The Green Gun Reloaded
No Amount Of Contrary Data Will Dissuade An Environmental Socialist. The Debate Has Nothing To Do With Science But Everything To Do With A Political Agenda.
By Perry Hicks- Special to GulfCoastNews.com 8/28/09
One of the environmental movement’s more egregious errors is adopting slogans that cannot be supported by factual evidence. By focusing on a predefined “evil,” sloganeers are able to convince the undiscriminating faithful to contribute ever more dollars.
The ultimate problem for the sloganeers is that a little fact checking can expose their true objective, i.e. a hidden agenda.
Take for example, the issue of our “disappearing forests.” Some years ago I had a pen pal who was an environmental activist. She was dumb struck when I told her that America has more trees today than in the time of George Washington. Nervously she tried to refute my statement so I suggested an obvious visual reference; look at any Civil War-era photograph and you will see very few trees.
Particularly along the east coast, trees had been felled for firewood, agriculture, building materials, and export to England- which not coincidentally, was also short of the kinds of wood necessary to building ships. By Washington’s time, North American forests had been reduced to the point that, in urban areas, coal was being substituted for heating and cooking.
Undeterred, my pen pal continued her refutation by claiming no “credible” environmentalist would say that the “total bio-mass of forests” were greater today than 200 years ago.
From her viewpoint, this is probably true; as defined by socialists, a credible environmentalist probably wouldn’t say it. This likelihood, however, does not negate the truth that we indeed do have more trees today than in Washington’s time. In fact, there is good evidence that our national forestry has actually been expanding for the last 100 years.
Take Mississippi for example:
· Mississippi has about 19.5 million acres of forest land.
· This is 2.5 million more forest acres than the state had in 1987.
· This is 3.3 million more forest acres than the state had in 1934.
· This increase has come despite continued urban growth and commercial logging.
Although I refrained from harrumphing every time she referred to President Bush as “Frat Boy,” any doubts she may have had about my social acceptability was confirmed when I told her that I was about to appear on Fox News Channel’s “The O’Reilly Factor.” My appearance in the segment was to defend private ownership of sport utility vehicles. Shortly thereafter my pen pal would no longer correspond with me.
If differences in forest management are fraught with acrimony, the rancor associated with global warming can only be described as down right ugly. This is because the previously mentioned “credible” environmentalists have long been joined at the hip with the equally controversial CO2 issue.
While we experience weather locally, weather is, in fact, driven globally. A fixture of the debate is where and how are the temperatures measured? Pro-global warming environmentalists cite ground based temperature measurements as solid proof that the earth is warming. Anti-global warming environmentalists cite satellite measurements as proof that earth’s average temperature is either fairly constant, or undergoing a slight cooling trend.
So which is it? Warming or cooling? And, do the ground based average local temperature tables support the global warming view? More importantly, over what span of time are we to base our judgments?
The graph below show regression model for average annual temperature data for Pascagoula Mississippi. Note the steady decrease in temperature between the late 1800s and present. Data from U.S. Historical Climatology Network.
The ground based temperature record is also further complicated by an abundance of large thermal sources such as towns and cities. To climatologists, these are known as heat islands and science is beginning to recognize the dramatic impact heat islands can have on weather.
Buildings not only give off heat during the winter, air conditioning units blow hot air during the summer cooling season. Add to this the heat absorbing effects of black asphalt roads, and mean urban air temperatures can easily be five or more degrees Fahrenheit higher than nearby rural areas.
Other factors impacting annual mean temperatures are clouds, airborne particulates, the sun’s output, and other little discussed factors.
If earth’s climatological record is so difficult to interpret, why are environmentalists so strident in their insistence that global warming is real and just as strident in their focus on CO2 emissions?
To understand this phenomena, one must examine the origins of global warming.
The Genesis of Global Warming
The notion that human activity could impact the climate is an ancient one, assuredly spanning back many millennia to prehistoric man. However, the idea that man could alter weather came into a more rational focus near the end of the 19th century. A Swedish scientist, Svante Arrhenius, published a paper suggesting that the industrial revolution’s reliance on fossil fuel could trigger a “greenhouse” effect, resulting in the earth’s average temperature to rise.
Archeological evidence as well as historical record has provided us good witness to the changes earth’s climate has undergone over time. Accordingly, the greenhouse effect is but one theory among many, including, as stated previously, the presence of airborne particulates, sun variability and volcanism.
In the 1930s, meteorologists came to believe that the mean annual temperature had been increasing in the United States for nearly a half century. Most observers presumed that the rising mercury was only evidence of some natural cycle. However, an amateur meteorologist, G.S. Callendar, blamed warming on CO2. Being the 1930s, there was no money to begin a major study on a tasteless, colorless, scientifically defined benign gas like carbon dioxide.
It was also unknown if atmospheric CO2 concentrations were indeed increasing. This changed in the 1950s when a post World War II Federal Government had both the money and technology to investigate atmospheric CO2. The theory that atmospheric CO2 concentrations were increasing was confirmed by C.D. Keeling in 1961. However, no link could be made between CO2 levels and temperature.
