The New York Times recently published a profile of Les Knight, founder of the Voluntary Human Extinction movement, which contends that it would be best for other species and the Earth generally were human beings to go extinct. Consensually, of course. He hopes to persuade people to stop having children. “Look at what we did to the planet,” says Knight, “We’re not a good species.” The Times describes him as kind and cheerful, a fun guy who hosts nude croquet tournaments. Well then.
The Voluntary Human Extinction website explains that humans have done bad things such as hunting other species to extinction and cutting down forests to build temples. Humans selfishly exploit the rest of nature without regard for the interests of other beings. The goal of the movement is “returning earth to its natural splendor.”
But, one wonders, is “splendor” a fair description of the “natural” state of things? There is plenty of natural splendor. A mountain range piercing the clouds, turquoise surf on pristine white sand, etc. But there doesn’t seem to be much splendor in a sickly bear defecating a thirty-foot tapeworm or a python strangling a horror-stricken monkey. Which is to say, a lot of nature is terrifying. Not to mention gross.
Live long and die out, please.
Knight complains that the defenders of humanity appeal to “music and art and literature and the great things that we have done” but ignore “the bad things we’ve done.” Fair enough. But his approach — both ignoring the bad things that happen in nature and discounting human achievements — leads him similarly astray.
By any standard we choose, humanity and nature are both a mixed bag. Neither one seems to be mainly or essentially good or bad. So why value nature as a whole and condemn humanity as a whole? If we should preserve pristine waters and majestic mountains, we should also preserve the "Goldberg" Variations — and the only beings on the planet capable of appreciating them.
Anti-natalism (as Knight’s position is often called) seems then to be driven by an unreflective anti-human prejudice: the human is bad because he's human, and everything else is good because it is not. Anti-natalists — including those at Voluntary Human Extinction — suggest that this presentation is missing the point: There’s a difference between the bad things that happen in nature because of us and those which occur without our interference. When violence, suffering, death, and destruction happen naturally they’re part of a delicate balance, which respects the harmony of "earth's ecosystems," but human intervention upsets that balance. Once we’re gone, the earth will begin to heal. Mankind, in other words, is like cancer.
Yet the healthy natural balance includes mass extinctions, plagues, earthquakes, volcanoes, and sudden shifts in climate that eradicate ecosystems and species. They contend that, “the rate of extinctions today rivals the days of the dinosaurs’ demise,” but presumably their demise was itself part of the fine balance.
Strangely for one who so admires the natural world, Knight's position is remarkably unnatural. No animal could decide to forego reproduction, let alone for something as abstract as the environment. Only man can act against his every instinct for the sake of some higher end, which is what Knight himself believes he is doing. While his end is supremely misguided, it is sad that Knight can't appreciate the nobility of that.
Two Years On, Covid Origins Still a 'Mystery'
Covid-19 is a virus with a questionable origin. No “intermediate” animal host or “progenitor” animal species has been found after more than a year of looking, per the World Health Organization:
The trouble with this hypothesis is that Chinese researchers have not succeeded in finding a “direct progenitor” of this virus in any animal they’ve looked at. Liang said China had tested 50,000 animal specimens, including 1,100 bats in Hubei province, where Wuhan is located. But no luck: a matching virus still hasn’t been found.
The reverse complement sequence present in SARS-CoV-2 may occur randomly but other possibilities must be considered. Recombination in an intermediate host is an unlikely explanation. Single stranded RNA viruses such as SARS-CoV-2 utilize negative strand RNA templates in infected cells, which might lead through copy choice recombination with a negative sense SARS-CoV-2 RNA to the integration of the MSH3 negative strand, including the FCS, into the viral genome. In any case, the presence of the 19-nucleotide long RNA sequence including the FCS with 100% identity to the reverse complement of the MSH3 mRNA is highly unusual and requires further investigations.
But – perhaps not enough people died to please the WEF/Davosie Great Reset Gang intent on using Covid to winnow the pesky Middle Class continually demanding liberty, freedom and the Rule of Law – the current definition of “Far Right Extremism,” for those not paying attention.
These meddlesome deplorables gave the world Trump (gone), Boris (gone), Abe (really gone), and insist that the self-government and liberty we view as our birthright within Western civilization be prioritized over the selfish wishes of our new rising authoritarian class now owning most housing in America, the most farmland in America, as well as the Congress, the administration and most of the courts. We deplorables—believers in America, the Dream and the futures of our children—are not acceptable to the Western P\political establishment or the corporations that have captured it.
Our elites demand depopulation and Marxism and are determined to get it. The Klimate Kult is admittedly and proudly redistributing our freedom to people lacking the sense or inclination to pursue the rule of law and capitalism, with a stated intent to convert the West to communism. Communism has no middle class. For our elites to achieve their goal of communism they must rid the West of our middle class. Notice they are not vaxxing the hell out of the Third World.
Was the virus less lethal than planned, not lethal enough to cause the desired depopulation? Were those young people not at risk from Covid forced to inject an experimental vaccine thanks to the government's overreaction to a pathogen similar to a bad flu clearly has been? And were the immediately-patented “vaccines” and the never-before-used-on-humans mRNA technology simply to increase the body count both directly and through hugely decreased fertility once everyone had chosen, or was directed at the cost of their jobs or school or church, to inject? Let’s look at Sweden.
Is the evidence against this theory any weaker than any other evidence in the long-running mystery that is the attack on the West via climate, ESG, and, now a non-vaccinating “vaccine” to a virus that seems daily to be gaining more plausibility as an invention of these same elites? The West is under attack from within by its own mandarins. They won’t stop voluntarily.
Waiting for Genghis Khan
The Guardian has a cheeky post entitled "Why Genghis Khan was good for the planet":
Genghis Khan, in fact, may have been not just the greatest warrior but the greatest eco-warrior of all time, according to a study by the Carnegie Institution's Department of Global Energy. It has concluded that the 13th-century Mongol leader's bloody advance, laying waste to vast swaths of territory and wiping out entire civilisations en route, may have scrubbed 700m tonnes of carbon from the atmosphere – roughly the quantity of carbon dioxide generated in a year through global petrol consumption – by allowing previously populated and cultivated land to return to carbon-absorbing forest.
