Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category
The generally held fear of carbon dioxide these days has been perpetrated primarily through a series of Assessment Reports (AR) released every five or six years since 1990 by the Intergovernmental Panel On Climate Change (IPCC). These reports contain alarming evidence of man made global warming and forecasts of devastation by melting polar ice caps, rising seas, extreme weather, droughts. floods, wars, epidemics, and social disintegration that are expected to kill billions of people. The 4th Assessment Report, usually referred to as AR4, was released in 2007 and AR5 was expected in 2013 but it has been delayed and is not expected before 2014. The reason for the delay is likely to be a requirement for scientific rigor imposed on the IPCC by the InterAcademy Council (IAC).
1960s: The over-population theory explores the fear that there are too many people on earth and they are breeding too fast. It is predicted that by 1987 human activity will exceed the planet’s ability to sustain us with food, energy, and raw materials. The scenario, explored in the movie “Soilent Green”, is predicted to includes Biblical famine and death, anarchy, and the devolution of human society possibly including cannibalism. Human activity will have destroyed the earth’s ability to sustain human beings.
1970s: The “limits to growth” theory disseminates the fear that society will collapse by the year 2000 because there is a hard upper limit to the amount of fossil fuels, minerals, and other planetary resources that we can consume and therefore a limit to the level of economic growth that is achievable. Continued economic growth will run into this upper limit and cause a complete collapse of civilization as we know it.
1970s: The first ozone depletion scare campaign is waged against the development of the SST high altitude airliner with the allegedly scientific argument that nitric oxide (NOx) in the jet exhaust will deplete ozone in the ozone layer. The campaign is successful and the SST program is canceled. Their success emboldens environmental extremists and the modern version of planetary environmentalism based on fear takes form. Twenty years later the same scientists, alarmed by falling NOx concentration in the lower atmosphere declared that “NOx is the immune system of the atmosphere” because it prevents chlorine from depleting ozone.
1980s: The second ozone depletion scare campaign is waged against refrigerants that contain CFC chemicals saying that human activity was causing an ozone hole over the Antarctic and causing the establishment of the Montreal Protocol and a comprehensive ban on the most efficient and inexpensive refrigerants used worldwide. The ozone depletion science is proven wrong but the media that helped hype the ozone hole scare are silent on the issue. The ozone hole scare quietly disappears from the media.
1990s to present: The global warming scare campaign rises like a Phoenix from the ashes of the failed ozone hole scare campaign with the theory that carbon dioxide from fossil fuels accumulates in the atmosphere, traps heat, and warms up the planet with catastrophic consequences of Biblical proportions.
A large number of gross errors found in the IPCC’s 2007 assessment report and the subsequent flurry of humiliating retractions have apparently changed the method of global warming alarmism to include the use of disclaimers as some kind of a defensive perimeter against criticism. The article on extreme weather (Extreme weather becoming more frequent, Bangkok Post, August 11, 2010) is an example. It contains the following disclaimers: It is impossible to lay the blame for weather events on human activity; You can’t draw the conclusion that this is caused by global warming; One cause of a shift in monsoon rains in Asia is the effect of La Nina; It is too early to point to a human fingerprint behind individual weather events; It is impossible to blame mankind for single severe weather events.
Each of these disclaimers is immediately followed by a “be that as it may” conclusion that is its exact opposite. For example, the statement that “it is too early to point to a human fingerprint” is followed by “recent weather extremes … (are) adding to evidence of a changing climate even as negotiations on a new global treaty for costly cuts in greenhouse gas emissions have stalled”.
These contradictory statements taken together appear to be saying that we must go ahead with costly cuts in greenhouse gas emissions although we have neither evidence nor science to determine whether the heat waves and floods are caused by emissions and whether reducing emissions will have any effect on weather.
The idea that carbon emissions cause extreme weather originated with a paper that found an increasing cost of weather disasters from 1970 to 2006. Using cost as a proxy for “intensity and frequency” the authors concluded that weather was becoming more extreme. No justification was provided for the further conclusion that the alleged increase in extreme weather was caused by carbon emissions.
