Much was written about the most recent United Nations Climate Change Conference, which was held in Durban, South Africa November 28 through December 9 of this year. However, most commentators gave short shrift to the most important—in a sense, the only—outcome of the meeting. This was, of course, the agreement to hold yet another conference in yet another nice location (Qatar) about a year from now.
The Durban conference was the seventeenth conference of its kind. They have been held annually since 1995 in places such as Geneva (in July 1996) and Bali (in December 2007). Don’t hold your breath for one to be held in Newark, New Jersey, or Fargo, North Dakota.
The meeting in Durban provided an opportunity for Progressives to make their latest argument that ordinary people should surrender their freedom and hand all money and power over to unelected, unaccountable “experts” like, well, the people at the conference. This is, of course, in order to “save the planet” from “climate change”. (The issue that had for years been called “global warming” was rebranded as “climate change” when the most recent decade’s worth of data proved uncooperative.)
First, let’s get the known and knowable facts out of the way. Is the climate changing? Yes. One feature of the manifested universe is the impermanence of all things. The climate has changed over time and will continue to change. Is the change good or bad? Like all change, it is both good and bad.
But, overall, is it good or bad? We can’t say. We don’t even have a conceptual framework that would allow us to answer that question, or even to adequately describe how the climate is changing. “Climate” is an abstraction, and all abstractions are untrue (or at least incomplete).
Is human activity causing the climate to change? We don’t know, and there is no way, even in principle, that we can know. It is difficult enough to determine the “what” of climate change. To determine the “why”, we would need to do controlled experiments. And, for this, we would need another planet, identical in every way to our own earth, which we could use as a “control”.
But wait! Isn’t the science “settled”, thus making anyone who questions the climate change “consensus” an anti-intellectual Luddite? No. Nothing in science is ever settled.
“Science” consists of nothing but theories that have not yet been disproved by evidence, but which, in principle, could be so disproved. Even Einstein’s theory of relativity, which has been validated by thousands of experiments and measurements over almost a century, was recently called into question by experiments involving neutrinos that appeared to travel faster than light.
If something is “settled”, it is not science. It is religious dogma, and an assault upon freedom of thought and inquiry.
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