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The Politics of Global Warming

March 15, 2009
Remarks delivered at the 2009 International Conference on Climate Change

Written By: John H. Sununu

We have gathered here to bring some reality and sound science into the ongoing global debate on climate change and global warming. I certainly am pleased to join this very distinguished assembly of experts who have come here to confirm that the "debate on the science is not over."

Another Rush to Judgment

This is a very significant event because it will give focus to the false underpinnings of the current international "rush to judgment" and the calls for implementation of drastic policies to deal with this rashly proclaimed "crisis." My message today is to make sure we recognize that no matter how effectively we deal with exposing the errors and games behind that agenda, we need to know the battle will never end, because it's not really about global warming.

The global warming crisis is just the latest surrogate for an over-arching agenda of anti-growth and anti-development. This agenda grew and gathered support in the years following World War II.

One of the first issues to be celebrated as a crisis by these reformers was over-population. That fad peaked in the ‘60s and early ‘70s. The bible of that cult, "The Population Bomb," argued that "... the battle to feed all of humanity is over" and claimed we had lost the battle, claiming " ... in the 1970s and 1980s hundreds of millions of people will starve to death."

This clearly phony crisis was followed by warnings about global climate change: Global cooling was going to lead to a new ice age.

But the best parallel to the current crusade, the real precursor to the current "panic du jour," was the computer model-based alarmism of the "Club of Rome." The Club of Rome's claim that global economic collapse was imminent because the world would soon "run out" of some critical resources was a very appropriate precursor to the current dire warnings. It too based its alarms not on any scientific analysis of specific issues, but on a computer model. And like the current call to action, their model was pre-destined to give the result they wanted.

The criticism of the "Club of Rome" models by Resources For the Future clearly applies to the Global Climate Models' predictions of doom. RFF pointed out that parameters with a negative impact were programmed to grow non-linearly (exponentially in fact) and parameters that mitigated negative effects were programmed to grow, if at all, "only in discrete increments."

In each of these false alarms, nature and technology spiked their prophecies. The natural cooling period of the ‘50s and ‘60s turned into the warming period of the ‘80s and ‘90s, and with the help of increased C02, a plant nutrient, instead of mass starvation, we had no problem growing enough food for the rapidly increasing world population, and we continue to find and make more efficient use of our other critical resources.

But the anti-growth, anti-development crowd are a hardy bunch. They won't give up. As nature switched from global cooling to global warming, so did they.

It is quite easy to link virtually all of the principal proponents of this overall agenda through a two- or three-generation mentor-apprentice-mentor professional family tree. I don't want to go through a specific list of names. That has all been well researched and reported by many of you here. But it is important to understand that without this process of resonating self-acclamation, such bad science and ludicrous predictions would long ago have relegated them all to obscurity.

Make no mistake, their cast of characters may have expanded a bit, but at the core, there is an unbroken lineage back to those unbelievably wrong, unscientific prognosticators.

Their basic method of attack may be the same, but they have certainly refilled their operations. They learned from the "Club of Rome" episode. Since basic hard science is more difficult to bias, they would resort again to modeling. And since critics will take the time to examine their assumptions, they make the models big, obscure, and full of complex feedback structures much too abstract to debate in a public forum.

That all brings us to what has happened in the last 20 years, and where we are today. It is worthwhile reviewing what has gone on over the past two decades to give perspective and context to what is taking place today.

Some Basic Facts


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