Friday, April 23, 2010

Former IPCC chair John Houghton sees climate change as a theological issue: second coming etc

An email from Michael Potts [] below. I hasten to add that the John Ray mentioned is a long-dead English naturalist

Hardly news as such, but if you weren't already aware, I thought you would be interested in taking a look at the website for the John Ray Initiative - a charity set up and run by former IPCC chair Sir John Houghton.

It is very revealing for showing an Al Gore-like combining of environmentalism with religous fervour. Here for example, is their newsletter from 2007


"At Bristol’s Trinity College, we spent a day in March examining the Severn Barrage proposal. ‘Environmental Decision-Making: Does Theology Help?’ was the conference title. The conclusion was that theology does help. It sets the framework of human and creation care in which we must operate"

This is quite representative - all the other newsletters take a similar theme of the end-days approaching and the second coming and see climate change as a harbinger of that. I know it sounds wacky that Sir John Houghton would be publicising this stuff, but it all checks out. The charity is registered and can be verified.

Environmentalism is now a religion, and being overtaken by extremism

Today is the 40th anniversary of Earth Day, which will be celebrated this year, according to the Earth Day Network, by more than a billion people in 190 countries.

When Earth Day started in 1970 few people would have expected it to become a globally observed religious holiday with its own Ten Commandments, including "use less water," "save electricity," "reduce, reuse, recycle," and "spread the word." The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency wants people everywhere to "commit to action" in defense of the Earth.

America's leading environmental historian, William Cronon of the University of Wisconsin, calls environmentalism a new religion because it offers "a complex series of moral imperatives for ethical action, and judges human conduct accordingly."

In other words, issues such as climate change are now much more than about "science."

And this places a greater burden on environmental theology than it is often able to handle. Success in stirring powerful religious feelings about the environment does not automatically lead to wise and effective policies.

Calamities from inaction

Environmentalists see humans engaged in acts of vast hubris, remaking the future ecosystems of the Earth. By playing "God" with the Earth, humans seek to become as God themselves.

The Bible's book of Deuteronomy reveals dire consequences for those who try to "play God." We learn that those who "worship other gods," can suffer "infections, plague and war. He will blight your crops, covering them with mildew. All these devastations shall pursue you until you perish."

It is no mere coincidence that contemporary environmentalism prophesies virtually the same set of calamities resulting from the warming of the earth -- rising seas, famine, drought, pestilence, hurricanes and other natural disasters. Environmentalism is recasting ancient biblical messages to a new secular vocabulary. One environmental organization even declared that the most important commandment for human beings was to put "Earth First!" -- renouncing the modern worship of science and economics that once provided a secular substitute for God.

Thus the Endangered Species Act is the new Noah's Ark; genuinely wild places are the new cathedrals to find spiritual inspiration; Earth Day is the new Easter.

Much of the attraction of environmental religion is the disguised form in which it is presented. By appearing distinct from formal theologies and official churches of institutional Christianity, it can attract people who would normally not be involved, including residents of many nominally Christian nations and those who think of themselves as "spiritual," while vigorously rejecting any suggestion that they should ever belong to "a religion."

This comes as no surprise. A leading student of environmentalism, Thomas Dunlop, finds that "ever since Emerson, Americans who failed to find God in church took terms and perspectives from Christian theology into their search for ecstatic experiences in nature."

"Environmentalism's rhetorical strategies, points of view, and ways of thought remain embedded in this evangelical Protestant heritage," he writes, even as this heritage has increasingly been disguised. While the language is now different, environmentalists today see "excessive" consumption as a threat to the earth's future.

But all this is much less novel than many people think. John Calvin wrote in the 16th century in "Institutes of the Christian Religion" that God has "revealed himself and daily discloses himself in the whole workmanship of the universe." By visiting places where nature remains little affected by human actions, human beings will be "instructed by this bare and simple testimony which the creatures render splendidly to God."

In the celebrations of Earth Day, however, there is admittedly one critical difference. The message is presented as an actual history of the world with concrete policy recommendations for today.

The task for the future will be to draw on the core truths of the environmental message while adapting them to the full scientific and economic complexities of the 21st century. When environmental religion seeks a return to an earlier primitive and natural existence, it is embracing utopian dreams that easily can pose a danger to man and earth alike.


A gasoline-fueled Earth Day

Government subsidies spawn widespread environmental fraud

The green movement would be a lot funnier if it didn't have access to our pocketbooks. Unfortunately, devotees of "alternative energy" have harnessed the greatest of all sources of renewable power - government taxation - to fulfill their fantasies. The results are as tragic as they are comic.

Last month, the Government Accountability Office released a report on a $300 million Department of Energy program designed to promote commercial products that boast fashionable "green" credentials. A team of GAO investigators with an uncharacteristically fine sense of humor submitted 20 bogus products to the department and walked away with Energy Star certification for 15 of them, including a gasoline-powered alarm clock. GAO deserves credit for illuminating the careless attitude that sets in when the greens start spending other people's money. After all, when it's being done in the name of the environment, liberal thinking is that there's no need to measure a policy's costs against the alleged benefits.

