Science, Politics and
by Arthur B. Robinson & Jane M. Orient
Environmental extremism kills. Millions die annually because of restrictions on DDT, and imposing the "Kyoto" regulations would kill many more.
Dr. Arthur B. Robinson, a professor of chemistry, is the founder of the Oregon Institute of Science and Medicine, and editor of the newsletter Access to Energy. Dr. Jane Orient, a specialist in internal medicine, has a private practice and is the executive director of the Association of American Physicians and Surgeons.
Easily usable energy is the currency of human progress. Without it, stagnation, regression and untold human deaths will result.
The lamentations of the popular press notwithstanding, there is no shortage of energy. Scientists define everything that man can perceive in the natural world as forms of "energy," including all physical objects. These forms of energy differ, however, in how easily mankind can make use of them by means of current technology.
Nuclear power plants convert mass into electrical energy. This converted "nuclear energy" is, by far, the safest, cleanest and least expensive energy source available with current technology. Its use improves the standard of living, increases the quality and length of human life, and maximizes technological progress.
The United States was once the world leader in the production of useful energy. Had that American leadership continued, our country and our world would be very different. Technological miracles that are only dreams today would have already taken place. Moreover, very large portions of the world?s poor and underdeveloped people would have been able to lift themselves from poverty ? provided they had a laboratory of liberty in which to do so ? and to escape the horrible conditions in which they lead lives of desperation, constantly at the edge of death.
Many people strongly desire to help humanity. They spend their lives in efforts to increase the quantity and quality of human life. Most other people, even though they do not work actively toward these goals, share the same values. They passively support things that improve human life.
Those who understand energy production and its link to technological progress and who have positive humanitarian values support nuclear power. They are also in favor of hydrocarbon power derived from coal, oil and natural gas, and of hydroelectric power. Their interest in solar power, biofuel power, wind power and other alternatives is less because those methods cannot yet generate large quantities of inexpensive useful energy.
During the past several decades, mankind should have been making a transition from hydrocarbon power to breeder-reactor-fueled nuclear power. Hydrocarbon power would still be extensively utilized in many applications, but nuclear power would be developing into our primary energy source. Hydroelectric power would continue but would reach a maximum as suitable hydroelectric sites were completely utilized. This transition, however, has been blocked.
Progress stalled because of another force at work in our body politic. This force is led by influential people who understand very well the benefits of abundant usable energy and seek to keep mankind from realizing those benefits ? not because they want to save the planet, but because they seek global control. Through the major media and the environmental lobby, the latter heavily funded by huge tax-exempt foundations, they have beguiled millions into believing that too many people and too much technology will cause environmental devastation. Thirty years ago, they demonized nuclear power with false claims about its safety. As a result, nuclear power development in the United States stopped. At that time, America was the world technological leader and therefore the largest user of energy. At present, American leadership is being challenged by Asian nations, which are building nuclear power plants at a rapidly increasing rate.
Although technological progress continued to some extent without progress in energy production, the crippling of nuclear power meant continued heavy dependence on hydrocarbon fuels ? including a dangerous dependence on foreign oil, exacerbated by "environmental" regulations impeding drilling in our own country. This ongoing tragedy is also reflected in the decline of American technological superiority and the decline of American living standards. Today, for example, both parents must work to support smaller families in poorer circumstances, with the consequent unraveling of the family as a social institution.
Enemies of Humanity
The enemies of humanity are, however, not content. They want to move technology another step downward and energy production another step backward by diminishing even the use of hydrocarbon energy. To accomplish this, they have contrived three lies. These are the lies of hydrocarbon shortages, human-caused global cooling, and human-caused global warming. Their allies in the press, government, foundations and business have heavily promoted these lies over the past several decades.
The first argument was that the supply of hydrocarbons would soon be exhausted. The vast deposits of coal, natural gas, and oil and oil-bearing minerals on the Earth soon overcame this lie. Expanding regulation of the hydrocarbon industry, however, can still bring about politically contrived shortages and market distortions. These regulations contribute to the artificially high cost of fuel, as do federal and state excise taxes, and (in general) the erosion of the purchasing power of the dollar through inflation.
The second claim, popular during the ?70s, was that a new ice age would be caused by human use of coal, oil and natural gas. (See the quotes on page 27.) This argument was "proved" by the then-decreasing global temperatures that began in about 1940. As temperatures stabilized, however, and resumed their 300-year warming cycle, the lie of "global cooling" faded from the scene.
