Global Warming: Science vs. Activism
In 2007, Al Gore shared the Nobel Peace Prize for his efforts to “build up and disseminate greater knowledge about man-made climate change.” In his Oscar-winning documentary, An Inconvenient Truth, Gore screeched, “The scientists are virtually screaming from the rooftops now. The debate is over! There’s no longer any debate in the scientific community about this.” Similarly, President Obama stated, “The science is beyond dispute and the facts are clear.” One would think that divergent thinkers are wearing tinfoil hats and bloviating about fake moon landings.
The theory of global warming has become heavily politicized, devoid of sound scientific debate. Actually, according to alarmists, there is no debate. It’s all cut and dry, and the opposition is certifiably insane. In an interview with CNN’s Anderson Cooper, Gore said, “The people who say global warming isn't real, they must get together on Saturday nights and party with the ones who think the moon landing was staged on a movie lot in Arizona.”
The scientists, economists, policy advisors, and activists who attended the 2009 International Conference On Climate Change would dispute that the science is “above dispute.” Sponsored by The Heartland Institute, the conference is billed as the “world’s largest-ever gathering of global warming skeptics.” Note the importance of the term “skeptic.” While alarmists are 100% positive, and howl breathlessly about the looming catastrophe, skeptics are merely unsure. That’s why Joseph L. Bast, President of The Heartland Institute, can state, “Skeptics are the winners of EVERY scientific debate, always, everywhere.” There’s no definite yes or no answer to the question of global warming.
There is, however, plenty of doubt. Don J. Easterbrook, Professor Emeritus of Geology at Western Washington University, states emphatically, “Global warming (i.e, the warming since 1977) is over.” He believes we’ve entered a 20-30 year global cooling period. As evidence, he cites fluctuations in the Pacific Decadal Oscillation. A 2008 NASA report states, “The latest image of sea-surface height measurements from the U.S./French Jason-1 oceanography satellite shows the Pacific Ocean remains locked in a strong, cool phase of the Pacific Decadal Oscillation.”
The Goddard Institute for Space Studies, a NASA subsidiary, concluded that “2008 is the ninth warmest year in the period of instrumental measurements.” However, it also claimed that “Calendar year 2008 was the coolest year since 2000.” This is certainly consistent with global cooling trends. If “global warming” was nothing but a phase, then it’s doubtful we’ve contributed significantly to climate change.
I find it the height of hubris to suggest that human beings are capable of influencing global climate trends to the extent alarmists suggest. Besides, “global warming” is, at its core, an indictment of industry. This puts it squarely in the realm of politics. Despite politicians’ claims, scientists have not come to a consensus. The “debate” is far from over.
World’s Cheapest Car Riles Environmental Groups
Tata Motors has unveiled the world’s cheapest car, with potential for a vast standard of living increase. And Greenpeace doesn’t like it. The same organization that supported a ban on chlorine in drinking water feels that the mass proliferation of cheap automobiles is a bad thing. Despite its eco-friendly 47 MPG rating, the Tata Nano is seen as a threat to the environment. Why? Because lots of people want to buy them.
The Tata Nano fills a large void in the automotive market: a budget vehicle for low-income families. At 10 ft (L) x 5 ft (W) x 5 ft (H), the Nano redefines miniscule. Weighing in at 1,323 lbs, the Nano is feather-light. As a point of reference, my car, a 1998 Chrysler Sebring, is over 100% heavier at 2,967 lbs. Its 2 cylinder engine achieves a maximum output of 35 PS @ 5250 rpm. The Nano’s selling point is its $2,000-2,500 price tag, though you’ll “pay” for the savings. The car’s top speed is 65 MPH, so highways are out, and despite its 47 MPG rating, its top capacity is 3.96 gallons.
For the Nano’s target audience, these handicaps are of little concern. As Tata said at the Nano’s launch, “I hope it will provide safe, affordable four-wheel transportation to families who until now have not been able to own a car.” The implications are obvious—a large standard of living increase. Tata is releasing the first run in July, and demand is so high that the first 100,000 customers will be selected at random.
What could irk Greenpeace about a cheap, compact vehicle that gets 47 MPG? Soumya Brata Rahut, a spokesman for Greenpeace India had this to say: "My first reaction when someone says they need to buy a car is to say don't buy it." Greenpeace advocates public transportation instead. Another environmental group, Friends of the Earth UK, said that, "The Tata Nano makes motoring cheaper and growing car sales in India will lead to big rises in carbon dioxide emissions.” I guess the solution is to make cars expensive and undesirable. I’m sure that’d be a “great” business model. Small wonder that Greenpeace co-founder Patrick Moore stated, “Greenpeace has evolved into an organization of extremism and politically motivated agendas.”
Sadly, there’re no plans to release the Nano in North America (though overwhelming demand could change that). Our economic downturn practically begs for a car like the Nano.