An amusing thought. But it'd have been funnier if we hadn't just sat through a year of pandemic and lockdowns which, at least early on, the green movement were positively giddy about. Remember when anti-human phrases like "The Earth is Healing Itself" trended on Twitter almost daily in the opening months of the pandemic? When we heard over and over again that, because of the pandemic, "carbon emissions are down!," "The air is cleaner!," and (my personal favorite) "The fish are returning to Venice!"? Of course, this crowing died down a bit when the mounting death toll and cratering employment numbers made it just too ghoulish.
Which is to say, the idea that environmentalists might be in favor of a modern day Mongolian warlord thinning out the human population to help us achieve Net-Zero isn't actually that ridiculous. That being so, it is worth noting that when The Guardian jokes that calling for the return of the Great Khan might "not [be] a guaranteed vote-winner for the Green party's next manifesto," they really just mean "let's not give the game away too soon."
The Great Woke Replacement Continues Apace
The year was 1990/91. I was chief economist at State Bank Victoria. Economic times were tough. Soaring oil prices had pushed economies into recession. In Australia unemployment topped 10 percent. My bank, lumbered with a failed subsidiary, was hard hit and would have gone under. The government forced a takeover. The Commonwealth Bank took us over.
Best person for each job was the announced deal. It turned out that the Commonwealth Bank invariably had the best person. I was out. This isn’t a sob story but it’s no fun to be out of work with children to support. It took me months of “networking” (aka groveling) to find a job. And my point?
I knew why I’d lost my job. It was explicable. Oil prices had risen because of the Gulf War. I had picked the wrong bank. Those who worked for this bank were never going to be preferred over those in similar positions in the dominant bank. Human nature and self-preservation were at work.
I wasn’t sacked because I didn’t toe the politically-correct party line. My future employment wasn’t compromised. I didn’t become persona non grata -- an unperson as Orwell put it.
Your existence is neither required nor desired, comrade.
This came to my mind in context of a recent report in the New York Post. The report referred to Karen Ames, a middle-aged school superintendent, threatened with termination because she wasn’t in sync with ‘critical race theory’ and, sadly, forced to accept demotion to try to preserve her pension.
A veteran Bronx superintendent once praised by Chancellor Richard Carranza for her successes in the classroom claims her career was derailed by his “equity” agenda — forcing her to take a demotion in a desperate bid to preserve her pension, according to a $150 million lawsuit.
Karen Ames, a 30-year Department of Education employee, says she was targeted by Carranza’s “Disrupt and Dismantle” campaign to oust or marginalize longtime employees because she is over 40, and Jewish.
Ames was grilled about her “ethnic background,” chastised by a colleague at a training session when she shared her grandparents’ experience during the Holocaust in Poland, and “admonished” when she declined requests at superintendents meetings to take part in the comic book movie-inspired “Wakanda Forever” salute to “black power,” she charges in the legal filing.
To be pushed out of employment, under a cloud for having the ‘wrong views’, is no small thing. When your employment is at stake you can be cowed; threatened with the destruction of your ability to provide for yourself and your family. It is an evil thing to do to someone. Hold that thought.
Peter Ridd loses his employment with James Cook University for criticising his colleagues’ conclusions on threats to the Great Barrier Reef. That’s the reef which has to be kept under continual and ever-evolving threat to keep the research dollars flowing. Truth be damned.
Margaret Court in 1963: game, set, and match.
Israel Folau and Margaret Court are harassed unmercifully. He loses his ability to play rugby in Australia for accurately paraphrasing Corinthians 6:9-11. Court, holder of a record twenty-four tennis Grand Slams, and now a pastor, is vilified at every opportunity for daring to oppose gay marriage. The Bible be damned.
Thankfully, Ridd, Folau and Court, have the standing and ability to take care of themselves and fight back. What of those not so positioned, like Ms Ames? Who will protect them from the scolds? The answer, unfortunately, is no-one. Those who might once have protected them are gone; replaced.
The great (progressive-cum-woke) replacement is all but complete across public services, universities, schools, the mainstream and social media, big tech, big banks, big corporates, union leadership and even among the upper echelons of police and defence forces. And, almost unbelievably, science is succumbing.
Bob Carter, who I reference in my previous post, bemoaned the loss of the null hypothesis when it came to global warming. The null hypothesis is standard scientific fare, or used to be. In this case it would be framed as man-made CO2 having no material effect on warming. A high bar would have to be met before rejecting that hypothesis. Instead, as Carter pointed out, the onus of proof had been reversed. Proving the alternative hypothesis to be wrong became the standard. And to confound Popper, showing how it might be falsified became passé.
Conservatives struggle to grasp the latest inanity being foisted on (western) mankind. The mistake made is to treat each instance as being isolated. They all emerge from the same hellhole.
Take Rachel Levine (Please do!). How is it possible that Joe Biden’s nomination for the position of assistant secretary of health is a man comporting himself as a woman, who is on record as advocating puberty blockers for children who express discomfort with their bodies?
How is it possible that despot Dan Andrews -- who recently locked down his whole state of Victoria here in Australia again on account of a few positive Covid tests -- can say, “each of us deserved to be safe, valued and respected for being who we are,” when referring to an Act of the Victorian Parliament which abuses children by prohibiting them from being counselled and challenged on the risks of changing their secondary sexual characteristics?
You see the problem. Whether it is confounding science by dressing up hypotheses as facts, or sowing confusion among children by teaching them that they might be in the wrong bodies; or ruining women’s sports by forcing them to compete against biological males; or preaching divisive ‘critical race theory’; cancelling people whose views are out of sync with goodthink; mindlessly tearing down statues; risibly ‘taking the knee’; or, idiotically, renaming mothers as gestational parents and breastfeeding as 'chest feeding'. No rational sense can be made of any it in isolation. Try to and risk your mental health.
