Dr Paul Rossiter
In an earlier posting (WUWT https://wattsupwiththat.com/2019/09/26/understanding-the-climate-movement-the-impotence-of-science/) I referred to the work of Douglas Murray (The Madness of Crowds) in helping to understand how the climate debate was just a Trojan horse being exploited for a much wider social change agenda being pursued by globalists and the socialist Left. In that article I alluded to some of the drivers that are enabling the movement, including Noble Cause Corruption and personal or corporate financial gain. Here I explore further the role of Noble Cause Corruption. While regular followers of WUWT will be familiar with some of the content, I think that pulling it together makes a compelling case.
First, some background. The term Noble Cause Corruption was coined by Edwin Delattre in 1989 in relation to police officers using unethical means to achieve an outcome that was perceived by them to be in the public good. Such actions placed the outcome ahead of everything else. It was OK to lie or break the law for the public good and such action was realised by everything from confirmation bias through to outright dishonest behaviour like forced confessions and planting or tampering with evidence. The “Noble” aspect of it comes from a moral commitment to make the world a safer place.
In that context, the behaviour is contrasted under two competing ideas in the world of ethics (www.policeone.com):
The Deontological Ethical System
The deontological ethical system is grounded in the belief that how and why you do something is more important than the result(s) your behavior produces.
The Teleological Ethical System
The teleological ethical system takes the opposite perspective. Under this belief system, the consequences of your behavior are the most important concern, not whether your actions were inherently positive or negative.
Neither of these has any particular moral ascendancy. However, if the means used to obtain the result in the teleological system are unethical or illegal, this behaviour is classed as Noble Cause Corruption.
The precursors to the current global environmentalist movement probably go back as early as 1962 to Rachael Carson’s Silent Spring. In considering her case against the widespread use of insecticides, it has been argued that “her science was dubious, she selected only data that supported her case, that insecticides were bad, industry was bad and any scientists who did not support her views were bad” (http://21sci-tech.com/articles/summ02/Carson.html). I’ll leave it to others to argue how many deaths were caused as a result of the banning of DDT in the USA in 1972 and later on in the world, but the clear winners were the emerging environmentalist movement, the Environmental Defence Fund and ultimately the formation of the EPA in 1970.
Also in 1970, the Study of Critical Environmental Problems (SCEP) conference was told that emissions from the engines of the proposed supersonic transport aircraft (SST) would destroy the ozone layer, leading to all sorts of human catastrophe. This claim had no rigorous supporting science, but it lead to the creation of the $21 million CIAP research programme. In 1971 the US Congress rejected any further funding for development of the SST, though this may have also been influenced by other economic issues.
The ozone cause was taken up in 1974 when Molina and Rowlands claimed that chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) destroy the ozone layer. This precipitated an increasing number of experimental studies right through to the mid 1980’s, with the discovery of the hole in the ozone layer over the South Pole and suggestions of a similar event in the opposite hemisphere. However, as would become the norm, the science backing up the claims was never verified, some of the data was questionable, the modelling did not agree with observations and natural fluctuations were not considered. It did however lead to the Montreal Protocol in 1987 and the banning the use of CFCs. Much more detail about these events given in Searching for the Catastrophe Signal by Bernie Lewin.
Other causes that have followed a similar path include the nuclear winter, acid rain, GM food, vaccination and more recently Glyphosate. However, while they all have the same features of questionable science, fears for human existence and finally political fixes, I don’t want to get into their pros and cons, but rather go back a little in time and trace some of the events running in parallel with the above that ultimately combined into the current rise of global environmentalism as a powerful social and political force. In so doing it needs to be kept in mind that other influences were often in play affecting actions and outcomes. In particular, competition between the nuclear and coal lobbies in Europe and the USA and the OPEC oil embargos in 1973 and 1979 significantly influenced the public and political perception of these vital sources of energy (see e.g. Rupert Darwall: The Green Tyranny). Along the way I hope it will become apparent that Noble Cause Corruption became the accepted modus operandi .