It appears that gasoline generators are at work pumping energy into Spain's heavily subsidized solar panels. Of the 6 billion euros in government aid to the electricity market, 2.3 billion is lavished on electricity that is supposed to be produced by the sun's rays, generating a mere 2 percent of the nation's power needs. Under the profligate plan, anyone installing a solar panel can collect a check for 436 euros for each megawatt of power returned to the electrical grid. Several solar farms have sprung up as a result. As the newspaper El Mundo reported last week, at least 6,000 megawatts of purported solar electricity were generated during the dark evening and early-morning hours over three months. The decidedly nongreen use of generators helped the enterprising fraudsters walk away with at least 2.6 million euros.

The so-called environmentalists who peddle subsidies of this magnitude rarely stop to consider whether government intervention will inspire conduct that ends up causing more harm to the environment in the long run. The folly of tax credits, rebates, grants, loans and other subsidies for solar electricity is not limited to Europe. Washington state, for example, pays up to 54 cents per kilowatt-hour generated by a consumer solar panel and $1.08 per kilowatt-hour for electricity generated by a "community" project. That makes for expensive energy, given that a consumer plugging an appliance into a wall outlet pays an average of 8 cents per kilowatt-hour, according to the latest data from the U.S. Energy Information Administration.

With our country facing $12.8 trillion in public debt, Americans can't afford to throw away money on a technology that is more efficient at generating laughs than light.


Hockey Sticks and “Climategate”: a Death of Scientific Integrity

Dr. Martin Hertzberg of Copper Mountain, a retired research scientist and consultant in the causes and prevention of accidental fires and explosions, will present the above titled talk at this month’s meeting of the Café Scientifique. The meeting will be held at 7:00 PM on Tuesday, April 27th at the Summit County Senior and Community Center, 151 Peak One Blvd, Frisco, Colorado. Dr. Hertzberg also served as a forecasting and research meteorologist while on active duty with the U. S. Navy. He has been studying the “global warming/climate change” issue for over twenty years and has published papers and articles on the subject.

The presentation will be in two parts: the first will discuss the theory that human emission of CO2 is causing dangerous global warming or climate change and that drastic measures of “carbon control” are needed. That discussion will be prefaced by a showing of a condensed version of the documentary “Not Evil, Just Wrong”, followed by a summation of the available data that shows that the theory is false. The evolution of two fraudulently concocted “hockey sticks” is revealed: one for the average temperature of the earth’s atmosphere, and the other for the atmospheric CO2 concentration. They are discussed in the context of the recent disclosures of the e-mail correspondence among the various global warming advocates: the so-called “climategate” scandal. The e-mails reveal an appalling lack of scientific integrity on the part of those advocates.

The second part of the presentation will be prefaced by a showing of a brief film entitled “Unstoppable Solar Cycles”, which will be followed by a summation of much of the available data that elaborates on the real causes of global warmings, global coolings and climate change. Those cycles are controlled by solar activity on the time scale of decades to hundreds of years, and by variations in the properties of the earth’s orbit around the sun on the longer time scale of tens to hundreds of thousands of years. Variations in solar activity modulate the intensity of cosmic rays impacting the earth’s atmosphere. Cosmic ray ionization provides nucleating agents for cloud formation. The cosmic ray flux measured at our own Climax mine correlates precisely with the earth’s total low level cloud coverage, as measured from satellites. Dr. Hertzberg’s analysis of the radiative equilibrium between the sun, the earth, and free space, confirms that all the temperature variations of the last century are readily explained in terms of those modest changes in cloudiness that are observed to correlate with solar activity.

Global warmings result in an increase in atmospheric CO2 as warmed oceans emit their dissolved CO2. Global coolings result in a decrease in atmospheric CO2 as cooling oceans absorb atmospheric CO2. Temperature variations precede those CO2 variations by several hundred to a thousand years, thus indicating that it is the temperature variations that cause atmospheric CO2 changes and not the reverse. The human contribution to the cycle is trivial and furthermore the so-called “greenhouse effect”, touted as the mechanism by which atmospheric CO2 controls weather, has long been known to be devoid of physical reality.

Accordingly, proposed measures of “carbon control” will have no effect on the weather but instead will seriously damage the Nation’s economy and the reliability of its electric generating capacity: a system that is currently working quite satisfactorily and is entirely independent of foreign sources of energy. Clearly, that system for supplying the Nation with its essential need for reliable electricity “ain’t broke”…and “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it!”

For information about the Café Scientifique and its programs, contact Dr. E. Koneman at (970) 453-2685.


Bill would widen Clean Water Act

Opponents see federal power grab

House Democrats pushed forward Wednesday with an effort to delete the word "navigable" from the Clean Water Act - a change that would give the government greater ability to enforce clean-water rules but that opponents said amounts to a federal power grab.

Rep. James L. Oberstar, chairman of the Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, said he's trying to return the law to where it was before 2001, when the Supreme Court issued the first of two rulings that said the Clean Water Act's use of "navigable" limits the government's oversight to major rivers, lakes and similar waterways.

Environmentalists say those rulings and subsequent George W. Bush administration regulations have been exploited by polluters.

