Wildavsky's observation does not go far enough, according to Richard Lindzen, Prof. of Meteorology at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (``Global Warming: The Origin and Nature of the Alleged Scientific Consensus,'' Regulation, 11/13/96, http://www.cato.org/pubs/regulation/reg15n2g.html).
``The point is that carbon dioxide is vitally central to industry, transportation, modern life, and life in general.''
The control of carbon dioxide fits in with a great variety of preexisting agendas, Lindzen notes, some of them legitimate: energy efficiency, reduced dependence on Middle Eastern oil, dissatisfaction with industrial society (neopastoralism), inter- national competition, governmental desires for increased revenue, and bureaucratic desires for power.
The Kyoto Treaty is but one step in a lengthy drive toward a global energy rationing regime. Accomplishing the stated goals of the campaign would be extremely costly in economic loss and in loss of human life. Lindzen stated that a 60 percent reduction in carbon dioxide emissions (suggested by the Working Group I report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change or IPCC) would call for measures ``greater than those that have been devoted to war and defense.''
No such mobilization could possibly occur without a perceived threat to survival, trumpeted in a public relations effort comparable to the production of war propaganda.
Factors that favor the success of this campaign include, in Lindzen's analysis, ``large cadres of professional planners looking for work, the existence of advocacy groups looking for profitable causes, the existence of agendas in search of saleable rationales, and the ability of many industries to profit from regulations.'' Also of critical importance is the effective neutralization of the opposition.
The campaign is premised on two Big Lies: (1) the catastro- phic global warming hypothesis and (2) alleged scientific consensus or near unanimity on the reality and emergent nature of the threat.
Lie Number Two has been demolished and Lie Number One seriously damaged by the Petition Project led by Arthur B. Robinson, Ph.D., of the Oregon Institute of Science and Medicine. Over a period of just a few months, more than 16,000 American scientists have signed the following statement:
``We urge the United States government to
reject the global warming agreement that was written in
Kyoto, Japan, in December, 1997, and any other similar
proposals. The proposed limits on greenhouse gases would
harm the environment, hinder the advance of science and
technology, and damage the health and welfare of
``There is no convincing scientific evidence that human
release of carbon dioxide, methane, or other greenhouse gases
is causing, or will, in the foreseeable future, cause catastro-
phic heating of the Earth's atmosphere and disruption of the
Earth's climate. Moreover, there is substantial scientific
evidence that increases in atmospheric carbon dioxide
produce many beneficial effects upon the natural plant and
animal environments of the Earth.
``There is no convincing scientific evidence that human release of carbon dioxide, methane, or other greenhouse gases is causing, or will, in the foreseeable future, cause catastro- phic heating of the Earth's atmosphere and disruption of the Earth's climate. Moreover, there is substantial scientific evidence that increases in atmospheric carbon dioxide produce many beneficial effects upon the natural plant and animal environments of the Earth.
Accompanying the petition card was an 8-page review article on the environmental effects of increased atmospheric concentrations of carbon dioxide, heavily referenced to primary observational data and the peer-reviewed literature, by Arthur B. Robinson, Sallie Baliunas, Willie Soon, and Zachary W. Robinson. The article, an explanation of the project, and lists of signatories (with separate lists of the 2100 and 4400 scientists especially well qualified to assess, respectively, climatic or biological effects of CO2, and lists by state for the convenience of Congressmen), are posted at www.oism.org. To date, a counterattack by Treaty proponents has featured ridicule, childish pranks, ad hominem attacks on the political or religious views of the lead author (he supports civil defense in these days of nuclear proliferation!), and outright falsehoods: any of which, unless effectively countered, could serve to blunt the impact of this impressive response.
As in the classic movie Casablanca, the first impulse of environmentalist radicals is to ``go round up the usual suspects'': most prominently, Big Industry.
Industry was absent from this project. All funding came from the after-tax dollars of a few patriotic Americans. (If more funding became available, the number of signatories could easily be doubled.) Meanwhile, the Pew Charitable Trusts has allocated $5 million to the Pew Center on Global Climate Change, with a long list of ``heavy hitters'' on its corporate advisory council (such as British Petroleum, Toyota, Boeing, Lockheed Martin, Sunoco, 3M, and American Electric Power).
Brandon MacGillis of Ozone Action got headlines saying that Elvis hadn't signed the Petition yet but Ginger Spice had (and someone also disrupted a congressional hearing with this announcement). Actually, she didn't; somebody forged her real name (Geri Halliwell). On the other hand, Robert Redford, Barbra Streisand, and Meryl Streep have all urged us to ``stop research and begin acting'' on global warming.
Science complained (4/10/98) that the article hasn't been published yet. (Scientists can't be trusted to evaluate a preprint.) Lindzen reported that his 1989 critique of global warming was rejected by Science, attacked there before it even appeared in print elsewhere, and circulated as samizdat for 6 months.
The National Academy of Science took the supposedly ``unprecedented'' step of dissociating itself from the project (though some members have signed). Lindzen reports that NAS President Frank Press, at the 1990 annual meeting, warned the membership against the petition of the Union of Concerned Scientists, published in the New York Times, on which the perception of ``consensus'' is largely based.
As the reaction to the Petition shows, the scientific case for global warming is very weak, but its political power is very strong. Truth will prevail against the massive lies, but will it triumph soon enough to prevent global disaster?
