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In new book, scholar peels back layers of deception on global warming

August 18, 2o16 (LifeSiteNews) — Michael Hart is a former official in Canada’s Department of Foreign Affairs and now emeritus professor of international affairs at the Norman Paterson School of International Affairs at Carleton University in Ottawa, Canada, where he has taught courses on the laws and institutions of international trade, Canadian foreign policy, and the politics of climate change. He held the Fulbright-Woodrow Wilson Center Visiting Research Chair in Canada-U.S. Relations and was Scholar-in-Residence in the School of International Service, Senior Fellow at American University in Washington, and is the founder and director emeritus of Carleton University’s Centre for Trade Policy and Law. In addition, he has taught courses in several other countries. He is the author, editor, or co-editor of more than a dozen books and several hundred articles.

LifeSiteNews interviewed him during a conference on Catholic Perspectives on the Environment, sponsored by the Wojtyla Institute for Teachers, held at Our Lady Seat of Wisdom in Barry’s Bay, Ontario, August  4-6, 2016.

1)  Professor Hart, your book Hubris: The Troubling Science, Economics, and Politics of Climate Change, has recently been published. In it, you challenge a worldwide project that has become something of a sacred cow. Can you tell our readers what motivated you to begin your research into the subject?

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I was initially motivated by questions from my students – and my wife – about the policy implications of climate change. The more I looked into it, however, the more I learned the extent to which it fit with one of my research interests: the extent to which modern health, safety, and environmental regulatory activity relies on poor science advanced by activists to push an agenda. I learned that both domestic and international actors had succeeded in using the poorly understood science of climate change to advance an ambitious environmental agenda focused on increasing centralized control over people’s daily lives.

2) How long did the research and writing stages take?

I started researching the issue 10 years ago, and found myself engaged in a project that was both challenging and critical to understanding a movement determined to use the climate issue to advance a utopian agenda.

3) Your critique of the problems involved in climate change theory is wide ranging. Your approach is lucid and fastidiously documented, an eminently reasonable assessment of the scientific data that have been used and misused to support the theory. How is the “science” being misused?

The global climate is one of the most complex, chaotic, non-linear natural systems we know. It is in a constant state of flux due to such factors as changes in the output of the sun, changes in Earth’s orbit around the sun, and oscillations in ocean heat uptake. The alarm movement has taken one such factor – growth in the minor atmospheric greenhouse gas carbon dioxide – to claim that human activity is changing the atmosphere to an alarming degree, leading inexorably to a much warmer climate. While increased atmospheric carbon dioxide – from .03 to .04 percent of the atmosphere – should lead to some warming, the extent of that warming within the context of a complex system that is in a constant state of flux due to numerous forcings and feedbacks is highly exaggerated. As UK science journalist Matt Ridley points out, “Environmental researchers are increasingly looking for evidence that fits their ideology rather than seeking the truth.” The best evidence indicates that the mild warming at the end of the 20th century was well within historical and geologic experience. Over the first decade and a half of the 21stcentury, there has been no net warming. The alarmist movement relies extensively on flawed computer models to make its case.

4) Equally important is your in-depth analysis of the sociological pressures, and one might say, the psychological pressures and manipulation brought to bear upon scientists. In the chapter titled “Science and its Pathologies,” we read about how this is done on numerous levels in the academic and scientific communities. Why is a theory that is supported by so little empirical data being promoted as fact?

More than one motivation drives the abuse of science. Among scientists, the primary reasons are money, career advancement, and prestige. In order to pursue their research programs, scientists need money from governments and foundations. They have learned that satisfying the agenda of both helps funds to flow. As a result, they have learned to adapt their research to the desired outcomes. Related to money and careers is the need to publish in so-called prestige journals on the basis of peer review of their work. As I explain in my book, over the years, much of peer review has degenerated into pal review that maintains the dominant perspective. Views that challenge that perspective are ruthlessly weeded out. Additionally, a significant amount of published research fails numerous tests of reliability due to sloppy methods, misuse and abuse of statistics, ignored negative findings, and other failings in scientific integrity. Climate change science has been particularly prone to these failings. Nobel Prize winners such as Robert Jastrow and Freeman Dyson have become increasingly critical of the course of modern science. Many indicate that the insights that led to their Nobel Prize would never have passed current peer review.

