Environmentalism has died but reincarnates as the Precautionary Principle
The media loses interest in climate change but is this true?
Then we find that not only does the media filter the news but that some academics were trying to rewrite history by expunging the medieval warming period from history to prove exceptional human caused global warming.
Finally an ABC interview of Ray Evans of the Lavoisier Group and Ecoreligion.
And Moo-methane plus collapsing civilisations from ecocide.
One of the more surprising observations made since 14 February 2005 when the Kyoto Protocol finally came into force, was the subsequent absence of any media comments focussing on doom and gloom about global warming. It is as if a threshold was passed, a tipping of something resulting in total media silence. Having achieved their goal the Kyotists seem to have become mute. Mute? You mean all this brouaha over global warming was essentially a public relations exercise to convince the US and Australia to sign? And that once in force, no further persuasion was needed?
However, seeing the blogs written by the Diplomad, now retired, and some of the comments made by other US State Department insiders, it seems more likely that the Kyotists, and mainly European, now assume that the moral authority of the UN is behind Kyoto and that it is a done thing - they can now dictate who gets carbon credits or not, though I wonder whether they have told the rest of the community this.
Alternatively it might have something to do with the fact that it has more to do with the efforts of the Climate Change Realists with their demolition of the infamous hockey stick. And of course one suspects Michael Crichton's recent book, State of Fear, also played a part as did UK PM Blair when he realised that pandering the his looney left by adopting global warming to retain their support, in the long run, was going to destroy the UK's economy.
In other words, only at the end have we discovered that the Global Warming Emperor is naked (little wonder with all the warmth about).
Russia's totally cynical adoption of Kyoto to gain leverage in the WTO talks seems to have also escaped the attention of the EU Kyotoists, but even they, will discover that the Kyoto Protocol is an arrangement they will rue for quite a time. It is not often you see a political class shoot itself comprehensively in the foot - Europe is already in decline and economically is at the stage the US was in 1978.
Isn't socialism grand - universal poverty in an egalitarian sense. The Europeans were unable to help the survivors the Boxing Day Tsunami because they had no spare resources - the US and Australia did. And it was the US and Australia who did not sign Kyoto.
But the real reason for the sudden silence is that anthropogenic Global warming, like anthropogeniuc Global cooling, had no basis in scientific fact as this article concludes:
Sadly, itís true, environmentalism is dead.
When environmentalists are writing tracts like "The Death of Environmentalism," you know the movement is in deep trouble.
That essay by two young environmentalists has been whirling around the Internet since last fall, provoking a civil war among tree-huggers for its assertion that "modern environmentalism, with all of its unexamined assumptions, outdated concepts and exhausted strategies, must die so that something new can live." Sadly, the authors, Michael Shellenberger and Ted Nordhaus, are right Ö
The fundamental problem, as I see it, is that environmental groups are too often alarmists. They have an awful track record, so theyíve lost credibility with the public. Some do great work, but others can be the leftís equivalents of the neocons: brimming with moral clarity and ideological zeal, but empty of nuance. (Industry has also hyped risks with wildly exaggerated warnings that environmental protections will entail a terrible economic cost.)
"The Death of Environmentalism" resonated with me. I was once an environmental groupie, and I still share the movementís broad aims, but Iím now skeptical of the movementís "I Have a Nightmare" speeches.
In the 1970ís, the environmental movement was convinced that the Alaska oil pipeline would devastate the Central Arctic caribou herd. Since then, it has quintupled.
When I first began to worry about climate change, global cooling and nuclear winter seemed the main risks. As Newsweek said in 1975: "Meteorologists disagree about the cause and extent of the cooling trend ... but they are almost unanimous in the view that the trend will reduce agricultural productivity for the rest of the century."
but since it is the NYT times you might need to register top read the article by Nick Kristof.
That said, the mindset behind the latest environmental scare has instead to have re-incarnated into the
Just what is this principle? Some readers of Henry have insisted we must adopt it to mitigate possible climate change, but Michael Crichton has pointed out that the Precautionary principle precludes the principle itself.
Doing a Google retrieves some impressive websites such as this one here
and it fast appears to be a means by which to regulate human behaviour, based on imagined threats or dangers.
"The precautionary principle is nothing but a modern tool for social engineering aimed at reducing certain types of risks through state intervention. It can be explained in two different ways. On the one hand, it means that -- in its name -- it is necessary to prove that an activity does not imply any risk for the environment in order to be allowed. On the other hand, it requires no demonstration (i.e. scientific proof) that an activity implies a risk for individuals or for the environment in order to ban it. This is what Hubert Reeves underlines in a recent article in Le Monde. As he puts it, "waiting for the scientific certainty stage to be reached in order to change the evolution of things could be suicidal."
