By Bob Halstead
Medieval times were warm and happy. True, Harold copped one in the eye, but crops grew well, industry thrived and many grand Cathedrals were constructed. Vikings stopped plundering and planted crops in Greenland and, somehow, Polar bears survived. Earth had never had it so good. But by 1500 the climate was changing. The “Little Ice Age” was coming.
There is something rather pathetic about human nature: when something happens that we do not really understand, someone or something has to be blamed. Sacrifices are demanded to appease the Gods. Between 1500 and 1700, when crops failed and life became cold and difficult, as many as 100,000 people were executed after trials that pitched the blame for the climate change on witches. Of course we would not do that now. Oh, hang on, maybe we would.
The new witches on the block are CO2 and the “Greenhouse Gases”. Well not exactly CO2, but the Oil and Coal Companies, and people that burn fossil fuels and spew CO2 into the atmosphere. And cows. Since each of us contributes with our individual carbon footprint, we too are guilty and must be punished. Stop driving the car, change your light bulbs, pay $50 dollars a litre for petrol and turn off the air conditioner. Better still, stop farting and start holding your breath. You can sequester your exhaled CO2 by tying a plastic bag over your head (hurry, while they are free). Please, think of your children, and grandchildren, the future of our overcrowded planet. Act NOW!
You might be getting the idea that I am not too happy or impressed with the way the world at large is handling climate change. But even I have to admit it is just business as normal.
Who was the biggest mass murderer of the 20th century? Hitler? Stalin? No, top of the list is a little old lady who would not hurt a fly. That was the trouble. When Rachel Carson wrote “The Silent Spring” in 1962 she included alarmist stuff about DDT killing not only flies and mosquitos but also birds and our children (through terrible cancers). Instead of a scientific program to examine the truth of her statements, there was hysteria, and DDT was banned. The witches were the Chemical Manufacturers. But since the banning, millions upon millions of people have died from malaria and other insect born diseases, and there is now plenty of evidence that judicious use of DDT could have prevented that, and that children and birds would do fine.
Even my business of sport diving has been infected. Ever since someone in the middle of a new-age meditation received a Heaven-sent jolt of lightning and realised that corals have feelings too, we have the “Touch Me and I Die” campaign to protect them. The wearing of diving gloves has been banned, and now thousands will die from accidental coral cut infections. OK, nobody actually has yet, and that is just a bit of alarmism to make you feel at home. A pity the message did not get to the Bump Headed Parrotfish that bite great chunks out of corals. Burn them at the Barbeque!
I once discovered a mutilated chunk of brain coral on a reef in PNG. Some vandal had scratched a name on the coral. It was mortally disfigured. A year later I revisited the reef to pay my respects. Hey! The coral had completely recovered. How could that be?
It could be because people are gullible. They believe what they are told, particularly if it is on TV or a movie, especially when spoken in a very low voice. When I saw Al Gore’s “An Inconvenient Truth” I was amazed. How could anyone spout such garbage and not be arrested? Then I thought, Gee, it is America and they have Benny Hinn and Hillary Clinton and Scientology, Americans believe anything. Then I remembered Dr. Strangelove and I thought, Gee, this is a comedy! Silly me. Ha, Ha!
But surely, I thought, even America knows that if someone puts “Honest” or “Truth” or “Fight Corruption” in a title or promotion it is a certain, 100% give-away that that person is dishonest, a liar and corrupt. Honest Joe’s Car Sales – give me a break.
It started getting confusing so I started buying books and surfing the net to seek the truth, then, sitting on a rock in my garden I heard a voice from Above … No, sorry, that is not true. That is just a joke. I know you are not that gullible, Mr Smith.
By chance, being there, in front of my TV, I watched the Press Club address by economist Sir Nicholas Stern. I felt he was patronising and up-himself. Alas his Review is not as good as the one with Peter Cook and Dudley Moore. The most revealing moment was when the camera swung to show Peter Garrett’s upturned face beaming in reverence at the voice from Above. It reminded me of the famous photograph of a PNG Highlander in awe at the first white man he saw. A Spirit Man, a new Jehovah!
I studied science at university, so I already knew that scientists do not have “a consensus” unless they are buying drinks (we all agree that you will pay). Real scientists are true sceptics by their nature. Always challenge, always question, keep refining knowledge, and keep experimenting, keep testing. Evidence is critical and does not come from revelation – it comes from performing clever experiments, and measuring stuff. The revelation comes when you try to produce a “why” from the “what”. Trouble is, if you are not a real scientist, you might think that the answer is …. Witches!
That is what I think Al Gore did, and people believed him, millions of them. Gullible, gullible. “The Science is all settled”, he said, “no need to go on with that”. Does he mean that he does not want anyone mucking up his ideas with evidence? That was the problem the Catholic Church had with Galileo. His evidence showed the Earth to move around the sun. In those days this was nothing an hour of torture could not fix. Little surprise then that when sceptics questioned some of Al Gore’s “facts”, true believers cried for the sceptics’ sacking or imprisonment (and I have a sneaking suspicion a bit of torture would have been welcome too).
Now I will let you in on a few more give-aways. When you hear “our models predict” or “We speculate that if …” followed by alarmist propaganda about “Manhattan underwater” and “Polar Bears extinct”, I can tell you right now, it is garbage. These people have been seeing too many Hollywood disaster movies and are confusing them with reality. They are deluded. Where is the evidence? Even the IPCC are backtracking. Science has produced some very interesting facts and figures during the last couple of years, CO2 is not nearly as important to warming as first thought, and the earth is not warming nearly as fast as was predicted. Actually for the past ten years it has been getting slightly cooler. The science is far from settled, but there is nothing going on with the weather that has not happened before. My Mum in England said it even snowed again at Easter, and they could not find their Easter eggs.
I must hasten to say that, in my humble opinion, wildlife warriors such as Greenpeace, Humane Society International and the World Wildlife Fund are not deluded. They are just nuts. When Keith Williams started his resort development near Cardwell in north Queensland, out the Greenies came, dressed as dugongs and singing dreary folk songs, to protest the dugong’s inevitable demise because of the destruction of “habitat”. Keith Williams had never killed a dugong, and still has not as far as I know, and even if he did I am sure he would do the decent “Tim Flannery” thing and eat it – but what I do know is that Queensland’s shark nets have killed, and are still killing, dugongs that get caught in them, along with turtles, whales and yes, sharks. If the Greenies were genuine they would have been protesting shark nets – and I would have joined them. But they give themselves away. They are not FOR wildlife, they are AGAINST capitalism. Macadamias!
There is something else. How about I get really cynical and imagine that Carbon Trading is all about a Redistribution of Wealth. First of all, do not build Nuclear Power stations because that will solve the problem for a while – until we invent a truly sustainable power source (Fusion, where ar’t thou) – and we do not want that. So Carbon Tax the carbon producers, this will ultimately mean money from our pockets for rising power prices and then the Government, with its new-found riches, can… you heard it, on the TV, same as I did …. “give it to the poor”. Hope I am not being gullible, but it sounds a bit like Socialism to me. But do not worry because we will ALL be poor. Hang on, I forgot, except for those more equal than others ….