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5) In addition, there are very disturbing propaganda techniques being used to promote the theory to the general public. Who is behind this?

The leaders driving the climate change movement come from a variety of persuasions. The environmental movement found in the alarm about global warming – now climate change – a potent new way in which to raise funds and increase awareness of its broader concerns about the state of the environment. UN officials learned that concern about climate change could be harnessed to bolster support for UN social and economic programs and to advance the UN’s goal of world governance by experts. Left-wing politicians discovered in climate change renewed ways to press their agenda of social and economic justice through coercive government programs. As John Sununu, the former governor of New Hampshire, sees it, “The alarmists have learned well from the past. They saw what motivates policy makers is not necessarily just hard science, but a well-orchestrated symphony of effort … announce a disaster; cherry pick some results; back it up with computer modeling; proclaim a consensus; stifle the opposition; take over the process and control the funding; and roll the policy makers.” In their more candid moments, movement leaders agree, as did Timothy Wirth, former U.S. Senator and chief climate envoy during the Clinton administration: “We’ve got to ride the global warming issue. Even if the theory of global warming is wrong, we will be doing the right thing.”

6) Obviously, throughout history climate has always been in a state of change. Is the current obsession with it symptomatic of something deeper in contemporary human consciousness?

Alarm over a changing climate leading to malign results is in many ways the product of the hunger for stability and direction in a post-Christian world. Humans have a deep, innate need for a transcendent authority. Having rejected the precepts of Christianity, people in the advanced economies of the West are turning to other forms of authority. Putting aside those who cynically exploit the issue for their own gain – from scientists and politicians to UN leaders and green businesses – most activists are deeply committed to a secular, statist, anti-human, earth-centric set of beliefs which drives their claims of a planet in imminent danger from human activity. To them, a planet with fewer people is the ultimate goal, achievable only through centralized direction and control. As philosopher of science Jeffrey Foss points out, “Environmental science conceives and expresses humankind’s relationship to nature in a manner that is – as a matter of observable fact – religious.” It “prophesies an environmental apocalypse. It tells us that the reason we confront apocalypse is our own environmental sinfulness. Our sin is one of impurity. We have fouled a pure, ‘pristine’ nature with our dirty household and industrial wastes. The apocalypse will take the form of an environmental backlash, a payback for our sins. … environmental scientists tell people what they must do to be blameless before nature.”

7) Is it a case of over-focus on one aspect of life on this planet to the detriment of other aspects? Or is it purely a device being used for political purposes?

I think it is both. For some, such as movement leaders, UN officials, and many politicians, the issue is being cynically exploited to advance their agenda of greater control over human lives. For others, particularly rank and file environmental activists, climate change serves to reinforce and validate their broader concerns to the exclusion of many other dimensions of human life.

8) Those of us who are older recall the “urban legend” (or global myth), one might say, created by books such as Future Shock and The Population Bomb, which swept the world in the late 1960s and 70s, fostering a sense of panic regarding the future of mankind. At the very least, they spread an atmosphere of alarmism, forcing people to look for radical solutions to the human condition. They were based on questionable science and yet were promoted as authentic. Is our current favorite cause the same kind of passing phenomenon, or is something more serious happening?

I believe it is a similar phenomenon, but one that has captured the imagination and concerns of more people and has more support among elites. In my view, it is potentially more troubling and damaging than these earlier alarms.

9) You state that “official science,” the alliance of governments and bogus science, is a form of immorality pretending to be virtue. You conclude the book with a warning: The apparently idealistic combat against climate change, you assert, may well prove to be the mechanism for ushering in a Utopia. You maintain that utopian dreams may appear in the beginning to be about freedom and quality of life and yet will degenerate into what you and other thinkers have called “totalitarian democracy” — which means the destruction of authentic liberal democracy. Is this inevitable?

