Why do polls show the public is unconcerned about global warming or climate change, yet most politicians continue to support considerable funding for research and the push for remedial action? The Pew Centre consistently place global warming near the bottom (Figure 1).
A UN poll, which should influence activities and priorities of that agency show the same pattern (Figure 2).
Despite this Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon takes extraordinary actions.
The secretary general of the United Nations, Ban Ki-moon, is to join a public march calling for action on climate change this weekend. “I will link arms with those marching for climate action,” Ban told a press conference. “We stand with them on the right side of this key issue for our common future.” His unusual step – high-ranking officials do not normally attend mass public protests – is a measure of how high the stakes are at a summit next week of world leaders, called by the secretary-general, to discuss climate change.
Of course, he has little choice because the evidence and warnings of the dangers of climate change come from his agency. The same is true of most countries; it is bureaucrats in national weather departments who push the UN climate change agenda. The politicians are not in control because they don’t understand the science or are afraid to challenge their government appointed “experts”.
A few countries, such as India, oppose the trend most prominently pushed by President Obama. India accepted the resignation of Rajendra Pachauri from the Prime Ministers Council on Climate Change. As the Indian Express explained,
“The Council decides on broad policy guidelines on climate change, and is headed by the Prime Minister.”
It is possible Pachauri’s charges were an opportunity to sideline the most vehement proponent – it occurred in a country that does not have a stellar record in dealing with rape, let alone sexual harassment of women.
Pachauri’s resignation from his bureaucratic role as head of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) sparked a mixture of reactions from relief, amusement, and “it’s about time”. It is a useful change but does not deal with the wider problem of total control by bureaucrats. He was just the most exposed, active and biased. The power remains with the national, bureaucratically controlled, weather and climate departments around the world. Pachauri’s actions were all slavish dedications to what the Climatic Research Unit (CRU) people called “The Cause.” His commitment was religious as he acknowledged.
“I will continue to [work on climate change] assiduously throughout my life in what ever capacity I work. For me the protection of planet Earth, the survival of all species and sustainability of our ecosystems is more than my mission, it is my religion.”
The IPCC is an organization that brings together the best experts from all over the world committed to working on an objective assessment of all aspects of climate change. The relevance and integrity of its work cannot be belittled by misleading or irresponsible reporting.
Pachauri was an extreme and almost unique bureaucrat, but that is one of the few differences between the UN and National bureaucracies.
Author and political commentator Mary McCarthy said, “Bureaucracy, the rule of no one, has become the modern form of despotism.” The global warming/climate change issue is a frightening, textbook example.
Few are as skilled at exploiting the political opportunities available than Maurice Strong. He took the political agenda of the Club of Rome initiated in the 1960s but explained in their book 1991 Report “The First Global Revolution” and entrenched it in Agenda 21 with the IPCC providing scientific evidence.
Elaine Dewar explained in The Cloak of Green that he went to the UN because
He could raise his own money from whomever he liked, appoint anyone he wanted, control the agenda.
Strong achieved that agenda with his acknowledged abilities. As Neil Hrab explained,
Mainly using his prodigious skills as a networker. Over a lifetime of mixing private sector career success with stints in government and international groups, Strong has honed his networking abilities to perfection.
What’s truly alarming about Maurice Strong is his actual record. Strong’s persistent calls for an international mobilization to combat environmental calamities, even when they are exaggerated (population growth) or scientifically unproven (global warming), have set the world’s environmental agenda.
He established the United Nations Environment Program (UNEP) and through the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) set up the IPCC. They directed the IPCC objective to produce the science necessary to support their claim that human CO2 was causing runaway global warming.
Appointees of the WMO dominate the IPCC. Strong likely had a hand in the appointment of senior Environment Canada bureaucrat Gordon McBean as Chair of the 1985 meeting in Villach Austria. As Richard Lindzen explained:
IPCC’s emphasis, however, isn’t on getting qualified scientists, but on getting representatives from over 100 countries, said Lindzen. The truth is only a handful of countries do quality climate research. Most of the so-called experts served merely to pad the numbers.
In all countries bureaucrats of national weather departments directed policy and easily challenged politicians who contradicted them – they were the experts. Lindzen knew from his direct involvement with the IPCC:
It is no small matter that routine weather service functionaries from New Zealand to Tanzania are referred to as ‘the world’s leading climate scientists.’ It should come as no surprise that they will be determinedly supportive of the process.
