CultureWatch

Bill Muehlenberg's commentary on issues of the day...

Human-Hating Humanitarians

Dec 19, 2007

Some of the more radical elements of the environmental movement say some pretty weird things. Some of their proposals to make us all greener seem to be proposals to make us all dead – or at least some of us dead. In their zeal to save the planet, they are often quite willing to view humans as expendable at best or a plague at worst. Indeed, some of them really don’t seem to like people at all.

Consider the case of one academic and his proposals as found in the Medical Journal of Australia. Associate Professor Barry Walters of the University of Western Australia told the journal that families should pay a $5000-plus baby levy at birth and an annual carbon tax of up to $800 a child. He also opined that every couple with more than two children should be taxed to pay for enough trees to offset the carbon emissions generated over each child’s lifetime.

And consider another recent case, this one from the UK. One woman, Toni, who works for an environmental group, said that she “shudders with horror” at the thought of a “little hand slipping into hers – and a voice calling her Mummy.” As Charles Colson tells the story, she is terrified at the thought of the impact on the environment a child might have.

Says Colson, “many young people in their peak child-bearing years are having themselves sterilized as an environmental statement”. Thus when “Toni learned she was pregnant 10 years ago, she quickly had an abortion to ‘protect the planet.’ Then, to make sure that such a ‘mistake’ could not happen again, she had herself sterilized at age 27. What did the child’s father think about all this? He sent her a ‘congratulations card’ and later married her. Apparently, he agrees that ‘having children is selfish. It’s all about maintaining your genetic line at the expense of the planet’.”

Concludes Colson, “While these are extreme cases, the beliefs driving them are anything-but-fringe, especially among environmental activists. Much of their rhetoric depicts the relationship between man and the rest of creation as a ‘zero-sum game,’ in which what is good for people is, by definition, bad for the planet. It is not uncommon to read about an environmentalist saying that what the planet needs is a good catastrophe to ‘cull’ the human herd. An award-winning scientist said just that last year.”

While such views may indeed be extreme, they are unfortunately becoming more and more common, both in green circles and among the intellectualoids. Andrew Bolt today lists around 20 other recent examples of some pretty bizarre claims coming out of the pulpits of the first church of Green. Here are some of the examples he produces:

– Greenpeace co-founder Paul Watson insists we “reduce human populations to fewer than one billion”.

– Dr John Reid, a former Swinburne University academic, gave a lecture on ABC radio recommending we “put something in the water, a virus that would be specific to the human reproductive system, and would make a substantial proportion of the population infertile”.

– Says Melbourne University population guru Prof Short: “We need to develop a one-child family policy because we are the global warmers.”

– Local pollster Hugh Mackay says “cars’ emissions are stealthily killing us” and we could “halve the fleet, at one stroke, by adopting the odds-and-evens number plate system”.

– Greenpeace says kangaroos don’t belch like cows, so are greener and should be eaten first.

– PETA campaigner Heather Mills, ex-wife of Paul McCartney, says cows’ burps are heating up the world and we should use milk from other animals: “Why don’t we try drinking rats’ milk and dogs’ milk?”

– Says green academic Mayer Hillman, author of How We Can Save the Planet: “When the chips are down I think democracy is a less important goal than is the protection of the planet from the death of life, the end of life on it. (Carbon rationing) has got to be imposed on people whether they like it or not.”

Plenty of other such examples can be found. It seems that in our panic over the condition of the earth, we are quite happy to sacrifice humans, or at least radically reduce human activities and lifestyles, to achieve some sort of green utopia.

Now there is nothing wrong with taking sensible steps to protect our planet. But if some of these bizarre scenarios were ever to take effect, the totalitarian implications should be fairly obvious. It seems that democracy, freedom, economic growth and people themselves will all be at risk if some of these green zealots have their way.

By all means let us all be concerned about our planet’s wellbeing, but let us equally be concerned about radical green plans which are really anti-humanitarian and anti-life.

www.breakpoint.org/listingarticle.asp?ID=7298
www.news.com.au/heraldsun/story/0,21985,22945744-5000117,00.html

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29 Responses to Human-Hating Humanitarians

  • What I have observed over the years, especially in the field of conservation and environmentalism is that facts and scientific evidence are no longer important in the issue.