I am optimistic. I do not think its long-term success is inevitable, but it will take a determined effort by people of faith and conscience to point to its darker motives and its sinister exploitation of populist fears. We know from history that such movements have a predictable life cycle: They emerge with much enthusiasm among intellectual elites, they gain a broad following by focusing on alarmist predictions before becoming part of the political mainstream, and then decline into a minor movement among fringe intellectuals as a new alarm movement takes its place. The problem is that such movements can do a lot of damage and remain embedded within the intellectual community with the ability to rise, phoenix-like, as a new alarm. Former adherents of the eugenics movement and its successor, population control, for example, are now an integral part of the climate change alarm movement.

10) Numerous thinkers, as diverse as the atheist Aldous Huxley and the Catholic philosopher Josef Pieper, have warned that this kind of totalitarianism is the most dangerous of all, because it can always argue that it is not what, in fact, it is. Are we there yet? Or is the process still reversible?

I remain cautiously optimistic. Popular support for climate change action peaked a few years ago. In Europe, which has gone furthest in implementing climate change policies, politicians are beginning to look for ways to moderate earlier initiatives. In North America, rhetoric has far outstripped actions while the Obama administration has relied on stealth to implement its climate change agenda. At the same time, climate change has added to the momentum of the broader secularization of society and the pursuit of anti-human policies and programs. We are, sadly, farther down that road than we have ever been before.

11) In his lead-up commentary to the 2015 Paris Conference, and in his encyclical Laudato Si’, it would appear that Pope Francis has accepted the theory to some degree. At the same time, he emphatically maintains the primacy of the value of all human life, none excepted. Interpretations of his approach vary. In your opinion, is he unwittingly being used by advocates of the globalist agenda? Or is he deliberately bringing the voice of the Church into the forum, ensuring that it can still play a crucial role in the defense of life?

I think Pope Francis may have been motivated by the Church’s concern for human life and other moral issues, but in commenting favorably on the climate change movement, he has opened himself up to charges of being naïve and unwise. I prefer the insight of Australia’s George Cardinal Pell: “Theologians do not have too much to contribute on AGW except, perhaps, to note the ubiquity of the ‘religious gene’ and point out regressions into pseudo-religion or rudimentary semi-religious enthusiasms.”

12) In summation, do you believe that climate change is not the real issue?

No, the real issue is the hunger for power to change economic and political systems in order to achieve a wide-ranging agenda. In the words of former UNFCCC Secretary Christiana Figueres, the goal of “the whole climate change process is the complete transformation of the economic structure of the world.”

13) Any final words for our readers?

Again, it will take a determined effort by people of faith and conscience to convince our political leaders that they have been gulled by a political movement exploiting fear of climate change to push a utopian, humanist agenda that most people would find abhorrent. As it now stands, politicians are throwing money that they do not have at a problem that does not exist in order to finance solutions that make no difference. The time has come to call a halt to this nonsense and focus on real issues that pose real dangers. In a world beset by war, terrorism, and continuing third-world poverty, there are far more important things on which political leaders need to focus.

https://www.lifesitenews.com/news/scholar-peels-back-layers-of-deception-on-global-warming

Also at:

https://prosperitysaskatchewan.ca/2016/08/19/in-new-book-scholar-peels-back-layers-of-deception-on-global-warming

http://principia-scientific.org/new-book-scholar-peels-back-layers-deception-global-warming/

http://angelqueen.org/2016/08/19/in-new-book-scholar-peels-back-layers-of-deception-on-global-warming/

http://www.crossmap.com/news/in-new-book-scholar-peels-back-layers-of-deception-on-global-warming-30395/print

http://terrestrial.animalhealth.org/article/new-book-scholar-peels-back-layers-deception-global-warming-lifesite

http://www.forecastnext.com/weather-news/scholar-exposes-lies-behind-global-warming-onenewsnow-4/

https://tallbloke.wordpress.com/2016/08/20/hubris-the-troubling-science-economics-and-politics-of-climate-change/

https://weatheraction.wordpress.com/2016/08/20/hubris-the-troubling-science-economics-and-politics-of-climate-change/

https://utopiayouarestandinginit.com/2016/08/20/hubris-the-troubling-science-economics-and-politics-of-climate-change/

https://rclutz.wordpress.com/2016/08/20/on-the-hubris-of-climatism/

http://www.ehmac.ca/everything-else-eh/92721-third-official-authoritative-ghg-thread-662.html

http://acoustictalk.proboards.com/thread/43535/hubris-troubling-science-economics-politics?page=1&scrollTo=706347

http://www.maddogslair.com/blog/peeling-the-corrupt-climate-onion

http://www.relatest.com/20160821767425783170273280/

THE TROUBLING SCIENCE

Michael Hart is a Canadian academic with an impressive list of credentials. He has just put out a book – Hubris: The Troubling Science, Economics, and Politics of Climate Change.

