Why is there so much preoccupation with atmospheric CO2 concentrations and reducing anthropogenic CO2 emissions when it is well documented in the peer-reviewed scientific literature that the CO2 contribution to the overall greenhouse effect is so weak that it can be easily supplanted by small changes in clouds and water vapor, or natural climate-changing constituents?


Tuesday, 14 December 2010

They thrived in the fear they created: 1972, and the fatuous 'Blueprint for Survival'

Donna Laframboise has written a very informative essay about the 'Blueprint for Survival' published way back in 1972.  This, along with the similarly fatuous 'Limits to Growth' published in the same year and Ehrlich's 'Population Bomb' published a little earlier, was the output of a handful of rich and poorly-informed, weak on science, weak on economics, weak on history, weak on humanity, men in the West, claiming to be desperately anxious about the future of humanity.  Laframboise has identified a very influential subset: the Drama Queen Scientist.  They live in the wealthy West, they have enought money, enough security, but what they lack is sufficient publicity.  They discovered that scaring people witless was a pretty good way to get it. 

 Some extracts (my italics) from the essay:

'The 34 distinguished biologists, ecologists, doctors, and economists who endorsed the Blueprint are accountable to no one. If such people started making decisions regarding economics, public health, transportation, and other matters we’d be exchanging representative democracy for tyranny on the part of these select experts. We’d be saying that a small number of people know better than we do what is best for us and our children.
I think that’s bunk. I also think it’s important to note that some experts are drama queens. For them, the glass is always half empty and everything is always a crisis (rather than a manageable problem). Unfortunately, drama queens tend to attract media attention. We therefore need to start noticing that, no matter what the specific problem has been, drama queen scientists have been pushing the same unpalatable solutions for 40 years:  fewer humans, less consumption, less travel – and less freedom.'


'The past 40 years bear little resemblance to the horror story the drama queens were predicting back in 1972. Average people are now richer and healthier. They live longer lives and many enjoy access to more food, culture, and technology than did the princes of old. In much of the world the air and water is cleaner than it was in the 1970s, and the forests are larger. As books such as Matt Ridley’s Rational Optimist patiently explain, the planet is not headed to hell in a handcart. Things are far from perfect, but the current situation looks nothing like the collapse predicted by the Blueprint 40 years ago.'


'When I read the Blueprint I’m reminded of Soviet Communist Party literature prior to the fall of the Berlin Wall. The Communists also thought they were building a better world. They thought they could alter human nature and that, if they only planned carefully enough, a prosperous and harmonious society would transpire. Communist party publications, I might add, were characterized by the same pompous, judgmental tone.
The Communist reality, however, was a disaster. Which means that before I’m willing to place my trust in anyone else’s utopian fantasies they’ll need to spend an awful lot of time explaining what they’ve learned not to do based on their careful study of the Soviet and Chinese debacles. Quick tip: let’s start with how many independent safeguards will ensure that millions of souls cannot be starved or murdered by their own government.
Drama queens inhabit a fear-filled world – one that’s dangerously unpredictable and in which some small matter can trigger the apocalypse. They have little faith in their own ability to cope, in humanity, or in the future. No matter how many good things have happened, they insist on identifying the flaw in every apple. They are a personality type – and they are a part of our collective humanity.
But a world that permits that part of us to determine the future is a world in which the future may, indeed, turn out to be bleak.'

How many senior teachers, heads, etc were students in the early 1970s and were influenced by the fluent balderdash of the Blueprint or the Limits or the P-Bomb?  How many of our current politicians, and senior civil servants, and media managers, were also victims of them?  Can we suppose part of the astonishing success of the IPCC-spin on climate is due to such influences?  Can we find ways to protect future generations from them?

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