Follow the Money on Climate Caterwauling

“Follow the money” is an expression popularized in the Watergate movie All the President’s Men as a means of tracing a path of corruption, often within the upper echelons of politics. This movie from the 1970s represented the heyday for Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein as they brought down a sitting president, Richard Nixon.

The pair are now regulars on CNN and MSNBC, following their own money trail, criticizing President Trump, penning fake news stories, writing books about deathbed confessions of CIA directors, or writing more books about supposed chaos in the White House.

Following the money is a means of finding motivation behind political actions or movements. Organizations pushing unlimited abortion profit handsomely from payment for such services and the sale of baby parts for stem cell research. Those protesting racial injustice seek contributions to their organizations in exchange for a pass on any accusations of racism.

Global warming alarmism is much the same. Government funding favors research promoting the theme that man-made global warming is real, preventable, and apocalyptic. This is “federal funding induced bias,” as described by the Cato Institute.

If a scientist publishes research findings contrary to the left-wing climate dogma, their funding dries up. A young climate scientist, eager to climb the academic ladder, earn tenure, and have a successful career, quickly learns how to promote an agenda rather than perform objective scientific research.

There are also carbon credits, for sale to assuage liberal guilt, while making millions for those selling the credits, as former Vice President Al Gore has done with great success.

Another way to follow the money is to look at the free market. This economic system is, “based on supply and demand with little or no government control.” It represents, “Voluntary exchanges…characterized by a spontaneous and decentralized order of arrangements through which individuals make economic decisions.”

In other words, the free market allows businesses to follow their money, without government interference, only the laws of economics guiding decisions and behavior.

Driven by return on investment, or profit, individuals and business will analyze myriad factors, making economic decisions based on their analysis. Few business deliberately make decisions that will lose money, with the exception of certain unnamed cable news networks.

Climate science and predictions are one of the factors influencing business decisions. Opening a ski resort in Texas, a state which rarely sees snow or freezing temperatures, is not a wise business decision.

Climate does change, but in the short term, the changes are small as in a snowier winter one year and a dry winter the next year. Opening a ski resort in Colorado is not a climate dependent decision as there will be snow every winter, despite it being more or less any given season.

Longer term climate changes are beyond the realm of most businesses that aren’t concerned about the next ice age in 10,000 years.

What climate predictions are in the public square, potentially influencing business decisions? Here is one famous prediction.

Some of the most memorable images from Al Gore’s movie, An Inconvenient Truth, are the graphics that show how rising ocean levels will dramatically alter our planet’s coastlines. As Greenland’s ice sheets collapse, Gore predicts that our shores will be flooded and sea-bordering cities will sink beneath the water leaving millions of people homeless. His narration tells the audience that, due to global warming, melting ice could release enough water to cause at 20-foot rise in sea level “in the near future.”

The Guardian reports a UN warning based on predictions of a 3 degree Celsius temperature rise over the next century. 

One of the biggest resulting threats to cities around the world is sea-level rise, caused by the expansion of water at higher temperatures and melting ice sheets on the north and south poles.

Miami is one of the cities the U.N. claims, “will be drowned by global warming.”

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) weighs in as well, predicting, “Global mean sea-level rise scenarios based on thermal expansion and ice melt; the best estimate shows an acceleration of up to 2.4 times compared to the 20th century.”

This is scary stuff, if it is true. These prognostications are all based on computer models, which have so far failed to predict the climate apocalypse events as previously predicted.

What does the free market say about all of this?

In Miami: “A gargantuan new shopping mall and theme park — the largest in North America — will be built in South Florida.” This $4 billion project will comprise 2000 hotel rooms, 2,000 apartments, 2 million square feet of retail and office space, and an indoor ski hill.

What property developers and investors would risk $4 billion on a project soon to be under water? Miami is only 6 feet above sea level, far less than the sea level rise Al Gore predicted.

NPR doesn’t follow the money either. They sign on to climate alarmism.

For coastal communities from Florida to Texas, this year's hurricane season may be a preview of what's to come. Scientists say with climate change, in the future we're likely to see more severe hurricanes and heavier rain events. In addition, as ice sheets melt, sea levels are rising faster, flooding low-lying coastal areas such as Miami.

Yet free market economics tells a different story. From the NPR article.

But in South Florida, the dire predictions have done little to dampen enthusiasm for development. In Miami's urban core, there are some 20,000 condominium units in various stages of completion.

That seems pretty foolish, building in a city soon to be under water. Unless the builders know or believe otherwise, not buying into climate doomsday prophesies.

Here is a website showcasing beachfront home and condo communities along the Atlantic coast, with homes prices from the mid 6-figures to the high 7-figures. Again, a seemingly poor business decision to build luxury communities in regions soon to be underwater or destroyed by ever increasing in frequency and severity hurricanes.

One can also look at the Hollywood elites, leftists who sign on to the global warming hysteria. How many of them live on the beaches of Malibu, soon to be under water if the seas rise by 20 feet? Names like Leo DiCaprio, Sean Penn, Ellen DeGeneres, Tom Hanks, and others. Why aren’t they worried about Al Gore’s predictions?

Al Gore recently purchased his own oceanfront property, not on the beach, but in tony Montecito, California, quite close to the ocean. I thought he would be worried about rising seas?

One can listen to politicians, most of whom have never held a real-world, non-political job in their lives. Or follow the money, not listening but watching actual business men and women, researching, analyzing, and concluding that climate hysteria is just that. A feel-good, virtue-signaling cause designed for personal enrichment, whether financial or political, without regard to scientific reality.

Don’t watch what they say, watch what they do. Those who do, putting their own money at risk, sing a different song about global warming compared to the chicken littles. When in doubt, “follow the money.”


Brian C. Joondeph, MD, MPS, a Denver based physician and writer. Follow him on Facebook,  LinkedIn and Twitter.

Image credit: Tom Raftery, via Flickr // CC BY-SA 2.0

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