This article covers many of the topics that have been raised here at Blackjay over the last couple of years. It is must-read for anyone with lingering doubts about the supposed urgent need for action on climate change.

For example: Alarm over a changing climate leading to malign results is in many ways the product of the hunger for stability and direction in a post-Christian world. Humans have a deep, innate need for a transcendent authority. Having rejected the precepts of Christianity, people in the advanced economies of the West are turning to other forms of authority. Putting aside those who cynically exploit the issue for their own gain – from scientists and politicians to UN leaders and green businesses – most activists are deeply committed to a secular, statist, anti-human, earth-centric set of beliefs which drives their claims of a planet in imminent danger from human activity. To them, a planet with fewer people is the ultimate goal, achievable only through centralized direction and control. As philosopher of science Jeffrey Foss points out, “Environmental science conceives and expresses humankind’s relationship to nature in a manner that is – as a matter of observable fact – religious.” It “prophesies an environmental apocalypse. It tells us that the reason we confront apocalypse is our own environmental sinfulness. Our sin is one of impurity. We have fouled a pure, ‘pristine’ nature with our dirty household and industrial wastes. The apocalypse will take the form of an environmental backlash, a payback for our sins. … environmental scientists tell people what they must do to be blameless before nature.”

The interview concludes: it will take a determined effort by people of faith and conscience to convince our political leaders that they have been gulled by a political movement exploiting fear of climate change to push a utopian, humanist agenda that most people would find abhorrent. As it now stands, politicians are throwing money that they do not have at a problem that does not exist in order to finance solutions that make no difference. The time has come to call a halt to this nonsense and focus on real issues that pose real dangers. In a world beset by war, terrorism, and continuing third-world poverty, there are far more important things on which political leaders need to focus.

It may be nitpicking but the one thing I disagree with is his use of the term “humanist” in the final paragraph. Humanism is a philosophical and ethical stance that emphasizes the value and agency of human beings, individually and collectively, and generally prefers critical thinking and evidence over acceptance of dogma or superstition. The utopian agenda is certainly not humanist. Any philosophy in which wilderness has greater value than community, in which humans are seen as a “scourge on the planet” a la Attenborough and which supports the dogma and pseudo-science of climate change is certainly not humanist.

But I agree with him about the rest of it.

John Reid

Editor

If the link doesn’t work, you can download a PDF from here:MichaelHartInterview.

 

“We want to feel good about ourselves”

Globe and Mail columnist Margaret Wente’s December 1, 2015 column (G&M Wente 1:12:15featured a discussion of Hubris: The Troubling Science, Economics, and Politics of Climate Change. Among the few columnists in Canada who have taken a common sense approach to climate alarmism, she characterizes the Paris climate conference as a “mammoth climate gabfest is about: good intentions, high-flown rhetoric, and zero substance.

Countdown to Paris — Hubris Excerpts in the National Post

Two excerpts from Hubris: The Troubling Science, Economics, and Politics of Climate Change were published in the Financial Post section of the National Post, November 25/26, 2015 as part of a series of critical articles leading up to the Paris Conference (COP 21) of the Parties to the UN Convention on Climate Change, November 30-December 1, 2015. The whole series provides an excellent introduction to the many problems raised by the climate movement and the Paris conference.

NP Excerpts, Countdown to Paris

 

Immorality Pretending to Virtue

Immorality Pretending to Virtue

by Michael Hart

Climate alarm belongs to a class of issues characterized by a claim for which there is no evidence … [and which is] characterized by profound immorality pretending to virtue.

