Solar Not Bombs part 4, by Morgan Lesko, March 2015
Friends, New Romans, fellow humans, lend me your ears; I come to praise science, not to bury it.
There is remarkable value in systematically collecting data for the most reliable expectations of causality, and I do not want the good name of science to be sullied by politics on either side of the climate debate.
I think claiming ‘consensus‘ and ‘settled science’ decades before observations can firmly endorse or reject the Catastrophic Anthropogenic Global Warming Models is hurting the credibility of the scientific method in public discourse.
Furthermore, if outgrowing fossil fuels is politically dependent on such a complex climate theory requiring so many more decades to be verified, it is extremely vulnerable to failure. We need — and have — better reasons than this one theory.
Despite taking the position that existing data do not support popular man-made climate change theories, I have no conflict of interest nor do I support big oil, coal, natural gas, fucking fracking, etc. I am against the legal/fiduciary responsibility (established and enforced by governments) for corporations to maximize profits for their shareholders. I am against this even if it is rightly co-opted to make solutions like solar most strategically profitable (eg. my proposed inflation of solar demand).
I am both anti-mega-corporations and anti-government, support neither left nor right, and hope to live in an incrementally more consensual world. At this point in my philosophical development, I find the best label to be voluntaryist (anarchist), though many discussions like these stay within the popular statist paradigm.
“Solar Not Bombs” is not a think tank nor any type of organization. It is just a bumper-sticker-level catch phrase for my proposed solutions. I thought my solutions and research might be more evenly received if published separately from my primary blog consolidating my independent, unfunded activism at WikiWorldOrder.org.
Motives for Me…
I am in no way a climate scientist. I used to win middle-school science competitions, but claim no authority. In college, my favorite class was a 400-level course in chaos theory, cross-listed under math and computer science. I loved it so much I nearly flunked all my other courses that semester. I wrote Java code all night to graph and infinitely zoom into my homework answers (for fun), while studying various chaotic systems and fractals.
My only degree is a B.S. from the University of Maryland in Computer Science with concentration in Mathematics. That said, I am in my 33rd year of autodidactic study (life), and have been an activist in the real world for the past 24 years.
Back in my mid-’90s middle school in a very blue county, I was taught about catastrophic anthropogenic global warming (AGW) as a very strong theory, nearly as established as Newton’s laws relatively are. Raised strongly on the left, I somewhat ironically never started questioning man-made global warming until Al Gore told Congress the debate was over.
If the popular narrative was claiming no more room for discussion in the most complex set of chaotic nonlinear systems, then we must be talking about different things. So I began looking for answers to new sets of questions.
Bush had a famous false dichotomy: “either you are with us, or you are with the terrorists.” But we all want to increase our safety. The false dichotomy I hear from the modern environmentalist movement is roughly: either you endorse the theory of catastrophic anthropogenic climate change, or you do not care about the environment (and might be anti-science).
But we all want to thrive on earth.
I think most climate skeptics (at least those who aren’t actually corporate shills) do care about the environment, but their biggest worries are just not related to carbon dioxide.
The world as we know it does not need to be ending in the next 50-100 years for us to take swift yet reasonable actions today which benefit the environment. National and “coalition” militaries are literally killing other people in the Middle East TODAY, people who will not have any grandchildren to worry about, in large part so that developed economies can have continued access and low prices to the oil there.
Having our energy production SO incredibly centralized also keeps power with conglomerates and cartels, providing significant economic leverage over the rest of the world. Energy production resides close to core sources of global inequality, and it cannot be printed by central banks like the more fictional power of [fiat] currency production, another core source of inequality.
There are not just potential risks of skeptical inaction (the alleged man-made temperature increases with subsequent consequences). It must also be acknowledged that there also are serious and concrete consequences in taking most of the popular climate solutions.
Solutions like greenhouse gas taxes will economically prohibit undeveloped regions from developing. This comes with a significantly human cost of people continuing to prematurely die…just as we did before our countries developed. So we must be absurdly certain of our great-grand-children’s demise in order to condemn many of the world’s people of this decade.
I find it interesting that: AGW proponents generally claim climate change will hurt the poorest developing countries most; and that the most widely proposed solutions would too (lose-lose framing for the poor).
I do not support the status quo, but also do not support the solutions I hear in the mainstream. Ideally, our chosen solutions will enable developing countries to leap frog directly to blooming via renewable energy. I think my strategy of kickstarting big solar could help by hastening solar price declines globally.
