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CHRISTOPHER TAYLOR'S BOOKS

Thursday, April 07, 2011

THE CLIMATE INDUSTRIAL COMPLEX

"Crises there will continue to be. In meeting them, whether foreign or domestic, great or small, there is a recurring temptation to feel that some spectacular and costly action could become the miraculous solution to all current difficulties"
-Dwight D. Eisenhower

Green Piggy Bank
Many presidents are well known for and quoted from their inaugural addresses, but very few are known for their last speech before leaving office. President Eisenhower is one exception, a man whose final speech was even more resonant and significant than his first.

Particularly remembered from that speech is his warning:
Every gun that is made, every warship launched, every rocket fired signifies, in the final sense, a theft from those who hunger and are not fed, those who are cold and are not clothed. This world in arms is not spending money alone. It is spending the sweat of its laborers, the genius of its scientists, the hopes of its children.
After World War 2, the general consensus was that the US needed to be ready for war before it came upon us rather than scrambling to respond after like the nation had to in 1942. So the military industrial complex stayed geared up and was a significant power after the war. Eisenhower saw the danger in this, since it was very difficult to deny spending in this area after such a ghastly war, despite understanding that the US had to stand strong against the menace of aggressive Russian communism.

Yet he saw another danger which isn't heeded nearly as closely as the warning about guns and butter, one he brought up in a later speech about the growing military industrial complex:
Yet, in holding scientific research and discovery in respect, as we should, we must also be alert to the equal and opposite danger that public policy could itself become the captive of a scientific-technological elite.
And that's exactly what Bjorn Lomborg states has happened, with a "Climate-Industrial Complex" in the Wall Street Journal. This complex is a network of powerful corporations and start ups who benefit greatly from climate change alarmism and push for legislation that will make them even richer.
Even companies that are not heavily engaged in green business stand to gain. European energy companies made tens of billions of euros in the first years of the European Trading System when they received free carbon emission allocations.

American electricity utility Duke Energy, a member of the Copenhagen Climate Council, has long promoted a U.S. cap-and-trade scheme. Yet the company bitterly opposed the Warner-Lieberman bill in the U.S. Senate that would have created such a scheme because it did not include European-style handouts to coal companies. The Waxman-Markey bill in the House of Representatives promises to bring back the free lunch.

U.S. companies and interest groups involved with climate change hired 2,430 lobbyists just last year [2008], up 300% from five years ago. Fifty of the biggest U.S. electric utilities -- including Duke -- spent $51 million on lobbyists in just six months.

The massive transfer of wealth that many businesses seek is not necessarily good for the rest of the economy. Spain has been proclaimed a global example in providing financial aid to renewable energy companies to create green jobs. But research shows that each new job cost Spain 571,138 euros, with subsidies of more than one million euros required to create each new job in the uncompetitive wind industry. Moreover, the programs resulted in the destruction of nearly 110,000 jobs elsewhere in the economy, or 2.2 jobs for every job created.
Even Enron, Lomborg points out, was big in "green" energy, because they saw a rich future for them. Referring to the Kyoto Protocols which the US refused to sign, Enron execs said "If implemented, it will do more to promote Enron's business than almost any other regulatory business."

Among the thousands of emails released in Climaquiddick clearly showing the deception, manipulation, and fraud in the climate change industry was this one from researcher Andrew Manning:
I'm in the process of trying to persuade Siemens Corp. (a company with half a million employees in 190 countries!) to donate me a little cash to do some CO2 measurments [sic] here in the UK -- looking promising, so the last thing I need is news articles calling into question (again) observed temperature increases.
Well yes I can see why you'd not care for dissent when you're looking to score big bucks. Timothy Carney points out in an Examiner piece recently:
The note and others like it reveal the intriguing relationship between industry giants like Siemens and the scientists driving climate change fears. More importantly, though, Manning's e-mail shows the incentives of climate scientists: Convince people there is a climate disaster coming, get more money.

Manning and the warming crowd benefit from a beautiful feedback loop: The more governments, businesses, and media outlets you can convince that man-made global warming is a serious threat, the more these institutions will invest in climate change studies, solutions, and policies. And the more they invest in combating global warming -- whether it's a newspaper hiring a climate reporter, a company buying emissions credits and alternative energy sources, or a government building a climate lab -- the less willing they are to tolerate dissent on the issue.

Skeptics are usually accused of getting big oil donations to disagree with the alarmist line, but the fact is the big bucks are on the alarmist side of the equation (including from big oil). And as Max Borders points out in an Opinion Zone piece:
Sometimes it’s not so much about the salary. There are a lot of ancillary benefits to being a climate catastrophist. Allow me to list some:
  • People know your name. You enjoy fame.
  • The New York Times writes about you. TV people interview you on the news.
  • You get to wallow in rectitude as you shout your warnings to all of humanity.
  • People pay you to speak at events.
  • You enjoy higher status in the Guild that is higher education.
  • You get more money for your department and your university than the quiet ones.
  • Big wigs and corporate rent-seekers take you to lavish dinners (at least).
  • Your journal articles provide fodder for the second-hand dealers and activists.
  • You gain the veneration of your peers (if they buy your results).
  • You’re “important” and you get to belong to elite clubs (like the IPCC).
All of this sounds pretty good to me. Once people get locked into these goodies, they have every incentive to dig in their heels. They have virtually no incentive to admit errors, revise their work or check their biases.
No incentive to question your work but plenty to promote one side of the issue does not add up to good science. As I have written several times in the past, scientists are not uniquely blessed with integrity, honor, and honesty. They are not superior beings whose virtue we all should aspire to, they are just folks like you and I, and they've got just the same failings, needs, and fears as the rest of us. Pretending that putting a lab coat on somehow negates your greed, political bent, and desire for fame and adulation is absolutely absurd.

Another article at the Opinion Zone by Iain Murray pointed out something significant: climate change alarmist researchers get paid pretty well on average. As in more than $70 an hour. With that kind of cabbage, its not hard to find a reason to be on the consensus side of things.

The truth is, even if the climate change alarmists are right, this ugly industry bears closer scrutiny and more skepticism. And there's no scientific proof they are right, let alone the extraordinary level of proof required by such extraordinary claims.

Science is built on skepticism; that is perhaps its most defining characteristic after curiosity, but skepticism gets in the way of the gravy train, and nobody wants that to slow down once they're on board.

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