Climate Scientist Richard Lindzen
At the end of 2015, government leaders will once again gather, this time in Paris, to craft a global treaty that will commit governments to significantly reducing modern civilization’s dependence on fossil-fuel based energy.

Billed as an effort to “save the planet” from the scourge of carbon-induced climate change, it is in fact the latest manifestation of a utopian project to transform the world. It would purportedly usher in a more just, equitable, and sustainable world, all value-laden terms colonized by the world’s progressives to convince people that a world run on the basis of decrees issued by international bureaucrats and self-appointed experts would be better than one that continues to rely on the economic and political freedoms that underpin democracy and capitalism.

The alarmism that drives much of the public discussion of climate change is based on dubious assumptions, divided science, and disputed evidence claiming that something must be done – and done quickly – to halt and even reverse changes in the global climate and avoid catastrophic harm to the biosphere.

Ethicist Thomas Derr suggests that

talk of global warming has become pervasive—and pervasively one-sided. Churches of all varieties have signed on to the issue as a moral cause. Corporations, including former doubters, have adopted anti-warming language, either from new conviction or for convenient public image. The denizens of the annual Davos pilgrimage organized by the World Economic Forum, with a wary eye to the zeitgeist, added climate change to their list of major concerns in 2007. Politicians, with a few exceptions, dare not openly deny that there is a problem, though their responses may vary.

The pessimism driving alarmists’ apocalyptic claims, however, is more than matched by the optimism that underpins their assessments of proffered solutions. Some alarmists are even prepared to argue that their solutions can be win-win, i.e., good for the planet and good for the economy, an optimism that is wholly without foundation.

In the case of climate change, scientists by the end of the 1980s had succeeded in constructing a Kuhnian paradigm, i.e., defining normal climate science to be the work of those scientists who shared the assessment that the climate system could be largely understood as a matter of radiative balance, based on forcings and feedbacks, and principally controlled by the greenhouse effect, other factors being of secondary importance. They focused on finding a human or anthropogenic cause to explain recent climate change while underestimating the extent to which climate is always changing on all spatial and temporal scales.

Over the next quarter century, many scientists not part of the dominant group—i.e., those not committed to official science—made significant strides in understanding the role of other, natural factors, concluding that they were underspecified in the official understanding of the climate system.

Given the growing political importance that the official view had captured, governments acquiesced in efforts to demonize and ostracize those who failed to adhere to the politically driven consensus. To that end, the proponents of official science used all the tools at their disposal, from funding and publication decisions to public discourse that demonized non-conforming scientists, all at a great cost to the integrity of the scientific process.

Both groups of scientists agree that global climate change is real, part of the chaotic and unpredictable interaction of various natural cycles, including cycles in the earth’s rotation on its axis and around the sun, cycles in the sun’s energy output, and cycles in ocean surface temperatures and currents. The minority view, however, points to the significant body of scientific research indicating that the extent of recent change—whether warming or cooling—is both modest and fully within previous human experience; over human time there have been many larger changes in climate. The current phase of benign climate is of relatively recent origin (less than 12,000 years), and within that time frame there have been at least eight cycles of both warming and cooling, largely unaided by human activity. The recent relative warming is part of the reversal of what paleo-climatologists refer to as the Little Ice Age (ca. 1350–1800), which in turn succeeded the Medieval Climate Optimum (ca. 800–1200).

The willingness of some Christians to adopt many of the tenets of climate change alarmism betrays a disturbing shallowness in their religious understanding. It is hard, for example, to reconcile the anthropocentric nature of Christianity—an as both the steward and the center of creation whose sinful nature is redeemed through the sacrifice of Jesus Christ—with the anti-human core of the alarmist movement, which holds that man is the despoiler of nature and posits the ideal as nature without man.

As papal scholar George Weigel astutely observes: “I doubt that … there is much ‘common ground’ to be found [by traditional Christians] with ‘creation care’ folks who implicitly worship Gaia rather than the God of the Bible. Gaia worship … carries with it an anthropology that treats the human person as a kind of anthropollutant, which leads in short order to a eugenic ‘morality’.” (Letters, First Things, April 2015).

