About intellectuals and climate alarmism

Guest opinion by Frits Bolkestein

In the early seventies, the world must have looked frightening to Dennis Meadows and his team at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, when they dealt with limits to growth. This was the title of their study, which was released in 1972 and which has become known as “The Report to the Club of Rome”.

According to the Report the world was in a mess because of environmental degradation, excessive bureaucratization, unbridled urbanization, widespread unemployment, alienation of youth, inflation and rejection of value systems. Profound adjustments had to be made before it was too late.

The Report dealt with the interaction of five critical factors: population growth, food production, industrialization, natural resource depletion and pollution. The conclusion was that mankind was heading for a period of great suffering because of lack of food, lack of raw materials and too much pollution.

In the Netherlands the report was followed in February 1972 by a study of the commission Mansholt, named after its president Sicco Mansholt (1908-1995). It consisted of members of ‘progressive’ parties: PvdA (Labour Party), D66 (Democrats 1966) and PPR (Radical Christians). The committee dealt with three central crises: nuclear war, the gap between the rich North and the poor South, and the finite nature of the earth or limits to growth. Half of the members of the committee would later become members of the Den Uyl government (1973-1977).

The commission Mansholt wanted a revaluation of the concepts prosperity and growth. The Netherlands had to set an example and learn to live within the limits that were inherent in the finite nature of our planet. Of course, this would mean a decline of our standard of living. But that was believed to be inevitable.

What has happened since? The “Report to the Club of Rome” predicted the imminent depletion of nonrenewable resources. Copper would be depleted in 36 years, gold in 11 years, lead in 26 years, mercury in 13 years, tin and zinc in 17 and 23 years respectively. However, this did not happen. Also oil, which according to the Report, would be depleted in just 31 years, is still produced. Thus, the Report had apparently seriously underestimated the potential of technology. But the media fell for it. NRC Handelsblad (a Netherlands quality newspaper), for instance, wrote about the Report under the headline “Disaster threatens the world”. (August 31, 1971).

Equally, the report by the commission Mansholt had little impact, because on the opening day of the session of the Netherlands Parliament in 1974, the Finance Minister, Wim Duisenberg (PvdA), called upon the population to spend more in order to sustain the economy. And the “New International Economic Order”, which was the “baby” of his comrade Jan Pronk, minister for development, perished ingloriously and had to give way to the “Old National Economic Disorder”.

A decade later we were alarmed that the soil under the dying forests in Germany was severely acidified. It was believed that this would also happen in other parts of Europe. This fear was reenforced by the emotional bond of the Germans with their forests. “Das grosse Waldsterben” caused panic, which also reached The Netherlands. The RIVM (National Agency for Public Health and Environment) and the environment ministry claimed that large parts of the forests were beyond saving. But an “ecological Hiroshima” has never happened. We know now that the forests in the Erzgebirge were exposed to extremely high SO2 concentrations. The trees, however, do not seem to suffer much from acidification. Anyhow, they are now in a better condition than ever.

Many doomsday scenarios circulated and were emphatically propagated by the media. I mention a few. (1) Global famine was inevitable. (2) A cancer epidemic caused by pesticides would shorten our lives. (3) Deserts would extend by 2 miles per year. (4) The mad cow disease would kill hundreds of thousands of people. (5) Computers networks would break down because of the millennium bug. (6) Nanotechnology would run out of control. (7) Glaciers would disappear (although more than half of their reduction dates back to the pre-1950 period). All this did not happen.

UNEP (United Nations Environment Programme) predicted in 2003 that there would be 50 million climate refugees by 2010. In 2010, the organization retracted this prediction. Ten years ago, Al Gore predicted in “An Inconvenient Truth” that we would have reached a point of no return within ten years. But the global warming projected by the vast majority of climate models by far exceeded the observed rise in temperature.

Why do so many intellectuals take pleasure in predicting catastrophes? As regards scientists the reason is clear: he or she who predicts a catastrophe, will receive funds to study how to avoid such a disaster. According to the IEA (International Energy Agency) we will spend 2.3 trillion euro in the next 25 years to reduce the global temperature by less than 0.02 degrees Celsius.

Moreover, there are important industrial interests involved in investments that are supposed to combat global warming. But I suspect that these two causes, although true, do not offer the whole explanation. Two thousand years of Christianity has deeply implanted a sense of guilt and repentance in the psyche of Western man. We are guilty, so we deserve the disasters to which we are exposed. Unless we repent and follow the instructions of the prophets of doom.

In the seventies and eighties of the past century, many people, at least in the West, were very much concerned about all sorts of negative developments. Now, 35 years later, this is less the case. Poverty, malnutrition, illiteracy, child labour and child mortality decline faster than ever before. Outside the Middle East there are hardly any wars. Guerrilla movements seek peace. Our most important problem today is migration.

And what about global warming? During the first half of the twentieth century the temperature has risen by half a degree Celsius. Since 1950 the atmosphere is warming at a rate of 0.13 degree per decade. But between 1998 and 2013 the temperature of the atmosphere increased with only 0.04 degree. And the temperature has hardly risen over the past decade. The UN Climate Panel (IPCC = Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change) calls this a warming pause or hiatus – a pause which has not been predicted or projected by climate models. In any case, we are not on the verge of disaster, as is often claimed.

