Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Sun found to be more variable than expected

An email from David Whitehouse [dr_d_whitehouse@msn.com]

This recent paper by Harder et al. (2009) 'Trends in solar spectral irradiance variability in the visible and infrared' is very interesting and a good example of the new data that is emerging that may result in a reappraisal of the strength of the sun's signal in climatic trends.

Using the spectral irradiance monitor aboard the SOURCE satellite the researchers have monitored the solar output between 2004 -2008 (solar max to min) in 6 regions the 200 - 2400 nm band, which accounts for 97% of its total irradiance.

They found that the solar irradiance is a function of wavelength. Visible light decreased during this period but, unexpectedly, UV increased. The researchers say that because the visible and UV are out of phase with the solar cycle, and that the observed total irradiance changes of the sun averaged over all bands is 0.1%, then the spectral bands that are in phase with the solar cycle, such as UV, must vary more than has been supposed.

Jeffrey Hall in his excellent blog here (where you can see some graphs from the paper) points out that most climate simulations assume that the sun's spectrum tracks the changes in irradiance. Now it has been shown that this is not the case it will be interesting to see how the models are modified and what the observations over the next few years will bring.

Even if fully implemented, the Democrat "climate" bill will have negligible impact on the climate

Climate is just a shallow pretext for weakening America and impoverishing Americans

The economics and the regulatory burdens of climate change bills are forever being analyzed, but the bills' primary function -mitigating future climate change- is generally ignored. Perhaps that's because it is simply assumed. After all, we are barraged daily with the horrors of what the climate will become if we don't stop emitting greenhouse gases into the atmosphere (the primary focus being on emissions from the combustion of fossil fuels). So doing something as of focusing on climate impacts, is shrouded in economics and climate alarm. drastic as that proposed by Waxman-Markey-a more than 80% reduction of greenhouse gas emissions from the United States by the year 2050-must surely lessen the chances of climate catastrophe. Mustn't it?

But if that were the case, why aren't the climate impacts being touted? Why aren't Representatives Waxman and Markey waving around the projected climate success of their bill? Why aren't they saying: "Economics and regulations be damned. Look how our bill is going to save the earth from human-caused climate apocalypse"?

That reason is that it won't. And they know it. That is why they, and everyone else who supports such measures, are mum about the outcome. The one thing, above all others, that they don't want you to know is this: No matter how the economic and regulatory issues shake out, the bill will have virtually no impact on the future course of the earth's climate. And this is even in its current "pure" form, without the inevitable watering down to come. So discussion of the bill, instead of focusing on climate impacts, is shrouded in economics and climate alarm.

Getting a good handle on the future climate impact of the proposed Waxman- Markey legislation is not that difficult. In fact, there are several ways to get at it. But perhaps the most versatile is the aptly named MAGICC: Model for the Assessment of Greenhouse-gas Induced Climate Change. MAGICC is sort of a climate model simulator that you can run from your desktop (available here). It was developed by scientists at the National Center for Atmospheric Research (primarily by Dr. Tom Wigley) under funding by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and other organizations. MAGICC is itself a collection of simple gas-cycle, climate, and ice-melt models that is designed to produce an output that emulates the output one gets from much more complex climate models. MAGICC can produce in seconds, on your own computer, results that complex climate models take weeks to produce running on the world's fastest supercomputers.

Of course, MAGICC doesn't provide the same level of detail, but it does produce projections for the things that we most often hear about and care about-for instance, the global average temperature change. Moreover, MAGICC was developed to be used for exactly the purpose that we use it here-the purpose for which Representatives Waxman and Markey and everybody else who wants a say in this issue should be using it. That purpose is, according to MAGICC's website, "to compare the global-mean temperature and sea level implications of two different emissions scenarios" - for example, scenarios both with and without the proposed legislative emissions reductions. So that is what we'll do. We'll first use MAGICC to produce a projection of global average temperature change through the 21st century under two of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change's future emissions scenarios (which assume no explicit policy implementation).

