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Naturalism (William F. Buckley talks global warming)
National Review ^ | 3/31/07 | William F. Buckley

Posted on 04/03/2007 11:19:12 AM PDT by blitzgig

The heavy condemnatory breathing on the subject of global warming outdoes anything since high moments of the Inquisition. A respectable columnist (Thomas Friedman of the New York Times) opened his essay last week by writing, "Sometimes you read something about this administration that's just so shameful it takes your breath away."

What asphyxiated this critic was the discovery that a White House official had edited "government climate reports to play up uncertainty of a human role in global warming." The correspondent advises that the culprit had been an oil-industry lobbyist before joining the administration, and on leaving it he took a job with ExxonMobil.

For those with addled reflexes, here is the story compressed: (1) Anyone who speaks discriminatingly about global warming is conspiring to belittle the threat. Such people end up (2) working for ExxonMobil, a perpetrator of the great threat the malefactor sought to distract us from.

I'd guess that, in the current mood, I should enter the datum that my father was in the oil business. But having done that, I think it fair to ask: Are we invited to assume that anyone who works in a business that generates greenhouse gases (a) is complicit in the global-warming problem, and (b) should resign and seek work elsewhere? One recalls the plant in Nazi Germany that manufactured the toxic gas Zyklon B. The primary use of this gas was in the extermination camps, whose masters were looking for efficient ways to destroy human beings. Is the community engaged in oil production the contemporary equivalent of the makers of Zyklon B?

Critics are correct in insisting that human enterprises have an effect on climate. What they cannot at this point do is specify exactly how great the damage is, nor how much relief would be effected by specific acts of natural propitiation.

The whole business is eerily religious in feel. Back in the 15th century, the question was: Do you believe in Christ? It was required in Spain by the Inquisition that the answer should be affirmative, leaving to one side subsidiary specifications.

It is required today to believe that carbon-dioxide emissions threaten the basic ecological balance. The assumption then is that inasmuch as a large proportion of the damage is man-made, man-made solutions are necessary. But it is easy to see, right away, that there is a problem in devising appropriate solutions, and in allocating responsibility for them.

To speak in very general terms, the United States is easily the principal offender, given the size of our country and the intensity of our use of fossil-fuel energy. But even accepting the high per-capita rate of consumption in the United States, we face the terrible inadequacy of ameliorative resources. If the USA were (we are dealing in hypotheses) to eliminate the use of oil or gas for power, would that forfeiture be decisive?

Well, no. It would produce about 23 percent global relief, and at a devastating cost to our economy.

As a practical matter, what have modern states undertaken with a view to diminishing greenhouse gases? The answer is: Not very much. What is being done gives off a kind of satisfaction, of the kind felt back then when prayers were recited as apostates were led to the stake to be burned. If you levied a 100 percent surtax on gasoline in the United States, you would certainly reduce the use of it, but the arbiter is there to say: What is a complementary sacrifice we can then expect from India and China? China will soon overtake the United States in the production of greenhouse gases.

At Kyoto, an effort was made ten years ago to allocate proportional reductions nation by nation. The United States almost uniquely declined to subscribe to the Kyoto protocols. Canada, Japan, and the countries of Western Europe subscribed, but some have already fallen short of their goals, and all of them are skeptical about the prospect of making future scheduled reductions. It is estimated that if the United States had subscribed to Kyoto, it would have cost us $100 billion to $400 billion per year.

There is, now and then, offsetting good news. The next report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), we have learned, will be less pessimistic than earlier reports. It will predict, e.g., a sea-level increase of up to 23 inches by the end of the century, substantially better than earlier IPCC predictions of 29 inches — and light-years away from the 20 feet predicted by former Vice President Al Gore.

Meanwhile, the Danish statistician Bjorn Lomborg said something outside the hearing of the outraged columnist. He noted solemnly that any increase in heat-related deaths should be balanced against the corresponding decrease in cold-related deaths. ... We need hope, and self-confidence.


