Our Political Climate
Brindabella.id.au, EARLY DRAFT, 160820a
Introduction – this is personal
In my nonfiction writing I'm usually motivated by a need to write up my thinking on a topic to stop it being a distraction. It's a form of exorcism. I can them continue with whatever is my primary interest at the time, even though I realise that my views on the topic will inevitably change as I realise errors I've made, or new information comes to hand. For no topic has this need ever been so extreme as the climate issue. For no topic has it ever been so much more than just satisfying my own curiosity. In reviewing my thinking, I've been closely scrutinising how I came to hold a particular view.
My tone in this article is knowingly, even deliberately, emotional (note a). I feel strongly about the issue and I'm not inclined to pretend that it's some abstract intellectual debate. It's not. It matters like no other scientific or technological matter we've ever faced. I've always felt that science and technology, in addition to pushing forward the frontiers of knowledge, owe a debt to the societies that have created the economic and social frameworks that have allowed these great ventures to prosper. Societies have not generally been supportive of people developing new ideas that shake our understanding of our world. Vested interests have often stood in the way of the development of new technologies that undermine their established dominance.The motive force – power
At its institutional core, rather than being motivated by a genuine concern for the environment and our impact, the climate scare is an attempt by antidemocratic elements within the UN and associated NGOs to undermine national sovereignty and create a global taxation system to fund their agendas – Agenda 21, and Global Governance by an unelected, self proclaimed elite. Key figures in these organisations claim that ordinary people and democracy are not up to the task of running our planet. I'm not pushing a conspiracy theory here, it's a demonstrable fact that you can check for yourself by using ‘Agenda 21’ and ‘Global Governance’ as search terms. They make no secret of it. For example, David Rockefeller was quoted as saying (1):
The supra-national sovereignty of an intellectual elite and world bankers is surely preferable to the national auto-determination practiced in past centuries.
He can't even bring himself to say the word ‘democracy’. These are the globalist elites who have created multiple economic crises and the antiscientific IPCC, and are leading us down a totalitarian path we've seen fail many times and never succeed either politically or economically. I'm sure a diverse mix of individuals, organisations, and countries has done a better job than a centralised bureaucracy ever can, but we can do better. We need to reverse the decline in scientific standards, and the corrupted nexus between science and public policy exemplified by the IPCC. Without scare campaigns, we have the time and ability to think things through carefully and debate them transparently rather than running blind and scared down false paths.
Climate science – what a low tide reveals
Many areas of science have reached crisis points of poor quality research. References (2 to 6) provide a sample of the current debate on the issue. It has become widely recognised that most published medical research is not reproducible. This doesn't mean it is all wrong. Some may be just too superficially designed, poorly reported, or suffer from a lack of fundamental knowledge (note b). I mention medicine to point out that it isn't just environmental research that has suffered. The problem is widespread.
It is not enough for scientists to present findings as state of the art. We must be prepared to declare the deficiencies and admit that sometimes our best results are still unproven or meaningless. It is common practice today for scientists to come up with a theory and then just look for data that supports it. This is the antithesis of the scientific method which requires us to search for data that disproves our hypothesis.
The discussion of climate has been particularly pathological. Argument from authority or consensus are not part of the scientific method. Science's professional bodies (The Royal Society, The Australian Academy of Science, etc.) are not the final arbiters of truth. They are scientific bureaucrats who organise journals, conferences, and dinner parties. The founding articles of the Royal Society explicitly exclude political activism. Most importantly, they work to ensure funding for science as a whole or their particular discipline, and with the climate issue they hit gold. Peer review has been promoted as the gold standard of scientific fact. It is not even part of the scientific process. It is part of the publishing process, with reviewers acting as volunteer sub-editors filtering out poorly presented, uninteresting, or obviously deficient work, that would lower the prestige and profits of the journal. The scientific method requires independent reproduction as a basis for judgement, along with transparent and continuing debate.
There is no such thing as ‘settled science’. Even the iconic theory of gravity is still debated and, some assert, wrong over large distances. A rethink might help resolve the embarrassments of dark matter and dark energy. Fortunately, errors in cosmology don't have catastrophic social policy consequences.Energy futures
These were the goals of the environment movement as I remember it long ago. I watched as it
was taken over by the Greens (c) and when, after a staff coup, Greenpeace sent me a letter saying
they no longer wanted members, just our money, I thought that the battle had been lost. Lost then,
perhaps, but most of the extreme claims – ever skyrocketing temperatures, ice free Arctic,
increasing sea level rise, dying polar bears, decreased ocean pH, increased cyclone activity – have
already failed to materialise or have fallen within natural variability well short of the initial scare
These facts, along with rising scare and stunt fatigue, are turning the tide of public opinion. Only the momentum of a vast array of financial and reputational vested interests is keeping the CO2 scare going. We need to wind down the money pipelines of government subsidies and grants that feed this industry and stop the expansion of carbon taxes and markets that can never be rational or fair because of the large uncertainties in the carbon cycle data they are based on. It's dragging global economics into a world of fantasy, and if, as cyclic models suggest, we are about to descend from a millennial climate optimum back into a little ice age, then the future really will be dire for many who might have been better prepared.