To trace some of the origins of the globalist movement it is necessary to go back to the Club of Rome that was founded in 1968 by members of the original Morgenthau group during a meeting at Rockefeller’s private house in Bellagio, Italy. That meeting was organized by Aurelio Peccei, an Italian industrialist who had close relations to the Olivetti Corporation and Fiat. He claimed to have solutions for world peace and prosperity, which could be accomplished through a “New World Order”.
It initiated a number of primitive computer modelling exercises, supposedly demonstrating that resources were going soon to run out, leading to prediction of a total social breakdown. The findings were published in 1972 in the report The Limits to Growth that went on to sell around 30 million copies.
Also in 1968, Bert Bolin from Sweden suggested to the United Nations Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) the idea of having a UN conference to focus on human interactions with the environment. ECOSOC passed a resolution supporting the idea and in 1969 the General Assembly Resolution decided to convene a conference in 1972. It mandated a set of reports from the UN secretary-general suggesting that the conference focus on “stimulating and providing guidelines for action by national government and international organizations facing environmental issues”. Preparations for the conference were extensive, lasting 4 years, including 115 governments, and costing over $30,000,000.
UN Secretary-General U Thant subsequently invited Canadian Maurice Strong to lead it as Secretary-General of the Conference, in acknowledgement that the Canadian diplomat (under Pierre Trudeau) had initiated and already worked for over two years on the project. Accordingly, in 1971 Strong commissioned a report on the state of the planet, Only One Earth: The Care and Maintenance of a Small Planet, co-authored by Barbara Ward and Rene Dubos. The report summarized the findings of 152 leading “experts” from 58 countries in preparation for the Stockholm meeting. This was the world’s first “state of the environment” report.
The United Nations Conference on the Human Environment was finally held in Stockholm, Sweden, from June 5–16 in 1972. Embedded in the numerous proclamations are comments on the environment and man’s role, including:
“We see around us growing evidence of man-made harm in many regions of the earth: dangerous levels of pollution in water, air, earth and living beings; major and undesirable disturbances to the ecological balance of the biosphere; destruction and depletion of irreplaceable resources; and gross deficiencies, harmful to the physical, mental and social health of man, in the man-made environment, particularly in the living and working environment”.
There was mention (principle 6): “The discharge of toxic substances or of other substances and the release of heat, in such quantities or concentrations as to exceed the capacity of the environment to render them harmless, must be halted in order to ensure that serious or irreversible damage is not inflicted upon ecosystems”.
The Stockholm Conference finally established the environment as part of an international development agenda. It led to the establishment by the UN General Assembly in December 1972 of the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), with headquarters in Nairobi, Kenya, and the election of Strong as Executive Director. As head of UNEP, Strong convened the first international expert group meeting on climate change.
The IPCC was set up in 1988 by two UN organisations, UNEP and the World Meteorology Organisation (WMO), and was dedicated to the task of “providing the world with an objective, scientific view of climate change and its political and economic impacts”.
This sounds like an admirable aim, but in fact the UNEP agenda was already clearly set out and by 2003 this task had been amended to “understanding the scientific basis of risk of human-induced climate change, its potential impacts and options for adaption and mitigation”, shifting the focus entirely to “human induced climate change”.
The IPCC provided the ideal platform for NGOs like Greenpeace, the World Wildlife Fund, Friends of the Earth, the David Suzuki Foundation and the Environmental Defence Fund to push their Green/Left agendas, either through lobbying or direct involvement of personnel. The first assessment report was completed in 1990 and the Summary for Policymakers provided in the report states that they are:
“.. certain that emissions resulting from human activities are substantially increasing the atmospheric concentrations of the greenhouse gases, resulting on average in an additional warming of the Earth’s surface”.
Also in 1988, the US Senate Committee on Energy and Natural resources held an inquiry into climate change under the direction of Democratic Senator Al Gore. Star witness James Hansen (who subsequently became science advisor to Al Gore) stated unequivocally that “Global warming has reached a level such that we can ascribe with a high degree of confidence a cause and effect relationship between the greenhouse effect and observed warming…It is already happening now” and “The greenhouse effect has been detected and it is changing our climate now…We already reached the point where the greenhouse effect is important.” Hansen said that NASA was “99% confident that the warming was caused by the accumulation of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere and not a random fluctuation”.