And on the topic of messing with rational minds? How about locking people away for months on end, double-masking them, and destroying livelihoods in order to ward off a virus which has no serious effects on well over ninety-nine percent of those who catch it. Consult Worldometer. As at February 27: 21,915,328 active cases; serious or critical cases 91,057, or just 0.4%. Confected Covid alarmism trumps even its climate counterpart.
What’s going on? It’s not gaslighting; though it has that appearance. It’s a multi-faceted agenda, however loosely held together, which is aimed at undermining who we are. To spread division and fear, to tear down our values; to assault Christianity, the traditional family and patriotism and, of course, to reset, i.e., destroy, free-market capitalism. In other words, to bring our peerless civilisation to its knees. It’s an offshoot of Marxism but worse. Marxism has a creative end game -- albeit a delusional workers’ utopia. This has no end game like that. Its end game is destruction.
Destruction is the opposite of creation. One is evil; one good. In my view we have to start identifying evil for what it is and put aside our inclination to give the benefit of the doubt to those who, for example, want our children taught gender theory from pre-school onwards. This isn’t just a matter of having different opinions. This is a battle and, figurately speaking, we better get armed. While I suspect most of those who go along with the destructive agenda are dupes, some are pulling the strings.
It’s Not About the Environment
The admiral’s speech at the 2009 graduation of my stepson from U.S. Navy Basic Training included, “It’s not about the bed,” referring to teaching boot sailors to make their bed. The point was learning to do something because it was necessary: self-discipline. No one worried if the Boot cared about getting into an unmade bed. The bed was a tiny part of a big picture; a tactic to accomplish the strategy of creating a person disciplined to do what needed to be done by observing it. That strategy was part of a larger one: ensuring the ability to achieve a goal when confronting an opponent.
This is the self-discipline required not only of a warrior, but of every free person in a society that wants to remain free. Do we still have it? Winston Churchill once noted, “You can always count on Americans to do the right thing -- after they've tried everything else.”
The caveat is that the recognition of the usefulness of a tactic requires understanding the strategy of one’s opponent. Churchill’s meaning is that we will try multiple tactics until we hit on one that addresses the strategy of the opponent, at which point that tactic becomes the foundation of an effective strategy, and thus “the right thing.”
Vandals at the gates.
Americans so far do not grasp the strategy of the Democrats in particular, or of the bipartisan political establishment, in general. It is not an overstatement that our continuing failure to do so will be fatal to Western civilization. This is clear from their continuing, punitive fetish of "climate change."
The environment is a tactic. It is not the strategy. Blocking the Keystone pipeline (again), and joining the the Paris accords (again), are tactics within a tactic. Mask mandatess are a tactic. Open borders are a tactic. Even destroying education is a tactic.
We now have denied our entire youth of an education for an entire year. Ready for seven more? The education industry insists learning can and must be done from home. That they are wrong is not the issue. Parents – who know their kids far better than teachers – from across K-12 and college know the educators are wrong, as is demonstrated by the increasing number of child and young-adult suicides, if that’s a strong-enough indicator for you. These kids know they are falling-behind and that society doesn’t care. That is the issue.
“Educators” (remember when we called them “teachers,” and they could actually teach?) are refusing to return to the classroom. The risk for those under 70 of dying from this virus is shown in the CDC Table below, updated September 10, 2020. Basically, zero un-retired educators and zero of the student population are among cohorts at-risk of dying from this virus.
What will be the consequences of years of substandard schooling? The same as those of open borders – an uneducated labor force. An uneducated labor force is not employable in First-World jobs. Why are they pursuing this tactic?
If the next generation is to be educated in this brave new world, a parent will need to both stay home and have the capability to teach their own children. Ignore the “have the capability”; skip everything after “stay home.” The percentage of married couples with two earners is 60 percent. What do you think will be the consequence on the national housing market if we take half of the married breadwinners out of the labor force? What does the middle class do with most of its money? Buys housing. And here you thought the collapse of 2008 was bad?
But – the elite have a plan for middle class housing: Destroy it. Why are they pursuing this tactic?
Open the borders, kill the schools and you have voila! an uneducated labor force doing the bidding of the apparats at the top. And no middle class demanding to raise their children as they see fit, to earn a good living, to spend their money as they decide, and to speak their minds about what once was their own government.
It’s about destroying a middle class they see as having grown too big for its britches, wanting too much, and refusing to shut the hell up and do as we’re told. It's about millions of impoverished, uneducated, powerless workers trying to feed their families, and so doing whatever is asked by the owners of the new slave class: You and me and our kids.
This isn’t about the environment or education or housing or borders. Those are tactics.
Their strategy is destroying self-rule, human independence and all human rights gained since ancient Greece. They mean to destroy us. No other reasonable explanation exists for Paris, Open Borders, or the lockdown. No other consequences from their actions are imaginable.
The tactics to stop our opponents are not running for school boards or donating money to the red half of the Permanent Bipartisan Fusion Party happily and unconstitutionally impeaching our former president. We’ve tried those. We’ve “tried everything else.”
Are you prepared to contemplate a strategy to stop them from killing you? If not, why not?
Time to Take a Breather on Climate Politics
Not so long ago, we were all getting ready to freeze. In 1971, the Global Ecology network forecast the “continued rapid cooling of the earth; in 1975 The New York Times brooded that the earth “may be headed for another ice age,” as did Newsweek; in the March 1, 1975 issue of Science News, we were informed that “the approach of a full-blown 10,000-year ice age [was] a real possibility,” and in the July 1975 issue of National Wildlife, C.C. Wallen of the World Meteorological Organization warned that “the cooling since 1940 has been large enough and consistent enough that it will not soon be reversed.”
A few years later, we are all in danger of frying to a crisp. Over the past decades, as we know to our cost, a consensus has developed that the world is warming as a result of AGW (Anthropogenic Global Warming). There is, apparently, no room for doubt.
