Apr 24, 2009

Change Happens

The Earth is 4.5 billion years old. This means that billions of years before humans put in an appearance, the climate on this planet was doing something utterly natural - it was changing. Continents were forming and shifting. Glaciers were freezing and melting. Sea levels were rising and falling. Forms of life were emerging and then going extinct.

Humans have been around for a mere 250,000 years. The ancient Romans invaded Britain with spears and swords 2,000 years ago.

Aristotle - who died in 322 BC - was no fool. Nevertheless, he believed the Earth was the center of it all. The sun, moon, and stars all existed because we did. This was such a compelling idea that, when Galileo was born in 1564, people still believed it.

These days, we know this isn't so. Yet, deep down, we still think we're the only thing that matters.

Whatever changes are now occuring on a planet whose climate never stays the same must have something to do with us. How could we not be the reason?

We're so certain of this we've spent billions of dollars investigating pretty much only this explanation. Curious, isn't it?


Apr 15, 2009

Good Girl, Bad Girl

The United Nations Says Asking Questions Is Immoral

The United Nations can point to many decent, heroic achievements over the years, but its crusade against climate change has now turned scary.

The only people in this world who are not entitled to ask questions are slaves (of their masters) and worshippers (of their prophets, priests and gods). One cannot be considered free if one is prohibited from asking questions - of any sort, but particularly regarding a topic that is rarely absent from the daily news.

Yet according to a spokeswoman for the United Nations, its experts have not only declared the global warming debate to be over before all sides agree that it is, they've also decided that our right to ask questions is a mere triviality. They're in a hurry to save the planet, you see, so they don't have time for silly little things like free speech.

Gro Harlem Brundtland used to be the first female Prime Minister of Norway. Today she's the United Nations' Special Envoy on Climate Change. She reports directly to the UN's Secretary General.

And what does she whisper into that gentleman's ear? We have no way of knowing, but what she says in public speeches to rooms full of people is no secret.

On the 17th of March, Ms. Brundtland addressed the United Nations' Forestry Committee. Her full comments are posted on a UN web site. The third paragraph on page 2 is of particular interest:

"It is irresponsible, reckless and deeply immoral to question the seriousness of the situation we are in," she says.

Pardon me, but I don't accept anyone's word as gospel. I make up my own mind, thanks very much - and I'll ask whatever questions I please, for as long as I please.

When the United Nations starts declaring mere questions irresponsible and immoral, Houston we've got a problem.


Apr 1, 2009

That's It, I've Had It

Earth Hour 2009 finally pushed me over the edge. Anyone who hasn't been living in a cave knows about global warming and how we should all do our part to avert impending disaster.

I've been skeptical of the hype for some time, but life is short and until now I've felt I had other battles to attend.

But matters have gotten out of hand. Earth Hour started out as an entirely voluntary, highly symbolic expression of environmental concern. In astonishingly short order, however, it has morphed into something approaching a civic duty.

My hydro bill arrived two days after Earth Hour. But printed below my "daily usage" graph is the following:

Participate in Earth Hour by turning off all your lights on March 28 between 8:30 p.m. and 9:30 p.m. To learn more, visit www.earthhourcanada.org/

That web address belongs to the World Wildlife Fund. The WWF describes itself as "one of the country's leading conservation organizations, enjoying the active support of more than 150,000 Canadians."

33 million people live in Canada. The WWF is, let's admit it, merely one among hundreds of groups devoted to good causes. So why is my public utility - the Toronto Hydro Electric System - promoting the activities of this particular lobby group?

The most recent issue of NOW, a free Toronto entertainment weekly, has a full-page ad inside its front cover promoting a free Earth Hour music concert. The ad was paid for, apparently, by the WWF and the City of Toronto. "Switch off & sign up at EarthHourCanada.org" it reads.

Given the enormous media coverage, why would additional government funds be spent on the promotion of such activities? The Toronto Star, Canada's largest newspaper, didn't write an article or two, it published an Earth Hour section.

At the top of the online version there's an ad for, you guessed it, the WWF. The page contains prominent links to dozens of stories published by The Star during the weeks leading up to Earth Hour. Then there's an additional 17 articles by columnists and guest writers ranging from Margaret Atwood (novelist) to Robert Bateman (painter) to Archbishop Desmond Tutu (Nobel laureate).

The headlines on these articles leave no room for doubt or debate. They refer to the "moral aspect of climate change," the "apocalypse" of urban sprawl, and warn that we have mere hours to "prevent climate disaster."

One guest essay, titled "On a Leap of Faith," bears this as its subtitle:
If we stop flying and shipping, take bicycles to work and slash electricity use, would we sidestep the predicted environmental catastrophe? We don't know...But it would be immoral not to try.
I'm very sorry, but all of this amounts to hysteria. It really is time that sensible people started speaking up and pushing back.