Climate Change Proponents Are an Emotional Lot
But then, so are we all.
One of the first things sales people learn in their training is that people make decisions emotionally and then back it up with logic.
I am in my seventh decade and I have not seen an exception to this yet. We all do it. That is how humans are hardwired.
There are those who believe they are the exceptions. They strongly believe they are coldly logical, much like Dr. Spock in Star Trek.
Question: How did they decide on that belief? Was that belief not grounded in emotion? If you challenge them, they may get very emotional defending their belief that they make logical decisions, not emotional ones. Hee hee.
When I have a discussion about climate change on Facebook or elsewhere, I notice how strong the climate changers opinions are. They claim the science is settled. They claim there is no debate.
Yet, I see lots of debate.
Here is a Special Report from a number of years ago now that delves into facts about environmentalism and into how the environmental debate has been hijacked by extremists. Enjoy the read.
EVERYTHING YOU KNOW ABOUT THE ENVIRONMENT IS WRONG!
A SPECIAL REPORT on “The Skeptical Environmentalist.” By Matti Anttila
The doomsayers have hypnotized us into believing that the world, including the environment is going to hell in a hand-basket.
Nothing could be further from the truth.
The truth is: everything, including the environment, has been getting better and, in all likelihood, will continue to get better indefinitely.
Now, tell me your reaction to that. Is it shock? Surprise? Disbelief? Anger, perhaps?
This information comes from an extremely well documented and landmark work called: “The Skeptical Environmentalist” written by an Associate Professor of Statistics in the Political Science Department at Aarhus University in Denmark by the name of Bjorn Lomborg.
Lomborg has started a storm in the environmental movement and will likely be vilified by many of the high priests of this new religion called environmentalism.
I, too, used to believe what Lomborg calls “The Litany,” the statements about the environment now taken as fact because they have been so often repeated.
Let’s back up. Lomborg was a member of the famous environmental group Greenpeace when he read an interview with the American economist Julian Simon of the University of Maryland.
Simon maintained “that much of our traditional knowledge about the environment is quite simply based on preconceptions and poor statistics. Our doomsday conceptions of the environment are not correct. Simon stressed that he only used official statistics, which everyone has access to and can use to check his claims.”
This provoked Lomborg who says he was an old left-wing Greenpeace member. With ten of his sharpest students, he undertook to prove Simon wrong.
“…it turned out that a surprisingly large amount of his points stood up to scrutiny and conflicted with what we believed ourselves to know. The air in the developed world is becoming less, not more, polluted; people in the developing countries are not starving more, but less, and so on.”
“The key idea is that we ought not to let the environmental organizations, business lobbyists or the media be alone in presenting truths and priorities. Rather, we should strive for a careful democratic check on the environmental debate, by knowing the real state of the world—having knowledge of the most important facts and connections in the essential areas of our world. It is my hope that this book will contribute to such an understanding.”
So, the conclusion that Lomborg comes to is that the environmental debate has been hijacked by the environmental organizations and resources have been diverted to minimally useful areas and, as a result, many people on the planet are suffering and dying.
Unprecedented Human Prosperity
In the part of Human Welfare, Lomborg concludes:
“We have experienced fantastic progress in all important areas of human activity. We have never lived longer—life expectancy has more than doubled during the past hundred years—and the improvement has been even more pronounced in the developing world. Infant mortality has fallen drastically…we are taller and healthier and get fewer infections…
At the same time we have more to eat. The proportion of people starving in the world has fallen from 35 percent in 1970 to 18 percent today and is expected to fall further to 12 percent by the year 2010…
Incomes in both the industrialized and developing nations have at the same time tripled over the past 50 years and poverty incidence has decreased. The distribution of wealth between the world’s richest and poorest has decreased slightly and it is likely to reduce dramatically over the century…
The number of hours we work has been halved during the last 120 years, and because we live ever longer than we used to, we have more than twice as much leisure time to enjoy.
The murder rate has fallen considerably, although this has been offset by the suicide rate. There are also far fewer fatal accidents today than in days gone by.
On average, we have become much better educated, and the developing world is catching up with the industrialized world in this respect. The number of people getting a university education in developing countries has almost quintupled. All in all, pretty incredible progress.
This is not to say there are no problems. There are…African people have experienced much less growth over the past century than people in most other countries, and AIDS epidemic has engulfed parts of southeast Africa, and because of war and ethnic and political division the outlook is not rosy. But even Africa is better off than it was at the beginning of the twentieth century, with better nutrition, higher incomes and better schooling. Things are not everywhere good, but they are better than they used to be.
