I am often confronted by well-meaning environmentalists with questions along the lines of, “Even if the AGW model is scientifically untenable, if it causes industry to cut pollution, what’s the harm? Surely it is a good thing?”

There’s no concise way to answer all the implications in those questions (for a start, CO2 is the very opposite of a pollutant). This morning I found a reasonable way of replying. I started to watch a very disturbing programme on BBC illustrating the imminent demise of various species, including several kinds of tiger and leopard, and that is something that really tugs at my heartstrings. I care about threatened species. A lot. But I had to change channels. You see, the message of this documentary was in essence twofold:

1. Tigers are threatened almost exclusively by climate change.

2. If we follow the guidelines set out by the proponents of anthropogenic global warming, we will not only correct the climate so that it becomes more comfortable for all creatures of the Earth, we will save the tigers from extinction too.

That sort of message is so wrong, it’s criminal. And totally immoral. There is absolutely no hard evidence that the AGW corrective measures have any effect on the climate, for better or for worse. “Fighting climate change” has become the mantra of environmentally concerned citizens, who believe that the IPCC is going to save the planet and cure all the ill effects of nature. And save the tigers and polar bears from extinction. The AGW movement is immoral in that it satisfies the environmental conscience of millions of people while having no reason to feel pleased with themselves other than that their climate model has convinced so many people to support them.

“Fighting climate change” is not going to save the tigers, ladies and gentlemen. I am certain of that, for three main reasons: Firstly, the model is not supported by the data, in other words, we have no unambiguous evidence that it does what it claims to do. Secondly, it is prohibitively expensive, and that has obvious consequences for the economies of the world in their efforts to produce enough wealth to pay the taxes AGW brings to bear, and reduces the surplus from which real environmental conservation is funded. Thirdly, tigers are not threatened by climate change. They are threatened by human beings.

We really need to get our feet back on the ground.


  1. Steve Garcia

    “Even if the AGW model is scientifically untenable, if it causes industry to cut pollution, what’s the harm? Surely it is a good thing?”

    This has a name, and the name is the “Precautionary Principle”, and there is a bogus logic behind it.

    As presented in that quote, it is a trick question.

    What it is really saying is that “Pollution is evil. Pollution comes from industry. Since pollution is evil, and if stopping some pollution from industry is good, isn’t it best to stop ALL industry?” The world cannot survive by going back to pre-Industrial Revolution. 6 billion would have to die off. Many of the greens actually seem to want that. They see humans as a cancer on the pristine animal and plant kingdoms. They want the world to revert to pre-human times. Pay attention to what they say, and this becomes pretty clear. Read what ecologist Patrick Moore, a Greenpeace co-founder (and the only scientist among the founders) has to say about Greenpeace now.

    Trying to shut down industry to stop CO2 emissions is terrifically BAD logic, because the entire thing is not even talking about anthropogenic global warming. It assumes CO2 from industry is a pollutant, and it assumes that the CO2 from human activity is causing something that has been proven. And – the real issue – it also assumes that this human-released CO2 is imminently going to cause a catastrophe. So, it’s conclusion that the catastrophe must be averted is all based on assumptions that are only contents of the arguments, not contents of sufficiently proven science.

    I suggest listening to or reading Matt Ridley. YouTube his talks about CO2 and the Greening of Planet Earth.

    Those assumptions ignore the fact that there actually ARE counter arguments to the claims. This is most often presented as “97% of climate scientists believe that industrial emissions of CO2 are causing a warming that is unnatural.

    However, there are two things wrong that. 1. The votes of “climate scientists” includes votes of scientists who are not climate scientists (making the statement untrue), and the votes of opponents are not included. This was true the first time such a vote was taken (and it is still true), at a conference in Switzerland in the 1980s. An earlier conference there included opponents of the premise. At the 2nd conference, they did not invite their opponents. It was a cherry-picked conference and a cherry-picked vote. It also ignores that another poll was taken and tens of thousands of scientists disagree.

    2. The “warmist scientists” have not not ever done “due diligence” – making sure they haven’t overlooked anything – which is an absolute necessity for doing solid science. In this case, due diligence means using a process of elimination to make sure one does not attribute wrongly. It was assumed that all possible natural causes for the “observed” warming of the 1980s and 1990s were constant. Their formulas for their models put the natural forcings in as constants. By doing so, they repeatedly and repeatedly get the same result: “Any changes to the climate must be from man, because the natural forcings are the same as they have always been.” It is circular logic, made mathematical by putting them into the models as they assume them to be. In an earlier period it was called GIGO – “garbage in, garbage out.”

    In my first attempt in the late 1990s to see what was behind the global warming issue (with no agenda for my inquiry), I went looking for the research that showed, one by one, that such other possible forcings were shown to be impossible, thus taking those possibilities off the table, one by one. I was SHOCKED. Those studies had not been done. The sad thing is that those studies still have never been done, to this day.

    This is a “science” studying a chaotic system, in which the parts interact in ways we do not understand, in which each part affects all the other parts, and in which they don’t know where the starting point is. They have to try to absorb and understand all of it at once – which with linear thinkers is impossible to do. They THINK they are doing good science when they isolate parts and see what they do in isolation, and then draw unwarranted conclusions about how that isolated portion fits into the whole. All of this should be understood to be tentative and uncertain in the real world, but they state conclusions with a certainty that is not possible to have. But they cannot admit uncertainty; that would risk losing the funding. They need to claim worst case scenarios and that those are imminent.

