Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Global Warming: Truth or Dare?

This article was reviewed on YaYaCanada before it was published.
It was also reviewed in the April 2007 issue of The Dominion magazine (Alternate LINK).
It inspired David Noble to write The Corporate Climate Coup.

Alexander Cockburn writing in The Nation called it "one of the best essays on greenhouse myth-making from a left perspective" ("Dissidents Against Dogma", The Nation, 25 June 2007). 
See several related articles at ACTIVIST CLIMATE GUY.

[Recent development (Macrh 2011): Incisive deconstruction of the dominant climate science narrative - HERE.]

Most downloaded radiation physics of planetary warming free-access article (June 2011): HERE.]

Global Warming: Truth or Dare?
Denis G. Rancourt
February 2007.

Global warming is often presented as the greatest potential threat to humankind and as the greatest environmental and ecological threat on the planet. It is also presented as a problem that could be solved or contained by determined international collaboration - by political will if it were present.

I argue: (1) that global warming (climate change, climate chaos, etc.) will not become humankind’s greatest threat until the sun has its next hiccup in a billion years or more (in the very unlikely scenario that we are still around), (2) that global warming is presently nowhere near being the planet’s most deadly environmental scourge, and (3) that government action and political will cannot measurably or significantly ameliorate global climate in the present world.

I also advance that there are strong societal, institutional, and psychological motivations for having constructed and for continuing to maintain the myth of a global warming dominant threat (global warming myth, for short). I describe these motivations in terms of the workings of the scientific profession and of the global corporate and finance network and its government shadows.

I argue that by far the most destructive force on the planet is power-driven financiers and profit-driven corporations and their cartels backed by military might; and that the global warming myth is a red herring that contributes to hiding this truth. In my opinion, activists who, using any justification, feed the global warming myth have effectively been co-opted, or at best neutralized.

Since the global warming myth is presently the dominant environmental paradigm in the First World middleclass mainstream, let us put it into the relevant perspective of planetary warming mechanisms.

One should first recognise that the atmospheric greenhouse effect is a well known natural phenomenon, mostly caused by atmospheric water vapour, that keeps our planet warm and habitable whereas (anthropogenic = human-made) global warming refers to a small extra greenhouse warming (0.5-1 C/33 C; 1-5 %) allegedly arising from an increase in atmospheric concentration of the minority greenhouse effect gas CO2 (carbon dioxide) – the later increase in turn possibly arising from fossil fuel burning (see below).

This means that the global greenhouse effect gives earthlings a needed and much appreciated base warming of 33 C (degrees Celsius), whereas the alleged “global warming” would contribute an extra 0.5 to 1 C of warming (a 1 to 5 % increase), on a planet that has seen a dozen or so ice ages since human kind has appeared.

The most often cited reconstructed global average temperature curves (themselves somewhat tenuous, see below) show increases in global mean temperature of approximately 0.5-1 C in the last 100 years. Let us compare this to the extremes of temperature to which humans routinely adapt. Humans have thrived in every possible ecological niche on the planet, from deserts to tropical forests to the North Polar Regions, since well before present technological advances. These environments show mean temperature differences of as much as 50 C or more. Many of these environments also show day to night and seasonal differences of as much as 20-50 C. A sudden 0.5-1 C increase in mean annual temperature (not spread over 100 years) would be imperceptible to any human and indeed could barely be detected using all of the methods of the modern scientific enterprise.

In addition, whereas there is evidence of negative consequences to populations from sustained regional cooling (e.g., Europe’s Little Ice Age, 1300-1850 AD) and whereas global ice ages (occurring every 40-100 thousand years or so) clearly have significantly affected human populations, there is no known case of a sustained warming alone having negatively impacted an entire population. If it where not for the global greenhouse effect, the planet would on average be 33 C colder and inhabitable. As a general rule, all life on Earth does better when it’s hotter: Compare ecological diversity and biotic density (or biomass) at the poles and at the equator.

Humans have already adapted to dramatically different regional climates occurring in every corner of the planet and the alleged future global changes are very small compared to these existing variations. There are more displaced refugees from wars and from economic aggression than there will ever be displaced inhabitants from rapid climate-induced habitat transformations. In both cases, the solution is to accommodate those loosing their homes and communities, not to attempt to control planetary processes and unpredictable events.

Before ‘climate chaos’ became cliché, many scientists advanced evidence for detected amounts of global average Earth surface temperature increases occurring in the post-industrial age. These reports, taken as a whole, were the main original catalysts towards constructing the global warming myth, so it is useful to critically examine their validity.

It was no easy task to arrive at the most cited original estimated rate of increase of the mean global surface temperature of 0.5 C in 100 years. As with any evaluation of a global spatio-temporal average, it involved elaborate and unreliable grid size dependent averages. In addition, it involved removal of outlying data, complex corrections for historical differences in measurement methods, measurement distributions, and measurement frequencies, and complex normalisations of different data sets – for example, land based and sea based measurements and the use of different temperature proxies that are in turn dependent on approximate calibration models. Even for modern thermometer readings in a given year, the very real problem of defining a robust and useful global spatio-temporal average Earth-surface temperature is not solved, and is itself an active area of research.

This means that determining an average of a quantity (Earth surface temperature) that is everywhere different and continuously changing with time at every point, using measurements at discrete times and places (weather stations), is virtually impossible; in that the resulting number is highly sensitive to the chosen extrapolation method(s) needed to calculate (or rather approximate) the average.

Averaging problems aside, many tenuous approximations must be made in order to arrive at any of the reported final global average temperature curves. For example, air temperature thermometers on ocean-going ships have been positioned at increasing heights as the sizes of ships have increased in recent history. Since temperature decreases with increasing altitude, this altitude effect must be corrected. The estimates are uncertain and can change the calculated global warming by as much as 0.5 C, thereby removing the originally reported effect entirely.

Similarly, surface ocean temperatures were first measured by drawing water up to the ship decks in cloth buckets and later in wooden buckets. Such buckets allow heat exchange in different amounts, thereby changing the measured temperature. This must be corrected by various estimates of sizes and types of buckets. These estimates are uncertain and can again change the resulting final calculated global warming value by an amount comparable to the 0.5 C value. There are a dozen or so similar corrections that must be applied, each one able to significantly alter the outcome.

In wanting to go further back in time, the technical problems are magnified. For example, when one uses a temperature proxy, such as the most popular tree ring proxy, instead of a physical thermometer, one has the significant problem of calibrating the proxy. With tree rings from a given preferred species of tree, there are all kinds of unavoidable artefacts related to wood density, wood water content, wood petrifaction processes, season duration effects, forest fire effects, extra-temperature biotic stress effects (such as recurring insect infestations), etc. Each proxy has its own calibration and preservation problems that are not fully understood.

The reported temperature curves should therefore be seen as tentative suggestions that the authors hope will catalyze more study and debate, not reliable results that one should use in guiding management practice or in deducing actual planetary trends. In addition, the original temperature or proxy data is usually not available to other research scientists who could critically examine the data treatment methods; nor are the data treatment methods spelled out in enough detail. Instead, the same massaged data is reproduced from report to report rather than re-examined.

The most recent thermometer measurements have their own special problems, not the least of which is urban warming, due to urban sprawl, which locally affects weather station mean temperatures and wind patterns: Temperatures locally change because local surroundings change. Most weather monitoring stations are located, for example, near airports which, in turn, are near expanding cities.

As a general rule in science, if an effect is barely detectable, requires dubious data treatment methods, and is sensitive to those data treatment methods and to other approximations, then it is not worth arguing over or interpreting and should not be used in further deductions or extrapolations. The same is true in attempting to establish causal relationships. This is in contrast to the precautionary principle which, in this context, would dictate that humans should reduce their fossil fuel burning because a resulting increase in atmospheric CO2 **might** cause serious environmental harm. I argue that we should stick to known consequences rather than potential ones – displacing people displaces people, clearing forests clears forests, etc. – and that we can apply universally accepted norms of human justice and respect for nature in limiting exploiters’ impulses.

Global warming myth advocates emphasize that the alleged extra-CO2-driven warming does not occur uniformly, in that some regions are warmed more than others while other regions are cooled below their pre-warming averages. They claim that many regions therefore already suffer significant departures from their pre-warming average temperatures, by as much as 5 C, even though the overall global average increase is difficult to detect.

Whereas regional changes in average temperature (e.g., warmer poles and cooler tropics) are not in themselves bad, global warming myth advocates argue that such changes have significant negative ecological consequences. They argue that when regional climate changes occur, rather than simply causing geographical redistributions of ecosystems and niche creation, they instead cause permanent damages in the form of habitat loss and species loss.

Global warming myth advocates also argue that global warming drives increased climate chaos. That is, overall increases in extreme weather events, such as more frequent and more intense tropical hurricanes, more frequent and more intense heat waves, more frequent and more intense droughts and floods, etc.

The available data does not support these claims and does not allow one to conclude that we have entered into a period of greater climate chaos, let alone that any perceived increase in climate chaos would be caused by extra-CO2-driven planetary warming. Similarly, it is impossible to reliably establish (see below) that inferred regional warmings in the Polar Regions are caused by an extra-CO2-driven global greenhouse effect increase.

Weather is by its nature chaotic and unpredictable. Every year weather events occur and will always occur that have never occurred before in recorded history. A given July heat spell in North Bay, Ontario, will last longer than any other such heat spell that has also had more than three consecutive day-time highs of more than 35 C, for example. For the first time in recorded history, three selectively chosen Canadian northern towns of more than 50,000 inhabitants will not have snow at Christmas. One hundred year old trees will be uprooted by a hurricane in some locality in Northern Quebec in September, etc.

