The capture of the once-pure environmental movement by the hard left is far from cheap for the rest of us. I have just told the annual planetary-emergencies conference of the World Federation of Scientists that on the basis of the lunatic anti-CO2 policies now fashionable among scientifically illiterate governments, it would cost $6 quadrillion to prevent the 6 degrees Fahrenheit of predicted “global warming” that will not happen anyway.
Professor Antonino Zichichi, one of the world’s top six particle physicists (he discovered a form of anti-matter 40 years before the multi-billion-dollar Large Hadron Collider did), is the most famous Italian scientist since his hero Galileo. He founded the Federation half a century ago and, at the age of 83, is its president to this day.
Nino looks like a proper scientist. Imagine giving his friend Albert Einstein an electric shock, and that is what his hair looks like. He is fitter than me and attributes his good health to walking an hour every day, not drinking alcohol and not eating lunch (that’s for wimps). He lives in a medieval stone house in the unspoiled, monastic village of Erice, Sicily, perched high on a 2,500-foot crag overlooking the blue Mediterranean.
He is an angry man. Angry because he, like me, was brought up in the Classical tradition, which insists that the duty of every “seeker after truth” (Al-Haytham’s beautiful phrase for the scientist) is to be logical and rational. He founded the Federation at the height of the Cold War to remind scientists of their moral responsibility to use their craft for good, not for ill, and of their intellectual obligation to adhere rigorously to the scientific method.
Nino is furious at the politicization of climate science. Science these days is a monopsony. There is only one paying customer: the State. Scientists increasingly produce the results their political paymasters want rather than seeking after truth.
Nowhere is the buying of desired results by governments clearer than in Nick Stern’s now-discredited report of 2006 on climate economics. The U.N.’s absurd climate panel had already at least tripled the true (and harmless) rate of warming to be expected from our adding CO2 to the air. Stern, to please his socialist paymasters, tripled it again without the slightest justification. Then he divided by 10 the true cost of making global warming go away and multiplied by 10 the true cost of not acting to Save The Planet (memo to Old Nick: The planet was triumphantly saved 2,000 years ago and doesn’t need saving again).
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