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Global Warming

One of this week's readings for the anti-globalization discussion group is available online. The overall gist of the article is that Evil Transnational Corporations™ exert powerful control over public relations in order to shape the public's perception of the issues and that this is anti-democratic. ("Anti-democratic" is a useful all-purpose smear, isn't it?)

What the article doesn't mention is that environmentalists are stunningly successful at this sort of thing themselves. Environmentalist propaganda is presented completely uncritically on the news and it is thoroughly embedded in the public education system.

Jensen: How is a propaganda war waged?

Stauber: The key is invisibility. Once propaganda becomes visible, it's less effective. Public relations is effective in manipulating opinion — and thus public policy — only if people believe that the message covertly delivered by the PR campaign is not propaganda at all but simply common sense or accepted reality. For instance, there is a consensus within the scientific community that global warming is real and that the burning of fossil fuels is a major cause of the problem.

Yes, let's talk about global warming, that's an excellent example. The critical point to understand is that there is not a scientific consensus about global warming. The "consensus" is a manufactured illusion of environmentalist propaganda, complete with its own value judgments (global warming is bad) and suggested behaviors (prevent global warming by destroying industrial civilization).

Through the study of glacial ice cores, we have 400,000 years of climate data to consider. The planet's temperature has undergone significant (and cyclical!) changes — ice ages — throughout this period. In fact, we are currently emerging from a minor ice age, so a trend of global warming is to be expected.

One of the (many) serious problems with environmentalism is its fixation on the present — the present global temperature, the present number and distribution of species, the present delicate balance of ecosystems. This ignores the fact that the earth has undergone dramatic changes in the past, due to entirely natural causes, that have resulted in such Shocking! Outrageous! outcomes as the global-scale upheaval of ecosystems and mass extinctions.

Why is the current global temperature the right global temperature?

The historical data suggests that the current temperature is unusual… so why should we care to preserve such atypical conditions? Ice ages are the norm. They're also choked with deserts, both arctic and hot. The current warm period is lush and green. Maybe — just maybe — the environment would improve if it were even a little warmer than at present?

I do not think the science is understood well enough at this point to even state whether or not human activity is having an influence on global temperatures. The climate models can't even predict the recent past accurately:

As the models improve they show less and less warming - which is in line with actual temperature data - and a reduced likelihood of harmful environmental events. Yet even the improved climate models are flawed. When the models' past and present temperature estimates are compared to actual past and present temperature measurements, the models are off by more than a degree. If the models cannot describe past or present temperatures correctly, why should we base public policy decisions on their predictions of future temperatures? [source]

Global warming is taught in schools as fact, treated on the news as fact, and treated by government as fact.

Haven't we gotten a little ahead of ourselves?

Doesn't it seem like environmentalism is moving forward on some basis other than sound science? Isn't that a little frightening?

Tiny Island