Yesterday, my children asked “what’s global warming?” Mr. Bookworm launched into the NY Times-approved description of our impact on the climate. I added that, while the planet is definitely warming up, there’s still some debate about how great a contribution people are making to that change. Mr. Bookworm went ballistic, accusing me of looking outside of the NY Times for information. That might have been the end of it, but it wasn’t.
When I got home after that little kerfuffle and, for the first time that day, booted up my computer, I immediately checked out Mark Steyn’s Sunday column. Coincidentally, it was about climate change and it perfectly states my opinion about the whole thing:
The question is whether what’s happening now is just the natural give and take of the planet, as Erik the Red and my town’s early settlers understood it. Or whether it’s something so unprecedented that we need to divert vast resources to a transnational elite bureaucracy so that they can do their best to cripple the global economy and deny much of the developing world access to the healthier and longer lives that capitalism brings. To the eco-chondriacs that’s a no-brainer. As Mark Fenn of the Worldwide Fund for Nature says in the new documentary ”Mine Your Own Business”:
”In Madagascar, the indicators of quality of life are not housing. They’re not nutrition, specifically. They’re not health in a lot of cases. It’s not education. A lot of children in Fort Dauphin do not go to school because the parents don’t consider that to be important. . . . People have no jobs, but if I could put you with a family and you could count how many times in a day that that family smiles. Then I put you with a family well off, in New York or London, and you count how many times people smile. . . . You tell me who is rich and who is poor.”
Well, if smiles are the measure of quality of life, I’m Bill Gates; I’m laughing my head off. Male life expectancy in Madagascar is 52.5 years. But Mark Fenn is right: Those l’il malnourished villagers sure look awful cute dancing up and down when the big environmentalist activist flies in to shoot the fund-raising video.
If “global warming” is real and if man is responsible, why then do so many “experts” need to rely on obviously fraudulent data? The famous “hockey stick” graph showed the planet’s climate history as basically one long bungalow with the Empire State Building tacked on the end. Completely false. In evaluating industrial impact, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change used GDP estimates based on exchange rates rather than purchasing power: As a result, they assume by the year 2100 that not only South Africans but also North Koreans will have a higher per capita income than Americans. That’s why the climate-change computer models look scary. That’s how “solid” the science is: It’s predicated on the North Korean economy overtaking the United States.
Could happen. Who knows?
But that’s the point: Who knows? You could take every dime spent by every government and NGO and eco-group to investigate “climate change” and spend it on Internet porn instead, and it wouldn’t make the slightest difference to what the climate will be in 2050.
Then, when I was talking to my sister about yesterday’s interchange, I added something I never got the chance to tell Mr. Bookworm. Even if we accept as true that man is wholely responsible for climate change, and that we’re not just an irrelevant addition to the ebb and flow of the earth’s climate, any changes we make in the West still won’t matter. India, China and the rest of Asia, over the next twenty years, will add pollutants so rapidly to the climate that nothing we will do will matter — and they’ll do so without conscience about the climate because they believe it’s their day in the economic sun.
With all this in mind, I don’t believe that Stephen Harper, Canada’s current prime minister, was right when he called the Kyoto Protocol a “money sucking socialist scheme” — but that’s only because I don’t believe that some socialist brain trust gathered in a backroom on a specific Sunday in August of 1995 to dream it up. What I do believe is that the fact of global warming is being embraced as part of a paradigm that sees it as fundamentally unfair that we in the West have benefitted so greatly from the industrial and post-industrial revolution. While there’s no coherent thought aimed at bringing us down a peg to give the East a leg up, it’s not too great a leap to claim that many climate change proponents see this outcome as a beneficial by product of the entire climate change argument.
Surprisingly, my brother-in-law has already thought of this one. It turns out that, rather than being impressed by all the climate change fear-mongering, he’s coined a phrase for what he sees happening: he calls all this “weather warfare.” As I do, he also rejects the idea of a smoke-filled room conspiracy. However, also as I do, he believes that people angered at the West’s economic success see the climate change hysteria as another medium to stoke to deflate Western power.
And just to wrap this thing up, let me remind you that the elaborate clothes favored during the 16th Century were useful, not only to advertise status, but also to keep things warm. You see, that century, with its lavish, fur-trimmed clothing, came right in the beginning of the Little Ice Age. Interestingly enough, the end of that era of over the top clothing was 1800, right about the time the ice age ended and global warming began.