Man is a credulous animal, and must believe something; in the absence of good grounds for belief, he will be satisfied with bad ones - Bertrand Russell
In 1885, the US Geological Survey announced that there was "little or no chance" of oil being discovered in California, and a few years later they said the same about Kansas and Texas. In 1939, the US Department of the Interior said American oil supplies would last only another 13 years. In 1949, the secretary of the interior said the end of US oil supplies was in sight. Having learned nothing from its earlier erroneous claims, in 1974 the US Geological Survey advised that the US had only a 10-year supply of natural gas. Now, according to the American Gas Association, there's a 1,000 to 2,500-year supply.
And there's more …
In 1968, professor Paul Ehrlich, Al Gore's hero and mentor, predicted there would be a major food shortage in the US and "in the 1970s, hundreds of millions of people are going to starve to death." Ehrlich forecast that 65 million Americans would die of starvation between 1980 and 1989, and that by 1999 the US population would have declined to 22.6 million. It didn't happen.
Ehrlich's predictions about England were gloomier. "If I were a gambler", he said, "I would take even money that England will not exist in 2000." It didn't happen.
In 1969, environmentalist Nigel Calder warned "The threat of a new ice age must now stand alongside nuclear war as a likely source of wholesale death and misery for mankind." It didn't happen.
Also in 1969, C.C.Wallen of the World Meteorological Organisation said "The cooling since 1940 has been large enough and consistent enough that it will not soon be reversed." It didn't happen.
In 1970 Paul Ehrlich got down to specifics: ""In ten years all important animal life in the sea will be extinct. Large areas of coastline will have to be evacuated because of the stench of dead fish". It didn't happen.
Harvard biologist George Wald in 1970 warned "Civilization will end within 15 or 30 years unless immediate action is taken against problems facing mankind." That was the same year that Sen. Gaylord Nelson warned, in "Look" magazine, that by 1995 "somewhere between 75% and 85% of all the species of living animals will be extinct." It didn't happen.
Gordon Taylor, in his 1970 book "The Doomsday Book" said Americans were using 50% of the world's resources and "by 2000 they will, if permitted, be using all of them." It didn't happen.
In his 1971 book "Global Ecology", Reid Bryson said "The continued rapid cooling of the earth since WW2 is in accord with the increase in global air pollution associated with industrialisation, mechanisation, urbanisation and exploding population". It didn't happen.
(We'd just like to emphasise that statement - global cooling was being caused by industrialisation. Sound familiar at all?)
In 1972, a report was written for the Club of Rome warning that the world would run out of gold by 1981, mercury and silver by 1985, tin by 1987 and petroleum, copper, lead and natural gas by 1992. It didn't happen.
In 1975, the Environmental Fund took out full-page ads warning "The World as we know it will likely be ruined by the year 2000." It didn't happen.
In 1975 Newsweek reported "There are ominous signs that the Earth's weather patterns have begun to change dramatically and that these changes may portend a drastic decline in food production - with serious political implications for just about every nation on Earth. The drop in food production could begin quite soon. The evidence in support of these predictions has now begun to accumulate so massively that meteorologists are hard pressed to keep up with it." It didn't happen.
And in 1976 Newsweek quoted Peter Gwynne: "This (cooling) trend will reduce agricultural productivity for the rest of the century". It didn't happen.
Also in 1976 one Lowell Ponte published a book called "The Cooling", saying that "This cooling has already killed hundreds of thousands of people. If it continues and no strong action is taken, it will cause world famine, world chaos and world war, and this could all come about before the year 2000". It didn't happen.
"World famine, world chaos and world war"?
Oh yes, I remember that. It didn't happen. It didn't happen a lot.
Still, once in a while a reputable scientist does have the guts to stick his head over the parapet and take a chance by telling the truth. This month award-winning Princeton University physicist Dr.Will Happer, who was fired by Al Gore in 1993 for failing to adhere to Gore's scientific views, has now declared man-made global warming fears "mistaken."
"I am convinced that the current alarm over carbon dioxide is mistaken," said Happer, who has published over 200 scientific papers. "I had the privilege of being fired by Al Gore, since I refused to go along with his alarmism. I did not need the job that badly."
Happer is a Professor at the Department of Physics at Princeton University and former Director of Energy Research at the Department of Energy from 1990 to 1993, and is a fellow of the American Physical Society, The American Association for the Advancement of Science, and the National Academy of Sciences. Al Gore took a course in climate science at university but switched subjects and graduated in Governmental Studies.
