Climate Change, Celebrities, and Reality

A small news item caught my attention today. It was about yet another Hollywood celeb pontificating on climate change, urging us to act immediately or else we will all perish. Why it is that these Hollywood elites think they are so qualified to speak on difficult scientific and economic questions is beyond me. Although I often suspect they are acting out of all the guilt they carry for making so much money while contributing so little to society.

The annual income of some of these megastars must be equal to that of Botswana’s GDP. Yet the rich and famous are known for little more than being rich and famous. So they have to prove that they are worthy of existence by hopping on to the latest trendy cause. And the hippest campaign to get excited about lately is of course climate change. The trouble is, the solutions they are pushing will cost them nothing, but will cost us ordinary poor slobs plenty.

Here is how the news item goes: “Oscar-winning actress and environmental campaigner Cate Blanchett today urged some of the world’s biggest business leaders to act now on carbon emissions to save the planet. Speaking at the World Business Summit on Climate Change in Copenhagen, Blanchett – who won her best gong for The Aviator, the biopic of air travel pioneer Howard Hughes – said the low carbon economies of the future had to come into being right now.”

She is quoted as saying, “Australia’s best climate scientists have been warning us that we’ll face many more catastrophic fire days in southeast Australia unless the world acts to dramatically cut greenhouse pollution.” So there you have it – more bushfires in Victoria if Europeans and Americans don’t rush to reduce their carbon footprint.

Someone who takes a slightly different view of these matters is Christopher Booker of the British Telegraph. He has recently written about how action on climate change may do little good for the climate, but will massively impact on our economies. He begins this way:

“One measure of the fantasy world now inhabited by our sad MPs was the mindless way that they nodded through, last October, by 463 votes to three, by far the most expensive piece of legislation ever to go through Parliament. This was the Climate Change Act, obliging the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change to reduce Britain’s ‘carbon emissions’ by 2050 to 20 per cent of what they were in 1990 – a target achievable only by shutting down most of the economy.

“Such is the zombie state of our MPs that they agreed to this lunatic measure without the Government giving any idea of what this might cost. Only one, Peter Lilley, raised this question, and it was he who, last month, alerted me to the fact that the minister, Ed Miliband, had at last slipped out a figure on his website (without bothering to tell Parliament). The Government’s estimate was £404 billion, or £18 billion a year, or £760 per household every year for four decades.”

He continues, “Such figures, produced by a computer model, are, of course, meaningless. But one of the mysteries of our time is how impossible it is to interest people in the mind-boggling sums cited by governments all over the world as the cost of the measures they wish to see taken to ‘stop climate change’.”

Unlike Blanchett, others with a more stable head on their shoulders have looked at the very real costs of taking these reckless actions. Booker explains, “Last week I dined with Professor Bob Carter, a distinguished Australian paleoclimatologist, who has been trying to alert politicians in Scandinavia, Australia and New Zealand to the scarcely believable cost of these proposals. He gave me a paper he presented to a committee of New Zealand MPs. China and India, as the price of their participating in the UN’s planned ‘Kyoto Two’ deal to be agreed in Copenhagen next December, are demanding that developed countries, including Britain, should pay them 1 per cent of their GDP, totalling up to more than $300 billion every year.

“Africa is putting in for a further $267 billion a year. South American countries are demanding hundreds of billions more. In the US, the latest costing of President Obama’s ‘cap and trade’ Bill is $1.9 trillion, a yearly cost to each US family of $4,500.

“Meanwhile, as Mr Obama’s Nobel Prize-winning Energy Secretary, Stephen Chu, babbles on the BBC’s Today programme about how the world’s energy needs can be met by wind and solar power (for which, he assured us, we would need to cover only 5 per cent of the planet’s deserts with solar panels), a study shows that for every job created in Spain’s ‘alternative energy industry’ since 2000, 2.2 others have been lost. (Mr Obama talks about creating ‘five million green jobs’ in the US.)”

And various green panaceas often turn out to be quite the opposite: “Last week the BBC and various newspapers excitably greeted the opening by Alex Salmond of Whitelee, ‘Europe’s largest onshore wind farm’, 140 giant 2.3 megawatt turbines covering 30 square miles of moorland south-east of Glasgow. It was happily reported that these would ‘generate’ 322MW of electricity, ‘enough to power every home in Glasgow’. They won’t, of course, do anything of the kind. Due to the vagaries of the wind, this colossal enterprise will produce only 80MW on average, a quarter of its capacity and barely enough to keep half Glasgow’s lights on.

