"Richard S. Courtney is an independent consultant on matters concerning energy and the environment. He is a technical advisor to several UK MPs and mostly-UK MEPs. He has been called as an expert witness by the UK Parliament’s House of Commons Select Committee on Energy and also House of Lords Select Committee on the Environment. He is an expert peer reviewer for the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change and in November 1997 chaired the Plenary Session of the Climate Conference in Bonn. In June 2000 he was one of 15 scientists invited from around the world to give a briefing on climate change at the US Congress in Washington DC, and he then chaired one of the three briefing sessions. His achievements have been recognized by The UK’s Royal Society for Arts and Commerce, PZZK (the management association of Poland’s mining industry), and The British Association for the Advancement of Science. Having been the contributing technical editor of CoalTrans International, he is now on the editorial board of Energy & Environment. He is a founding member of the European Science and Environment Forum (ESEF)." Source
Richard Courtney states:
"All available evidence indicates that man-made global warming is a physical impossibility, but if the predicted warming could be induced it would probably provide net benefits. However, there is a widespread imagined risk of the warming and politicians are responding to it."
"The simple fact that it is physically impossible for CO2 emissions to cause man-made global warming has no effect on imagined fear of global warming. (It is a simple fact that a mouse cannot eat a person, but some people try to jump on chairs at the sight of mice.)"
"Also, some global warming proponents are accepting a good financial income from the global warming scare and have become global warming propagandists to promote their interests. These include some researchers who obtain research grants and some environmental organisations who need donations. They are making a living by promoting fear of man-made global warming."
"The hypothesis of man-made global warming has existed since the 1880s. It was an obscure scientific hypothesis that burning fossil fuels would increase CO2 in the air to enhance the greenhouse effect and thus cause global warming. Before the 1980s this hypothesis was usually regarded as a curiosity because the nineteenth century calculations indicated that mean global temperature should have risen more than 1°C by 1940, and it had not. Then, in 1979, Mrs. Margaret Thatcher (now Lady Thatcher) became Prime Minister of the UK, and she elevated the hypothesis to the status of a major international policy issue."
"Mrs. Thatcher...desired to be taken seriously by political leaders of other major countries."
"Sir Crispin Tickell, UK Ambassador to the UN, suggested a solution to the problem. He pointed out that almost all international statesmen are scientifically illiterate, so a scientifically literate politician could win any summit debate on a matter which seemed to depend on scientific understandings. And Mrs. Thatcher had a BSc degree in chemistry. (This is probably the most important fact in the entire global warming issue; i.e., Mrs. Thatcher had a BSc degree in chemistry). Sir Crispin pointed out that if a "scientific" issue were to gain international significance, then the UK's Prime Minister could easily take a prominent role, and this could provide credibility for her views on other world affairs. He suggested that Mrs. Thatcher should campaign about global warming at each summit meeting. She did, and the tactic worked. Mrs. Thatcher rapidly gained the desired international respect and the UK became the prime promoter of the global warming issue."
"Overseas politicians began to take notice of Mrs. Thatcher's campaign if only to try to stop her disrupting summit meetings. They brought the matter to the attention of their civil servants for assessment, and they reported that - although scientifically dubious - 'global warming' could be economically important. The USA is the world's most powerful economy and is the most intensive energy user. If all countries adopted 'carbon taxes', or other universal proportionate reductions in industrial activity, each non-US industrialised country would gain economic benefit over the United States. So, many politicians from many countries joined with Mrs. Thatcher in expressing concern at global warming and a political bandwagon began to roll. Mrs. Thatcher had raised an international policy issue and thus become an influential international politician.
Mrs. Thatcher could not have promoted the global warming issue without the support of her UK political party. And they were willing to give it. Following the General Election of 1979, most of the incoming Cabinet had been members of the government which lost office in 1974. They blamed the National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) for their 1974 defeat. They, therefore, desired an excuse for reducing the UK coal industry and, thus, the NUM's power. Coal-fired power stations emit CO2 but nuclear power stations don't. Global warming provided an excuse for reducing the UK's dependence on coal by replacing it with nuclear power."
“Also, all scientists compete to obtain their share of this limited resource. Available research funds were shrinking, and global warming had become the ‘scientific’ issue of most interest to governments. Hence, any case for funding support tended to include reference to global warming whenever possible. Much science in many fields may be conducted under the guise of a relationship to global warming. Activities that have obtained funds by this method include biology, meteorology, computer science, physics, chemistry, climatology, oceanography, civil engineering, process engineering, forestry, astronomy, and several other disciplines. Now, funds for this work are provided to most UK Universities and several commercial research establishments.
Much peer pressure deters scientists from damaging potential sources of research funds. There is especial pressure - loss of future career - to avoid being the first to proclaim the scientific truth of global warming and thus damage the research funding of colleagues. But failure to proclaim the scientific truth does not mean that many scientists believe in the global warming hypothesis. In 1992 - at the height of the global warming scare - Greenpeace International conducted a survey of the world’s 400 leading climatologists. Greenpeace had hoped to publicise the results of that survey in the run-up to the Rio summit, but when they completed the survey, they gave very little publicity to its results. In response to the survey, only 15 climatologists were willing to say they believed in global warming, although all climatologists rely on it for their employment. Also, the Leipzig Declaration disputes the IPCC assertions about man-made global warming. It was drafted following the Leipzig Climate Conference in November 1995 and has been signed by over 1,500 scientists from around the world.
