Thursday, March 12, 2009

Heartland 2nd ICCC 2009: Politicizing science


New York – When something is politicized – whether it’s rice or wages, energy or just about anything, expect the politicians and bureaucrats, not the market players, whether they’re producers or consumers, to dictate the price and the rules of exchange.

Even in the field of science, when it is politicized, politicians and various political forces, not scientists, set the rules on how to tackle the perceived scientific problem.

Climate change alarmism and global warming scare can prove to be one of the greatest scams and taxation rackets that the world would ever know. The notion is: this is an anthropogenic (man-made) global warming caused by high carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions. The result is large-scare climate, economic and social catastrophe. The solution is large-scale reduction in human emission of CO2, reduction in economic activities if necessary, just to “save the planet” and ourselves.

The flow in this logic looks rational except that there are plenty of premises that need to be satisfied before the above logic holds. Failure in any of those premises will cause the breakdown of the above reasoning and render it illogical. Consequently, this affects the all-encompassing proposals to cut down CO2 emissions by heavier government regulation and taxation, heavy subsidization (if not cronyism) of taxpayers’ money for favored “clean” energy sources, and the companies, consultants, expensive speakers and powerful lobby groups that benefit from alarmism.

These are among the important issues and topics that were discussed during the “International Conference on Climate Change” (ICCC) with a sub-theme, “Global Warming: was it ever really a crisis?” The event was sponsored by the Heartland Institute (www.heartland.org) and co-sponsored by 60 other private and independent think tanks from around the world, mostly from the US. Our group, Minimal Government Thinkers, Inc. (www.minimalgovernment.net) is one of the three think tanks from Asia that co-sponsored the event, held at the New York Marriot Marquis hotel in this city. I was given a travel scholarship by Heartland and I was able to attend the event from March 8 and concluded today, March 10. Well, I was the only Filipino participant out of around 700 people who came to that conference.

Among the important speakers in the event were Vaclav Klaus (getting his autograph of his book here), President of the Czech Republic and current President of the European Union (six-months term). A PhD economist by education, he wrote a book, “Blue Planet in Green Shackles (What is Endangered: Climate or Freedom?)”, published in 2007 by the Competitive Enterprise Institute (www.cei.org). I have a picture with him during the event, as well as a signed copy of his book.

There were plenty of known scientists-speakers during the event. Among them were Dr. Richard Lindzen, a Professor of Meteorology (with degrees in Physics and Applied Mathematics) at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Dr. Jack Schmidt, an American geologist, former NASA astronaut, university professor and US Senator also spoke. He was the 12th and last person to walk on the moon.

Dr. Arthur Robinson who heads the Oregon Institute of Science and Medicine, spoke and dissected inconvenient contradictions in the “Inconvenient Truth”. He directed the Petition Project (www.petitionproject.org) which declared:

“There is no convincing evidence that human release of carbon dioxide, methane or other greenhouse gases is causing or will, in the foreseeable future, cause catastrophic 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 environment of the Earth.”

This Petition obtained the support and signatures of 31,478 American scientists, 9,029 of whom have PhDs! I also got a copy of this Petition that contains the paper by Dr. Robinson and his two colleagues. It contains lots of graphs and scientific evidence, and the list of Petition signers alone, state by state, is 200 pages long.

A Swedish scientist, Dr. Fred Goldberg, professor at the Royal Institute of Technology in Stockholm, Sweden, and an authority on polar history and exploration, delivered a paper, “Do the planets and the sun control our climate and the CO2 in the atmosphere?” From the various graphs, charts and scientific tables that he presented, his answer was a clear “Yes”.

Dr. Laurence Gould, a professor of Physics (and Math, astronomy, etc.) at the University of Hartford, showed in his presentation that humans produce only 3.5% of all CO2 emissions in the air and CO2 comprises only 0.038% of the atmosphere. He noted that even if all Kyoto Protocol agreements were to be implemented, global temperature will decline by only 0.07 degree Celsius (at a cost of several trillion dollars of carbon and petroleum taxes, higher energy prices and lower economic, lower standard of living).

There were several dozen other scientist speakers, along with several economists, legislators and think tank leaders. But a striking speaker for me on the last day of the conference was Dr. Willie Soon, a Malaysian-American astrophysicist and geoscientist at the Solar, Stellar and Planetary Sciences Division of the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics.

Dr. Soon (in this photo: Barun Mitra from India, Willie Soon, Jose Tapia from Peru) discussed a paper, “Disconnects in Sun climate studies: removing politics from science”, and he was very vocal in dissecting the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) WG paper on solar forcing as largely a political document. His field is astrophysics and his research work showed with great clarity, that the Sun’s activities (radiation, sunspots and sunspot cycles, etc.) showed a direct and clear correlation with climate changes (cooling and warming cycles) over a long period of time.

The IPCC Report said there was no connection between the sun and climate changes. Dr. Soon also showed that CO2 emission has very little, if any, correlation to climate changes. He showed a chart for data collected in Salt Lake City, which shows that CO2 emissions were high during winter and recedes to low levels when summer comes. This suggests zero connection between CO2 emission and climate changes.

The IPCC report was also very adamant in arguing that it is not only carbon emission per se, but anthropogenic or man-made carbon emission that’s to blame for global warming and climate change!

There is absence of “consensus” therefore, among scientists around the world, to declare that anthropogenic carbon emission is the single biggest culprit that causes global warming, now billed as climate change.

