Al Gore's oscar earns him accolades from the German media. Left wing daily Sueddeutsche compares him favorably to ...well, you guessed it...George W. Bush. If only Al Gore had run the country in the last couple of years...
Germany's enthusiasm for strict environmental policies of the Gore/IPCC type stands in marked contrast to the economic risks the country faces if such policies are implemented:
The big-car problem
Germany produces some of the fastest and most luxurious cars in the world, but is that yesterday's game?
EARLIER this month Germany's carmakers were hit by new emission limits proposed by the European Commission. There were howls of protest, not least from Angela Merkel, the German chancellor. So the proposed ceiling was raised a little, to 130 grams of CO2 per kilometre to be met by 2012. This still left the makers of many of the world's most prestigious cars with the most work: in the European Union only six German-made models meet the target, but 34 of those made by competitors do. Moreover, of all the cars on sale in Germany which pump out more than 200g of CO2 per kilometre, most are German. (...) This is not a happy state of affairs for a country that likes to lead the way on the environment. Nor does it bode well for Germany's biggest industry, which employs one in seven of the country's manufacturing workforce. (Source)
Germany will solve the conflict between domestic gas guzzler production and global environmental concerns in a simple, traditional way: politics and media will pay lip services to the environment and will blame the U.S. for not signing Kyoto, while the automobile industry will serve worldwide demand for high powered luxury cars.
The two-faced nature of German politics has served the country well in many areas...
For German politics and the German media, the U.S. and in particular U.S. President Bush are the default villains of environmental policy. Next to the bible, "Kyoto" is the cherished vision for a better world, in which humans, penguins and polar bears, to name a few beneficiaries, will live together in perfect natural harmony. All that stands between the paradise and the present are Bush's neocons who simply refuse to accept the consensus view ofscience.
Imagine, then, the surprise for the German audience generated by a speech of Kurt Volker, Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary for European and Eurasian Affairs of the U.S. State Department. The speech was given on Feb 12, 2007, at a meeting of the German Marshall Fund. Excerpts:
Now, I know there is a deeply held view among many in Europe that the U.S. Government doesn't get it. That we don't care about climate change, that we are doing nothing to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, and that Europe, while perhaps not perfect, is doing a far better job of tackling the issue than the United States. This proposition--no matter how simple, no matter how widely held, and no matter how much it fits a pop-culture "blame-the-United States" paradigm--is completely wrong, on every point. (...)
Let me start first with the data, because it is important to have the facts on the table. No question: The United States is the world's largest emitter of CO2. Everybody in the room knows this. But this fact says no more about the United States, than the fact that Germany leads Europe in emissions says about Germany.
The United States is number one in greenhouse gas emissions primarily because it is the number one economy in the world. With 5% of the world's population we produce 25% of global wealth. And despite being relatively clean and green, Germany leads Europe in emissions, because it is Europe's largest economy. Our emissions are not out of line with the size of our economy. And it's worth noting: the International Energy Agency is forecasting that China, with a smaller economy, is expected to surpass U.S. greenhouse gas emissions by 2009.
More important than current emissions is the trend line. What is actually happening to emissions? Are they being reduced? This, after all, is what Kyoto is supposed to address.
According to data from the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change, from 2000-2004--the most recent period for which we have good, comparative data--U.S. greenhouse gas emissions increased by 1.3 percent. This is an increase, but a very modest increase. The EU-25, on the other hand, increased collective emissions by 2.1 percent.
And, no, this is not because the new EU members added since the 2004 expansion run dirtier economies than the previous 15 members, and this then bumps up the numbers. Actually, the new members have the opposite effect. Those nations--by moving away
Politically Incorrect reports on an article (in German) by Dirk Maxeiner in the Swiss paper Weltwoche that contradicts some of the hysteria driven public discourse on the topic of global warming. Maxeiner describes the "self silencing" process of critics of the IPCC report.
By chance, I found this interesting letter to the editor of Times Online:
Sir, I listened on Thursday to Melvin Bragg’s excellent programme on Karl Popper. Afterwards I heard of David Milliband’s remark that the scientific debate on global warming was now closed.