The latest scare asserts that the Earth is warming as a result of human use of coal, oil, and natural gas. This myth of "human-caused global warming" is promoted by billions of dollars worth of propaganda in the American media today. Its creators are the very same people who demonized nuclear power and once warned about global cooling.
This same cast of characters, in fact, will be found promoting virtually any scheme that would reduce technological progress, thereby increasing human misery and death. One can reliably predict that most hard-core activists in the anti-technology, anti-people environmental lobby will be:
? For "population control" measures such as abortion, which kills millions of pre-born babies per year;
? Against chemical technology and for the ban on DDT that is responsible for millions of malaria deaths every year;
? In favor of high taxation and oppressive regulations that harm or kill untold numbers through the waste of human resources; and
? For world government, which offers the ultimate in tyrannical control over human life and death.
Of course, some hard-core environmentalists believe their own propaganda ? they sincerely believe that man is the scourge of the Earth and that his numbers must be reduced and his effect on the environment radically curtailed. But there are others who know better and who are trying to create widespread fear through overblown or manufactured environmental "crises" to justify global, authoritarian controls. Their largest and most ambitious manufactured "crisis" thus far is the myth of human-caused global warming.
If this myth becomes entrenched in world agreements to diminish hydrocarbon fuel use, the cost will be not just hundreds of billions of dollars but countless numbers of human lives. More than two billion of the world?s people live on the very edge of human existence. To them, the rise or fall of world technology is not a matter of "convenience" or "quality of life." It is instead a matter of human survival. If world economic conditions deteriorate, hundreds of millions of these people are going to die. The remainder, losing their chance to lift themselves from poverty, will slip backward into the dim twilight in which they suffer silently amid poverty, disease and death.
These deaths and this suffering would not be unintended consequences of supposedly well-intentioned proposals. They are the true objectives of many environmental extremists who want to radically reduce the world?s population, and they are means to an end for a global power elite. Both the radical environmentalists and this power elite are joined in this campaign by unprincipled businessmen who expect short-term profits from hydrocarbon controls, political hacks who support flagging political careers with the pseudo-environmental vote, government bureaucrats who expect to expand their empires by additional regulations ? and many millions of fearful people who are being frightened into supporting a deadly, coercive agenda they do not understand.
Global Warming Fallacies
Human-caused global warming advocates have based their propaganda campaign on several false premises:
? The planet is already heating up. The historical record shows that global temperatures are not unusually warm today. Figure 1 shows the temperature of a large Atlantic Ocean region known as the Sargasso Sea during the past 3,000 years. This data, which is similar to many other studies of various world locations by means of experiment and of the historical record, shows a period of higher temperatures 1,000 years ago, and a period of lower temperatures 300 years ago.
World climate was so benign in this earlier warm period that it has long been referred to as the "Medieval Climate Optimum." So, even when the Earth was much warmer than today, none of the predicted catastrophes of the supposed human-caused global warming occurred.
During the past 300 years, the Earth has been recovering from a period of relatively low temperatures known as the "Little Ice Age" and is now back to approximately the 3,000-year average. But even during this period of recovery, the Earth (as already indicated) experienced a cooling trend from about 1940 to about 1975 sufficient to spark fears of catastrophic "global cooling." In truth, both during and before the industrial age, the temperature has always changed season to season and century to century.
? The increase in temperature is being caused by the increase in atmospheric CO2. If this fallacy were true, then most of the increase in atmospheric CO2 would have occurred before most of the increase in temperature. Yet, as Figure 2 clearly shows, most of the temperature rise from the late 1800s to today (less than 1? C) had already occurred by 1940, before most of the increase in atmospheric CO2 had taken place. Since the cause cannot occur after the presumed effect, this means that the increase in CO2 could not have caused the temperature rise.
CO2 is a pollutant being spewed into the atmosphere by human industry and activity. Atmospheric CO2 is not a pollutant. It is the single most important chemical constituent of the cycles of plant and animal life (see "A Greener Future" on page 25). All plant tissues are built from atmospheric CO2, and all plants and animals produce CO2 in the fundamental respiratory processes that permit them to exist. It has been definitively shown by many hundreds of experimental studies that increases in atmospheric CO2 cause increases in the amounts and the diversity of plant and animal life.
Yes, human activity does release CO2 into the atmosphere, but the amount, including what we exhale, must be kept in perspective. The atmosphere contains about 750 gigatons of CO2, but the oceans contain about 40,000 gigatons. Ordinary rises in world temperature increase atmospheric CO2 through out-gassing from the ocean that has nothing to do with man?s industrialization. In fact, there is not a shred of experimental evidence demonstrating human-caused global warming.