The two are: a mid-range emissions scenario (SRES A1B for those interested in the details) and a high-end emissions scenario (SRES A1FI). Then, we'll modify these IPCC scenarios by entering in the emissions reductions that will occur if the provisions outlined in the Waxman-Markey Climate Bill are fully met (leaving aside whether or not that could be done). Basically, Waxman- Markey calls for U.S. emissions to be reduced to 20% below the 2005 emissions level by 2020, 42% below 2005 levels by 2030, and 83% below 2005 levels by 2050. We'll assume that U.S. emissions remain constant at that reduced value for the rest of the century. We'll then use MAGICC to produce temperature projections using these modified scenarios and compare them with the original projections.

By the year 2050, the Waxman-Markey Climate Bill would result in a global temperature "savings" of about 0.05§C regardless of the IPCC scenario used- this is equivalent to about 2 years' worth of warming. By the year 2100, the emissions pathways become clearly distinguishable, and so to do the impacts of Waxman-Markey. Assuming the IPCC mid-range scenario (A1B) Waxman- Markey would result in a projected temperature rise of 2.847§C, instead of 2.959§C rise- a mere 0.112§C temperature "savings." Under the IPCC's high-emissions scenario, instead of a projected rise of 4.414§C, Waxman-Markey limits the rise to 4.219§C-a "savings" of 0.195§C. In either case, this works out to about 5 years' worth of warming.

In other words, a full implementation and adherence to the emissions restrictions provisions described by the Waxman-Markey Climate Bill would result only in setting back the projected rise in global temperatures by a few years-a scientifically meaningless prospect.

More HERE (See the original for links, graphics etc.)


Since climate change fears first gripped the globe, tourists have flocked to the Maldives to enjoy the islands' spectacular vistas before they vanish. Do they really need to rush? Scientists have long warned that the Maldives, an archipelago nation of nearly 1,200 islands in the Indian Ocean, will be wiped out by rising sea levels in the coming decades. President Mohamed Nasheed is so convinced of his nation's demise he has proposed relocating all 350,000 inhabitants to other countries. On average, the islands are 7 feet (2.1 meters) above sea level, making them the lowest-lying nation on Earth.

Most experts agree the Maldives have plenty to worry about: In the worst-case scenario, if global sea levels rise higher and faster than expected, the islands may indeed be swallowed up. But some recent data challenge the widespread belief that the islands are destined to disappear _ and a few mainstream scientists are even cautiously optimistic about their chances for surviving relatively intact beyond the next century.

"The outlook for the Maldives is not all doom and gloom," said Paul Kench of the University of Auckland in New Zealand. "The islands won't be the same, but they will still be there." Kench said his studies of the Maldives show the islands can adjust their shape in response to environmental changes, such as the rising seas and warmer temperatures predicted in the next century.

Kench suggests the islands might move onto their reefs and build vertically, offsetting the potential threat of sea level rises. His research _ published together with other scientists from Australia, New Zealand and the Maldives _ shows some islands have rebuilt themselves as much as 1.6 feet (49 centimeters) higher. Their studies have been published in recent years in journals including Geology and the Journal of Geophysical Research. "It's quite convincing work and seems to be quite widely accepted by the scientific community," said Andrew Cooper, a professor of coastal studies at the University of Ulster in Northern Ireland. "They have detailed geological evidence that this kind of growth has happened before in the past. ... I think the question of the Maldives being completely wiped out may be overstated."

Following the devastating 2004 Asian tsunami, many scientists assumed the Maldives would be damaged. But Kench and his colleagues not only found little evidence of island erosion, but also that the tsunami had washed sediment ashore, making some islands taller than they were before the catastrophe.

Kench warned, however, that while only a small number of Maldivian islands may not be able to adapt to rising sea levels, those are unfortunately the ones where many people live: Male, the nation's capital, and Hulule. Residents of those islands will probably need to relocate to another country or move to other Maldivian islands that won't disappear so quickly, he said.

Building taller and moving to higher ground are examples of a hot trend in climate change policy: emphasizing adaptation. While much global warming work aims to limit emissions, adaptation advocates argue for the need to combat the inevitable effects of climate change through forward planning and construction. That includes moving people, building sea walls, and new construction techniques.