CO2 has been found to have changed dramatically over time with today’s atmospheric concentrations slightly higher than that of 500 million years ago. Over the intervening period, CO2 dropped dramatically until about 275 million years ago but has been increasing steadily over the last 50 million years. Mean annual temperatures have fluctuated wildly even over this last 50 million year period. (See Chart.)
The reason that scientists could not correlate atmospheric CO2 to temperature is that while they had been able to determine that CO2 was indeed increasing on a scale of parts per million, since the 1940s, the global mean temperature had been decreasing giving rise to the fear we were possibly entering a new ice age.
However, the CO2 theorists were not daunted. New techniques to extract climate data from ice cores and other fossil records continued to be cited as proof that climate changes could occur, not just gradually over the broad length of millennia, but make drastic changes in as little as a few hundred years.
A calculation made in 1967 indicated average global temperatures could rise over the next 100 years; no alarm was sounded at that time because of the cooling trend that had been underway since about 1940. However, the climate inquiry did not remain within the scholarly boundaries of science but came under political influence.
Socialists seeking to disaffect the industrial democracies from their own successes had begun a campaign of finding fault with everything that had come out of the Judeo-Christian Western world, particularly technology.
Because the abysmally low living standard of those living in the Communist countries was an embarrassment for socialists, a way to close the gap with the Western industrial nations had to be found. The answer came in 1966 in the form of the Cloward-Piven Strategy, formulated by two Columbia University professors, Richard Cloward and Frances Fox Piven.
The Cloward-Piven Strategy intentionally “creates” artificial “crisis” that can only be “solved” by replacing long standing practices or institutions in favor of socialist ones.
As we will see in Parts 3 and 4, environmental organizations increasingly began to shift away from science toward politics in the late 1960s and began to express all of their communications in crisis terms- even as the environment got better.
Accordingly, the study of global warming steered totally toward the view that temperature increases were solely caused by man- anthropomorphic CO2. However, the slight cooling trend that extended until the late 1970s did not deter the socialists and efforts to convince the public were ramped up.
General scientific research was making it increasingly clear that mankind was releasing far more stuff into the atmosphere that could potentially impact temperature than CO2, such as dust, diesel fuel particulates, chlorofluorocarbons (CFC refrigerant blamed for opening the ozone hole) and methane. Seldom explored is the impact cleaning up these pollutants could have on global temperatures.
Despite the expanding list of pollutants and questions about the impact solar variability and volcanism has on temperature, some scientists, driven by the special interest groups funding them, continued to singularly focus their attention on the single issue of CO2. Their reports have been used as the basis for the Left’s very vocal demands for the western nations to exclusively restrict greenhouse gas emissions.
Such restrictions can practically come about only by adopting expensive new technology or otherwise restricting human activity. Thus, the exploration of new domestic energy reserves within or just off shore of the United States would be artificially restricted. Others would diminish, if not eliminate prosperity
Accordingly, the demand for placing immediate controls on CO2 has pitted the environmental movement against that of personal freedom, and the comparative prosperity of the Western world to that of the Third World and the new fascist industrial power of China. By the 1990s, this debate had escalated into a brawl that has spilled out onto main street USA.
The goal of implementing dysfunctional intrusive government regulation, like the restrictive forest policy cited in Part 1, has been embraced by the almost monolithically socialist Democrat Party. Thus, the battle lines have been drawn, not over scientific merits, but over political philosophy; Left vs. Right; socialism and big government against free enterprise and limited government.
That is why my environmentalist pen pal did not want to have anything more to do with me. To her, I was anathema to everything she politically stood for and so, in her view, nothing I said, no matter how true, had any value.
Although it would seem that CO2 and global warming are politically inseparable because CO2 is the key to dictatorial power and control. Without atmospheric CO2, global warming would be an abstract issue for Socialist Democrats.
While unsophisticated early industrialization did produce prodigious amounts of pollution, it is the western democracies, enjoying the power of free market solutions that have provided the capital to clean this pollution up.
It is the socialist countries, particularly Russia and the old Eastern Bloc, that have produced the most pollution. The formerly communist and now new fascist China has been no better, polluting their environment to the point even the peasants have sometimes revolted.
In other words, only prosperity can afford the costs to maintain a clean environment.
Thus, western environmentalists ironically seek to destroy the system that can take them to take them to their stated objectives and institute a system that has shown cannot.
In the next installment, we will explore the international rise of “environmentalism” as a tool to undermine national sovereignty and bring about One World Government.
About the Author.....
Perry Hicks is the senior writer and Washington correspondent for GCN. He is a former Mississippi Coast resident and was a correspondent for the old Gulfport Star Journal. He has appeared on Fox News Channel. Perry has also hosted his own radio talk show on the auto industry with a mix of politics. Perry is a frequent contributor to GCN writing on stories of national importance with local interests. His articles can be found in the GCN Archive.
Contact the Author: firstname.lastname@example.org