    Instead it has been displaced by a kind of psuedo-science in which the conclusions were already reached before any evidence is considered and consequently the “facts” are tailored to fit. Scientific popularlism drives it where policy is determined by media releases parroting the latest idea. Those few who question or voice an objection to rather loose interpretations of the scientific method are marginalised.

    On example I have heard is the justification for the switch of refrigerant gases to the R134 standard. It has been said that the reason behind the switch was all to do with Dupont’s patent being about to expire on the previous gases, allowing competition for the supply of refrigerants. Dupont wasn’t making enough money out of it, so they patented another gas mix, lobeyed various governments saying that the new gas R134 was cleaner and would solve the ozone problem, won any public debate and started making money again. All this for a gas which is possibly worse for the ozone layer and a less efficient refrigerant gas and then had the huge environmental cost of changing over every car’s air-conditioner and refrigerator to the new gas standard.

    Indeed much of the alarm about the hole in the ozone layer around the mid 90’s has dropped of the radar as an evironmental issue because it has apparently fixed itself. Are we to believe that our actions of only about a decade at all influenced something as dynamic and massive as the earth’s atmosphere? Wishful thinking I think. Maybe it had nothing to do with us at all?

    I have long supported Jonathan Sarfarati and the team at Creation Ministries International because they dare to challenge the basic assumptions and propoganda behind much of the current psuedo-science.

    It seems ridiculous to me the unquestioning, unreasoning stance of the Rudd labour government on issues of climate change regardless of the lack of evidence for such a position. But as the issue has been already decided in the media, rather than by reason and objectism, who could expect any different?

    Lennard Caldwell, Clifton QLD

  • I hate to say it Bill but I would have to agree with Barry Walters IF we are talking 3rd and/or 4th child (not 1st or 2nd).

    The planet simply can’t sustain this many humans.

    Personally I feel that it’s pointless to discuss the pros and cons of various kinds of cars, fridges and recycling methods when all it takes is for there to be a few less of us. Then we really would be dealing with the cause rather than just symptoms of the environmental damage that we do.

    This is an area where some feminists and some sections of the Christian community may (again – cf pornography etc) have an uneasy truce. i.e. it is ‘politically incorrect’ to many of these people to say that we shouldn’t be having as many babies as we wish.

    Blessings,

    James Forsyth

  • Bill, however aborrent it may be to any sensible person, maybe we should be thankful that the lady who had herself sterilised to protect the plant actually did so. At least she cannot pass on the nature/nurture that created her to another generation. Unfortunately her ilk is likely to try to pass that philosophy on via legal agitation.
    Graeme Cumming

  • Granted, some of these ideas are bizarre. However, Hugh Mackay’s idea of alternate driving days is hardly that. Less people should be driving; man-made global warming or not, cars pump out gases which are dangerous to humans and the environment. If everyone who could ride to work did, then we’d have a safer, healthier society. People would then be more likely to choose their suburbs of residence because of conveinience, instead of lifestyle and prestige. People would then live in the same area as the people they work with, which would create a sense of community which is so lacking in our self-centered, suburban-block-with-high-fence society. The flow on effects could be positive far beyond the environmental.

    Shorter showers wouldn’t do any damage, either. We are in a water crisis and a drought. We do need to re-consider our lifestyles. There are aspects of them which are superfluous. Long showers and (for some) driving to work are two of them.

    Simon Kennedy, VIC

  • Thanks James

    Who says the planet can’t sustain this many humans? Paul Erhlich tried to make that case 40 years ago in his infamous book, the Population Bomb. He was wrong then and the gloom and doom brigade is still wrong today. Indeed, Ehrlich made a wager with Julian Simon in 1980 about dwindling resources. He picked five, and said in ten year’s time they would be more scarce and expensive. He lost big time, and had to send Simon a cheque in 1990.

    Allan Carlson of the World Congress of Families rightly calls the proposal by Walters “suicidal.” Says Carlson, “If adopted, the professor’s proposal would have the effect of throwing gasoline on a fire. Australia’s birthrate is currently 1.75 – less than half of what it was in 1960 and well below the number of births-per-woman needed just to replace current population (2.11). Who does Walters think will pay his pension, if not children from large families when they become workers? Any human contribution to global warming is a function of poor stewardship of the earth, not total population size.”