But is there no problem then? Vast amounts of anthropogenic greenhouse gases are annually released into the atmosphere. Carbon dioxide (CO2) is one of such a greenhouse gasses, although not as strong as water vapor. Incidentally, the “greenhouse” is a godsend. If it did not exist, the average temperature on earth would be 18 degrees below zero. Moreover, CO2 is a building block of life. Without CO2 no plants, no animals and no people.

Analysis of data provided by satellites has shown that over the last thirty years the Earth has been greening – the vegetation on Earth has increased by 14 percent, half of which is believed to be caused by the increase of the CO2 concentration of the atmosphere.

If one wants to reduce CO2-emissions, the use of fossil fuels should be diminished and substituted by renewables. Wind turbines could provide renewable energy. But there is a snag: the European Emission Trading System (ETS) allows CO2 emission savings by one party to be offset by other parties, so that the total amount of CO2-emissions remains the same. This is called the “waterbed effect”.

What about the costs? The Netherlands National Energy Agreement was concluded in September 2013 between many interested parties, except engineers with know-how of the the technical options at hand and representatives of energy consumers and taxpayers who had to foot the bill. The costs are estimated to amount to 72 billion euro, of which 31 billion euro for wind energy.

Other experts have arrived at higher estimates. As far as wind energy is concerned, one should also take into account the cost of new infrastructure and back-up. If the wind does not blow or if there is too much wind, security of supply requires fossil-fueled back-up capacity. Moreover, according to the Netherlands “Green Court of Auditors” the turbines at sea deliver in 60 percent of the time no electricity. On land it is 75 percent. Anyhow, it is big money. Will it be used effectively?

In a letter to Parliament (File 32813, no. 121 of April 9, 2016) the Junior Minister for environment and climate, Sharon Dijksma (PvdA), has confessed that the billions invested in climate policy will have no measurable effect. This was stated in her reaction to a request by the climate lobby ‘Urgenda’ to the court in The Hague, to summon the government to an additional reduction in CO2 emissions than had been planned. The court conceded to this request. Apart from the fact that this is a constitutional monstrosity, what would be its effect? According to the government it would have resulted in an additional reduction of 0.000045 degree Celsius of global warming to 2100. That effect is too small to be detected.

The billions that are needed to realize the plans of the government with regard to wind energy, do not figure in the national budget. Energy consumers will have to pay for them through their energy bills. Users now pay an average of 40 euro per month. That contribution will progressively increase to 63 euro per month in 2020. In addition, the Energy Agreement imposed a contribution of 36 euros per month on citizens. Together is about 100 euro per month. These expenditures have not been discussed in Parliament. This means that the usefulness and necessity of these measures have not been subject to parliamentary scrutiny.

The climate summit in Paris (December 2015) was meant to “save the planet”. But it will fall short of its own targets. If all participating countries would do what they have promised the temperature in 2100 will be reduced by only 0.17 degrees. Will participating countries live up to their promises? The sad experience with the Kyoto Protocol tells us that this isn’t necessarily so.

The climate discussion is very politicized. A French proverb says: ‘Du choc des opinions jaillit la vérité” (“The truth emerges from the clash of opinions.”). So far the partisans of the AGW hypothesis (AGW = Anthropogenic Global Warming) have not been willing to engage in an open an frank dialogue. For example, the IPCC claimed in 2007 that the Himalayan glaciers could disappear by warming in the year 2035. It proved to be an alarmist typo. Such a typographical error could have been regarded as a peccadillo. However, the Chairman of the IPCC, Rajendra Pachauri, dismissed the criticism of the Himalayas prediction as “arrogant” and “voodoo science.”

Gro Harlem Brundtland, former Prime Minister of Norway and Special Representative of the UN on climate change, said in 2007: “It is irresponsible, reckless and deeply immoral to question the seriousness of the situation.

The time for diagnosis is over. Now it is time to act.” It basically says: “I have made up my mind, do not confuse me with the facts.”

Many scientists and non-scientists would like to suppress a debate on climate. IPCC chairman Pachauri is just one of them. Some scientists have lost their funding and even employment because of their climate skepticism. Other scientists are afraid to come “out of the closet”. Censorship looms large in the field of climatology, which is not conducive to balanced decision-making. This is even more harmful, since there is a lot of money involved.

But perhaps change is imminent. The Netherlands Physical Society (NVV) held a meeting at the KNMI (the Netherlands Royal Met Office) in De Bilt in October 2015 with the intention to draw up a common statement. What was the outcome of this meeting? Its chairman Jan van Ruitenbeek decided not to make any public announcement, because due to differences of opinion in formulating a common position, the outcome would haven been a vacuous compromise. Indeed, a show of hands to establish scientific facts is absurd. Even the IPCC itself admits that there is a variety of possible outcomes.

Thomas Henry Huxley, a nineteenth-century scientist, said: “The improver of natural knowledge absolutely refuses to acknowledge authority, as such. For him, scepticism is the highest of duties; blind faith the one unpardonable sin.”

The construction and installment of wind turbines costs a fortune. It is obvious that lobbies try to influence the outcome of the political decision-making process. The German TV channel ARD has criticized the unprecedented political influence of the wind energy lobby on government policy. According to the ARD, people who resist the installation of wind turbines are put under heavy pressure to give up their opposition.

All in all, this whole discussion is similar to a religious dispute between climate alarmists as believers and skeptics as heretics. Why do so many intellectuals take pleasure in predicting catastrophes? Is it because they relish attention by the media? Or has it anything to do with Christian guilt feelings?

Frits Bolkestein.