So far, on the surface at least, it all still seems to be about the environment and saving the planet.
However, in 1991 the Club of Rome produced its second report: The First Global Revolution by Alexander King and Bertrand Schneider. The stated goal of the report was to “outline a strategy for mobilizing the world’s governments for environmental security and clean energy by purposefully converting the world from a military to a civil economy, tackling global warming and to solve the energy problem, dealing with world poverty and disparities between the northern hemisphere and the Southern Hemisphere”.
While the report covered many threats to the environment, global warming due to CO2 received specific mention. However, the real globalisation strategy, camouflaged under the banner of environmentalism, was finally laid bare:
“It would seem that humans need a common motivation, namely a common adversary, to organize and act together in the vacuum; such a motivation must be found to bring the divided nations together to face an outside enemy, either a real one or else one invented for the purpose”.
“The common enemy of humanity is man”.
“In searching for a new enemy to unite us, we came up with the idea that pollution, the threat of global warming, water shortages, famine and the like would fit the bill. All these dangers are caused by human intervention, and it is only through changed attitudes and behavior that they can be overcome. The real enemy then, is humanity itself”.
“The old democracies have functioned reasonably well over the last 200 years, but they appear now to be in a phase of complacent stagnation with little evidence of real leadership and innovation”.
“Democracy is not a panacea. It cannot organize everything and it is unaware of its own limits. These facts must be faced squarely. Sacrilegious though this may sound, democracy is no longer well suited for the tasks ahead. The complexity and the technical nature of many of today’s problems do not always allow elected representatives to make competent decisions at the right time.”
In the meantime, Stephen Schneider recognised the dilemma for scientists and was quoted in Discover Magazine (October 1989 vol. 10 no.10):
“On the one hand, as scientists we are ethically bound to the scientific method, in effect promising to tell the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but – which means that we must include all the doubts, the caveats, the ifs, ands, and buts.
On the other hand, we are not just scientists but human beings as well. And like most people we’d like to see the world a better place, which in this context translates into our working to reduce the risk of potentially disastrous climatic change. To do that we need to get some broad-based support, to capture the public’s imagination. That, of course, entails getting loads of media coverage. So we have to offer up scary scenarios, make simplified, dramatic statements, and make little mention of any doubts we might have. This ‘double ethical bind’ we frequently find ourselves in cannot be solved by any formula. Each of us has to decide what the right balance is between being effective and being honest. I hope that means being both.”
In 1992 the UN organised a Conference on Environment and Development (The Rio Summit, leading to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, UNFCCC) with Maurice Strong as the Secretary General. The whole tenor of the meeting might best be summed up by the statement in his opening speech:
“What if a small group of world leaders were to conclude that the principal risk to the Earth comes from the actions of the rich countries?… In order to save the planet, the group decides: Isn’t the only hope for the planet that the industrialized civilizations collapse? Isn’t it our responsibility to bring that about?” (https://www.azquotes.com/author/14256-Maurice_Strong)
The Kyoto protocol (concluded in 1997) built upon the Rio UNFCCC framework to seek commitment of state parties to reduction of greenhouse gas emissions (primarily CO2). The lead U.S. negotiator was Timothy Wirth (former US Senator from Colorado) who said:
“We’ve got to ride the global-warming issue. Even if the theory of global warming is wrong, we will be doing the right thing in terms of economic policy and environmental policy.”
That is surely Noble Cause Corruption writ large, as are the following:
In 2010, Ottmar Edenhofer, co-chair of the IPCC Working Group III, said:
· “…one has to free oneself from the illusion that international climate policy is environmental policy. Instead, climate change policy is about how we redistribute de facto the world’s wealth…”
“Climate policy has almost nothing to do anymore with environmental protection. The next world climate summit in Cancun is actually an economy summit during which the distribution of the world’s resources will be negotiated.” (https://www.azquotes.com/author/30831-Ottmar_Edenhofer)
Christiana Figueres, Executive Secretary of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, expressed a similar sentiment:
“This is the first time in the history of mankind that we are setting ourselves the task of intentionally, within a defined period of time to change the economic development model that has been reigning for at least 150 years, since the industrial revolution. That will not happen overnight and it will not happen at a single conference on climate change, be it COP 15, 21, 40 – you choose the number. It just does not occur like that. It is a process, because of the depth of the transformation.” (https://www.azquotes.com/author/32264-Christiana_Figueres)
In 2019, a more overt link to the global socialist agenda was described by Richard Lachmann of the Democratic Socialists of America:
“Climate change is an issue around which people can unite across borders in opposition to both fascists and neoliberals. It provides a framework in which socialists can bring together domestic and foreign policy, the ideological and the practical, the personal and the political, and loudly challenge all those who don’t care”.