Regional weather (including regional air current patterns) is well known by climatologists to have measurable variations over a broad range of magnitudes and on every time scale, from decadal, to centennial, to millennial and beyond, as documented in climate and weather event records such as historical documents, tree rings, lake sediments, soil profiles, geological weathering patterns, etc. Climatologists have, for over one hundred years, studied these variations occurring on all continents and have always attempted to relate them to potential causal factors, with little success. Modern satellite observations and recent global circulation models have provided few significant advances, despite the hype.

Media sensationalism notwithstanding, none of the recent reports of weather events step outside of the statistical samples gathered by climatologists, as they have often informed us. Among other things, climatologists, environmental scientists, and statisticians have pointed out that: (1) North America has less frequent but more intense forest fires because foresters manage forests, (2) insurance companies pay out more natural catastrophe claims because there are more people living in more precarious areas with more expensive installations, (3) more people suffer the consequences of flooding because more people live in flood plains, (4) more urban elderly die in heat waves because they are older and live in isolation and in high rises, (5) water tables fall because of deforestation and watershed management practices, and so on.

Although weather is business as usual, there are significant changes occurring on the planet and some of these appear at first sight to be regional climate related.

For example, many high altitude glaciers are receding. Some glaciers are growing but it appears that more studied glaciers are receding than growing. The next question is why? There are no reports of average air temperature increases in the vicinities of these glaciers. To melt or sublimate ice one must supply a large amount of energy, far beyond what could be supplied by thermal conduction driven by an undetected temperature increase.

The required energy clearly comes from the sun, just as spring sunlight melts snow in temperate climates much more than the increase in air temperature ever could. More radiant energy must be deposited on the receding glaciers. Either there is more incident radiant energy or the glaciers are more able to absorb rather than reflect the incident radiation or both.

The causes of increased incident radiation can be one or a combination of the following: (1) there is more solar radiation because the sun itself is putting out more energy, the solar “constant” has increased, (2) more solar radiation directly comes through the atmosphere because the atmosphere is more transparent rather than reflective (e.g., less cloudy, less ozone), (3) more infra-red is sent back to the glaciers rather than escaping to outer space because the atmosphere is more greenhouse active (e.g., higher water vapour content), and (4) more ambient infra-red radiation is sent towards the glaciers via atmospheric greenhouse scattering because there is more ambient infra-red radiation originating from neighbouring ice-free cover that has become more incident-solar-radiation absorbent. The latter ice-free surfaces could have become more absorbent by changes in their surface properties (i.e., surface coverings). For example, deforested soil is more incident radiation absorbent than a forest cover, bare rock is much more absorbent than snow-covered rock, etc.

The glaciers themselves could have become more absorbent for incident radiation by various mechanisms. For example, mineral or organic or pollution atmospheric dust loads (e.g., fossil fuel burning soot) could have increased leading to dust delivery to the glaciers. Such microscopic deposited dust in turn makes a glacier surface more radiation absorbent. The type of snow that can cover a glacier will also affect its radiation (light) absorption and reflection properties and snow type (granularity, dendrite structure, etc.) is in turn dependent on several atmospheric properties. Volcanic activity, large scale forest or grassland fires, dominant wind patterns, large scale changes in soil humidity and other conditions arising from changes in agricultural practices, can all significantly alter atmospheric dust loads and the latter are known to affect regional scale solar radiation budgets.

We see therefore that receding glaciers are not even most directly a sign of global warming and that the actual mechanism(s) can include a host of other causes. Indeed, paleoclimatologists studying global climate and ice age cycles believe the opposite causal direction: Radiative loading and water cycle factors change snow and ice cover which in turn change global radiation balance (planetary surface albedo) which then provides a positive feedback for further warming (resulting from increased radiative loading) or cooling (resulting from decreased radiative loading). Indeed, the accepted theory of ice age cycles is based on solar radiation forcing arising from cyclical Sun-Earth orbital variations.

As another example, let us accept, for the sake of argument; that Polar Region warming is occurring beyond statistical variations of the last 100 years, say; that permafrost (permanently frozen subsoil) is less extensive; and that polar ocean ice coverages are less prominent. The next question is why? Ocean currents have not dramatically changed, nor have measured sea level air temperatures.

These changes can again be due to solar radiative effects, along the same lines as explained above for receding glaciers. For ocean glaciers the above discussion of mechanisms for receding high altitude glaciers applies exactly whereas minor modifications are needed for receding permafrost.

In the case of permafrost, the seasonal duration of direct solar radiation loading to the soil is probably the dominant factor. This duration is inversely related to the duration of soil snow and ice cover which in turn can be controlled by the same factors discussed above that control high altitude glacier recession.

In conclusion, all the main easily observable and most cited regional warming effects are probably driven by radiative mechanisms having nothing to do with (i.e., not being caused by) global warming or increasing atmospheric CO2 concentration. More likely causal factors include: soot from coal-powered plants, mineral, soil, and organic matter dust from changes in agricultural practices, fires from changes in water and land management practices, increased high-altitude and polar atmospheric transparency, changes in the solar constant, etc.

This is not to say that these local and regional warming phenomena are not important and do not affect ecosystems and people’s lives. But then if we want to help these people (mostly Polar Region and high altitude aboriginal people) then we need only help them! For example, we could ask what help they most need rather than continuing to pollute their environment and destroy their lands by resource exploitation. If we want to stop destroying habitat, we could stop destroying habitat.

Environmental scientists and government agencies get funding to study and monitor problems that do not threaten corporate and financial interests. It is therefore no surprise that they would attack continental-scale devastation from resource extraction via the CO2 back door. The main drawback with this strategy is that you cannot control a hungry monster by asking it not to shit as much.

Somewhere First World middleclassers will need to abandon the lies that we live in democracies, that the corporate profit motive guarantees environmental protection, that servicing manufactured debt advances society, that corporate agri-business is the best way to feed people, that making a mess everywhere to serve share holders is the best way to generate well being, and that exploiting others is a good way to help them, not to mention that war is an acceptable method to bring justice and freedom to enslaved populations.

The planet will continue to change, adapt and evolve, with or without us. Recurring episodes of increased volcanic activity will continue to alter our climate. Ice ages will continue to come and go. Meteorites will continue to impact our planetary home. Disease and insect outbursts, wild fires, floods, and earthquakes will continue to wash over us as we adapt and respond. The sun will continue to vary its output and will eventually burn out. The atmosphere will continue to change as it always has under the influence of life and of geology. We can’t control these things. We can barely perceive them correctly. But we can take control of how we treat each other.

The best we can do for the environment and for the planet is to learn not to let undemocratic power structures run our lives. The best we can do is to reject exploitation and domination and to embrace cooperation and solidarity. The best we can do is to not trust subservient scientists and to become active agents for change beyond head-in-the-sand personal lifestyle choices.

We need to get political, beyond corporate-controlled shadow governments and co-opted political parties. We need to take charge more than we need to recycle. Concentrated power and capital are not about to give up their practices or their imperative for profit. Resistance to the insane return-on-investments hydra that inhabits our planet is our main responsibility if we are concerned about future generations.

There are real environmental problems on the planet. Agriculture, especially large-scale corporate chemical fertilizer and pesticide-based agriculture, is the main human force that has transformed the planet. Resource extraction and use is a close second, including energy, minerals, building materials, etc. Toxic substance pollution vies for an important place, with everything from persistent organic pollutants, to heavy metals, to radioactive substances, to pharmaceutical metabolites, all the way to industrially prepared food products. The industrial food-animal cycle is another wonderful experiment in attempted mass suicide, not to mention its grotesque inanimality.

All in all, the best way to not pollute and destroy the environment is to not pollute and destroy the environment. The best way to not exploit others is to not exploit others. I am not talking only about personal lifestyle choices, alternative information sources, and volunteer work. I am talking about taking back control from undemocratically run corporations and illegitimate concentrations of power, by all the effective means we can muster and as though our survival depended on it. I am talking about activism.

Global warming is strictly an imaginary problem of the First World middleclass. Nobody else cares about global warming. Exploited factory workers in the Third World don’t care about global warming. Depleted uranium genetically mutilated children in Iraq don’t care about global warming. Devastated aboriginal populations the world over also can’t relate to global warming, except maybe as representing the only solidarity that we might volunteer.

If we want to help island dwellers threatened by a predicted sea level rise then let’s help those island dwellers. If we are worried about victims of weather events then let us help those victims. The poorest Hurricane Katrina victims are still waiting.

It’s not about limited resources. [“The amount of money spent on pet food in the US and Europe each year equals the additional amount needed to provide basic food and health care for all the people in poor countries, with a sizeable amount left over.” (UN Human Development Report, 1999)] It’s about exploitation, oppression, racism, power, and greed. Economic, human, and animal justice brings economic sustainability which in turn is always based on renewable practices. Recognizing the basic rights of native people automatically moderates resource extraction and preserves natural habitats. Not permitting imperialist wars and interventions automatically quenches nation-scale exploitation. True democratic control over monetary policy goes a long way in removing debt-based extortion. Etc.

Regarding planetary greenhouse warming, by far the most important greenhouse active atmospheric gas is water vapour – it is a major constituent of the atmosphere whereas CO2 is a trace atmospheric gas. This is well known and it is established, for example, that even doubling the present atmospheric CO2 concentration, to the unattainable value of 800 ppm (parts per million) say, without changing anything else in the atmosphere, would have little discernable effect on global temperature or climate.

All of the climate models that relate CO2 concentrations to climate effects do so by arbitrarily linking a model increase in CO2 to an induced and larger increase in atmospheric water vapour. In other words, all the climate models postulate a large and positive feedback between CO2 and water vapour.

Several scientists have argued that these models are computer realizations of the tail wagging the dog. Water vapour is the dominant greenhouse factor and the behaviour of water in the atmosphere is far more complex than that of CO2 (clouds, rain, snow, evaporation, etc.) yet CO2 is taken to drive the water cycle rather than water taken to drive CO2 dynamics; using a fictitious multiplicative feedback factor.

