I Predict

That anthropogenic global warming will disappear as a relevant idea by 2020. Why? Because it was always a dumb idea that suited some of the policy folks and the need for it, at least in the United States, has disappeared.

I have only just realized that it never needed to make sense as a scientific idea.  It was always a political trick.  Once the need for the idea disappears the idea goes with it.

It was political early on.  For example, former Senator Timothy Wirth, later U.S undersecretary of state for global issues under Clinton, said, “We have to ride the global warming issue. Even if the theory of global warming is wrong, we will be doing the right thing in terms of economic policy and environmental policy.”

Ideas are contextual. To see this one clearly, the idea must be time adjusted to the late ’80’s – early ’90’s. The big concerns then in the US were the instability of middle east oil suppliers and the every expanding trade payments deficit.

Clearly reducing oil consumption in the US, was a priority. How to get people to do it?

If you want to get people’s attention, you need a compelling story. One of the more compelling stories is “Stop it or you will all die!” Thus, “Stop putting carbon dioxide into the atmosphere” became the mantra.  Religious prohibitions have little weight any more, so they needed a scientific one.

The outcome was, as Peter Moore, co-founder of Green Peace, said,

“A powerful convergence of interests. Scientists seeking grant money, media seeking headlines, universities seeking huge grants from major institutions, foundations, environmental groups, politicians wanting to make it look like they are saving future generations. And all of these people have converged on this issue.”

Jump ahead 20 years. Does the US care much about middle east oil production and balance of payments? Not so much. Fracking has created a huge capability to produce natural gas. Today, the US is a net exporter of gasoline.

Do they still need the “right thing in terms of economic policy and environmental policy.” idea?

They do not.

To continue on this path invites ridicule as the science has been found out to be wrong, and the scientists have turned out to be either charlatans or dupes. There is, of course, no explaining the media.

Politicians do not like ridicule, at least not received ridicule, so they will stop promoting the idea and the others will follow.

There was a cost of course. In the United States alone, more than $200 billion according to the US General Accounting Office. That is a sunk cost so cannot be considered in future decisions. Besides there may have been some interesting material learned.

Will there be consequences for the purveyors of this hoax? Probably not.

Should there be? Again probably not.

Problems like this hoax are caused by many things, not the least of which is the citizens trusting people who have an agenda. You make a mistake, you pay the price. The idea was clearly silly if you thought it through.  Critical thinking is a valuable acquired skill.

Critical thinking would have led to questions that might have saved the quarter trillion or so that it cost: :

  1. How come the glaciers melted after the last ice age? Probably wasn’t aboriginal people with campfires putting carbon dioxide into the air. If something other than carbon dioxide causes warming what is it and how do you know it is not the cause now?
  2. Good theories explain all the observations. How come you must restrict the data set to only some of the observations?
  3. How did you normalize your temperature statistics and are there other ways you could have chosen to do so? Why did you choose this method?  What is the error rate?
  4. The earth is more than 4 billion years old. Why does a 200 year data set become the most important?  Many years ago, the CO2 content was more than 100 times higher.  How did you pick your standard?
  5. Why did the early purveyors of the idea link it to global “social justice?” And later, a person that I know and whom I know to have the best of intentions. “No matter if the science of global warming is all phony…climate change [provides] the greatest opportunity to bring about justice and equality in the world.” Christine Stewart, Canadian Minister of the Environment

We have seen and heard the last of anthropogenic global warming as rational thought. Now we just wait for the echoes to die down.

Don Shaughnessy is a retired partner in an international accounting firm and is presently with The Protectors Group, a large personal insurance, employee benefits and investment agency in Peterborough Ontario. don.s@protectorsgroup.com

Follow on Twitter @DonShaughnessy

3 Comments on “I Predict

  1. Ah, my sage friend, I fear your optimism may be misplaced. Global warming requires only a flacid, minimally-informed populace to produce the two life-forces of politics–money and power. The painful truth involves the admission that political power and money have no effect on the global climate, and would be best vested in individual responsibility, which to most people seems a little scary, and needlessly burdensome.

    At this point a majority of the voting public get their information from a complicit press (think of their poster boy, Mike Duffy.) They have already accepted the press’s false premise, that decreased political power would bring personal loss to them. The political hacks who thrive on power and money have no interest in promoting any mindset which would threaten their own well-being; The press, which has long since morphed into a PR body for the status quo, have no appetite for digging into issues which would threaten their own stock-in-trade, which is access to the inner circles of political power. Think of the now popular phrases, “climate deniers” and “settled science.”

    Sadly, PT Barnam was right when he said, “no one ever got broke by underestimating the intelligence of the American people.”

    I compare the struggle to correct the global warming issue to the struggle of William Wilberforce to end slavery in the British Empire. Despite a lifetime of effort to change hearts and minds with well-documented facts, when he finally did succeed, it was by ignoring the facts, and resorting to trickery.

    Best wishes, Brian

    • Well said but I hope you are wrong. I will concede that facts change nothing and that the press have become cheerleaders. I am not so sure the people will stay stupid as the government wastes a couple of generations worth of wealth

  2. Pingback: The Bait In The Trap | moneyFYI

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