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Turning Cold on Warming

DOES LOSS OF FAITH IN GLOBAL WARMING
THREATEN THE ENVIRONMENTAL MOVEMENT?

Back in college, I did some writing for a community magazine called Bucks County Life.

us-steel-logoAt one point, we planned a photo spread on the U.S. Steel Fairless Works, then a massive foundry complex that had provided the impetus for the building of Levittown, Fairless Hills, and other major housing and commercial developments in northeast suburban Philadelphia.

Being an extremely low-budget operation, Bucks County Life had no staff photographer, so we requested some images from the Fairless Works’ public relations office. When I arrived at the plant to pick them up, I was surprised to find that a tour had been arranged for me.

I got to witness an impressive array of industrial processes. But perhaps the most memorable vignette of the day — one my tour guide surely hadn’t intended — was watching gallons upon gallons of pink goop pouring from the plant into the Delaware River as we viewed the facility from a motor launch on the water.

It was during approximately the same time period (the late 1960s) that the Maumee River (which empties into Lake Erie at Toledo, Ohio) would burst into flames from the accumulation of industrial effluent. Likewise, I recall reading how laundry hung out to dry in and around Pittsburgh tended to become dirtier than before it was washed. And a few years later, I would witness snow of the same pink color as that Delaware River goop while driving past what is now the EVRAZ Steel Mill in Pueblo, Colorado.

That such systemic ecological desecration is rare these days reflects more than the decline of American manufacturing (especially the steel business). Indeed, the cleanup of U.S. industry represents, to a great degree, a triumph of the Environmental Movement.

It’s been my experience — having created promotional materials for several manufacturing firms — that industrial companies have not only accommodated themselves to environmental regulation, they’ve largely embraced the ecological ethic, taking pride in their green procedures (competition for environmental awards is often quite keen).

You probably wouldn’t know all of this if your awareness of environmental issues comes mainly from the statements of activists — Al Gore and his ilk foremost among them — or if you get your news primarily through the mainstream media. From these sources you will hear that, despite years of ecological reform and billions spent promoting alternative, “clean” energy, the earth teeters on the brink of environmental doom.

Yes, yes, one still reads the occasional story about massive Superfund cleanups, or the illegal dumping of industrial waste — Love Canal comes to mind — or, in rural areas, about the misuse of agricultural chemicals. But such incidents are newsworthy precisely because that kind of laxity (or corruption) is no longer the norm.

What is more common is the extreme application of environmental laws — designating mud holes as vital wetlands, or sandbagging major building efforts to protect the habitat of obscure species. Such hyper-zealousness has tended to undermine the credibility of environmentalists, obscuring their genuinely positive accomplishments and tarring activists and serious scientists alike as tree-huggers.

My mind runs to such ecological rumination on a day when the great midwest blizzard has passed — and after the rescue of climate researchers from their ship caught in a record-setting Antarctic ice shelf.

Ruler in SnowThe theory of Global Warming has increasingly become a pop-science joke, as Al Gore and his Hollywood groupies go traipsing about the world in their private jets, leaving a carbon footprint that makes one think of China (if the Chinese have run away with our manufacturing edge, they’re paying a heavy price in health and quality of life). Whatever credibility the theory retains is sinking under the weight of the 18-inch snow I’ve measured in my Michigan backyard.

Over the past few years, proponents have taken to the dodge of talking about Climate Change rather than Global Warming. It’s less definite but still scary.

However, you can sense a decided loss of confidence (not to say panic) spreading among the climate community and its media phalanx. This was evident in recent comments by MSNBC’s Chris Hayes, who reacted strongly to charges by skeptics heard every winter that cold weather proves Global Warming is bunk. As reported by the Washington Examiner

“‘Of course, no one ever said that climate change meant it wouldn’t ever be cold,’ Hayes said defensively, calling the annual tradition [of criticism] ‘willful stupidity’ of conservatives ‘who delight being on the wrong side of history.’”

My oh my, how could anybody doubt that Global Warming is real — especially when the theory is put forth by disinterested scholars willing to risk all in the pursuit of truth?…

“The right wing had a field day, pointing and laughing at the global warming believers, who just to be clear, are only a group of scientists risking their lives for no monetary gain and little glory in order to help save the planet.”

Ah, what self-sacrifice.

As if there weren’t oodles of research bucks underwriting pro-Climate Change research — like that sad, ice-bound Antarctic team — with very little money for scientists or research organizations harboring doubts.

Never one to ignore a pressing issue (or an opportunity for self-promotion), the Rev. Al Sharpton added his own blast of hot air. According to Independent Journal Review, the activist and talk show host (also on MSNBC, incidentally), said…

“These right wingers are boiling over with denial. Just because it snows in winter doesn’t mean the planet isn’t getting warmer. Remember a UN panel said there’s a 90 percent probability that humans are the primary cause of global warming.”