On the contrary, for example: Water is often the determining factor in vegetation growth. Vegetation growth in turn consumes CO2 and is the greatest active bound-carbon (C) pool on the planet. Therefore, it is more correct to say that water drives the carbon cycle. Atmospheric CO2 concentration is only a remote witness to all the natural and anthropogenic processes that consume and produce CO2.

There is no known mechanism whereby an increase in CO2 concentration could directly cause an increase in water vapour concentration in the amount required by climate computer models. On the other hand, there are many known mechanisms whereby water vapour concentration can be dramatically affected by various external agents. Some examples are as follows: (1) solar input drives convection and winds which in turn largely determine atmospheric evaporation loading, (2) deforestation and agriculture expose soils which are sources of mineral and organic dust which in turn can induce precipitation or can affect solar radiation balances, (3) solar winds of cosmic rays can induce high altitude cloud formation thereby reducing solar radiation penetration, etc.

Ice core data shows strong temporal correlations between average global temperature (as recorded by the water oxygen isotope proxy) and atmospheric CO2 (as recorded in trapped gas bubbles) yet these correlations do not show causal relations. CO2 increases may accompany temperature increases rather than causing them. Indeed, some high resolution studies have suggested that the temperature increases precede the CO2 increases. Interestingly, also, ice core data shows strong temporal correlations between inferred temperature and amount of dust preserved in the ice core. Finally, the older geological record shows several dramatic examples of where CO2 concentration and global average temperature were either unrelated or even anti-correlated.

Just as solar radiation intensity and inclination determines our seasons and the differences between day and night, so too solar radiation variations related to solar winds, magnetic shielding, and solar intensity cycles (e.g., sunspots) probably have a greater impact on the water cycle than changes in any greenhouse active trace gas.
There is of course much more wrong with state-of-the-art global circulation models (climate models) than the assumption and implementation of CO2-H2O feedback. Although these models are among the most elaborate predictive models of complex non-linear phenomena, they are nonetheless sweeping oversimplifications of the global climate system and its mechanistic intricacies.

Disregarding the above objections, if we take CO2 to be the pivotal quantity, then even this CO2 concentration in the atmosphere is not easy for scientists to understand. While the value of the CO2 concentration can be measured reliably and accurately and while it is increasing, possibly in response to fossil fuel burning, the measured increase is not proportional to the known increase in fossil fuel consumption. There is not a simple relation between fossil fuel burning and atmospheric CO2 in two key respects: (1) the temporal variations of burning and of atmospheric CO2 concentration do not follow each other – the curves do not match, they do not have the same shape, and (2) the net extra (post-industrial) amount of CO2 in the atmosphere cannot be reconciled with the amount of CO2 produced by fossil fuel burning.

Regarding the latter point, the resulting amount of CO2 in the atmosphere depends on many processes that either produce CO2 (that are sources) or consume CO2 (that are sinks). Growth of plants is a sink. Degradation of soil or sediment organic matter is a source. Burying and preserving sedimentary or soil organic matter from oxidation is a sink. Breathing is a form of combustion and is a source. Photosynthesis is a sink. Fossil fuels are preserved organic matter not yet degraded by oxidation (or combustion). Deforestation is a net source since forests are larger repositories of bound carbon than are agricultural or grazing lands. The weathering of rocks and the erosion of mountains is a source, as is mining. Etc. As it turns out, when all the known sources and sinks are added up, scientists are not able to account for half of the CO2 produced by fossil fuel burning.

In other words, there is a “missing sink” that is taking up approximately half of the CO2 produced by fossil fuel burning; that would otherwise end up in the atmosphere. This is a massive amount that scientists simply cannot account for. Clearly, the complex source and sink mechanisms of the bio and geospheres are far from completely understood, as are the myriad of feedback mechanisms that can dramatically either slow or intensify the rates of sinking and sourcing.

The point here is that CO2 concentration itself, even if we stubbornly cling to it as a holly grail of climate mediation, most probably cannot be controlled by controlling anthropogenic CO2 emissions. There are more unknown and unforeseeable CO2 evolution feedback mechanisms then there are climate research institutes on the planet.

Even among human activities, there are many practices that can potentially affect atmospheric CO2 fluxes more than direct mitigation of fossil fuel burning. These include: distribution-of-wealth practices; world investment, trading and lending practices; democratic versus corporate control over the media, over marketing and over the mental environment in general; military intervention and intimidation practices; and so on. Each of the above areas of societal behaviour and organization can be shown to significantly alter or moderate global CO2 fluxes between the atmosphere and other compartments.

Excluding direct human activities (land and water use, etc.), there are major natural factors that affect CO2 atmospheric loading. These are only partially understood and include: geological weathering, ocean sedimentation, land plant growth, soil evolution, sediment diagenesis, ecological niche invasion, volcanic activity, continental subduction, and many others. Indeed, there is no accepted model that quantitatively explains atmospheric CO2 concentration, given our limited knowledge of these factors.

The atmosphere is one of the smallest pools or compartments for carbon (as CO2) and it responds quickly to any flux changes with the other compartments. These flux routes are varied and largely unknown, as are the mechanisms that control flux magnitudes. To believe that we could control atmospheric CO2 concentration by controlling only the flux from anthropogenic fossil fuel burning is naive. Burning mitigation or carbon sequestration practices could easily have no effect or opposite effects, even if significant societal efforts were dedicated to such efforts.

What is more naïve than believing that humankind could control atmospheric CO2 levels by direct interventions, however, is the belief that the financial and corporate interests that benefit from fossil fuel burning and still have gargantuan profits to be made from the remaining fossil fuels of increasing value could in this world be convinced by law or agreement to voluntarily reduce production and to not exercise their clout in creating demand for the resource that they control.

Fossil fuel is the main economic commodity on the planet. Cheap fossil fuel equals cheap transportation equals globalized trade and globalized exploitation of labour and of natural resources. Cheap fossil fuel drives the automobile industry, the largest manufactured goods growth area in the developing world. Cheap fossil fuel is the raw material of the petro-chemical industry, including fertilizers, and drives agri-business. Cheap fossil fuel allows rapid military deployments. The entire planetary web of corporate and finance exploitation is presently reliant on fossil fuels. To think that governments of media-created stand-ins could negotiate restraints on a remote side effect (CO2) of the present day exercise of power, without ever addressing the real issues, is to be delusional. Optimism of the will in needed but let us start with pessimism of the intellect. Let us be realistic.

In this world, before renewable sources become the new basis of global economic extortion, oil exploration will be extended to every sensitive ecosystem on the globe and the world’s massive coal reserves will be liquefied and gasified. There are enough coal reserves to keep the wheels of corporate exploitation turning for another 1000 years or so at the present rate. This will happen unless citizens force democratic control over the major planetary economic instruments – private banking cartels, multinational corporations, and their government extensions that are the World Bank and the IMF. In this sense, anti-globalization activists are at the forefront of environmental activism.

Even if CO2 emissions could be controlled in actual practice, this would not impact CO2 concentration in a predictable way, and CO2 in turn does not control global climate. People, corporations, financial webs, and ecosystems all adapt to climate change. A global corporate and finance machine of profit and interest extraction based on renewable energy resources (that it would control) would not be less devastating than the present system and would continue to cause irreparable damage.

Climate is not an effectual lever for controlling the corporate and finance madness that is destroying human communities and natural habitats. Indeed, it is the kind of lever that is guaranteed to be ineffectual: It avoids the root causes, it does not challenge the relevant power structures, it entices us into collaboration, it seduces us into personal consumption responsibility as a substitute for effective political action, it turns our attention towards learning about atmospheric chemistry rather than about the relevant major human-controlled planetary forces, and it gives us something we relate to (the weather) rather than sensitizing us to real world problems. The global warming myth isolates us from the people of the Third World and from all exploited people outside of our class, rather than creating meaningful occasions for empathy and solidarity.

Precisely because it is ineffectual… and deflects our attention away from the necessary confrontations with established power.

If you accept my critique that the global warming threat is a myth then the next question is why are so many resources being spent to keep the myth alive? Why is it so important to keep global warming at the forefront of our mental environment? Why have scientists and First World environmentalists bought into it with such conviction and dedication? Why are mainstream politicians allowed by their bosses to use it in their platforms?

Scientists are simple beings. In general, they have not studied politics or sociology or human history. They have had to specialize and to confine their methods and questions to those that are specific to their chosen fields. Outside of their disciplines, they construct a world view largely from the same sources as most middleclass citizens; the mainstream media and popular culture. Their main comparison points are colleagues just like themselves that they meet at specialized conferences and in staff lounges.

At the same time, scientists, like the rest of working people, often search for a sense of doing something meaningful at work. They look for ways that their work might have broader societal implications, even though it is most often very specialized and has narrow applications. Ecologists and environmental scientists like to consider that they might help society to better treat the environment.

Science is a social construction and scientists must be seen by their peers as contributing “positively” to their fields and must mainly cooperate in order to get along and get ahead. This has the effect of creating an impetus for scientific consensus. Contrary positions are rarely deep or long lived and a lot of mileage is extracted from going along and echoing the dominant paradigms or opinions. Once something becomes popular, a scientist can repeat it without new supporting evidence comfortably and without awakening the ire of reviewers. Such statements are made in the introductions of scientific articles in order to motivate the specialized work or are made in giving broader (and more tenuous) interpretations or are made in the conclusions of papers to suggest possible implications of the specialized work.

Global warming has now become just such a popular theme among ecologists and environmental scientists. As a result, whereas specialized researchers in climate change itself continue to debate global warming and its many facets and continue to critique each others’ methods, data, and conclusions, most articles in scientific journals that mention global warming do so gratuitously – in a non-critical, superficial and self-serving way. Observers of science must therefore be careful in simply counting opinions expressed in the introductions and conclusions of scientific articles.