“It really is time people stopped recycling the thoroughly bogus propaganda claims of the wind industry in this way. Any journalist who still falls for these lies by confusing turbines’ ‘capacity’ with their actual output is either thoroughly stupid or dishonest. The truth is that the 80MW average output of ‘Europe’s largest wind farm’ is only a fraction of that of any conventional power station, at twice the cost. For this derisory amount of power, the hidden subsidy to Whitelee over its 25-year life will, on current figures, be £1 billion, paid by all of us through our electricity bills.”

He concludes, “Truly, our world has gone off its head, and no one seems to notice – not least those wretched MPs who allow all this to happen without having the faintest idea what is going on.”

Quite right. But hey, if it makes some Hollywood celeb feel good to push us all into economic oblivion, simply to assuage her conscience, then I guess we shouldn’t complain too much. It’s just that most of us might have to sell our DVD collections – including those featuring Blanchett – in order to get a bit of money to buy some food and clothing. Why is it that these stars and politicians always seem so reckless with other people’s money?

www.news.com.au/heraldsun/story/0,,25539461-663,00.html
www.telegraph.co.uk/comment/columnists/christopherbooker/5374207/Climate-Change-Act-Now-the-world-faces-its-biggest-ever-bill.html

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32 Replies to “Climate Change, Celebrities, and Reality”

  1. (since this is the internet, indulge me:) Lol.

    Actually, with increased CO2 there would be dramatically less widespread bushfires. Oxygen is the essential ingredient to fires, not CO2. And a 2-3 degree (C) increase in temperature won’t do much as an increase in 1-2% oxygen in the air.

    The % of oxygen in air is one of those much- , much ignored “fine tunings of life”. Were the oxygen concentration of air a bit lower, we (humans + other mammals) couldn’t breath. Raise the oxygen a bit higher and widespread fires rage, thanks to it being easier for spontaneous combustion to occur. The oxygen % of air is remarkably well balanced for life on earth (of course, more remarkable is how bacteria across the entire planet decided to ‘switch-on en masse’ at several points in history and bump oxygen from its inital low % to higher, till it was concentrated enough for mammals to breath).

    Also, fun fact is that wind farms actually kill large numbers of bats (and birds to a lesser degree). The bats die without even hitting the turbines, killed by haemorrhage from the sudden air pressure drop.

    And as for the economics… well. I don’t know much.

    -Tristan Ingle, Sydney.

  2. Er, the first para reads a little confusing, but the point is made: increased CO2, or temperature, doesn’t do much to “widespread bushfires” (not that we are even seeing increased global temperature). Unless rising global temperature has been linked with increased incidence of arson?

    -Tristan Ingle, Sydney.

  3. It’s always been the way, as Milton Friedman pointed out: almost every new government intervention is pushed by two groups in an inadvertent coalition: the do-gooders and the special interests.

    Sometimes this is called “Baptists and Bootleggers” after the US alcohol Prohibition—Baptists pushed Prohibition on their moral grounds against drinking alcohol, while the bootleggers liked it because it kept the prices of their illegal liquor sky high (that’s how Joe Kennedy made his fortune).

    Friedman’s main example was minimum wage laws: the do-gooders want them out of misplaced compassion for the low-paid; the special interests who push them are the unions to undermine competition with these workers.

    With warm-mongering, the “do-gooders” are the chicken littles, while the special interests are the alternative power generators like the wind famers and solar panel makers. A recent Quadrant article, The High Price of PC Power, argued that these two groups are now combined, so that the “do-gooders” like alGore are also the special interests who have many millions of dollars from “green” companies benefiting from their alarmism.

    Jonathan Sarfati, Brisbane

  4. Another explanation is that western civilisation unconsciously knows itself to be vacuous and is taking the appropriate action.

    * negative birth rates propped up with significant immigration from countries with world views hostile to its own.

    * mollicoddling enemies and straightjacketing allies.

    * prosecution/silencing of anyone who points out the dangers seeking to overwhelm our society.

    * and now voluntarily withdrawing from productive industry and handing economic initiative and productivity to devloping nations.

    Either that or it’s a Romans 1 style judgement from God. You get what you want – death. Death of the civilisation.

    But I still do my bit for global warming – just in case. When I’m at the supermaket I always take an extra plastic bag and just throw it in the rubbish. It goes into the landfill. There we are- carbon sequestration at its easiest.

    Michael Hutton, Ariah Park

  5. I think it was G K Chesterton who pointed out that when you don’t believe in God you will believe in anything.

    I think that’s what’s going on for these filmstar fanatics.

    The post Christian western world is just plain gullible.