The author, Frits Bolkestein, was leader of the Dutch liberal party, minister of Defense and Eurocommissioner. He is a political ’eminence grise’ in the Netherlands.

Translation courtesy of Hans. H.J. Labohm

0 0 votes
Article Rating
Newest Most Voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
January 20, 2017 9:58 am

According to multiple sources, the White House page on climate change was deleted at noon today.

Reply to  leon0112
January 20, 2017 10:15 am

Google directs to here:
This brings up:
or you get a 404 with the following.
The requested page “/energy/climate-change” could not be found.

Reply to  leon0112
January 24, 2017 1:48 pm

Someone in Holland is doing the math. For that country, each electricity consumer will be required to pay an additional 23 + 36 (59) euros per month at this early date (increases are certain) for the next 80+ years to produce a predicted (predictions are guaranteed uncertain) 45 one-hundred thousandths of a degree (o.oooo45) lesser temperature.
The math is a harsh mistress.

K. Kilty
January 20, 2017 10:05 am

The late Petr Beckmann wrote a book about the efforts of the “Club of Rome” and “Limits to Growth” showing how all of their conclusion were baked-in, so to speak, by assumptions. That book should be required reading, as it provides an excellent perspective of the panic of doom 45 years later. Sections of Beckmann’s book, describing the efforts of the hapless soothsayers, made me laugh so hard I had tears streaming down my face.

Reply to  K. Kilty
January 20, 2017 3:01 pm

K. Kilty I assume you’re talking about this:
Eco-hysterics and the technophobes Hardcover – 1973 by Petr Beckmann
There’s one Amazon review for it:
This is an old work but the basic points still apply. If you think you are an environmentalist or that the environmentalists are right — especially if you think they have science on their side — read this book.

Pop Piasa
Reply to  Eric Simpson
January 20, 2017 3:54 pm

Ironic, “eco-hysterics” is the biggest threat to the economic paradigm which built western society and which could easily provide affluence to the underdeveloped world. All that is required is a shift from thinking that we caused a “problem”, to realizing that dictators in the UN are creating a much more real problem.

Reply to  K. Kilty
January 23, 2017 2:08 am

I had to read ‘The Limits To Growth’ in 1974 as part of a college class. I knew at once that it was useless as the vertical axes in their graphs were unlabeled. You aren’t measuring something unless you describe the units. Plus, resources and pollution aren’t single entities. I learned more details as I grew older, but they (college professors) aim this at liberal arts types who never get the mathematical education needed to see the holes in the graphs. Plus at college freshmen who haven’t honed their logic and argumentative skills.

January 20, 2017 10:11 am

It is their eschatology. Abortion is the highest sacrament. Sorting garbage is the eco-rosary.

January 20, 2017 10:27 am

Lots of non-Christian societies think we are being punished by the gods. The good thing about the Judeo-Christian religions is that they have mostly done away with human sacrifice.
I think the problem is human nature rather than Christianity.

Roger Graves
Reply to  commieBob
January 20, 2017 12:03 pm

I think reason for Western guilt feelings, of which CAGW is merely one expression, is that there is a yawning spiritual void inside most of us. We live in a wealthy and materialistic society in which the majority of us have shucked off conventional religion yet have not replaced it with anything else. At some point even the most hardened shopper will ask themselves if there is any meaning to life other than the continuous acquisition of material goods (do you have the latest smartphone/car/sports equipment … ?).
Feeling guilty assuages this spiritual emptiness. It doesn’t actually fill the void, it’s more like a kind of spiritual masturbation, but it is very prevalent among liberal yuppies. We need to bring back that old-time religion!

Reply to  Roger Graves
January 20, 2017 12:05 pm

“I think the reason …” Darn definite articles!

John Harmsworth
Reply to  Roger Graves
January 20, 2017 5:48 pm

Hi Roger,
I get your first point as although I am an atheist I too believe that materialism is a dismal mode of existence. Wherever people find their spiritual inspiration it is essential to a full and happy life.

Kalifornia Kook
Reply to  Roger Graves
January 22, 2017 10:23 am

“… spiritual masturbation …” has just become a part of my future conversations. Great description of the angst that disturbs so many leftists. thank you!

Reply to  commieBob
January 20, 2017 2:05 pm

if you mean like the aztecs- sacrificing one person completely by ripping out his heart to appease the sun god- then the only thing that has changed about human sacrifice is that now it’s done to everybody, wholesale, on the installment plan via taxes.

Pop Piasa
Reply to  commieBob
January 20, 2017 4:17 pm

CB, the Pope seems to believe that we should put the welfare of the planet ahead of the unfortunates who need affordable energy to gain a reasonable standard of living and consequently slow their breeding process. Furthermore, it is apparent that he believes God is a trickster who would provide us with the means to “multiply and subdue the Earth”, only to watch us eventually destroy ourselves with the very resources which were necessary. he also has a delusion that God has provided mankind with divine insight (Mann, et al/supercomputers) into its own demise and a way to delay the end of Humanity.

Mark Luhman
Reply to  Pop Piasa
January 20, 2017 10:26 pm

If there is a heaven and you get there, don’t expect to the present day Pope to be there ever.

Kalifornia Kook
Reply to  Pop Piasa
January 22, 2017 10:24 am

Excellent observation, and somewhat pithy.