In addition, there are the international commissions mandated to sort out the scientific literature on topics that could have public relevance. A main relevant example is the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). These bodies are mostly composed of scientists but have political missions.

The board members typically study thousands of scientific papers written by climate change experts and others. These papers use different methods and report different types of data and sometimes come to contradictory conclusions. Most published papers, however, report inconclusive results and tenuous extrapolations, given the difficulty of the area of study. The authors of the original publications are usually careful and often do not overstate their conclusions. They also often qualify their interpretations and spell out the limits of their work and the most tenuous parts of their arguments.

Faced with this massive array of inconclusive or tentative or contradictory and incomplete results, the international (or national) commission must prepare a report that will be useful to governments and policy makers. They must attempt to identify the dominant or most likely trends, while keeping in mind that scientific truth cannot be established by a democratic vote or a popularity contest.

Having then identified the main trends and having extensively documented the pitfalls and limits of the reviewed papers, the international commission must also write an executive summary, for executives that want definitive statements. The executive summary is the only part of the report that has a chance of being read by the top decision makers and it is probably the only part of the report from which the media will cite. Few of the players who will read only the executive summary have the knowledge to appreciate its careful language and all the sacrifices of content and accuracy that have been made to produce it.

The international commission’s report then becomes a milestone that the commission itself, for political reasons of perceived legitimacy, cannot easily contradict in future reports. There is also a tendency for most scientists to accept the commission report’s main conclusions or proposed trends.

The environmental activists, on their side, are trying to reduce negative human impact on the natural world by whatever means they can. Many of them are astute political activists but more of them are simply environmentally responsible citizens who are mainly concerned with personal lifestyle choices to minimize personal ecological footprints. Environmentalists generally see global warming as a bonanza in public opinion outreach that has the potential to transform a majority of citizens into bicycle-riding anti-air-conditioning energy saving zealots that will also be sensitized to other and deeper issues.

Environmentalists also have an urgent sense that humankind is destroying the planet (which is true) and therefore do not have too hard a time believing that fossil fuel burning could directly cause the globe to burn up in a violent last tempest of floods and hurricanes that would destroy the last natural habitats and make civilization as we would like it virtually impossible. Besides, it makes sense, CO2 is a greenhouse effect gas and it is a product of organic matter combustion.

The main arguments I hear from environmentalists are: (1) that even if we are not attacking a root cause, forcing all to burn less fossil fuels will slow down humankind’s otherwise unimpeded destruction of the planet and (2) concentrating on this issue has much educational value and will help sensitize members of the public who may then later go a further step.

I don’t agree with either of the latter positions.

Finance-driven exploitation is creative and nimble and will always maximize short-term gain by whatever method it can get away with, whether limited (on paper) in its CO2 emissions or not, and all such exploitations of humans and of nature are always destructive beyond what should be tolerated in a democratic society.

On the “global warming issue as education” front, I again argue the opposite: That promoting the global warming myth trains people to accept unverified, remote, and abstract dangers in the place of true problems that they can discover for themselves by becoming directly engaged in their workplace and by doing their own research and observations. It trains people to think lifestyle choices (in relation to CO2 emission) rather than to think activism in the sense of exerting an influence to change societal structures. The first involves finding a comfort zone consistent with one’s values whereas the latter involves accepting confrontation and risk in order to challenge power structures. The first is needed for welfare, as are community, friendship, etc., while the second is needed to create sanity and justice in an insane world.

In that sense, the global warming myth is a powerful tool of co-optation that has even eroded one of the most fertile grounds of political activism: the environmental movement.

I find that those who defend the global warming myth most strenuously are also those who cling most to the notion that the best way to solve these problems is to somehow (“through awareness and education”) get everyone (or the majority) to minimize their footprints and consume responsibly. They usually also argue that corporate bosses and bank managers are people too and that we just need to reach out to them. They are allergic even to the notion of organized confrontation.

The beliefs of mainstream environmentalists are beliefs of the First World liberal middleclass. As such, the global warming myth fits right in.

The global warming myth, as propagated by the mainstream media, also works wonders on the general population: A global problem that we can solve by just changing our light bulbs to the energy saving kind or by voting for the Democrats or by trusting our scientists to come up with a carbon sequestration plan or by going nuclear for our electricity…

The media are allowed to talk global warming because it does not threaten power in any significant way. Indeed, it deflects attention away from real world issues. It’s perfect. The scientists can debate it. The environmental activists are largely neutralized. Everyone thinks it’s about CO2. The economists can work out the carbon credits. The politicians can talk environment without actually saying anything. Those who want to do something can change their consumer habits. The others can just ignore it and continue chatting about the weather.

The fact that the global warming myth has now attained this degree of media promotion and entertainment industry integration means not only that the issue is not threatening to power but that it has also come to be understood by power to be quite useful. In this regard, the global warming myth has joined the other useful media-supported myths that include: increasing crime rates, the terrorist threat, the American dream, that we live in a democracy, that greed and selfishness are unavoidable overriding consequences of human nature, that we all attain the economic status that fits our talents and efforts, that we help developing and Third World countries (that would be worse off without us), etc.

I hope that this essay will convert a few myth consumers into temporarily disoriented environmentalists who will eventually become dedicated and effective social justice activists. The global warming myth will then have been useful for something of value.

Denis G. Rancourt is a professor of physics and an environmental science researcher at the University of Ottawa. His scientific research has been concentrated in the areas of spectroscopic and diffraction measurement methods, magnetism, reactive environmental nanoparticles, aquatic sediments and nutrients, and boreal forest lakes.Many related articles are collected and posted at ACTIVIST CLIMATE GUY.

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Daniel said...

A very nice overview of issues related to climate change including the science behind climate change and problems related to it.

It also points out in my view that it doesn't really matter if climate change exists or not, we are effectively overlooking some of the biggest environmental and social problems ever to exist. The effort put into discerning changing weather on such a huge time scale could be better spent otherwise. Working toward eliminating poverty and the way the economy works will inevitably change the way we adapt to climate change if it ever hits us in the face as the mainstream media likes to put it.

A very insightful article.

David Wardell said...

I had somehow an interest in Prof. Rancourts activism movie series, and I have also seen him there at one of the movies last year.

I am 52 years of age and I have nothing what ever to do with the university, activism or the environmental movement in any way.

But for me, I now know why the unexplained interest. It was the path by which I would come to enlightenment through reading this excellent article by Prof. Rancourt. Thank you Prof. Rancourt.


Note - small edit required in the sentence below "in" change to "is".

Optimism of the will in needed but let us start with pessimism of the intellect. Let us be realistic.

Robert said...

Professor Rancourt's article begins with three strongly asserted primary opinions, all of which are deserve rebuttal. His first is just silly, predicting the future for the next billions years. I will ignore it. His second, that global warming is "nowhere near being the planet's most deadly environmental scourge" begs many questions, some of which follow. His third thoroughly suspect assertion is that political decisions "cannot measurably or significantly ameeliorate global climate..."

In comparing the "scourge" of global warming to say the "scourge of other environmental problems in terms of deadliness, lethality, one is immediately thrown into the realm of speculation and opinion, not verifiable or solid information. So, for example, were temperatures to rise or rainfall or flooding patterns to decline so that a significant reduction in global rice production occurred, or, were glaciers to continue melting so that billions of people who presently rely for their existence upon water from glacier fed streams and rivers could no longer gain access to adequate water, one could summarize such developments as some considerable "scourge". And according to Professor Rancourt such problems would be nowhere near as terrible as - what?

Such comparisons (this existing problem is a huge "scourge", this possible problem is a little "scourge") are absurd and pretentious. Absurd because obviously one cannot meaningfully compare the pain of the Black Death to the pain of the genocide inflicted on native north Americans to the pain of untold million starving to death in the future. Pretentious because it allocates to professor Rancourt the unlikely godlike ability to confer a comparative status upon various "scourges", some located in the future, some poorly understood within our present circumstance. How does one compare the implications of the knowledge that all of us have imbedded in our bodies trillions of synthetic molecules of unknown or unclear impact, with the fact that the Greenland glacier is melting rapidly?

In so far as political decisions not being able to "measurably or significantly" change the global climate, well, that too is a gloomy prophesy, which, if believed, would justify political inaction vis a vis climate change.

Now I would certainly not maintain that there is currently on the political level globally the kind of leadership, intelligence, and honesty which would presage dramatic and significant beneficient political impact on climate. But, given dramatically different policies, clearly there could be over decades a massive reduction in the discharge of many pollutants, toxins and greenhouse gases. There are countless examples of political decsions affecting the environment. For example, it has been noted that the radioactive pollutants in say milk were affected by atomic bomb testing (political decisions); that the subsidising (political decsion) of gas and oil exploration has been massive while the subsidy for the entire sweep of clean(er) alternatives has been miniscule by comparison. In toto, political decisions, especially those political decisions that increase the power of the democratic and the rational, at the expense of elite power, can have a dramatic effect across the board. And then, in hindsight, one could declare whether or not the impact of those sensible political decisions had been "measurable".

RealGrouchy said...

Robert, did you read the article? Because it looks like you've just read the first paragraph, then constructed a straw-man argument around it.

If you, like me, are too busy/lazy to read the whole article, the summary which DGR links to in his post on YaYaCanada does a good job. (Particularly, for example, with your glacier example).

- RG>

Robert said...

Realgrouchy, I did read the article but was regrettably too busy to take time to construct a more adequate response. I think the article in question offers some suspect arguments on behalf of general intentions that I would suspect we have in common.
1)The numerous references to the "myth" of global warming is precisely the imprecise and loaded with scorn terminology which apologists for The System have long used in order to confuse the public. And loading up the article with one-sided material may on the surface appear to strengthen this designation of "myth", but I'm aware that there are many other points that could be offered to make the "myth" word seem more "mythological" than real.

