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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Climate change subscribers say the fight against global warming will require younger soldiers.
On Monday, the National Center for Science Education, a nonprofit group that denounces intelligent design and supports an evolution-only curriculum in the classroom, will expand its mission. The organization of scientists, anthropologists and others is turning its attention to climate change, and it will mount an aggressive effort to teach the nation’s schoolchildren that climate change is real and is being driven by human activity.
“For 20 years, we’ve helped teachers cope with what we can only describe as societal or political problems in teaching evolution. They’re running into the same opposition in teaching climate change,” NCSE Executive Director Eugenie Scott said. “We worry, because of our experience with evolution, that basic science is going to be compromised as a result of this political and ideological opposition. Good science needs to be taught.”
Critics point out important distinctions between the defense of evolution and the promotion of climate change, since the latter carries more obvious and immediate policy implications. Alarmists call for broad federal policies to combat climate change, such as President Obama’s proposed “cap-and-trade” legislation, which is designed to limit carbon emissions. Although that measure is on hold, a law imposed by the European Union requires all airline companies to pay for their carbon emissions during flights in and out of Europe. Officials at the United Nations have even called for a global tax on carbon dioxide emissions.
Ms. Scott maintains that the NCSE won’t advocate for teachers to push liberal policy solutions to climate change, but others fear that students will be targets of political indoctrination.
“If you say it’s man-made, you must be implying some solutions. [Climate change] is taught to promote a particular political point of view, and that’s the problem,” said Kathleen Porter-Magee, senior director of the High Quality Standards Program at the Thomas B. Fordham Institute, a Washington-based conservative education think tank.
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Last week, former Vice President Al Gore took to the pages of Rolling Stone magazine to criticize various elements in our political culture for not championing the cause of stopping anthropogenic climate change. Gore went right for the top – President Barack Obama.
On his Friday night program on HBO, “Real Time” host Bill Maher doubled down on Gore’s claim, offering anecdotal evidence that climate change (not global warming) is real.
“I mean, Al Gore wrote this week in Rolling Stone, which was mostly critical of the media but also critical of Obama for not leading on climate change,” Maher said. “I don’t call it global warming anymore because that’s bad – because it is climate change. And I’m looking at what’s going on with the weather in this country. You see droughts. You see floods. You see these giant fires. I mean, cattle are dying in Texas. This is what i used to see in Ethiopia.”
Despite climate change being known as a global phenomenon and not isolated to one country, Maher had a grim warning for the commander-in-chief: Do something or the country will face the perils of a third-world nation.
“You know, I understand we’re on our way to being a third-world country, could we just stop at second-world before we get there?” Maher said. “Why doesn’t he point to this and say this is all because of climate change. He doesn’t seem to use what he has to make a case. I don’t hear the Democratic case being made. That’s my point.”
There was one problem with Obama using climate change as a campaign issue, New York Times columnist David Carr added. “It’s tough to run on the weather,” Carr said.
Radio talk show host Rush Linbaugh has a message for presidential candidate and former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney: Say goodbye to the 2012 Republican nomination. Last Friday, Romney spoke at a town hall event in New Hampshire, telling the audience that he believes human beings have an impact on global warming:
I don’t speak for the scientific community, of course, but I believe the world’s getting warmer. I can’t prove that, but I believe based on what I read that the world is getting warmer. And number two, I believe that humans contribute to that. I don’t know how much our contribution is to that, because I know that there have been periods of greater heat and warmth in the past but I believe we contribute to that.
Limbaugh isn’t happy with the presidential hopeful. The popular host also said, “…the whole premise of man-made global warming is a hoax. And we still have presidential candidates who want to buy into it.”
Despite being someone who opposes blind faith and living a life in accordance to religious texts, HBO’s “Real Time” host Bill Maher has put his faith into a scientific theory that has had its share of doubt cast on it over the past two years.
On his Friday evening show, in a discussion with Harry Shearer, the voice behind many of the characters on “The Simpsons,” Maher commented on the disastrous tornado that hit Alabama last month, claiming a death toll of 238 to date.
“What do you think about this tornado situation that ran through, I guess it was mostly Alabama,” Maher said. “But I mean it was, we used to hear about tornados that were a few hundred yards wide. This ran 300 miles. They used to just touch down.”
According to Maher, the cause of the killer tornado is obvious: Global warming.
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“This is global warming,” Maher declared. “This is global warming – there’s more moisture – it’s what scientist always said. There’s more moisture in the atmosphere. It’s going to cause these giant disasters.”
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