Is economic "graceful decline" the true agenda of some warmists?

Bill McKibben, an American environmentalist an...

Bill McKibben - Image via Wikipedia

Guest commentary by Indur Goklany

Sometimes the true agenda is laid bare.

From http://www.eenews.net/climatewire/print/2011/08/19/1, a piece on Bill McKibben, in which E&E News’ Paul Fialka discusses his agenda, are these passages.

[My comments are in brackets. I have highlighted some passages.]

Many of the climate theories in [McKibben’s] book [“The End of Nature.”]– and the future career path of McKibben — were shaped by James Hansen, who was then and is now the head of the NASA Goddard Institute for Space Studies in New York. Starting in 1988, Hansen had begun to testify before Congress that greenhouse gas emissions had begun to change familiar weather patterns on the planet and, without action to limit them, the changes would become more obvious and dangerous in the 21st century.

As Hansen explained and as McKibben later found out, the people who were most vulnerable to the flooding, famine and drought and the spread of tropical diseases lived in developing countries. McKibben was interviewing people in the slums of Bangladesh in 2006 when he was hospitalized with dengue fever, which is still untreatable. As he watched others dying, he recalled in a later book: “Something in me snapped. Nothing concrete had come from my work, or anyone else’s.”…

Putting the U.S. economy into ‘graceful decline’

While some companies have been critical of the chamber’s lobbying, McKibben will have great difficulty convincing them about another premise of his, which is that to cope with the more expensive food, weather, health and energy challenges of a climate-changed world, the growth of America’s economy can’t continue.

Baku demonstration
350.org supporters line up in Baku, Azerbaijan. They were among those in 188 countries who demonstrated for climate change solutions on Oct. 10, 2010. Photo courtesy of Flickr.

He talks about federal policies that put the economy in a “graceful decline,” one that stimulates small-scale, organic farming and has more of a focus on activities in neighborhoods, towns and states than on national and international affairs. “We need to scale back, to go to ground,” he says in “Eaarth.”

[COMMENT: (1) Apparently, it has never occurred to McKibben that the perhaps the major reason why people in developing countries were most vulnerable to flooding, famine and drought and the spread of tropical diseases and  why Bangladeshis died from dengue is that they lacked economic development and had stuck to “organic farming” for much longer than farmers in the developed countries. (2) There is nothing “graceful” about lower economic development. Ask not only people in developing countries but also those trapped without jobs in developed countries.]

What McKibben says he wants from Washington ispoverty a “stiff price on carbon” emissions. He calls cap and trade, the Democrats’ most recent legislative attempt to impose a price on carbon emissions through an economywide emissions trading scheme, “an incredibly complicated legislative scheme that gives door prizes to every interested industry and turns the whole operation over to Goldman Sachs to run.”

…Fred Krupp, president of the Environmental Defense Fund…one of the leaders of a coalition of major environmental groups and corporations that pushed cap and trade through the House [when asked] about McKibben’s advocacy of civil disobedience, … said “that’s a matter of personal conscience and personal choice. It’s not among the tactics that EDF uses.”

Frank O’Donnell, president of Clean Air Watch, a small, Washington-based environmental group, is among those lining up alongside McKibben…

Paul Bledsoe, a former Clinton administration White House aide, has known McKibben for 15 years [and] now works with Washington’s Bipartisan Policy Center, said he isn’t surprised by McKibben’s move toward civil disobedience. “Because climate impacts will hurt and potentially devastate the poor disproportionately, the moral and social justice elements of climate are much greater than many other environmental problems,” Bledsoe said.

[COMMENT: So how would a decline in economic development – “graceful” or otherwise – reduce climate impacts?]

In the interview here, McKibben explained that his group, 350.org, gets about $1 million a year in donations, most of it coming from foundations. Most of its activists are volunteers, led by 20 to 30 staffers “who are paid very little.” Financially, it is outgunned by the U.S. Chamber and fossil fuel companies, which is why he has organized it as a “movement” to raise public awareness. “Our currency is bodies and spirit,” he said. “This [climate change] is the biggest thing that’s ever happened.”

