October 18, 2008
An open letter from The Viscount Monckton of Brenchley to Senator John McCain about Climate Science and Policy (4)
The threat that your policies pose to international free trade
You have said: "If the efforts to negotiate an international solution that includes China and India do not succeed, we still have an obligation to act. In my approach to global climate-control efforts, we will apply the principle of equal treatment. We will apply the same environmental standards to industries in China, India, and elsewhere that we apply to our own industries. And if industrializing countries seek an economic advantage by evading those standards, I would work with the European Union and other like-minded governments that plan to address the global warming problem to develop a cost equalization mechanism to apply to those countries that decline to enact a similar cap. ... Pressing on blindly with uncontrolled carbon emissions is in no one's interest, especially China's."
Those who oppose the freedom that capitalism brings with it have always and everywhere been opposed to free trade. Once again, it is baffling that a Republican presidential candidate should threaten to gang up with the European dictatorship (which has always been implacably opposed to free trade, and has repeatedly done its best to wreck the settlement rounds of the World Trade Organization) to try to bully China, India, and other heavy emitters of harmless carbon dioxide into emitting less. Your "cost equalization mechanism" is protectionism under a fancy name. It would have catastrophic economic consequences worldwide: but the greatest harm it would cause would be to America herself.
Consider what would happen if your "cost equalization mechanism" were imposed on China. Then the workers in your own country whom you had flung out of work under the pretext of "Saving The Planet" would not even have the compensating advantage of being able to buy cheaply from China the goods that they had themselves made until you had stopped them. All goods, worldwide, would become more expensive. Free trade, which has allowed not only the free West but also the emerging tigers of Asia to grow and prosper, would be stifled. That would not only harm the United States: it would also harm those nations against which it was directed.
In any event, the United States no longer has it in her power to interfere with international free trade in the dismal, unconstructive manner you have proposed: for it is the World Trade Organization, not the Federal Government, that now protects world trade against protectionism.
You may answer that a sovereign nation always retains the right - or, if not the right, at least the power - to unmake a treaty that is no longer congenial. Not so. If you tamper with the delicate flower of free trade that the World Trade Organization has so patiently established in recent decades by resiling unilaterally from it and reintroducing protectionism, even for purposes that you imagine (however wrongly) to be beneficial, you will inflict incalculable poverty and misery not only upon your own working people but upon the less fortunate peoples of other nations. No policy could be more irresponsible than this. I urge you and your advisors to reconsider, before it is too late.
The immorality and the cruel consequences of your proposals
The UN's climate panel, in its various quinquennial reports, has in the past advocated the substitution of one gallon in ten of gasoline by "biofuels". Unthinking politicians worldwide, panicked by the nonsensical calculations by the UN's climate panel (calculations that egregiously exaggerate the actually very limited effect of carbon dioxide on climate), rushed to support the "biofuels" program, under which agricultural land that had previously been used for growing food was instead used for growing fuel for automobiles.
The entirely predictable result was a doubling of the world price of all major, staple foods. Previously, food production and consumption had been reasonably in balance, except in those countries where dictatorship rather than democracy was the rule. In Africa, for instance, post-colonial dictators such as Mugabe and his carbon-copy "politburo" in Zimbabwe keep their people starving; and in Europe, the dismal dictatorship keeps millions of acres of productive land lying fallow, notwithstanding the will of its unconsidered peoples (who have no say and no vote in this or any other matter within what is laughably described as the "competence" of the European Union).
Now, in all parts of the world, real and serious harm is being caused by the sudden rise in world food prices that is the direct and obvious consequence of the international dash for "biofuels". It matters not that learned paper after learned paper demonstrates with devastating clarity the fact that the production and use of "biofuels" emit more carbon dioxide than the production and use of the gasoline they so inefficiently replace.
In Haiti, the doubling of food prices that resulted directly from the "biofuels" fiasco has forced the poorest of the poor to live on mud pies. Here is the recipe. Mix 6 oz. of soil with enough water to make a paste. Add a pinch of salt and a tiny knob of butter. Stir vigorously. Bake in the sun until dry and hard. Serve, or sell to neighbours for 3 US cents.
Sir, policies - however well-intentioned - have consequences. No one doubts that your intentions in proposing what you have proposed are honorable. But the road to starvation is paved with good intentions. There have been food riots in poor countries throughout the world, as the first victims of the "climate change" policies that you have so uncritically endorsed can no longer afford to feed themselves or their children.
No surprise, then, that even the UN has begun to reconsider its position. At first, it favored the conversion of food into "biofuels". Then, last year, one of its senior spokesmen called for a five-year moratorium on the conversion of food to biofuels. Now, the UN's rapporteur on food for the poor has said that when so many are starving it is "a crime against humanity" to burn their food in our automobiles. The consequence of the policy to which you have given your enthusiastic support is mass starvation. And that, Sir, is morally unacceptable.
Earlier in this letter I undertook to illustrate the track record of the Environmental Defense Fund, which invented the "cap-and-trade" policy that you advocate with such insouciant enthusiasm. It was the EDF that brought the legal case that led to the ban on the use of DDT first in the US and then throughout the world.
