Catastrophism? Bah!

24 01 2005

I'm sure many people will be scared to death reading this:


Climate change: report warns point of no return may be reached in 10 years, leading to droughts, agricultural failure and water shortages. […]


The countdown to climate-change catastrophe is spelt out by a task force of senior politicians, business leaders and academics from around the world – and it is remarkably brief. In as little as 10 years, or even less, their report indicates, the point of no return with global warming may have been reached. […]


“There is an ecological timebomb ticking away,” said Stephen Byers, the former transport secretary, who co-chaired the task force that produced the report with the US Republican senator Olympia Snowe. It was assembled by the Institute for Public Policy Research in the UK, the Centre for American Progress in the US, and The Australia Institute.The group's chief scientific adviser is Dr Rakendra Pachauri, chairman of the UN's Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.

Well, bullshit! Since when do “politicians, business leaders” have any clue regarding climate change? As for “academics”, sorry but a UN bureaucrat, even if he/she has a Ph.D, does not qualify as a reliable source in my book.

Now, I'm not saying we shouldn't be worried about global warming, but before you start making plans for a new air conditioner, some words of wisdom are in order:


We must daily decide whether the threats we face are real, whether the solutions we are offered will do any good, whether the problems we're told exist are in fact real problems, or non-problems. […]


And so it is, sadly, with environmentalism. Increasingly it seems facts aren't necessary, because the tenets of environmentalism are all about belief. It's about whether you are going to be a sinner, or saved. Whether you are going to be one of the people on the side of salvation, or on the side of doom. Whether you are going to be one of us, or one of them. […]


I can tell you that the evidence for global warming is far weaker than its proponents would ever admit. I can tell you the percentage the US land area that is taken by urbanization, including cities and roads, is 5%. I can tell you that the Sahara desert is shrinking, and the total ice of Antarctica is increasing. I can tell you that a blue-ribbon panel in Science magazine concluded that there is no known technology that will enable us to halt the rise of carbon dioxide in the 21st century. Not wind, not solar, not even nuclear. The panel concluded a totally new technology-like nuclear fusion-was necessary, otherwise nothing could be done and in the meantime all efforts would be a waste of time. They said that when the UN IPCC reports stated alternative technologies existed that could control greenhouse gases, the UN was wrong. [Emphasis mine]

See? The UN was wrong. And it's not just the UN, but most self-appointed futurologists are wrong, most of the time.

Now, I'm not saying that we should be totally oblivious and irrespectful of the environment. After all, I wouldn't shit on my carpet. What I'm saying, together with Crichton, is that public policy decisions shouldn't be based on unfounded, dogmatic catastrophism.

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