Leitmotif

Reason as the Leading Motive

A Convenient Falsehood

Posted by Jerry on April 29, 2007

Last night, I watched Al Gore’s emotional-environmental documentary An Inconvenient Truth. Gore makes an emotionally powerful case via his many visual media–footage of natural disasters, calamities, melting glaciers, breaking ice sheets, slick slideshows of graphs and diagrams, etc.

One of the premises of the movie is that the Earth is currently undergoing a warming phase; fair enough and true, and no one disputes this matter of fact. However, Gore makes an additional claim–and he couches it in strongly moral and ethical terms–that the global warming phase is being driven by human activity and human CO2 emissions.  

This most fundamental premise of global warming–that higher carbon emissions are resulting in increases in temperature–is in fact false! The scientific data demonstrate that it is the other way around–increases in temperature have historically resulted in increased levels of carbon in the atmosphere and this trend continues even today. In fact, a change in temperature is followed by changes in carbon emissions with a lag of over hundreds of years.

Thus, the available scientific data–from ice core surveys, satellites, temperature balloons, etc.–show that CO2 does not drive changes in temperature but that changes in temperature is followed by varying levels of CO2 in the atmosphere.

Al Gore offers very little by way of science in his documentary–and even the little that he offers is shoddy, misinterpreted science and misrepresented graphs. If you’re interested in learning about the real science behind the fact of climate change, then this documentary video entitled “The Great Global Warming Swindle” is the one to watch. Unlike Gore’s version, this video has a long list of eminent scientists, meterologists, and climatologists–not ex-vice presidents–giving you cold facts devoid of evocative photographs or other visuals. These scientists–including some of the lead authors of the IPCC report on climate change and the co-founder of Greenpeace–do not mince words when they conclusively state that the “facts do not fit the [anthropogenic climate change] theory.

Seriously, if you have watched An Inconvenient Truth, then you really need to get a dose of hard facts and reality by watching The Great Global Warming Swindle. If you have already watched it once, then watch it again like I did!

On a related note, there is good reason to argue that the whole climate change issue became so politicized due to the interference of government and tax money in scientific research. The government, properly, has no business deciding to spend upwards of 2 billion dollars a year (like the US did) of tax payer money on global warming science–or any other scientific project, for that matter.

Nevertheless, all the money now being legislated by governments and being spent by entities as a result of this false theory of anthropogenic climate change could actually be put to good use where it is needed most urgently.

We should not be spending such huge amounts of public money on researching the technology of hybrid/green vehicles or reducing the emissions of coal industries; rather, finances should be poured into rebuilding and fortifying cities like New Orleans, New York, and Amsterdam to withstand and resist the climatary manifestations of rising temperatures, such as hurricanes and tornadoes.

We should, for example, be focused on increasing competitive technologies in air-cooling systems to reduce the prices of airconditioners in order that more people across the world (particularly those living in the equatorial regions of Africa) can afford to purchase these potentially life-saving products. People in the hottest regions of the world would be better off being able to afford cheap and efficient air-cooling systems than planting more trees.

Most importantly, we should urgently and immediately insist on capitalism and free markets across all economies in order to expedite the creation of wealth across the globe and raise everyone’s standard of living to be able to afford decent shelter from the rising temperature and other climatary changes. 

This is the way to save human lives the rational, scientific, and humanitarian way; not by chasing some fabricated fantasy theory of industrial carbon emissions in the atmosphere.

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7 Responses to “A Convenient Falsehood”

  1. John Wayne said

    Admin: John Wayne’s comment has been deleted because there was not even a trace of any intellectual argumentation; however, he did include an offensive expletive. Any similar offensive and moronic comments made by John (or anyone else, for that matter) will also be deleted and the IP addresses moved into SPAM and posted publicly on this site at my discretion.

  2. […] Comments John Wayne on A Convenient FalsehoodAvadhut Phatarpekar on The UndercurrentErgo on The UndercurrentAron on The UndercurrentErgo on The […]

  3. Aron said

    Jerry, the reason for increased research in hybrid vehicles is not just due to the misplaced notion of fossil fuel combustion causing global warming. It is also a consequence of the reducing supply of fossil fuels, which is causing their prices to spiral upward, as is evident today. Since it is established that fossil fuel resources are decreasing rapidly, research on hybrid cars will help in defusing the insane fossil fuel cost as evident in developing countries. If the cost of fossil fuels continues to increase, we can dash hopes of making available cars that are cheap and efficient. In fact, in a few years, with increasing fuel prices, only the super rich will be able to afford cars. And imagine the corersponding tremendous increase in production cost due to increased transportation costs.