Happer says he was fired from the Department of Energy by Gore in 1993 for not going along with Gore's scientific views on ozone and climate issues. "I was told that science was not going to intrude on policy," he explained. "I have spent a long research career studying physics that is closely related to the greenhouse effect, for example, absorption and emission of visible and infrared radiation, and fluid flow. Fears about man-made global warming are unwarranted and are not based on good science. The earth's climate is changing now, as it always has. There is no evidence that the changes differ in any qualitative way from those of the past.
"Over the past 500 million years since the Cambrian, when fossils of multicellular life first became abundant, the levels of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere have been much higher than current levels, about 3 times higher on average. Life on earth flourished with these higher levels of carbon dioxide. Computer models used to generate frightening scenarios from increasing levels of carbon dioxide have scant credibility."
Mind you, although there are more and more scientists like Happer willing to stand up and be counted, they're still going to have a hard time swimming against the stream.
As Christopher Booker pointed out in the Telegraph last month, "If the holder of the most powerful office in the world proposed a policy guaranteed to inflict untold damage on his own country and many others, on the basis of claims so demonstrably fallacious that they amount to a string of self-deluding lies, we might well be concerned. The relevance of this is not to President Bush, as some might imagine, but to a recent policy statement by President-elect Obama."
For that is exactly what Obama proposes. He told delegates from 190 countries at a meeting in Poland that America is now about to play the leading role in the fight to "save the planet" from global warming. He began by saying that "the science is beyond dispute and the facts are clear". "Sea levels," he claimed, "are rising, coastlines are shrinking, we've seen record drought, spreading famine and storms that are growing stronger with each passing hurricane season."
In fact, as Booker pointed out, each of these four statements is so wildly at odds with the truth that on this score alone we should be seriously worried. Sea levels are indeed rising - at the same speed they've been rising for the last three centuries. The Indian Ocean was higher between 1900 and 1970 than it has been since, and satellite measurements show that since 1993 the sea level around Tuvalu (described as the lowest country in the world) has gone down by four inches.
Coastlines are not "shrinking". In some places, as for instance on the east coast of England, the land is subsiding slowly as it has been doing for thousands of years. The Thames Barrier has had to be closed more times in recent years to keep river water in during droughts than it has to stop the sea coming in.
Far from global warming having increased the number of droughts, the very opposite is the case. The most comprehensive study (Narisma et al, 2007) showed that, of the 20th century's 30 major drought episodes, 22 were in the first six decades, with only five between 1961 and 1980. The most recent two decades produced just three.
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration recently admitted that 2008 only tied as "the fifth most active" year for hurricanes since 1944. Their own graphs show hurricane activity higher in the 1950s than recently, and a Florida State University study of tropical cyclone activity across the world shows a steady reduction over the past four years.
Still, as someone or other said, "My mind's made up - don't confuse me with facts".
And as McCamy Taylor wrote, "Keep the people scared and you can keep them pliable", a truth apparently familiar to an anonymous correspondent who sent the following contribution to the excellent Eye on Britain website this week. He wrote …
"After forty years of listening to greenie scare stories (even believing some of them at one time) I think I am starting to see a pattern emerging. It seems to start as:
Plan A: The Scam
We have identified an ecological disaster and HUMANS ARE TO BLAME. But if you pay us lots of money and do exactly what we say, we may be able to fix it in time.
For some inexplicable reason, this does not convince everyone, so we need:
Plan B: The Precautionary Principle
Well, even if we're wrong, you still ought to pay us lots of money and do exactly what we say.
For some inexplicable reason, this also does not convince everyone, so we need:
Plan C: The Tipping Point
OK. So nothing is happening and there isn't any evidence, but there will be soon if you don't PAY US THE MONEY!
This method seems to be a limp-wristed version of that used by Ronnie and Reggie in the East End of London many years ago, and was known then as extortion, or "demanding money with menaces". Now it is called "environmentalism." I suppose at least we have a longer word.
Although the Kray's methods seem to have been (a) less verbose, (b) arguably more cost-effective, and (c) they had the balls to do their own dirty work.
The greenie extortionists, having failed at plan C, exhort the legal authorities to silence the dissenters. And if that doesn't work they incite young, idealistic and naive people into acquiring a criminal record on their behalf. Maybe we should just say "BOO" to the greenies for a change. Being polite only lets them get away with it."
It's an interesting point of view. The GOS comes originally from one of the Krays' East End haunts so they loomed quite large in his upbringing. But oddly he never before thought of them as rôle models in the great global warming debate.
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Copyright © 2008 The GOS
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