Mark from the Midwest
January 20, 2017 10:32 am

Most intellectuals don’t begin to know how to solve problems, even simple problems. When I was working on my doctorate I had a moderate interaction with some senior faculty in some of the social sciences, and was dumbfounded about how little they knew about really simple stuff, like changing light bulbs, (not a joke, actually happened), opening packages sealed with strapping tape, or changing a car tire. So they see a world beset by problems and believe that “we are doomed as doomed can be.”

Russ Wood
Reply to  Mark from the Midwest
January 22, 2017 8:06 am

I have to add this – my wife, who mentors up-and-coming business analysts in Johannesburg, South Africa, has found that the current crop of “millenials” want to be spoon-fed everything. When told where to look stuff up, the general complaint seems to be “But can’t you just tell us?”. Similarly, when I try to find out on the Internet how to do something, I have to sift through a whole load of YooTubes (sic) before I can find something that was clearly written. OK – I’m an old fogey, but most of the stuff I learned wasn’t taught – I just found out. Why can’t the current crop manage this?

January 20, 2017 10:35 am

All of which refutes the climate war as a debate over meaningful “science” which is religiously adhered to primarily by alarmists and appeased to by fractured and weak skeptics who for many reasons can’t accept the primary political nature of the climate agenda.
Actual science wasn’t served by the charade either.

January 20, 2017 10:35 am

All of which refutes the climate war as a debate over meaningful “science” which is religiously adhered to primarily by alarmists and appeased to by fractured and weak skeptics who for many reasons can’t accept the primary political nature of the climate agenda.
Actual science wasn’t served by the charade either.

January 20, 2017 10:41 am

I followed up “Limits to Growth” with a more technical book “Affluence in Jeopary: Minerals and the Political Economy” It was written by the Dean of Mineral Sciences at Stanford, and was the bible of a geology class I took in 1975.
It took me years as a professional geologist to understand all the ways the tome had gone wrong, but when “Peak Oil” came along, I was a vocal minority. Funny, I don’t need to explain that particular fallacy so much these days.
If I can see the error of my early education, perhaps some of the current crop of students will survive their CAGW indoctrination as well.

January 20, 2017 10:42 am

Was in grad school When Club of Rome came out in 1972. Caused quite an empathetic stir atbthe University. I spent some time digging in, had specialized in math models as an undergrad (all sorts, calculus, computer, markov chain, econometric) and was astounded at how poor a job had been done, and how simplistic and unrealistic many of the input assumptions were. Like minerals. Like pollution.
40 plus years later, same story on CAGW. Except whereas Club of Rome was just a book, CAGW is a profoundly damaging quasi-religious movement.

Reply to  ristvan
January 20, 2017 1:45 pm

I vaguely remember 1972 when I was in grade 8. We were paraded into the school gym to watch a movie about all of these smart people who were telling us that within 15 years the water would be too polluted to drink and the air would be too polluted to breathe. And of course this would somehow mean that the world be buried because of the population explosion. Those crackpots should not be forgotten.

Pop Piasa
Reply to  PaulH
January 20, 2017 2:34 pm

Don’t forget that plastic was supposed to be nonbiodegradable back then, too.

Reply to  PaulH
January 20, 2017 5:40 pm

I remember in ’72 in second grade having to make anti pollution posters for class in some sort of contest. My entry was a sad fisherman fishing in a pond full of tires and old shoes and other garbage. I still consider it my first artistic failure and it’s probably one reason why I concentrated on math and science. This was in the boot heel of Missouri too, for God’s sake!

Reply to  PaulH
January 20, 2017 10:11 pm

” Those crackpots should not be forgotten.”
Nor forgiven.

Dave O.
January 20, 2017 10:43 am

“Why do so many intellectuals take pleasure in predicting catastrophes? Well, for one thing the pay is good.

Phil R
Reply to  Dave O.
January 20, 2017 5:39 pm

Dave O.,
Not to offer an excuse, but I don’t think they take pleasure in it (though I agree the pay is good). I think it’s more in line with a lot of the above comments where they spend most of their time on their academic/intellectual ideas, and end up believing them because they have no no real-world reference point or experience to put things in context.
Nah, it’s the money and the feeling of self-righteous superiority.

Tom in Florida
January 20, 2017 10:44 am

“Why do so many intellectuals take pleasure in predicting catastrophes?”
Because it is safe. If they turn out to be right, ya see they told you so. If they turn out to be wrong, well, nobody cares. But they still got their funding.

Bad Andrew
January 20, 2017 10:46 am

A real scientific study of human nature would conclude that human nature is a more powerful force than science.

Gunga Din
Reply to  Bad Andrew
January 20, 2017 11:08 am

As I’ve said before, the problem with the best plans Man can devise on his own is that there are people in it.
There are people in science. There are people in politics.

Reply to  Gunga Din
January 20, 2017 11:33 am

There are politics in science…

tony mcleod
Reply to  Gunga Din
January 20, 2017 2:34 pm

Pity there wasn’t a bit more science in politics. Like scientists in charge of science related portfolios.

Gunga Din
Reply to  Gunga Din
January 20, 2017 3:19 pm

Pity there are people in climate science.
We’d all have been spared the BS that expanded their portfolios.

