As you may have heard, this past weekend the Green machine orchestrated its latest stunt, a global Earth Hour during which participants were asked to turn off all their lights.
In his post on the topic, Matthew made fun of the stunt pointing out that even the organizers admit that the act will do little for the environment but that the payoff would be in awareness. We here at CMR make a habit of mocking the Global Warming scare as unsupported by science, overblown in its conclusions, and potentially harmful to billions of living creatures – namely humans.
Whenever we write about this topic we invariably get emails or comments of the sort of “Why do you mock this so? As Catholics we must morally take care of the environment and even if we are not sure of the effects of human produced CO2 on the environment, why take chances? As Catholics we should support this movement.”
This is a paraphrase of the arguments put forth to us by well meaning Catholics confused by our opposition. We usually laugh off such critiques and questions but I felt that perhaps it requires more than mockery. Let me first stipulate that we absolutely consider ourselves to be Catholic conservationists dedicated to the good stewardship of our God given resources but we generally oppose the methods, tactics, and proposals of the Green Movement. Many assume that our opposition is a knee jerk opposition based on party loyalty and/or our disdain for the lefties who support it. This is emphatically not the case.
This post is not meant as a treatise on the evidence for or against anthropogenic climate change. We at CMR view the evidence as at best inconclusive. But does there exist a chance that humans contribute deleteriously to climate change? Yes, there is a chance, but there is no conclusive evidence that this is the case. Currently there seems to be more evidence to the contrary, but we will let the scientists work it out. What is clear is that supposed current ironclad case for anthropogenic climate change and its consequences is a lie and it is not a neutral act to believe a lie. In the real world believing a lie and acting upon that belief has real world consequences. Sometimes those consequences mean death for millions. This is not guess work, this is history.
History gives us a perfect example of what can happen when bad science is married with the cause-celeb and policy for a generation is built on a lie. In 1962 Rachel Carson wrote her (in)famous book Silent Spring which scaring the public with the horrors linked to the use of DDT.
DDT is an insecticide that up until that point had greatly reduced the incidences of hosts of diseases including yellow fever, dengue, sleeping sickness, plague, encephalitis, West Nile Virus, and other diseases transmitted by mosquitoes, fleas, and lice. Moreover, DDT was responsible for the near eradication of Malaria, a disease which up until that time had killed untold millions.
But the successes of DDT were no match for bad science married to celebrity endorsement. Over the course of a decade, the drum beat against DDT. Will little or no real science to back up their claims the same type of crowd that now drones on about global warming, raised the hue and cry over DDT. DDT was claimed to cause all kinds of terrible things to people and animals and plants. Of course all the studies making these claims used concentrations orders of magnitude higher than what was seen in real life. Never mind, they said. Why take chances? What if it does cause cancer or thinning of egg shells for migratory birds? Let’s ban it so we never have to find out. The very same logic that some people use in their support for draconian cutbacks in CO2.
But what happened when policy was formed on bad science? Millions, millions of people died from malaria and other mosquito born diseases. As consequence of believing a popular lie, millions of people died over decades from diseases that had already been nearly eradicated. This is not conjecture, most mainstream scientists now admit that the science did not support the wild claims made at the time. In fact, quite the opposite. The evidence shows that DDT is safe. Today DDT is slowly being reintroduced, but much institutional opposition remains and people continue to die.
The evidence for anthropogenic climate change is scant at best. Even if it does exist to some degree, the potential impact of this climate change is largely unknown. But the same logic of “why take chances?” is being used, even by Catholics, to support radical remedies for a potentially fictional disease. The remedies proposed for global climate change would severely limit progress in many developing nations keeping billions in poverty. This mandated poverty would, like the ban on DDT, kill millions. For some in the green movement this is an acceptable or even desirable outcome. As a Catholic, I know that it is not.
This is not meant to be an exhaustive defense of my position on climate change or the history around the banning of DDT, but rather a modest explanation to those who ask us “Why not act as if it true? Just in case.” When people ask me this I respond with what I said earlier, “It is not a neutral act to believe a lie. Believe a lie and millions might die.”