The trouble is that the “science” involved has been commandeered by an army of political pulpiteers whose underlying purposes are distressingly suspect. Some of the movement’s advocates, to put it bluntly, are more concerned with saving their careers than saving the planet; others are building new careers at the expense of public credulity, the perks and salaries being just too good to give up. I imagine that a great number of them are dealing from the bottom of the deck.
Thus William Gray, professor emeritus of the Atmosphere Department of Colorado State University, laments that “fellow scientists are not speaking out against something they know is wrong. But they also know that they’d never get any grants if they spoke out.” Consequently, they must insist that “the science is settled”—an unscientific statement if ever there was one.
Gray received unlikely support from culture-hero James Lovelock who, in his various books on the apotheosis of Gaia, had been an ardent proponent of the Global Warming conjecture. In a late interview, Lovelock more or less reversed course, claiming that the science is far from settled and that “our university and government scientists might fear an admission of a mistake would lead to a loss of funding.”
In adding his réclame to the debunking of climate conformity, Lovelock -- who's now 100 years old -- showed both honesty and courage, rare attributes for climate commentators. If so-called climate skeptics need nerves of steel to oppose the reigning ideology, it takes even more courage for a “Warmist” to buck the trend. Lovelock, who in The Revenge of Gaia prophesied the charring of the planet, now confides he had been “extrapolating too far.” Despite predictably hedging his bets and deferring catastrophe into the indefinite future, he avers that “we don’t know what the climate is doing” and disparages his previous work, as well as Al Gore’s An Inconvenient Truth and Tim Flannery’s The Weather Makers, as “alarmist.”
Financial Post journalist Peter Foster believes that progress toward a more sensible accord on climate may be occurring: “alarmist science, grand schemes of UN-coordinated global governance, carbon taxes, and government promoted ‘technologies of the future’—are crumbling.”
But is that really the case? Our professional elites seems not to be aware—or interested—as they continue to promote a failed ideology. National governments and ambitious politicians are still beating the climate drum, whether Justin Trudeau in Canada or Gavin Newsom in California, leading their people down the road to economic perdition.
Thankfully, authentic scientists, men of courage and integrity, have no intention of surrendering to the climate commissars of the day. Their persistence in disseminating truth may eventually pay off. Perhaps people may gradually become aware that the so-called greening of the earth is actually leading to the blackening of the earth.
Where good intentions go to die.
The toxic waste flowing from Green renewables, unreported in the mainstream media, is off the charts. Writing in Forbes, Michael Shellenberger, author of Apocalypse Never: Why Environmental Alarmism Hurts Us All, cites reputable figures showing that by 2016 there were 250,000 metric tonnes of solar panel waste to deal with, producing carcinogens washed into the soil by rainwater.
The International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA), he continues, “projected that this amount could reach 78 million metric tonnes by 2050.” In addition, costs are unsustainable. Today, “recycling costs more than the economic value of the materials recovered, which is why most solar panels end up in landfills.”
Additionally, burning e-waste materials, which include plastic components, produces fumes that are teratogenic. Wind farms create their own waste issues regarding the disposal of uncrushable, 100-to-300 feet long, used wind turbine blades, “a waste problem,” writes Christina Stella at NPR, “that runs counter to what the industry is held up to be.”
Perhaps people are also beginning to twig to the fact that, as P.F. Whalen writes in American Thinker, “the climate change cult’s agenda, is less about climate change and more about Socialism; maneuvering for the redistribution of wealth and increased government control over our lives, while disguised as well-intentioned activists striving for cleaner air.”
There’s nothing like the threat of an imminent apocalypse to advance a suspect agenda.
The scientific consensus today, as Foster believes, may be slowly shifting away from the catastrophism of the climate gurus, despite official and partisan resistance. True, the shift has been tentative. Carbon-driven global warming was an easy sell, but it will be a hard buyback—too many professional reputations are on the line.
Nonetheless, the evidence is growing to suggest, variously, that the human contribution to global warming is far less than originally assumed, that there may be no global warming, and that in any event a meteorological calamity is highly unlikely. As far back as 2008, two-thirds of the scientists attending the 33rd International Geological Congress were “hostile to, even dismissive of, the U.N.’s IPCC report” on catastrophic climate.
In addition, a coalition of 49 former NASA scientists and seven Apollo astronauts, including the deputy director of the space shuttle program, has accused the bureaucracy of both NASA and the Goddard Institute of Space Studies (GISS), with which NASA is affiliated, of diddling with the facts. They write: “We believe that [their] claims that man-made carbon dioxide is having a catastrophic impact on global climate change are not substantiated, especially when considering thousands of years of empirical data. With hundreds of well-known climate scientists and tens of thousands of other scientists publicly declaring their disbelief in the catastrophic forecasts, coming particularly from the GISS leadership, it is clear that the science is NOT settled.”
And a little child shall mislead them.
If Lovelock is right and we don’t know what the climate is doing, then it is surely time for a moratorium on oracular pronouncements foretelling climate doom and vaticinal prescriptions for drastic and irreversible action.
The sickly obsession with "green energy" has to be put out to pasture. It behooves us to proceed gingerly and with humility when engaging in practices that can alter and even destroy livelihoods, that can profoundly affect the industrial and economic infrastructures on which prosperity depends, and that may meddle harmfully with natural processes. Scientists are neither soothsayers nor sorcerer’s apprentices no matter how many degrees and laurels they have acquired.
Meanwhile, civilization is in no danger of collapsing—at least, not from natural causes; the earth is not about to become an orbital cinder; hydrocarbons are not about to be exhausted; and there is time to reflect, plan, experiment and test a diversity of sustainable energy replacements. Nuclear power plants, for example, are not only increasingly secure but create 300 times less toxic waste per unit of energy than do solar panels. Working in proportionate tandem with oil-and-gas, a safe, plentiful and affordable energy source can supply the energy needs of the future while preserving the environment as well as the job economy.