January 20, 2017 10:59 am

“Why do so many intellectuals take pleasure in predicting catastrophes? Is it because they relish attention by the media? Or has it anything to do with Christian guilt feelings?”
It seems the most used strategy in advertising is to play on fear – in a subtle way or straight on – in order to create the motives for a cure, so benevolently given in the advertisement.
This is also a strategy employed in politics. Even openly admitted, like in telling the “noble lie”. I guess many intellectuals feel they are part of an elite that has superior information. And this superior information would then make it ethically correct to tell a “noble lie”.
For me it all started with a politician who was frustrated he didn’t become president and needed another victory. Versatile as he was in the political game he played his cards at the right moment in the right way, and yes, he had his victory being the chosen one of a Norwegian committee, a lot of people have in high regard because it can spend a lot of money.
I fear the motives of these intellectuals are pretty materialistic.

Gunga Din
Reply to  Jurgen
January 20, 2017 11:12 am

If “materialistic” includes the power and authority to impose their “enlightenment” on the rest of us dim bulbs, I agree.

Reply to  Jurgen
January 20, 2017 11:28 am

A lot of these “intellectuals” go to great lengths to proclaim themselves not Christian.
So it couldn’t be Christian guilt driving them.

January 20, 2017 11:05 am

“Man is doomed” unless you allow the elite to control everything has been around since the advent of religion. It’s a means to an end and nothing more. Today there are some obscenely wealthy people who would like to control the course of humanity and are easy pickings for the Marxist/Socialist meme that never seems to die despite historically abject failure.

January 20, 2017 11:12 am

“Two thousand years of Christianity has deeply implanted a sense of guilt and repentance in the psyche of Western man. We are guilty, so we deserve the disasters to which we are exposed. Unless we repent and follow the instructions of the prophets of doom.”
This is the heart of the matter. All of these doomsday scenarios are counter to Judeo-Christianity.
These doomsdayers and doom-sayers are copycats. They are driven to recreate God because, like Nimrod and the Tower of Babel, they have rejected God and believe they can assume God’s position.
As a Christian, I believe it is wrong to say I buy the guilt story because of the influence of my perceived guilt. I am guilty, But God is in control, and has absolved me of my guilt.

M Courtney
January 20, 2017 11:13 am

Generally correct.
•Funding follows the significance of the research.
•The more serious the potential harm the more the significance of the research.
•The significance of the research the more the funding.
•The more funding, the more researchers.
•The more researchers the more research.
•The more research the more the consensus. It always goes to the extremes.
However, Africa demonstrates that this is incorrect.

Outside the Middle East there are hardly any wars.

Reply to  M Courtney
January 20, 2017 11:36 am

It’s a positive feedback loop. Kind of like the Alarmists want us to believe the climate is….

January 20, 2017 11:19 am

Y2k shouldn’t be included on the list; it’s a materially different concern.
Was it a real issue? As a software engineer, I say yes.
Was it over-hyped by the media? Definitely.
Have we learned our lesson? Not completely (see Y10K).
Did the scare do any good? Yes. Y2k was a wake up call that greatly improved disaster planning for governments, companies, and people. It has help reduce the impact of disasters that have happen. As an example, look at 9/11. Financial system backups put in place to deal with Y2K were used after 9/11, when NYC’s financial sector was shutdown.
Y2K was a problem of our own doing, in a system of our own creation, that was solved through the application of better technology (to an extent). We did not create the climate system and we barely understand it.

Reply to  jaxad0127
January 20, 2017 11:20 am

The end should read “don’t understand” not “barely understand”.

Russ Wood
Reply to  jaxad0127
January 22, 2017 8:10 am

And don’t forget the 2036(?) problem when all the time_t usage wraps round. That construct was SO useful that I admit that I was also guilty. But I don’t expect to be around then, so its SEP (Someone Else’s Problem)!

Reply to  Russ Wood
January 23, 2017 7:49 am

The move from x86 is solving that one. ARM and x64 don’t have that issue.

Reply to  jaxad0127
January 23, 2017 6:27 am

Quite agree. It annoys me to see ‘The Millenium Bug’ or Y2K included in a list of scare stories that never happened.
The problem was very real,.A lot of software written in the 60’s and 70’s used two digits to store the year in any date. None of this software would have coped with the year 2000. It would have failed, period. The problem never materialised because it was fixed in good time. Software was either amended or junked and replaced. It helped that the problem was easily understood by anyone, however non-technical.

January 20, 2017 11:28 am

This is a powerful essay.

January 20, 2017 11:51 am

I have a copy my father who was one of the first partners of McKinsey & Kearney and who stayed with AT Kearney in Chicago when McKinsey split for New York apparently never returned to the Kearney library .
It strikes me a a product of the analog computer age — a very simple diffyQ model with a very limited number of parameters . It was the essence of a GIGO model where what you got out was transparently the result of the assumptions you put in .

Mark Luhman
Reply to  Bob Armstrong
January 20, 2017 10:36 pm

“It strikes me a a product of the analog computer age” are you implying digital computer are better? If you are you are sadly mistaken, analog computers don’t suffer from rounding errors, that one thing a digital computer will never be rid of. Computer models are based on measured facts and assumptions. The more actual facts you have and the less the assumptions you have, the better the model. One thing that will never happen is a model that can predict the future, that is something that simply cannot be done. It about time the human race grows up and accept that fact.

Reply to  Mark Luhman
January 21, 2017 10:02 am

Not at all ! But the demise of the analog computer even digitally re-definable hybrids was due lack ability to deal with large numbers of parameters . While analogs were still big , Ken Iverson was evolving the ideas of APL computing input-output economic sector matrices under Leontief .
But analog components introduce errors of their own . Further , I’ve become persuaded ( mainly by Bob Smith’s demos ) that big num rational arithmetic types are quite valuable for some applications . A number of APLs are implementing them . See Bob’s http://www.nars2000.org/ for example . A rational arithmetic script is among the libraries included with the Reva Forth CoSy is built in . It’s just waiting for somebody sufficiently desiring them to integrate them as an additional type .