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Jim S

Two words: White guilt.

Simon Filiatrault

It seems that they are succeeding very well, with some help from wall street and the bailout freaks… And it’s far from a graceful decline.

SionedL

Graceful decline? Ask people who have lost homes and jobs how “graceful” that feels. “Decline”? That sounds like George Soros’ “managed decline” mantra. Wonder how much Soros gives to 350

DirkH

“Financially, it is outgunned by the U.S. Chamber and fossil fuel companies, which is why he has organized it as a “movement” to raise public awareness.”
Rockefeller Family FOundation >> Suatainable Markets Foundation >> 350.org
>> “It’s hot in here” (Youth lunatics)
http://compleatpatriot.blogspot.com/2009/10/peer-reviewed-earth-sciences-literature.html

rbateman

I thought thier ultimate mission was to remove all CO2 from the atmosphere, as well as all traces of Carbon from the surface, and bury it. In other words, to sterilize the Earth of all life. Eventually, Earth would resemble a much bigger Mars

DirkH

Sorry, the info wasn’t complete.
You go to the Rockefeller Family Foundation and enter “Sustainable Markets Foundation” in their search box.
You get 126 nondescript hits; some of them just showing a postal address; others showing individual grants granted
to the Sustainable Markets Foundation with designation of a purpose, like this one:
http://www.rbf.org/grant/11449/sustainable-markets-foundation-1
“GRANT DETAIL
New York, NY
United States
$100,000 for 1 year
For its Project 350.”
Good. From here we can stop using the rather slow search and directly change the URL, changing the number at the end,
for instance to
http://www.rbf.org/grant/11449/sustainable-markets-foundation-2
and so on and so on…

D. King

Here, chew on this from 2008.
http://blogs.abcnews.com/politicalpunch/2008/01/bill-we-just-ha.html
Their agenda will come crashing down on them, along with a lot of pissed off people!
BTW, it’s not about the climate.

You have to wonder how many “warmists” simply have the goal of the destruction of modern economics as their main objective?
It makes you wonder what kind of “self-loathing” is at the root of this desire?

Paul

Well it feels like we’ve already shot past graceful decline economically; I’m not sure how we can be expected to help the less fortunate in the world when we can barely take care of ourselves. What it really boils down to is that there are two kinds of people in the world, people who only want a piece of the pie and people who bake more pies.

u.k.(us)

He talks about federal policies that put the economy in a “graceful decline,” one that stimulates small-scale, organic farming and has more of a focus on activities in neighborhoods, towns and states than on national and international affairs. “We need to scale back, to go to ground,” he says in “Eaarth.”
=============
After wasting 20 minutes of my life trying to think of a reply, I decided the man’s thoughts are not worth the effort.

Are there any warmists at all who don’t have economic decline on their agenda?
Warmism is one of a whole series of cover ideologies for the UN’s “Agenda 21”, sometimes known as “Smart Growth”. If you read the actual Agenda 21 resolution (www.un.org/esa/dsd/agenda21/ ), it makes clear that the authors are out to make the rich countries poor and keep the poor ones poor too, because in their view, comfortable human life simply isn’t “sustainable” by or on Earth.
To which I say, what the bleep else is the Earth for?

charles nelson

The Green Guard are getting us ready for their ‘Great Leap Backwards’.

Kaboom

These folks look like the ones that should be gracefully declined into homelessness and poverty first, to test the waters.

Matthew Souders

This right here…this is utter madness. Our economy is what made it possible for us to have the kind of money needed to fund this clown’s research in the first place.
I’m a little tired of the strain of thought in successful economies that wealth is limited and that if you are wealthy, you must have taken that good fortune from someone else who needed it. That’s not how it works. The economy is not capped…it grows when industry leaders create new wealth with a new and better idea…something that improves our lives or creates productivity. Something that expands the agenda of the human race. People like McKibben think that American opulence comes at the cost of Bangladeshi deaths and misery. That’s not how it is. Bangladeshis suffer because they have failed to understand the basic things that make an economy work to better their lives.