    And Walters is simply wrong. “According to a recent Michigan State University study, married households contribute less to global warming than single person households. The former (with or without children) are more environmentally efficient and use significantly less energy and resources than single households (www.pnas.org/cgi/content/abstract/0707267104v1)”

    “Unlike the effect an additional child will have on global warming, demographic decline is a verifiable reality. Worldwide, fertility rates have dropped by half in the last 50 years. There are now 6 million fewer children in the world (ages 0-4) than there were in 1990. If nothing else, Walters’ proposal unmasks the real agenda of environmental extremists, which is anti-child, anti-family and ultimately anti-life.”

    And it is most surprising that those who claim to be people of the Book take a specifically unbiblical position here. The worldview of the anti-people brigade is antinatalist, the exact opposite of the Biblical worldview. Scripture tells us that children are a gift of God. The population control mob view children as a curse.

    Sorry, but we can’t have it both ways. And which of my three children will the radicals seek to tax? Other radicals would rather that they were simply bumped off. It is unfortunate when secular thinking so infiltrates the Christian community that we end up siding against God on such issues.

    Bill Muehlenberg, CultureWatch

  • Thanks Simon

    If you read my post carefully you will know I said there is nothing wrong with sensible measures. Thus a short shower is fine – that’s a no-brainer. But alternate driving days is an anti-brainer. The best way to ensure a sustainable planet is economic growth. The alternate car idea would ruin the economy and further plunge us into unsustainability.

    Bill Muehlenberg, CultureWatch

  • I understand this reply isn’t going to do justice to your lengthy one already furnished.

    You asked, however, which of your kids would be taxed. I would have thought it was the parents, who were the decision-makers in the matter.

    Thanks again for your patient, thoughtful reply.

    James Forsyth

  • Thanks James

    For the meantime, I am grateful that Walters and his supporters are not in power, to enforce their draconian anti-child policies upon me and my family. But I fear it will not be long before the coercive utopians get into power. And what happens then? What if I refuse to pay this tax? Prison? Re-education camps? Confiscate my children? Forced sterilisation?

    All ideologues imagine that their policies are good for the people, even if it means persecuting all those who stand in their way. Believers of all people should be sceptical of the radical agendas of the social engineers. We have seen these enacted before, and the consequences have always been deadly. But the lessons of history are quickly forgotten – or ignored – unfortunately.

    Bill Muehlenberg, CultureWatch

  • The problem is James, the future of the West is threatened more by Islamisation than by any imagined environmental catastrophe. If Christian families stop having children this will only accelerate the existing demographic trends that will see Islam eventually become the majority in many Western nations.

    Ewan McDonald, Victoria.

  • Dear James,

    Are my third and fourth children so unimportant to you that you would want me to be taxed for having them? For the rest of their lives, they will be a burden to you, but certainly not to me. For the rest of their lives, society will treat them as second-rate citizens, because they supposedly take up precious resources that other people could have had. But wait a moment, if they are such a burden to society, then maybe it would be better if they were removed altogether… As a believer (which I assume you are, but correct me if I am wrong), I presume that this is not what you intend. However, rest assured that these will be the consequences of such policies. As soon as you put a price on a person’s head, you have de-valued their position as image-bearer of God (which is priceless). The Bible says in Psalm 127:4-5: “Like arrows in the hands of a warrior are sons born in one’s youth. Blessed is the man whose quiver is full of them. They will not be put to shame when they contend with their enemies in the gate.” So, the Bible says that children are a blessing from God – or do you think that the spectre of global warming and overpopulation negates God’s wisdom or even proves Him wrong?

    Something I find ironic is that the vast numbers of animals on this planet must dwarf humanity by orders of magnitude, and therefore (I imagine) they would consume more resources. Yet it seems that humans are the only ones whose number should be controlled. It also seems to me that many people try much harder to preserve the lives of animals than they do of their fellow humans. Why don’t people put more of this effort into saving human lives NOW? Maybe the motivation to reduce numbers plays into this, so that it is seen as a good thing to allow people who were already going to die to just die. If that is true, then that would already be a proof of my earlier claim that devaluing human life leads to the removal of human life.

    I also find it ironic that many of the people who advocate hard-core responses to global warming put so much faith in human ingenuity to develop new means of producing sustainable energy, while at the same time they refuse to put their faith in that same human ingenuity to develop new means of feeding the populations of this world. Look at how much land there is in this world, and look at how many people exist relative to that land. Have you ever wondered if it’s possible for humans in the future to inhabit the arid places of this planet? Surely this does not lie outside the abilities of humans when guided by our Almighty God?