Joel O’Bryan
January 20, 2017 11:58 am

The Left inherently knows the only way people give them more power is by trading their liberties for security. Thus the Left must continue to concoct an unending parade of horribles and alarmism.

January 20, 2017 12:40 pm

Psychology shows that in most instances, Guilt is a fantastic motivator for behaviour. I don’t think it has anything to do with religion.
I do however, think that a number of academics are spurred on by a genuine concern for the benefit of humanity. They might be on a well-meaning crusade, but are so wrapped up in ideology and bias that they cannot see in from the outside. Additionally, if your career, years of study and lifestyle are all dependent on the thing you are fighting for (climate change), then there would have to be some sort of internal protection mechanism to justify what you are doing as correct.
While some are obviously using their position for gains in politics, greed and power, I think you’ll find that there are regular academic staff who simply publish approved-doctrine material to keep their jobs and send their kids to school. They are human as well, mostly.
It is disingenuous to link a particular religion to the current political ideology. There are similarities of course, but associating specific Christian guilt to CAGW adherents is probably a bit of a stretch.

January 20, 2017 12:43 pm

The author asks;
“Why do so many intellectuals take pleasure in predicting catastrophes?”
This man is (to my way of thinking) an imagination worshiper. He imagines intellectuals taking pleasure in predicting things, and he believes without (apparent) skepticism that he’s seeing into the hearts and minds of actual intellectual , en mass . . and he tops that amazing demonstration of God-like capability with;
“Two thousand years of Christianity has deeply implanted a sense of guilt and repentance in the psyche of Western man.”
I suggest Frits is closer to the answer to his basic question than he realizes ; )

Reply to  JohnKnight
January 20, 2017 1:04 pm

Thus saith the Lord of hosts, Hearken not unto the words of the prophets that prophesy unto you: they make you vain: they speak a vision of their own heart, and not out of the mouth of the Lord.
They say still unto them that despise me, The Lord hath said, Ye shall have peace; and they say unto every one that walketh after the imagination of his own heart, No evil shall come upon you.
For who hath stood in the counsel of the Lord, and hath perceived and heard his word? who hath marked his word, and heard it?
Behold, a whirlwind of the Lord is gone forth in fury, even a grievous whirlwind: it shall fall grievously upon the head of the wicked.
The anger of the Lord shall not return, until he have executed, and till he have performed the thoughts of his heart: in the latter days ye shall consider it perfectly.

Chris Hanley
January 20, 2017 12:51 pm

“The construction and installment of wind turbines costs a fortune …”.
Over and above the direct costs of ‘fighting climate change™’ during the past twenty or so years are the so-called opportunity costs, the waste of wealth human resources etc., which I imagine would be (to use the usual cliche) staggering.

Jim Gorman
January 20, 2017 12:53 pm

Progressive liberal elites have no guilt, only answers. Answers that will create Utopia in this vale of tears if only we would do as they tell us. In other words, they would supplant God. The crux of the matter comes when they must also do what they demand of us.

Jimmy Haigh
January 20, 2017 1:03 pm

My definition of an intellectual: Someone who isn’t nearly as smart as he thinks he is.

January 20, 2017 1:28 pm

So which indicates more ignorance: 1) belief in the power of CO2 to destroy or 2) the belief that renewables are the solution? That’s a tough call.

January 20, 2017 1:41 pm

It’s a living and the politicians love it so it has legs. That is no small consideration theses days. Whoops the president is no longer a politician.

Roger Knights
January 20, 2017 1:49 pm

For more ammunition against environmental excesses, the thread author should read Aaron Wildavky’s book, But Is It True? A citizen’s guide to health and environmental issues. Published in 1995, it’s a classic–or should be. A used copy is only $4 on Amazon at:

Ill Tempered Klavier
January 20, 2017 2:03 pm

For they stood upon the steps of the temple and did prophesy mightily unto the Children of Israel and, behold, those things came not to pass. Let them now be stoned as false prophets.

January 20, 2017 2:19 pm

These pseudo intellectuals all ignored the technological component to growth, which means growth is UNLIMITED. Take for example the processing power of computers, which means massive increases in standards of living from increasingly fewer resources involved in their manufacture. Or increases in steel strength which mean structures can be built using far less steel. Steel roofing that used to be 0.9mm thick is now 0.2mm thick for instance. Or substitution of materials which is promoted by the market mechanism – when one material becomes too expensive, it is substituted by something cheaper.
These “limits to growth” theories are about as flawed as climate models.

tony mcleod
January 20, 2017 2:24 pm

“this whole discussion is similar to a religious dispute between climate alarmists as believers and skeptics as heretics”
That may be true in the wider realm, but in here the opposite is the case.

Pop Piasa
Reply to  tony mcleod
January 20, 2017 2:45 pm

I think of myself as a heretic and take some pride in it friend, but you I view as a believer. The fact that you are not banned here as most of us are at site where you can comment should be evidence of who are the indoctrinated ones.

Pop Piasa
Reply to  tony mcleod
January 20, 2017 3:19 pm

What he was conveying was that the CO2 climate emergency is like a religion in that you either accept it unquestioning or you become part of the “problem”. There is much to be debated about the current warming phenomenon for decades to come. “Settled science” is being used as a cover-term for “ideological agenda”.