It was later found that the apparent trend in the cost of extreme weather was an artifact of the 2005 hurricane season in the Caribbean. Without 2005 in the data, the trend disappeared. This flaw in the study caused the authors and the IPCC to withdraw their 2007 claim that global warming causes extreme weather (“UN wrongly linked global warming to natural disasters”, Sunday Times, January 24, 2010). The resurrection of this thesis without a scientific study as a basis is likely to further erode the credibility of the IPCC.
The World Bank is having trouble raising enough money from cash strapped rich nations and has injected new vigor and direction in its poverty reduction programs along with internal oversight and fiscal discipline to convince donors to cough up (World bank struggles to feed the poor and starving, Bangkok Post, June 14, 2010). At the same time it appears to have toned down if not completely abandoned its rhetoric on global warming. What a difference a year makes.
Only a year ago, in 2009, well after the financial crisis had struck in 2008, the Bank was singing a different tune apparently having abandoned the war against poverty to jump headlong into the war against global warming. In those days, global warming had the smell of money as amounts in the hundreds of billions of dollars per annum were being thrown about in climate change meetings for global warming mitigation and adaptation with an emphasis on the alleged injustice that rich nations cause global warming but poor nations bear the brunt of its effect and that therefore the rich nations should be doling out immense sums to poor vulnerable countries.
Sensing an opportunity to be the vehicle for the disbursement of these funds the World Bank bolted from poverty reduction and economic development goals to quite suddenly become the chief evangelist for global warming. In 2009 it released a stunning and frightening report writing that the effect of climate change on its poor client nations will include: declining crop yields, diarrheal diseases, droughts, plummeting school enrollment, a reversal in development progress, and compromised well being of current and future generations.
The Bank quickly devised a strategy to help the developing countries cope with climate change. It demanded an immediate global program to cut greenhouse gases and at the same time to budget without delay $500 billion per year for implementing green economies in developing countries (i.e. for mitigation) and $75 billion per year to build adaptation strategies in the vulnerable nations. The smell of global warming money was strong and the Bank got sucked into it just in time for the utter failure of the Copenhagen meeting; and in the wake of Climategate and a series of humiliating retractions of catastrophic predictions by the IPCC, the smell of money in global warming was quickly replaced by the smell of death.
There is no better evidence of the death of global warming than the complete reversal of the Bank’s position on this issue and its complete return to its roots and its original mandate of poverty reduction and to a more modest funding goal of $42 billion for its core development programs with no mention of global warming.
Cha-am Jamal, Thailand
If you think that the objective of foreign aid is to help poor countries to get economic development started or to end poverty as so nobly stated by Jeffrey Sachs in The end of poverty, you will find that it has been a complete and utter failure and that if anything it has done more harm than good.
In other words, if you look at how foreign aid has benefited recipient countries, you find an industry that has spent trillions of dollars since its inception and has achieved nothing. As reference to support this conclusion, take a look at one of these books.
- Graham Hancock, The lords of poverty
- Michael Maren, The road to hell
- Dambisa Moyo, Dead aid
- Bill Easterly, The white man’s burden
- Glenn Hubbard, The aid trap
They tell of the utter failure of foreign aid to achieve any of its stated objectives of economic development and poverty reduction as described in The end of poverty.
On the other hand, if you look at how foreign aid has benefited donors you get an entirely different picture. From case studies of foreign aid one may derive certain perverse motivations that have more to do with gains to donors than the end of poverty. Some gains from foreign aid that has accrued to donors include the following:
- provide employment for economists, aid workers, and specialists
- protect agriculture markets and subsidies
- develop markets in recipient countries for goods and services
- explore and capture investment opportunities
- explore and capture sources for energy and raw materials
- export values and culture
- develop soft power
- cultivate values and practices in the recipient country to benefit the donor
- maintain the rich-poor divide with the rich nations as caretakers of the poor
- leverage international trade advantages
- leverage political and military advantages
The rich donor nations compete with each other for global dominance and influence and it would seem that foreign aid is one of the tools used in this game. The international aid business should therefore be judged according to these more meaningful goals because it has been shown that the attempt to evaluate them according to their stated goal of ending poverty has not led to any meaningful results.
The international aid business does not make a lot of sense if you look at it from the recipient’s point of view but it can take on new meaning and interpretation when viewed from the donor’s perspective.
Cha-am Jamal, Thailand