By Dr Tim Ball (Climatologist)
The idea that humans were causing runaway global warming originated with the Club of Rome. Formed in 1968 by David Rockefeller, it expanded on the Malthusian idea that the population would outgrow the food supply. The expansion was that world population would outgrow all resources. They made three major assumptions.
- The demand for resources would increase every year because the population is increasing every year.
- Developed nations increase the demand by using resources at a much greater rate than developing nations.
- More nations are changing from developing to developed and accelerating demand.
They produced a few books and reports to substantiate the claims about population and demand. Paul Ehrlich’s 1968 garnered enormous attention. Less well read but still influential was the 1972 book by Meadows et al. It used a very primitive computer program that started with two components. The known volume of a resource and the current rate of use. Then, using a simple linear trend, it projected the point at which the resource would run out. It also projected the point at which the volume of the resource use peaked. Another book published in 1977, Ecoscience, Population, Resources, and Environment, influenced policy for a long time because of Paul Ehrlich’s co-author John Holdren. He later became Science Advisor in the Obama White House.
All of this activity developed around an important paradigm shift. These are major changes that occur when a society completely reconsiders the way they see the world and themselves. The two most important in the latter half of the 20th century were feminism and environmentalism. Both were necessary changes, and both went through the same sequence as all shifts. This point is important because anyone who dared to question the deception that humans were causing global warming was accused of not caring about the environment.
A paradigm shift begins, like all things, with an idea. You can call it a hypothesis, a speculation, a ‘what if,’ but it is an idea that asks people to think differently. They don’t occur very often partly because, as philosopher A.N. Whitehead said,
“It takes a very unusual mind to undertake analysis of the obvious.”
Many ideas are proposed, but few catch on because people are generally afraid of change. They know change occurs, but they also know there are always winners and losers. Since every idea is new, they lack the information and ability to decide. It is simpler to assume they will lose, and it is safer to maintain the status quo.
However, certain ideas are attractive to people who see the potential for power and wealth or both. This was the case with environmentalism. A small group seized the idea of environmentalism and immediately took the moral high ground.
Only they care about the Earth, the children, and their future. Most people realized it made sense not to soil your nest but were afraid of the change. How far would or should we go? Since they knew little, it was easy for the power group to marginalize any who dared to question.
I recall questions from the media prefaced with the idea that I was “giving comfort” to the polluters. This troubled me until I realized that giving false information and misleading the people was more problematic. Once the public learned that they suffered for change and made sacrifices on false information, it would give greater comfort to polluters.
If the idea has basic merit, as was the case with environmentalism, a majority of the people will adjust and accommodate. They are still unclear about the limits to the idea and its application. Those are identified by the people who started the idea and their disciples. When negative impacts, such as loss of jobs or economic downturn, appear their reaction will define the limit. They either acknowledge that it is a limit, or they become more strident and unreasonable. That is the stage we are at with environmentalism.
The claim that the world was overpopulated was false but was now established as a threat. It fits into the environmentalist paradigm shift because more people could do more damage. The question was what to do about it. There were a very strong anti-capitalism and anti-development agenda behind the idea and therefore the responses.
The overarching environmental theme provided a background to the ideas about overpopulation and exhaustion of resources of the Club of Rome (COR) and culminated in what they called set out in a book of the same name. Published in 1991, it was a follow-up and expansion on The Limits to Growth. Here is a quote that typifies the approach and the sentiment.
The common enemy of humanity is man. In searching for a new enemy to unite us, we came up with the idea that pollution, the threat of global warming, water shortages, famine and the like would fit the bill. All these dangers are caused by human intervention, and it is only through changed attitudes and behavior that they can be overcome. The real enemy then, is humanity itself.
At this point, the challenge is to convert ideas to action. It is where most ideas founder. The AGW idea didn’t founder because, unfortunately, a Canadian and member of COR, Maurice Strong, became the pivotal person with the skills to make it happen.
Mainly using his (Strong) prodigious skills as a networker. Over a lifetime of mixing private sector career success with stints in government and international groups…
It began in the 1977 at the United Nations Conference on the Human Environment Stockholm Conference. Hrab quotes from the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists:
The three specific goals set out by the Secretary General of the Conference, Maurice F. Strong, at its first plenary session—a Declaration on the human environment, an Action Plan, and an organizational structure supported by a World Environment Fund—were all adopted by the Conference.
He also noted:
What’s truly alarming about Maurice Strong is his actual record. Strong’s persistent calls for an international mobilization to combat environmental calamities, even when they are exaggerated (population growth) or scientifically unproven (global warming), have set the world’s environmental agenda.