January 20, 2017 2:52 pm

“the vegetation on Earth has increased by 14 percent, half of which is believed to be caused by the increase of the CO2 concentration of the atmosphere”

What caused the other half?

Reply to  Eric Simpson
January 20, 2017 2:58 pm

Lack of use of wood as a fuel, due to the use of fossil fuels instead, combined with improvements in farming which mean more food can be produced from less farmland, again thanks to fossil-fuel derived fertilisers.

Reply to  Eric Simpson
January 20, 2017 3:00 pm

I can find lithographs of hillsides in my area from the 1800s that were completely denuded, but are now dense forest. The reason? Electricity and gas.

John F. Hultquist
Reply to  AP
January 20, 2017 9:04 pm

You haven’t said where you see hillsides from.
In the eastern USA, say for example western Pennsylvania where I am from, many trees were cut (various reasons — timber for boats on the Ohio River being one) and many small farms established. At various times, these small farms were given up, as was my grandparent’s farm, and the fields reverted to forests (sometimes with help). The history of “the big cut” in PA is interesting. Timing varied in the eastern states.

Pop Piasa
Reply to  Eric Simpson
January 20, 2017 3:26 pm

Aye, and longer growing seasons. We are indeed ungrateful for the interglacial we enjoy and untrusting of the great architect.

January 20, 2017 3:03 pm

“Why do so many intellectuals take pleasure in predicting catastrophes?”
Because it is exciting and provides a chance to be a hero or heroine!
Count me in on that. I see climate alarmism as causing real catastrophes for the actual environment and catastrophic damage to the world’s economies.
i post here all the time in order to be a heroine.

January 20, 2017 3:39 pm

I remember the club of Rome very well. I read much of their material and was worried to some extent. After all smart people computer models. Who could doubt the science of it. The science was settled.
Of course it didn’t turn out how they predicted. I wrote a blog on this very topic which compared the model outputs of the club of Rome to actuals and to climate models.
Club of Rome Computer Models Vs IPCC Climate Scientist Computer Models The Club of Rome was a group of MIT, Harvard and other professors, industry experts etc who crafted a computer model of the world and predicted the … https://logiclogiclogic.wordpress.com/2016/06/07/club-of-rome-computer-models-vs-ipcc-climate-scientist-computer-models/

CD in Wisconsin
January 20, 2017 3:47 pm

As the author of this essay has said, we have been dragged through these predictions of catastrophe may times in the past–more times than I even want to talk about. To the best of my recollection, they have all been proven false. And now this latest generation of catastrophe prophets are doing it again with this theory of CO2-induced climate catastrophe. And they of course run to govt to ensure that the rest of us are all dragged along for the the ride.
A note to all the alarmist trolls here at WUWT: Those who fail to heed the lessons of history are doomed to repeat its mistakes.

January 20, 2017 4:38 pm

Let me make one point, not particularly important, but I’d like to clarify.
It concerns this bit “Two thousand years of Christianity has deeply implanted a sense of guilt and repentance in the psyche of Western man. We are guilty, so we deserve the disasters to which we are exposed. Unless we repent and follow the instructions of the prophets of doom.”
This is a talking point of non-religious social scientists … but self-negating. Only the non-religious hold this view — not the religious.

January 20, 2017 4:39 pm

“Why do so many intellectuals take pleasure in predicting catastrophes? Is it because they relish attention by the media? Or has it anything to do with Christian guilt feelings?”
More likely, it’s adrenaline addiction The ineffectual dwells on the possibility of disaster, is horrified, and soon is decks-awash in adrenaline. Every time he revisits the issue, he gets another fix. Soon, he can’t go an hour without returning to it. He must tell other ineffectuals, and THEY get hooked. It’s related to rage, drama, drug, and alcohol addictions, pathetic conditions that ruin lives. And other people’s lives.

January 20, 2017 5:01 pm

It’s not Christianity. It’s the opposite: The diversion from Christianity and the return to the oldest religion: worshipping nature. The human destroying nature, and therefore a disease that must be controlled. Promoting Gaia or ‘Mother earth’. The human responsible for all things that happen. Placing the human in the center. Telling that some people are better than others, because they ‘do something’ for nature. They ‘care’. Whatever that maybe. Even past ‘big’ politicians can cry for our future, our children, on tv nowerdays. They have a ‘message’. You are guilty. Snif snif.
I agree that a lot of churches have misused sins to slam people with, but Christianity is about the relief of guilt, to form a base you can build a life on. Telling that every human is a child of God, and that every Child can return to his father. Telling that no human is better than another.
The focus on guilt is Evil. Guilt leads to fear. Fear can be used to control a lot of useful idiots.
Just express an idea, promote it, let it spin. Let it get momentum, until it gets a critical (human) mass, and than the mass will move on it’s own, like a giant wave. But one day it will be over. The wave will slam on the coast, or taken over by a bigger wave, or will just fade away in the ocean. But every wave has the potential to do a lot of damage.
It’s my hope that Trump is the first sign of a ‘coast’ 🙂

