A large group of students received emails last night from the a new Objectivists group at Stanford. About half of the people I’ve spoken to received the emails – none of us signed up for a list.
The email, signed by Matt Cook and Dakin Sloss, pointed readers to an article by the two here: http://stanfordreview.org/article/the-man-made-myth. The article claims that global warming is a hoax. Specifically, the two argue in the article that an 800-year timelag in some paleo-climate data indicates that CO2 does not drive climate change, but rather that climate change drive CO2 concentrations.
There was a considerable amount of pseudo-science babble in the pair’s article, which is below. I’m not going to argue about the whole “CO2 doesn’t drive climate change” crap. For that, you can go talk to any of the professors in the Stanford faculty, specifically Ken Caldeira, Mark Jacobson or Steve Schneider.
It’s worth, however, looking at how the pair tried to make their argument, because it tells us something about what they’re thinking.
To start with an almost literary analysis, we recognize that the pair blames the Copenhagen Treaty (which is set to limit the amount of greenhouse gases developed nations will emit over the next twenty years) on the Third World:
We’re “writing to call attention to an important document receiving relatively sparse news coverage: the Copenhagen Treaty, a protocol poised to undermine our constitutional freedoms. In brief, the Copenhagen Treaty will establish a global organization designed to transfer wealth from prospering nations to third world nations in proportion to accrued ‘climate debt.'”
This theory – that binding emissions treaties are in fact ploys by third-world countries to rob the rich (Western) nations – is a very common one among global warming deniers. Senator James Inhofe, a global warming denier who chaired the Senate environmental committee for years, made similar arguments.
Further, for a paper freshman year, I interviewed one of the sources for Cook and Sloss’ article, Dr. Arthur Robinson – a “scientist” at the Oregon Institute of Science and Medicine who organized a petition that 31,000 “scientists” signed against climate change. The institute is located on a farm seven miles from Cave Junction, Oregon. In our interview, he cited the same worries Cook and Sloss describe – that international treaties are designed to control the united states. He also made it very clear that the United States is slipping – and that fixing climate change might be the final blow to the country.
This suggests an underlying fear, for Cook and Sloss, for Robinson, and for global warming deniers in general – that the United States is slipping. A fear that the United States is losing its primacy of in the world. And a fear that we cannot fight global warming without losing our place. I suggest that we can. And perhaps, rather than arguing with these folks about science (which they don’t understand), we can argue about economics (which they certainly get, as Objectivists) and point out that there is a posiive way about this. This, then, is our difficult task.
On another level, maybe it’s just not worth arguing. My roommate took a look at the article from a logical point of view. None of their argument matters, he said – Sloss and Cook admit that the climate is changing and that sea levels are rising. To quote him, “To me, it does not matter if you acknowledge whether climate change is natural or man made. But to say that it is irresponsible to combat climate change is a crime against Holland, New York, London, Bangladesh, East Palo Alto, and San Jose.”
Or perhaps a still better approach is that which an Earth Systems major I know took. He said, simply, the email, “like your article in the Review, is a load of bullshit.”
The email, if you’re interested:
Dear Cardinal Friends,
One of the great things about Stanford is the tremendous vibrancy in student discourse regarding world events. On behalf of the Objectivists of Stanford, we’re writing to call attention to an important document receiving relatively sparse news coverage: the Copenhagen Treaty, a protocol poised to undermine our constitutional freedoms. In brief, the Copenhagen Treaty will establish a global organization designed to transfer wealth from prospering nations to third world nations in proportion to accrued “climate debt.”
If signed by our President, the treaty will significantly impact American life and liberty. We encourage fellow classmates to remain engaged and informed. To start you out, we’ve researched and written an article for your viewing at http://stanfordreview.org/article/the-man-made-myth.
In 1776 our country’s Founders declared the beginning of a noble experiment in human freedom. We must now ask ourselves, what defines America? Where is our country headed? If freedom isn’t the answer to both those questions, we have some serious thinking to do.
Matt Cook and Dakin Sloss