Precipitate action may benefit crony capitalists, corrupt politicians, academic imbeciles, Reset leftists and scientific sell-outs at the cost of planetary degradation and common suffering. The possibilities for creating fear and panic to further the schemes and purposes of Green profiteers are endless. “Some say the world will end in fire,/Some say in ice,” wrote Robert Frost. In the 1970s it was ice; now it’s fire.
A pandemic, a Biblical flood, erupting volcanoes, the separating of the African and Eurasian tectonic plates that may release the hell of Tartarus upon the planet, as James Rollins fantasizes in his Sigma Force thriller The Last Odyssey—all are equally plausible, which is to say, implausible scenarios. Perhaps it’s time to stop fetishizing cataclysmic theatrics, whether for lucre, reputation or political control. Moreover, the untutored enthusiasms of credulous multitudes need to be treated with unqualified skepticism as well.
In short, informed and honorable people know it’s time to take a breather on climate politics. Too little is known and computer models are notoriously unreliable, often reflecting their programmers’ biases or ineptness rather than the real world. This practice of presuming on results is called by those in the field “climate model tuning” or “parameter estimation targeting a chosen set of observations.”
According to the American Meteorological Society, “tuning methodologies may affect fundamental results of climate models, such as climate sensitivity.” There are, as the AMS goes on to admit, “consistency issues across the model and its components,” as well as “limitations of process studies metrics,” such as sampling issues, and also the fact that “the climate system itself is not observed with sufficient fidelity to fully constrain models.” The language is technical but the meaning in layman’s terms is clear: the results of current climate and environmentalism studies, given the “arcane aspect of model construction,” are untrustworthy and corrupted.
What is needed is not ad hoc adjustments to confirm a theory or ratify an antecedent conclusion, but, as the AMS advises, “a vigorous debate on model tuning and evaluation.” There is far too much uncertainty arising from the inductive procedures currently in play.
Michael Crichton was right when he urged in State of Fear that we need “more people working in the field, in the actual environment, and fewer people behind computer screens.” No matter how sophisticated the regressive correlations and projective parameters used in computer simulations may be, there can be no substitute for concrete empirical work. Ultimately, we should agree, at the very least, that a large amount of comprehensive research still needs to be done before the science is sufficiently stabilized to yield results that are not perennially contestable.
The old Latin maxim applies: In dubio non agitur: when in doubt, don’t act. Or at any rate, act circumspectly and with gradually accumulated knowledge rather than with the doctorings of desire, the existence of prior convictions, or a raft of maniacal assumptions.
Whatever Happened to Puritan Wine?
Writing back in February, Christopher Horner had a great line which pops back into my head every now and again:
[C]limate changes – it always has, it always will. Of course, saying “climate changes” makes one a “climate change denier.” Go figure.
I was reminded of his observation recently, while reading David Hackett Fischer's classic historical study, Albion's Seed: Four British Folkways in America. The book itself argues that America's complex culture can be understood, in large part, by looking at the waves of English-speaking settlers who came to the New World between 1629 and 1775, with each wave bringing men and women from a particular region of England to a particular region in America, and with them the peculiar habits and mores (and accents) of their points of origin.
In the first section of the book, concerning the emigration of East Anglians to Massachusetts in the early 1600s, Hackett Fischer describes the initial, and fairly grim, encounter with the New World of those Puritans who had crossed over on the advance ships of the Winthrop Fleet, as documented in their journals:
Their first sight of America was not encouraging. In the month of June 1629, when England was all in bloom, these weary travelers reached the Grand Bank of Newfoundland. Suddenly the wind turned bitter cold and they passed an enormous iceberg hard aground in forty fathoms of frigid water, with the green Atlantic surf roaring against it. It seemed to be "a mountain of ice, shining as white as snow, like to a great rock or cliff," towering above their little ships. In great fear they sailed onward through a foggy night, while drift ice scraped dangerously against fragile hulls and the ships' drums beat mournfully in the darkness.
Dress warm, Pilgrims!
As they traveled further south towards Massachusetts Bay, things became more pleasant, but Hackett Fischer spends some time meditating on the unusual climate of the land the Puritans found themselves in, which proved surprisingly amenable to the foundation of their "Calvinist utopia."
The first and most important environmental fact about New England is that it was cold -- much colder in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries than today. The Puritans arrived in a period of the earth's history which climatologists call the "little ice age." Ocean temperatures off the coast of New England were three degrees centigrade colder in the eighteenth century than the mid-twentieth. In the coldest years of the seventeenth century, the water temperature off New England approached that near southern Labrador today. The Puritans complained of "piercing cold," and salt rivers frozen solid through the winter. One wrote that many lost the use of fingers and feet, and "some have had their overgrown beards so frozen together that they could not get their strong-water bottles into their mouths."
It's worth noting that Hackett Fischer doesn't say a single word about the industrial revolution or any other purported horseman of anthropogenic climate change. Most historians would include a virtue signalling nod in this direction today, but Albion's Seed was written in 1989, just before the current climate narrative had hardened into gospel. He simply states the widely shared interpretation of climatological data of the time.
Welcome to the Bay State: brrrr.
That interpretation was, essentially, that fairly dramatic worldwide climatic fluctuation is a common feature of both the historical and scientific records, with the Roman and Medieval warming periods providing a background to the expansion of the Roman Empire, the far-flung voyages of the Vikings, and the building of the great cathedrals. (There is also agricultural evidence for this warming, memorably mentioned by Mark Steyn, who pointed out that in the Middle Ages, there were vineyards "in places where one would certainly not dare to drink any local wine now," such as northern and southeastern England).
And then, round about 1300, the world began to cool, with the aforementioned Little Ice Age as the result. (Though even this is an overly-neat presentation of the data, as we know that there was a dramatic cold spell in the 900s A.D., and tree-ring records seem to indicate that some of the hottest years in the history of the Mediterranean occurred during the Little Ice Age).
