At the heart of the global warming hysteria is the abuse of valid scientific data in the service of raising fears of terrible events and apocalyptic outcomes to exploit.
Most scientists could agree that there is such a thing as global warming, or at least, man-made climate change (since global warming is but a tip of the iceberg for the real, more dangerous issues of man-influenced climate change, from massive deforestation to strip mining), but in nearly every country, there is fierce debate over the scope and scale of the problem and how, or what, exactly, humanity can respond.
Yet that aspect of this debate will not happen at Bali this week. Dissent is stifled by the United Nations, as in their treatment of the International Climate Science Coalition. What will be presented there will be similar to what has been portrayed in propaganda efforts like Al Gore’s “An Inconvenient Truth” as in, global warming as nothing short of the apocalypse; one that can incredibly be halted if we sacrifice our way of life now and follow a “Grand Plan” of sorts like a Kyoto II, Kyoto III, etc. etc.
Like all big plans, such efforts would be doomed to failure by sheer inertia, not to mention political and cultural infighting made worse by economic recessions and contractions brought on by ever harsher regulations on a society’s way of life in the modern petrol based economies of the world. Not to mention that there is considerable doubt that global warming is really the main harbinger of the apocalypse, others would and could convincingly argue the era of the “super-empowered individual”, the ongoing threat of nuclear conflict, a super-bug as nature’s final wrath as more likely causes. Perhaps even an asteroid or alien invasion?
The point here is that the debate outside of Bali and the global mass media’s hysterical, irresponsible coverage is not at all finished. The facts are out there, but are skillfully deployed by different factions for different reasons. Canada and the US may be the greatest polluters today, but there is little doubt that China and India will assume that nefarious status in another few years, and will they give a damn enough to change their entire societies from the bottom up to appease the global cause celeb-re of the moment?
More importantly, all this global warming hysteria nonsense peddled and narrow focus on factors like CO2 emissions avoids the real issue and opportunity at hand: mankind has been a terrible tenant of this planet for the past 60 years, and yet now there is nearly a critical mass at hand to change these wasteful, destructive practices from Beijing to Chicago and Nairobi.
If we focus now on utilizing hundreds of billions of dollars on the overstated issue of global warming, we will miss the chance to utilize a fraction of that money (at the least!) to change environmental practices in China, India, Brazil and elsewhere, which will affect our communities and societies far sooner and perhaps more seriously than global warming could.
(Not to mention that in America itself, our house is in terrible order. Katrina was not terrible because of global warming (indeed, it was nowhere near a super storm that Gore and others make it out to be) but due to unenforced building codes, poor levee design and employment, damnable disaster response and unfettered, foolish development. This problem is replicated nationwide, from obscene building in known flood plains in the Midwest to literally the entire coastline of Florida. )
Do we spend a lot doing a little for global warming or a little doing a lot for the Earth and all of its inhabitants? This is the choice we have. Talk of this generation’s mission being something akin to saving the world from global warming is absolute bunk. A more realistic, effective and moral mission would be of a mission to offer people choices that improve their lives AND the environment; from an end to the use of firewood for cooking and heating in Africa (through a mix of solar ovens, natural charge cooking pans and innovative energy sources from wind power to biomass) to the kind of massive private-public sector R&D effort worldwide that could offer a viable, cheaper and more ethical form of transportation than the internal combustion engine powered car that 1.5 billion to 3 billion people will want to own and drive in the coming years.
Indeed, by spending more than a fraction of what we are urged to spend to combat and/or avoid the worst possible (and most unlikely, even by the IPCC’s calculations) effects of global warming, we could approach the achievement of something remarkable; a near real-time, global environmental accountability capability. Specially designed satellites deployed with (empowered and armed by the law) on the ground trackers and observers in the Amazon could identify illegal loggers and poachers for immediate arrest. UUV’s and UAV’s could patrol the world’s waterways in tandem with local coast guards and navies to prevent overfishing and illegal dumping. Local youth could work after school as “green teams” and innovate a variety of buildings and structures in their towns and cities, as well as plant trees, shrubs and perform natural infrastructure development to restore and protect precious topsoil and even stem creeping desertification. Sensors could keep a running tab on the use and/or abuse of water tables by communities, as well as monitor for pollutants in local water sources. Mini cameras placed in nature preserves could identify and/or alert authorities of the presence of poachers. And so on and so forth, with the possibilities being nearly endless.
Such technologies would be out of reach of many countries facing the consequences of less GDP, less infrastructure development, less money for education and less money for security, all stemming from ever harsher “Kyoto-esque” accords that would be urged upon all because the original Utopian results cannot be reached in time (or ever).
Do we believe the worst of Al Gore and co.’s propaganda about a single issue or do we accept that we must do more by diversifying and improving our response to our admittedly poor stewardship of the environment to the whole variety of environmental challenges we individually (as nations and regions) and collectively face?