Humans do exhale carbon dioxide, and plants do need it. I find the redefinition of carbon dioxide as a pollutant very troubling, especially when such goals could be partially accomplished by focusing on capturing/restricting more universally toxic forms of pollution.
Many of the mainstream concerns stem from the overlap of population growth and industrial development. But world population concerns are only valid with assumptions that we continue living like we are currently living, and I don’t think we that are interested in this status quo anyway. Population could not be a rational concern if 7, or even 14 billion people were recycling not polluting, individually nor collectively, and technology was focused on generating health and food that was not wasted.
There is no waste in nature, even poop is food for some little organism in the food chain. I would very much prefer to live in a world built on closer to closed-loop systems without externalities as we know them. This would mean all the outputs of one technology are used as inputs for another productive technology. The aluminum in cans of shitty soda are not pollution if recycled for something else.
I do not think carbon is pollution, but the kind of cradle-to-cradle designed systems I prefer would have the likely side-effect of carbon emission reductions as well. Things like replanting trees and using more hemp should also be done regardless of the long-term accuracy of the man-made climate change theory.
I do think solar is a solid bet, or starting solution, but I also think there must be at least some legitimate “free energy” technologies already in existence on small scales (over-unity, call it what you will). Things like hobbyists’ magnetic motors make physical sense to me.
Perpetual motion is impossible in totality, but there are tremendous persistent forces surrounding us, fractions of which we should be able to harness providing value in orders of magnitude better than fossil fuels or renewables.
For ~4.5 billion years and counting, the Earth has been hurling through the universe in what is perpetual motion from the tiny perspective of human experience and technology.
Thought experiment: What if we had a one-time transfer of past patents to the public domain for any clean or free energy generation technologies to avoid potential corporate suppression? Tesla Motors already seems to be trend-setting in this direction.
In the idealized future utopian extreme, my preferred global and local power recipe looks like one part solar/renewable and a few parts free energy. Free energy generation could also remove the prohibitive costs of expanding things like water desalinization as needed.
These longer-term goals may sound utopic, but we have already seen concrete starting points in the past few decades and I think they are quite attainable in a couple more by replacing our passive/apathetic support of current paradigms.
I also do not think such ideas are any more utopic than presuming a focus on greenhouse gases will significantly solve our wide collection of environmental concerns.
If I maintain that the climate crisis theory not accurate, then I must do my best to look at why it is promoted so hard. I do think at least 99% of people have excellent core motives for doing what they do, good intentions deserving mutual respect and understanding. Below, I will explain a few more relevant thoughts on rarely mentioned motives in the popular debate.
Potential Motives for Scientists…
There has been a recent flurry of headlines about 2014 being the hottest year on record. It has at least been acknowledged that there is significant uncertainty with such claims within NASA and NOAA.
If this issue was not so comically politicized (by both sides), this would not be considered statistically significant enough for NASA press releases or headlines and persistent references in media.
With the basic component principles of climate change largely established by the eighties, most of the subsequent scientific research involved has gone to studying the impacts of the theory’s conclusion, and how to mitigate the theory’s premise (despite waiting for data to validate it).
This accounts for two of the three working groups in each IPCC report, and about 3/4 of the peer-reviewed literature surrounding the theory, and the remaining minority of scientists actually aim to prove the relation of the premise and the conclusion.
Furthermore, the temperature projection models themselves — and the heart of the debate found in the net amplification of the feedbacks after our greenhouse gas contributions — belong to an even smaller subset of scientists who must aggregate a variety of complex fields of expertise.
There are relatively few scientists in the world with sufficiently comprehensive understanding to claim authority and check each others’ work at this inner core defining climate crisis scenarios (the net amplification).
Scientists not in this smaller group must largely appeal to its authority.
And this small group claiming authority relies on the premise that current understandings of component chaotic complex systems are comprehensive enough to aggregate and be actionable…which honestly should be debatable. This is why I see the theory’s proponents as having a trickle-up-appeal to questionable authority.
So the number of scientists creating the core pieces which claim proof for the C in Catastrophic AGW Models is far smaller than those who author the reports, or scientists generally endorsing the consensus position. For that majority without authority, personal uncertainty on the conclusions of other experts and potential institutional bias might be assuaged by justifying the means with the ends…the sincerely good intentions of trying to study and/or aid environmental stability, and trying to be on the safe side (the precautionary principle).
