By Paul Driessen
July 11, 2014
Sustainability and climate claims limit energy access and living standards for the world’s poor
The outstanding presentations at this Ninth International Conference on Climate Change clearly demonstrate that activist climate science is increasingly devoid of evidence … increasingly removed from the scientific method – and yet is increasingly being used to devise, justify and impose policies, laws, and regulations that govern our lives.
Indeed, rules formulated on the basis of “dangerous manmade climate change” allegations control the hydrocarbons that power America and the world, improve and safeguard our lives, lift billions out of abject poverty, and allow us to achieve technologies and dreams never before thought possible.
Put simply, those who control carbon control our lives … our livelihoods, liberties, living standards, and even life spans. It is therefore essential that climate science reflects the utmost in integrity, transparency, and accountability.
Sadly, the opposite is true. As we have seen, far too much of the supposed science used to justify IPCC, US, EU, and other actions is distorted, exaggerated, even fabricated. If it were used to market private sector investments, products or services, the perpetrators would be prosecuted for fraud.
The latest White House claims are no better. The assertion that shutting down affordable, reliable coal-based electricity will somehow reduce asthma and protect children’s health is as baseless as any other arguments advanced in support of claims that we face an imminent manmade climate change catastrophe.
A primary reason for the fervor and longevity of these claims is that global warming is a social movement – or more accurately one manifestation of a social movement. It is a major part of a near religious Deep Ecology movement that is anti-energy, anti-people, and opposed to modern economies, technologies, and civilizations. In its determination to impose its worldview on the rest of humanity, it is dogmatic, imperialistic, and authoritarian.
It is also a Big Green and Big Government movement – with tens of billions of dollars at its disposal: over $13 billion per year just in the United States for Big Green organizations.
Global warming, climate change, climate disruption, and extreme weather mantras are almost interchangeable with sustainable development. When ClimateGate, fizzled confabs in Copenhagen and Durban, and a then-15-year pause in Earth’s warming made the world weary of climate change disaster demagoguery – Rio+20 Summit organizers simply repackaged climate crisis claims under the sustainability mantra. Fossil fuels, they intoned, must be replaced because we are running out of them, and their use is unsustainable.
Like climate change, sustainability is infinitely elastic and malleable, making it a perfect weapon for anti-development activists. Whatever they support is sustainable. Whatever they oppose is unsustainable.
For other times and audiences, climate and sustainability are replaced – in whole or in part – with over- population, resource depletion, the precautionary principle, mass species extinction … or chemical contamination. That’s why the White House is now talking about carbon pollution and asthma.
Think of the T-1000 android in the movie Terminator 2: Judgment Day. This vastly improved villain had the ability to morph into any shape it desired, giving it previously unimaginable powers and near indestructibility – all with the goal of controlling the future of humanity.
And so we have Alexander King, co-founder of the Club of Rome and its concept of Limits to Growth. “When DDT was introduced for civilian use,” King wrote, within 2 years Guyana had almost eliminated malaria. “But at the same time the birth rate had doubled. So my chief quarrel with DDT in hindsight is that it has greatly added to the population problem.”
The Population Bomb author Paul Ehrlich likewise blamed DDT for the “drastic lowering of death rates” in underdeveloped countries. He suggested that, because those countries were not practicing a “birth rate solution” – they needed to have a “death rate solution” imposed on them. Ban DDT.
Global warming, sustainability, and attacks on fossil fuels and biotechnology must therefore be understood as other components of their “death rate solution” and their intense desire to control all human endeavors.
In his 1973 Human Ecology book with Paul Ehrlich, President Obama’s chief science advisor John Holdren put it this way:
A massive campaign must be launched to … de-develop the United States [and bring] our economic system … into line with the realities of ecology and the global resource situation…. Once the United States has clearly started on the path of cleaning up its own mess, it can then turn its attention to the problems of the de-development of the other [developed countries] and the ecologically feasible development of the [underdeveloped countries].
“Limits to growth,” “the global resource situation,” and “ecologically feasible development” of course are synonyms for “resource depletion,” “peak oil,” “sustainable development,” and “dangerous manmade global warming” – with radical Deep Ecologists in and out of government making all the decisions.
Never mind that fracking has obliterated their “peak oil and gas” mantra. Never mind that human ingenuity and innovation –
Julian Simon’s ultimate resource – has and will always discover new ways to find and extract the energy and other materials needed to make new technologies that will continue improving lives, living standards and planetary health.
For eco-imperialists, whatever they support is sustainable. Whatever they oppose is unsustainable. Whatever they support complies with the “precautionary principle.” Whatever they disdain violates the principle. Or as Competitive Enterprise Institute founder Fred Smith once put it, “For radical environmentalists, ‘sustainable development’ means don’t use it today, and the precautionary principle means don’t produce it tomorrow.”