This “discovery” is about like “discovering” that many Christians believe in salvation through faith. It’s right there in the words of the founder, if you care to read them.
Same here, except the founder is Margaret Mead. Nuff said.

The purpose of illusion is to show us where reality isn’t. That vision reveals where the faults lie and they always lie within. To attempt the restriction of human advancement and evolution is to throw oneself (and anyone else crazy enough to follow) beneath the wheels of progress in a vain attempt to slow that juggernaut. Far better to determine the effort required to steer that wagon to its eventual destination in the most efficient and effective manner rather than trying to derail the process.

Mike Wryley

Small scale farming rapidly devolves into subsistence farming which translates into working full time just to feed yourself and your family and praying to God your cow doesn’t die.
Folks like mckibben are reason to believe that Satan is alive and well.

Steve from Rockwood

As he watched others dying, he recalled in a later book: “Something in me snapped. Nothing concrete had come from my work,”
If this is true why did Hansen waste his life in climate science? Sadly, a lot of people die on this planet and it has nothing to do with temperature, climate science etc. These people are very poor – no food, no water, no security. Oh and nothing concrete HAS come from his work.

Dave Springer

These people all view global productivity as a pie. If one nation gets a bigger slice it comes at the expense of a smaller slice for another nation. This view isn’t limited to nations. They apply it to individuals as well such that the wealthier person gets his wealth at the expense of someone else. This translates into a political class that preys on people of good will and good fortune with what’s called “the politics of guilt”. In other words, the Democratic party.
This view is nonsense of course. If it was true the human population would still be a few million people living in caves with expected lifespans of 35 years. Global productivity has been growing for thousands of years and hasn’t stopped. The pie keeps getting bigger.

Curiousgeorge

People like McKibben are pathetic. They think of themselves as martyrs to some glorious cause, yet are far too vain and cowardly to strap on a vest full of C4. Or to even to publicly set themselves on fire, as some did during the Vietnam era, to make their point. They are beneath contempt.

Pablo an ex Pat

Rachel Carson’s book “Silent Spring” and the subsequent blanket ban on DDT has so far resulted in the death of > 30 Million. I believe that Hitler and Stalin killed less people, on an individual basis at least. It would appear that the Uber Greenies either never learn or simply don’t care about the effect the policies they promote have on real people. Or doesn’t it matter if they die one at a time instead of being mown down in droves ?
I well remember a documentary I saw a few years back about the loss of ice cover on the summit of Mt. Kilimanjaro. The lead up in the movie, prior to the walk to the summit, showed the climbers at a village on the lower slopes where they filmed, without any commentary, dozens of happy leaping dancing children. They were clearly being children and acting out for the camera but I couldn’t help but think that with their lack of commentary the film makers were saying “and here’s the source of the problem.” Chilling.

Don Horne

White Guilt? Maybe a smidgeon.
More like Darwin Award for everyone on the Earth!
This is a bona fide mental illness.