    Making air cooling systems cheap and efficient will definitely benefit many people in tropical and developing nations. But you cannot compare air conditioing with planting more trees. Remember that planting more trees does not mean that industrial progress or technology will be hindered. There are immense benefits to planting trees. Firstly, trees reduce the overall temperature of an area making it pleasant since we are talking about temperature control here. Secondly, the roots of trees help prevent soil erosion due to runoffs. This type of soil erosion has been one of the main contributors to making many sloping regions unarable, rendering many farmers to the gates of destitution.

    It is also important to reduce “harmful” emissions since it has been proved scientifically that people living around insustrial units or in highly polluted areas suffer from increasing bouts of respiratory diseases such as asthama for example. Hence, it makes sense to improve processes such that harmful emissions can be reduced. Remember that reducing harmful emissions does not imply a decrease in productivity.

  4. Ergo said

    Aron (is that what I should call you? ;)) All your points are valid and I agree with them.

    That notwithstanding, I am against funneling public money into “green vehicle” technologies in all cases–and even strongly against it when the accepted presumption behind stealing public money is that there is a climate crisis on our hands.

    Private automakers can choose to switch to hybrid vehicle production if they choose to stay competitive and remain in business; let market pressures determine what technologies are pursued. If you allow the government to fund those automakers involved in green car manufacturing, then you have created an imbalance whereby the other automakers are in a de facto disadvantage, and might go out of busines. Private businesses should have the full right to make their own business decisions–even if it may be detrimental to their own survival. So long as no rights or legitimate contracts are violated, what technologies are produced should be left up to the producers, not the masses or the government. In a free market system, people will vote their their wallets and corporations will heed the prevailing market demand.

    Incidentally, hybrid technologies are still very expensive to be manufactured for and sold in less developed countries like India; indeed, an entire supporting infrastructure will need to accompany the introduction of such new vehicles. For example, mechanics and bodyshop workers will need to be trained, fuel stations might have to change, etc. etc. Hence, till the moment it becomes unfeasible or unsustainable, such countries will need to continue surviving on traditional vehicles and fuel systems. It would be a detriment to the economies and markets of these countries (and to the automakers) to forcefully introduce (either by government fiat or environmental lobbying) hybrid vehicles in a bid to phase out traditional fuel systems and reduce pollution–however benevolent this motive may seem. Markets have to take their course in their own time.

    Despite all this, we have governments and environmentalists making a big hooplah about green cars and pouring BILLIONS of dollars into this industry–not for the reason *you* state, that fossil fuels are depleting–but because they believe that carbon emissions have brought a crisis upon us today. I am against *this*.

    With regard to trees versus cooling technologies. I made my statement based on the following premises: there appears to be evidence of global warming as a regular, non-anthropogenic, cycle of climate change. To that end, we need *immediate* and *effective* measures to resist the brunt of the heat–particularly in the scorching locales of Africa. Further, my contention is that *people* are more important than the “environment.” To that end, my argument is that private companies and charities should support TECHNOLOGICAL innovations that can provide *immediate*, effective, and affordable relief to the people most affected by climate changes by providing them with cheap, inexpensive, innovative tools that can help them *survive* today in order to plant trees tomorrow!

    Further, it is a given fact that if global warming is the problem, planting more trees ain’t the solution. Sure enough, yes, trees give shade and cool and clean air, but it ain’t enough to counter the effects of solar activity, which is the major factor in global warming. Even a huge continent of forests would not be able to do that (it would, however, displace millions of people and leave less land for farming and living.)

    Planting trees is a nice activity; but its effects are slow–although long-term, and those who are at the receiving end of a heat wave would much rather prefer being able to afford a cheap and ingenuis cooling mechanism (perhaps, even innovations in housing materials and structural layouts could fall into this category) than wait for the trees in their backyard to grow tall enough and dense enough to provide some cooling.

    I think a key principle to keep in mind in this context is this: leave man free to do that which he can do better and faster than nature. If we can tackle global warming with advanced technology, then that should be our *immediate* pursuit and the target of our investments.