The UN's climate panel makes no mention of the three letters "D", "D", and "T" in its mendacious ramblings about the alleged (but in reality non-existent) link between warmer weather and the prevalence of malaria. Therefore I should explain that DDT is the only effective agent against the mosquitoes that carry malaria; that its inventor won the Nobel Prize for Medicine because the use of DDT had reduced malaria deaths to 50,000 per year worldwide; that DDT is entirely harmless to humans, who can eat it by the tablespoonful and not come to any harm; and that, if sprayed in the interior of dwellings, it will not cause any harm to wildlife, except to mosquitoes.
Yet DDT was banned. The effect of the ban was murderous. Annual malaria deaths swiftly rose from 50,000 to 1 million. In a third of a century, the excess deaths caused by the ban on DDT amount - according to the scientific literature - to between 30 and 50 million. Therefore, Sir, if you or your advisors are ever tempted to say that we should introduce such drastic measures as "biofuel" development or "cap-and-trade" or shutting down three-fifths of the US economy, as a precaution just in case the UN's climate panel and other politicized extremists are right, I pray that you will think again. The "precautionary principle" is not a principle: nor do its advocates pray it in aid for any other reason than to provide a specious credibility for policies that would otherwise be self-evidently purposeless and cruel.
The very body that invented the "cap-and-trade" scam that you now propose to sanctify as a policy of the Republican party in government would have the deaths of 50 million children - for it is children who are nearly always the victims of malaria - on its conscience. If, that is, it had a conscience. And, lest its apologists and spin-doctors dare to challenge my presentation here of its murderous role in the DDT ban, I shall tell you a story.
During the final stages of the case that led to the ban on DDT, the Board of the Environmental Defense Fund met with its lawyer. He said to the Chairman: "Sir, I beg you not to press for a total ban on DDT. If you succeed in getting it banned altogether, tens of millions of children will die of malaria. My advice is that, for pressing scientific reasons, you should allow it to be used indoors, so that children will not be bitten at home."
The lawyer carefully put before the Board the scientific evidence he had accumulated, and just as carefully - for he was scientifically literate and competent - he spelled out exactly why and how a total ban on DDT would kill tens of millions, and undo a malaria eradication program that had almost succeeded in wiping this curse from the Earth.
And what was the reaction of the Board of the Environmental Defense Fund - your allies in introducing yet another mad scheme based on a policy that is already killing people of starvation in the world's poorest countries? They dismissed their Counsel on the spot. As he left the room, he heard the Chairman say to the Board, "That's the last time we ever again employ a lawyer who knows anything about science."
There is, however, some glimmer of what may eventually be a happy ending. On September 15, 2006, the World Health Organization - under intense humanitarian pressure from me and many others - at long last reversed the ban on the production and use of DDT. Not only that, but the WHO now once again recommends DDT as the first line of defense against the mosquito.
Dr. Arata Kochi of the WHO, announcing the end of the DDT ban, said that in this field politics usually prevails, but that it was now time to pay heed to the science and the data.
The Environmental Defense Fund, as one of its lines of argument when obtaining the ban on DDT, had said that, even if there was no scientific case against a ban, a ban should be imposed anyway, as a precaution. That "precaution" killed 30-50 million children.
That is why it is necessary not to be careless about the science; not to believe grand-sounding international organizations which put their own political predispositions and financial interests ahead of the common interest and even the life of humanity; not to accept the case for climate alarm merely because it suits you to be seen to reach out to the millions of young people who have been relentlessly propagandized in their schools, or to cross the political divide and attract voters from the Democratic electorate; not to advocate or adopt policies which originate with an organization that had knowingly adopted and inflicted on the US and the world a policy that it had been told would kill tens of millions, but pursued that policy regardless.
That is why it is necessary that you should have the courage and honesty to do what marks out the statesman from the mere politician: to change your mind; to admit that, in relying upon a policy advocated and promoted by the lavishly-funded Environmental Defense Fund, you do not wish to repeat the slaughter of the innocents; to cast aside the corrupt folly of the climate scare and of the policies which its promoters self-servingly advocate; and to tell the people that not another penny will be diverted from the real environmental problems of the world to the non-problem of "global warming" unless and until compelling scientific evidence of the imagined planetary threat shall have been provided. For the avoidance of doubt, the diffuse and corrupt ramblings of the UN's climate panel do not constitute scientific evidence, but a deliberate, artful, systematic fraud.
Let me end this section of my letter by summarizing the moral arguments against alarmism. A certain tendentious Democrat politician goes about saying that what he fatuously calls the "climate crisis" is "a moral issue." So it is. To "announce disasters", as the UN climate panel's first scientific chairman admitted he was doing, or "scary scenarios", as one of the handful of extremist scientists who support the more wayward conclusions of the UN admitted he was inventing, or "over-represent factual presentations", as a certain Democrat politician admitted he was doing, in place of adherence to the scientific truth - that is a moral issue.