? The computer models reliably show that the Earth?s temperature will increase dramatically over the next century. The entire argument for this long-term forecast of catastrophic global warming is based on flawed computer projections produced and touted by United Nations operatives and their retainers and friends. In science, theory must be verified by experiment. These computer models have had a low level of reliability in the past, and there is no reason to expect that the same models will be any more accurate in the future.
The UN computer models are flawed in several ways: The data are inaccurate; the adjustable parameters are too numerous; the uncertainties in the computed values are large and poorly defined; and, most importantly, key assumptions regarding the "science" of global warming do not conform to experimental observations.
CO2, by itself, is not a significant greenhouse gas, and there is no scientific evidence that it can raise global temperatures significantly. However, the UN computer models assume not only that an increase in CO2 will cause a small increase in temperature, but that this small temperature increase will cause more evaporation from the oceans, and that the increase in water vapor (a highly significant greenhouse gas) will greatly multiply the effect of the CO2. This amplified effect is the basis of human-caused global warming claims. The problem with this is that the Earth has already demonstrated that it does not happen. The historical record shows that the Earth has, in the recent past, been much warmer than could ever be achieved by a CO2 greenhouse effect. Since water evaporation during those warm periods did not cause catastrophic global warming, there is no chance that CO2 could do so.
But why doesn?t the "science" work as global warming alarmists theorize it should? And why can?t any CO2-induced global warming be detected? An important factor is the complexity of the atmosphere, which, experimental evidence shows, is a self-correcting chemical system. It follows the principle of LeChatelier, who discovered this self-correcting property of chemical systems about a century ago. (This principle is explained in most introductory chemistry texts.) In short, LeChatelier?s effect has reduced the consequences of CO2 warming to such a low level that they are below the limits of detection by modern techniques.
? A consensus comprised of nearly all scientists agrees that humans are causing a global warming crisis. Not only is there no such "consensus," but, if anything, the situation is opposite from what the global warming alarmists claim. When one of the authors of this essay (Dr. Arthur Robinson) briefly circulated a petition opposing the Kyoto treaty among American scientists, he received, by first class mail, about 17,000 signatures. The petition stated:
We urge the United States government to reject the global warming agreement that was written in Kyoto, Japan in December, 1997, and any other similar proposals. The proposed limits on greenhouse gases would harm the environment, hinder the advance of science and technology, and damage the health and welfare of mankind.
There is no convincing scientific 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 environments of the Earth.
With more resources for printing and mailing, probably 50,000 signatures could have been obtained from American scientists. The signatories included Dr. Frederick Seitz (past president of the National Academy of Sciences), who wrote a cover letter for the petition, and a long list of America?s most accomplished scientists. (For a complete list of the signatories, two-thirds of whom hold advanced degrees, go to www.oism.org/pproject.)
? The solar energy reaching the Earth from the sun has absolutely nothing to do with the Earth?s temperature! Of course, the global warming alarmists would not say anything so transparently silly. What they do instead is simply pretend the sun does not exist ? at least so far as the Earth?s temperature is concerned.
But there really is a relationship between the solar activity of the sun and the Earth?s temperature, and historical measurements bear this out. Figure 3 shows that, from 1750 to the present, the Earth?s temperature oscillations have closely tracked the changes in the intensity of the sun. In short, the data makes quite clear that the ordinary warming and cooling cycle of the sun is the primary controller of global temperatures and that this cycle is currently in an upward trend.
An Awesome Responsibility
For those of us who also understand our accountability to our Creator, the myth of human-caused global warming raises a much larger issue. Thomas Jefferson framed this issue more than two centuries ago when he wrote: "Indeed, I tremble for my country when I reflect that God is just; that His justice cannot sleep forever."
Majestic maelstrom: The elegant violence of a thunderstorm offers a sobering reminder of the abrupt limits of man?s power to affect nature. As stewards of God?s creation, mankind has a responsibility to preserve the Earth ? which is best done by expanding human freedom, rather than turning power over to a central governing elite.
Americans today permit the slaughter of millions of children each year by abortion. We are also complicit in the deaths of two to three million children each year in underdeveloped countries by denying them the protection from malaria that DDT provides. Will we now allow an even greater act of technological genocide?
Will we participate in a thinly disguised program of world "population reduction" through United Nations constriction of the use of coal, oil and natural gas? Are we to allow the deaths of tens of millions of people from yet another American-supported genocidal action? How much longer do we think God will stay His hand from administering the justice Jefferson feared ? unless we do something to stop this pseudo-environmentalist madness?