    Remember – all children are a blessing from God, not a burden. A person is not valued by what they achieve or consume or produce, but by the very fact that their Creator deemed it good to bring them into existence. Please reconsider your attitude here. Otherwise, we will see society continue in the downward spiral that de-values people, and ultimately kills them. And more importantly for your sake, how will it be possible for you to bring up your own children in a loving way if you can only see them as parasites on this planet.

    Mathew Markey

  • Ewan,

    I totally agree with you about the Islamification of Western nations.

    I could have qualified my comments by saying that any action taken to make the number of humans on this earth more managable should not take place in Christianised areas alone – the Islamic world would have to do their share (and of course countries with other religions which needn’t be listed individually).

    I couldn’t agree with you more. Demographics is the mother of politics. If the West was to suddenly say “We’re going to use forethought and planning when it comes to our future and discourage an unmanagable population” – but the Islamic world did nothing… that would be disastrous. We’d be heading for sharia law in no time.

    I will say, however, that your reaction is a little similar to one that I received some time ago on the same topic. The dialogue was as follows:

    Me: I think we have a population problem in the world that needs serious addressing.

    Friend: You’re just one of those people who believe poor people should be disposed of whilst the rich can continue in their selfish lifestyles!

    You’d have to agree that what I experienced at that time was based on a set of questionable assumptions by my friend.

    Back to our own discussion. I was not suggesting that the Western world is alone in this or anything of the sort. Furthermore, I stand by my original comments and all the comments I have made so far because the need for such qualification had not yet arisen.

    If any action is taken on this issue is taken by leaders in this world it could only be done by a global body which has some say over Islamic nations as well as Christian ones. I’m not too familiar with global politics, but the United Nations seems like the most likely candidate for such a job.

    The point of disagreement you have with some kind of centralised population control campaign is of a very different nature than the others seen so far on this page. I reject any implication that this is some kind of a test of orthodoxy and that I’ve sided with the non-Christians here. That’s just plain silly. It’s a huge mistake for Christian lobby groups to jump on the bandwagon of a political/demographic issue and make the claim that to be a Christian is to take this side or that side. So, just as you’ve now read my response to you I’ll be interested in your response to me. I trust you won’t be looking up “population control” in your concordance for Scriptural ammunition on the subject!

    We’re not just talking about little babies here, we’re talking about people throughout the lifespan. These are people who will want cars, TVs, jobs, fridges, education, houses (including retirement homes), McDonalds, KFC, hopefully not cigarettes, maybe Churches, possibly Mosques, but definitely OUR seats on a packed train when we’re commuting to work. 🙂

    Blessings,

    James Forsyth

  • Thanks James

    No one is claiming that demography is or should be a test of orthodoxy. What is being claimed here is that it is unfortunate that anyone – be they believer or nonbeliever – should side with the coercive utopians who would impose draconian penalties on those who do not subscribe to their anti-natalist agendas.

    Sorry, but in my books any one who wants to penalise me for doing what I felt was right, and tax me for having more children than they regard is permissible is a coercive utopian, not dissimilar to those working for Stalin or Mao. I find no common ground whatsoever with such anti-humanitarians.

    C.S. Lewis clearly warned about those who would mouth concerns about humanity, all the while employing the most anti-human means to usher in their version of heaven on earth. With some major recent experiments last century in this regard, we should have learned our lessons.

    Interestingly even leftwing writer Pamela Bone in the Australian also spoke out on the population controllers in a recent column: “But there seems to me something selfish about the calls for curbs on population. I can be here on this earth but not you, unborn others.”

    Bill Muehlenberg, CultureWatch

  • Each Christmas for the last two thousand years has been not only the celebration of the first of many special births but also a memorial service for the massacre of the innocents carried out by Herod. In Britain we mark this Christmas with having just massacred over 200,000 babies this year. Perhaps those who advocate population control should lead by example and identify themselves as expendible or suplus to requirements.
    Let us thank God that He thought differently; and so that none might perish, he offered up His one and only Son, Jesus Christ to die in place of us.
    David Skinner, UK

  • Thanks James,

    At least you, unlike most western population control advocates are not a unilateralist in this. But I would still disagree because I think your view is based upon a couple of questionable assumptions.