The world at large, the developing countries in particular and even the troubled areas of Africa have all experienced progress.”
Lomborg’s conclusion to the question: “Can human prosperity continue?” is a resounding yes!
“We are not overexploiting our renewable resources. Worldwatch Institute tells us that food scarcity is likely to be the first indicator of environmental breakdown. However…food will in all likelihood continue to get cheaper and more available, while we will be able to feed still more and more people.
The forests have not been eradicated, and since World War II the global forest coverage has been almost constant. Although rainforests are still being cut at 0.5 percent a year and some countries have chosen to use their forest resources unwisely and shortsightedly, about 80 percent of the original rainforest is still intact.
Water is a plentiful and renewable resource, though it can be scarce, partly because it has not sooner been treated as a limited and valuable resource…Basically, the problem is a question of better management…
Perhaps more surprising, there do not seem to be any serious problems with the non-renewable resources, such as energy and raw materials. In general, we have found so much more of these resources that, despite large increases in consumption, the years of supply still remaining have been increasing and not decreasing, for both energy and raw materials. While non-renewable resources are in principle exhaustible, more than 60 percent of our consumption consists of resources with reserves of 200 years or more. With sufficient energy we will have the opportunity to exploit much lower grade deposits than today, yet again increasing the exhaustion times substantially and in principle towards millions of years.
We have many energy resources that can last far into the future. At the same time we have access to renewable energy resources which are getting ever cheaper, and these renewables can potentially supply us with much larger amounts of energy than are used today. We could produce the entire consumption of the world with present day solar technology placed on just 2.6 percent of the Sahara Desert, and we have good reason to expect that these energy sources will be near-profitable or even underbid conventional energy production within the next 50 years.
Our consumption of the essential resources such as food, forests, water, raw material and energy seem to have such characteristics that it will leave the coming generations not with fewer options, but rather ever more options. Our future society will probably be able to produce much more food per capita, while not threatening the forest—or perhaps even allowing us to allocate more space and money to reforest the Earth to achieve higher living standards. Our energy consumption is not limited, in either the short run or the long run, when the almost unlimited source of solar energy can be harnessed. The evidence does not seem to point to tight limits on resources such as water and raw materials, and with sufficient energy in the long run both can be available in the necessary amounts. Consequently, there does not seem to be any foundation for the worried pessimism which claims that our society only survives by writing out ever larger checks without coverage.
…our society certainly seems to be sustainable.”
“Pollution: does it undercut human prosperity?
Conclusion: the pollution burden has diminished.
“Pollution is not in the process of undermining our well-being. On the contrary, the pollution burden has diminished dramatically in the developed world. As regards air pollution, the improvement has been unequivocal. Human health has benefited phenomenally from reductions in lead and particle concentrations. Contrary to common intuition, London has not been as clean as it is now since 1585.
Indoor air pollution, on the other hand, has remained more or less constant, although it much more depends on individual responsibility—most markedly in relation to smoking. Asthma frequency has increased, but this is primarily because we have sealed our homes so effectively and spend much more time indoors; the increase has had nothing to do with air pollution.
Air pollution has got worse in the developing world, mainly because of the strong economic growth. However, the developing countries are really just making the same tradeoffs as the developed countries made 100-200 years ago. It turns out that when we look at the problems over time, the environment and economic prosperity are not opposing concepts, but rather complementary entities: without adequate environmental protection, growth is undermined, but environmental protection is unaffordable without growth. It is thus reasonable to expect that as the developing countries of the world achieve higher levels of income, they will—as we in the developed world have done—opt for and be able to afford an ever cleaner environment.
On the other hand, numerous serious environmental issues have proven to be unproblematic. Acid rain, which was supposed to have killed the forests in the 1980’s, turned out to have little effect on forest growth, although it did damage to vulnerable lakes. The oceans have not been harmed to any significant degree, and the Gulf War and Exxon Valdez have probably not caused lasting damage.
The quality of coastal waters in human terms has definitely increased. However, many coastal and marine areas around the world are getting higher inputs of nutrients, which has contributed to an increase in the frequency of oxygen depletion or hypoxia, detrimental to aquatic organisms. The main part of this problem stems from the ready access to fertilizer which has given us the Green Revolution, the ability to feed the world on much less land, and consequently a dramatic reduction of pressure on forests and other natural habitats. In the view, nutrient overload is the price we let the marine organisms pay for our success in feeding humanity, while maintaining large forest habitats.
With sufficient resources we can certainly decrease the oxygen depletion, but the question remains whether this constitutes our wisest use of limited resources. In the Gulf of Mexico, we can diminish hypoxia and save many bottom-dwelling life forms, but at a price tag of more than $2 billion a year. If we want to do good without $2 billion, we might consider that we could save at least 30 million people in the Third World for the same amount.