“Climate change will create an opening for socialist politics by breaking the link between capitalist growth and political legitimacy”. (https://www.dsausa.org/democratic-left/climate-solidarity-and-resistance/).
The UN continues its call to take wealth from developed countries and give it to third world countries under the pretext of climate change and in 2019 United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) report continues the mantra that:
“The threat of global warming requires immediate action to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and stabilize the Earth’s climate. Recent studies by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) and the United States Global Change Research Program, among others, have made it clear that if we fail to change course, we are only a few decades away from disastrous climate-driven losses”.
This, it argues, can only be solved under a new Global Green New Deal that demands: new controls on money movements; more action from developed nations, targeting sovereign wealth funds and a minimum tax rate for multi-nationals. This is globalisation UN style.
George Orwell was very prescient in his book 1984:
“Power is not a means; it is an end. One does not establish a dictatorship in order to safeguard a revolution; one makes the revolution in order to establish the dictatorship”.
At the coal face, the dishonest behaviour used to propel the global warming/climate change juggernaut has largely been through appeals to emotion: fear campaigns involving Polar bears facing extinction, islands disappearing below the sea, extreme heat and droughts, glaciers and ice caps disappearing, hurricanes, tornadoes, corals dissolving in an acid ocean and all kinds of pestilence and damnation. In the few cases where any data is presented to support the claims it is invariably cherry-picked or simply based upon modelling that might have high fidelity in the model world, but little proven relevance to the highly complex real world. These behaviours and the dishonest manipulation of data to suit the catastrophic global warming/climate change agenda by individuals (think Climategate 2009), universities and organisations like the IPCC, NOAA, NASA, the Australian BOM, to name just a few (all well-documented on sites like WUWT) are further examples of noble cause corruption on the local scale: prostitute the science to ensure continued funding, all for the noble cause of ensuring the welfare of the planet.
It is clear that the major players cited above all share the “noble cause” of globalisation, either under the socialist banner or some specific authoritarian organisation like the UN, tearing down successful industrial economies and redistributing their wealth in the process. The fraudulent action taken to achieve this outcome is the claim of saving the environment through identification of CO2 as a pollutant and implementing strategies to mitigate the supposed consequential catastrophic global warming/climate change. The immediate collateral damage being accepted for the greater cause includes severe eco-anxiety, particularly in children, discontinuation or termination of employment of whistle blowers and diversion of wealth away from worthy human causes to green manufacturers and carbon traders. In the longer term it is the integrity of science. Ultimately it is democracy and the wellbeing of much of the world population.
Any agencies that remain true to the environmental cause have often just latched onto the funding coat tails and in so doing have provided an obliging virtuous “shop front” to deflect attention away from the larger agenda. Those that have morphed into political organisations have simply become part of the whole movement. The unethical treatment of the supporting “science” has just been the fraudulent means to the end.
Any police officer carrying on in such a blatantly corrupt way would be immediately stood down and possibly even prosecuted. It is past time for individuals, organisations, politicians and governments to get some backbone, stand up and call out the corrupt behaviour for what it is.
PhD in Physics from Monash University.
Over 60 scientific publications in refereed journals, 4 book chapters in scientific tomes and a book for Cambridge Press.
Was Head of the Department of Materials Engineering at Monash, then Deputy Vice-Chancellor in charge of Research and Development at Curtin University of Technology. I have run my own consulting company and also a small manufacturing business.
Was Fellow of The Australian Institute of Physics and Fellow of the Institution of Engineers, Australia.