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Friday, April 22, 2011

The 'Sustainable Development' hoax...Round up the usual suspects, all comfy in school curricula

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4/22/11, "The Sustainable Development Hoax," American Thinker, S. Fred Singer

""Sustainable Development" (SD) is basically a slogan without a specific meaning. Linked to Earth Day (April 22), it masquerades as a call for clean air, green energy, and suggests a pristine bucolic existence for us and our progeny -- forever. But in reality, it has become immensely useful to many groups who use the slogan
  • to advance their own special agenda, whatever they may be.
The term itself was invented by Gro Harlem Bruntlandt, a Norwegian socialist politician and former prime minister. After her term there, she landed in Paris and, together with Club of Rome veteran Alexander King, began publicizing SD. Indeed, the concept is a successor to the neo-Malthusian theme of the Club of Rome, which began to take hold around 1970 and led to the notorious book "Limits to Growth." In turn, the "Limits to Growth" concept was developed a few years earlier by US geologists like Preston Cloud and King Hubbert. In a report published by a panel of the National Academy, they promoted the view that the world was running out of resources: food, fuels, and minerals. According to their views, and those of the Club of Rome and Limits to Growth, most important metals should have become unavailable before the end of the 20th century.

(King Hubbert, of course, is best known for the concept of "Peak Oil" which achieved wide-spread popularity in the past few years. Princeton geologist Kenneth Deffeyes gained fleeting fame for his book "Hubbert's Peak," which predicted that world oil production would peak in 2008. Of course, it must peak sometime, but the date will be set by economic and technological factors that are difficult to predict.)

In turn, these neo-Malthusian concerns were opposed by the so called "Cornucopians." Their leading apostle was certainly the late Julian Simon, who went somewhat overboard in the other direction. Many will remember Julian Simon's famous bet with Paul Ehrlich, the noted Stanford University doomsday prophet, concerning the unavailability of minerals by 1990. Simon won the bet but he was certainly off-base in predicting that there would be no end to crude oil on this planet. Fossil fuels, of course, are essentially non-renewable. No matter how slowly they are used up, once used up, they are gone and not replenished over any reasonable time periods.

But in a certain sense this does not matter. Oil may become depleted -- at least low-cost oil -- but its essential function is to produce energy. And there we have a variety of ways to create energy for many millennia or even longer -- based on nuclear fission.

The debate between neo-Malthusians and Cornucopians came to a head in a 1969 symposium of the AAAS, published as a book titled "Is there an optimal level of population?" Both sides recognized that population levels and growth rates are equally important in discussing the possible depletion of resources. Those proposing larger populations, like Julian Simon, seemed oblivious also to the environmental costs that would rise rapidly as the natural ability of the environment to absorb waste is exceeded.

But all this is history. SD lives on because it is useful in selling various policies. Some examples are:
  • 1) Restrictions on the use of fossil fuels, under the guise of "saving the climate"
  • 2) Transfers of resources to less developed nations - now justified for climate reasons (but of course, quite contrary to resource conservation)
  • 3) Striving for world government and UN sovereignty -- all for "sustainability",
  • 4) Promoting a green energy future, using solar and wind,
  • 5) Advocating negative population growth, etc.
Among the worst policies being pushed with the help of SD is a scheme called Contraction and Convergence (C & C). The idea is that every human is entitled to emit the same amount of CO2. This of course translates into every being on earth using the same amount of energy -- and, by inference, having the same income. In other words, C & C is basically a policy for a giant global income redistribution.

Since the SD concept has been popularized, it has become a fashionable topic for research papers, especially in the social sciences. We may yet live to see the day when trendy universities establish programs to teach SD -- and eventually even departments of SD and endowed academic chairs. Never underestimate the drive for expansion in the academic world.

For Earth Day 2011, the National Association of Scholars, composed mostly of Conservative-leaning academics, released a Statement that critiques the campus sustainability movement. NAS president Peter Wood said:
  • "Sustainability sounds like a call for recycling and clean drinking water. But its proponents
  • are much more ambitious.
  • For them, a sustainable society is one that replaces the market economy with top-down regulation. They present students a frightening story in which the earth is on the brink of disaster and immediate action is needed. This is a tactic aimed at
  • silencing critics,
  • shutting down debate, and
  • mobilizing students who never get the opportunity to hear opposing views."
Here are some excerpts from the Statement itself:

""Sustainability" is one of the key words of our time. We are six years along in the United Nations' "Decade of Education for Sustainable Development." In the United States, 677 colleges and universities presidents have committed themselves to a sustainability-themed "Climate Commitment." Sustainability is, by a large measure, the most popular social movement today in American higher education. It is, of course, not just a campus movement, but also a ubiquitous presence in the K-12 curriculum, and a staple of community groups, political platforms, appeals to consumers,
  • and corporate policy.
The sustainability movement arrived on campuses mainly at the invitation of college presidents and administrative staff in areas such as student activities and residence life. That means that it largely escaped the scrutiny of faculty members and that it continues to enjoy a position of unearned authority. In many instances, the movement advances by administrative fiat, backed up by outside advocacy groups and students recruited for their zeal in promoting the cause. Agenda-driven organizations-such as the Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education (AASHE) and the American College and University Presidents' Climate Commitment(ACUPCC)-have taken advantage of academic sensibilities to turn sustainability into what is in many cases,
  • a campus fetish.
Sustainability also gets promoted by resort to pledges, games, competitions, and a whole variety of psychological gimmicks that bypass serious intellectual inquiry.

