Guest Opinion: Dr. Tim Ball
Winston Churchill famously defined an appeaser as someone who feeds a crocodile, hoping it will eat him last. In the debate about global warming, business, especially large corporations, is the largest sector of appeasers and some, like Volkswagen, are now, rightfully, paying the price.
Churchill was talking about Neville Chamberlain’s appeasement with Adolf Hitler. In a classic example of the claim that fact is stranger than fiction, it was Adolf Hitler who sketched the design for the first Volkswagen (Figure1).
Volkswagen was caught programming their performance monitoring computers to give lower readings on exhaust emissions when subjected to government testing. The rest of the time the program was set to provide optimum fuel performance for the driver. They deserve every admonition, fines, and loss of sales, for a totally self-inflicted wound. It’s what happens when you try to serve two masters. A few heads will roll, but the German government has already essentially determined that Volkswagen is too big to fail and is using the public purse to bail the fail. In a further addition of insult to injury and with a clear demonstration that they don’t know what they are doing, Chancellor Angela Merkel is providing assistance with incentives to produce electric cars.
Sir Walter Scott (1771 – 1832) wrote,
“Oh what a tangled web we weave, when first we practice to deceive!
Volkswagen’s deception was a self-deception because with some of the best engineers and scientists, they chose to accept the claims of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). Clearly they did not look at the IPCC reports because if they had they would discover what Klaus-Eckart Puls discovered.
“Ten years ago I simply parroted what the IPCC told us. One day I started checking the facts and data—first I started with a sense of doubt but then I became outraged when I discovered that much of what the IPCC and the media were telling us was sheer nonsense and was not even supported by any scientific facts and measurements. To this day I still feel shame that as a scientist I made presentations of their science without first checking it.” ”Scientifically it is sheer absurdity to think we can get a nice climate by turning a CO2 adjustment knob.”
If they looked at the IPCC Reports and didn’t reach the same conclusion, then they are grossly incompetent, or the corporation took a political decision with their tacit approval.
They, like all automotive producers chose to pursue CO2 reduction as a marketing tool rather than examine the science and make the proper decision. Figure 2 shows their, now laughable, attempt to exploit the marketing opportunity.
Volkswagen was not alone in the decision to capitulate to the green lobby and government deception about climate change. Almost all industry chose to cow and beg forgiveness for their sin of using fossil fuels. It was precisely what Maurice Strong and the other creators of Agenda 21 and the IPCC wanted. Chapter 30 of Agenda 21 titled Strengthening The Role of Business and Industry tells them their role and obligations.
Business and industry, including transnational corporations, play a crucial role in the social and economic development of a country. A stable policy regime enables and encourages business and industry to operate responsibly and efficiently and to implement longer-term policies.
Business and industry, including transnational corporations, and their representative organizations should be full participants in the implementation and evaluation of activities related to Agenda 21.
Maurice Strong knew business would capitulate to such moral suasion. He knew from his business activities how to exploit the seams between business and government. 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.
The lack of involvement of the business community is a combination of Strong knowing they would capitulate and then not providing the opportunity for input. Look at the participation list for the 2009 Conference of the Parties 15 held in Copenhagen. Business is placed in the Observer Organizations group as a Non-Government Organization (NGO) as follows.
The NGOs represent a broad spectrum of interests, and embrace representatives from business and industry, environmental groups, farming and agriculture, indigenous populations, local governments and municipal authorities, research and academic institutes, labour unions, women and gender and youth groups.
This does not equate with the statement in Chapter 30 that business plays “a crucial role in the social and economic development of a country.”
Business and industry were marginalized and then chose to exploit that position, as Strong knew they would. They surrendered to the eco-bullying even promoting what they had to know, or could easily discover, was bad science. They abjectly backed away despite simple and plausible options – they became appeasers. Like all appeasers, they only created bigger problems for themselves and society.
The crocodile is now eating them. Consider the case of Exxon. They totally surrendered to the ridiculous charge that they spent $16 million on climate change research. A simple comparison with government spending on climate research offsets the charge of bias as Joanne Nova so ably exposed. Couple this with the legitimate argument that understanding climate and climate change is basic research and development essential for any energy company. No sensible investor would put money into a company that was not doing such research. Now compare Exxon’s behavior with that of the insurance industry. They spend millions, to great praise, funding documentaries and promoting and exploiting severe weather threats for the sole purpose of selling more products.
On the back cover of Chris Horner’s book The Politically Correct Guide to Global Warming and Environmentalism, Richard Lindzen wrote,
“Future generations will wonder in bemused amazement that the early twenty-first century’s developed world went into hysterical panic over a globally average temperature increase of a few tenths of a degree, and, on the basis of gross exaggerations of highly uncertain computer projections combined into implausible chains of inference, proceeded to contemplate a rollback of the industrial age.”
It is beyond ironic that a major contributor to this bemusement is the scientists, engineers, and corporations that promoted and benefitted from the industrial age. In their criminality, Volkswagen is guilty as an accessory before and after the fact.
In this age of control by extremist fringe groups, Heywood Broun’s (1888-1939) comment about appeaser’s is likely more appropriate than Churchill’s.
“Appeasers believe that if you keep on throwing steaks to a tiger, the tiger will become a vegetarian.”
Vegetarians are part of the NGO group at the COPs right alongside business. The tail always wagged the dog, now the flea on the hair on the tail, is wagging the dog. Onward to Paris!