I am not sure if Popper would have laughed or raged — probably both. For him no scientific debate was ever closed, and he pointed out that the Newtonian “consensus” had lasted several centuries when Einstein came along and reopened the debate. Whether the “climate consensus” will last more than a few years before the debate needs to be reopened seems doubtful.
As I understand it, the climate modellers are using Newtonian mechanics
I guess most of this blog's readers are as appalled as I am by the doomsday predictions dressing as scientific climate research. Not to be outdone by anyone, BILD ran an article on man-like Mars creatures, who - according to "scientists" and an "author" - live in caves deep below the surface of the red planet because of a historical climate catastrophe, "same as the earth will witness". You better get your light bulbs ready...
No surprise that the German media eagerly transport the desired messages of the IPCC crowd. After all, if only George W. Bush would sign "Kyoto"...
Using the "follow the money" analysis that has served me well during most of my lifetime, I detect these beneficiaries of climate hysteria:
Scientists (driven by an interest in funding of their research)
Energy industry (think CO2 free nuclear energy)
Insurance companies (aiming at premium rises for all types of risk insurance)
Computer companies (hey, you need supercomputers for these nice earth warming simulations...)
(feel free to add other branches)
Here is a fascinating albeit somewhat depressing analysis by Hendrik Tennekes, retired Director of Research, Royal Netherlands Meteorological Institute:
Seventeen years ago, I wrote a column for Weather magazine, expressing my concerns about the lack of honesty, integrity and humility of many climate scientists. “I worry about the arrogance of scientists who claim they can help solve the climate problem, provided their research receives massive increases in funding”, reads one line from my text. Unknown to me, my friend Richard Lindzen was working on his famous paper “Some Cooling Concerning Global Warming”, which appeared in the Bulletin of the AMS at the same time. This was early 1990. It is 2007 now, and I want to ring the alarm bell again. There is a difference, though: then I was worried, now I am angry. I am angry about the Climate Doomsday hype that politicians and scientists engage in. I am angry at Al Gore, I am angry at the Bulletin of Atomic Scientists for resetting its Doomsday clock, I am angry at Lord Martin Rees for using the full weight of the Royal Society in support of the Doomsday hype, I am angry at Paul Crutzen for his speculations about yet another technological fix, I am angry at the staff of IPCC for their preoccupation with carbon dioxide emissions, and I am angry at Jim Hansen for his efforts to sell a Greenland Ice Sheet Meltdown Catastrophe.
The cover of BILD, Europe's largest daily, on Saturday, Nov. 4, 2006, raises ecological alarmism to new heights.
BILD claims the end of the world as we know it. Disastrous consequences for mankind "during our lifetime" are predicted with absolute certainty, including melting of the poles (both!!) and of all (!!) glaciers, extinction of all fish in the Atlantic (no kidding!), rising sea levels with catastrophical consequences, devastating hurricans, increasing in frequency, etc., etc..... BILD concludes: "The earth has FEVER! The earth is sick. Unless we act, the earth will die. Same as the animals."
Whow! That's a scenario! And, best of all, it's just the start of a series of articles on the topic in BILD.
The English magazine The Business published a rather skeptical evaluation of the Stern report:
Economists use a decimal point to prove they have a sense of humour. But Sir Nicholas Stern’s report warning that global warming will cost £3.68 trillion if left untreated shows that economists can also be taken too seriously. His portentious study, The Economics of Climate Change, prepared for the British government, was treated as if it had been carried down from Mount Sinai rather than put together by an ordinary British mandarin. The fawning media classes, which now regard environmentalism as the new religion, immediately took it as gospel (to do otherwise is the new heresy). (...)
As a compendium of alarmist studies on global warming, the Stern report has no rival. Few outlandish claims have not been included in his 570-page tome, making it a useful guide to current eco-nuttery. Naturally, it paints the now-familiar vision of apocalypse; malaria doubling; Bangladeshis drowning; Europeans expiring in summer heatwaves and hurricanes ripping apart America.
If you are living in Germany, better be prepared for more eco disaster predictions - after all, Tony Blair just met with Angela Merkel, and the two agreed "to work closely together to build a strong international alliance to fight global warming."