by John Reid
The development of modern science in the late 18th century went hand in hand with the rise of modern industrial capitalism. Its potteries, mines, steam engines, mechanization, and science itself, were all done by private enterprise. The role of government was to enforce patents and maintain a healthy legal and commercial environment.
Nowadays most scientists are paid by the government. What passes for science has largely become taxpayer-funded Environmentalism. Environmentalism has taken over much of science.
Scientists discover, understand and inform.
“All of us … are borrowing against this Earth in the name of economic growth, accumulating an environmental debt by burning fossil fuels, the consequences of which will be left for our children and grandchildren to bear.” Marcia McNutt – Chief Editor, Science Magazine.
This is preaching. There is no scientific justification for this statement, which was made by the editor of one of the world’s most prestigious science journals. It is a statement of militant Environmentalism, pure and simple. To say that she should have known better is to misunderstand the situation. It would be like saying that the Communists, who controlled big chunks of the Australian trade union movement in the 1950s, “should have known better”. Environmentalists are way ahead of those old Communists; their “Long March through the Institutions” is now a fait accompli.
It works like this: activists use science to push for international action on a science-related issue in an area such as health or environment. Then, an international agreement is established, and the science on which it is has been based becomes institutionalized and funded by government. Time and again, when this happens, “the science” stops being science. This is because the scientists working on the relevant topic start being advocates and stop being researchers. After all, they are now being paid by the bureaucracy to support a particular doctrine, not to discover new stuff.
Real science, which requires a sceptical and innovative frame of mind, then withers on the vine.
Here are some examples:
In 2012 I received 7000 milli-Sieverts of radiation as treatment for prostate cancer. I found out from the Web that this is twice the fatal dose! I became curious about how I came to survive this assault and I discovered that radiation administered in moderate doses is not cumulative and is not especially harmful. In my case it was definitely beneficial.
But the International Committee for Radiological Protection says otherwise . They say radiation effects are always cumulative and that there is no safe dose: see here about Wade Allison‘s book, Radiation and Reason.
But you can’t be too careful, I hear you say. Well, yes you certainly can be too careful. The Japanese government was too careful when it forcibly relocated 100,000 people following the Fukushima meltdown.
Number of deaths: about 1600 people.
Cause of deaths: Suicide mainly.
Number of cases of radiation sickness: 3 people.
Number of deaths caused by radiation: none!
The suicides arose from the social dislocation which occurred when people were compelled to leave their homes and their farms and their jobs and their schools to be relocated to the other side of Japan for reasons of political correctness.
The 1968 London Convention on Ocean Dumping
This forbids the disposal of poisons such as heavy metals in the deep ocean. Hydrothermal vents were discovered in 1977, 9 years after the convention took place. Also known as “black smokers”, they lie on mid-ocean ridges and above volcanic hotspots, 2 to 3 kilometres below the surface of the ocean. Every year they pump into the ocean:
500 tonnes of Arsenic,
1500 tonnes of Lead,
50,000 tonnes of Copper,
140,000 tonnes of Zinc and
many other metals including Uranium and its radioactive daughters.
This has been going on for, perhaps, a billion years or so.
Nature is the biggest polluter of the ocean and the London Convention is a joke. In fact it is worse than a joke because it precludes sensible, practical solutions to important environmental problems. For example, without it we could dispose of radioactive waste in deep ocean trenches where it would be out of harm’s way until it is ultimately subducted under the earth’s crust by geological processes.
The IPCC, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, is the most egregious example of this science-destroying institutionalization. It is all the more virulent because it feeds into the pre-existing mindset of Left and Green ideologies about “Corporate Greed” and “Mankind wrecking the planet”.
Billions of dollars are being pumped into this. Tens of thousands of climate modellers, their technicians and their computer jocks are the self-righteous recipients. They are not going to give up their funding easily – for them this is the greatest thing since sliced bread and, what is worse, most of them sincerely believe that they are saving the planet.
Over the last 30 years, Climate Science, once a forgotten little wallflower, has become a rock star.
There is really no solid evidence that human activities affect global climate. It is only a theory. Computer models based on this theory have no predictive power; they are complicated curve-fitting exercises and, like all such curve-fitting exercise, they fail catastrophically outside the range of the fit.
On the other hand there is ample evidence that so-called “greenhouse gases” do not affect global temperature to any observable degree (see my UNFCCC Submission to the Federal Government for more detail), viz.:
The observation that the amount of industrial CO2 added to the ocean-atmosphere system since the beginning of the industrial revolution, about 400 Gigatons, is only a tiny fraction of the total amount in the system, 32,000 Gigatons.
The observed rate of decrease in temperature with height, the adiabatic lapse rate, is measured many times a day throughout the world by weather balloons and it fits a simple convective heat transport model of the lower atmosphere. It does not fit a simple radiative heat transport model; there is no blanket of CO2 “holding the heat in”.
Careful comparisons of small changes in global average temperature with variations in atmospheric CO2 concentration indicate that the latter lags the former by about ten months indicating that temperature increases cause CO2 increases and not the other way around.
The global distribution of atmospheric CO2 concentration recently observed by NASA’s Orbiting Carbon Observatory does not support the view that increases in this gas are largely due to Western industrial activity. Rather, the gas appears to emanate from the rice paddies and rain-forests of the Third World (see here and here).
The observation that global average temperature has a variance spectrum which is “red” at every time scale from one year to 100,000 years (i.e. the longer the time scale the bigger the variation). The small variations (~0.8°C) which occurred during the 20th Century are only to be expected. They are random walk excursions. There is nothing to explain. Climate science is like picking patterns in TattsLotto numbers. Meteorologists can predict the weather up to about a week ahead. That’s as good as it gets.
But if you are a scientist who is part of the climate change institution this evidence is all irrelevant. The “Science of Climate Change” was frozen sometime back in the 1990s when the IPCC was first set up. Nowadays it is just a matter of running ever more complex computer simulations and making more “projections” of future climate and its alarming consequences.
And, of course, re-jigging the data so that it fits the models better.
We often hear it said that “97 percent of climate scientists agree …” and so on
Well they would, wouldn’t they.
About the author: I have a PhD in Upper Atmosphere Physics from the University of Tasmania. I have worked for the Australian Antarctic Division and CSIRO in auroral physics, ocean waves and fluid dynamic modelling.
I am a scientist – I discover things. I discovered cosmic noise absorption pulsations and I discovered the physics underlying the frequency down-shifting of surface gravity waves. I am presently working on a method for distinguishing between cyclical behaviour and random walk excursions in natural time series.
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