From the consensus perspective the ends mean trying to save the freaking world, which is both global and very personal, so it might be tougher for some to maintain balanced objectivity once entrenched. It takes effort to really dig past the distracting and emotionally charged layers of debate on this issue, and you have to work upstream.
Also, we are still waiting a few more decades for enough observations to prove the first consensus theory (Hansen in 1988, IPCC in 1990), so even if some propose alternate theories, they can similarly not be potentially validated as more accurate for a few extra decades after the consensus theory.
Groupthink also surrounds us, it is why oligarchs find democracy so reliable, and is in play for both sides of this debate.
It should theoretically be tougher to take hold in scientific fields, but our Prussian system of education is very efficient at creating disciplined minds which are minimally likely to buck established paradigms within increasingly compartmentalized fields of study. I am not speaking here of conspiracy, but institutional or systemic bias.
Everyone is well aware of the skepticism required regarding conclusions and evidence of industry-funded research. Big oil, coal, natural gas, and other fossil fuels have the widely-known profit motives to maintain their status quo of growth, but also power motives in controlling the global bottlenecks of key energy supplies.
At least on the left, it is almost never acknowledged that there is also significant money in the world of climate change catastrophe. The New York Times recently reminded us that “Mr. Gore has also become very rich.” Just because I agree with some of Al Gore’s renewable energy goals, does his profit motive not potentially bias his promotion of climate science?
Might the Koch bastard bros have financial motives and also sincerely disagree with the scientific consensus? Financial motives flag needs for extra skepticism but do not decide debates of any kind, observable evidence does.
As my solutions essay shows for example, the federal climate change funding alone has totaled over $132 billion since 1993 (about 40% categorized as being used for science). This is not exactly chump change, much of which would presumably not be allocated as it was if the theory did not exist or were found invalid. Whether you are an activist or a scientific researcher, if seems you would be less likely to receive federal climate change funding if you are a ‘denier’ of the ‘settled science’ on which it is based.
Further, if the climate crisis theories are accurate, then we would be largely reliant on the same climate models and scientists to fix the problem.
‘Chicken littles‘ who warn about imminent economic collapse require extra skepticism if they also make a living by selling gold or gear for preppers, even if some of their concerns are quite reasonable. But for climate science, the analogous potential conflict of interest tends to be more on the institutional level than that of individual scientists doing research.
Governments, like corporations, have a built-in tendency to generally expand their power and influence…an unspoken motive and historical trend. Governments likely have less financial motive because they are in charge of printing the money. I might generally agree much more with the ‘environmental’ goals than current ‘industry’ goals, but I acknowledge that there is a lot of money and power entangled with both sides.
All scientific research and resulting technologies have potential economic implications, and therefore have interested [hyper-]politicized parties for and against them. Universities also receive massive sums from both industries and governments.
Not only do top (non-industry) climate science budgets depend on the new climate crisis status quo, but the promoted global governance solutions could also put top technocrats in charge of new powers to dictate global policy based on the computer models which few can fully understand.
As Henry Kissinger once said, “power is the great aphrodisiac,” and I think this potential motive at the higher levels would be intellectually dishonest to ignore as a factor.
“If they ever hear there is a Freedom of Information Act now in the UK, I think I’ll delete the file rather than send to anyone. Does your similar act in the US force you to respond to enquiries within 20 days?—our does! The UK works on precedents, so the first request will test it. We also have a Data Protection Act, which I will hide behind.”
Even Nature reported that “the University of East Anglia broke the law when dealing with requests for climate data, according to the UK Information Commissioner’s Office,” but they could not be prosecuted due to the statute of limitations.
This East Anglia Climatic Research Unit is a major repository for data regarding man-made global warming, so this is quite significant.
Science is fucking loved because good experiments can be repeated and verified. Given how important this climate issue is [claimed to be], data and model algorithms must be as open and widely shared as possible so experiments can be repeated and improved.
To withhold such data is far more “anti-science” than being skeptical of a scientific consensus.
So please keep in mind that at least a few of the top climate scientists involved are documented criminals who were not convicted. This must be at least as relevant as the fact that a subset of climate change skeptics (who do not control central IPCC data) do have financial conflicts of interest with polluting industries.
Potential Motives for Oligarchs…
I’m not trying to be witty, but literal, an oligarch-producing Princeton University did a study concluding that the U.S. is more of an oligarchy than a democracy.
