Friday, October 12, 2007

Is Warming a Peace Issue???

There is an old joke about the Nobel Peace Prize. It went sort of like this.

"Did you hear so and so won the Nobel Peace Prize?"

"No, really? I didn't even know he was a communist."

The reason is simple. The prize is awarded by a gaggle of left-wing politicians normally to someone for their cause d'jour. The Norwegian, very PC parliament, basically doles it out and apparently does so by completely ignoring the requirements for winning set by the founder. The prize was founded by Alfred Nobel who left his fortune to help fund it. He wrote in his will that it was to be given "to the person who shall have done the most or the best work for fraternity between the nations, for the abolition or reduction of standing armies and for the holding and promotion of peace congresses." I guess there was a clause no one noticed before for "hysterical misrepresentations of facts" since the far-Left Norwegian parliament gave the prize to con man Al Gore along with handing it to the UN’s International Panel on Climate Change.

The head of the committee that doles out the prize, Ole D. Mjøs, said they “wanted to further strengthen the focus on the importance of battling climate change.” What that has to do with promoting peace I don’t know. Neither do they apparently but they are apparently happy to go off into political statements on entirely unrelated issues. But then it’s not their money and Mr. Nobel is dead.

According to reports Gore was picked over other nominees like Irena Sendler of Poland “who saved 2,500 Jewish children during World War II and Martti Ahtisaari who “has been a long-time candidate because of his peace-broking efforts in the Aceh conflict in Indonesia.” Hey, what’s saving Jewish children from the Nazis compared to jetting around the world in private jets to give lectures filled with falsehoods for high fees?

Recently Mr. Gore got a slap down he didn’t want. In England a man went to court claiming that the Labour government’s use of the Gore film as a propaganda tool in all the schools was dishonest. He said the film was inaccurate and he went to court over it.

The case was heard in the High Court by Justice Michael Burton, who ought to have been very favorably inclined toward Gore. Burton had his start in politics as a Labour Party candidate and then bolted for the socialist leaning Social Democratic Party where he was also a candidate. So he is a true believer in the virtues of the omnipresent state.

And Burton made it clear he is a congregant in the church of anthropogenic warming. But, he said, Gore was playing loose with the facts. He called Gore “broadly accurate” but said his falsehoods had come about in “the context of alarmism and exaggeration.” But exaggeration and alarmism have been a key PR tactic for the environmentalist movement for decades now. And Gore himself admits that he distorts the fact intentionally for political purposes.

He told the Left-wing environmental publication Grist: “I believe it is appropriate to have an over-representation of factual presentations on how dangerous it is, as a predicate for opening up the audience to listen to what the solutions are, and how hopeful it is that we are going to solve this crisis.” Here is Gore’s logic. People are skeptical of his “solutions” which involve massive government control over the lives of the citizens. Gore says there is a major crisis and these state controls must be accepted by the public. So he “over-represents” the truth in order to scare the hell out of them so that they will accept his theory of the threat and the solutions he wants.

How does this differ from what the neo-conservatives did via George Bush with the Iraq war? Bush said there is a threat that the public wasn’t taking seriously: Saddam Hussein and other “evil doers” were going to attack America. So Bush over-represented the facts. He claimed their were weapons of mass destruction and the like that the Hussein might even nuke America! He stampeded a terrified public into accepting his solutions. And that is what got us into the mess we’re in now.

For some reason people always assume that the politician who holds their prejudices is telling the truth and has the right solutions and the “other guy” is the liar. The reality is that both sides are liars, both sides exaggerate their crisis d’jour and both sides have similar solutions -- more power for the political classes. Politicians use a crisis to strip the public of their freedoms. It has been this way for as long as I can remember. And the Left and the Right both do it. It really doesn’t matter if the crisis is real or “over-representated”. Nor does it matter if the solutions they propose will work or will cause more harm than good. All that matters to the political classes is that at the end of they day they have control over the income you earn and what you do with your life.

Gore’s over-represenations are old hat for the warming alarmists. The grandfather of warming alarmism was Stephen Schneider who said, “we have to offer up scary scenarios, make simplified, dramatic statements, and make little mention of any doubts we have.” He called this tactic the “right balance” between “being effective and being honest.” By effective he means get the political system to implement his plans on the rest of us.

Warming advocate Mike Hulme calls this sort of tactic “post-normal science”. And he advocates it be used “where the stakes are high, uncertainties large and decisions urgent”. The important thing, he says, is “who has the ear of policy” -- that is, who sets the political agenda. These are people with a political agenda who are using warming to push their agenda. They admit they are exaggerating the facts in order to gain political leverage. It is no surprise that a gaggle of Norwegian politicians (the majority of whom are on the Left) are willing to hand out prizes to a hysteric who pushes an issue which is being used by politicians around the world, for one of the most massive redistribution projects around -- redistributing control from the individual to the political classes.