Temperatures began to rebound in the mid-19th century, though they haven't done so in anything like a straight line, as the popular presentation seems to suggest. In 1974, Time Magazinefamously warned us all about what was then "three decades" of global cooling, which, it was speculated, could be "the harbinger of another ice age." More recently, beginning in the late 1990s, temperatures have been more or less flat, which climatologists have taken to calling the "pause" in global warming (though one wonders if this "pause" is the basis for their terminological shift to the more accurate, if less meaningful, "climate change"). All of which is to say, there have been ups and downs, as well as plateaus.
Of course, from the perspective of the experts invested in climate change, these fluctuations had to be made to disappear. As John Robson put it,
Climate doomsters don’t like to talk about the Little Ice Age for obvious reasons: a natural temperature drop between around 1300 and 1650 and a rebound after 1850 make it pretty plain that much of the increase in the last 150 years was, at least prima facie, natural as well. And to get rid of the LIA they also had to do in the Medieval Warm Period, along with the Roman and Minoan ones and for that matter the Holocene Climate Optimum.
The climate changes. Modern climatologists would have you believe that change is rare, that gentle cooling was the norm for at least a thousand years before humans started emitting significantly more carbon through industrial activities. But both sides of that statement -- the gentle decline and dramatic increase of temperatures -- are contradicted by both science and history.
Just ask the Puritans, who might not have been induced to leave East Anglia had it been full of the vineyards their distant ancestors had once tended there. Then again, considering the abstemious nature of their sect, had they grown up surrounded by the grape, they might never have become Puritans.
May on Venus: Portrait of a Canadian Climate Zealot
As in many other countries, climate science in Canada has become both heavily politicized and cognitively polluted. Our government, like our science community, has grown thoroughly infected with faddish assumptions about climate change, the nature of greenhouse gasses, the presumed disaster of energy extraction and delivery, and the impending fate of the planet.
Though not alone in the propagation of error and pro-forma panic, former leader of the Green Party and still parliamentary leader of a caucus of two MPs, Elizabeth May has become Canada’s most prominent doomsayer. She is not only a climate zealot but a typically aspiring political autocrat who, according to CBC News, has been accused “of consolidating her power within the party through her position as parliamentary leader, and through her husband's new position on the party's federal council.” But as her husband suggests, nothing to see here, move on.
May seems to act with a self-assurance bordering on sanctimonious disregard. She had no compunction about violating a court order against blocking access to a pipeline site, for which she was charged with criminal contempt. Equally, her kookiness seems to have no bounds. May tweeted warnings about the possible dangers of WiFi which, she alleged, might be related to the “disappearance of pollinating insects.”
Venus: surface temperature 932 Fahrenheit.
With a degree in law and studies in theology, May has a provocative knack for the lectern and the pulpit, lecturing the lost and the fallen with pontifical fervor, whether in speech or screed. Writing in Policy: Canadian Politics and Public Policy under the rubric “Climate Apocalypse Now: Venus, Anyone?” May informs us that “The alarm bells are ringing ever more loudly: We are in a climate emergency.” A brief overview of her sources and authorities will help us put her deposition in a wider, evidentiary perspective.
May relies on what she dubs “a clear and compelling warning from the world’s largest peer-reviewed science process,” the United Nations IPCC (Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change), and summons the prestige of the UN’s General Secretary Antonio Guterres, who claims that “we are running out of time” to address an imminent climate cataclysm by reducing carbon emissions.
Following Guterres, she worries about the “low-lying island states for whom failing to meet that goal is an existential threat”—a charge that has been thoroughly rumbled, although neither Guterres nor May seem to know that—or if they do, they’re not letting on. Even the pro-warmist site ResearchGate (Global and Planetary Change) admits to the contrary that “the average change in island land area has so far been positive.”
Coming in for an underwater landing at Malé.
The presumably sinking Maldives have just built four new airports and propose to build even more to accommodate the expanding tourist trade and the presumptively sinking atolls and reef islands of Tuvalu are actually growing larger. As Energy Research Institute founder and CEO Rob Bradley Jr. writes, “[The alarmist temperature and sea-level predictions] constitute yet another exaggerated Malthusian scare.” We recall the Club of Rome’s prediction of resource exhaustion, Paul Ehrlich’s population bomb and M. King Hubbert’s Peak Oil scare.
All in all, I’m not sure Guterres is the best advocate to call upon. There’s enough wind in the man to power a wind turbine all by his lonesome. Guterres, who gives the impression of believing in “climate change” with holy zeal, is a Davos stalwart, an apologist for the corrupt, China-friendly W.H.O., and a China hack to boot.
Investigative journalist Matthew Russell Lee points to “China Energy's proven bribery at the UN, and bid to buy an oil company linked to Guterres through the Gulbenkian Foundation.” Indeed, Guterres' 2016 online disclosure “omits… his listed role through 2018 in the Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation.” The arrangement is being concluded via Partex Oil and Gas, of which the Foundation holds 100 percent of the share capital. Despite his melodramatic public pronouncements, Guterres is clearly untroubled by the (ostensible) impact of oil extraction on the environment.
As for May’s beloved IPCC, it is another apocryphal gospel. In The Delinquent Teenager Who Was Mistaken for the World's Top Climate Expert, Donna Laframboise shows that the IPCC “has been recruiting 20-something graduate students” as lead authors, many of whom had not even earned their degrees and some of whom were majoring in non-climate disciplines. The IPCC relies heavily on non-peer reviewed material (so much for May’s erroneous contention regarding IPCC peer-reviewed authenticity), including newspaper items, press releases, magazine articles, unpublished graduate theses and Green activist sources. It is nothing less than a privileged lobbying organization for vested financial interests, and anyone who consults its findings for fiscal or ideological purposes is either venal or ignorant.
Elizabeth May is a member in high standing of this troupe of contemporary climate fanatics. But she has good company in our deeply uneducated prime minister Justin Trudeau and our new finance minister, the incompetent Chrystia Freeland, who argues that “the restart of our economy has to be green”—no surprise from the political maladroit and “social justice” evangelist who bungled our NAFTA negotiations with the U.S.