ken Nohe

Climate changes. That much we can be certain of. It has changed without us and it will continue to change with us. Do we impact it? Of course we do! As part of the ecosystem, our activities have an impact. This has been true in the neolithic when people colonized new continents and wiped out species, in the middle age when the forests of Europe were clear-cutted and of course more recently with the industrial revolution… and people have adapted. Sometimes the changes were overwhelming and civilizations crashed; the Aztecs, Easter Island, but mostly they survived, succumbing later to the onslaught of other civilizations.
And this I think is the major problem that we do not acknowledge and which makes the point of Bill McKibben irrelevant. The equilibrium that we need to main[tain] is not just ecological but it is also social for if the consequences of maintaining the ecological balance is to weaken society, then the civilization is doomed and soon enough will be replaced by another one. Then what is the point of saving a civilization from ecological disaster if soon after it is wiped out culturally?
Cultures have always been dominated by “myths”. This was true in the past and we recognize it but it seems to be far more difficult to understand the myth with which we live now.
1 – The first myth is most certainly the carbon treat. That we are producing too much carbon by burning fossil fuels is certain. That we should “think” about it among many other problems is no less certain. That carbon is the main cause of the climate disturbances that are taking place and that we should therefore forget everything else to tackle this issue is most certainly the wrong priority.
It reminds me of the war against communism in the 1950s or the war against terrorism now. You can never do enough to remove the treat but once you stop the “wars” somehow the problem disappear as if it wasn’t really there in the first place. There are still communists, there are still terrorists, and there will still be some climate changes. It’s just that neither the scale nor the scope of the problem was what it was said to be.
2 – The second myth is the “global” civilization in which we are supposed to live. This one is plain wrong. There may be a community of people but there are arranged in discrete (as opposed to continue) societies which are still very much in competition with each other. A Chinese, an Indian, a Latin European and an American do not share the same basic values and the world would be a very different place if dominated by the Indians or Chinese indeed. I am not saying worse or better, but just different enough so that we could call it a different “civilization”.
And this is why decline cannot be “managed” or even as a society envisioned for it represents the destruction of a value system and a society, even a schizophrenic one cannot contemplate such an outcome as a functioning entity. (It would only accelerate decline.)
So what is the future for the ideas of Mr McKibben? Well, they will most probably fade sooner than later under the onslaught of economic reality. The coming economic recession will very quickly crowd out any remaining concerns about carbon. (Wrongly in my opinion since we need to think about it in the long term. Just not as urgently as some people think.) As for decline, it may come but if it does, I am not so sure that even the people promoting the idea will welcome the consequences. I can read Chinese. Can they? Well hurry up! If English becomes the Latin of the 21C and these people need to survive in a “Chinese” world, Carbon will quickly become a secondary concern, if at all!

Don Horne

Throughout history, poverty is the normal condition of man. Advances which permit this norm to be exceeded — here and there, now and then — are the work of an extremely small minority, frequently despised, often condemned, and almost always opposed by all right-thinking people. Whenever this tiny minority is kept from creating, or (as sometimes happens) is driven out of a society, the people then slip back into abject poverty.
This is known as “bad luck.”   Robert Heinlein

ChE

Two words: White guilt.

Two words: Jesus complex.

Paul Penrose

McKibben is obviously one of those people that believe wealth is a zero sum game. In other words, that there is only so much wealth in the world and that if one country uses too much, like the US, that there is less available for everybody else. This is, of course, utter nonsense. But it is appealing to people that either don’t know better or are looking to blame their failures on someone else. Only wealth creation and economic growth can solve the problem of poverty. And that requires free markets, private property rights, and hard work.

Pablo an ex Pat

On second thought, I wish all the “benefits” of the gentle decline he wishes for to Mr McKibben first and in Spades.

Douglas DC

This is exactly what I have been saying-that the biggest fear of the greens is
healthy, happy dark skinned people. I will add: and middle class First worlders…
Green Shirt Brown Underwear…

Chris Riley

The AGW movement is a “perfect storm” that combines the economic mismanagement and political tyranny of Soviet style Marxism, with the hatred of humanity associated with the Malthusians.
These people are pure enemies of human freedom.

John W

He drank the kool-aide a long time ago:
“The computer models, however, project an increase in global average temperature as high as a degree Fahrenheit per decade.” …. “sometime around 2020”….”The trees outside my house will still be there; it’s just that they’ll be dead or dying.”
“The End of Nature” By Bill McKibben
http://books.google.com/books

Mike Wryley says:
Folks like mckibben are reason to believe that Satan is alive and well.