Some results are relatively trivial. For example, at certain institutions, cafeteria trays have been banned to save food, water, and energy, leaving students and staff to juggle dishes, cups, and utensils as they move between counters and tables. Many campuses have also banned the sale of disposable to reduce plastic waste. Yet however laughable, such petty annoyances have a sinister penumbra. They advertise a willingness to bully that creates a more
  • generalized climate of intimidation, spilling over into other domains.
In practice, this means that sustainability is used as a means of promoting to students a view that capitalism and individualism are "unsustainable," morally unworthy,
  • and a present danger to the future of the planet.
Fascination with decline and ruin are nothing new in Western thought. The sustainability movement combines a bureaucratic and regulatory impulse with an updated version of the Romantics' preoccupation with the end of civilization, and with hints of the Christian apocalyptic tradition. These are the "end times" in the view of some sustainability advocates-or potentially so in the eyes of many others. The movement has its own versions of sin and redemption, and in many other respects has a quasi-religious character. For some of the adherents,
  • the earth itself is treated as a sentient deity; others content themselves with the search for the transcendent in Nature.
As a creed among creeds, sustainability constitutes an upping of the ideological ante. Feminism, Afro-centrism, gay-liberation, and various other recent fads and doctrines, whatever else they were, were secular, speaking merely to politics and culture. The sustainability movement reaches beyond that, having nothing less than the preservation of life on earth at its heart.

The religious creeds of faculty members and students are their own business, but we have reason for concern when dogmatic beliefs are smuggled into the curriculum and made a basis for campus programs as though they were
  • mere extensions of scientific facts.
The sustainability movement is, in a word, unsustainable. It runs too contrary to the abiding purposes of higher education; it is too rife with internal contradictions; and it is too contrary to the environmental, economic, and social facts to endure indefinitely.""


Atmospheric physicist S. Fred Singer is Professor Emeritus of Environmental Sciences at the University of Virginia and founding director of the US Weather Satellite Service. His book "Unstoppable Global Warming - Every 1500 Years" (Rowman & Littlefield, 2007) presents the evidence for natural climate cycles of warming and cooling and became a New York Times best-seller.


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7 comments:

Aubrey Meyer said...

“Among the worst policies being pushed with the help of SD is a scheme called Contraction and Convergence (C&C). The idea is that every human is entitled to emit the same amount of CO2. This of course translates into every being on earth using the same amount of energy -- and, by inference, having the same income. In other words, C&C is basically a policy for a giant global income redistribution.”

It is a pity that someone as expert as Fred Singer should be making statements like this. The entire basis on which his view rests is that there is no problem with climate change or the aggravation of it by human emissions from fossil fuel burning.

C&C is not about ‘global income re-distribution’ it is about ‘global emissions pre-distribution’ subject to the limit that achieves compliance with the objective of the UN Climate Change Convention.
Mr Singer is entitled to his view. However, it is by no means one that is universally shared. For the considerable body of people, no less expert than himself for whom there is a problem with climate change and the emissions from humans burning fossil fuels that aggravate it, C&C is portrayed as a sensible way on which the world as a whole can come to terms to address and resolve this problem: - http://www.gci.org.uk/Documents/endorsements_high_res_.pdf

susan said...

Thanks for your comment about Mr. Singer's article. I'm afraid you and I are in two different worlds. A clean environment is something we all want, but the CO2 endangerment industry is something entirely different. First, the UN is a criminal operation, its employees immune from prosecution. Isn't it a little insane that American taxpayers are still giving our hard earned dollars to them? The 'climate' or 'emissions' industry is a great success because it attached itself to the US taxpayer over decades without our knowledge. Disguised as 'saving the planet.' We have become aware of the global warming/climate/sustainables racket thanks to the internet. As you know, the 'climate' industry is infested with organized crime. Billions of hard earned dollars have been squandered through the UN, as is the nature of large, unsupervised groups. The US must completely extricate itself from the UN, but it won't happen with the current president. The Communist Chinese send soot and ash over to California all the time and aren't about to stop doing so. No matter how many more billions the UN gives them of US money to help them get 'sustainable.'

Aubrey Meyer said...

Susan - we're not in the really such different worlds, as you suggest.

The US is not the only country that directs tax revenue to the UN. Nearly all countries do proportionate to their GDPs.

That said, its a mistake to brand the UN as generically 'criminal'.

The UN Security Council [UNSC - the bit with teeth] decisions [for better or worse] tend to endorse the policies of the UNSC members.

Some of these have been viewed as 'criminal', but for a range of wildly conflicting reasons - the Iraq war being high on the list - so who do you trust?

UNSC is a few countries only, and is unlike UN General Assembly [UNGA], which isn't criminal, its really just a bit of a toothless tiger.