    Firstly, as Bill and others have pointed out, who says the planet is unable to sustain the present population? Who gets to determine what is the optimum number and on what basis would that be decided?

    Secondly, it is outside the power of any government including the UN to be able to enforce fertility rates on sovereign nation states anyhow. So the idea that you could get Islamic nations to cooperate in this is a bit of a pipe dream.

    It appears that the best way to stabilise a nation’s population is not through coercive measures but through economic growth. What seems to happen is that increasing prosperity generally leads to lower birth rates.

    Ewan McDonald, Victoria.

  • Bill & David,

    You’ve both touched on a ‘selfishness’ argument re: those who would prescribe some kind of population control.

    You certainly have a point. To stick with the Islam example – A newly arrived Muslim family showing up at the Centrelink office for their entitlements, complete with 5 children, is an example of benevolence and unselfishness.

    I’m under no illusion that I’m not a part of the waste of space that many of us humans are – if not more so.

    James Forsyth

  • Thanks James

    It is difficult to respond to your post as it was a bit unclear. For example, are you being serous or facetious in your middle paragraph? And your last paragraph, complete with double or triple negatives, is also quite unclear. But I hope you are not saying that you believe your life is merely a “waste of space”. That is an appalling thing to say about God’s great gift of life, especially for someone who claims to be a biblical Christian. So I must suspend judgment until things are cleared up.

    In the meantime, Merry Christmas.

    Bill Muehlenberg, CultureWatch

  • Dear James,

    I’m still waiting for your response to my question about my children, or little “wastes of space” as you might call them. I agree with Bill that your last post was very confusing, but I’m going beyond what he said, and will assume that you are indeed calling yourself a waste of space. This has lead me to hope very strongly that you do not have any children, and are not planning on having any before you solve this identity crisis you seem to be having – again, how can you raise those precious ones that God has put in your care while you see them as wastes of space? Are you a child of God, “adopted as his son through Jesus Christ” (Ephesians 1:5)? If so, then I would give up calling yourself a waste of space, because the Lord of the universe doesn’t see you as such, therefore you are not. I think it is probably offensive to God who has adopted you as his son to demean yourself in such a way. However, if you are not willing to see your own value, fine. But don’t go and condemn the rest of the population of this world with the same dodgy beliefs, because God loves every single one of them. John 3:16: “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life”. Does this sound like a God who thinks we are second-rate citizens, or wastes of space?

    I urge you as you attend a church service this Christmas Day, to contemplate what it meant for God to come into this world as a human baby. Why would he do such a lowly thing if we just aren’t worth it? The spiritual scum that has built up within us over our lifetimes certainly makes us undeserving and unworthy of a relationship with God, and yet he decided that he was going to make things right anyway. What a wonderful gift and promise! Please try and see yourself and the rest of us in the same light that God does – that would make an amazing difference. I hope and pray that this Christmas will bring such a blessing for you.

    Mathew Markey

  • Simon Kennedy, the main reason for the water crisis is that the government has taken over the job of supplying the water. Whenever government oversteps its biblical role of defense and justice, it always makes a pig’s breakfast of it.

    It wasn’t too long ago that governments banned water tanks to make sure that most people were dependent on government supply. And more recently, they banned the highly effective drip-watering systems because they would discriminate against the poor. Like all socialists, they prefer equality of poverty to inquality of wealth.

    Governments in Australia refuse to let the price of water rise until supply matches demand. Artificially low prices have always resulted in shortages for centuries. Proper pricing would encourage self-rationing, as well as encourage heavy users to collect more or find new ways of obtaining more. Self-rationing is far more effective than the pathetic alternation of pleading for conservation and the force of the Wasserspolizei checking up on us.

    To prove this point, remember the petrol lines in Carter’s America? The price of petrol was capped, so people bought more, and there was less incentive to supply it. The American socialistic Democratic party said that shortages were here to stay, and Teddy Kennedy said that petrol rationing was likely. But Reagan’s first act as president was to remove petrol price caps. Gasoline lines disappeared overnight. And since the higher prices meant that it became economical to re-open capped oil wells, there was much more supply. It wasn’t long before the price became lower than the previous cap, and without the shortages.

    But the government refuses to allow that which works so well for other “essentials” like petrol and groceries, and instead prefers “affordability” to availability.

