Growing seasons could lengthen. Frozen seas could thaw to make way for convenient shipping routes. Previously inaccessible spots could be ripe to gush oil. [notice the derogatory word gush--ME]

Meanwhile, wetlands could dry up. Rivers could disappear. Scientists already think that hurricanes, blizzards and droughts are more frequent and more severe. Rising sea levels could send tens of millions of people scurrying for higher ground.
No evidence, not even historical references, are given for these predictions. It is pure imagination. But to bolster their fantasy they rounded up some military generals and got their consensus:
"The former commanders concluded that war would be more likely, that the U.S. military needed to plan for the new threats, and that the United States had to reduce its carbon emissions."
I think it's safe to say that no one familiar with objectivism, or even semi rational, would take this article seriously. So who was it written for? Who would take it seriously? I think it is aimed at the ordinary Joe and Mary citizen; those 4 or so generations that have gone through our 'progressive education' system and have been taught not to respect authority but to submit to it. Or to be more precise, to respect authority is to submit to it. "Don't judge" or "Are you a scientist? No? Then how dare you question the experts", are just two hammers dropped on kid's minds.

Progressive education is all about socialization which means going along with any consensus. As the kids grow up, consensus becomes a signal word designed to evoke a response of submission or at least acquiescence. I have heard adults say things like "Who am I to know?" and "I'm just an ordinary person" and so on. Their ability to think and learn has been destroyed because their desire to learn has been destroyed.

What's depressing is that both of my Michigan US Senators, Carl Levin and Debbie Stabenow, have bought in to the 'GW will lead to disaster and is all man's fault' nonsense hook, line and sinker. Despite my Senators' support for global warming, I do think this article is evidence that the alarmists are starting to get desperate and resorting to pure scare mongering and never mind any evidence. Earlier this year I emailed them both urging them to start distancing themselves from the AGW mantra. So far neither has.

(footnote: I was saddened that Mr. Crichton passed away on Nov 4th. He was not of course an objectivist but like the scientists on my blogroll, had a strong reverence for facts and liked to stick to them. He'll be missed.)

4 comments:

Anonymous said...

Mike,
Ms. Smith here. Of course a small oped can't go into detail about all of the years of research that's been done on this subject. But in case you're interested in learning a thing or two, I'd suggest you read a book I published with a number of notable climate and foreign policy scholars from both political parties:

"Climate Cataclysm: The Foreign Policy and National Security Implications of Climate Change" Published by Brookings Press.

Sadly, this stuff isn't fiction or fear mongering. Come visit the folks in the Pentagon sometime to talk to them about the consequences of climate change that they're already struggling to address in various hot spots around the world. Forget the future. Our government is already responding to and preparing for the scenarios outlined in the book.

Mike N said...

Ms. Smith:

Thanks for the professional response. Nevertheless, I disagree. First, the article wasn't an op-ed. It was a news article in the Nation and World section, not the editorial pages. Second, I'm assuming your book and the Pentagon base their science on the work of the IPCC. The IPCC's Summaries For Policymakers don't stay true to the Assessment Reports. This is dishonest. There is no need for any chicanery by them.

I will however look for your book and read it if I find it.
Perhaps you would like to peruse my blog for other GW articles. Last week I published one called 'Notes on Global Warming.' In my archives are many others. Feb. of 2006 has a five part series on science establishments.
May of 2007 has a three part one on why I side with the critics. Almost any month will have something on GW. Happy reading.

Anonymous said...

Mike,
Brian from Toledo here. (Actually I'm in Dayton now.) I met you at Detroit meetings a few times. Anyway, I wanted to say that your analogy about "the color green" is right on the mark. Nice article. Have a Happy Thanksgiving.

Mike N said...

Brian:
Thanks and yes I remember you from those meetings. Happy Thanksgiving and stay in touch.

Mike