TOPICS: Editorial
KEYWORDS: globalwarming; greenhousegases; kyoto; williamfbuckley
Many good points.
1 posted on 04/03/2007 11:19:17 AM PDT by blitzgig
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To: blitzgig

The most important one is the one he doesn’t make - which is that anthropogenic Global warming is a myth.


2 posted on 04/03/2007 11:21:48 AM PDT by agere_contra
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To: blitzgig
We need hope, and self-confidence.

Amen to that. We will survive and if the market is allowed to work we will thrive.

3 posted on 04/03/2007 11:26:26 AM PDT by rhombus
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To: blitzgig

Climate change? WTF? If anybody can show me a time in the history of the earth where the climate has not been “changing”, I’ll turn in my two Hummers.

Second, when will Al Gore -— or a real scientist for that matter —— tell me what the mean global temperature should be? Should it be set at 58 degrees F? If so, how should the temperature be distributed throughout the day -— or the seasons —— or across hemispheres?

History will recognize the envirofreaks as the witchburners of the 21st century. Like the flat-earthers, they will be mocked and scorned. Unfortunately, they appear poised to do far more damage than flat-earthers or witch burners ever dreamed of doing.


4 posted on 04/03/2007 11:27:00 AM PDT by LibertyJihad
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To: blitzgig
Even if you buy into global warming, it’s 1 degree every couple hundred years - that’s it and, it assumes mankind does not change during that time from like riding a horse vs driving cars or electric light bulbs.

GW is a political religious ideology as dangerous as muslim.

5 posted on 04/03/2007 11:27:41 AM PDT by edcoil (Reality doesn't say much - doesn't need too)
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To: agere_contra
The most important one is the one he doesn’t make - which is that anthropogenic Global warming is a myth.

This bears repeating. I am astounded how our leaders are wimps in the face of the growing danger of the anti-human, anti-capitalist left around world. We need more leaders such as President Václav Klaus, of the Czech Republic. The AGW crowd are rabid in desire to destroy the US with this utterly false issue. I am more and more coming to believe that the AGW terrorists will be an equal threat to our survival, as are the Islamic terrorists. I can't believe how crazy things are becoming.

6 posted on 04/03/2007 11:35:29 AM PDT by sand88
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To: edcoil

Most of the inhabited globe is a bit chilly, no?

Like Bjorn Lomborg, I’m wondering why POSITIVE impacts of global warming are not considered, like warmer winters. I think a lot of us would enjoy warmer winters. Heck, I’d like a warmer spring; it’s going to snow a few days this week, and believe me, I would rather it not.

If the temperature increase is one degree overall, why are we getting stories like “the polar icecaps will melt” or “the polar bears don’t have any ice to use to get their food”?

Those sound like temperature increases of way over one degree, even if the entire temperature increase is focused on the poles.

It seems to me that we are experiencing an entirely different phenomenon, since global warming itself seems incapable of explaining such huge variances.

Thoughts?

D


7 posted on 04/03/2007 11:39:50 AM PDT by daviddennis (If you like my stuff, please visit amazing.com, my new social networking site!)
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To: blitzgig

Buckley is sometimes dry but he is right. I am interested in how quickly the irreligious find their own heretics when confronted with opinions and analysis that does not fit their political and social agendas.


8 posted on 04/03/2007 11:42:18 AM PDT by Maelstorm (I visited Daily Kos. It was like visiting Planet Dumbass.)
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To: daviddennis

I agree, if we could get NYC warmer, the Billion dollars sent there over the winter for heating oil for the poor would not need to be spent.

I find very little positive news anywhere today.


9 posted on 04/03/2007 11:49:41 AM PDT by edcoil (Reality doesn't say much - doesn't need too)
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To: All
Tomorrow's headline? "Heavy breathing pollution.. like Zyklon B for polar bears? NCAA to ban running in college football, basketball by 2010. . .Could prevent the flooding of all U.S. athletic fields say SI editors."
10 posted on 04/03/2007 12:08:09 PM PDT by WilliamofCarmichael (If modern America's Man on Horseback is out there, Get on the damn horse already!)
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To: WilliamofCarmichael

If it weren’t for the doomsayers, would we even notice a one degree rise?