IJR added a footnote to Sharpton’s statement…

“Setting aside the fact that the earth stopped warming more than 15 years ago, a report from NASA earlier this year found that the greenhouse gases Al Gore and all the other global warming hoaxers have long claimed are overheating the planet are also capable of diffusing radiation back into space as well.”

I look at Global Warming through the eyes of an ignorant layman. I don’t doubt that the climate is changing. But then, the climate is always changing. I’ve read that, in colonial times, citrus was grown as far north as Virginia. If that’s true, it raises some interesting questions about what we actually face with a warmer planet, including some possible benefits.

What I seriously doubt is that people have very much to do with climatic transformation on a global scale. For my money, the definitive statement on that topic was made by the late Dixie Lee Ray, Chairwoman of the Atomic Energy Commission during the Nixon Administration and first female governor of the State of Washington.

Dr. Ray addressed a Hillsdale College conference on environmentalism back in 1991, observing that the amount of carbon released by one major volcanic eruption dwarfs the carbon generated by all the world’s industrial activity, auto emissions, and other human sources. She spoke with a certain authority, having been Washington’s governor at the time of the great Mount St. Helens eruption.

Is the world getting hot? Is the world getting cold? Either way, what’s the cause?

There’s been a lot of talk about solar surface instability (which is to say, sun spots) as well as shifts in the Earth’s magnetic poles. I’ve also heard that it can all be put down to bovine flatulence (which is to say, farting cows).

I’m more inclined to the solar/magnetic explanation, though I can’t say I have much faith in the ability of cows to be discreet.

Then too, there are a lot of people who see Global Warming as just a veiled attack on the free market — which actually makes a lot more sense than the cow thing.

Whether or not Global Warming can stand up as a valid scientific hypothesis, it is clearly losing ground in the public mind. And maybe that’s a good thing.

Maybe scientists need to take a whole different approach to understanding and explaining the Earth’s climate processes, And soon, before the public turns cold — not just toward Global Warming, but toward all of the demonstrably worthwhile accomplishments of the Environmental Movement.

 

Examiner LogoHere’s a link to the Washington Examiner piece on Chris Hayes and his disdain for critics of Global Warming theory (complete with MSNBC video)…

http://washingtonexaminer.com/msnbcs-chris-hayes-complains-of-drudge-fueled-snow-trolling-on-global-warming/article/2541532

 

Independent Journal Review LogoIf you ain’t seen Al Sharpton in a scientist’s white lab coat, you ain’t seen nuttin’. Check out this bit of scientific silliness on his MSNBC show, Politics Nation

http://www.ijreview.com/2014/01/106415-noted-global-warming-specialist-al-sharpton-lectures-right-wing-meltdown-global-warming/

 

Cybercast News Service LogoAs we sit shivering in the Polar Vortex, Cybercast News Service’s Chris Bannister reminds us of the executive order on Climate Change issued last November in which President Obama warned…

“The impacts of climate change — including an increase in prolonged periods of excessively high temperatures, more heavy downpours, an increase in wildfires, more severe droughts, permafrost thawing, ocean acidification, and sea-level rise — are already affecting communities, natural resources, ecosystems, economies, and public health across the Nation.”

Maybe the President has spent too much time in Hawaii. It is warm there, after all, and the sea level is very high…

http://cnsnews.com/mrctv-blog/craig-bannister/executive-order-excessively-high-temperatures-already-harming-public

 


9 Comments

  1. Al says:

    Some understanding of global warming would have helped here.

    • Brian says:

      Some understanding of mob hysteria may or may not have helped you.

    • Russell says:

      Call me an optimist, I believe that no less than an outright total faith-evaporation collapse of the global warming crisis in ponzi scheme-like fashion will be the greatest thing to ever happen to the environmental movement, because it will then put the fear of God, Allah or whatever other deities into the heads of enviro-activists about having proof to back up their diatribes. By virtue of that, the larger public will be more leery of alleged environmental problems and will more readily attack problems that are in genuine need of fixing.

      Then there’s the irony of statements like what we see from commenter “Al” — the benefit from the collapse of the “global warming crisis” will be a better understanding of global warming, perhaps by he himself among many who have previously placed a blind faith in groups who felt a need to propel their agendas onward by assassinating the character of their critics rather than standing behind the merits of their science claims.

    • Al says:

      I hope our illustrious panel of experts feel better.

      • Russell says:

        Commenter “Al”‘s words here may be yet another example of far-left psychological projection. There is nothing to “feel” about science observation and the efforts surrounding the promotion of man-caused global warming. The IPCC states its conclusions, skeptic scientists dispute it in great detail, and non-experts like me expect objective news outlets to sort it out in layman’s terms. When it comes to the accusation that skeptic scientists are on the payroll of “big coal & oil,” I was told once by a different blogger to trust my gut on that, but there is literally nothing to “feel” about that either. It is either demonstratively true enough that the accusation could stand in a courtroom evidentiary hearing against withering cross examination, or it can’t.