Sea levels worldwide have been steadily rising, except in a handful of places, including the Maldives. But in the last 50 years, some data from satellite pictures and tide measurements suggest sea levels in the Maldives have DROPPED by as much as 12 inches (30 centimeters). "That was definitely unexpected," said Jonathan Overpeck, director of the Institute for the Study of Planet Earth at the University of Arizona. Overpeck said the decline in the Maldives' sea levels is probably due to local factors like ocean temperatures and currents.

Such data is inconclusive, however, and with few available records, the Indian Ocean remains one of the world's least understood oceans.



Repeating past mistakes has long been a part of Washington's energy policy, but Congress used to wait a while before making the same blunder again. Not anymore. New legislation requiring wind energy closely resembles the ethanol mandate that sparked a backlash just last year.

For many years, wind has benefited from generous tax credits and subsidies, but it still provides less than 2 percent of the nation's electricity. By comparison, coal supplies around 50 percent (and with considerably fewer federal incentives). Natural gas and nuclear, meanwhile, account for about 20 percent each.

No wonder wind supporters want a federal mandate atop all the handouts. The targets in various bills range from 15 percent to 25 percent electricity from wind and other renewable sources, to be ramped up from current levels over a decade or longer.

Let's see: a heavily-subsidized energy source that needs a mandate to get it over the top. Sound familiar? It should. It's the same situation we were in with corn ethanol a few years ago. Up through 2005, ethanol's high cost, among other problems, were such that even a 51-cent-per-gallon tax credit and other giveaways couldn't enable it to capture much more than 2 percent of the motor-fuel market.

However, the minuscule market share worked to ethanol's advantage in that its shortcomings weren't noticed by the public. This made it possible for the corn lobby and other proponents to get away with calling it a success and prevailing upon the feds to mandate that more of it be mixed into the gasoline supply.

By 2008, 9 billion gallons of ethanol were required to be used, nearly triple the 2005 levels. But at these volumes, the problems were no longer so easily hidden. Last year was one of record oil and gasoline prices. Yet ethanol still added to the overall burden on the driving public. In addition, the diversion of corn from food to fuel use raised the price not only of corn itself but of related items like corn-fed meat and dairy. The Congressional Budget Office estimates that up to 15 percent of food price increases from April 2007 to April 2008 were due to the ethanol mandate.

That costly double whammy - higher costs to drive to the supermarket and higher prices once you're there - really soured consumers on the ethanol mandate. It also contributed to global food price inflation and hardships in the developing world, eroding the already-shaky moral high ground that ethanol had held. Surprisingly, many environmental activists piled on, arguing that the "green" benefits of ethanol were overstated, and claiming that this once-favored alternative actually contributes to global warming. Congress has yet to correct its ethanol mistake. The mandated levels rise to 10.5 billion gallons in 2009 and 12 billion 2010, so the difficulties are only going to intensify.

Are lawmakers about to make the same mistake with wind energy? As with ethanol, wind is too expensive to expand without a lot of help. Right now, its added cost is an unnoticeable speck on people's electric bills. But a hefty mandate would change that.

One often-overlooked factor is wind's unreliability. Wind can stop blowing at any time, and often does during hot summer days when electricity demand peaks. Since people expect electricity 24/7, additional wind power would need to be backed up with additional conventional sources ready to carry the full load at any time - further raising costs and undercutting the rationale for this alternative.

The new transmission lines necessary to bring more wind from where it's produced to where it's needed is another substantial cost. And like all the other costs, it would filter down to ratepayers.

There's also reason to expect that wind's green status will evaporate. For one thing, the pending proposals would require tens of millions of acres of new wind farms, much of it on land currently in its natural state. Environmentalists already object to certain wind farm sites and transmission line routes, and their complaints would greatly multiply if wind power expands. Its claimed global-warming benefits could also come under attack. As with ethanol, familiarity is likely to breed contempt for wind - and contempt for a government that foisted this predictable mistake on the American public.