Reply to  Spaceboy
January 20, 2017 7:18 pm

You are correct. If you look at nature religions, the relationship between people and the spirits of nature is one of propitiation, appeasement and guilt. The nature gods or spirits must be mollified or they will take revenge by causing some form of misfortune on the miscreant humans who were not sufficiently worshipful or did not do the correct rituals or make the right offerings before cutting down a tree or killing a deer, etc.
Christianity is overall a very positive religion, offering an intellectual basis for the equality of all people, and the virtue of charity – disinterested love and support for others regardless of their circumstances – which is a form of love that did not exist in European societies prior to Christianity. As a Christian, I have suffered far less guilt than I did as a teenager in the 1970s traumatised by reading the Club of Rome threats and feeling guilty that my own existence was helping to destroy nature. Thank God I got over that

It doesn't add up...
January 20, 2017 6:18 pm

My first job on leaving school and before university was to help investigate some of the Club of Rome claims at the request of what was then known as the Rothschild Think Tank. I learned the DYNAMO language in which their model was written, so as to understand it – and it ran on our IBM 370 at Harwell. I had to punch out the cards myself, although at least the cardpunch was keyboard driven, unlike the hand punches I had used at school. In conjunction with a multidisciplinary team, we sketched out an alternative model of resources which allowed for such features as market prices spurring exploration and development, technical change, recycling and much else besides. I contributed to model design and attributes, and then coded it in FORTRAN and punched out 4 card tray’s worth of program and data. We fed it with the best data we could find, and concluded that the Club of Rome were unduly alarmist, and that there was no need of panic. Prof Wilf Beckermann’s book came out shortly afterwards: I always remember him pointing out that London would be six feet deep in horse manure had the transport trends of the first quarter of the nineteenth century continued on their exponential path….
It was a very valuable life lesson, because it taught me not to accept argument from authority. Nullius in verba.

Reply to  It doesn't add up...
January 21, 2017 2:18 pm

But, indeed, London is at this juncture six feet, erm, pardon me, two meters deep in horse manure. Horse manure in the form of the Climate Change Act, as well as the residuum of EU regulations, atop the usual bureaucratic nonsense to be expected of a government that consists of ‘two cheeks of the same arse.’

Chris Schoneveld
January 21, 2017 12:51 am

This article is significant because it was published in a main stream weekly (Elseviers weekblad) and was written by an important politician from the main political party that is presently part of the coalition government in the Netherlands. This government supports the Paris Agreement and is very active in promoting wind and solar energy. Bolkestein’s skeptic position may help to sow a seed of doubt about CAGW within the party.

Reply to  Chris Schoneveld
January 21, 2017 5:39 am

Yes, Elsevier is a rare exception in the media landscape in Holland. Frits Bolkestein, for a while now stepped down from his former political career, does talk freely from the sideline. But the deafening silence all these years from his governing VVD party vis a vis this CO2 madness and the monstrosity of this recent “Energieakkoord” along the lines of the German “Energiewende”, taxing and suffocating our economy with billions and billions for years to come, will need more repair than just some opportunistic signaling shortly before the coming elections. It will need a turnaround just like in Britain and the USA. We will wait and see.

January 21, 2017 8:06 am

Frits Bolkestein – the former EU Commissioner for the Internal Market?

Reply to  jaakkokateenkorva
January 21, 2017 11:38 am

Yes. He is an independent thinker and I respect his open attitude and political stance. In fairness to him, he was always clear about his position. I feel after his political career more in an intellectual context that wasn’t picked up by the mainstream media and neither did it translate into common sense political choices by the VVD party, now still in bi-partisan coalition with the socialist PvdA governing our country. If they change their position on this because of the nearby elections and the Brexit and Trump effect, they will have a lot of explaining to do.

January 21, 2017 11:14 am

Fabricate/inflate ‘The Problem’, cause ‘The (over)Reaction’, then score the big bucks selling ‘The Solution'(concentrating wealth in your hot little hands of course).
As old as P.T. Barnum

January 21, 2017 11:17 am

the third time the boy cried ‘wolf’ there really was one.

January 21, 2017 2:52 pm

The god father of this terrible science direction was Paul Ehrlich. A critical review if his work is long past due.

Johann Wundersamer
January 21, 2017 10:47 pm

“Many doomsday scenarios circulated and were emphatically propagated by the media. I mention a few. (1) Global famine was inevitable. (2) A cancer epidemic caused by pesticides would shorten our lives. (3) Deserts would extend by 2 miles per year. (4) The mad cow disease would kill hundreds of thousands of people. (5) Computers networks would break down because of the millennium bug. (6) Nanotechnology would run out of control. (7) Glaciers would disappear (although more than half of their reduction dates back to the pre-1950 period). All this did not happen.”
All this did not happen –
Just don’t let that scam happen again!

Johann Wundersamer
January 21, 2017 10:51 pm

Your comment is awaiting moderation:
Just a citation of what you already shared:
what’s up with you.

Johann Wundersamer
January 22, 2017 2:03 am


Johann Wundersamer
January 27, 2017 9:10 am

Moreover, there are important industrial interests involved in investments that are supposed to combat global warming. But I suspect that these two causes, although true, do not offer the whole explanation. Two thousand years of Christianity has deeply implanted a sense of guilt and repentance in the psyche of Western man. We are guilty, so we deserve the disasters to which we are exposed. Unless we repent and follow the instructions of the prophets of doom.
Uh – no.
What about Contergan injured, what about Veterans with posttraumatic stress syndrome or simply invalid.
Nothing to do with Christianity, be aware Jesus metaphors:
never overcome human ‘rationalizing, reasoning’ :
– with Contergan: there you got it, your mama should have know better. Not my fault you choosed such mother.
– with veterans: yes the money. And adventures overseas .

%d bloggers like this:
Verified by MonsterInsights