Till now, I have avoided more than very limited comment on the whole global-warming-carbon emissions controversy. But now that colossal spending and regulating programs impend on these issues, I must say that the Al Gore-David Suzuki conventional-wisdom hysteria is an insane scam.
The basic relevant facts are that carbon emissions are not the principal factor in global warming, and despite dire contrary forecasts and ever-increasing carbon-emissions in the world -- especially as the economies of China and India, representing 40% of the world's population, expand by 6% to 10% each year -- the world has not grown a millidegree warmer since the start of this millennium. And its mean temperature rose by only one centigrade degree in the 25 years before that. The greenhouse effect of carbon dioxide emissions does have a gentle warming effect if it is not counteracted by unpredictable natural phenomena, but cannot be measured directly against the volume of such emissions.
The chief source of apparently informed hysteria on this subject, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), has estimated that the mean world temperature will increase by between 1.8 degrees C and 4 degrees C in this century, although a tenth of that warming has already failed to occur in the last decade. But even this prediction does not remotely justify all the cant and hype that the end of the world is nigh.
Even the IPCC admits that the upper end of its forecast would, in fact, substantially increase world food production. There is no chance of achieving stated -- or even (by some countries) committed -- emission-reduction targets, nor any reason to believe that the attainment of these targets would accomplish anything useful. Yet the president of the United States has been promising radical progress toward an international covenant in Copenhagen next month to spend trillions of dollars in pursuit of this unattainable, undesirable target.
It would be infinitely more sensible to intensify research, and invest where necessary or advisable in mitigation, adaptation and geostrategy, such as the infusion of sulphates into the stratosphere, as happens naturally with volcanic eruptions, to reduce the intensity of the sun and provide countervailing cooling influences without thinning the ozone layer. We should keep in mind that the IPCC's worst case in its preferred (very negative) scenario is that in the next hundred years, living standards in what is now the developing or under-developed world will improve by only 750%, instead of the 850% improvement that would allegedly occur if the world's temperature remained constant, as it has in the last decade.
All responsible people want to assist the disadvantaged parts of the world and do what we reasonably can for our own descendants, but not to the point of self-impoverishment now for the sake of a marginal gain against a wildly unproved prognosis a century from now. This is the flimsiest justification imaginable for the mad slogan parroted endlessly by the eco-Zouaves, from Hollywood to the UN to Ducks Unlimited: "Save the Planet!," as they try to force-march the world into biodegradable pastoralism.
Nor is this the grim tipping point Al Gore has made scores of millions of dollars and won a Nobel Peace Prize for decrying as the imminent apocalypse. Gore's scurrilous film, An Inconvenient Truth, is based on no original research and is a teeming rain forest of false and irrelevant claims, such as that the Pacific island country of Tuvalu is losing population because the sea level around it is rising under the relentless pressures of global warming on the Polar ice caps; and the claim that, for the same reason, mosquitoes have afflicted Nairobi, Kenya, with a constant epidemic of malaria.
The inconvenience of the truth falls on Gore, not his credulous viewers, as water levels have in fact declined slightly at Tuvalu, and the country's modest population shrinkage is due to economic migrants; and malaria was much more prevalent in Nairobi a century ago, and has risen only slightly in recent years because of the ecologists' attack on the use of insecticide. The Polar ice caps aren't melting at all; the ice sheets over the oceans are, but that over land is actually thickening, so water levels are not being affected.
The much-vaunted British Stern Review is in fact, largely rubbish, devised to give the environmental baton to Tony Blair, so he could wave it like a magic wand to placate the left of the British Labour Party for whom he delivered nothing else but an indiscriminate increase in public spending. It warns of a 70% decline in world food production this century if its temperature forecast increases are met, relying exclusively on a study that predicts such a decline will occur to the harvest of Northern Indian groundnuts only, not the world's food supply. Stern purported to forecast 200, 300, or a thousand years ahead, which is nonsense, and warns of the "deaths of hundreds of millions, social upheaval, large-scale conflicts," if $25-trillion is not spent in the next 15 years to reduce carbon emissions by 70%, (and disemploy scores of millions of people).
This leads directly to the farce of the Kyoto agreement, which was supposed to be escalated at the Copenhagen discussions next month. Bill Clinton pledged to support this mad enterprise, as well as the monstrous racket of international trafficking in unused permissible emission balances. The U.S. Senate long ago repudiated any such adherence, 95-0, in one of its few unanimous acts on a serious subject since Pearl Harbor.
Barack Obama is trying to replicate this poker game domestically in the trade part of cap-and-trade, which, as passed by the House of Representatives, will neither reduce carbon emissions nor raise government revenues, but will impose a heavy burden of heating and air-conditioning cost increases on the families and employers of America. (In all of the circumstances, for the unfeasible former Canadian Liberal leader, Stephane Dion, to have named his dog "Kyoto" could be considered cruelty to animals.)
Two of Canada's greatest and most undersung recent heroes are environmental economist Ross McKitrick and statistical minerologist Steven McIntyre, who by their tireless research in the teeth of the entire ecological establishment, proved the former IPCC claim of drastically accelerated global warming was a fraud. These men have been prominently mentioned in the hacked emails that have just revealed the outrageous lengths the scientific propagators of the Great Green Fraud have gone to to suppress the facts.
The immensely respected former British chancellor of the exchequer, Nigel Lawson, had great difficulty finding a publisher for his expose of these matters, An Appeal To Reason, A Cool Look at Global Warming, such is the pressure the eco-lobby can assert. He believes Green is the new Red, the anti-capitalists taking over the relatively inoffensive tandem bicycle of naturalists, and turning it into a nihilistic juggernaut, the treads having been blown off their great Red Marxist tank that careened through the world for most of the last century. The ecoextremists allow the conservationists and butterfly collectors and Sierra Clubs to front their activities, just as the pacifist naifs were often the witless dupes and "useful idiots" (in Lenin's words), of the Communists.
As Lord Lawson wrote in his book, those worried about imminent environmental catastrophe, as compared, for examples, to nuclear terrorism or even large meteoric collisions, "need not worry about saving this planet. They are already living on another one ... We appear to have entered a new age of unreason ... It is from this, above all, that we really need to save the planet."