Warmist laws meeting resistance in Australia

Conservatives dig in heels on carbon tax

MALCOLM Turnbull has locked the Coalition into a bruising fight with the Rudd Government over Labor's controversial carbon tax on big polluters. On the same day Peter Costello backed Mr Turnbull's decision to block moves to means-test the private health insurance rebate, Mr Turnbull reaffirmed his opposition to the emissions trading scheme in its present form. Asked if the Government's ETS was unacceptable to the Coalition, Mr Turnbull said: "At the moment, yes of course it's unacceptable, but it's not going to stand where it is."

The ETS is shaping as the most likely trigger for a possible double-dissolution election, which can be called if the Senate twice blocks the same piece of legislation more than three months apart. The Government's climate-change troubleshooter, NSW MP Greg Combet, was last night meeting with the Queensland Resources Council over concerns the ETS will gut mining jobs in Queensland.

Mr Turnbull said the Coalition also had major concerns with Labor's plan to set the income threshold for employee share schemes at $60,000. The changes, he said, would "effectively shut down just about every employee scheme around the country", affecting millions of Australians. "If it was (the Government's) intention, then I think it may prove to be one of most controversial and unpopular and unpalatable elements in the Budget," Mr Turnbull told the Queensland Media Club in Brisbane.

Prime Minister Kevin Rudd last week said he wanted the Budget passed in its entirety and threatened a double-dissolution election if key pieces of legislation or Budget measures were blocked in the Senate. But on the weekend, Mr Turnbull indicated the Opposition would no longer block the Government's tax hike on pre-mixed drinks.

Asked for comment, former treasurer Peter Costello said the important thing was to follow good policy. "These are always judgment calls," he said. "But I am not in the camp that says just vote for anything that Mr Rudd wants so that he can't get a double dissolution. For example, I think it is absolutely right to oppose the Government's attempts to restrict private health insurance rebates." Mr Costello said he did not believe Mr Rudd would rush to an early election.

The latest Nielsen opinion poll, the first to be taken after the federal Budget, showed Mr Rudd's personal approval rating had plummeted 10 percentage points to 64 per cent. "You would have seen last week that (Mr Rudd) was threatening an early election," Mr Costello said. "After today's polls, he may get a little less keen on an early election."

Mr Rudd said the Government had taken a hit because it had made tough decisions in last week's Budget.


Environmentalism goes back a long way

And it has generally been elitist, with a contempt for ordinary people

Core ideas with multiple meanings and a hostility to applied science were tell-tale features of Europe’s early 19th century Romantic/Naturalist movement. In 1815 Moritz Arndt tied protecting German soil and forests to a fierce nationalism. His rhetoric was unmistakably environmentalist. His “On the Care and Conservation of Forests” contains the following:

“When one sees nature in a necessary connectedness and interrelationship, then all things are equally important – shrub, worm, plant, human, stone, nothing first or last but all one single unity.” (5)

Nature was romanticized as a fragile web. Disrupting any part threatened the whole balance. The static character of Nature was overstated; the destructiveness of natural forces, understated. The fragile system he really fretted over was the economic system propping up German aristocrats. Industrialization/urbanization threatened forests, landscapes and the status quo. Romantics sought to replace Christian traditions with Pagan ones claiming the latter were more ‘Natural.’

Romanticism was not exclusively German. A “mystique of wilderness” is found in Rousseau’s idyllic State of Nature. Shelley’s Frankenstein or, The Modern Prometheus was an attack on applied science. (The name ‘Frankenstein’ was a play on ‘Benjamin Franklin’ following Kant’s designating Franklin the “modern Prometheus.”)


By 1850, while proto-environmentalism dominated neither British industrial nor foreign policy, it reigned over land use policy. Malthusianism justified the consequent hardships. Here again is Carey:

“The miseries of Ireland are charged to over-population, although millions of acres of the richest soils of the kingdom are waiting drainage to take their place among the most productive in the world...The wretchedness of Scotland is charged to over-population when a large portion of the land is so tied up by entails as to forbid improvement, and almost to forbid cultivation. The difficulty of obtaining food in England is ascribed to over-population, when throughout the kingdom a large portion of the land is occupied as pleasure grounds...Over-population is the ready excuse for all the evils of a vicious system.”