11 posted on 04/03/2007 1:08:47 PM PDT by ClaireSolt (Have you have gotten mixed up in a mish-masher?)
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To: agere_contra
The most important one is the one he doesn’t make - which is that anthropogenic Global warming is a myth.

Not exactly true. It would be a profound contradiction of the physical laws of nature if this were the case. That there is some human induced contribution is indisputable; What the magnitude is is the only valid question. The jury is still out; but we have some clues.

As one of the original authors (and most respected Climate Scientists*) of the earliest IPPC report (1995) put it,

"The balance of evidence suggests that there is a discernible human influence on global climate."
"That struck me as bizarre," he says. "Because without saying how much the effect was, the statement had no meaning. If it was discernible and very small, for instance, it would be no problem."

* Richard Lindzen

12 posted on 04/03/2007 1:14:19 PM PDT by Publius6961 (MSM: Israelis are killed by rockets; Lebanese are killed by Israelis.)
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To: blitzgig
I am puzzled why William F Buckley can manage to mention Zyklon B in the context of demonizing Exxon-Mobil and fail to mention I.B. Farben, a conglomerate of one of the current US's harshest critics, which to this day is never mentioned about its role in the "extermination".

WFB? Politically correct?

To raise capital, Degussa split its controlling interest of Degesch with IG Farben in 1930: both companies held a 42.5% share in Degesch, with the remaining 15% held by the Th. Goldschmidt AG of Essen.

Due to the severity of the war crimes committed by IG Farben during World War II, the company was considered to be too corrupt to be allowed to continue to exist, and the allies considered confiscating all of its assets and putting it out of business. Instead, in 1951, the company was split up into the original constituent companies. The four largest quickly bought the smaller ones, and today only Agfa, BASF, and Bayer remain, while Hoechst merged with the French Rhône-Poulenc Rorer to form Aventis, now based in Strasbourg, France.

13 posted on 04/03/2007 1:27:46 PM PDT by Publius6961 (MSM: Israelis are killed by rockets; Lebanese are killed by Israelis.)
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To: LibertyJihad
Climate change? WTF? If anybody can show me a time in the history of the earth where the climate has not been “changing”,

Yep, climate changes, so odds for global warming are 50/50 to start with. Here's what Global Warmongers assume:

1. The earth is getting warmer.
2. It's never gotten this warm before
3. This is a bad thing.
4. The sun's not to blame.
4. The warming is linear, not cyclic.
5. A blanket of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gasses are the cause, insulating our atmosphere the cosmic heat-sink.
6. Carbon Dioxide is the greatest contributor.
7. Mankind is the greatest producer of CO2.
8. Industrialized, civilized societies produce unprecedented levels of CO2 and can't help but make more.
9. The only hope for mankind is a world-wide constabulatory to assign allotments to each person dictating how much CO2 each can produce.
10. Once you make CO2, you're stuck with it.
11. The only people we can trust to fairly undertake this regulatory crusade are scientists and political elites.
12. The scientists are the most trustworthy because they are enlightened and disinterested. They're devoted to mankind, sort of like priests, but without the religious hangups.
13. Ditto the politicians--even those from third-world, autocratic hell-holes.

I've probably left some things out. Feel free.

14 posted on 04/03/2007 4:06:37 PM PDT by tsomer
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To: blitzgig; Killing Time; Beowulf; Mr. Peabody; RW_Whacko; honolulugal; gruffwolf; BlessedBeGod; ...

FReepmail me to get on or off


Click on POGW graphic for full GW rundown

New!!: Dr. John Ray's
GREENIE WATCH

Ping me if you find one I've missed.


WFB weighs in..
15 posted on 04/03/2007 5:18:57 PM PDT by xcamel (Press to Test, Release to Detonate)
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To: tsomer

The Global Warmonger assumptions are like articles of faith for a religion. Offsets are penance, C02 restrictions are commandments, scientists are priests, and modernization is materialism.

This time, Congress has passed a law respecting the establishment of a religion ...... Environmentalism.


16 posted on 04/04/2007 6:26:03 AM PDT by LibertyJihad
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