Bureaucratic control seems to explain the continued, almost total political support for the IPCC. This support continues despite evidence of corruption, failed predictions and polls showing virtually no public concern. There are some exceptions, noticeably the Obama administration. The political ideology is given scientific support and drive by his Science Advisor, John Holdren. He was involved in the process from the start. He co-authored a book with Paul Ehrlich and was a major player in the Club of Rome agenda. While Teresa and John Heinz Professor of Environmental Policy & Director, Program in Science he participated in the attacks on Willie Soon and Sallie Baliunas. It appears he is the power behind the most recent attacks on Soon.
Major weather offices with very direct involvement in the IPCC include the UKMO and NOAA. Sir John Houghton was moved from the UKMO to act as the first co-chair of the IPCC. NOAA employee Susan Solomon’s contribution includes co-editing IPCC Reports. It began by working on the progenitor of the Kyoto Protocol, the Montreal Protocol on ozone. Solomon et al’s., paper “Observations of the Nighttime Abundance of OCLO in the Winter Stratosphere Above Thule, Greenland,” Science, Vol. 242, October, p. 550-554, that was used as proof that chlorine from CFCs was causing ozone depletion.
People like Solomon are scientists, but a problem of objectivity develops when government hires them. They are not as openly driven to serve political masters as Pachauri, but the danger is very real. On 3 September 2010 in response to the question “Stifling politics out of science, does that make it devoid of its real social purpose?” Pachauri told the Times of India,
Let’s face it, we are an intergovernmental body and our strength and acceptability of what we produce is largely because we are owned by governments. If that was not the case, then we would be like any other scientific body that maybe producing first-rate reports but don’t see the light of the day because they don’t matter in policy-making. Now clearly, if it’s an inter-governmental body and we want governments’ ownership of what we produce, obviously they will give us guidance of what direction to follow, what are the questions they want answered. Unfortunately, people have completely missed the original resolution by which IPCC was set up. It clearly says that our assessment should include realistic response strategies. If that is not an assessment of policies, then what does it represent?
Laframboise suggests in the article referenced earlier that Pachauri’s excessive commitment is mostly cultural. That may be true about his role as an administrative bureaucrat, but it also underscores a serious problem with bureaucrats doing research anywhere.
I wrote about one dilemma I confronted with a bureaucrat doing research,which contradicted his political leader’s publicly stated position. The conflict with unrestricted scientific research is obvious. You are a bureaucrat and as Pachauri says, “we are owned by governments.” Governments determine the areas of research, but by having publicly held and politically biased positions bureaucrats effectively dictate the results required. I know of another Canadian Federal government researcher who reached a conclusion about an agricultural chemical that conflicted with the government’s public position. While on a two-week vacation they sent him an email offering an early retirement package to his work email. It said if the offer were not accepted within one week it would be automatically invoked. He returned to find his job terminated.
David Anderson, former Canadian Minister of the Environment announced government acceptance of the Kyoto Protocol. In the Press release he said they had consulted with all Canadian climate experts. Eight Canadian climate experts flew to Ottawa for a press conference to announce they were not consulted. Of course, the Minister was referring mostly to the bureaucratic scientists at Environment Canada.
Despite a distrust of politicians, people tend to have greater trust of governments. The trust varies nationally, but even in the US the authority of branches of government benefits from the view that bureaucrats are just following orders and don’t have a political agenda. This is particularly true of issues like weather and climate. People can’t imagine why or how they could have a political agenda.
Bureaucrats have the advantage that what they produce comes with an unseen, unwritten, seal of approval. It is assumed safe for schools. Indeed, the level of political involvement in both NOAA, and NASA provide special weather and climate material for children. Guess what they present?
Two issues that further entrench the power of bureaucrats include that they outlast most politicians and their department policy becomes the base for all other departments. For example, planning for the future of agriculture assumes that the future is warmer with more droughts.
Government’s sole scientific function should be data collection. The data must be available to anyone free of charge since they already paid for it. Government should not do any research because it is guaranteed to be political. Research submitted to a government must be presented written so anyone can understand. The IPCC evades detection of the inadequacies of their research and science by producing a document, the Summary for Policymakers, designed to simplify, but also distort for their political agenda. Under pressure, they finally allowed a more open review system but manipulated, delayed, cherry-picked and made it a mockery.
Maurice Strong used his skills to place bureaucrats of each nation in control of the IPCC. Through them they control the politicians. They are the major explanation for the contradiction between the public view expressed in the polls, the failed predictions, the falsified and contradicted science and the politicians. Laurence. J. Peter said,
Bureaucracy defends the status quo long past the time the quo has lost its status.
When the status also fits their personal political agenda they can make it last even longer.