British admiration for material progress peaked in the 1850s. Industrialism’s subsequent declining popularity reflected the aristo-financiers’ ongoing appropriation of key institutions. By 1896, 167 noblemen, a fourth of the peerage, were corporate directors. Financial services rivalled landownership as a material base for aristocrats. Landownership’s decline counter-balanced the ascent of non-productive forms of capitalism centered in the City of London, especially during the 1870-1914 capital export boom when banks withdrew from long-term investment in domestic industry and became internationally orientated. By the 1890s Britain was dependent on overseas earnings by the financial services sector, international shipping and related investments. Physical exports lagged those of her competitors. The banker-insurer milieu mirrored the aristocracy’s traditional world. Aristocrats mastered a civil service increasingly insulated from Parliament. As the aristo-financial elite became the supreme lobby upon government, anti-industrial prejudices shaped policy and culture. Non-competitive, oligopolistic markets were favoured. Military interventions were undertaken to suppress economic development. Aristocratic values triumphed over scientific-technical ones in higher education. Being “British” became associated with conservatism and class snobbery. Aristocratic and bureaucratic values blended into a lukewarm contempt for expansion, entrepreneurialism, and efficiency.

The term ‘conservationist’ dates to the 1860s. (“Conservancies” were state-run forests in British India.) The aristo-financial-bureaucratic elite formed the base of England’s innately reactionary, High Tory and elitist conservationist movement. Conservationism was an aristocratic survival strategy illuminated by the likes of Mathew Arnold and John Ruskin who promoted no-growth economics and smeared modernity as ‘ugly.’ They led a cultural counterrevolution against scientific-technical progress. Rural nostalgia, and a belief that England’s greatness was rooted in her countryside, became ubiquitous. An organized conservationist movement emerged critical of material prosperity to the point of offering to selectively sacrifice property rights to preserve heritage. The Commons, Open Spaces and Footpaths Preservation Society was founded in 1865. An Act for the Preservation of Seabirds was passed in 1869. The Malthusian League was formed in 1878 (by a clique including Theosophists). A Society for the Protection of Birds began in 1889. The National Trust for Places of Historic Interest or Natural Beauty was established in 1895 around the same time the Duke of Bedford devoted his life to saving wildlife.

Similar, coterminous tendencies arose in America out of the same anxiety over the rising tide of industry, the city and republicanism. Here these ideas found hostile terrain. American political traditions precluded a titled aristocracy and Americans revelled in the conquest of wilderness. American conservationism had to manufacture a base.

British-American connections, dating to the colonial era, were enhanced by mid-19th century economic integration. Financial power-houses Drexel, Morgan and Kidder, Peabody accumulated vast wealth as intermediaries between American railroads and British banks. British finance quasi-colonized the US South into a non-industrializing provider of cotton. They hoped to do the same in the West but American political strength prevented this. American industrialization proceeded in the face of British designs partially because US manufacturers successfully campaigned for tariffs. Leading American anti-industrialists were the “Mugwumps” – an elitist movement situated in New England and the South. Throughout the 1870s and 1880s Mugwumps campaigned against protecting America industry by calling for “free markets” and by denouncing taxpayer subsidies to manufacturers.

Mugwumps figured prominently in the Appalachian Mountain Club (AMC, est. 1876): the first US conservationist organization. Foreshadowing the AMC were the writings and speaking tours of Ralph Waldo Emerson et al. and an 1852 campaign to save sequoias led by Atlantic Monthly owner James Russell Lowell. AMC founder, Edward Pickering descended from a famous New England separatist. Other founders (the “Boston Brahmins”) were Harvard profs and scions of New England’s first families: Cabots, Lowells, Peabodys, Lawrences, Eliots, and Higginsons. This chauvinistic “old WASP gentry” was home base for US conservationism.