    Michael Hutton, Ariah Park

  6. You know what irritates me the _most_ about vacuous airheads from Hollywood carping on endlessly about this global warming nonsense. Actually, what annoys me about “greenies” in particular and leftists in general.

    If all this low carbon stuff is such a great idea, why don’t they dig into their pockets and fund it, instead of expecting tax payers to pick up the cost.

    If they really believed what they are saying why don’t they put their money where their mouth is. At that point, I might be willing to take them seriously. Until they do only a fool would listen to these clowns.

    Jason Rennie

  7. I think we must consider whether the celebrity in question may have been paid to put a specific view across.

    Perhaps the main aim of the global scaremongers is to create a melting pot of people, send them broke via an ETS, and abolish religion (e.g.by setting Muslims and Christians against one another) so that a global communist government can take over.

    Yesterday I saw an eminent Brisbane medical scientist doing the National Press Club address. He said a government investment of $1.00 into medical research would return $3.00 to the GLOBAL ECONOMY – not the Australian economy.

    Coral Carmichael, Brisbane

  8. I think we need to be cautious of being too one-sided on this issue. Yes there are a lot of loonies and brainless celebrities jumping on the climate bandwagon, but there are also conservative Christians who sincerely agree with the opinion that human activity might be altering the planet’s climate in dangerous ways.

    see http://christiansandclimate.org/

    We should suspend judgment until further evidence comes to light, rather than automatically assuming that the majority of the world’s scientists are totally wrong.

    Jereth Kok

  9. I try to adopt a balanced approach to climate change, that is a maybe, but does it necessarily mean it will be bad? Afterall when the last one occurred in the 1300s’ a mini ice age occured and apparently England lost a lot of her grape crop. Perhaps there will be a positive aspect, but I also get sick and tired of climate change fascism – if you are a skeptic you are pilloried.
    What a terrible day it will be when people who thought they had saved the planet stand before God and forgot to save their souls.
    Wayne Pelling

  10. Thanks Jereth

    But no one is saying that “the majority of the world’s scientists are totally wrong”. What critics are saying is that the science if far from certain; that unanimity does not exist in the scientific community as to if and how much human activity is responsible for all this; and that many of the proposed solutions are likely to bankrupt economies and hurt the poor the most. Given those considerations, some prudent caution is well in order.

    Bill Muehlenberg, CultureWatch

  11. Shouldn’t we also be asking – Are…”…the majority of the world’s scientists… ” (who say that we are experiencing global warming AND that it is a bad thing) profiting in some way by receiving grants and other funding to combat/study it?

    if so, why are they not considered biased?

    …Always follow the money trail…

    Glen Grady

  12. Here we go with celebrity politics again! I read recently on one internet site (I forget which) that Al Gore (the Goracle) is receding into the background somewhat, and his high-profile advocacy role is being taken by that esteemed paragon of scientific wisdom, representing cutting-edge research, and in touch with the latest peer-reviewed scientific papers – Oprah Winfrey! Let us all bow before her nigh-omniscient insight into global warming and climate change!
    I am being only half-sarcastic. When I see ignorant celebrities, whether Cate Blanchett or Oprah Winfrey weighing into the climate change debate (which we have been assured for years now was “over”, that “the science was settled”), I know that the issue is most certainly NOT about science. What would these ignorant bumpkins know about the atmospheric greenhouse signature, the Pacific Decadal Oscillation, cosmic ray influx, proxy ice-core data, solar cycles, and a host of other matters, all of which impinge most decidedly on the earth’s climate patterns?
    The whole issue should be about science, but it has been hijacked from the start by green zealots who don’t know a bee’s knee about science. They have got themselves into an area they know nothing about. Then when a real scientist like Ian Plimer comes along all they can do is try to smear him as a shill for big oil (a now-standard ploy), or dismiss his work with sweeping, open-slather but unsupported statements.
    When I see hysterical women throwing themselves on the floor (as when Rudd announced his ETS scheme a few weeks ago), or witness zealots intimidating “deniers” with inflammatory rhetoric, then I likewise know this issue is not about science. When oh when do you see a real scientist manifesting this sort of behaviour?
    As for being a shill for big oil, what about those scientist in the CSIRO who are shills for the next government handout, or the next research grant, as alleged by those scientists who once worked for that organisation, and felt that only when they left it could they speak their minds about such prostitution of science?
    Murray Adamthwaite

  13. One other thing: let the Cate Blanchetts of this world withdraw from matters properly scientific, and stick to acting the part of Queen Elizabeth I. The trouble is, she can’t even get that right!
    Murray Adamthwaite

  14. ‘When I see ignorant celebrities weighing into the climate change debate, whether they be Cate Blanchett or Oprah Winfrey…’

    …or George Pell?