Rivers have generally improved for almost all indicators. We saw the Rhine, the Thames and New York Harbor showing increased oxygen content, supporting a much wider flora and fauna than 20-40 years ago. Finally, the ‘waste disposal crisis’ was a chimera of the 1980’s. Even if waste production continues to increase and the American population doubles over the next hundred years, a single square landfill of less than 18 miles on the side can contain the entire twenty-first-century US waste—just 16 percent of Woodward County, Oklahoma.
The pollution load on humans has been declining in the cities (lower air pollution) and from the sea, land and rivers. As one of many indicators, this has caused the decline in the DDT concentrations in human fat and milk…levels have declined at least 60 percent and in some cases even more than 93 percent in total DDT, and the fall has been backed up by many other indicators, among them PCB and HCB. The share of Americans with PCB in their fat fell from 68 percent in 1972 to just 9 percent in 1983…equally, the level of dioxin is falling.”
Our Chemical Fears: Should we use pesticides?
“…the fear of cancer and the fear of estrogenic effects from pesticides are pretty groundless. We have no reason to assume that pesticides affect our hormonal balance to any appreciable degree. At the same time, pesticides contribute astoundingly little to deaths caused by cancer….the studies show us, however, that three daily cups of coffee or one gram of basil a day is more than 60 times as risky as the most toxic pesticide at the current level of intake. This emphasizes that our fear of pesticides causing cancer is quite exaggerated, and that the overall cancer effect of pesticides is negligible…A plausible estimate for the excess annual cancer mortality due to pesticides in the US is probably close to 20 cancer deaths out of 560,000. For comparison about 300 Americans die each year drowning in their bathtub.
…a…substantial reduction in pesticide use will incur major costs to society…the US is a rich country and could afford to spend $20-300 billion every year to save upwards of twenty people a year from dying of cancer. This works out to a minimum of $1 billion per saved life…consider whether such an amount could not have been spent better…
Astounding as it may seem, the choice is fairly clear.”
“The dramatic loss of biodiversity, expressed in the 40,000 species a year, is a dramatic figure, created by models. It is a figure which with monotonous regularity has been repeated everywhere until in the end we all believed it….But it is also a figure which conflicts with both observation and careful modeling.
Of course, losing 25-100 percent of all species would be a catastrophe by any standards. However, losing 0.7 percent is not a catastrophe but a problem—one of many that mankind still needs to solve. Facing these facts is important when we have to make tough choices where to do the most good with our limited resources.”
“The important lesson of the global warming debate is threefold. First, we have to realize what we are arguing about—do we want to handle global warming in the most efficient way or do we want to use global warming as a stepping stone to other political projects. Before we make this clear to ourselves and others, the debate will continue to be muddled…
Second, we should not spend vast amounts of money to cut a tiny slice of the global temperature increase when this constitutes a poor use of resources and when we could probably use these funds far more effectively in the developing world…
However, if we send the same money directly in the Third World we would be helping present inhabitants in the developing world…the question really boils down to: Do we want to help more well-off inhabitants in the Third World a hundred years from now a little or do we want to help poorer inhabitants in the present Third World more? To give a feeling for the size of the problem—the Kyoto Protocol will likely cost at least $150 billion a year, and possibly much more. UNICEF estimates that just $70-80 billion a year could give all Third World inhabitants access to the basics like health, education, water and sanitation. More important still is the fact that is we could muster such a massive investment in the present-day developing countries this would also give them a much better future position in terms of resources and infrastructure from which to manage a future global warming.
Third, we should realize that the cost of global warming will be substantial—about $5 trillion…Partly, this means that we need to invest much more in research and development of solar power, fusion and other likely power sources of the future…
Finally, we ought to have a look at the cost of global warming in relation to the total world economy. If we implement Kyoto poorly or engage in more inclusive mitigation like stabilization, the price will easily be 2 percent or more of world GDP per year towards the middle of the century…almost the same amount spent annually on the military globally…Global warming is in this respect still a limited and manageable problem…
global warming is not anywhere near the most important problem facing the world. What matters is making the developing countries rich and giving the citizens of developing countries even greater opportunities…
If we choose a world focused on economic development within a global setting, the total income will be some $900 trillion. However, should we go down a path focusing on the environment, even if we stay within a global setting, humanity will lose some $107 trillion, or 12 percent of the total, potential income. And should we choose a more regional approach to solving the problems of the twenty-first-century, we would stand to lose $140-274 trillion or even more than a quarter of the potential income. Moreover, the loss will mainly be to the detriment of the developing countries…
What this illustrates is that if we want to leave a planet with the most possibilities for our descendants, in both the developing and developed world, it is imperative that we focus primarily on the economy and solving our problems in a global context rather than focusing…on the environment in a regionalized context…
Yet, one could be tempted to suggest that we are actually so rich that we can afford both to pay a partial insurance premium against global warming (at 2-4 percent of GDP), and to help the developing world (a further 2 percent), because doing so would only offset growth by about 2-3 years. And that is true. I am still not convinced that there is any point in spending 2-4 percent on a pretty insignificant insurance policy, when we and our descendants could benefit far more from the same investment placed elsewhere. But it is correct that we are actually wealthy enough to do so.”
