February 18, 2010
Bill Gates, Environmental KookBy Claude Sandroff
If giving away a multibillion-dollar fortune is hard work, Bill Gates has been slaving away since he relinquished active management of Microsoft Corporation in 2008. Perhaps the most loathed technology executive of the P.C. era, he now bottle-feeds African babies and champions touchy-feely models of capitalism as he yearns to become the world's most beloved philanthropist.
But adoration from liberals comes with a high price, especially if you've been one of the most ruthless and successful businessmen in American history. You must not only lavish support on the right causes, but you must also hold the right opinions, whether they make sense or not.
At the TED 2010 conference in Long Beach, California, Bill Gates won a standing ovation by calling for the end of carbon-based fuels in forty years; literally, our CO2 emissions must drop to zero or we risk a warming world, lower crop yields, and starvation of the poor. It is absolutely stunning, as we read Gates's excerpts, to accept that a formerly unrelenting strategic genius has transformed himself into a conveyor of hackneyed global warming alarmism.
According to Gates, "There is uncertainty about how bad the effects of increases in atmospheric CO2 are, but they will be bad. Until we get to near zero, the temperature will go up."
Does Bill Gates not know how shaky the foundations of anthropogenic global warming science have become?
Does he not know how utterly corrupt and incompetent the U.N.'s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) and East Anglia's Climate Research Unit have been revealed to be on topics as diverse as Himalayan glacier melting, rainforest destruction, weather station data, and global warming models?
Does he not know that no statistically meaningful warming of the globe has occurred in the last eleven years, and that some cooling might have occurred over the last nine? And that this is in direct conflict with the vaunted warming models of the IPCC, which predicts dramatic warming of the earth's surface with increased CO2 concentrations in the atmosphere?
Does he not know that satellite data, the most trusted and uncorrupted source of atmospheric and near-surface temperature measurements, reveal very little sensitivity of temperature to increasing CO2 concentrations? Roy Spencer, one of the most preeminent climatologists studying global warming issues, summarizes the state of affairs this way: "Based upon this satellite evidence alone, I do not see how the IPCC can continue to ignore internally-forced variations [which counteract most CO2-caused warming] in the climate system. The evidence for its existence is there for all to see, and in my opinion, the IPCC's lack of diagnostic skill in this matter verges on scientific malpractice."
If Bill Gates has any knowledge of these global warming facts, and many other recent revelations of climatic scientific fraud, he showed no evidence of it at the self-satisfied gathering of elites at TED (Technology, Entertainment, Design) 2010. This snarky organization describes itself as "a small nonprofit devoted to Ideas Worth Spreading."
Unsurprisingly, Al Gore is one of the luminaries who has had the chance to spread his ideas in past TED conclaves. Needless to say, you will find no global warming skeptics among those who were invited hoping to find "a community of curious souls to engage with ideas and each other" at TED 2010.
In his heralded address, Gates argued that "[w]hat we're going to have to do at a global scale is create a new [carbon-free] system. So we need energy miracles."
Thus the most brutally competitive and successful techno-nerd America has ever produced is reduced to grasping at nonexistent technological straws. People who demand that we reject the practical, if imperfect, present for an imagined but perfect future -- whether they be named Marx, Lenin, Mao, or Gates-- will do nothing less than drag us into a certain doom.
Gates insists that we alone (certainly the developing world will not follow us in this mad pursuit) cast aside coal and natural gas, even though together they produce 70% of our electric power today. So blinding is this carbon-free quest that rather than obtaining a cure-all vaccine, in Gates's ideal world, a discovery of an alternative energy that is half as expensive as coal and doesn't warm the planet would be preferable. Apparently, it would be better to invest billions in search of miracle technologies to solve a nonexistent problem than it would be to use the same money to save the lives of millions.
What is most disturbing about Gates's energy stance is his almost cult-like adoption of the most hysterical (and false) assumptions of global warming orthodoxy. And this comes from a legendary American business giant in software and marketing.
The miraculous energy solutions Bill Gates so desperately seeks are here at hand. They are beneath our feet and under our waters. They are called hydrocarbons. These miraculous molecules -- energy-dense, plentiful beyond imagining, and easily transported -- can warm, power, and move us for hundreds of years. And if Gates were willing to open his mind to new facts emerging almost every day, he'd come to the conclusion that burning them will not warm up the planet one noticeable bit.
Claude can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.