2)The idea that "social justice" concerns and activism are of basic importance is one I support, but the idea that extreme concern about climate change is generally a deflection from more important concerns, or a sign of being "neutralized", is I think an overly pessimistic interpretation of what is happening. Now obviously anyone can obsess about anything to the point that other important matters are left inadequately dealt with. However, a "holistic" and I would argue effective approach to our global circumstance would include a large number of important concerns, and see them all as linked, interplaying. It seems to me that the accelerating concern about climate change has opened a lot of common people's minds to considering the idea that our cultures flaws are fundamental. And this can create the 'crisis in loyalty' to cultural 'business as usual' that is necessary for broadly based positive cultural change. While conventional media, which I understand as an Orwellian propaganda machine, is focusing more on climate change, its attention is still riddled with superficiality. As a recent issue of the New Scientist pointed out, even the IPCC recent offering, which the media made much of, was a 'conservative', understated description of the probable situation.

My alternative scenario for what is happening via very serious public global warming concerns is that a profoundly beneficial "pandora's box' of questions and concerns can be pried open by the "wedge' of Professor Rancourt's "myth".

dgr -at- uottawa.ca said...

Hello Denis,

I haven't been able to post a response to your blog. Could you please post the following response? Alternately, would I need to get a gmail account or be invited to post somehow?

Edelweiss D'Andrea

I have read all Denis' arguments about climate change being a red herring and I am not convinced.

Scientific evidence from many sectors (tree-rings, permafrost, glaciers, ocean temperatures and so on) indicate that human-caused greenhouse gas emissions are changing the average temperature of the planet. Every major scientific institution dealing with climate, ocean, and/or atmosphere and national science academies and councils around the world agree that the climate is warming rapidly and the primary cause is human carbon dioxide emissions. The "small" average change of 0.8 degrees is having a dramatic effect on the planet, and the fast-approaching (expected between 2026 and 2060) 2-degree
change is expected to have an apocalyptic effect.

The causes of climate change (greed, centralization of power) and its solutions (cooperation, distribution of power) are essentially the same as the causes and solutions to other global problems.

Taking effective action on climate change--reducing energy consumption in the West, raising the living standards of people in second- and third-world countries, replacing energy monopolies with local energy generation by a multitude of small-scale alternative energy producers--will only redistribute power and wealth.

If I were the benevolent dictator of planet Earth, I would remove all subsidies to the polluting industries, make towns and cities responsible for their own energy and food production, take from the rich to give to the poor equalizing wealth
among all peoples, make it illegal for anyone to earn 7 times the amount the most poorly paid person makes, give Aboriginal peoples ten times the land they have now and a huge apology for the injustices done to them, only allow democratic free presses to operate, implement a 1-child per couple law, ensure all farm animals are well-treated and can roam freely, reforest the planet, reuse metals instead of mining, and so on. What a beautiful world it could be!

Anonymous said...

RE:**I have read all Denis' arguments about climate change being a red herring and I am not convinced.

Scientific evidence from many sectors (tree-rings, permafrost, glaciers, ocean temperatures and so on) indicate that human-caused greenhouse gas emissions are changing the average temperature of the planet. Every major scientific institution dealing with climate, ocean, and/or atmosphere and national science academies and councils around the world agree that the climate is warming rapidly and the primary cause is human carbon dioxide emissions. The "small" average change of 0.8 degrees is having a dramatic effect on the planet, and the fast-approaching (expected between 2026 and 2060) 2-degree
change is expected to have an apocalyptic effect.**
You are getting sucked in by the group with an agenda - they have blamed every event on global warming with no proof. There is no scientific study that measures trhe amount of "warming" that CO2 causes, so you should be asking your friends that question first.

Anonymous said...

"I argue that by far the most destructive force on the planet is power-driven financiers and profit-driven corporations and their cartels backed by military might..."

I realize this isn't your main point and the debate you are really looking for but I disagree with you here. I contend that the most destructive force on the planet is dictatorships. A review of 20th Century Mortacracies shows that dictators murdered more people than all of the century's wars combined. One other related point: no two democracies went to war against each other during the entire 20th century.

Robert said...

First, let me emphasize that I agree fully with much of the content of Professor Rancourt's missive. I would offer some minor different emphasis here and there in some of his political analysis - for example, I think that the absence of anything even remotely resembling an honest or respectable let alone profound public/media discussion of critically important topics is as a great a problem as any that we face. The very possibility of Reason or Democracy are obviated by 1)the censorship - complete omission - of many topics like the use of DU [and RU] munitions which the good professor makes reference to; 2) the chronic manipulation - 'disfigurement' - of those important subjects which the media does touch upon.

And indeed, the question of what is happening to global climate is extremely complex and confusing, and there is a tendency to jump on bandwagons, and intellectual humility in the face of such a contradictory and confusing abundance of data and observation is I believe in order.
But there is a strong consensus based upon science and a vast number of personal observations that human activity is altering the planet in very many ways. Even in the 1960s, when Thor Heyerdahl made his epic Ra voyages, he noted the Atlantic so full of oil waste and other dirt that they could hardly dip in a toothbrush for days on end. Certainly in my own little spot on the planet, where I have lived and farmed for decades, the weather for the past ten years has been passing strange in many ways.

But let us propose that the professor is correct in his dubious-appearing contention that global warming is merely a "myth", and an extremely overblown one at that. This is of course, mega-ironically, precisely the message that the large corporate lunatics have been attempting to push on the public for decades. Now that a larger public are aroused into significant concern about climate change, in spite of the efforts of The Economist and George Bush and The National Post (and unwitting and witting company), what do we do? Where do we go from here? Democracy, social justice, peace, human solidarity, the dismantling of the military industrial complex and of the pseudo capitalist- neo fascist corporate juggernaut. Democratize the schools; take back the airwaves; organic agriculture; clean energy. etc. etc. Okay!

My problem, essentially, with the professor's position is that it takes a dismissive and negative stance toward what is at this point a mysterious but potentially potently positive social undercurrent. Deep public concern about climate change and the very future viability of the planet, is exactly an enormous opportunity for addressing fundamental issues of all kinds. That's what I'm observing in many conversations over the last months. When Jehovah's Witnesses come in the door with the intention of religious proselytizing and spend most of the time with you in earnest discussion about Al Gore's film (yes, many serious shortcomings, but what an impact!)and related topics, then this may just be the harbinger of the blue-bird of something rather positive.

And I write as someone who has very inadequate middle class qualifications, but who has found in the middle class an enormous fount of decency and honesty and thus hopefullness.

vaalea said...

I can't even get through your environmental stuff because you put all the sources at the bottom of the page rather than referencing throughout... so in your writing you are making a bunch of statements that I don't know where they are coming from/what research they are based on specifically.

Even IF global warming is as you say... we still have pollution, we still have limited natural resources, etc. and we would benefit GREATLY to take all the steps we should be taking in response to the global warming threat.

As for poverty, think about this: Eating meat causes poverty.
And it also causes global warming according to a recent UN report.
"[It's a] myth [that] beef cattle production uses grain that could be feed the world's hungry." -National Cattlemen's Association

"In a world where an estimated one in every six people goes hungry every day, the politics of meat consumption are increasingly heated, since meat production is an inefficient use of grain-the grain is used more efficiently when consumed directly by humans. Continued growth in meat output is dependent feeding grains to animals, creating competition for grain between affluent meat eaters and the world's poor." -Worldwatchm Institute [pg284] John Robbins -The Food Revolution

Anonymous said...

Great article. Good point. Do we deal with known threats (big and real) or "maybe" threats first? I agree with the doctor and think we should start with the "known" first...

It has been sad to see such weak science passed off as fact. Solid science tolerates scrutiny and debate. Global warming does not seem any more real than cold fusion . Unscrupulous researchers bilked millions out of gullible governments / taxpayers on that one...

Michael B.Sc. Physics

dgr -at- uottawa.ca said...

your global warming article (from a local Green)

I don't really give much credence to anything that would be published in the National Post but what do you think of this? You may post this message to your blog if you like, I'm not signed up...

Bright sun, warm Earth. Coincidence?

Lorne Gunter, National Post Published: Monday, March 12, 2007 Mars's ice caps are melting, and Jupiter is developing a second giant red spot, an enormous hurricane-like storm. The existing Great Red Spot is 300 years old and twice the size of Earth. The new storm -- Red Spot Jr. -- is thought to be the result of a sudden warming on our solar system's largest planet. Dr. Imke de Pater of Berkeley University says some parts of Jupiter are now as much as six degrees Celsius warmer than just a few years ago. Neptune's moon, Triton, studied in 1989 after the unmanned Voyageur probe flew past, seems to have heated up significantly since then. Parts of its frozen nitrogen surface have begun melting and turning to gas, making Triton's atmosphere denser. Even Pluto has warmed slightly in recent years, if you can call -230C instead of -233C "warmer." And I swear, I haven't left my SUV idling on any of those planets or moons. Honest, I haven't. Is there something all these heavenly bodies have in common? Some one thing they all share that could be causing them to warm in unison? Hmmm, is there some giant, self-luminous ball of burning gas with a mass more than 300,000 times that of Earth and a core temperature of more than 20-million degrees Celsius, that for the past century or more has been unusually active and powerful? Is there something like that around which they all revolve that could be causing this multi-globe warming? Naw! They must all have congested commuter highways, coal-fired power plants and oilsands developments that are releasing large amounts of carbon dioxide into their atmospheres, too. A decade ago, when global warming and Kyoto was just beginning to capture public attention, I published a quiz elsewhere that bears repeating in our current hyper-charged environmental debate: Quick, which is usually warmer, day or night? And what is typically the warmest part of the day? The warmest time of year? Finally, which are generally warmer: cloudy or cloudless days? If you answered day, afternoon, summer and cloudless you may be well on your way to understanding what is causing global warming. For the past century and a half, Earth has been warming. Coincidentally (or perhaps not so coincidentally), during that same period, our sun has been brightening, becoming more active, sending out more radiation. Habibullah Abdussamatov of the Pulkovo Astronomical Observatory in St. Petersburg, Sami Solanki of the Max Planck Institute for Solar System Research in Germany, Sallie Baliunas and Willie Soon of the Solar and Stellar Physics Division of the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics and a host of the rest of the world's leading solar scientists are all convinced that the warming of recent years is not unusual and that nearly all the warming in the past 150 years can be attributed to the sun. Solar scientists from Iowa to Siberia have overlaid the last several warm periods on our planet with known variations in our sun's activity and found, according to Mr. Solanki, "a near-perfect match." Mr. Abdussamatov concedes man made gasses may have made "a small contribution to the warming in recent years, but it cannot compete with the increase in solar irradiance." Mr. Soon showed as long ago as the mid-1990s that the depth of the Little Ice Age -- the coldest period in the northern hemisphere in the past 1,500 years -- corresponded perfectly with a solar event known as the Maunder Minimum. For nearly seven decades there was virtually no sunspot activity. Our sun was particular quiet. And for those 60 to 70 years, the northern half of our globe, at least, was in a deep freeze. Is it so hard to believe then that the sun could be causing our current warming, too? At the very least, the fact that so many prominent scientists have legitimate, logical objections to the current global warming orthodoxy means there is no "consensus" among scientists about the cause. Here's a prediction: The sun's current active phase is expected to wane in 20 to 40 years, at which time the planet will begin cooling. Since that is when most of the greenhouse emission reductions proposed by the UN and others are slated to come into full effect, the "greens" will see that cooling and claim, "See, we warned you and made you take action, and look, we saved the planet."