Predicament or progress?
“Prioritizing is made harder by two tendencies which supplement each other. Psychologically we have a tendency to underestimate large risks and to overestimate small ones. At the same time, the media have a tendency to focus on dramatic rather than everyday risks. This is a dangerous cocktail…
the extreme focus on environmental risks means that other and larger risks are routinely ignored…
To use a harsh albeit fitting—metaphor, we could say that when we ignore the cost of our environmental decisions on the lesser regulations in other areas, we are in reality committing statistical murder. And the Harvard study gives us an indication that with greater concern for efficiency than with the Litany, we could save 60,000 Americans each year—for free…
And if we want to back off from making prioritizations all together, because it seems ‘narrow minded’ or ‘cold,’ this still does not prevent a distribution of resources from taking place…
Avoiding prioritization simply means that we abandon the opportunity of doing the best we can. A lack of prioritization, backed up by however many good intentions, can in the final analysis result in the statistically murder of thousands of people…
We must take care of the problems, prioritized reasonably, but not worry unduly.
We are actually leaving the world a better place than when we got it and this is the really fantastic point about the real state of the world: that mankind’s lot has vastly improved in every significant measurable field and that it is likely to continue to do so.
Think about it. When would you prefer to have been born? Many people are still stuck with the Litany and have a mental image of children growing up with a shortage of food and water, and with pollution, acid rain and global warming. But the image is a mixture of our own prejudices and a lack of analysis.
Thus, this is the very message of the book: children born today—in both the industrialized world and the developing countries—will live longer and be healthier, they will get more food, a better education, a higher standard of living, more leisure time and far more possibilities—without the global environment being destroyed.
And that is a beautiful world.” There, don’t you feel better? The name of the book is “The Skeptical Environmentalist” by Bjorn Lomborg, published by Cambridge University Press. http://www.cambridge.org Also available on Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/tg/detail/-/0521010683/qid=1071783856/sr=1-1/ref=sr_1_1/102-5898789-2454518?v=glance&s=books I suggest the book is a good antidote to the fear and trepidation many feel about the state of the world.Matti
Love, Laughter and Smiles.
In this issue:
Eliminate Fructose and Watch How This Lowers Your Blood Pressure
Friends are the True Wealth
The Vaccine Racket
►BOOKS WORTH READING
►MOVIES WORTH WATCHING
“In the absence of clearly defined goals, we become strangely loyal to performing daily trivia until ultimately we become enslaved by it.” -Robert Heinlein Novelist
Eliminate Fructose and Watch How This Lowers Your Blood Pressure http://ow.ly/JFdAX
Friends are the True Wealth: Treat These People Like Royalty… They Reduce Your Risk of Depression http://ow.ly/RNWzc
The Vaccine Racket: Amazing infographic reveals financial connections behind criminally-run vaccine industry
BOOKS WORTH READING
The Four Noble Truths About Wealth. A Buddhist View of Economic Life. Layth Matthews
MOVIES WORTH WATCHING
Harry and Tonto. A man and his cat. 1974, Aged well, this movie did.
105-year-old Japanese man sets record as world’s oldest competitive sprinter http://ow.ly/SDTQn
To achieve happiness: 5 habits, 2 minutes
That’s it for now. Enjoy your month.
Matti Anttila, Certified Laughter Yoga Teacher.
Author of: The Zen of Joy. How to Rewire Your Brain for Happiness & Success. http://zenofjoy.com
(Free Zen of Joy Questionnaire)
Publisher of Mastery Newsletter. Free Special Reports when you subscribe, also A Simple Life Enhancing Habit. Report: Yours with a no-cost Subscription to Mastery Newsletter
108 Tips for More Joy, Energy and Health, includes How to Feel Authentic Joy, Even When Unhappy (No-cost) http://joyenergyandhealth.com/
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