It's justified as taxing carbon emissions to help third world countries. What they need, when they can rid themselves of the parasitic kleptocracies propped up by the UN and other vested interests, is cheap reliable electricity from fossil fuels. There is no rational basis for denying people this path to better health, prosperity, and security. But it's not just a case of secure energy futures. Millions of young children are being told they have no future, or at best, one that's ridden with natural disasters. I see this as child abuse on an industrial scale.Decision making
Another is ‘anthropogenic’ in reference to atmospheric carbon dioxide. I've counted around fifty instances in the one academic paper with it occurring several times in a single sentence. Strictly used it refers to the recent increase in CO2, and is a repeated affirmation of the assumption that we are responsible for all of it. It is now commonly use for all CO2 – presumably so the writer can display inclusion.
Then there's ‘peer reviewed’, uttered as if it promotes a work to scientific fact. It's not a part of the scientific method but part of the publishing process. Science requires ongoing review and independent replication.
To fully dismantle the IPCC alarmism, and from there, the IPCC itself, we need to carefully examine both links in their claim: the consequences they claim for the impacts of increased CO2 on climate, and our contribution to atmospheric CO2. CO2 does not control global temperatures to any significant degree. On our water planet they are regulated by water – the powerful and robust water thermostat of evaporative cooling, convection, thunderstorms, and clouds. It seems that the only species on the planet that are capable of influencing this thermostat are the plankton and plants that produce cloud seeding aerosols. Part of the political problem is the idea that industry has upset a stable pre-industrial state, leading many people to an exaggerated view of our significance. We certainly are making a mess oven much of the planet's surface, and there's a lot more we can and should do to reduce that, but we can't ‘save the planet’. It will look after itself as it has for billions of years.
The Earth and Life have never been static. As Galileo is reputed to have said: ‘And yet it moves.’ We are dealing with another turn of the Copernican revolution, but in this case it's the church of scientism that's resisting. It really is a matter of faith – where we place it. The scientific method is robust, but scientists can be, and often are, wrong.a. Totalitarianism
In my AUS role I met people whose lives had reached a point that I may not have been able to escape from myself without some temporary assistance. I met people who were devoting their lives to helping others escape their predicament. I met people who were using the misfortunes of others to further their own political agendas, and needing those people to remain trapped as captive clients to further their goal of creating a totalitarian state.
In the climate issue, I see that most people involved are genuinely concerned for our future. What I see at the root of it are people trying to tie up whole nations as captives to their cause of a global totalitarian regime.b. Epidemiological studies
c. Environmental politics – a personal anecdote:
Back in the early 1980s I was researching the issue of lead in petrol (7) when the government decided to ban its use. I visited a few environment groups that I had known years earlier. In just one case, people who had been campaigning against leaded petrol were pleased with the government decision and were discussing what issue to tackle next. The other groups had been taken over by a mix of the extreme authoritarian left and the street party left (Healeyite and Pabloite Trotskiites, respectively) who were to label themselves Greens. They were angry that they had lost a protest issue, and in one case (the Total Environment Centre in Sydney) I ended up backing towards the door under threat of physical attack from someone pursuing me who was almost hysterical. I didn't feel seriously threatened as long as I could see him.
1. Rockefeller, David, Club of Rome, Bilderberg Conference, 1991 2. Ioannidis, John P. A., 2005, Why Most Published Research Findings Are False, PLoS Med. 2005 Aug; 2(8)
3. Smith, Richard, 2006, Peer review: a flawed process at the heart of science and journals, J. R. Soc. Med., 2006 Apr; 99(4)
4. Jha, Alok, 2012, False positives: fraud and misconduct are threatening scientific research, The Guardian, Friday 14 September 2012
5. Sumner et. al., 2014, The association between exaggeration in health related science news and academic press releases: retrospective observational study, BMJ 2014;349:g7015
6. Bohannon, John, 2015, Many psychology papers fail replication test, Science Vol. 349
7. Davies, D., Lead in Petrol: Toward a cost benefit assessment, CRES Monograph 1, 1980, Centre for Resource and Environmental Studies, ANU.