Gail Walker

Anonymous said...

Very interesting article Denis. I have enjoyed periodically attending your class, and movie night, for some time. I agree that the banksters, the current international economic and politcal system, the global military industrial complex, and the grouping of transnational corporations operating under these new international banking and trade systems pose an immanent threat to human security. I also appreciate a divergent viewpoint from the mainstream media circus around climate change, although I have been passionate about this subject for some time. I will take some time to think about your statements. Perhaps you could address the issue of peak oil in a future blog post, I would like to hear your opinion on whether it is a red-herring of sorts, or to what degree you think the data is valid, considering the diverse number of current projections on the situation.

dgr -at- uottawa.ca said...

Jonathan Rausseo wrote:

Wow, this is really insightful.

After having read through Denis' article I have come to greatly appreciate why when we are talking about climate change, I listen to climate change scientists and not the opinions of governments, media, or others who have agenda driven opinions.

Denis, I have read your article. It is well articulated but ultimately misguided. Your statistics are, from what I gather, correct; however, they miss the mark. You make an argument for the adaptability of humans in different climatic conditions. Indeed humans can live in equatorial and polar regions and thrive. The issue has more to do with plant and animal species that affect the ecosystems around the planet. If they cannot adapt quickly enough to shifting climates then we are truly in trouble. Think of the desertification that is slated for the prairie regions (the bread-basket of Canada).

As for your arguments about the difficulties of averaging temperature values, again your postulations may or may not be correct. But I would venture to propose that bickering over climate values does little to address some of the very real environmental issues that we are seeing today. So let us concede for a moment and say that climate change my not exist. As an activist I would work towards active solutions to related problems such as poor air quality (that kills 5000 Ontarians every year and in 2005 killed over 300 people in Ottawa) rather than stall action on these vital issues by contesting whether there is a problem at all. Even if the world does not heat up, our children will chock to death on the poor air that will certainly be our legacy to them.

If you think that only middleclass people are concerned about climate change then you might want to talk to the hundreds of thousands of environmental refugees (not your typical middleclass type) displaced by climate related phenomenon (whether it is related to our current climate paradigm or not). They are quite aware of the climate problem. How about the many aboriginal communities in the north who have been advocated for reform for years?

Anyways, I don't want to ramble. I guess my big issues are that there are many quotes that follow a path of anti-scientific sentiment (Science is not the answer, Science is a bandwagon) which are coming from a scientist (a tenured prof at that)? For that matter, seeing as you are a scientist, why should I accept your many nuanced arguments about social reform? Why not join the social sciences department? Then there seems to be some kind of an attack against environmentalists, which is paradoxical if the enemy is supposed to be big corporations (why aren't we working together for a more effective battle? Bickering between groups helps no one). And finally, I don't see what the grand scheme of this article really is? Are you trying to convert environmentalists to your cause? Your arguments today and in the past have been very judgemental and mean-spirited towards environmentalists? If they are as disillusioned as you make them out to be, why not focus on social justice groups and have them join your crusade?

Either way, I am not sure how I got on this list anyways.
Cheers, and enjoy all the bickering while some of us engage in some true activism, hopefully buying you the time to fix the social problems.

Jonathan Rausseo

I have no problems with increased dialogue, in fact that is why I responded.

Jonathan Rausseo
Sustainability Development Coordinator
Coordonateur, Développement durable
Université d'Ottawa / University of Ottawa
141 Louis-Pasteur, Ottawa (Ontario)
K1N 6N5 Canada

-----Original Message-----
From: Denis Rancourt [mailto:dgr]
Sent: Tuesday, March 20, 2007 2:03 PM
To: Jonathan Rausseo

Hi Jonathan,
Thank you for reading my blog-article:

May I post your reaction as a blog-comment, in the interest of increased dialogue?

dgr -at- uottawa.ca said...

Edelweiss D'Andrea wrote:


Thanks SO much for articulating the anti-environmentalist and anti-scientist biases that exist in Denis' arguments against climate change. I was thinking about him again today as I was coming home from work. His arguments towards environmentalists are painful (and credible) because he is such a committed and courageous activist of social reform.


Anonymous said...

this reeks of "my activism is better than yours" bullshit.

your science is junk (and, like you, i wont bother substantiating this claim), your assumptions about the motives of enviro activists are intellectually dishonest, and your arrogance stinks of the privilege you claim to confront.

fuck you, yuppie.

Anonymous said...

i just wanted to comment on one part of the article that you brought up again and again through out your article. I will agree that CO2 is not the main cause or the strongest green house gas because its not. methane is, it is the reason that our planet is kept at the temperature it is not CO2 like you claim. which i just realized is a bit hypocritical because you go on to say that CO2 levels have little affect on temperature. My reason for writing this comment though was to bring to light the fact that there is a large reservoir of methane gas in the permafrost and glaciers of the north, and the release of such a large amounts of methane would have a much stronger affect on our weather and our overall climate. Another factor that may be affecting our measured global temperature is a phenomenon called global dimming which i am not sure if you have heard of, but in short it helps to cool the planet because more solar radiation is being deflected by creation of visible pollutants and contrails from the thousands of flights a day all over the planet. imagine how global temperature would rise with less glaciers and less clouds. I am astonished that you do not believe that the trillions and trillions of tonnes of pollutants the US, Canada, the EU, India, Pakistan, China, to name a few, pump into our skies daily, are not having any affect on the weather. It's absurd, it really is.

An interesting read, although from reading it you seem to follow the words of the payed scientists of big corporations, the same ones (literally) that said smoking was not bad for you and that is was actually healthy! a quote comes to mind when thinking about this. fool me once, shame on you, fool me twice, shame on me. and with that i will post this comment.

Sorensen said...

I thought you would like this quote:
I have never let my schooling interfere with my education. Mark Twain (1835-1910)

Anonymous said...

You say that since human can live in almost all environment and even desert, climate change would not be so bad even if it existed.
Strange, because if we follow this idea we understand that human has survived well with war, racism, "jungle law" and starvation since a long time so it is useless to do whatever about these. In fact, absolutely nothing is important with this way of thinking.

Cameron W said...

Well, that was an interesting read.

You are a different face of climate change denial from what I normally encounter.

The 'fight the system' and 'don't buy into the hype' angle is misapplied to climate change. It's an important message in general, but when it comes to climate change, the debate is over.

Many people have been misled by disinformation groups, and the author of this article seems to be one of those people. I'd like to share some links in the hopes that the flat Earth society doesn't win even more people over.

Scientists offered cash to dispute climate study

climate change & economics

climate change skeptics corrected


climate scientist duped

Also, let's imagine for a moment that we chose to act on the climate crisis, reducing fossil fuel consumption and consequently pollutants in the air, and let's say we choose to invest more in energy efficiency. If for some reason one is not sold on global warming or climate change, and one further thinks that somehow humans are having little or no impact on Earth's climate, I'd like to hear why they think acting on climate change would not be a good thing? If done correctly, our economy will get stronger when we invest in renewable technologies. Acting on climate change is good for people and good for the planet.

Regarding social justice, the old-line political parties have missed the boat entirely when it comes to both social justice and the environment. There is only one national political party that understands that it's the environment that sustains us, and the plan to address sustainability must include socially just strategies, not only for our country but for the entire world.

Please let us know when your article is published in a peer reviewed scientific journal, and if that doesn't happen, please let us know why.

dgr -at- uottawa.ca said...

DGR was interviewed by The Dominion magazine (April 2007 issue) in relation to this article:

Questioning Climate Politics

mentilasa9 from lenstar@westnet.com.au said...

Dear Professor Rancourt,

Your obvious left-socialist credentials allow you to be so very critical of the existing system. But one has to clean out one's own house first.

You are a physicist - and physics is the science that is failing today. What are you doing about it? Not even acknowledging global warming (a middle class fantasy you say? Tell that to Black New Orleans!) you physicists are failing to solve the energy crisis. Chemistry can't - i.e. burning fossil fuels means more of the same.

Where is physics failing? In its extolling of the teachings of Einstein, the atheists' religion called the Theory of Relativity. Both Special and General Relativity lead to logical paradoxes, hence have no practical application except to befuddle the masses.