We know how Strong, as a member of the COR, took the ideas and translated them into policy. Elaine Dewar, an investigative journalist, and another Canadian planned to write a book praising Canadian environmentalists. Her research showed that all the people on the list were more corrupt than the people they were attacking. Dewar wrote a book titled Cloak of Green with at least 20 % on Strong that included details on five days with him at UN headquarters.
After those days with Strong at the UN Dewar concluded,
“Strong was using the U.N. as a platform to sell a global environment crisis and the Global Governance Agenda.”
The overall aim was exploitation of environmentalism, using the secondary issue of global warming. Strong knew that the best way to achieve his goal was through the bureaucrats at the UN and the bureaucrats at every National Weather Office in every UN member nation. He knew what US social commentator Mary McCarthy warned.
Bureaucracy, the rule of no one, is becoming the modern form of despotism.
To McCarthy it was a threat, to Strong it was the potential for total, unaccountable control. He set up the entire COR objective under the organization he created called the United Nations Environment Program (UNEP). The overall control of politics and science is shown in Figure 1.
The IPCC was critical to creating the science needed to ‘prove’ human CO2 was causing global warming. It was easily achieved by the definition given it by the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) that limited them to only human causes of climate change. It was at this juncture another Canadian became directly involved. The founding meeting of the IPCC occurred in Villach Austria in 1985 and was chaired by Canadian scientists Gordon McBean. Later McBean became an Assistant Deputy Minister at Environment Canada (EC). In that role, he supervised and directed the department to convince politicians of the legitimacy and accuracy of the IPCC science.
Under McBean, EC became increasingly committed to the anthropogenic global warming (AGW) of the IPCC sending large delegations to their meetings and assigning increasing funding to climate change research. They did this at the expense of maintaining legislated services. Budget overruns drew the attention of the Canadian Auditor General (AG) and activities to increase other sources of funding all drew public attention. For example, from 1997 to 2005 the AG reported EC spent $6.8 billion on climate change, with no results. To pay for this, they diverted funds from other legislated activities. They closed stations and replaced many with Automatic Weather Observing Stations (AWOS). These were so bad that NavCanada, an agency set up to run the airports including the weather stations refused to accept them. It triggered an inquiry by BC Senator Pat Carney that confirmed the problem.
Much of the money EC wasted was on computer models studying AGW that produced terrible results. The EC computer model was one of dozens used in the ensemble of models that the IPCC used to make their projections. of the Friends of Science group showed that the Canadian model produced the most inaccurate projections of all the models in the ensemble (Figure 2).
The result of all this waste and misdirection is that Canada has fewer weather stations than it did in the 1960s. The weather forecast accuracy has not noticeably improved, especially for severe weather. They continue to waste money on propaganda and attendance at the IPCC meetings – they invariably have the largest delegations at the annual Conference of the Parties meetings (Figure 1). It is time to severely limit all national weather agencies, including EC, to only data collection agencies. All weather forecasting should be done by private agencies, so they will only succeed based on the quality and accuracy of their work. No government agency should be involved in research because the potential for political bias or influence is very high.
The program to create and push the deception that human CO2 was causing global warming was primarily the brainchild and successful because of Canadian Maurice Strong. He applied it in complete form when, in 1992 he became Chairman of Ontario Hydro, the government agency that controlled all energy production in the Province. It destroyed the economy of Ontario taking it from the best performer of all Canadian provinces to one of the poorest.
People are still paying for the damage he did and will for years to come.
Politicians still lack the knowledge about the bad science. Even if you accept the bad science, the cost of reducing global temperature by controlling CO2 is not tenable. They are still afraid of attacks from the eco-bullies. However, a majority are prepared to take an economic stand.
The climate impact of all Paris INDC promises is minuscule: if we measure the impact of every nation fulfilling every promise by 2030, the total temperature reduction will be 0.048°C (0.086°F) by 2100. (His emphasis).
Even if we assume that these promises would be extended for another 70 years, there is still little impact: if every nation fulfills every promise by 2030 and continues to fulfill these promises faithfully until the end of the century, and there is no ‘CO₂ leakage’ to non-committed nations, the entirety of the Paris promises will reduce temperature rises by just 0.17°C (0.306°F) by 2100.
As Upton Sinclair said,
“It is difficult to get a man to understand something when his salary depends upon his not understanding it!”
The only role of EC should involve as much data collection as possible made available to anybody who needs it.