Opinion by Dr Tim Ball
Free speech is essential to freedom, but with it comes a level of personal responsibility. Supposedly, Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes recognized this in his observations about shouting “fire” in a crowded theatre. People assume this meant you can’t do it, but his original comment included the critical word, “falsely”. In the US, your right to shout fire is part of free speech, but Holmes argued that you couldn’t shout fire, if it is false. The trouble is, who decides it is false and once it is said, the damage is done. The question then becomes accountability. Both the need for personal responsibility in confirming there is a fire, and being held accountable, when it is determined there was no fire, and you did not check with a modicum of due diligence. What if you shout fire in a supposedly crowded world?
Who holds the person accountable and how is it done? Lack of accountability is of great public concern. It was an issue raised by engineer Pierre Latour at the recent Heartland Climate Conference. It involved a debate over the difference of opinion between engineers and theoretical physicists using physics in the science of CO2. He said engineers have to belong to a professional organization in order to practice and are legally and professionally liable for their work, unlike many others using physics, including climate scientists.
Only the US makes free speech number one in their Constitution. Some deride the fact that the Founding Fathers made the right to bear arms the second guarantee, to defend the first guarantee. However, it recognized the reality that the greatest threat to the people was their own government. This threat also applies to those who seek total government control through any form of totalitarianism. H L Mencken said decades ago, “The urge to save humanity is almost always a false front for the urge to rule.” Change the word “humanity” to “planet” and it is equally true today about exploitation of environmentalism for a political agenda.
Vaclav Klaus, in his prescient book Blue Planet in Green Shackles wrote,
“Environmentalism is a political movement that originally began with the intent to protect the environment – a humble and perhaps even legitimate goal – but which has gradually transformed itself into an ideology that has almost nothing to do with nature.
This ideological stream has recently become a dominant alternative to those ideologies that are consistently and primarily oriented towards freedom. Environmentalism is a movement that intends to change the world radically regardless of the consequences (at the cost of human lives and severe restrictions on individual freedom). It intends to change humankind, human behavior, the structure of society, the system of values – simply everything.”
These are the same criticism Patrick Moore, co-founder of Greenpeace, made when he left that organization.
Some refer to people who use environmentalism as a cloak for political activities as watermelons. James Delingpole explains the situation in detail in his book Watermelons: The Green Movement’s True Colors.” The damage done by their false claims are virtually incalculable. Paul Driessen was among the first to identify the damage in his Eco-Imperialism. Beyond that, there is the frustration that nobody is ever held accountable.
In advance of the September Climate Conference in New York, the UN, through the World Meteorological Organization (WMO), is distributing world wide a series of short videos that are tantamount to shouting “fire”, in what they say is a crowded theater. The first one is a forecast for 2050, full of extreme events including floods, droughts, heat waves and even an indirect threat, by cynically claiming one benefit to the warming, will be easy transit through Arctic waters. They base their position and claims on the Reports of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). It is not just that many scientists disagree, but all IPCC predictions (projections) are wrong to date and the IPCC was created by the WMO. In addition, they use UN money, mostly contributed by developed nations, in their effort to make them pay for causing the problem. But who decided they caused the problem? They did, using scientific methods that are clearly wrong because the predictions are wrong. It is a classic circular argument.
There are leading environmentalists in every country who practice political abuse of environmentalism, as Klaus defined it. These individuals and their organizations have done great social and economic damage with environmental misinformation and false claims, for a political agenda of total government control under the guise of saving the planet. They are effectively a green fifth-column, the enemy within. Sadly, their exploitation and misuse of environmentalism is putting the entire paradigm in jeopardy, as people stop believing anything they’re told. Something about crying wolf.
Most of the organizations, despite a tax exemption that requires them to be apolitical, are used for political objectives. Trying to determine who and what is political is virtually impossible and fully open to abuse by the user and the government making the determination, as the recent IRS scandals in the US have demonstrated. What happens is, taxpayers end up funding organizations with which they completely disagree and those organizations use the money to attack and even eliminate them. The illogic of forcing a taxpayer to pay for a gun that another person uses to shoot them, is obvious.
Salmon fishing on North America’s northwest coast has long been a target for environmentalists. They attacked all forms, including fish farming. In Canada, there was no organization more vociferous than the David Suzuki Foundation. There was no justification for any of the changes. Salmon runs were not depleted by over fishing or declining habitat, as they claimed, but natural fluctuations of numbers due to changing ocean currents and water temperatures. It is a cycle registered in the oral tradition of the west coast aboriginals. When the salmon run fails they experience a period identified as the time of “full stomach”. This refers to the distended stomach of starvation, not too much food. The oral tradition also includes description of changing conditions that preceded the return of the salmon.