Interesting thought Mike, if one considers Satan’s fate a parable really speaking of man’s fate (i.e.: arrogance leads to our destruction) and that Satan = the Accuser; then there’s certainly a “robust” fit to the arrogant (man ends nature) accusers (man producer of all bad CO2) of the current “Environmental” movement.

dbleader61

John David Galt says:
August 20, 2011 at 5:29 pm
Are there any warmists at all who don’t have economic decline on their agenda?
Warmism is one of a whole series of cover ideologies for the UN’s “Agenda 21″, sometimes known as “Smart Growth”. If you read the actual Agenda 21 resolution (www.un.org/esa/dsd/agenda21/ ), it makes clear that the authors are out to make the rich countries poor and keep the poor ones poor too, because in their view, comfortable human life simply isn’t “sustainable” by or on Earth.
To which I say, what the bleep else is the Earth for?
——————-
Agreed
But people like McGibben swoon when they think of their Kennedyesque noble cause. “Ask not what the earth should give to you; ask what you can give to the Earth.”
Fortunately, between man’s ingenuity and Mother Gaia’s immense capacity, we aren’t anywhere close to capacity. And I will not participate in denying the developing world their place at the table graceful or otherwise.

Logan in AZ

Time to once again post the link to The Green Agenda website, wherein one finds a list of statements by the leaders of the extreme environmental and political left. They are not at all coy or evasive as to the general philosophy and ultimate goals of the AGW side.
http://www.green-agenda.com/
I realize this is a science blog, but AGW is not about science. The left has captured the academic and media forces in most of the English speaking world, and apparently controls the political realm in the UK…for now. In the US, the regulatory capture (a conventional term in social science, see the wikipedia article) will continue until the next election. And the developing Dalton or Maunder Minimum could be required to shut them up. The Rossi LENR device would also be a big event in several realms, if it works as claimed.
So, AGW is indeed the dead theory walking, but the final collapse will take a few years. I suggest that some sort of index or metric be devised to chart the decline and fall.

Rick Bradford

A ‘graceful decline’ for an economy is composed of a series of disasters at the individual level.
More evidence that Leftists love humanity, but they hate people.

Indur Goklany…….. I’ve had too many beers to further the conversation. But, I read the article and I’m compelled to state …. Well done! It is poverty that kills!……. everything! Without fiscal abilities, we can’t maintain! Thanks again!
James

Allencic

All of modern environmentalism, including the whole global warming scam can be neatly summed up in two words: HUMANS SUCK! Of course as the likes of Gore, Hansen, and others at the top of the scheme prove, that doesn’t include them. What worthless schmucks.

J.H.

Modern Socialism and its eco fascism….. There is not one original idea in the minds of these despotic tyrants. Same old tyranny. Same old lies. Different era.

Darren Parker

If we took away the social safety net of welfare we wouldn’t have slacktivists using our own money against us. Nothing like having to work for a living to bring you back to cold hard reality

RockyRoad

That the earth is warming up–whether by man’s CO2 contribution or naturally, is something to be celebrated. There’s enough metal on the face of the earth to make all the implements we’d ever need. There’s enough energy from the atoms we split or fuse to make all the energy we’d ever need. And unless your worldview is from some Manhattan apartment or some dive in Hong Kong or New Delhi, there plenty of space for the human race. Are new discoveries being made? Absolutely–at a faster and faster pace. Are we faced with the same ol’ problems? Seems we (speaking of humans in general) never learn. But this I will say–the likes of Hansen and McKibben are to be avoided; their negativism is to be exposed, and their destructive agenda fought against.

Doug in Seattle

Destruction of human civilization has been the goal of the environmental movement since its inception. The carbon jihad is just the most effective tool they have found to date.

The White Man’s Burden,,,,

anna v

It is simple with the muslim self flagellating believers. Maybe we should advertise their existence to these people. If they convert, the planet will be saved from their madness.