Over the next generation the US branch of the movement divided between “conservationists” and “preservationists.” America’s untitled aristocracy were more attracted to the anti-modernist preservationist wing. Henry Osborn was their leader. He was Princeton man who went to Cambridge to study under T. H. Huxley. Henry was a descendant of Cornelius Vanderbilt and John Jay and a favourite nephew of J. P. Morgan. He was well connected in London; even more so in New York City where he frequented both the Boone and Crockett Club and the prestigious Century Club. Henry was a protagonist in the Audubon Society, American Bison Society, and Save the Redwoods League. His championed the field biologist and condemned the laboratory biologist. Repelled by America’s urbanization and ethnic pluralism, he called for preserving the Anglo-Saxon elite. He was a zealous eugenicist, Aryan enthusiast and proponent of “aristogenesis” – a belief that those of certain ancestry should guide evolution. His American Museum of Natural History exhibits engendered fear of unrestricted immigration.

Another Century Club member and preservationist was Robert Johnson. He was editor of the influential Century magazine. In 1889 Johnson recruited John Muir to pen articles about the Yosemite wilderness as part of a successful campaign to make Yosemite a national park. On Johnson’s urging, Muir became front man for a West Coast version of the AMC. The “Sierra Club” set sail in 1892 in the offices of Establishment attorney, Warren Olney. Johnson took Muir to Osborn’s Castle Rock estate overlooking the Hudson River. Johnson introduced Muir to British luminary Lord Curzon and the Roosevelts of New York. (Earlier, avid outdoorsman and Boone and Crocket Club founder, Teddy Roosevelt, “TR”, paid a surprise visit to Johnson’s Century office accompanied by Henry Cabot Lodge.) TR and Muir went camping in Yosemite. By the late 1890s Muir was a traveling companion of the ultra-rich Edward Harriman whose wife was the main bankroller of the eugenics movement. Muir himself was born unto well-to-do Scottish immigrants. He rejected Christianity in 1867 in favour of Paganistic nature worship. After he hit the big time he frequented Swedenborgian spiritualist circles. His warblings are motifed with aristocratic clichés about his personal alienation “from the mass of mankind.”

Preservationists and conservationists clashed over a proposed dam on California’s Tuolomne River. Muir led the campaign to block the dam supported by Johnson, the Harrimans, the Osborns, the AMC, Century, Collier’s and Nation magazines, and the New York Times. Conservationists, acquiescing to the dam, were led by Warren Olney and Gifford Pinchot. Gifford was a Yale man who studied forestry in Europe. His first job was Forester on the Vanderbilt’s Biltmore estate in North Carolina. Like his father he was a Century Club member. On TR’s insistence he joined Boone and Crockett. Pinchot was an inner-circle Republican who never openly challenged growth-oriented businessmen or their culture of industry and applied science. Instead he advocated “multiple uses of land and resources.” He wanted land simultaneously used for timber, mining, ranching and homesteading as the prevailing culture desired but also for “recreation and conservation” as his movement preferred. Pinchot’s “resource conservation” was the reformist’s thin-edge-of-the-wedge; ideal for spiking specific development proposals but with a utilitarian rationale. Pinchot modernized Malthusianism by adding to its soil-scarcity phobia new fears of resource scarcity. He claimed North America was running out of coal and iron. Conservationist Pinchot was politically not far from preservationist Muir whom he greatly respected. New England’s elite preferred Muir’s preservationism to Pinchot’s pragmatism but preservationism was alien to the electorate, especially to business interests. TR, as New York Governor, was sympathetic to preservationism but made Pinchot supervisor of state forests. President TR made Pinchot his Chief Forester.

In the mid-1800s Arndt disciple, Wilhelm Riehl, claimed Germany’s forest and peasant based essence was ruined by industrialization. His romantic anti-modernism fused with anti-Semitism to prefigure late 1800s Volkism. Ingredients were: ethnocentric populism; Nature mysticism; a sense of alienation and rootlessness; and hostility to reason and the city. More important than Riehl in this movement was Ernst Haeckel. He coined the term “ecology” in 1867. Ecologists eulogized Nature’s interconnectedness and preached equality of all life-forms. Urbanization was demonized for wrecking, and severing human contact with, Nature. Ecology was a “religion of Nature” programmatically coupled to a right-wing political agenda. Haeckel’s Monist League disseminated Darwinist ideas of Nordic racial superiority and blamed Jews for modernity’s weakening of the Nordic race. Eugenics was the solution to the “Jewish problem.” He was a member of the Thule Society which was directly involved in creating the Nazi Party.


