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Al Gore's Alliance for Climate Protection

Climate change moral failings are cowardice and ignorance, not inaction

By Professor Bob Carter & Tom Harris, Natural Resources Stewardship Project

Friday, August 17, 2007

 Virtually overnight, Portland (Maine) High School student Kristen Byrnes has become a climate change sensation and a role model for freethinking young people everywhere.  As an extra credit project for an earth science course, she created "Ponder the Maunder", an attractive website designed to demonstrate "that the Earth's warming climate is a result of natural variance and that man-made changes in the warming climate in the last 40 years are negligible at best."  After being highlighted in a number of articles in two local newspapers and on several prominent Web sites, "Ponder the Maunder" attracted over 500,000 hits in May.


Professor Bob Carter
Professor Bob Carter is a member of the Science Advisory Committee of the NRSP and may be contacted at
Ms. Byrnes also demonstrates how simple it has become to effectively challenge today's climate change hysteria.  To do so you need merely some elementary science knowledge and a modicum of courage.  Amongst hundreds of western political leaders, only about five have had the strength of character to say in public what many must understand very well, namely that the global warming debate has been completely hijacked by anti-science propaganda.  These brave souls are Czech President Vaclav Klaus, U.S. Senator James Inhofe, former U.K. Chancellor Sir Nigel Lawson, former German Chancellor Helmut Schmidt and former French Science Minister Claude Allegre.


Hats off to them!  Not so long ago, Prime Minister Stephen Harper would have made the list too but a single-minded quest for a majority government has frightened him into green rhetoric as silly as David Suzuki's.


Amongst other things that you can discover from Kristen's and similar sites, but not from most governments, is that the late 20th century warming that ended in 1998 fell well within earlier natural climate change variations. Despite the worldwide expenditure of more than US$50 billion on research since 1990 and the efforts of tens of thousands of scientists worldwide, no human climate signal has yet been detected that is distinct from natural variation.


Whence cometh, then, public frenzy about global warming? Is it really possible that the United Nations, many scientists, scientific academies, government agencies, politicians, church leaders, entertainers and other public celebrities are all wrong? That they are all part of one giant conspiracy?


The short answer to both these questions is "yes", although the conspiracy involved is mostly unconscious and organized within the subgroups rather than across the whole (not surprisingly, one of the aims of Al Gore's Alliance for Climate Protection is to co-ordinate climate alarmism better across the many interest groups throughout the World). Nonetheless, the result has certainly affirmed the principle that the whole is greater than the sum of the parts. For our western world has come to believe - REALLY believe - that dangerous global warming is occurring and that human emissions of carbon dioxide are the cause.


This is largely the result of a brilliant, if unethical, PR campaign in which environmental lobbyists have turned global warming into a moral rather than a science issue. And as a moral issue it resonates deeply with western Christian roots.


Most of us have parents who, in the interests of controlling family rambunctiousness, nurtured from an early age their children's instinctive guilt feelings.  Thus do parents unwittingly make the soil fertile for the opinions of their maturing children to be infested with vigorous weeds by the brilliant eco-salvationist marketing campaigns of organizations such as the World Wildlife Fund and Greenpeace.


Weed killer would, of course, quickly deal with the situation, but it too is prohibited by environmentalists. For the weed killer for unfounded science is a good understanding of real science methodology, an attribute that environmental organizations invariably fail to display.


Equally damaging is the sheer ignorance of science and scientific method that is exhibited by the prominent personalities and politicians who now endlessly browbeat the public about global warming. Educated schoolchildren like Kristen may get it, but a profound lack of science understanding radiates from the West's political and business leaders. One of the many prices that Canada may soon pay for this failure is the widespread imposition of unnecessary, inefficient and ineffectual carbon taxes.


In the face of strong scientific evidence to the contrary, Mr. Gore and other environmental lobbyists have convinced western opinion that global warming is an urgent danger, and that doing something about it is a moral imperative. But the real morality of climate change is not concerned with trying to prevent it - which is unnecessary, futile and expensive - but rather with dealing with the all too human failings that alarmist hysteria has flushed into the open.


These moral failings are numerous. They include the role of individual scientists who deliberately put an alarmist spin on their results in order to maximize the chances of future funding; or the parallel behaviour by the managers of research centres whose funding depends upon there being a global warming problem. They include the spectacle of high-sounding environmental NGOs - in pursuit of membership subscriptions and political power - ignoring and distorting science results that do not suit their marketing agenda. They include the behaviour of prestigious science academies that have, unbelievably, tried to suppress rather than foster scientific debate on climate change. They include the bureaucrats in government greenhouse gas agencies who are more interested in career advancement than in making known the fact that greenhouse theory has been tested, and failed.  Particularly guilty are the many companies who shamelessly tout their solar, wind, ethanol and other alternative energy sources as a moral good, whereas in fact many of these are environmentally damaging and so expensive as to be entirely unable to compete in an open market without government subsidy and regulation. Moral failings also include the vicious and libelous personal attacks made on independent scientists who try to present a balanced view on the climate change issue. The remorseless and shameless promulgation of environmental alarm stories by media in pursuit of greater daily sales and advertising revenues is another moral failing.


And, finally, and most damaging are the actions of politicians who seek advantage from cynical exploitation of the public's fear of global warming - Harper's labeling "the fight against climate change [as] perhaps the biggest threat to confront the future of humanity today" is a depressing example.


To step - as many climate alarmists and collaborators thus do - onto the slippery slope of "the ends justify the means" is to embark upon the moral decline that is now widely present in the global warming debate. A series of giant rock concerts, headlined by Madonna and under impresario Al Gore, was perhaps a not altogether inappropriate way of marking such a state of affairs.

Dr. Bob Carter is a Research Professor at James Cook University (Queensland) who studies ancient environments and climate.   Tom Harris is Executive Director of the Natural Resources Stewardship Project (

 Tom Harris is an Ottawa-based mechanical engineer and Executive Director of the International Climate Science Coalition. He can be reached at

Recent articles by Tom Harris

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