In a similar vein, Michael Novak writes: “where people are poor, environmental conditions tend to be abysmal; and if the twentieth century proved anything, it was that the best way to end poverty isn’t red – the color of socialism – but blue, the color of liberty, personal initiative, and enterprise. … Blue Environmentalism, therefore, stands for the spreading of those institutions of empowerment that promote private property and creativity. It is not the natural endowment God gave the poor that is currently at fault, but the inadequacy of political systems and social institutions that fail to nurture and support it.”

The conversion of Pope Francis to the climate mantra in the lead-up to the Paris Conference at which governments will try once again to conclude a climate treaty with teeth indicates the extent to which this madness has permeated modern sensibilities.

The Pope’s June encyclical, Laudato Si’, reads like a primer of the global salvationist catechism and could have been written by any branch of the UN or by one of the multitude of environmental interest groups. It has transformed him into a modern media star, finding favor with all the “right” people, including all those who had long condemned Rome for its stubborn failure to commit to the modern secular agenda. Wittingly or not, Francis appears to have committed the Catholic Church to much of the new, post-Christian eco-morality that integrates fear of markets, condemnation of human progress and ingenuity, and belief in the power of technocrats to solve all the world’s problems, including that of so-called over-population.

From the beginning of his papacy, Pope Francis has been focused on the plight of the world’s poor. Not surprisingly, concern for the poor is central to his encyclical, but in hitching his concern for the poor to the climate change crusade, the pope reveals an appalling level of economic illiteracy – a fault he shares with many religious leaders. Like them, he focuses on distribution, but without understanding the importance of production.

The models of development that the pope criticizes are the very ones that are leading to falling rates of poverty, reduced inequality, and fewer deaths due to natural disasters. The most hopeful sign of the past thirty years is that countries from India and China to Chile and Brazil have learned what it takes to first produce and then distribute wealth: free markets, entrepreneurship, and private property rights—an economy in which those who participate can, by their talents, work, and ingenuity, earn a decent living.

The pope seems to prefer the failed and discredited approach of statism, centered on the UN. He foresees the need for a global bureaucracy of unprecedented size and power, a technocracy on steroids, in R.R. Reno’s felicitous phrase. In this context, he endorses the Earth Charter, the brainchild of Maurice Strong and Mikhail Gorbachev, two of the world’s leading advocates of statist sustainable development.

It would be difficult to find a movement that has done more damage to the prospects of the world’s poor than the UN’s sustainable development campaign in all of its ramifications. Despite billions spent in the UN’s top-down approach to development, little of that has trickled down to the poor. Rather, as scholars such as William Easterly, Surjit Bhalla, Elinor Ostrom, and Deepak Lal have shown, the most effective development tool has been the gradual abandonment of the dirigiste, state-directed economics favoured by the UN and the embrace by more and more Third World governments of open markets.

The combination of anti-capitalism, corporate social responsibility, central planning, environmentalism, and the other core tenets of sustainable development, has been lethal for the world’s poor. Yet progressive opinion in the West maintains that the path to progress lies in more of the same.

For many people, Australian Cardinal George Pell’s take on global warming in 2012 was much more in keeping with traditional Church teaching. Pope Francis ignored Pell’s counsel in favour of such icons of the church of global warming as Ban Ki-Moon, Al Gore, and Jeffrey Sachs. In a 2012 lecture at the Global Warming Policy Foundation, Pell clearly points to the anti-humanism of environmentalism, its incompatibility with Biblical teachings, and the tortured science it promotes.

Pell maintains his more traditional perspective and told an interviewer following the release of Laudato Si’ that the papal encyclical has “many, many interesting elements. There are parts of it which are beautiful. But the church has no particular expertise in science. The church has got no mandate from the Lord to pronounce on scientific matters. We believe in the autonomy of science.”

The appeal of post-Christian secular religion for many people—whether rooted in environmentalism or other belief systems—is that they have become skeptical of institutional Christianity but seek the comfort, certainty, and direction that religion can provide in their daily lives. Environmentalism offers a fully secular version of all the characteristics of more traditional transcendent belief systems: the need to avoid disaster by turning away from our sinful ways and by following a path of righteousness leading to harmony between man and nature. In a much-read speech delivered shortly before his death, novelist-physician Michael Crichton reached the same conclusion: “If you look carefully, you see that environmentalism is in fact a perfect 21st century remapping of traditional Judeo-Christian beliefs and myths.”