        My expertise in the latter problem stems from my formerly preferred news outlet “not” sorting out the debate between IPCC scientists and skeptic scientists ( http://junkscience.com/2012/07/13/pbs-newshour-global-warming-coverage-ipccnoaa-scientists-18-skeptic-scientists-0/ ) for going on 18 years. In my initial pursuit of that problem, I continually ran into the fossil fuel industry corruption accusation, and when I took the time to figure out what it was about and where it came from, I ran into irreconcilable problems that any objective person can find.

        The question is whether commenter “Al” actually endorses the idea of genuine experts hashing out the differing science points, or if he endorses the idea of ignoring half the issue. For average citizens, this does not involve expertise on our parts, it involves objective critical thinking.

  2. Mike says:

    Bill, it must be having effect, Al Gore has cut relations with a lot of his groups, and so did his investment firm Kline-Perkins, which had part ownership of about 40 green companies.

  3. Ron says:

    Climate Change is today a sociopolitical phenomenon in which the climate science plays only the role of legitimization for government-created agendas — which it was from the beginnings of the IPCC.

    The IPCC was created in 1988 in the aftermath of the Villach, Austria climate conference by Reagan administration officers and scientific personnel lobbying WMO and UNCED leaders to foreclose environmental group dominance of the global warming issue that looked like it was getting out of hand in the outspoken Villach reports — which plan obviously didn’t work.

    The Reagan tactic was to organize an intergovernmental group — not nongovernmental — in which every scientist was a representative of a government and all science was ordered to produce consensus agreement and the Summary for Policymakers was ordered to be the consensus of policy-making government delegates — and the government delegates had and have veto power over the contents of the SPM.

    The Reagan tactic, according to participants I have interviewed, was intended to create deadlock, but a few canny sciento-politicians such as Bert Bolin stacked the science panelists with friends of like mind and ruthlessly rooted out dissenters so that the tactic not only failed to produce gridlock, but it also gave the scientists absolute credibility and the illusion of power.

    In fact, IPCC’s climate scientists were and are footballs being carried to the end zone by the real power players — their government keepers and owners. The majestic scientist statements of impending doom are cultivated and nurtured by government officials who realize that climate change is the silver bullet that can destroy any open society by blaming anything and everything on humans, thereby justifying government doing anything and everything to its guilty citizens.

    Such power has only been dreamed of by past conquerors. Governments have diverted much of the global economy to planning for a catastrophe so dire that no one dare object to spending billions on schemes that serve government purposes, no matter how hairbrained or imaginary, with the cachet of SCIENCE as its justification.

    Climate change is not a scientific issue and it never was. It is a political issue ruled by government officers who command armed force and tolerate no dissent. The only people truly committed to climate change science are those whose personal survival, career, prestige and adulation depend totally on their government keepers.

    Scientists gleefully slap insults at any who veer from gospel, saying “I am science, I can’t be wrong,” pretending to be superior and hoping they are. “Science says” is a slightly comic symptom of delusional hubris. Science isn’t an anthropomorphic supreme being. Scientists who say “Science says” are playing God with themselves.

    But, my scientist fellow citizens, your vote is no better than mine, and I’m not obligated to agree with you. Enjoy your exercise of free speech while you can. Your government keepers listen to many voices. When yours croaks the gospel instead of singing, and your fair complexion fades in public derision, think back on those you savaged when you thought that you had power.

    The only power climate scientists have or ever had comes from their government keepers and government guns, and today’s skeptics will be the only ones to extend the hand of compassion to you and perhaps help you find a way to make an honest living.

    May fortune be kind to you.

  4. Paul says:

    Bill,

    Your essay is superb — and beautifully reflects my own experiences and conclusions about the past and current environmental / environmentalist movement.

    There is just one thing I would question: your treatment of Love Canal and attributing that fiasco to corporate misdeeds and corruption. It was actually the Niagara SCHOOL BOARD that committed the ethical violations and caused that disaster — not Hooker Chemical Co.

    You might want to Google for a Reason magazine article from many years ago, possibly by Ron Bailey, that addressed the School Board’s role in great detail. You will be astounded, and appalled, by what the board did.

    As to Hooker, its burial of these chemicals was way beyond state of the art at the time and for a decade thereafter. And the company tried to advise and warn people of what was buried there. But the school board not only hid that information from the people who were buying lots and homes in the area, it also hired the companies that cut into the chemical depository to run water and sewer lines — thereby unleashing the toxic mess. And THEN the board members tried to get Congress to exempt them from any liability for the disaster they caused.

    • Bill Kassel says:

      Thank you, Paul, for that valuable clarification. There’s obviously more to the Love Canal story than I was aware.

      Bill

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