You wonder why people have turned back to religion? To creationism? Einstein is your answer: he teaches a finite universe - proven by his misapplied mathematics. The Big Bang means the universe 'Popped' into existence from nothing. Even ordinary Christianity makes more sense than this Einstein-based nonsense!

Hence any attempt to combat existing capitalist elites that does not decisively repudiate Einstein will get nowhere. This is why Nazism, despite its obvious horrors, still had a vitally important progressive side - now forgotten, suppressed or misrepresented. I mean that of the Nobel Prize winners, Philipp Lenard and Johannes Stark. They saw that the Einstein agenda was manipulation - but could not work their way out of it.

The victory of the West in WW2, exaggerated by the Soviet fall is thus the return of the Dark Ages. By clinging to Einstein, you maintain the dark age grip of modernity.

If you want to wake up you need to see that Marx & Engels' (not Lenin's) philosophy is correct but significantly incomplete. The answer to these difficulties lies not among the anarchist morons - Proudhon, Bakunin, Chomsky etc - but among truly great anti-democratic thinkers, notably Friedrich Nietzsche and Georges Sorel!

The question for the future is always that of power relations, not that of mass democracy since the masses are always ignorant and gullible. Hence democracy reduces the issues to simple-minded grandstanding of which the modern capitalist elites are past masters. Thus will all attempts at genuine anti-capitalist democracy only ever degenerate into capitalist liberal democracy.

As for the masses being ignorant because they don't hold power, the anarchism-affirming Chomskyite horde would reject power even if was offered to them.

Any physicist who calls himself progressive but doesn't attack Einstein's effectively pro-capitalist elite teachings is only misdirecting and ultimately disempowering his (rarely her!) simple-minded and unfortunate followers.

Jim said...

This essay was a very useful discourse on the disconnect between what people believe is happening versus what is really going on. This subject unfortunately will be lost on all but the most honest reader who desires to know truth.

I do have one critique and that is the use of the term "fossil fuel". The word fossil was coined by scientists who believed that oil had the same chemical history as coal simply because they were found in the same geologic strata. It has since been proven, especially by the Russians who have made great advances in deep well drilling, that oil exists BELOW the geologic layers where organic life begins. In other words oil cannot come from decayed organic life forms. It must therefore be abiotic, a result of chemical processes deep in the earths mantel.

I know that many will read this and groan saying I am simply an apologist for the oil industry. Rest assured that I would like to see the use of oil removed from our daily existence as quickly as possible. The Exxon Valdes disaster should be all that one needs to know when it come to extracting and shipping oil for the shameless and wasteful uses that it is put to.

Educating ourselves to the truth of our existence has always been and will always be our number one duty as sentient human beings.

Everything else follows.

David said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
David said...

Fantastic stuff. All this material is freely available yet most people choose to take the bait offered by the powerful interests. Here's my own page http://groups.msn.com/DavidsKingsburycollection/
which has 5 years of research behind it.

edited to include url in full

Global Warming Today said...

The key to this is...

If humans can exist anywhere, in todays current climate, thats great


Climate will change, and how will the global affects actually change everything else, if the planet becomes like a desert, how do we survive skin cancer increases, water rationing, how will people work in such extreme environments?

J said...

A very important post. This should be linked to on all the so-called "liberal" sites where the Goreans chant their mantras.

Gore may not be the worst of politicians, but his use of global- warming hysteria (apart from other real, and more pressing environmental issues) should be counted as some PT Barnum-level of deception. CO2 is not the culprit: Exxon and similar industries are the culprits.

Cockburn's writing on this issue is also quite neglected. Even referring to Cockburn (and the researchers he links to) will generally get you banned at supposedly "leftist" DailyKOS and other sites. Bringing up Gore's record at the liberal.coms (especially his pro-nuke and quite conservative policies of late 80s, early 90s) also results in deletion and censorship. I don't admire all of Cockburn/Counterpunch in-your-face leftist journalism, but on this issue, he hits the mark.

Peter Conrardy MD said...

I totally agree with Denis. Global warming is a hoax and should be exposed for the fraud it is. Speaking as a physician with a great understanding of basic physiology and acid/base balance, I believe that the role of CO2 in global warming is totally insignificant.
CO2 is part of the most powerful and ubiquitous buffering system in the world. When CO2 is exposed to water it combines and forms carbonic acid, bicarbonate and hydrogen ion (acid ion, actually the hydronium ion, H3O2), according to the following equation. H2O + CO2 = H2CO3 = HCO3 + H This equation can move right or left with changes in temperature, increases in Hydrogen ion (H) or increases in CO2. When the temperature increases (global warming) CO2 dissolved in the water is released (Why water boils.) thereby driving the equation to the left. We have a huge reservoir of water (The oceans) from which vast quantities of CO2 can be released into the atmosphere. It is only logical that global warming is the major contributor to increases in CO2 and not CO2 increases which have caused global warming. Anyway CO2 is required by plants to form oxygen by way of photosynthesis. God's great plan. As a physician, the CO2/bicarbonate buffering system is basic to understanding acid/base balance within the body - and the entire earth for that matter. That it causes global warming is an insult to anyone with an understanding of basic chemistry.
Peter A. Conrardy, MD, Orchid, Florida.

Anonymous said...

We will always have food. SOILENT GREEN !! Kisses :)

Bark said...

This so true it a way that goverments elected by us (so in a way our own faults) to control us even more by limiting our movements and our income through higher energy prices and fuel costs. We have no exact records of history just heresay and legends but it seems humans have seen some scary climate changes in the past and survived them, this is just a natural process of the earth but there too many bandwagon jumpers and doom and gllom merchants around today that just love these things, if it was global warming there would be something else.

marketingred said...

As a climatologist and meteorologist, I believe that global warming is truly happen in our world. Many fact that we can see as a result of global warming. Fr example the ice in the peak of mount kilimanjaro, at 1970, the ice was covered very large area on the peak, but if we see kilimanjaro in 2000, the ice just cover not more than 10 percent of the area. Of course, the ice become melting because of incerasing temperatoure around the world.

bi -- Intl. J. Inact. said...

I see an impressive list of "Supporting References", but why don't I see any citations in the text itself? The scholarship just looks good without actually being good. As a self-proclaimed professor, I'm sure Prof. Rancourt could've done better than that!

"I argue that by far the most destructive force on the planet is power-driven financiers and profit-driven corporations and their cartels backed by military might; and that the global warming myth is a red herring that contributes to hiding this truth."

Hmm... I've been blogging about the climate conspiracy theories of various shapes and sizes that've been proposed to date, and this looks like a welcome addition, although I'm not sure how to classify it (if at all).

-- bi, International Journal of Inactivism

global warming source said...

another article that may prove why global warming is a hype:
Global Warming Myths

bi -- International Journal of Inactivism said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
bi -- International Journal of Inactivism said...

Duh. Interestingly, what Rancourt seems to be doing is to simply grab a bunch of global warming denialist talking points from the `greenies are leftist crypto-commies' guys, and then simply reinterpret the talking points according to his left-anarchist ideology.

When it's possible to use the same `facts' saying that Global Warming is a Vast Left-Wing Vast Conspiracy, to `prove' that Global Warming is a Right-Wing Conspiracy, shouldn't it be quite obvious that someone's talking through his hat?

I mean, excuse me?

(But hey, who cares about `logic', as long as one gets to bash Al Gore! See, Al Gore is Fat, and so is Michael Moore, therefore Global Warming is a Scam! QED! Bleh.)

Anyway, my (incomplete) critique of Rancourt's essay:

Ode to a theory unsung and conspiratorial.

Lydell Hardy said...

The main problem with global warming and climate change is still the fact that many people think how this is something that will go away or even better something that doesn't exist. For instance only only 50 % people worldwide that think human actions caused global warming problem (http://ecologicalproblems.blogspot.com/2008/03/is-global-warming-serious-problem-what.html)

Actve said...

Suggest you to provide link to


and encourage your readers to use the
Energy Environment Forum !

Anonymous said...

I enjoy your views on climate change,my new teacher here was discussing that subject just the other day. This is what she said

Global warming causes said...

Great post, thank you:)

Fr. Ryan Assembly 1084 said...

my god you are an idiot.

Ralph said...

It's amazing what the conjunction of integrated formal scientific knowledge, bad faith and a sprinkling of mental disease can produce from the likes of poor Mr. Rancourt: total bullshit

xenical said...

I admire the inspiration for newer innovations. IF vehicles were operated by lithium ion batteries then the world would literally be a different place. ME myself mainly caring for the environment itself would really hope for the best case scenario and would wish that vehicles would run on them batteries!
IF it were possible though, many corporations would lose a lot of money..
Look guys, there are plenty of different alternatives for the car running on a different energy source. Cars today have the ability to run on propane, vegetable oil, water, and battery, but if these acts were to be in effect asap, big companies would lose business thus luxurious companies not being able to pay off many things in essense declaring bankruptcy. It will disturb the whole economic status of car dealerships because competition would compare to cellular phone business. A shop in every corner and not a need for it as much..

Samiscarly said...

Like everyone is saying we have to stop global warming or else we cant survive were all gonna die & so will Earth with all it's living creatures we already have everyone saying the world will end in 2012 that's in 3 years almost we have to do something.

Mike said...

I just discovered this post through the Small Dead Animals blog. I don't agree with all of Denis' politics, but this is an excellent anaylsis of the Global Warming Myth, and why it has transformed into essentially a religion for the true believers. I'm going to link it into as many places as I can.

Jason Calley said...

Dear Mr. Rancourt,

Thanks for a great article! Having come on my own to very similar conclusions -- both on the truth value of current "climate science," and on the influence of governmental/corporate entities -- I was pleased to read such a clear and compelling exposition.

One of my (unfortunate) amusements was in noting how high a proportion of the posters objecting to your article, were some combination of inarticulate, poorly literate, angry, or attacking straw men.