The story of the past quarter century is that more and more people, particularly those in authority, have chosen the path of superstition and self-destruction, justifying their choices on the basis of misguided morals, false religious beliefs, and pseudo-scientific analysis. In the fall of 2015, the evidence for that choice will look increasingly tattered. The big issue now is whether or not, after so much has been invested in the science and politics of global warming, it is possible to reverse course.

Governments have largely limited their policy responses to rhetoric and symbolic gestures, many of them annoying but having little or no impact on climate or on the composition of the atmosphere but have, nevertheless, been considered politically necessary in order to satisfy the pressure brought to bear by the environmental movement, both nationally and internationally. Light bulbs that provide inferior light, toilets that have to be flushed twice, garbage that needs to be sorted into ever-more specific piles, and unsightly windmills that decimate local and migrating bird populations and plague local residents: they all form part of the symbolism of modern green politics. Ordinary people grumble but have managed to live with the annoyances.

But an even larger question arises: is climate change the real issue? It may have been the immediate issue to some, but as the years have gone by and the climate system has not responded as predicted, it becomes ever more apparent that climate alarmism is a stalking horse for a more ambitious agenda on the part of the UN and its progressive supporters. As Father Raymond de Souza observes, “the settled science … fits together all too neatly with the agenda of those arguing for ever greater control of economic life.” In that sense, climate alarmists have become no more than useful idiots in a much bigger game.

As rosily as the UN and its fellow travellers may paint their utopia of global governance and collectivist central direction by technocrats, both the desire and its fruits are grounded in the impulse to control and organize people’s lives for their own good. Alarmists have cloaked themselves in the mantle of morality and virtue, but the truth is that their project reeks of the same immorality as eugenics and other earlier population control movements.

It took the evils of Hitler’s quest for Aryan purity to open people’s eyes to the pernicious assumptions of eugenics. What will it take to open people’s eyes to the immorality of climate alarmism?

The 20th century saw the defeat of totalitarian impulses from both the right and from the left, only to be faced with new intellectual challenges to democracy and capitalism. Little has changed except the fables with which intellectuals have tried to lull us into the false comfort of a world of omnipotent governance.

As Ludwig von Mises, Jacob Talmon, Karl Popper, Friedrich Hayek, and other survivors of the barbarism of the mid-twentieth century counselled then and would counsel today, only the ancient virtues of common sense and moral courage will reverse the tide. Their contemporary heir, Thomas Sowell, observes in Intellectuals and Society that it is striking “how difficult it is to think of benefits [intellectuals] have conferred on anyone but their own circles—and how painfully apparent it is how much they have in fact cost the rest of society at large, not only economically but in many other ways. … [and yet] despite formidable weapons wielded by the intelligentsia in their crusades for cultural, moral, and ideological hegemony, they are not always able to neutralize the countervailing force of facts, experience and common sense.”

Robert Zubrin concludes that as a result of the growth in anxiety and the rise in radical responses, modern society faces a choice between a humanism based on freedom of choice, ingenuity, and prosperity and an anti-humanism that demands ever tighter controls upon human aspirations. As he says:

If the idea is accepted that the world’s resources are fixed with only so much to go around, then each new life is unwelcome, each unregulated act or thought is a menace, every person is fundamentally the enemy of every other person, and each race or nation is the enemy of every other race or nation. The ultimate outcome of such a view can only be enforced stagnation, tyranny, war, and genocide.

The only antidote is to pursue a world based on continuing faith in God’s mercy and, under his dominion, in the virtues of human capacity for creativity, invention, and entrepreneurship and a deep respect for the dignity and freedom of each individual.

It will be cold comfort to future generations when their leaders finally realize how badly they have been fooled and how deeply they have embedded global warming hysteria into their cultural and governing norms, from tax policy to education programs. They will wonder, along with MIT climate scientist Richard Lindzen, why “the early twenty-first century’s developed world went into hysterical panic over a globally averaged temperature increase of a few tenths of a degree, and, on the basis of gross exaggerations of highly uncertain computer projections combined into implausible chains of inference proceeded to contemplate a rollback of the industrial age.”