    Jonathan Sarfati, Brisbane

  • Jonathan

    Nice comments on the water situation. Do you know any articles that give more information?

    Damien Spillane

  • Thanx Damien

    Thomas Sowell has written a number of columns and books about why price controls produce shortages, e.g. An Ancient Fallacy: Price Controls, and even said:

    As an economist, whenever I hear the word ‘shortage’ I wait for the other shoe to drop. That other shoe is usually ‘price control’.

    And to show that water privatization really works, see John Stossel’s comments about Jersey City’s water supply after it was privatized. “Unfixable” pipes were repaired, there was clean water instead of foul, and taxpayers saved $35 million.

    In my days as a semi-serious chessplayer, I once attended a chess seminar in the USSR as the NZ rep. While the chess was great, while looking around the shops, the results of a centrally planned economy were plain to see: long queues, surly service and poor quality. Less visible to an outside were shortages and surpluses depending on whether the decreed price was lower or higher than what people would freely pay.

    It’s notable that the closest parallels to the Soviet economic monstrosity in the West are precisely those run by the government, and for the same reason. So it shouldn’t be surprising that we have water shortages. Another good example is the Airport Gestapo, which was shown to miss most of the test bombs, but scored 100% on confiscating water bottles!

    Jonathan Sarfati, Brisbane

  • Sorry Jonathan, but I don’t see how self-rationing could possibly be more effective than government imposed restrictions. If there were no uniform restrictions, then there would be a very small percentage saving water, and the majority would be continuing as normal. Our water storages would probably be below 20%. You’re right wing, anti-interventionist stance is clouding your judgement here. The government is not the main reason for the shortage either; drought is.
    Simon Kennedy, VIC

  • Sorry Simon, if you were right, why don’t we let the government distribute all “essential” products? Oh that’s right, it’s been tried and failed everywhere! Your left-wing pro-interventionist stance is clouding your judgment, and stems from Marx not Christ. It has brought countless misery to those oppressed by communism, and is now bringing thirst to Australia.

    It is not a matter of how much of any good we have. Government intervention with just the sort of price controls you advocate has brought famines to Ukraine and Zimbabwe, which used to be the breadbaskets of their continents. So how much more disastrous will it be when we have little to begin with?

    In answer to “I don’t see how self-rationing could possibly be more effective than government imposed restrictions”, I have already explained: this addresses only the issue of consumption, while prices set by free buyers and sellers not only encourage conservation but also provide an incentive to obtain more of whatever is needed. E.g. heavy users would find it cost-effective to build large rainwater tanks to collect water that would previously been lost. This would result in a higher total amount of water to the community.

    Jonathan Sarfati, Brisbane

  • An old Russian joke from the Soviet era:

    Q. What happens if you introduce communism into the Sahara?
    A. For he first 50 years — nothing. Then you’ll have a shortage of sand.

    Jonathan Sarfati, Brisbane

  • I’m the wife of a Canadian farmer, and I find the comments that Greenpeace is stating as… well crazy. I’m not suprised however. I was recently at an Agrisuccess seminar in the province and Dr. Patrick Moore, one of the founders of Greenpeace (was also the president for 9 years) commented on the antihumanitarianisms of Greenpeace currently. He left due to the fact that they were just looking for something to fight. Something to get in the news for. They weren’t using science or facts at all. The global warning fiasco was bogus. He showed climate change graphs, and the amount of “warming” we’ve had is only a couple of degrees over a number of years. He also suspects that it will cool again in another cycle. Plus, warming is not going to kill life. I live in Canada. I see what ice does. It kills things. As a farmer, I rely on warmth and rain to grow crops.

    How much agricultural land is actually being used fully? There have been so many advancements that produce more and more from the same acre of land year after year. I don’t think we have to worry about the lack of food for growth of population.

    Then I have to wonder about the whole thing with “cow burps”. Ha ha! I can only laugh! Do they not realize that to feed these cows we are growing crops that are taking the carbon out of the air? And scientifically, nothing can be created that is not already there. In other words, all the carbon on the earth was already on this earth in one form or another. Carbon from cow burps? Comes from the feed they eat. Carbon in the plants? Comes from air. Carbon is necessary for life. It’s called the carbon cycle. It sickens me how many people are completely uneducated in this regard… and I don’t even know all the details. What about death? More carbon. It’s the same with water. All the water on this earth? From what I’ve learned, there is no more or less than there was when the earth was created, granted there is fresh and salt, but I’m sure there are ways to turn salt water to fresh water if it came down to it… and I don’t see the need.