A sideshow of epic distortions is set to begin this week in Bali, Indonesia.
While Al Gore and a wide array of foreign leaders promote the most extreme and unlikely of global warming outcomes, the facts are ignored, the narrative is fixed and the hysteria raised to a level that aspiring and active terrorists must envy.
Its high past time for the real threat of global warming to be made clear:
- That the most virulent form of anti-Americanism will in the future not come from mistaken policies related to the war on terror or the pursuit of national security but the perceived American obstruction of efforts to halt global warming.
- That most of the proposed responses to address global warming range from the mistaken and harmful to the delusional and suicidal. Nothing less than an economic surrender to the rest of the world (and subsequent crash of the global economy) seems to be on the minds of Al Gore and other proponents of the most extreme and unlikely possibilities of global warming.
- That the global (and national) media is flaying America on the issue; reporting misconstrued junk science as fact and helping to shape every bad weather event into a part of the apocalyptic global warming narrative. The exploitation of fear for profit in modern media is nowhere more evident than in its patently false coverage of the global warming issue.
- That a mistaken focus on the wrong issue (CO2 emission reduction vs. innovation and responsible environmental stewardship) will further undermine and discredit future American efforts to invest in solutions for not only environmental issues but health, security and education matters by trapping already scant resources for useless endeavors.
How does the US respond to this global effort? The facts in the debate have been for the next year or so effectively skewed, the forces of conservative skepticism and restraint discredited and drowned out and the hysteria has infected much of the global population, especially in the West.
The consequences for surrendering on the issue to mass hysteria are enormous.
Economically, a weaker America lacking the kind of capital necessary to invest in the kind of innovation that will be necessary to transition fully into a “Green” economy.
Politically, an America even more unable to influence events and trends, leaving behind friends and enabling enemies through its misplaced priorities (which is more important? The questionable extremities of global warming theory or the decaying social and political order in Latin America, Africa and Asia?).
Given the already unhealthy US debt problems, could one honestly believe that America accepting a Kyoto II plan will adequately pressure China and India (among others) to risk their ongoing leap into peace and prosperity for the sake of international approval?
Yet not “surrendering” will provoke the kind of visceral reaction from abroad (and within) that could dwarf what America has seen resulting from its war on terror mistakes.
The narrative of “America the global warming enabler/denier” is a powerful one that has already gained effective ground in Europe and Asia, even as these regions fail to move on their own or in concert towards adequate and responsible policies. Hypocrisy is in the air as always, yet confronting that hypocrisy alone (as the Bush Administration has been unable to even begin to) is not the solution.
To save itself from a serious self-inflicted wound, the US must offer a counter-narrative that is appealing to the nations who stand to be the most interested in realistic and effective environmental stewardship; China, India, Brazil, South Africa, Indonesia (among others, also known as the “New Core”, “Second World”, “G-21″, etc.)
Such a counter-narrative would focus on:
- the promotion of innovation as the foremost response to the dilemma of nearly 4 billion people trying to live like the West in the coming decades. Nations must invest in their people, especially their business communities, students and young entrepreneurs. Such a policy would breed uniquely Chinese solutions to Chinese problems, and so on and so forth, given that there is a massive degree of complex environmental problems on the local and regional levels stemming from high growth and outdated technology (i.e. the internal combustion engine and non-green buildings).
- the empowerment of the community to address environmental problems, given the extreme difficulty of, for example, a lone Indian student changing the bad habits of a community or even a nation. Progress will occur most effectively on a community level from the ground up, with (again) local solutions to local problems adding pressure and momentum to regional solutions to regional problems and then on up the governance and geographic scale.
- the harsh punishment of lawbreakers, especially wanton polluters and environmental defilers, utilizing methods as diverse as the death penalty to community exile. Nations should cooperate to identify and if necessary apprehend such individuals and groups on behalf of other nations. The days of European fishing companies wiping out the fish stocks of coastal African countries should be over, as should the era of American waste being illegally dumped in Mexican territory.
- the development and strengthening of mechanisms to facilitate regional cooperation among nations. Example: Japan and South Korea have a problem with Chinese pollutants on their shores and in their air. Tart sniping at diplomatic meetings and in the media does little to address the problem, so some sort of negotiation and moderation must be created and harnessed to help address the problem.
- deepening and expanding the involvement of the international community for the “worst of the worst” ongoing environmental disasters, from the dreadful state of many Chinese rivers to rampant deforestation in Bangladesh. Natural disasters are widely exacerbated by such conditions, not the onset of global warming.
More to come this week on the issue, including:
“Global Warming Apocalypse vs. Real-Time Environmental Accountability?”
“Climate Conflicts And The Nature Of Evil?”
“Hysteria As Policy”
“Man Vs. God For The Sake Of Mother Earth (Gaia)”