This principle is being incorporated covertly into our own legislative framework. The mineral exploration industry, for example, is now faced with the production of environmental management programs to show how we would manage environmental damage caused by our operations, for yet to be identified arbitarily defined acts of ecological vandalism. Some of the requirements are laughable were it not so serious. Government has indeed the power to force cessation of exploration activity if you don't meet the requirements.
The Precautionary Principle has become entrenched in Worksafe where every possible effort must be made to avoid accidents - and if a worker accidentally dies on the work place from his or her own act of stupidity, it never the less remains the employers responsibility for not having given the deceased adequate training to cover all contingincies. Or so the ambulance chasing lawyers will argue as they try to recover damages from the employer. And I am sure the Gollo's in Melbourne would have scary tales to recount as they try to work out how they profit from their magnificent building projects, if at all.
Theodore Dalrymple has already focussed on this abrogation of personal responsibility to the State which delegates its supervision of its charges via the various Worksafe regulations. One could also conclude the anti-dismissal regulations in Australia were the start of this shift in attitude to individual responsibility.
What is probably not understood is the price that must be paid for the Precautionary Principle is the loss of indiviudal liberty to the subservience to the state for any individual activity.
Let's be clear on this, if the EPA determines that your activity "might" endanger the environment, then it does have to the power to restrict your actions.
Orwell's 1984 is already here.
And of course our bureaucratic masters have spoken - what is industry going to do to curb CO2 emissions just in case:
"The nation's biggest energy users will be forced to reveal their plans to reduce greenhouse gas emissions as part of a revamped national environmental program to be launched by the Howard Government today."
This report is hardly surprising - unethical practice in science -
"100 years has been compromised by alleged illegal and unethical practices began with a woman.
She stood only 1m tall and had arms to her knees and a tiny brain. Moreover, after 18,000 years lying in a limestone cave, the pint-size person didn't look her best when her remains were unearthed by Thomas Sutikna, excavation director for the Australian-Indonesian team that was searching for clues about humanity's first arrival in Southeast Asia.
Still, the Hobbit
Ė as she was quickly nicknamed Ė caused a scientific sensation last October when news of her discovery was revealed. The headlines said it all: "Hello, stranger", "The littlest human", "Lost world of the little people", "When Hobbits ruled". The claim that Homo floresiensis (the Hobbit's scientific moniker) was a new human species that lived alongside people such as us as recently as 13,000 years ago was irresistible. "It was a good news story," recalls archeologist and research co-leader Mike Morwood of the University of New England in Armidale, NSW"
It does seem that another human pigmy variant has been discovered, though I suspect it will be some time before all the facts emerge, if at all.
Removing cattle from the bush
Again an extremest solution to an imagined problem - probably ignited by Jared Diamond's latest book "Collapse", 2005, Penguin Books.
Here Diamond considers that civilisation failed because the committed ecocide - or essentially mismanaged their environment with interpreted disasterous consequences. This has led to the the adoption of the Precautionary Principle where, in order to minimise impact.
"Professor Diamond tells an international readership that "hard-nosed (government) economists" are asking themselves whether Australia would "be better off economically without much of its present agricultural enterprise." He claims much agriculture is destructive and uneconomic."
Hence the CSIRO wants to destock our bush to reduce bovine produced methane.
Some geological facts - methane is continuously seeping from the mantle,
and any moo-methane irrelevant in effect. Yet we have this remarkable statistic "Cows are a source of the greenhouse gas methane. Agriculture accounts for 19.2 per cent of Australia's greenhouse gas emissions, compared with 14.4 per cent from transport.", but cynic I am, I wonder if Jared Diamond wrote Collapse to assist the CSIRO in selling its policies?
And why did previous civilisations collapse? Ecocide? No, something else was is play and perhaps we should revisit all the old storiers recounted by humanity and reassess them.
The Precolumbian Americans always considered their civilistion was destroyed by heavenly portents, raining brimstone and fire onto them. Others assert a global flood from the heavens detroyed their civilisation. Middle East history has similar tales, but all these are dismissed as imaginative contructs of simple minds.
So why did the Pawnee Indians of America worship the Morning Star, why did they fear this heavenly portent? And why did the Aztecs fear this star in MesoAmerica - why did they, every 50 years, wait in fearful anticipation of its safe return? Why did the Romans and Greeks fear the Gods, Mars, Chronos, Jupiter (Zeus) and Venus, (Athena).
Nowadays these heavenly portents are harmless lights in the sky - hardly threatening.
Associate those ancient hoary tales with the unequivocal archaelogical evidence of collapsed civilisations and perhaps an alternative explanation comes to mind.