So what did Mr. Justice Burton decide regarding Al Gore’s Riefenstahlistic film. He conceded that Gore’s film had an “apocalyptic vision” that was heavily partisan when it came to politics and that it was not impartial when it came to presenting scientific facts. He called this a “political film”.

The Labour government’s plan was to show the film to every high school student in the country to scare the shit out of them. Terrified citizens are compliant citizens and England is actually farther along toward the Big Brother state than the US -- thanks to the panics over terrorism and warming. Burton says the film may be shown but that teachers must be given guides explaining how Gore is distorting the facts or presenting falsehoods. Of course the chances are the teacher will stick Triumph of the Will (sorry, I meant An Inconvenient Truth) into the video player and take a nap while the kiddies are scared by the big bad man with the horror story.

Burton listed several specific falsehoods or exaggerations in the Gore film. Now remember this is someone politically on Gore’s side.

1. He said the film was “distinctly alarmist” about the alleged threat of rises in sea levels. He says “it suggests that sea level rises of seven metres might occur in the immediate future” and that this is “not in line with the scientific consensus.” He called that an “Armageddon scenario”.

2. He said that Gore’s claim that Pacific island have already been evacuated due to this sea rise has “no evidence” at all to back it up. A nicer way of saying it was pure, unmitigated bullshit.

3. Gore showed a chart which purports to show that carbon dioxide levels rose first followed by temperature rises and these were an “exact fit”. Burton says that overstates the case. It does. In fact the carbon dioxide levels rose AFTER the temperature did, not BEFORE.

4. Gore said the Gulf Stream could shut down due to warming. Burton says the IPCC says that is “very unlikely”.

5. Gore blamed the drying of Lake Chad on global warming. The Justice said that scientific evidence was that other factors were behind the problem.

6. Gore claimed that melting glaciers on Mount Kilimanjaro were caused by global warming. The Justice says that the evidence doesn’t support this. We have covered this hysteria here.

7. Gore claimed that Hurricane Katrina was a sign of global warming. Hurricane experts have dismissed that as nonsense and so did Justice Burton, who said the scientific community has found no evidence to back up that claim. This blog discussed the hurricane claim here.

8. Gore claimed polar bears “have actually drowned swimming long distances, up to 60 miles, to find ice.” Burton says he could find nothing to substantiate that except four bears who drowned as a result of a storm.

9. And Gore said that sea coral bleaching was due to warming. The Justice said that it is not possible to distinguish the effect of warming on coral from other causes.

Remember that Burton is a full fledged member of the warming crowd. He is not a skeptic but he mentioned nine significant falsehoods that Gore had loaded into his film.

It is particularly bizarre that the Norwegian politicians have decided to ignore Nobel’s own purpose for the peace prize to delve into partisan politics. But it is not surprising. The world today is awash in politics, the desire to impose one’s will on others. And warming is certainly the big issue to use to do that. Just yesterday I read that the Labour government in New Zealand is considering a ban on large television sets due to global warming. They want to force people to change their refrigerators as well. And they are trying to stop people from driving.

Here is what is critical to remember. The advocates of anthropogenic warming are blaming energy as the culprit. So they want state control of energy to “save the planet”. What does that mean? Ultimately it means state control of everything. It controls how you move. It controls how you live and how you work. Nothing in life is not connected to energy in some way or another. As long as they are controlling “energy” they have the excuse to interfere in almost any area of life they wish.

Now a few fringe nutters will advocate all sorts of extreme measures immediately that will be laughed at. But the tendency is that once one control is accepted another is demanded, then another and another and another. First, they were going to ban smoking in restaurants. Then it was bars. Then it was private work places. Now there are laws restricting smoking in one’s car or even at home. First they demanded people smoke outside and now they are slowly reducing the areas outside where smoking is permitted.

This is the natural tendency of centralized power. It always seeks to expand itself. And the disservice that Gore provides is that his alarmist perspective makes that expansion possible. This is so disappointing. Gore very eloquently explained the problems of the expansion of executive powers by the president. It was a brilliant speech and almost 100% on the mark. But where Gore falls down is that he thinks the problem is only with the rise of executive power not state power. If Bush rides roughshod over private property and individual freedom it is bad, but if some collective body does it then it is fine.

The problem isn’t so much who does it but that it is being done at all.

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