I would like, if I may, to make one point concerning the conflict between individuals and the controlling alliance of big business, big finance and big government. The problem is not business per se, but rather businesses (i.e. corporations) which have been given special legal rights and economic advantage above that which individuals have. The problem is not finance and banking per se, but rather financial and banking institutions which have been given special legal rights and economic advantage above that which individuals have. The problem is not government per se, but rather people acting under the authority of government who have been given special legal rights and economic advantage above that which non-governmental individuals have.

In business, these advantages include special tax rates, or especially the limited liability and indefinite life span which corporations have.

In finance, these advantages include the ability of central banks to effectively counterfeit money, and of lower banks to engage in fractional reserve banking, fraudulently loaning money which they do not have.

In government, these advantages include the ability to create legislation and – most importantly – then enforce legislation through the use of aggressive force.

The important thing to remember is that ALL ethically legitimate actions of business, finance or government must be based on the Jeffersonian understanding that the individual’s consent and delegation of personal rights is a needed first step. No business, no bank, no government, may properly do what is not also proper for an individual to do. Equally, every business, every bank, every person acting in the name of government, must be held responsible for misdeeds and damages. Decisions are made by people, not legal abstractions. If a company pollutes a watershed, then some person made the decisions that led to the pollution. That person must be held responsible. If a government steals property through legislation, some person or persons, are responsible and they must be held personally responsible.

The left vs. right paradigm will never serve as an effective model for understanding the nature of the power and control structure which rules the current system. In actuality, the only real difference in left vs. right, is which lies they are more proficient at telling. Bush proclaimed military strength to the right wingers. Obama proclaims compassion to the left wingers. Both collect the taxes, pay off the corporations, monitor the emails, torture the prisoners, and bomb the brown people.

Only by making people of power responsible – personally! – for their decisions, will we change the ways in which power is expressed.

Thanks again for a great article!

greg said...

This list of frequent arguments used to argue that climate change is not happening, and referenced rebuttals to them, hits on a few of the things you mention in this essay and also that i have heard you say in person:

James38 said...

Rancourt is a pathetic fool. Why he is supporting such a lengthy compilation of lies and distortions is beyond comprehension.

One thing is certain, Rancourt and all who support him have never done a serious study of the science behind Climate Change. His list of footnotes look impressing until you realize that he has cherry-picked his sources. Why he bothered to do this to produce nothing but a list of lies is incomprehensible.

There is an excellent book that all interested should read. It is supremely clear, and will leave you with a genuine understanding of everything Rancourt left out.

Read "Storms of My Grandchildren" by Dr. James E Hansen, eminent climate scientist with NASA.

Anonymous said...

Really? You are a bloody physicist. Look at the data again.

Bulla said...

giday from Australia and nice blog thank you great to see that human interaction is alive and well and to this I was wondering just how much of an activist you thought your self to be

If someone were to show you an entirely different way to view and interpret the entire planets atmospheric and climate that enabled you to advance your understanding of how it works,where by every thing fits correctly, but it happens to be outside mainstream science, and would that fact bother you to the extent that you would see no scientific value within what was put forward

Or would the activist in you force you to investigate it if only to discredit it, to this I put forward my understanding and 16years of full time research as a Nature Philosopher that has a bent for Geophysics namely quantum Atomic optics of electromagnetics and HydroH2o@ Atomic 6 that leads one to Split Photonics via magnetic portals and that there is a direct correlation to all climate and the complete control of same via magnetic plumes or hot spots re Tesla levels that correlates to high magnetic hot spot values to the direct development of low pressure barometric weather cells, that may well shock you along with mainstream climate science, further research indicates that indeed the split photonics or supermagnetics within the earth bound plumes dose effect the Atomic distortion and refractory factors of the perfect spheres or water crystals specific weight from 6 microns to 32 micron, there by altering the value of the crystals atomic weight that results in the high altitude micronized water vaporous as they move freely across the super-magnetic plumes and themselves becoming to heavy to sustain there value of Atomic 6 and descend down upon the plume or magnetic hotspot generating a low pressure weather cell that in some cases can be some thousands of miles across mainly ocean based but also occur upon the land

Now I am fully aware that science to this date has failed to explain these plumes or hot spot occurrence or where they come from or dissipate to, enter magnetic portals fluxing from 4 to 8 minutes (published Iowa university/ NASA discovery 2013) but sorry wait, this so called discovery about the magnetic portals fluxing 4 to 8 minutes was first published by my good self as far back as 07072007 to this I explain that I have no agenda other than knowledge and I am totaly interdependent researcher who is self funded and a further conundrum that boggles ones mind or should is that the discover just lately by CERN LRC hadron colider that the photon actually splits that supersedes the neutrino this data I also published in 07072007 that's 6 years ago and the data still stands within Google today and that when published in 2007 the dictionary did not contain words nor could they attain a result from Google search back then being (split photonics) and (Hetrodynamic Electromagnetic Hydro dynamic sine wave array) so there is the supposed Iowa/NASA* magnetic portals and Cerns split photonics

Something that may well shock you further is that I have complete schematics along with all Atomic distortion and refractory factors and there math and dynamic duality speeds of the magnetic ground waves and math measurements along with dynamic trajectory and speeds of same, or how else would I be able to discover the above 6 years prior and publish same and there is much more but that would depend on how much of an activist you are when it comes to climate and how it really works hopefully you have an open enough mind to step out of the norm like Newton,Tesla, Einstein you could say friends of mine

Bulla said...

hello again

and I thought I would share some more out of the square logic to help the world of physics to further understand where they may be able to pick up the thread that they have obviously lost along the way within the laws of physics that is not yet understood, or is it? but not made public

to this I thought you may enjoy my synopsis of the famous Newton conundrum and bearing in mind his obsession with alchemy and Giza pyramid system along with king solomans temple

here is the conundrum in general

Grind the stones so there is no beginning nor end and it shall give you the snakes and show you the steps, you can climb

my synopsis

The pyramid is made of ground stones being pyramid shape it has no beginning nor end and it has the snakes and internally it indeed has the step chamber with steps so large indeed one would have to climb


Bulla said...

hello again
I thought I might share with the world of physics something that may help them pick up the thread they have appeared to have lost

it comes from Newton and is his, not yet understood conundrum here it is approx
bearing in mind his total fascination with alchemy and Giza pyramids and king solo-mans temple

Grind the stones so there is no beginning nor end and it shall give you the snakes and show you the steps that you can climb

my synopsis

(The pyramids are made of ground stones and they have the snakes and inside the step chamber has indeed steps so large one would have to climb)

Now have you picked up the thread you have lost, because Newton new the truth, do you?

Anonymous said...

Thanks for this great article, discussing many different scientific aspects of a very tricky problem. I appreciated especially the brief discussion of the different model-calculations, where CO2 is supposed intervene in the H2O budget whereas the reverse seems true.
The militant political point of view of the autor is a very interesting and convincing one.
I wonder why I could not find this overview earlier! Great job!!!
Thanks Dr. Rancourt

Michael Polidori said...

I've disagreed with the idea of mostly-human driven climate change by a lack of evidence derived using proper scientific method.

I was amazed how easy to understand Professor Rancourt's explanations are.

I have a close friend who is one of the 33,000 scientists signing the petition opposing the idea that mankind is mostly responsible for climate change.

Regarding soot being one of several culprits for glacier melting; Free Trade may be mostly responsible for the last several decades' increases.

China has been the powerhouse for all multinationals massively profiting from "Free" Trade. Production costs in China are kept lower by use of dirty coal & lack of environmental/worker protections.

Multinationals doing business in China as purchasers, can fight any changes to laws/regulations.
Under WTO rules & trade agreement clauses like Multilateral Agreements on Investment (MAI), any NEW law or regulation that would reduce "foreign investor" profit can be challenged, ignored or force-repealed.

This stops third world countries from enacting not only pollution laws or regulations... it prevents enactment of or changes to laws/regulations governing child/prison labor, minimum wage, workplace safety and any other government action at any level that would reduce the profit of a "foreign investor".

So not only have we exported our manufacturing pollution, we have increased the deadliness of that pollution by circumventing our EPA and preventing third world countries from doing anything about it.
This doesn't address more egregious workers' rights violations and intolerable conditions. In some Chinese companies this results in suicide nets strung between buildings. These buildings are used as over-crowded dorm-like living spaces, with 8 people in a room.

President Obama's TPP (along with several other fast-track trade agreements he "negotiated" over his two presidencies), will continue the pressure to push wholesale prices down while retail prices continue to increase (as they have ALWAYS done during the 3 decades long Free Trade debacle and tragedy).

The TPP looks like a way to increase pressure on China to keep prices-low/pollution-high/workers-abused, as multinationals look for more ways to have countries serve up easily-duped, productive low wage workers to compete with China...
no matter the effect on what little manufacturing remains in the USA...
no matter the hardships and abuses visited upon those working in Trade Agreement sanctioned sweatshops run by people contracted to produce low-cost/high-quality products.

There may be time limits to the original trade agreements. China has had a teary-eye-opening experience with massive western-style industrial-scale pollution problems.
The TPP might just be leverage to stop China from changing their laws/regs/rules in the maybe-soon to expire agreements.

Multinationals had the forethought to keep TPP countries' workforce in reserve in our supposed "global" economy... which, I had wrongly assumed, meant the entire global population was "competing".

What other work-forces are being held in reserve. Africa? Eastern Europe? The several EU countries soon to collapse?
Leaving the EU will free countries from EU pollution regulations/laws.
Not giving Eastern EU nations Western EU membership makes their populations vulnerable to global exploitation w/ the "appropriate" lack of protective worker/environmental laws/regulations.

Professor Rancourt, I am eagerly looking forward to studying everything on this page.
MANY thanks to you for creating this blog and permitting posting of opposing points of view.

As Always,
For the protection of children,
In the interests of truth and science,
Michael Polidori