Thus far I have generally discussed only the 2D chessboard of roughly right vs left, corporations vs governments. But there are higher levels where these surface divisions are in much closer alignment. We already recognize a lack of adequate representation in the federal government. And even if it directly kills less of its own citizens than foreigners, I’m not sure why we would support exporting our style of democracy abroad, or expanding the Anglo-American Empire to a global scale via institutions like the United Nations.
But what if global laws were enacted with fine-print defined by statistical models atop great walls of scientific jargon even taller than legalese? Given the inadequate accuracy of the current models, this concern should not be limited to those of us opposed to a world government providing even less representation.
The largest public faces of this are of course the United Nations and its Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), both of which stand to gain significant new powers of global governance with even the first steps of a global carbon tax.
A remix expressing what my ears hear presidents saying at the United Nations:
This is a level of power which transcends and takes precedence over traditional or shorter-term financial motives. It was a goal of United Nations founders, and built into its DNA, to become the cornerstone of a gradually growing system of global governance.
But strategically, worldwide losses of national and more localized sovereignty will only be consensually traded in the face of global and/or external threats. Threats like world wars or decentralized terrorists, nuclear self-destruction, financial crises, pandemics, Reagan’s aliens, or yes, catastrophic climate change.
So it should be kept in mind that the global warming issue does elegantly satisfy a specific need at the level of global oligarchs.
It is worth noting that the Rockefeller family literally paid for the land under the United Nations headquarters. David Rockefeller’s memiors refer to people “characterizing my family and me as internationalists and of conspiring with others around the world to build a more integrated global political and economic structure—one world, if you will. If that’s the charge, I stand guilty, and I am proud of it.”
After all, ‘conspiracy theorists‘ sure didn’t invent the phrase New World Order and George H. W. Bush is the one who did the most to turn it into a meme.
It is a very open conspiracy of ideas with plenty of good sounding goals thanks to the marketing science of public relations. It is supported by white papers in doublespeak from organizations like the Council on Foreign Relations (CFR) and the RAND Corporation think tank…even though most people involved have no malintent, and are once again probably trying to save the world.
My maternal grandfather was actually a member of the Council on Foreign Relations, so I honestly do not harbor any hate, and specifically try not to hastily generalize the intentions or goals of most people involved in even the top tiers of such efforts.
This last layer of potential oligarch-level motives should be factored in, for a more intellectually complete discussion which includes the 3D chessboard. My favorite solutions would simultaneously be winning moves in this deeper part of the game too. That’s how the ruling intraspecific kleptoparasites play.
They usually make moves which for them are win-win-wins: simultaneously moving forward at least one of their agendas (even if just a tip-toe), while increasing their money and/or power on both sides of our coin. When we play only within the 2D chessboard, we are almost guaranteed to lose to the big boys playing in 3D.
So strategies which more quickly and fairly decentralize power generation could benefit from broader support among the subset of all stripes who are specifically concerned about the creeping global governance.
The individual independence gained by less centralized solar power also provides resource and political empowerment towards safely enabling a more voluntary world.
Final Personal Thoughts…
Over the past few years, I have had a great anxiety about coming out of this climate closet, and would not do so without having my actionable solution to propose.
Almost all my closest friends in the real world come from the left too, even if some have adapted some libertarian or anarchist principles. As far as I know, few or none seriously question the climate consensus. I dearly love — and have been in love with — people whose work focuses largely or tangentially on catastrophic climate change. I continue to have the utmost respect for all of them, and truly hope they can still have the same for me.
I have been quite worried and upset about potentially losing the intellectual respect of such friends, or even losing some completely. It is significant, and sad, that I’ve been more anxious about coming out of the climate closet, than I was about coming out of more conspiratorial closets some five years ago. The latter resulted, at its core, from the inadequate physical explanations of the nearly free-fall speed of WTC 7’s collapse on 9/11.
“Denier” is quite an emotionally-charged label, skepticism is vital to the scientific process, and both sides have mainstream discussions which require a great deal more critical thought and compassionate mutual understanding. Social stigma has real effects which encourage groupthink and self-censorship.
I recently launched a critical thinking game, trying to improve to the quality of tough discussions like these. So I hope you don’t find too many errors in my logic as presented on this site…unless it is just due to some fun word-play, or a touch of sass. Exhausted from studying the problems, this little game is my first inspiration attempting to create meta-solutions: DontFallacyMeBro.com.
Thank you dearly for taking the time to consider this bulky collection of my thoughts and research!
Morgan Lesko, Wiki World Order