In the 1990s salmon numbers started to decline as weather patterns, including temperature, precipitation, and winds, caused changing ocean currents. Conditions, along the coast and in rivers, became unfavorable for returning salmon because of natural changes. The myth is that salmon always return to the river in which they were spawned. It is only true if conditions are favorable. While numbers declined in southern latitudes, they increased significantly in northern latitudes, from northern British Columbia, the Alaska panhandle and Alaska.
Salmon numbers fluctuate like all fish populations, as a brilliant work by L.B.Klyashtorin and A.A. Lyubushin. (Figure 1) show. Nobody has promoted this work and spoken out about the misinterpretation surrounding global warming more than Gary Sharp.
The Canadian problem was made worse by media pressure, but enhanced by the government Department of Fisheries. Every year they produced estimates of potential runs that almost consistently were much lower than the actual runs. It didn’t matter that they often underestimated by 50 percent. The numbers they produced were used to set the fishing quotas for the season and put many fishermen out of business, causing severe hardship for thousands of people. As Margaret Wente wrote,
In B.C., there’s something almost sacred about salmon. So when the salmon runs started to dwindle, the blame game began in earnest.
The Canadian Department of Fisheries used similar declining cod population numbers on the East Coast to stop the cod fishery completely. This devastated the Province of Newfoundland, because it was akin to going to Kansas and saying you can’t grow wheat anymore. It also led to closing many “outport” communities and moving the people to bigger centers, disrupting centuries old cultures and traditions. The frustration for Oceanographer, Roger Pocklington and I, was, we were monitoring ocean water temperatures and their causes and warning Ottawa that cod numbers were going to decline because of changing conditions. Nobody listened! A complete way of life was destroyed unnecessarily, because the cod moved to inshore waters and out into warming Gulf Stream waters where Europeans continued to catch them. Canadian fishermen were banned from fishing in these areas. Proof that claims of overfishing was the problem, is that the numbers haven’t recovered, even though there has been no fishing since 1993. The sad irony is the government and its bad decisions, that would have devastated the economy, were offset by increased revenue from the Hibernia oil discovery – saved by the fossil fuel devil.
The story is different on the northwest coast because now the salmon are returning, just as they have in the past. Record runs are being recorded all along the coasts of Washington, Oregon and British Columbia. It is not making headlines in the mainstream media. The Suzuki Foundation and other environmental groups, who blamed human activities, are silent. There are no apologies for being wrong, and certainly no attempt to hold them accountable.
In addition to getting the free salmon issue wrong, the Suzuki Foundation was involved in corruption of data about farmed salmon. Again Wente commented,
But the biggest villain is fish farms. Many people believe the fish farms are responsible for spreading deadly sea lice and disease to wild fish.
Thanks to Greenpeace, the David Suzuki Foundation and other activists, fish farms are among the most loathed operations in British Columbia.
Here is what Vivian Krause wrote,
For more than a decade, the David Suzuki Foundation has run an aggressive campaign against farmed salmon. “It’s poison!” David Suzuki told a conference in Toronto. “Phone your local hospitals and find out if farmed salmon is served to patients,” said a brochure from his foundation.
The central issue they claimed, was the damage done by “farm origin” sea lice. Krause concludes,
Sea lice are found on many species of wild fish, including herring. A method to trace the origin of sea lice is under development but currently does not exist, so it is methodologically impossible to distinguish between sea lice that originate from a fish farm and those that come from other wild fish. It follows that claims about “farm origin” sea lice are flagrantly unsubstantiatable.
Damage to reputation, financial loss, emotional stress, all those things a court considers damage due to wrongful actions, were suffered by people in various situations. What is even more galling is that their taxes, either directly or through increased taxation to offset these tax-exempt organizations not paying, are used.
The Suzuki Foundation is entitled to its view, and the freedom to express it, but there is a social responsibility that they appear to abrogate. Celebrities and mainstream media, duped by the PR, or a willingness to ignore facts and evidence, support him in this abrogation. Witness the use of Leonardo DiCaprio by the UN Secretary General to promote the New York Climate Conference. The cynicism of the appointment is underscored by his title of Messenger of Peace. Global warming has nothing to do with peace, but they couldn’t connect him with science. No more than the Nobel Committee could connect the IPCC and Al Gore with science, so they got Peace Prize. If the UN climate conference requires a Peace Ambassador and the Nobel Peace Prize is about climate science, it means they have declared war on global warming. This makes the observation of Greek philosopher, Aeschylus, “In war truth is the first casualty.
It is one matter to get the science wrong, for which there is a scientific culpability. However, when you use bad or deliberately false science to direct public policy, there is a social responsibility for which there should be total accountability. A simple definition of science is the ability to predict. The UN meeting is based on the predictions of the IPCC that were so wrong from the start that they started calling them projections, but even those were wrong. It doesn’t require an understanding of science to know that their predictions (projections) failed, which raises the question, how much “due diligence” did DiCaprio apply in his desire to bring peace? He has the freedom to speak, but as Oliver Wendell Holmes said it must not be a falsity, otherwise there is liability.