The global warming issue is political. It induced the ‘Earth Summit’ that was attended by several Heads of State in Rio de Janeiro during June 1992 and is the reason for the Kyoto Summit in Japan in December 1997. Governments have a variety of motives for interest in global warming. Each government has its own special interests in global warming but, in all cases, the motives relate to economic policies. In general, the USA fears loss of economic power to other nations while this is desired by those other nations. Universal adoption of ‘carbon taxes’, or other universal proportionate reductions in industrial activity, would provide relative benefit to the other nations. Unfortunately, if a few nations adopted the changes they would increase their manufacturing, transportation and energy costs and thus lose economic competitiveness and industrial activity to all other nations. Developing nations cannot afford technological and economic advances that would benefit them and also reduce their increases to CO2 emissions as they develop, so they are seeking gifted technology transfers and economic aid from developed countries.
The press are interested in selling papers and the TV companies want to gain viewers. Threat of world-wide disaster makes a good story, and the statements and actions of politicians together with great increase in scientific publications gave global warming an apparent authority. The media began to proclaim the worst imagined horrors. For example, massive floods were predicted due to melting of polar ice, and one UK TV programme went so far as to assert that the polar bears would die out because their habitat would melt. The public relies on the media to provide them with their information, so they came to believe the global warming scare because they were only given one side of the story. Politicians respond to public concern, so the politicians’ actions began to gain popular support.
On face value global warming is an environmental issue. Many environmentalists joined the bandwagon. Governments were offering money and the public were concerned at global warming. Any environmental issue that could be linked to global warming was said to be involved in the matter. But the environmentalist interest was aroused by the impact of the issue. Contrary to common belief, environmentalists did not raise awareness of global warming, they responded to it. Simply, environmentalist organisations were part of the general public and decided to use the issue when it became useful to them.
Aspects of the global warming issue began to feed on each other. The system amplifier is the politicians’ support of global warming.
The UK Government lost interest in global warming when Mr John Major replaced Mrs Thatcher as Prime Minister. The flow of Government money began to stop for conduct of global warming research. UK scientists then began to speak out in denial of the global warming hypothesis. It seemed that the issue was dying a natural death. Then the ‘coal crisis’ arose in October 1992 when the public protested at the scale of pit closures. This gave the UK Government a new need to find an excuse for its policy of closing coalmines. Global warming fitted this need and so the Government committed £16,000,000 to an advertising campaign that scare-mongered about global warming and re-established the funding priorities for climate research.
Later, at the start of May 1997, the Conservative Party lost office to the Labour Party and Mr. Tony Blair became UK Prime Minister. The UK had initiated the global warming issue and a change of UK policy may have had a significant effect on the widespread imagined risk, but by then the global warming issue had become important in its own right. Many countries had a stated global warming policy, 122 of them had signed a declaration of intent to reduce CO2 emissions at the Rio Summit, and the Kyoto Summit was scheduled. The UK was one of the very few countries that had reduced its CO2 emissions since the Rio Summit because the UK had replaced coal-fired generating capacity by gas-fired generating capacity. This provided the UK with a position of authority in this international affair, and Mr. Blair committed the new UK government to strict action to cut CO2 emissions.
Governments' global warming policies
Man-made global warming has become a major international political issue. The imagined risk has become a real risk in the form of proposed government policies to inhibit CO2 emissions. The Rio Summit in 1992 proposed actions to constrain the emissions and the Kyoto Summit in December 1997 is intended to establish binding agreements that will commit nation states to the constraints. Although there are no real and potential risks of the global warming, the effects of the constraints will cause real and severe economic damage.
All industrial and economic growth requires an abundance of available energy supply. Anything that inhibits energy supplies reduces economic activity. At Kyoto, governments will be pressured to reduce CO2 emissions to far below their 1990 levels. This requires cutting fuel supplies and, therefore, economic activity. The effects would be much more severe than the ‘oil crisis’ in the 1970s because the constraint on fossil fuel usage would be greater, the increases to energy costs would be larger, and energy demand has increased since then.
Already, OECD countries (Europe, Japan and the US) have agreed in principle to adopt the ‘Berlin Mandate’ that requires them to cut their CO2 emissions to 15% below their 1990 levels by year 2010. The US Department of Energy (DoE) estimates that this would increase US domestic energy prices by between 80 and 90% and would increase the coal price to US consumers by 300%. Also, the DoE study determines that the Berlin Mandate would not reduce worldwide emissions of CO2. Energy intensive industries would be forced to move from the US to places where the emission constraints did not exist or were not enforced. This could even result in an increase to the emissions because the less-controlled places are likely to have less energy efficient industries. The DoE study goes further by saying that its findings are not specific to the US but apply to every industrialised country.
The US DoE study is supported by a similar study commissioned by the German government. That determined the cost to Germany of fulfilling the Berlin Mandate would be about US$500 billion and the loss of 250,000 jobs.
Industrialised countries would not suffer alone. The economy of every country is affected by the performance of the world economy. The economic disruption in the developed world would harm economic activity everywhere. The largest affects would be in the developed countries because their economies are largest. But the world’s poorest peoples would suffer the worst effects (i.e., people who are near to starvation are starved by economic disruption.).
A rational assessment of appropriate policies would include cost/benefit analysis, but imagined risk is not rational. All the proposed responses to the imagined risk of man-made global warming would increase starvation and poverty while inhibiting economic development throughout the entire world. And CO2 emissions would not be reduced and may be increased. In practice, politicians are accepting the predictions of climate models as being predictions of the future, and they are acting to change that future. This is similar to the behaviour of people who believe horoscope predictions of future harm so they avoid situations where that harm could happen.“ Source
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