Many of the major figures in the Conservative Party are also Green missionaries. They may be her competitors but they are also Elizabeth’s children, all playing the dangerous game of climate politics. As Charles Rotter writes introducing the new documentary film Global Warning, “Canada is fast becoming the leading global example for what can happen when climate politics meet traditional energy industry. It has the third largest known reserves of oil and gas on the planet and could provide affordable, reliable energy to many parts of the world… It is a country living a potentially tragic story of climate politics.”
May is far from finished in her climate scaremongering. She next informs us, parroting a host of predictions, that 2020 “is on track to be the hottest year on record.” The hottest year on record was, it appears, 1934—although the inevitable margin of error renders such predictions suspect.
May is also, as expected, a big fan of wind farms, urging the country to “accelerate the rapid deployment of wind turbines.” She would be better advised to consult the Members of the Ohio General Assembly, who have thoroughly exploded the wind turbine scam. After having reviewed the Icebreaker wind turbine project, placed before the Ohio Power Sitting Board, with a view to its costs, massive job losses and multiple negative environmental effects, they affirm that they “do not want this project to move forward in any form.” To mention some of their concerns: The leakage of industrial lubricants from the 404 gallons per gearbox, the tendency to catch fire, the absence of full Environmental Impact Statements (EIS) (which neither government nor industry is keen to furnish), and the inability to provide permanent jobs.
May’s glib deceptions, appeal to authority, and cynical indifference to indisputable facts is scrupulously anatomized in an email exchange with a knowledgeable opponent on the health problems associated with turbines, including sleep disturbance, depression, anxiety, exhaustion and various forms of “sick building.” May, of course, does not live in the vicinity of a wind farm and need not worry about this Aeolic species of neurological radiation.
In her conclusion, May insists that “We cannot cave into [sic] Alberta and the oil sands” but must instead follow “the brilliant lead of TransAlta’s new solar investments using Tesla batteries. We have a sustainable future within our grasp.” Here May’s ignorance is truly staggering. As The Manhattan Institute’s senior fellow Mark Mills enlightens us, “the annual output of Tesla’s Gigafactory, the world’s largest battery factory, could store three minutes’ worth of annual U.S. electricity demand. It would require 1,000 years of production to make enough batteries for two days’ worth of U.S. electricity demand. Meanwhile, 50–100 pounds of materials are mined, moved, and processed for every pound of battery produced.” The ground contamination is off the charts.
Nonetheless, we are apprised that CO2 must be dramatically reduced before Armageddon strikes. Perhaps this is not such a great idea. In Oh, Oh, Canada, William Gairdner, basing his estimates on the scientific research conducted by the Fraser Institute’s 1997 publication Global Warming: The Science and the Politics, reminds us that CO2 levels during the Ordovician Age of 440 million years ago were ten times higher than they are at present. And that the Ordovician happened to coincide with an ice age.Princeton physicist William Happer also highlights the fact that “Life on earth flourished for hundreds of million years at much higher CO2 levels than we see today.” CO2, he writes,“will be a major benefit to the Earth.” Something to ponder.
A perfect example of this strategy is May’s rhetorical question, “Venus anyone?” The surface temperature of Venus is more than 900 degrees Fahrenheit; on Earth it is approximately 58 degrees. The atmospheric mantle of Venus consists of approximately 97 percent carbon dioxide, Earth’s approximately 0.4 percent, lower by a factor of around 245.
But then, who knows what may happen in another trillion years or so. Elizabeth May and her ideological cronies might well be vindicated.
'Climate Change' Hysterics Seeing the Lights
One by one, prominent members of the Doomsday Cult of Climate Annihilation are beginning to defect to the side of reason and rationality. First came filmmaker Michael Moore and his heretical movie, Planet of the Humans, which castigated the "environmental movement" for selling out to corporate America. Next up was Michael Shellenberger, whose new book, Apocalypse Never: Why Environmental Alarmism Hurts Us All, is currently setting the kat among the klimate konformist pigeons by daring to argue that -- hold on to your Greta baseball caps! -- in fact, we're not all going to die and that there is a sane alternative to Thunbergianism. Among his findings:
Humans are not causing a "sixth mass extinction."
Climate change is not making natural disasters worse.
The build-up of wood fuel and more houses near forests, not climate change, explain why there are more, and more dangerous, fires in Australia and California.
Carbon emissions are declining in most rich nations and have been declining in Britain, Germany, and France since the mid-1970s.
I know that the above facts will sound like “climate denialism” to many people. But that just shows the power of climate alarmism. In reality, the above facts come from the best-available scientific studies, including those conducted by or accepted by the IPCC, the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) and other leading scientific bodies.
Shellenberger made these points in a piece he wrote the other day for Forbes... which of course yanked it from its website within hours, thus proving Moore's point about corporate hijacking of climate alarmism. So he reposted it on the Australian-based website, Quillette; have a look for yourself:
On behalf of environmentalists everywhere, I would like to formally apologize for the climate scare we created over the last 30 years. Climate change is happening. It’s just not the end of the world. It’s not even our most serious environmental problem.
In the final three chapters of Apocalypse Never I expose the financial, political, and ideological motivations. Environmental groups have accepted hundreds of millions of dollars from fossil fuel interests. Groups motivated by anti-humanist beliefs forced the World Bank to stop trying to end poverty and instead make poverty “sustainable.” And status anxiety, depression, and hostility to modern civilization are behind much of the alarmism.
Shellenberger calls out the impractical Ludditism of the "Green Movement" Neanderthals, and offers policy recommendation that will turn the Greenies purple with rage, including a defense of clean nuclear energy:
Factories and modern farming are the keys to human liberation and environmental progress.
The most important thing for saving the environment is producing more food, particularly meat, on less land.
The most important thing for reducing air pollution and carbon emissions is moving from wood to coal to petroleum to natural gas to uranium.
Vegetarianism reduces one’s emissions by less than 4 percent.
Once you realize just how badly misinformed we have been, often by people with plainly unsavory or unhealthy motivations, it is hard not to feel duped.
Clean energy or Green energy? Your choice.