    Part of the problem is that climatology used to be a backwater of science, with little finding. Once James Hansen got in front of the U.S Congress and made some extraordinary claims, he was able to get the Congress to fund studies at a level far above any climate expenditures previously. This multiplied the amount of money available for climatology many times over. Having found which teat to suckle at, climatologists had found the goose that laid the golden eggs. And the means to get the goose to lay more golden eggs was to assert higher and higher levels of catastrophe, just around the corner. Once this dynamic had been begun, climatology was no longer a backwater of science, but instead was a money tree. Playing the “global warming” game was big bucks.

    But this was a game of “The Boy Who Cried Wolf” in the real world, with real money, and once they had begun the flow of money, they could not – and CAN not – ever back down. ONLY by being exposed by others – as in “The Emperor’s New Clothes” – can this Golden Goose be killed and sanity prevail again.

    But an entire generation now has been raised to accept whatever “Sky Is Falling” claims made on the one side and to pretend that any other evidence exists.

    I myself have had any number of conversations with people who accept this point of view without questioning it, without having the capacity to critique it logically or scientifically. In these conversations, I bring in evidence and facts, refuting their statements. At some point they have no more arguments, while I still have hours of arguments left. At that point they bring out the Precautionary Principle – “Well, even if it istn’t true, isn’t it better to do it, anyway?

    If there were no costs, perhaps. If there were not other and REAL problems that the money might be spent more effectively, perhaps. If shutting down industry didn’t put many millions of people out of jobs, perhaps. If shutting down industry didn’t negatively impact communities, perhaps.

    But: They have NO irrefutable, unchallengeable evidence that our industry is even impacting the climate at all. It is all wrapped up in the assumption that nature and its forcings are constant, which some (mostly the older) climatologists completely disagree with. There is an entire generation of climatologists now that have been raised and educated with these assumptions accepted without challenge. They and a duped public believe the earlier claims to be true, and no one in that pack can think straight about all of it.

    Hansen’s original claims, being extraordinary claims, should have required extraordinary proofs. But that never happened. The extraordinary claims were accepted without question. In time, anyone claiming something different was made to provide extraordinary proof, because the really extraordinary claims had become the norm, without every standing the test of reality.

    If not for the Climategate scandal in late 2009, the climate scientists would still have the podium to themselves. Their own hubris and deviousness and pettiness was seen in the clear light of exposure. SOME people at last began to question if the claims were actually true, or if the sneaky scientists (condemned by their own words in their emails) at the center of the controversy – who were also THE scientists at the center of the IPCC – wee scamming the world. The number of people questioning the “warmists” is growing bigger and bigger. Some day it will mean they get de-funded and other science will benefit.

    The reality is pretty much exactly that – scientists playing politics. Scientists in a field that normally got almost no funding became the recipients of great scads of money, and it corrupted them. And it made them believe that they could do no wrong, that theirs was a mission from God. A gullible public – the ones who ask the Precautionary Principle question – agrees that it is a mission from God, and that anyone who doesn’t agree must be an animal hater and a baby killer. The scientists are convinced that if they don’t save the world (which doesn’t NEED saving), then they have failed.

    Matt Ridley pints out that polar bear populations are actually much increased over past decades. Rather than being endangered, polar bears are actually proliferating. As all animals do when humans consciously stop hunting them.

    NEVER accept any numbers for animal extinctions. Humans have not directly and intentionally caused the extinction of any species (except wolves and rats) since the predatory Tasmanian tiger in the 1930s. The counted numbers of extinct species since 1800 is VERY small, in the dozens (most ones which people have never heard of).

    I can go on for days on all of this, but will stop there.

    1. Skywalker Post author

      Thanks for the energy you put into exposing the myths and untruths of AGW, Steve.

  2. Matt Terry

    The key thing, as you both said, is the money, specifically the fairness with which capital is spread and available. Richer societies quit burning down the forests and eating the bush-meat, period. Eventually they appreciate their diminishing natural heritage and organize to defend it. At least it’s been this way in the First World. It is only the hope that others will follow this example that sustains my optimism. If they don’t, if cultural factors more rapacious, (“fauxlk medicines” and status-items in Asia, or runaway populations everywhere) do continue to win out, then the only flourishing future for animals lies in our own self-destruction.
    While we few may grok the waste consequent from logical fallacies like the Precautionary Principle, here’s the rubs, bubs: It is the always-doomed human problem of weighing the unknown/uncertain future loss against the immediate gain/satiation. I speed on my Ducati, “intellectually” grasping the remote risks of ticket or spill, but preferring the sure thrill; which is more immediate and certain? No contest. This is why fear, reasonable or not, is so often used as the governor of human passions: float enough of that in-skull, and a brain will have the tool it needs to NOT risk life and limb. It may not be the only tool that works, but it is the easiest to deploy, the cheapest to make, and cuts the deepest.
    Lastly we must deal with this practical/cynical matrix: I know many regular folks of an activist mindset who argue: there’s so much money already being blown on military, gov’t, commercial excess, & personal selfishness, etc, that diverting a relative trickle of that vast river of fiscal wastage into our little mill, to do actual saving work (“free” health-care or habitat conservation) is WORTH ANY SUBTERFUGE. After all, every other “interest” does just that, for far less noble aims. In other words, nice guys finish last, and the tiger can’t wait for the world to be just. (The irony of using one tragedy of commons to fight another is too meta for me to even know how to feel about it! Perhaps the Germans already have a word for it…)
    I must say I have no real answer for their point; sticking to a rule-set no-one else plays by seems like foolishness, even moral-preening, with so much at stake. Arguing for fact-based living with risen apes, or even fallen angels, seems Sisyphean (at best! historically, they treat you more like Prometheus), but if, after securing freedom against tyranny, the best advice is to “be the change you want to see in the world,” we must simply struggle on in example and have faith our efforts will not end in ashes, that someone and another will pick up the torches when our strength at last gives out.

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