"Clean, safe water is a right for all Americans," said Mr. Oberstar, Minnesota Democrat. "Unless we act, the law can't ensure that right. Because of the Supreme Court decisions, companies have spilled oil, carcinogens and bacteria into the lakes, rivers and other waters without being fined or prosecuted."

He said his intention was to return the law to its status in 2001, which he said had the agreement of both Democratic and Republican administrations.

Both sides were still poring over the ins and outs of the legislation, but opponents said they fear the bill goes further than Mr. Oberstar is letting on.

"If this bill were to become law, there'd be no body of water in America that wouldn't be at risk of job-killing federal regulation - from farmers' irrigation canals to backyard ponds and streams to mud puddles left by rainstorms," said Rep. Doc Hastings of Washington, the ranking Republican on the House Natural Resources Committee.

The Waters Advocacy Coalition, made up of farm, manufacturing and housing advocacy groups, said the bill would upset the federal-state balance that has developed on water protection.

At its core, the fight is over how broadly Congress wanted the 1972 Clean Water Act to be applied.

The law in one place says the act was to protect the nation's waters, but in other places, it says it's meant to govern "navigable" waters. The Supreme Court ruled that constrained the Environmental Protection Agency to regulating waterways big enough for ship traffic.

Paul Schwartz, national policy coordinator for Clean Water Action, a lobby group, said that has meant polluters just have to go upstream until they find a waterway no longer covered under the law, and they can pollute.

Mr. Oberstar has introduced similar legislation before but said he has tried in this version to meet the concerns of previous opponents. He said he specifically has exempted groundwater and wastewater and has lifted key language about the definition of water from farm regulations on which all sides already agree.

Mr. Schwartz said folks on his side weren't thrilled with some of the exemptions but said it shows Mr. Oberstar is making a good effort, and he said he doesn't understand those who remain opposed.

"I think our opponents are just in some weird place where they're frantically trying to fix the facts to the conclusion they're trying to drive," he said. "What is it that they think they're going to gain politically and otherwise by being against motherhood and apple pie?"

The chances for the bill are uncertain.

A Senate committee already has passed a similar bill, but it has not received a full Senate vote. Mr. Oberstar said he wants to have the measure on the House floor in September and said the chamber's leaders have promised to carve out debate time.

Mr. Oberstar said he doesn't know how much more water would fall under the federal government's scope under his bill.

The measure is being co-sponsored by two congressman from Michigan, a Democrat and a Republican, who said they are particularly interested in trying to protect waters that feed the Great Lakes.


Australia's green-inspired and disastrous home insulation program to cost taxpayers $1 billion in cleanup costs

TAXPAYERS face a $1 billion bill to clean up the Rudd Government's botched home insulation scheme, which has wasted 2 per cent of its $42bn economic stimulus package.

After months of revelations of dodgy work and rorting of the $2.45bn program, the Government yesterday scrapped it on the basis of an independent report highlighting massive failings in its design and administration, The Australian reported.

As Tony Abbott attacked the scheme as the worst government bungle in Australian history, the Prime Minister left it to junior minister Greg Combet to announce the about-face on an earlier promise to redesign and relaunch the program.

Doing his best to put a positive spin on the debacle, the Assistant Energy Efficiency Minister focused on rorting by unscrupulous installers, rather than poor regulation, as the key cause of the scheme's problems.

The report, by former senior public servant Allan Hawke, blamed weak oversight by ministers and public servants, a rushed time frame, inadequate audit systems and poor communication with state-based regulators.

"Internal management structures, particularly early in the program, did not provide the necessary senior management oversight or allow for considered review at appropriate times," the report said.

"A program of the profile and significance of the HIP (Home Insulation Program) involving an industry that had minimal regulation warranted very close attention."

Dr Hawke's report also questioned whether any of the scheme's aims had been achieved, including energy efficiency, greenhouse gas abatement and job-creation.

The insulation scheme, designed to insulate 2.7 million homes, was announced in February last year as a stimulus measure.

It was suspended two months ago because of serious concerns about fraud and safety that followed the deaths of four young installers, 120 house fires and claims that up to 1000 roofs may have been electrified.

Big fix-up job ahead: The Government now faces the task of finding and fixing safety and quality problems in 1.1 million homes fitted with insulation under the program.

So far the Government has committed to inspecting all 50,000 homes fitted with foil insulation and 150,000 homes with non-foil insulation.

Dr Hawke has warned that significantly more than 200,000 homes might need to be inspected.

He said this work could leave little change from the $1 billion still remaining in the scheme's budget.

Mr Combet defended the program's role in stimulating the economy during the downturn.

"This was a very important program, the home insulation program, in the context of the global financial crisis and it resulted in 1.1 million homes having insulation installed," he said.



For more postings from me, see DISSECTING LEFTISM, TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC, GUN WATCH, SOCIALIZED MEDICINE, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, IMMIGRATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL and EYE ON BRITAIN. My Home Pages are here or here or here. Email me (John Ray) here. For readers in China or for times when is playing up, there are mirrors of this site here and here


No comments: