Friday, March 23rd 2012, 5:47 AM EDT
‘Silence and demonize’ could be the Suzuki foundation’s motto
Radical environmentalists tend not to be famous for their objectivity or sense of irony. Canada’s most famous eco-activist, David Suzuki, proved that this week by organizing a write-in campaign to protest a Senate inquiry into foreign institutional funding of Canadian political activism.
Independent researcher Vivian Krause unearthed more than $300-million of such eco-laundering, which has been used to campaign against B.C. fish farming and bring the Canadian forest industry to heel. Recently, both Prime Minister Stephen Harper and Natural Resources Minister Joe Oliver fingered foreign funding in clogging up the regulatory process for the proposed Northern Gateway pipeline, the latest front in the green industry’s war against the oil sands.
The Suzuki-to-Senate form email ventriloquized that robo-senders were “disappointed by the recent attempts of some senators to silence and demonize those who don’t share their positions.” It suggested that the Conservative senators, led by Nicole Eaton, were trying to “stifle the voices of millions of Canadians.”
In fact, “Silence and demonize” could be the Suzuki foundation’s motto. On its website, right beside Tell the Senate to stop silencing environmental groups sits a piece by Mr. Suzuki with the headline Climate change denial isn’t about science, or even skepticism. The same article was recently published in The Huffington Post under the headline Deny Deniers their Right to Deny!
There is no more objectionable term for legitimate skepticism than “denial,” which equates honest questioning with barmy claims that the Holocaust never took place. The Puffington article is, however, fascinating because it implicitly acknowledges that the Kyoto policy juggernaut has come off the rails, so Mr. Suzuki changes tack. What if the science isn’t settled (ridiculous idea though that still is), asks Mr. Suzuki. How can we keep relying on “finite” fossil fuels and thus robbing the future? We need big plans!
Such Malthusian hooey confirms that Mr. Suzuki is blind to history and utterly clueless about how markets work. Just look at the actual results of the government-mandated global green shift: collapsing wind and solar industries, threats of trade war over the EU’s plan to force emissions trading on foreign airlines; President Obama backpedalling furiously over Keystone XL in the face of soaring gasoline prices.
Meanwhile here’s Mr. Suzuki’s idea of a scientific argument: his piece links to a news story about a study that suggests that denial is a function of being a conservative white male (I suggest Mr. Suzuki try that theory on fearless blogger, and fierce critic of the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, Donna Laframboise). Meanwhile, if you want to understand climate issues, according to Mr. Suzuki, don’t even think of visiting the websites of dissenters such as Anthony Watts (creator of wattsupwiththat.com. Well worth a visit). Mr. Watts, after all, is a mere “weathermen.” (Mr. Watts reminds us in response that Mr. Suzuki is, or was, a fruit fly geneticist).
Mr. Suzuki suggests that instead you should get the straight goods from the likes of his close associate James Hoggan, a big-time corporate consultant who runs the skeptic-smearing website Desmogblog, or from Naomi Oreskes, a “historian of climate science” whose debunked studies were prominently quoted by Al Gore in An Inconvenient Truth. Ms. Oreskes wants to ban the phrase “climate debate.” She is a leading proponent of linking skeptics to the tobacco industry. Some science.
Mr. Suzuki also links to a piece by economist William Nordhaus. Insofar as Prof. Nordhaus addresses errors in interpretation of his own work, one can hardly disagree with him. However, he also utterly misrepresents the position of skeptics, suggesting, among other canards, that they “deny” the small temperature increases of the past 100 years. He thus confirms the impression that conventional warmists refuse even to hear what skeptics are skeptical about, which is catastrophic, projected, man-made global warming. This theoretical projection is based on the considerable amplification of the impact of CO2 by positive feedbacks, which are computer model assumptions, not facts or truths.
Mr. Suzuki goes on to claim a “stepping up” of denialism, but his two examples are in fact of skeptics coming under manufactured attack. He smears Tom Harris, who was recently assaulted for a climate course he taught at Carleton University. Don’t bother to look at the science, suggests Mr. Suzuki (the course was in fact designed by eminent earth scientist Tim Patterson), just accept that Mr. Harris is a denier and a shill, and associated (without pay) with the U.S.-based Heartland Institute.
When it comes to Heartland, Mr. Suzuki cites something called “denialgate,” but fails to register that the only real scandal revolves around how a fellow eco-activist, Peter Gleick, obtained documents from Heartland under false pretenses then leaked them, plus a flagrant forgery, to the media. It is Heartland’s desire to teach some objective climate science in schools that has led to paroxysms of rage from other radical organizations such as Al Gore’s Climate Reality Project.
The Senate’s inquiry into foreign activist funding and charitable tax deduction is valid, but perhaps more intriguing is domestic support for Mr. Suzuki. The David Suzuki Foundation certainly receives major donations from the California-based Moore, Hewlett and Packard foundations, whose funding is highlighted by Vivian Krause, but Mr. Suzuki is also heftily supported by Canadian Establishmentarians such as the Bronfman family, Power Corp., Jim Pattison, and Gerry Schwartz.
Do these leaders and scions of capitalism grasp that they are supporting an anti-development fanatic who believes that anybody who doesn’t think like him on climate science is evil, mentally defective or a corporate shill? Do they agree with his 2008 suggestion that apostate politicians should be put in jail? Do they go along with his admiration for totalitarian Cuba’s “sustainability?” Do they support child-scaring propaganda such as his recent Christmas campaign based on “saving” Santa’s North Pole workshop? Do they fail to register that he demonizes “corporate profits and interests?”
The Suzuki foundation’s robo-email concludes that “A democracy functions best when all points of view are considered rationally and carefully.” To be fair, Mr. Suzuki only wants to put those words in the mouths of others. He could never possibly say them himself. His pants would catch on fire.