To let politicians insert data into official scientific documents; to alter those documents so as to contradict scientific findings; to manipulate decimal points so as to engender false headlines by exaggerating tenfold - those are moral issues.
To exaggerate twenty-fold not only the atmospheric lifetime of a trace gas but also the effect of that gas on temperature; to reduce the magnitude of its predicted influence on temperature without reducing the predicted temperature itself - those are moral issues.
To claim scientific unanimity where none exists; to assert that catastrophe is likely when nearly all scientists do not; to exalt theoretical computer models over real-world observations; to misstate the conclusions of scientific papers or the meaning of observed data; to overstate the likely future course of climatic phenomena by several orders of magnitude - those are moral issues.
To reverse the sequence of events in the early climate; to infect the minds of children with baseless propaganda intended to terrify them; to persist in false denial that past temperatures exceeded today's; to state that climate events that have not occurred have occurred; to ascribe these non-events as well as specific extreme-weather events unjustifiably to humankind - those are moral issues.
To propose, as you have proposed, solutions to the non-problem of climate change that would cost many times more than the problem itself, if there were one; to advocate, as you have advocated, measures to mitigate fancifully-imagined future climatic changes when adaptation would cost far less and achieve far more; to ignore, as you have ignored, the real problems of resource depletion, energy security, bad Third World government and fatal diseases that kill millions - those are moral issues.
To advance, as you have advanced, policies congenial to the narrow, short-term political or financial vested interest of some mere corporation or faction at the expense of the wider, long-term general interest of us all - those are moral issues.
Above all, to propose, as you have proposed, to inflict upon the nations of the world a policy of ever-grimmer energy starvation calculated not merely to inconvenience the prosperous but to condemn the very poorest to remain imprisoned in poverty forever, and to die in their tens of millions for want of the light and heat and power and food which we have long been fortunate enough to take for granted - that is a moral issue.
Sir, in each of us, however far apart in mere distance or origin or wealth or achievement, there is the image and likeness of our Creator. By this intimate communion with our Maker each of us, however poor, is of unique and precious value. Therefore there is only one race, the human race. The suffering, starving children of Africa, of Asia and of South America, imploring us with their hopeless, hopeful eyes, are our people. They cannot look to their own. They look to us. We must get the science right or we shall get the policy wrong. We have failed them and failed them before. We must not fail them again.
The strategic threat to your nation's leadership of the world
You have said: "We need to keep our eyes on big goals in energy policy, the serious dangers, and the common interests of the American people."
The central "goals of energy policy" are security of supply, security of supply, and security of supply, in that order. All other goals are secondary to security of supply. If you run out of energy, then you have no energy policy. Resource depletion will be the hard reality of the 21st century. Demand for gasoline and for electrical power is already outstripping the capacity of the world's fossil-fuel corporations: therefore the iron law of supply and demand is driving up the price of oil and of electrical power worldwide.
And what does your speech say about these increases in the price of oil and electricity which you and I can perhaps afford, for now, but which the poorer people of your own nation and of other nations cannot? Your speech says nothing about security of supply, except to express a vague, pietistic hope that windmills and waves and tides and sunshine will at some imagined future date, in some unspecified manner, replace the 98.5% of the world's energy that is currently supplied by nuclear power and by fossil fuels.
The "serious dangers" that you speak of are not dangers arising from the very slightly warmer weather that the world may enjoy as a result of enrichment of the atmosphere by fractional increases in the proportion of the air we breathe in that is occupied by carbon dioxide such as that which we breathe out. The climate scare is, as you will now realize, a mere bugaboo - a horror story for children, that only children and those with a mental age on a par with children can be expected to swallow. The real, pressing, "serious dangers" to the peace, prosperity, and freedom of the world are the dangers that spring from the very measures you propose to drive away the fearsome-sounding but harmless climate bugaboo.
The world needs the United States to continue as the engine-house of prosperity, the wellspring of invention, the hope of freedom, the guarantor of peace. You must not transform your great nation into merely another stifling, inept, corrupt, bureaucratic-centralist dictatorship such as China, Russia, or the European Union.
At the national election in which you are the Republican candidate, the fate not merely of the United States but also of the world will be decided. We owe you much, and, because you have given us much, we look to you to give us more. We look to the United States for a continuation of her leadership of the world, for what you have called "the common interests of the American people" are the strategic interests of humanity itself.
Not for a single moment longer must you allow yourself to be distracted by the murderous foolishness of the climate alarmists. If the United States does not stand firm against cruel, pseudo-scientific nonsense of the sort that is already killing millions through purposeless starvation, then who will stand firm? Not Britain, alas, nor Europe, for we are closed countries now, administered by closed minds.
Only your "athletic democracy" can save us now - save us from the follies of policy that will merely inconvenience the prosperous but is already killing the poor. Therefore, Sir, I end this letter with the words of your poet Longfellow, addressed by Winston Churchill to your great wartime President in that darkest hour before the new dawn of freedom:
Sail on, o ship of State;
Sail on, o Union strong and great:
Humanity, with all its fears,
With all the hopes of future years,
Is hanging, breathless, on thy fate.
Monckton of Brenchley