News » Whistler

Pique'n yer interest

Global warming: the con job we need



Nietzsche wrote in the Will to Power that we progress by way of the lie. The international panic over climate change suggests his thesis still applies.

Since 2006, the world has been possessed by an overstated guilt over how we've treated the planet. Al Gore's An Inconvenient Truth hit theatres and suddenly our light bulbs and driving habits are melting ice caps and glaciers. Humans were outed as the cause of climate change and we had to change our habits or else face environmental catastrophe.

But is it true? Are humans alone dragging the Earth to Hell? Not according to two recent studies.

BBC Climate Correspondent Paul Hudson recently noted a couple of studies that showed humans merely stand alongside two major factors in the deterioration of our atmosphere.

One was a study by Weatheraction, an organization that specializes in long-range weather and climate forecasting. The study, commissioned by English astrophysicist Piers Corbyn, posits that solar particles are more responsible for global temperatures than is anything we're doing.

The other, from Western Washington University Professor Don Easterbrook, identifies a direct correlation between ocean and global temperatures. Ocean temperatures, he writes, are cyclical - they warm and cool periodically. Between the 1980s and 1990s they were warmer than average and in the last few years they've cooled. Cycles in the past have lasted 30 years.

So what does this all mean? It certainly doesn't blow apart the theories behind climate change but it nevertheless suggests that humans aren't acting alone.

But that doesn't matter. The doctrine behind global warming assumes that humans are individually responsible and there's no room for dissent. Already I can sense readers probing the Republican affiliations of the scientists above and seeing if they've acted as "experts" for Fox News.

In Whistler it seems there's a resort-wide conspiracy to maintain the green agenda. At a council meeting on Sept. 15, councillors questioned the fiscal prudence of spending an extra $23,000 on our alleged "green" library. The mayor and other councillors then voted down a motion to see if the same was happening at other municipal buildings.

Mayor Ken Melamed shot them down and said if we didn't design buildings like the library then we were headed for economic destitution.

Pardon me, Mr. Mayor, but I'm quite certain we'll spend ourselves into destitution faster than we'll build ourselves there.

And there are other examples. The resort municipality, as part of its commitment to the Climate Action Charter, is spending $50,000 in an effort to become B.C.'s first "carbon-neutral" community.

Now carbon neutrality is a scam all its own. Part of Whistler's effort to get there is spending the money on carbon credits to offset its emissions. Carbon offsets mean you're putting money into initiatives to equal the GHGs you emit.

So really, as long as you're buying offsets you can feel no guilt about emitting as much as you want. But good luck convincing local politicians who feel we can "green-build" our way out of economic destitution.

Now I'm not saying a little panic isn't a good thing. Panic creates an urgent incentive to find solutions. How, without panic, would we have protected ourselves against swine flu or SARS?

I'm also not saying we've done a bang-up job as caretakers of the environment. An Inconvenient Truth was essential for pushing us toward solutions that could very well help us breathe fresher air and power our consumption through clean energy. It was a well-deserved spanking for a delinquent kid who couldn't clean up his room.

But is it all the kid's fault? I don't think so. The melting of glaciers and the break-up of ice caps could easily be impacted by solar radiation as much as human activity. Not to mention the warming cycles of our oceans - things well beyond our control.

We've little to be proud of when it comes to protecting Gaia and there's no doubt that global warming has helped us realize that. But we're still being conned into thinking we've acted alone. It's a con job we need.