    Heather Bates

  15. Thanks Heather

    With an MA from Monash University and a PhD from Oxford, as well as being a Visiting Scholar at both Oxford and Cambridge, I think I will take his intellectual and academic qualifications any day over those of Blanchett and Winfrey. For that matter, I will take his qualifications over yours any day as well.

    Bill Muehlenberg, CultureWatch

  16. Love the definition –

    actorvist
    1. a Hollywood type with an aggressive, left-leaning agenda (actor + activist)

    2. a celebrity activist
    And “Good Night” is only one example of how Clooney is shedding his party boy persona and becoming more of an “actorvist.”

    (Newsweek, October 10, 2005 issue)

    Doug Holland

    from http://www.urbandictionary.com/define.php?term=actorvist

  17. Hi Heather,

    What exactly has George Pell said re this topic that you find objection to??

    Jane Petridge

  18. Well, then let’s look at the CSIRO.

    It supports the idea of “man-made” global warming and the contribution that is said to be made by running too much livestock.

    Who sponsored “The CSIRO Diet” which is top heavy with red meat? The Meat and Livestock Corporation, that’s who.

    Years ago, I worked with researchers. Yes, there is definitely money to be made from climate change claims or any other possible avenue of endeavour.

    I remember professors bowing and scraping to representatives of drug companies in order to obtain funding.

    I think most people would be aware that lots of organisations use celebrities to push their point of view or make money – not least from the celebrities themselves.

    This would include a certain large destructive commercial cult that has somehow proven itself to be a religion in a court of law.

    Coral Carmichael

  19. See how some celebrities have been quoted for their disgust at the decision to uphold the ban on gay marriages in California.

    Who cares what the celebrities think? The fact is, the issue was put to a vote and homosexual marriages were rejected. One news report stated there were over a hundred arrests in the subsequent protests, and another news report said the protests were ‘peaceful’. Who is telling the truth or hiding the truth in this case??

    Jane Petridge

  20. Wow! After reading Cardinal Pell’s articles, I can say that I have a great respect for his honest, well reasoned arguments. I’m astounded that anyone could compare what he wrote to anything said by a celebrity, “actor-vist”, (Thanks Doug) or find fault with it. Let alone the fact that he stands to profit nothing from what he has stated, unlike the others…. perhaps the upset is simply that the truth he has stated hurts the radical agenda of those espousing the latest “world doom”.
    Glen Grady, Brisbane

  21. I think that climate change is not the issue so much as old fashioned air, sea, water and land pollution.
    I also think that with the passage of time cleaner production processes occur anyway. Govt can prod it along but not as they are doing now with all these ridiculous targets and hysterial mantras.
    And what really drives me spare is that phrase that is a cousin surely to ‘what will the neighbours think’ i.e., ‘what will the REST OF THE WORLD think ‘. I cannot abide that mindless mantra from the Left and liberals and the Corporate world of our ‘top’ companies.
    We cannot control the sun and the variations in the movements of the planets such as the Earth that has a big bearing on the temperature and weather.
    Michael Webb

  22. Jereth,

    I agree with you but from the opposite side.

    It seems to me the climate change hysteria is demanding that we act now. We don’t have time! We must act now! It may be too late already! You’ve heard all those statements haven’t you?

    What I am saying, and what I implore fellow Christians who should have a world view that allows them to at least question the world’s latest trends is this, “Don’t get too excited, slow down and examine the facts.”

    If this is real, and if this has been building since the industrial revolution, then we don’t have to fix it tomorrow. In fact we can’t afford not to take the time to work out what is really going on and what is really going to help.

    At present the climate change movement is driven by agendas, anthropophobia, ignorance, hysteria and the rebel without a cause syndrome.

    I already teach my congregation how to solve climate change. But I do it for an authentic thought out Biblical reason. I teach, “Don’t buy into consumerism and materialism, learn to be content.”

    If climate change is true it is western consumerism that drives the production etc that drives it. But have you noticed how e- and green- has become a gimmick to sell more stuff. Environmentalism is now part of the problem.

    Simple Christianity is the solution.