    Sorry, that is just my input on the issue. I find Greenpeace at it’s current state is a joke. It had it’s place, but now it doesn’t know what to fight for anymore, so it is creating scenerios to make itself worth something again. Granted, what they stood for years ago was great, and we should try to do our best to conserve because there is no real reason to just aimlessly consume as much as we can, but to go as far as to reduce the population, or blame “cow burps” for our problems? I don’t think so.

    Sabrina Kehler, Manitoba, Canada

  • Sabrina,

    There are some glaring errors in your comments that are common misunderstandings about these issues.

    Firstly, although the Carbon Cycle is a natural recirculating system, it is currently out of whack. By burning fossil fuels sequestered over millions of years, we are putting far more carbon into the atmosphere than can be re-absorbed, hence the proportion of CO2 in the atmosphere is rapidly increasing. At the same time, we have been clearing forests, thus reducing an important carbon sink.

    Secondly, although you scoff about belching cattle, they do contribute a significant amount of methane to the atmosphere, more so than other animals because of the nature of their digestive system. And methane has 23 times the greenhouse gas impact of CO2. All carbon is not equal.

    I know it is considered good sport in this forum to scoff about the science behind climate change, but humanity faces serious problems. Uninformed comments like yours are unfortunately far too common amongst the general public, and this is unhelpful in addressing solutions.

    Steve Angelino, WA

  • Steve Angelino is hardly in a position to talk about being scientifically uninformed. So is alGore, who first got on this fetish in one of the many ‘vegie science’ first year uni courses offered to non-scientists who can’t cope with the real “hard” sciences.

    It might actually be good for the climate to be a bit warmer. Bjørn Lomborg points out that more people die from the cold than from heat. Indeed, 30 years ago, the doom-mongers were screaming that we were in danger of an ice age!

    Jonathan Sarfati, Brisbane

  • Jonathan,

    The dangers of the climate getting “a bit warmer” have little to do with personal discomfort. The predicted effects range from dramatic changes in the biosphere to increasing ocean levels from melting icecaps. You can scoff all you like, but the evidence is out there.

    A bigger danger is that “a bit warmer” could rapidly turn into “a lot warmer” if the system goes into positive feedback territory as many models predict it could, i.e. a small increase in global temperatures accelerates the warming rate.

    Steve Angelino, WA

  • Dear Steve,

    I think your positive feedback scenario is pure speculation and can’t possibly be based on any realistic model. If the planet warms up more, this results in warmer oceans which leads to more evaporation and therefore more moisture in the air above the oceans. More moisture means more clouds. More clouds means that light and heat from the sun is reflected away from earth. Light and heat reflected away from the earth means that the earth stops warming up, which is a strong negative feedback mechanism. One shouldn’t speculate about positive feedback mechanisms (that have not been demonstrated) causing doomsday scenarios without first addressing the negative feedback mechanisms that we DO know exist.

    Not to mention the impact of volcanic activity. Volcanos release plenty of greenhouse gasses, and yet have a cooling impact because their emissions block out heat from the sun. I would not be surprised to find that the effects of clouds and volcanos are not factored into the models that predict such unstable outcomes.

    Regards,
    Mathew Markey

  • Steve Angelino, 30 years ago, the “evidence was out there” of a coming global ice age! Nowadays the alarmism is about warming. But to hedge their bets, they talk about “climate change”, so heads I win, tails you lose.

    Globull warm-mongers resort to confirmation bias, i.e. accept only the evidence that seems to confirm their theory and ignore evidence that contradicts. I.e. a very hot summer in Auckland is evidence for global warming, but an unusually cool and wet summer in Brisbane and unusually cold Florida winter is ignored.

    Envirofanatics badly damage their credibility by still revering that charlatan and fraud, Paul R. Ehrlich. His prophecies of doom have been proven wrong again and again for 40 years, yet they still adulate him. He also lost a famous bet to economist Julian Simon about whether commodities of Ehrlich’s choice would be running out (as evidenced by higher prices) a decade later. Every one of them was cheaper, indicating the discovery of new sources that made the materials more plentiful.

    Jonathan Sarfati, Brisbane

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