In the early 20th century pessimism and disdain for industry pervaded the domestic British policy discourse. Under-development aims motivated pre-WWI interventions in Latin America. Only during and immediately after the World Wars did pro-industrial forces rule.

British ecologists and Malthusians were inseparable. Both were reactionary, elitist and racist. In 1903 the Society for Preservation of the Fauna of the Empire was founded. In 1904 the British Vegetation Society was formed out of which grew the British Ecological Society. Major Leonard Darwin (Charles’ son) led the First International Congress of Eugenics in London in 1912. The Congress was the fruition of the labour of Eugenics Education Society founder, Sir Francis Galton. Leonard was Galton’s successor. Published in time for the Congress was Havelock Ellis’ The Task of Social Hygiene. In 1927 the Malthusian League confederated with like-minded groups into the Society for Constructive Birth Control. By the 1930s the Eco-Malthusianism was entwined with quasi-feudal High Tory notions that economic forces must accommodate traditional society. Contempt for commercialism and profiteering were expressed by potentates like Viscount Halifax and by academics like Arnold Toynbee and John Maynard Keynes. American-cum-Tory poet, T.S. Eliot, mixed a critique of industrialism with cautions of disappearing resources.

Early 20th century American trashing of industry was confined to small upper class cliques. Seldom was heard a general rejection of progress. This muted opposition to the rise of the machine strengthened along with bonds between the North-Eastern Establishment and the European aristocracy. By 1915, 500 American heiresses had married aristocrats. There were 42 American princesses, 33 marchionesses, 136 countess, 19 viscountesses, 64 baronesses, 46 ladies and 17 dutchesses. Hundreds of similar marriages followed. The Rockefeller and Mellon clans developed close working relationships with Britain’s aristo-financiers. Aristocratic culture also came to America via exclusive social clubs and via prep schools modelled on the British system. Also modelled on a British institution was the remarkably influential New York-based think tank: Council of Foreign Relations. CFR was founded in the 1920s with British participation and it maintained a relationship with the Royal Institute of International Affairs. Rockefellers have long played important roles in the CFR.

What the American branch of the movement lacked in numbers it made up for in media influence. The New York Times, Chicago Tribune, and Collier’s, Century, Nation magazines brought the enthusiasm of a religious crusade to “save” America from modernization. They lauded the countryside and denounced the artificial, materialistic and dangerous culture of cities. Their clout was revealed in 1908 by TR’s White House Conference on National Conservation. One Conference speaker pled for “conservation” of the Anglo-Saxon race. Racism was standard among conservationists who openly disparaged the Irish, Italians and Slavs. In his 1913 classic, Our Vanishing Wild Life, W. Hornaday wrote: “All members of the lower classes of Southern Europe are a dangerous menace to our wild life...Italians are spreading, spreading, spreading.” Racism permeated the prose of Madison Grant; co-founder of the Bronx Zoo and a leader in the Save the Redwoods League and Boone and Crockett Club. His signature book was The Passing of a Great Race. TR was not above racist commentary.

John D. Rockefeller Jr. gave tens of millions of dollars to the Cause and created his own park at Jackson Hole, Wyoming. In 1911 he set up the Bureau of Social Hygiene which, with the Laura Spellman Rockefeller Memorial Fund and the Rockefeller Foundation, promoted eugenics. His views were not unusual among his peers who collectively took eugenics to a new level in 1921 by founding the American Birth Control League under the direction of Havelock Ellis protégé Margaret Sanger. In the same year, Rockefeller ally Henry Osborn presided over the 2nd International Congress of Eugenics and then headed the committee, formed at that Congress, which founded the American Eugenics Society. Osborn was V-P of the 3rd International Congress of Eugenics held at the American Museum of Natural History in 1932. His keynote address claimed over-population caused the “reign of terror of the criminal and the tragedy of unemployment.” Humanity was bedevilled by six “overs”: over-population, over-mechanization, over-use of resources, over-construction of transportation infrastructure, over-production of food and over-confidence in the future.