    Michael Hutton, Ariah Park

  23. The fact that Cate Blanchett or any other actorvist has any notable voice says everything about how the public’s perceptions of reality is moulded by Hollywood and the mainstream media. Fact from fiction. People are so conditioned these days less and less know the difference. I thank God for the solid rock reference point – The Bible. To the God of Israel who says “Come now, let us reason together”, I gave all the glory and praise.
    Anthony McGregor

  24. Dear Bill, Thankyou for your great articles.So called ‘entertainers’ have for decades resorted to extremist views or bad manners when they want to give their careers a boost and I have long learned to take what they say with a pinch of salt. The Beatles were busy turning people against Christianity in the sixties by making Hindu mysticism popular while in the nineties Bob Geldof was happy enough to jump on the John Howard – bashing band wagon whilst being extremely rude to relatives of one of his band members. A few years ago Hollywood popsy Olivia Newton – John took advantage of the ‘ live more simply’ bandwagon being promoted by the greens but it backfired when it was revealed the amount of expensive waste that was accumulated when she was building herself an expensive new mansion. The disgusting filth and lies which Cate Blanchett has acted in in such films as The Good German and Elizabeth shows she has no scruples when it comes to promoting moral pollution if it will keep her career on track. I suppose in one way the silly woman might be doing her fans a favour because if they lose their jobs through government climate change policies they will have no money left over to see her trashy movies. God Bless Always
    Patricia Halligan

  25. Patricia Halligan reminds us of a good point about these Hollywood and rock music celebrities. Many of these people through their movies, TV shows, ‘music’ (if you can call it that), and the example of their personal conduct, are guilty of promoting the vilest of moral pollution. Such pollution is far more toxic to a stable, free and prosperous society than any of the physical-environment polluting substances that they rail against. Our society will have imploded from the Hollywood inspired normalising of perversity long before the effects of global warming were ever felt even assuming it to be a real threat. And yet many ‘entertainers’ have the audacity and assume the moral superiority to lecture the rest of us about how we should live!

    Ewan McDonald.

  26. Yes, that’s an excellent point, Ewan.

    I think the main aim of climate change “experts” is to lead us into a global communist government. That could be why a representative of The Greens is pushing a One Child Policy and a reduction of Australia’s population from 21 million to 7 million.

    We have been “sold out” and “sold off” to Asian countries for the last 25 to 30 years, with Kevin Rudd and Anna Bligh really ramping it up recently.

    I am told there is a private company on the southside of Brisbane which is bringing in young people from India and Pakistan and training them as apprentices, so they can take our young people’s jobs (possibly at lower pay rates).

    Now that all of the Western countries have had their economies hollowed out and owe huge sums to China, and there’s a push for an ETS nearly everywhere except for Asia’s massive polluters and fast growing economies, what next?

    It isn’t hard to figure out, is it?

    Why have Korea and Japan ramped up their defence capacities? Why has Korea conducted another nuclear test?

    Are they trying to deliver a little warning to China as to what could happen to Beijing if they don’t keep their capitalistic fingers out of EVERYONE else’s pies? Perhaps with the aim of taking over without even a fight?

    Coral Carmichael

  27. I agree with Michael Webb, we shouldn’t pollute, over consume, waste etc because our biblical mandate is to be good stewards of what God has given us. I don’t know anything about Cate Blanchett as I take no notice of what “celebrities” say, they are engaged in a commercial enterprise to further their careers.Not only can she be described as an “actorvist” but as engaging in “infotainment” (appearing to entertain, while really trying to sell something she is sponsored to sell).
    I heard it said that two thirds of the US economy is “discretionary” (translation-unnecessary). Since the GFC (global financial crisis) there has been an estimated 30% drop in greenhouse emissions. A bit more recession and the “problem” is solved!
    Dr Philip Dawson

  28. I remember hearing that Angelina Jolie called the Howard Government’s refusal to sign the Kyoto Protocol ‘immoral’. She said this not long after taking up with another woman’s husband, ie, Brad Pitt. Need I say more?
    Wayne Pelling

  29. Bit late reading and commenting on this blog, Bill. Are you familiar with recently-published book by Dr. Ian Plimer of the University of Adelaide titled “Heaven and Earth–Global Warming: the missing science.” It’s raised a firestorm within Australia from many left-leaning scholars, politicians and other celebs on the Al Gore bandwagon.

    Interestingly, Plimer is the farthest thing from a Christian, and years ago engaged in a rather caustic debate with and diatribe (much to his own professional discredit) with Creation Scientist and apologist, Duane Gish.

    Steve Swartz

  30. Regarding overpaid Hollywood “stars” their warped priorities were summd up succinctly recently by one of my favourite commentators. She said some of them have so much money, the only worry in their lives, is that all that money doesn’t seem to be able to purchase a successful herpes cure.
    Frank Bellet, Petrie Qld

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