Not So Noble Causes

Recent media reports of disagreement among scientists and others over whether the Earth is warming or cooling serves to illustrate what should be obvious: the debate is NOT over.

To date, advocates of the theory of anthropomorphically caused global warming have selectively chosen evidentiary indicators to support what they see as an urgent political solution: international restrictions on carbon emissions. The vanguard for the cause is the film “An Inconvenient Truth,” produced by former United States Vice President Al Gore. Mr. Gore was honoured with awards from Hollywood and Oslo for his efforts.

Now, along comes the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) recently with a story that the Earth has actually been cooling in the last decade or so. The story is contentious to say the least. Those who are inclined to scepticism about global warming, particularly the theory alleging human causes, are now being challenged about being selective in their evidentiary indicators. Sauce for the goose is sauce for the gander.

The Pew Research Center released the results of a poll last week, which revealed that 57 percent of Americans now “believe” there is strong scientific evidence for global warming. This result is down from 77 percent in 2006, when Mr. Gore’s film was still at the height of its popularity. Belief in something is, of course, no substitute for actual compelling scientific evidence. Unfortunately, all that exists today is a consensus among many scientists that the Gore version of things is compelling. Gore has in the past given indication that the debate is over. He has a Nobel Prize to prove it. I wonder what percentage of Americans “believes” in the Nobel institution as reliable evidence these days.

Another Nobel Laureate has weighed in on the topic. Appearing at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) last week, United States President Barack Obama, speaking against the only kind of “change” he apparently opposes said that sceptics, “make cynical claims that contradict the overwhelming scientific evidence when it comes to climate change—claims (whose) only purpose is to defeat or delay the change that (we) know is necessary.” He wants to substitute political changes for the straw man of climate change. Note the shift from the “global warming” mantra to “climate change” that has evolved. Just as an aside, climate change would cover either warming or cooling. Whatever it is, the Nobel Laureates seem to be against it.

A less sophisticated version of opposition can be found in the streets. Yesterday, climate change protestors disrupted the Canadian House of Commons question period by using the now well-established 40-year old Berkeley radical method of registering an opinion. Security officials were outnumbered by protestors as the guards tried to remove the rabble. Some blood was spilled before reinforcements came. These people were protesting because in their view the Harper government isn’t doing enough about climate change.

Last month, fellow travellers of the House of Commons protestors, this time sponsored and commanded by Greenpeace, trespassed on private property at three oil-sands-related projects in Alberta. Reporters and other sympathizers conveyed their actions as “occupying equipment”. It has been called non-violent civil disobedience and the protestors were credited with causing no property damage. That’s the Berkeley effect. Reporters are too ignorant of the principles of property rights that they see “passive resistance” and civil disobedience as a positive sign. These thugs were registering their opposition to climate change. One editorial viewpoint expressed in Edmonton, Alberta concluded with the idea that the only way to stop these sorts of actions was for “governments and corporations to finally begin to take real action on climate change”.

Thugs come in many shapes and sizes. Whether they carry backpacks and trespass on private property to disrupt commerce or political discourse, or exaggerate their unproven claims through Hollywood supported cartoons or make implied threats in speeches rolling over a teleprompter, they have one thing in common. If they say the debate is over, you had better believe they mean ultimately to use physical force rather than rational discourse to get you to either concur with their view or comply with their destructive solutions.

©Copyright 2009 Edward Podritske

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