Bamboozled Billionaires

Many prominent persons have adopted a cause, using their prominence and money to support their chosen cause. For example, Bill Gates created a foundation that works to improve the lives of the world’s poorest persons. Sometimes prominent persons adopt false causes, wasting their time and money in pursuit of a dubious goal. The billionaire trio of Henry Paulson, Michael Bloomberg and Tom Steyer have been bamboozled by global warming profiteers.

The 3 billionaires have commissioned a study to promote the global warming scare. It is very clear that the billionaires have embarked on a fool’s quest. Even if one believes in the dubious computer projections of global warming doom, it is clear that the billionaires’ approach does not make sense. They imply that CO2 reduction policies should be adopted in the U.S. and they give the impression that this will result in prevention of a global warming catastrophe. But the CO2 emissions mainly come from Asia and that is where the rapid growth of emissions is. Emissions in the U.S. have been declining. Reducing emissions from the United States is basically a waste of time because even if U.S. emissions were reduced to zero, according to global warming theory it wouldn’t make much difference in the face of massive and rapidly growing emissions in Asia.

A cynic might suspect that the billionaires are promoting global warming hysteria as part of a plan to make money. In this article I assume their activities are motivated by sincere good intentions, however confused those intentions may be. When confronted by the choice that someone is either confused, or is pretending to be confused as part of a clever scheme, the correct answer is usually the obvious one.

Global warming advocacy has become a multi-billion dollar industry. The money goes to scientific research and to subsidies for green energy. The money is comes from government appropriations as well as government mandates that force consumers to pay inflated prices for green energy. The global warming establishment is one of the basic constituent groups supporting the Democratic Party.

Global warming is a political movement disguised as a scientific movement. The global warming movement provides money to political supporters and burnishes its image with junk science. Critics are treated as political enemies rather than as honest questioners. So, anyone who effectively raises questions about global warming doctrine is denounced as anti-science, ignorant or a tool of the fossil fuel industry. Sincere scientists who point out the flaws in global warming science are ignored or denounced. The science has been thoroughly corrupted by the need to protect the flow of money. Only a naive person would think that the advocates of global warming catastrophe, bathing in a sea of money created by government policies, are objective about their claims. Like any special interest, their reports and studies are as one sided as they can get away with.

The billionaires have produced a 50-page report: Risky Business. The report is incredibly biased. It never mentions the severe problems of global warming theory, for example the problem that global warming of both the ocean and atmosphere stopped more than a decade ago, or the fact that the various climate models used to make forecasts disagree strongly, one with another. The report presents regional climate forecasts stretching 90 years into the future and presents these forecasts as if they are scientifically sound. It is well known that regional forecasts from climate models are very dubious and even true believers in global warming don’t take regional forecasts seriously. Regional forecasts are generated because global warming propagandists are discouraged by the fact that a large segment of the public hasn’t believed global warming propaganda in the past. They think that regional forecasts for the U.S. will make a stronger impression on the skeptical public. In other words science takes a back seat to propaganda.

Henry Paulson was secretary of the treasury under President George W. Bush and before that the head of Goldman-Sachs. As a Republican Paulson is more credible than the other two billionaires. In an opinion piece, published in the New York Times, Paulson repeats crude global warming propaganda and says nothing that would indicate that he has any real understanding of the subject. Paulson repeats the popular claim that global warming is progressing faster than expected. That claim is exactly opposite reality. Atmospheric warming stopped 17 years ago and surface layer ocean warming stopped 10 years ago.

The gurus of global warming try to cover up the failure to warm by concentrating their propaganda on secondary indicators of global warming, like arctic sea ice or mountain glaciers. These secondary indicators are influenced by complicated forces besides warming. If you want to show evidence for global warming in the face of the opposite trend, you can always find something that is changing in the “right” direction. The global warming advocates scream loudly about downward trends in arctic sea ice but keep quiet about a strong upward trend in Antarctic sea ice. The best indicator of global warming is the temperature, of the atmosphere and ocean, and, according to those indicators, global warming is absent.

There was a 30-year warming of the climate, from about 1970 to about 2000. That warming was correlated with a rapid increase in CO2. But, correlation does not prove causation.  From about 1910 to 1940 there was a nearly identical warming of the climate that cannot be blamed on CO2, because CO2 was not a significant factor in that less industrially developed era.

Science has never established the cause of that 1910 to 1940 warming. If the early century warming happened without CO2, how do we know that the late century warming was caused by CO2? Various attempts have been made to explain the early century warming, for example by a change in the sun’s output, but the embarrassing truth is that the early century warming remains unexplained. As long as the cause of the early century warming is unexplained it is not reasonable to try to blame the late century warming exclusively or mostly on CO2.

Billionaire Michael Bloomberg is the former mayor of New York. He gave the Sierra Club $50 million to help their campaign to destroy the coal industry on the grounds that burning coal contributes to global warming. In the junk science hands of the Sierra Club, burning coal is represented as an activity that lowers your kids’ I.Q. and gives them cancer.

The third billionaire, Tom Steyer, has been called Harry Reid’s lapdog. He is a big contributor to Democrat politicians. He plans to spend $50 million to promote climate change in upcoming elections. Steyer, born with a silver spoon in his mouth, went to the best schools and is obviously well connected in financial circles. He lives in an exclusive district of San Francisco and has an 1800-acre ranch on the California coast where he practices fashionable ranching. None of his writings or YouTube interviews suggest that he has even a superficial understanding of the science behind the global warming scare.

My opinion is that we would all be better off if these billionaires were doing what they are really good at - making money - rather then trying to scare us with extreme speculation presented as if it is a sober assessment.

It is difficult to explain just how corrupt and deceptive the billionaire’s Risky Business report is. Start with the cover of the report. The picture of a roller coaster flooded by hurricane Sandy is used to give the impression that the hurricane was a consequence of global warming or that global warming will create more and worse hurricanes in the future. However there is no scientific basis for the idea that hurricane Sandy was caused by global warming. A worse hurricane took place in the same area in 1938 when global warming was not in the picture. The idea that global warming will result in worse hurricane damage is wildly speculative. In the 2007 report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) it was reported that according to climate models global warming would result in less hurricane activity.

The Risky Business report repeatedly invokes a rise in sea level of 2-4 feet by the end of the century. This is implausible in the extreme. The current trend in sea level is a rise at the rate of about 7 inches per century. A dramatic increase can only come from significant melting of the Greenland ice cap. Significant warming of Greenland during the next 90 years is speculative as is warming of the globe in general. The climate of Greenland is volatile and significant warming occurred in the 1920’s without the influence of human caused greenhouse gases. Further it is not even clear if warming will result in a reduction of the ice cap, because warming is likely to increase snowfall that expands the ice cap.

The Risky Business report makes the elementary and no doubt conscious error of suggesting that the current value of seaside property is at risk by a rise in sea level to be completed 90 years in the future. They don’t bother to discount the future value of the supposed flooded property. If it became apparent that property would have to be abandoned due to a slow rise in sea level, the owners would write off the property rather than refreshing it and the loss would be far less than its current value. Put another way, it is not difficult economically to adapt to a loss of land that takes place slowly over a long period of time, and 90 years is a very long time for real estate.

Norman Rogers is a retired entrepreneur who writes about global warming and renewable energy. He is a volunteer Senior Policy Advisor with the Heartland Institute, a Chicago think tank. He maintains a website.

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