Well, as Barnum said, there's a sucker born every minute, including some very famous ones, among them chimp conservationist Jane Goodall, 86, who's moved on from general monkeyshines to weighty issue of climate, diet, the coronavirus and -- of course -- Why Everything Now Must Change:
With a background in primatology, Jane Goodall became well known in the 1960s through films about her work studying chimpanzees in Tanzania. She famously gave the animals human names. Her discovery that chimps in Tanzania and elsewhere were threatened by habitat destruction due to human activity informed her view about the interdependency of the natural world. She founded the Jane Goodall Institute in 1977, and it's now a leading voice for nature conservation.
Dr Goodall’s analysis of COVID-19 stays true to her beliefs. Speaking at an online event held by the group Compassion in World Farming, Goodall said our global food production system is in need of urgent reform. “Our disrespect for wild animals and our disrespect for farmed animals has created this situation where disease can spill over to infect human beings. We have come to a turning point in our relationship with the natural world.”
Talk about hostility to modern civilization: here we are: after more than half a century of the relentless battering of Western civilization by the likes of the Frankfurt School and their bastard children in academe, there are suckers aplenty in the West, who will go to their graves convinced that everything modern man has done to improve his life is wrong and bad, and that a prelapsarian state of nature is the way forward. Such is the suicide cult of Leftism as articulated by Rousseau and then passed down by Marx and Marcuse.
And yet, some common sense is beginning to reassert itself. In addition to Shellenberger, the Danish author and climate-hysteria skeptic, Bjorn Lomborg, the "skeptical environmentalist," has a new book out as well, False Alarm: How Climate Change Panic Costs Us Trillions, Hurts the Poor, and Fails to Fix the Planet. As Richard Trzupek, an environmental consultant and analyst at the Heartland Institute, notes in his review:
Lomborg addresses his core mission statement early on: “[W]e’re scaring kids and adults witless, which is not just factually wrong but morally reprehensible. If we don’t say stop, the current, false climate alarm, despite its good intentions, is likely to leave the world much worse off than it could be.”
Everyone knows the meme: “Catastrophic global warming is real and it’s manmade.” It’s a simple statement of the perceived problem, one that would surely earn an “A” in Marketing 101. Whatever else it is, that simple statement is not science. The issue of climate change cannot be explained by any one statement, but must be addressed by answering a series of questions. This is what Lomborg bravely attempts to do in “False Alarm.”
And now along comes a lady with the felecitious sobriquet of Zion Lights, a spokewoman for Britain's lunatic Extinction Rebellion movement. When last seen, she was being memorably eviscerated by the BBC's Andrew Neil in October:
Extinction Rebellion's spokeswoman has quit the protest group to become a nuclear power campaigner. Zion Lights, 36, has left the climate change cause, which brought London to a standstill last year, to join pro-nuke outfit Environmental Progress. The former XR communications head said she had felt ‘duped’ after being surrounded by anti-nuclear campaigners until she read more into the radioactive fuel.
Mother-of-two Zion said: ‘The facts didn't really change, but once I understood them I did change my mind.’ The switch took non-campaigners by surprise given her new role seems entirely at odds with her old position. Zion, who was born in the West Midlands and given her unusual name as a baby, said: ‘I have a long history of campaigning on environmental issues, most recently as a spokesperson for Extinction Rebellion UK.
‘Surrounded by anti-nuclear activists, I had allowed fear of radiation, nuclear waste and weapons of mass destruction to creep into my subconscious. I realised I had been duped into anti-science sentiment all this time. Now, I have quit the organisation to take up a position as a campaigner for nuclear power.’
It's easy to laugh, but pay attention to the statement above: I had allowed fear... to creep into my subconscious. Fear is a hallmark of all zealous crackpotism, along with an urgent insistence that the world change right now in order to accommodate what is manifestly a form of mental illness akin to aliens sending you messages through the fillings in your teeth.
The environmentalist Left needs more people like Moore, Shellenberger, and Lights, struggling out the darkness of their former irrational anxieties and obsessions and joining the community of the sensible, and fewer deluded children like poor exploited Greta, shamelessly manipulated by the "movement" for malicious ends.
After all, who doesn't want the best for Mother Earth? There are many paths to conservation and civilization. We need not let fear prevent us from seeing the solution, and the light.
A Drowned World? Bilge!
Bjorn Lomborg has an article in the Wall Street Journal entitled "Examining the Latest False Alarm on Climate," which contains a helpful illustration of the way the media uses studies to whip up anxiety around one of their pet projects.
In the piece, he discusses a spate of recent startling headlines all of which suggest that, in his words, "Rising sea levels from climate change could flood 187 million people out of their homes." This claim has its origin in a paper published all the way back in 2011, and when you actually read the paper, you see that it needed to make some pretty questionable assumptions in order to arrive at that figure. As Lomborg explains, the paper found that "187 million could be forced to move in the unlikely event that, in the next 80 years, no one does anything to adapt to dramatic rises in sea level."
In other words, in order for their projection to make sense, the paper's authors had to take worst-case climate scenarios (which are already questionable) projected out over a century and then disregard what we know about actual human behavior. If sea-levels rise as much as these authors are claiming (which is, once again, not certain), leading to significant coastal flooding, one hundred eighty-seven million people -- not to mention their governments -- aren't just going to sit there until they're neck-deep in water. What would actually happen, says Lomborg, is we would deal with those problems as they arise.
We have more know-how and technology than ever to build dikes, surge barriers and dams, expand beaches and construct dunes, make ecosystem-based barriers like mangrove buffers, improve building codes and construction techniques, and use land planning and hazard mapping to minimize flooding.
The one hundred eighty-seven million displaced people headline, then, is a canard, based on dubiously applied data, whose object it is to frighten you into signing onto a sprawling environmentalist program. While flooding will likely be a serious problem over the next 80 years, as it is in many parts of the world today, targeted policies and spending could go a long way towards reducing their human and financial costs.
They're also more likely to be successful than the beef-and-airplane bans our mainstream media overlords have in mind.