Now is the time for governments to begin the painful task of dismantling a movement that they have helped to create and that now threatens much more than the integrity of science.

As the dates of the Paris meeting draw near, thoughtful people will need to screw up their courage and speak out. Nigel Lord Lawson, former British Chancellor of the Exchequer and one of the most perceptive critics of the climate alarm mantra, puts the issue bluntly: “Global warming orthodoxy is not merely irrational. It is wicked.”

Michael Hart is professor emeritus at the Norman Paterson School of International Affairs at Carleton University in Ottawa, Canada. He is author of Hubris: the Troubled Science, Economics, and Politics of Climate Change, available at Amazon and other online booksellers in both print and e-book versions.

This article first appeared at the blog of the Cornwall Alliance.

Time to bring the climate charade to an end

COMMENTARY: Time to bring the climate charade to an end

by Michael Hart | 06 November, 2015

CANADA (Christian Examiner) — With the conclusion of the Canadian election in favour of Justin Trudeau and the Liberals, both Canada and the United States now face the daunting prospect of national delegations in Paris this month determined to advance the climate change agenda and saddle people with an ever-increasing burden of costly but ineffective regulations.

In announcing the latest iteration of his Clean Power Plan in August, President Obama told the media that he is “convinced that no challenge poses a greater threat to our future and future generations than a changing climate.” Fully implemented, his plan might lead to a 0.03°C reduction in global temperature by the end of the century. It would also destroy thousands of jobs and increase costs throughout the US economy. Such is the two-edged sword of the climate change file: political theater, costly programs, and little if any perceptible impact on a climate that is largely determined by natural forces.

Trudeau has been more circumspect, promising a national effort in full cooperation with the provinces and in consultation with the United States. He has been short on specifics but clear on the direction he wants to go. He wants Canada to play a leading role in this new kind of misguided internationalism.

Following Paris, climate change’s greatest danger, therefore, will come from the solutions being imposed rather than from the impact of whatever changes may be in store as the result of forces far beyond human control. The most serious threat to the future lies in the extent to which the alarmist movement has undermined public confidence in reputable science and scientists and in the extent to which gullible governments led by fearful politicians have been prepared to let the climate change story be used to undermine national economies, public welfare, and democratic governance.

After 25 years of endless talk, it should by now be clear to all but the morally blind that alarmist scientists, mendacious environmentalists, utopian progressives, and overreaching politicians are trying to steer the world towards a dark future, offering economy-destroying solutions for at worst a marginal problem. Their quest is to reverse the development of human freedoms and well-being in order to “save” a planet that has withstood more than 4.5 billion years of assaults much more momentous than the gentle rise in atmospheric levels of a benign gas critical to all of life.

Their willingness to condemn two-thirds or more of the planet’s people to perpetual poverty belies a stunning moral blindness. Their fixation on an abstract and largely imaginary problem and their insistence on radical solutions without reference to wider ethical issues or to political and practical feasibility have confused a large segment of the population in the very countries that have most benefited from the application of cheap energy to satisfy basic human needs and desires. Their moral obtuseness extends as far as counselling that we give up on democratic politics and human ingenuity and settle for Malthusian moralizing.

It is time to end this charade and channel global energies and resources into more pressing and rewarding scientific research. It is time for public officials to turn their attention to issues that matter and undo the damage already done. Now, more than ever, people of faith and character need to speak out and witness to the dangers we all face.

Michael Hart is Emeritus Professor of International Affairs and former Simon Riesman Chair in Trade Policy, Carleton University, Ottawa, ON, Canada, and a Contributing Writer for The Cornwall Alliance for the Stewardship of Creation.

EDITOR’S NOTE: The 2015 United Nations Climate Change Conference is in Paris, Nov. 30 – Dec. 11. It is the 21st yearly session of the Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change. A stated goal is to produce a binding and universal agreement on climate, from all nations of the world.

This article first appeared in the Christian Examiner