I agree with your comment about the 'emissions industry'. This has grown large and delivered little.

However, politically that is notably because of the food-chain-dependence of a range of players who tend to make money out of problems per se, rather than actually resolving them.

Barak Obama is no more of a problem for your country than any of his R/D predecessors. US Government is largely a function of Wall Street and as the recent financial crash shows, everybody's tax revenues are made available to rescue the banks. [Watch 'Inside Job'].

It has been exactly the same story in the UK.

The Chinese aren't any worse than anybody else, they're just bigger.

Our basic problem is that global climate change is occurring. It is being driven by everybody's GHG emissions and these accumulate in the atmosphere and in the oceans.

In the air that increased concentration gradually forces temperature to rise. In the oceans that increased concentration gradually turns them more acid, thus attacking the food chain.

It is very serious and though this is now really well documented, Fred is still largely in denial about all this.

Consequently, he has spared himself the effort of trying to resolve the inter-national quarrel about who is to blame, how do we put it right and who is to pay.

The denial won't last, but sadly the quarrels will and so [unless that changes too] the problems will just get worse.

susan said...

All UN agencies are free to act criminally.
4/15/09, USA Today,"Commissioner Dov Zakheim, a former Pentagon controller, asked Gambatesa whether the (UN)agencies have immunity "if they siphon (their U.S. grants) all off into Swiss banks? Is that accurate? They will be totally immune, no matter what they do with the money?"

"My understanding is, yes," Gambatesa replied.... Federal prosecutors in New York City were forced to drop criminal and civil cases because the U.N. officials have immunity, according to the report. USAID has scaled back its dealings with the U.N. and hired a collection agency to seek $7.6 million back, Deputy Administrator James Bever said. The aid agency hasn't heeded its inspector general's request to sever all ties.

"There are certain cases where working with the U.N. is the only option available," Bever said in an e-mail....

One U.N. employee told investigators that "about $10 million of USAID grant money went to projects in other countries, to include Sudan, Haiti, Sri Lanka and Dubai." That witness said the Afghanistan country director for the U.N. Office for Project Services (UNOPS), which served as the contractor on the project for the U.N. Development Program (UNDP), spent about $200,000 in U.S. money to renovate his guesthouse. Witness names were withheld by USAID.

The development program hired UNOPS to do the work and kept a 7% management fee, the report says. The finances were "out of control," an unnamed project services manager told investigators.

An unnamed USAID contractor told investigators that the program was "ill conceived from the beginning. This was a political idea to do quick impact projects that would look good," the report said.

Investigators found that projects reported as "complete" were actually so shoddily built that they were unusable, the report said....Investigators found that UNDP withdrew $6.7 million from a U.S. line of credit without permission in 2007, months after the project had ended. UNDP has yet to explain what happened to that money, the report says."...That the US isn't the only country giving taxpayer dollars to the UN doesn't change the facts. George Bush and others certainly sold us out before Obama came on the scene to do worse. Can't agree that Communist China is no worse. I've read quite a bit on that topic. The issue with Obama is he has spent his whole life believing the US is the root of all evil. One of the ways he is paying us back for this is to steer us into greater submission to the thugs, terrorists, billionaires, and dictators who run the UN. We the people hope Obama will be voted out on the next election.

Aubrey Meyer said...

Susan - even if all your criticims of the UN were true, Fred Singer's article not an attack on the UN, it is an unfocused polemic about climate change and against sustainble-developement and contraction-and-convergence.

So, the questions that arise from his article are: -

1. is anthropogenic climate change a real problem?
The answer is 'yes'.

2. what are we going to about this?
The answer is emissions 'C&C'.

If the UN is corrupt in the way you insist it is, that doesn't make the problem go away, it just makes it even harder to deal with.

susan said...

It's back to 2 different worlds. The items about the UN in my comment were not my ideas, they were a USA Today reporter's documented evidence. The global warming industry has been promoted through the UN for decades and is interwoven in it. The UN even acknowledges the carbon offset/trading industry in which it is involved wastes billions of dollars. Nor does anyone deny organized crime is making billions in profits all over the place. The 'climate' is the last thing on these people's minds. Even if CO2 warming existed, man could not possibly cure it (lower CO2 volumes do not produce lower temps). The days are long gone where taxpayer money from any country can be stolen and wasted like this. The people are awake now. If you want your cause to succeed, it's best to remove it from the UN's influence.

Aubrey Meyer said...

Susan - the single world that you, I, Fred Singer, the UN and everyone else is on is warming more than the 'natural' trend due to cumulatively additional GHG in the atmosphere due to GHG emissions from human sources.

Whatever the probity of the individuals, the ideological lensing, the institutional arguments and the media chatter about all this may be, that's the trend - slowly increased warming over 200 years.

So, the one-world question remains: - What are we going to about this?

The one-world answer remains emissions contraction and convergence at rates to be determined: -

http://www.gci.org.uk/animations/BENN_C&C_Animation.exe

http://www.gci.org.uk/Documents/endorsements_high_res_.pdf

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