From the long line-up of scientists who spoke during the conference, it showed that the above assertion has NO scientific basis at all. It also showed that the IPCC Report was a political document masquerading as a scientific paper to push certain political agenda like controlling people’s pockets and lives – how much petroleum and energy taxes to pay, what kind of energy sources they should or should not use (energy sources to be killed), what new tax-and-trade (a.k.a. “cap-and-trade”) schemes to be imposed, how much biofuel mix to be made mandatory for our vehicles, what percent of agricultural lands can be devoted to planting bio-fuels, etc.

The threats to economic growth and world food production as well as individual liberty is large due to the politicization of climate science to favor various rent-seekers, inside and outside of governments and inter-government bodies. It is a dangerous scheme that must be exposed to the public.

And what is the alternative? Do nothing. Do not legislate tax-and-trade schemes, do not legislate mandatory bio-fuels or ethanol for our vehicles, do not create new Presidential (and Governors’ and Mayors’) task forces or Commissions for climate change, do not raise petroleum taxes or hike existing rates, do not subsidize clean and renewable energy sources. There is big demand for renewable energies, many people will buy such energy even if it’s expensive than conventional and non-renewable energies.

Adaptation – not alarmism and bureaucratism, to climate change is the simplest and most effective way to deal with climate change, whether it’s global warming or global cooling.
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On February 01, 2009, I wrote this:

Global Warming Cancelled

Recently, the US and Europe experienced some of their most nasty and icy winters on record. Even tropical countries like the Philippines also experienced a long and oftentimes nasty “cold front” the past two months and until early this month. Consequently, news stories about global warming (GW) and climate change (CC) were not as frequent and virulent as last year.

The GW and CC scare, while supposedly a “wake-up call” for the rest of humanity to mend their ways so they can help “combat” GW and CC, is actually a very expensive and dangerous move. Expensive because all governments, rich and poor alike, are talking about several hundred billion dollars of funding and new foreign aid, to kill “dirty” energy sources and subsidize “clean” ones. Dangerous because GW and CC scare is being used as a convenient excuse to increase government control over the citizens’ lives, income and decision making.

The government will now be producing new rules and regulations, new bureaucracies outlining what acts by the citizens will be penalized with taxes and fees -- if not imprisonment, what acts to be given government subsidies, and so on. This is effectively a new form of social engineering where the State further shapes our lives, our working and spending habits and our relationship with other people.

Meanwhile, governments continue to set up dozens of new agencies and bureaucracies that require regular funding from tax money. In the Philippines for instance, the government created a new and big bureaucracy called the Presidential Task Force on Climate Change (PTFCC). This body has also created 14 “task groups” to cover wide issues from rainwater conservation to outdoors and rooftop structures, including regulating and penalizing some activities and providing incentives to others. The amount of new government personnel to be hired just to monitor, who are violating certain regulations and who deserves incentives like subsidies, will be huge.

Lucky though, there is a growing number of people, especially scientists and policy makers, NGOs and think tank leaders around the world, who are not enamored by the continuing GW and CC scare. They recognize that there is climate change, the same way that people change and cultures, communities and technologies change. But they do not believe that the answer is more government environmental and taxation regulations, but rather adaptation by the people to the changing climate and its consequences, changing hydrologic pattern, changing agricultural production, and so on.

One of such international think tanks that does not believe in the GW scare, is the Heartland Institute in Chicago. It is sponsoring the 2nd International Conference on Climate Change (ICCC), and it will be supported by more than 40 other independent think tanks including Minimal Government Thinkers, Inc., as co-sponsors. The event will be held in New York on March 8 to 10, 2009.

Among the speakers in the conference will be Vaclav Klaus, Jose Maria Aznar and Dr. Jack Schmitt. Vaclav Klaus is the President of the Czech Republic, and the current president of the European Union. He wrote a recently-published book, Blue Planet in Green Shackles, where he argued that the debate over GW has "become a symbol and example of the clash between truth and propaganda.”

Jose Maria Aznar is the former Prime Minister of Spain. He calls GW alarmism as a form of “new religion”. Dr. Jack Schmitt is a retired astronaut, the last living man to walk on the moon. Other speakers in the Conference will be Willie Soon of the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics; and Richard Lindzen of MIT and one of the world's leading experts in dynamic meteorology, especially planetary waves.

The current global financial turmoil proved to be an ally and a friend of GW scare. A friend because demand for petroleum products in many countries around the world has plummeted, resulting in lower oil consumption and lower air pollution. But it is also an enemy of GW scare because even governments of rich countries are running out of money for huge subsidies for “clean” energy sources, as governments are diverting huge amount of tax money for fiscal stimulus and to bail out their collapsing huge banks and corporations.

Adaptation by people, not more government environmental regulations and taxation, remains the best measure to cope with climate change.

2 comments:

Primerica said...

Nice article, I wish I could have attended the ICCC to see Mr. Klaus speak. He's a remarkable person and a very good speaker. And he was the only politician who was an active denier of the global warming. I envy him for that and now he's finally being proved right. It's so obvious that the global warming is just another way how to tax people and profit on the ignorance and lack of information about this event.

Take care, Lorne

Nonoy Oplas said...

Yes, Vaclav is a soft-spoken and convincing speaker. His main message is clear: It's not climate that's endangered. It's our individual freedom.