Osborn was a movement moderate. Another Congress speaker claimed “dysgenic classes which are rapidly increasing in the US constitute our vast aristocracy of the unfit...This increasing horde will ultimately overrun and destroy the diminishing prosperity of the better classes.” Defectives, whose reproduction needed policing, included: criminals, paupers, the blind, the deaf, the feebleminded, and epileptics. Dr. Alexis Carrel was a senior officer in the Rockefeller Institute for Medical Research for 40 years and co-author of a popular conservationist-occultist book with Nazi-symp Charles Lindbergh. In a separate book Carrel called for replacing prisons with places where petty criminals could be scientifically tortured and where serious criminals including those who “misled the public in important matters” could be “disposed of in small euthanasic institutions supplied with proper gases.” At this time Frederick Osborn, Henry’s nephew and protégé, was a partner at the banking firm of Grayson M.P. Murphy & Co; a firm infamous for its involvement in a fascist coup d’ etat plot. Margaret Sanger, co-founder of Planned Parenthood (an American Birth Control League/American Eugenics Society merger) believed Earth was over-populated and advocated mass sterilization campaigns.

Anti-modern, aristocratic ideas appeared in force in the essay collection, I’ll Take My Stand (1930), by the Nashville Fugitives – a cell of Southern intellectuals at Vanderbilt U. They re-articulated Malthus’ warning about unrestrained economic growth’s threat to countryside culture. The book became a manifesto on the American movement’s academic front.

In the early 1900s German ecologists were pivotal in the massive German Youth Movement – a hippy-esque counter-cultural jumble of Romanticism, Asian religions and Nature worship with strong communal impulses. A Youth Movement manifesto was Ludwig Klages’ Man and Earth (1913).Klages ranted against: deforestation, species extinction, urban sprawl, eco-systemic disturbance, aboriginal culture disappearance, and man’s alienation from Nature. He denounced Christianity, capitalism, utilitarianism, over-consumption and progress. (Man and Earth was re-issued by German Greens in 1980.) The USA was viewed in this movement as the prime example of out-of-control technology and soulless materialism. The movement’s anti-Christian sentiment was part Nietzsche-mania. Alfred Baeumler, a top Nazi philosopher, wrote: “Nietzsche asserts the aristocracy of nature. But for thousands of years a life-weary morality has opposed the aristocracy of the strong and healthy. Like National Socialism, Nietzsche sees in the state, in society, the ‘great mandatory of life,’ responsible for each life’s failure to life itself. ‘The species requires the extinction of the misfits, weaklings, and degenerates.”

Nazism is distinguishable from other fascisms by its ecological emphasis. Senior Nazis formulated a “religion of Nature” combining mysticism, misanthropism, and a myth of racial salvation through a return to the land. Themes were harmony with Nature and the superiority of the irrational. Nazism opposed Europe’s modernization into a “mechanical, materialistic” civilization. The primitive was genuine. The countryside was sincere. City life impeded union with Nature’s “cosmic life spirit.” Pagan Nazis, like Himmler and Rosenberg, obsessed about finding man’s lost connection to Nature. Hitler and Himmler were vegetarians and occultists.

Hitler boasted much knowledge of renewable energy, particularly wind power. A platoon of greens atop the Nazi state, led by Hesse, pushed through a raft of reforestation, species protection, and anti-industry legislation immediately after capturing power. Their Imperial Conservation Law protected: plants, animals, monuments of nature and “remaining portions of landscape in the free Nature whose preservation on account of rarity, beauty, distinctiveness or on account of scientific, ethnic, forest or hunting significance lies in the general interest.”

The Reich Agency for Nature Protection indoctrinated the masses about humanity’s interconnectedness to Nature’s organic whole. Agriculture Minister Darre claimed taking land in the East re-established the natural harmony between Germans and their native land. Himmler was pre-occupied with soil purity in Poland. Nazi ecologists justified genocide by claiming conquered Eastern lands would be used with greater ecological sensitivity. They justified political repression by invoking “Natural laws” to which humans had to submit. Playing the Nazi movie backwards distorts the picture. Science and mechanization became vital for the war effort. Salient 1942-5 images of a pro-production and technophile Wehrmacht are but the hubris-packed final scenes of a movement that for years disparaged reason and industry.



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