Then this preprint extract from an article to be published in the Journal of Scientific Exploration in June 2005 -
GLOBAL WARMING, THE POLITICIZATION OF SCIENCE, AND MICHAEL CRICHTON'S "STATE OF FEAR
by David Deming. College of Geosciences, University of Oklahoma, Norman, OK 73019
which I partly reproduce here:
On December 26, 2004, a magnitude 9.0 earthquake occurred off the coast of Northern Sumatra. The massive temblor, the largest in 40 years, spawned tsunamis that killed more than 150,000 people. The next day, a colleague at a think tank emailed me to ask if I had any opinions about the new Michael Crichton book, State of Fear.
Although State of Fear is a fictional thriller about ecoterrorism, its real thesis is the politicization of science, in particular climate change and global warming. Because global warming is a highly-charged political subject, Crichton's book has received a lot of attention in the press, including a review by Washington Post columnist George Will (Will, 2004). My colleague closed his email with a little joke:
"P.S. - I'm also anxious to see if anyone blames this weekend's tsunami in Indonesia on global warming."
We didn't have long to wait. A few hours later, the CBS evening news broadcast did just that. Citing unnamed "climate experts", they put up a graphic that had only the words "global warming" and "tsunamis". News anchor Dan Rather then stated:
"Climate experts warned today that tsunamis could become more common around the world and more dangerous. They cite a number of factors, including a creeping rise in sea levels believed to come from global warming and growing populations along coastal areas."
A Russian politician was less circumspect. The Deputy Chairman of the Russian Duma (parliament), Artur Chilingarov, told the Russian news agency Ria Novosti:
"The reason for the earthquake and a gigantic tsunami which killed several tens of thousands of people in South and Southeast Asia was probably a global climate change...scientists have registered lately a change of the average temperature, which is now growing at fantastic rates. These seemingly insignificant temperature changes allow the atmosphere and oceans to accumulate additional energy..." (Anonymous, 2004a).
I have had my own experiences with the politicization of climate science. In 1995, I had a short paper published in the prestigious journal Science (Deming, 1995). I reviewed how borehole temperature data recorded a warming of about one degree Celsius in North America over the last 100 to 150 years. I closed the manuscript with what seemed to me to be a remarkably innocuous and uncontroversial statement:
"A cause and effect relationship between anthropogenic activities and climatic warming cannot be demonstrated unambiguously at the present time" (Deming, 1995, p. 1577).
The week the article appeared, I came into my office one morning to find a voicemail message from a reporter for National Public Radio. He wanted to interview me concerning my article in Science. Visions of glory danced in front of my eyes. I was going to be on national radio. Surely, it was only a matter of time before I would be a regular guest on the McNeil-Lehrer news hour on PBS. Excited, I called the reporter back. But all of my fantasies were immediately dispelled. The reporter focused in on the last sentence in the Science paper. He asked me, did I really mean to say that? Did I really intend to imply that the warming in North America may have been due to natural variability? Without hesitation, I said "yes". He replied, "Well then, I guess we have no story. That's not what people are interested in. People are only interested if the warming is due to human activities. Goodbye." And he hung up on me. It was my first realization that the media intentionally filter the information the public receives.
With the publication of the article in Science, I gained significant credibility in the community of scientists working on climate change. They thought I was one of them, someone who would pervert science in the service of social and political causes. So one of them let his guard down. A major person working in the area of climate change and global warming sent me an astonishing email that said "We have to get rid of the Medieval Warm Period."
As Keith Windschuttle has shown elsewhere concerning Aboriginal History, many academics seem to think that fabricating history is a permissable activity according to Post-Modernist theory, whether climate or ethnic history. This is not science but crass Lysenkoism. The tragedy is that these academics can't see anything wrong in this, and as Ray Evans of the Lavoisier Group has shown on the ABC, we are not dealing with science, but with religion.
"Ray Evans: During the 90s I had the good fortune to represent Western Mining at various mining industry international fora, and I got to know my counterparts from United States, Canada, Europe, Africa England and so on quite well. What came home to me during the debates we had there was that almost all of the attacks on the mining industry being generated by the environmentalist movement were coming out of Northern Europe and Scandinavia, and it didn't take me long to work out that we were dealing with religious belief, that the elites of Northern Europe and Scandinavia-the political elites, the intellectual elites, even the business elites-were, in fact, believers in one brand of environmentalism or another and regardless of the facts. Some of the most bizarre policies were coming out of these countries with respect to metals. I found myself having to find out...why is this so?...because on the face of it they were insane, but they were very strongly held and you'd have to say that when people hold onto beliefs regarding the natural world, and hold onto them regardless of any evidence to the contrary, then you're dealing with religion, you're not dealing with science."