    With regard to reducing air pollution and industrial emissions, I agree with you there fully. But note that the most *technologically advanced* countries are also the ones who have drastically reduced air pollution and increased desirability of living areas with clean air. So, recognize this, the primary pursuit is not to “reduce industrial emissions” but to allow private industries unrestricted advancements in technology that will streamline their production system, reduce their wastes, create efficiency in their systems, and increase the shelf-life of their production tools that are cleanly maintained. All this means, the emphasis should be on letting companies make unbridled profits without enforcing rules and emission standards on them. Companies that are inefficient in their systems, or those that do not maintain their machinery in good condition (eg., badly maintained cars break down more often), or those that create a lot of waste, will slowly be pushed out of business by others who practice the opposite. Consumers will vote with their wallets to support the efficient companies and will reward those who publicly make a commitment to waste reduction and efficiency. Subsequently, efficient industries get richer, and the surrounding environment gets cleaner.

    Thus, Aron, all your points are valid and that is not being disputed. My point is to shift the perspective in how they should be achieved. How should one go about getting more green vehicles, more trees, and less air pollution? The *how* is the question. By rules, regulations, emission and pollution standards, government funding of one kind of technology versus another, or by free market mechanisms?

  5. Aron said

    Thank you jerry for the clarifications. I completely agree that in a free market, consumers make the best choices and inefficient industries will eventually lose their market value. In fact, i totally detest government interference and hybrid/fuel cell research encouraged due to the “global warming crisis.” If hybrid/fuel cell car research is getting accelerated, it should be due to market demand and not due to reducing pollution and making earth green or whatever.

    Once again, thanks for the argument. It helped me achieve more clarity on how a free market mechanism can be very beneficial for humans in terms of wealth creation and quality of life. In fact, countries like the US, UK, etc. are rich because they had adopted free market mechanisms during the industrial production era.

    On the air conditioning debate, I agree that money should go into making human life livable and comfortable, especially since the tropical countries are most affected by global warming. I also don’t believe that growing trees is the solution to reducing temperature immediately, but I was merely indicating that developing efficient/cheap airconditioning and growing trees are not inversely proportional. 🙂

  6. krishashok said

    I just wish to point out some bad science used in your arguments here. Air Conditioners are thermodynamically *heat-producing* machines. The cooling effect is illusory because it cools the interiors while producing a far greater amount of heat on the outside. In other words, they heat the outside more than they cool the inside, as a result of the inherent innefficiences in heat-transfer mechanisms.

    Similarly, the problems with industries is not just limited to the release of Carbon dioxide. The industrial CO2-global warming argument is, as you said, contentious. But that, is the least of the problems. The toxic waste released into the rivers, the poisoning the water table and the non-CO2 toxic gases (such as the ones in Bhopal) are bigger problems for local communities that are affected.

    Both the problem and the solution in this case lie in the free market. The pressure to make short term quarterly profits because of the nature of the current free market business cycle makes factories pollute with impunity. The cost of filters, anti-pollution devices is too much for a lot of companies to bear. The solution is not for governments to act silly and put barriers on industrial growth. That is what many countries do, rather injudiciously. If the damage to the environment can be accurately and objectively factored into the global financial markets (I have no idea how 🙂 ), this will set in motion a chain of possible events that could help both factories fix problems cheaply as well as local communities grappling with pollution.

    (unrelated to this post) But if we believe that we can simply continue to build smokestacks to the moon, like Rand did, I am sure we can. The only thing is that we will only have the moon left. The earth will have become a toxic unliveable wasteland if we don’t sort out the problem of environmental pollution.

  7. KK said

    “Seriously, if you have watched An Inconvenient Truth, then you really need to get a dose of hard facts and reality by watching The Great Global Warming Swindle. If you have already watched it once, then watch it again like I did!”

    You are joking right?? Dose of hard facts??
    That documentary has been thoroughly debunked.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Great_Global_Warming_Swindle

    “This most fundamental premise of global warming–that higher carbon emissions are resulting in increases in temperature–is in fact false! The scientific data demonstrate that it is the other way around–increases in temperature have historically resulted in increased levels of carbon in the atmosphere and this trend continues even today. In fact, a change in temperature is followed by changes in carbon emissions with a lag of over hundreds of years.”

    Please provide some evidence before you make such prepostorous claims. There is enough evidence out there that human activity has affected the climate. Wikipedia has some links to such studies.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Scientific_opinion_on_climate_change

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