Thursday, May 26, 2011

Follow the Money!

It’s remarkable that, based on this assumption, the entire world is spending billions on lowering carbon dioxide, we’re imposing heavy-handed – perhaps crippling – regulations on healthy, job-providing industries.

We will be increasing the costs of home heating and food to poor people so that subsidies can be handed over to more affluent members of society fortunate enough to be in a position where they can install government-subsidized wind turbines, coal seam gas extraction, and solar panels. (When these folks are paid several times the market rate for the energy these devices produce, the extra costs increase everyone’s energy bills dramatically.)

At the heart of the present debate is the IPCC. It likes to portray itself as an objective and independent source of advice on climate change. It is, in fact, no such thing.

Its key personnel and lead authors are appointed by governments. Its Summary for Policy Makers may sound like independent scientists speaking frankly to policy makers but, in practice, the policy makers join the drafting sessions and ensure they get what their political masters want.

There is a structural flaw in the IPCC. Far from being the distillation of the work of 2,500 scientists to produce a consensus, there is a core of 40-50 at its centre who are closely related, as colleagues, pupils, teachers, reviewers of each other’s work. The IPCC has failed to operate a rigorous conflicts of interest policy under which such relationships would be disclosed.

Finally we need from our scientists more humility (“Do not claim to be wiser than you are” Romans 12), and a return to the tradition of scientific curiosity and challenge. We need more transparency and an end to attempts to freeze out dissenting voices.

There should be more recognition of what they do not know. And acceptance of the Really Inconvenient Truth – that our understanding of the natural world does not justify the certainty in which humanity is causing dangerous global warming views are expressed.

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