The precautionary principle always focuses on the alleged risks of using technologies – but never on the risks of not using them. It spotlights risks that a technology – such as coal-fired power plants – might cause, but ignores the risks that the technology would reduce or prevent.
That is a major part of the reason why over 700 million people and 300 million Indians (three times the population of the U.S. and Canada combined) still have no access to electricity, or only sporadic access. Worldwide, almost 2.5 billion people – nearly a third of our Earth’s population – still lack electricity or have access only to little solar panels or unreliable networks.
That means they must burn wood and dung for heating and cooking, which results in widespread lung diseases that kill 2 to 4 million people every year. It means they also lack refrigeration, safe water, and decent hospitals, resulting in virulent intestinal diseases that kill another 2 million people a year.
But when anyone points out these cold-as-grave realities, the Terminator 2 ideological android morphs yet again – shifting the topic to “global cataclysms” of manmade global warming and unsustainable development. The Deep Ecologists’ callous indifference to these intolerable and immoral death tolls is stunning.
To the extent that they do want to improve these people’s lives, they advocate wind turbines in villages and solar panels on huts – but never abundant, affordable, reliable electricity from large-scale coal, natural gas, hydroelectric, or nuclear facilities. Their opposition to a gas-fired plant in Ghana, coal-fired plant in South Africa, and hydroelectric projects in China, India, and Uganda underscores their inhumane worldview.
So Big Green activists shift the topic again: to global species extinctions. But these claims are based on completely irrelevant examples of predators introduced into island populations. Moreover, the true threats to wild plant and animal species are the very technologies that Deep Ecology/Climate Chaos ideologues love the most: biofuels and wind turbines.
Both of these “eco-friendly alternatives” blanket vast acreage that would otherwise be wildlife habitats – and wind turbines slaughter millions of birds and bats annually, nearly wiping out some species across broad areas near industrial wind turbine facilities.
The key point to remember is this. Climate change, sustainability, and these other mantras give Mr. Holdren and his ideological soul-mates the justification and power to determine the fate of nations … to decide how much development each should be allowed to have … to compel rich countries to de-develop and reduce their living standards … and to force poor countries to accept whatever the Deep Ecologists decide is the proper, sustainable, climate-stabilization level of development, population, poverty, disease, malnutrition, and premature death.
On and on it goes, with “climate justice” yet another weapon that these wealthy, powerful, arrogant, intolerant, immoral, mostly white elites are using in their crusade to control the rest of humanity – regardless of the human and animal death tolls. As Stalin once said, “A single death is a tragedy. A million deaths is a statistic.”
Their double standards … secret science … morphing mantras … and vicious attacks on anyone who dares to disagree with them – are all designed to seize power over the energy that powers modern civilization … and to control every aspect of our lives, livelihoods, living standards, fundamental liberties, health, welfare, dreams, and aspirations.
These mantras are truly weapons of mass destruction in a movement war on modern civilization. It is a war that pits wealthy elites against poor, minority, elderly, and working classes – and rich nations against poor nations. And in those poor nations, it is a war on women and children, for they are the most vulnerable, and they die in the greatest numbers from malaria, lung infections, malnutrition, and severe diarrhea.
Equally revealing and frightening is the fact that this Big Green/Big Government movement refuses to budge an inch in its opposition to fossil fuels, fracking, and reliable electricity – even when confronted by the turmoil and destruction we are witnessing in Ukraine, the Middle East, Libya, Nigeria, and other parts of the world … many of them energy-rich, and with the prospect of Al Qaeda controlling countless billions of dollars in oil wealth.
The eco-imperialist movement’s focus on distant, conjectural, fabricated risks a century from now remains unchanged. It is truly the great moral and ethical battle of our time.
That is what we’re up against.
We have struck a blow here at this conference for honest, evidence-based science … for transparency and accountability, and open, robust debate … for the freedom and courage to stand up to the forces of tyranny, darkness, and death. But our work is not yet finished.
Like the Thirty Years War and other religious and ideological confrontations of the ages, this battle will go on, and the global death toll will rise.
However, I am heartened by the knowledge that we here gathered today will fight on – for honest science, affordable energy, accountable government, and better lives for billions of people … and against the dark forces of climate fanaticism. I also know we are being joined by more and more countries, as they increasingly understand the true nature of this ideological conflict.
In the immortal words of Sir Winston Churchill: “We shall fight in the fields, in the streets and in the hills. We shall never surrender. We shall fight on until victory, however long and hard the road may be. For without victory, there is no survival.”
Paul Driessen presented this paper at the Heartland Institute’s Ninth International Conference on Climate Change, July 9, 2014, for the panel, “Global Warming as a Social Movement.”