Last fall, the Union of Concerned Scientists circulated a Call for Action to prominent scientists, which was featured on ABC's World News Tonight and in newspapers from the New York Times to the San Francisco Chronicle to the London Independent. It is not clear that all scientists signed the same statement; one Nobel Laureate states that he only recalls signing a petition not to stop research. The version sent by the UCS (Two Brattle Square, Cambridge, MA 02238-9105, telephone (617)547-5552) in response to inquiries reads as follows:
``We...urge all government leaders to demonstrate a new commitment to protecting the global environment for future generations. The important first step is to join in completing a strong and meaningful Climate Treaty at Kyoto. We encourage scientists and citizens around the world to hold their leaders accountable for addressing the global warming threat. Leaders must take this first step to protect future generations from dire prospects that would result from failure to meet our respon- sibilities toward them.''
The list of 1,558 signers gives no field or academic degrees, just nationality. There are 453 signers from the USA, 186 from Canada, 262 from England, 157 from Sweden, 37 from France, and 65 from Germany. Many other nations are represented, including Russia, China, Vietnam, Mauritius, Jamaica, Bangladesh, Peru, Ghana, and Senegal.
Another petition circulated by the UCS in 1989 (see p. 1) eventually garnered 700 signatures, some after three or more requests. Only about three or four of the signers had any involvement in climatology. According to Lindzen, the second page of the petition, which was omitted from the New York Times report, contained a call for a renewed consideration of nuclear power (which has been actively opposed by the UCS).
About 2,600 scientists signed a pro-Kyoto statement distributed by Ozone Action (see p.1), which was highly touted by Al Gore. Patrick Burns of Citizens for a Sound Economy Foundation analyzed the signatures, finding one climatologist and about 180 scientists in ``related fields,'' including geography ( www.csef.org). In contrast, 110 climate scientists endorsed the Leipzig Declaration authored by atmospheric physicist S. Fred Singer, which reads as follows:
``There does not exist today a general scientific consensus about the importance of greenhouse warming from rising levels of carbon dioxide. In fact, many climate specialists now agree that actual observations from weather satellites show no global warming whatsoever-in direct contradiction to computer model results.'' It adds, ``based on all the evidence available to us, we cannot subscribe to the politically inspired world view that envisages climate catastrophes and calls for hasty actions. For this reason, we consider the drastic emission control policies likely to be endorsed by the Kyoto conference-lacking credible support from the underlying science-to be ill-advised and premature'' (http://www.sepp.org).
Truth about science is never determined by taking a vote. But truth about scientists' opinions is another matter: the vote is at least ten to one against the catastrophic global warming hypothesis and the Kyoto energy rationing treaty.
The other issue is scientific credibility. If an organization conceals and distorts scientists' opinions, can it be trusted to report on something as simple as temperature readings, much less a model with many complex variables?
As the case of Association of American Physicians and Surgeons et al. vs. Hillary Rodham Clinton et al. revealed, efforts to expand federal government control over every aspect of medicine, with resultant rationing of life-saving treatment, are heavily funded by grants by tax-exempt organizations, notably the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) and the Kaiser Family Foundation, which acquired their billions in a free-enterprise economy from production of medical products.
Similarly, the case for energy rationing is being promoted with billions earned from the oil industry, notably by the Pew Charitable Trusts.
Joseph N. Pew, Vice President of Sun Oil, led the effort to overturn Franklin Roosevelt's National Recovery Act, a system of government-organized cartels declared unconstitutional in 1935. Originally, the Trusts founded by his family supported hospital wings and disease research. In 1987, 17 of 20 execu- tives were fired, and the direction was radically changed. As president Thomas Langfitt explained: ``In the past, we'd identify a problem and fund private agencies. Now we see that most of the responsibility for dealing with major social problems rests with the government....so we build partnerships between government and private agencies.'' No more funding for disease research; instead, the Trusts fund initiatives to change public health policy (as do RWJF and many others).
In other words, the Foundations and Trusts promote govern- ment control over private enterprises: a system known as economic fascism.
Pew beneficiaries include the Environmental Defense Fund, the Natural Resources Defense Council, Zero Population Growth, Planned Parenthood, and the Union of Concerned Scientists (href="http://www.ef.org/grants/"> www.ef.org/grants ). Money earned by J. Howard Pew is funding those whom he called ``political witch doctors...teaching communism, fascism, planned and dictated economies.'' He believed that ``when a people come to look upon their government as the source of all their rights, there will surely come a time when they will look upon that same government as the source of all their wrongs. That is the history of all planned, dictated economies. That is the history of tyranny.'' In Pew's opinion, ``our failure to fight for the preservation of our liberty is a crime, the punishment for which is servitude'' www.sbsc.org).
The effects of the Kyoto Treaty on the American system of government are not well understood but would be profound. The Protocol delegates vast and unlimited power to international bodies, which are themselves heavily influenced by Non- Governmental Organizations (NGOs) that are not accountable to any electorate. The Protocol may also convert decisions usually classified as ``domestic'' into ``foreign'' affairs and thus move substantial powers from the states and Congress into the Executive branch (James DeLong, US Chamber of Commerce Conference 5/18/98). Although ``multilateral'' military actions are exempted from the Protocol, ``unilateral'' ones are probably not. Even training exercises could become caught up in legal battles over greenhouse gas emissions, with disastrous conse- quences for readiness (Jeffrey Salmon, ibid.). See the US Chamber of Commerce site, www.climatetreaty.com