Thursday, February 7, 2008

Green gulags

Whatever your position on whether or not human activities are actually changing the environment -- and, as I've said before, I waver on the issue of global warming -- it's certainly an issue that merits ongoing discussion and debate as climate models change and evidence accumulates.

But now a prominent environmentalist says the debate is over -- and dissenters should be jailed.

David Suzuki
is a zoologist, retired professor of genetics, and one of Time magazine's Heroes of the Environment. He's made a name for himself advocating environmental causes in sometimes strident terms, and is an especially popular figure in Canada.

But now, on at least two occasions -- the McGill Business Conference on Sustainability and a gathering at the University of Toronto -- he has suggested that politicians who dissent on the issue of global warming should face legal repercussions:

"What I would challenge you to do is to put a lot of effort into trying to see whether there's a legal way of throwing our so-called leaders into jail because what they're doing is a criminal act."

That's a remarkable statement coming from a scientist -- especially one who is a former director of the Canadian Civil Liberties Association. When dissenting opinions started getting treated as heresy, it's a safe bet that scientific conviction has slipped far over the line into religious fervor.

Suzuki may or may not be correct in his interpretation of climate data, but he's no longer an informed advocate -- he's a crazed fanatic. I don't expect his proposal to jail his opponents to be enacted into law anytime soon -- even in Canada, land of prosecution for thought crimes -- but in light of Suzuki's eagerness to use the state to muzzle his opponents, it's hard to see why we should treat Suzuki any differently than we treat any other nut who wants to harness the law to his personal prejudices.

Interestingly, the Cato Institute has just published a report that works from the assumption that not only is global warming true, but that the worst case scenarios are accurate. What To Do About Climate Change, by Indur Goklany, concludes that dramatic action that would trade economic growth for reductions in greenhouse emissions would actually worsen the plight of people in the developing world.

Analysis using both the Stern Review and the fast-track assessment reveals that notwithstanding climate change, for the foreseeable future, human and environmental well-being will be highest under the "richest-but-warmest" scenario and lower for the poorer (lower-carbon) scenarios. The developing world's future wellbeing should exceed present levels by several-fold under each scenario, even exceeding present wellbeing in today's developed world under all but the poorest scenario. Accordingly, equity-based arguments, which hold that present generations should divert scarce resources from today's urgent problems to solve potential problems of tomorrow's wealthier generations, are unpersuasive.

I wonder what Suzuki would do to Goklany if he had the chance.

Labels: ,


Blogger Fred said...

For crying out loud: The guy's a zoologist. How does that make him an expert on climatology?

But this suppressing of opinion is nothing new with the global warming crowd. It's been going on for some time. I remember hearing of some weather gal from the Weather Channel suggesting any meteorologist that doesn't believe in global warming should have his credentials taken.

I think the future might well show man- caused global warming to be the biggest case of mass hysteria in the history of mankind.

February 8, 2008 7:20 AM  

Post a Comment

Links to this post:

Create a Link

<< Home