GregO

Darren Parker says:
August 20, 2011 at 8:01 pm
“Slacktivists?” Excellent! I hadn’t heard that one.
McKibben bugs me, of all the envirofascists out there he seems about the most deluded. I am actually tempted to read “Eaarth” just for giggles. I recall Sci Am’s review (it must have been like my last issue – I canceled it after ClimateGate) of Eaarth – it was smoochy love love Bill stuff. I almost retched reading it. Dreck.
Bill, here’s how it goes: We dig up some taconite in the upper midwest. It’s just some rocks and rubble. We grind it up and get iron ore. The iron ore is worth more than the rubble. We make some steel sheet from the iron ore. The steel sheet is worth more than the iron ore. Somebody (who has devoted their life to training and passionately studying product design – somebody like an engineer) designs something of value from the steel sheet – maybe a car part or maybe a component to a therapeutic device and the part is made by highly skilled craftsmen (also who have devoted their lives to mastering their craft) and that part is worth more than the steel sheet. On and on – blah, blah and so forth. In a nutshell that’s how wealth is created. Nothing is taken away from the folks in Bangladesh or Haiti, or any of the oh too numerous undeveloped places on our fine planet. They need to dig more stuff up, make more stuff, and grow more stuff. Oh, and they are.
Bill, in short, to create value, one has to dig it up, make it, or grow it. You want to help humanity? Get a job as a car salesman. In Bangladesh.

Old woman of the north

Don’t worry, Australia will start the decline with our ‘Carbon Tax’. The we will all be in decline. The Green Party here seems intent on returning human life to something similar to the Dark Ages. If it continues to cool there may be food shortages that are related to growing time and range as well as the factors of population impact on environments.
Aiming for some self sufficiency by growing vegetables is fine, but we all seem to grow the same things, leading to gluts, and home grown stuff spreads garden diseases if the usual sprays etc are not used.

McKibben is out of his nut. And element. How does someone of his ilk gain traction and voice? Who sanctions his scathing, accusatory rhetoric? He has the right to his opinions, it provides sensible people with the data to “know thine enemy”…but where does his influence lie, and should we really be concerned? Following his recent opinion piece in the WP, the overwhelming majority of comments were unfavorable. What would the WP gain credibility-wise from this, save ‘outing’ this madness? Somehow this all ‘began’, and like mould on the surface of a cheese, the rhizomes are tenaciously infecting the entire block. Publishing the unbecoming image of McKibben above artificially reinforces the image of a whackjob already firmly established by his writings. Can we safely say that the jig is up, or do we need to nudge a bit harder?
Sorry for all the questions, but the man frightens the hell out of me. The modern-day Jekyll and Hyde in the guise of Hansen and McKibben is as stark an image as can be presented; the vanguard of agenda-driven thought and blistering ad hominem.
Yikes.

Eric Barnes

How sad that a bunch of self flagellating nincompoops are in these kinds of leadership positions.

Jessie

Logan in AZ says: August 20, 2011 at 7:19 pm
So, AGW is indeed the dead theory walking, but the final collapse will take a few years. I suggest that some sort of index or metric be devised to chart the decline and fall.

and
Rick Bradford says: August 20, 2011 at 7:37 pm
A ‘graceful decline’ for an economy is composed of a series of disasters at the individual level.
More evidence that Leftists love humanity, but they hate people.

Probably need to provide a definition of their view of and what constitutes humanity and which [culture of] people they hate.
Here’s a ‘sort of index or metric’ already devised……
Bob Weidemer’s After Shock Survival video may be of interest in this news report ‘Aftershock’ Book Predicts Economic Disaster Amid Controversy
25 July 2011 (second to last link in report works) – 30 minutes
http://www.newsmax.com/Newsfront/Aftershock-book-predicts-economic/2011/07/25/id/404782?utm_source=outbrain&utm_title=%3FAftershock%3F-Book-Predicts-Economic-Disa
source: http://www.newsmax.com/

Mike

If you’re forced to spend more time working hand to mouth, and have little or no disposable income, they reason you’ll be happier, less of a risk, and much more compliant. Whats not to like?

tango

All I can say send around 2 men In white coats and clip boards

Allan M

Nothing concrete had come from my work, or anyone else’s.”…
Correction: Nothing concrete had come from my work, so I’m going to make damn sure nothing comes from anyone else’s.

Al Gore's Holy Hologram

It’s clearly a religion based on utopian thinking, chemophobia, anti-science, anti-industry and anti-humanity