Climate change and population control

At the Copenhagen global warming conclave, the Chinese are pushing another approach to cutting down carbon emissions: population control. As you read this, keep in mind what China does, enforcing the “one child” policy by forced abortions:

Population and climate change are intertwined but the population issue has remained a blind spot when countries discuss ways to mitigate climate change and slow down global warming, according to Zhao Baige, vice-minister of National Population and Family Planning Commission of China (NPFPC) .

"Dealing with climate change is not simply an issue of CO2 emission reduction but a comprehensive challenge involving political, economic, social, cultural and ecological issues, and the population concern fits right into the picture," said Zhao, who is a member of the Chinese government delegation.

Many studies link population growth with emissions and the effect of climate change.

"Calculations of the contribution of population growth to emissions growth globally produce a consistent finding that most of past population growth has been responsible for between 40 per cent and 60 percent of emissions growth," so stated by the 2009 State of World Population, released earlier by the UN Population Fund.

Although China's family planning policy has received criticism over the past three decades, Zhao said that China's population program has made a great historic contribution to the well-being of society.

As a result of the family planning policy, China has seen 400 million fewer births, which has resulted in 18 million fewer tons of CO2 emissions a year, Zhao said.

Could the climate panic mindset lead to the same policy here?

UPDATE: A Canadian journalist is already advocating that all the world’s governments emulate China in imposing by law a one child limit.

The uncaused first cause

Tulane physicist Frank J. Tipler tosses off an interesting variation, using contemporary mathematics and physics, of a classic proof of God’s existence. Then he criticizes the relativism of many of his colleagues:

Last week I was on a university panel formed to debate the issue of science and religion. My argument was the same one I’ve been making for years: given the known laws of physics — in particular, general relativity (Einstein’s theory of gravity) and quantum mechanics — we have no choice but to conclude that God exists.

I defined “God” as the “uncaused first cause,” which is the definition used by St. Thomas Aquinas in his “second way” (Aquinas’ second of five proofs of God’s existence). Aquinas took his proof from Moses Maimonides, who in turn took it from the Kalam Muslim theologians. That is, these leading theologians of the three leading monotheist religions all defined “God” the same way, so I thought this would be an acceptable definition. Knowing what is meant by the word “God,” we can now use physics to see if there is indeed “God” out there.

There is. The laws of physics tell us that the universe began about 14 billion years ago at the initial (or big bang) singularity. What is this “singularity”? Looking at its properties, one sees that it is the uncaused first cause. Something that is the cause of all causes, but Himself without a cause. Given the laws of physics, the existence of the initial singularity follows necessarily from the mathematics. Now of course we cannot be certain that the laws of physics are correct. We learn about nature via experiment, and new experiments may tell us tomorrow that general relativity and quantum mechanics are just limits of more fundamental laws, which do not possess an initial singularity. . . .

Given these laws of physics, the singularity is certain. It is certain because His existence follows of necessity, from the mathematical analysis of the equations of relativity and quantum mechanics. Given the laws of physics, the existence of the singularity is as certain as 2 + 2 = 4.

I made this point on the panel. No one challenged the laws. No one challenged my calculations. What they challenged was my statement that 2 + 2 = 4!

Dr. Tipler goes on to critique the now common contention that arithmetic is arbitrary and relates it all to what Orwell talks about in 1984, claiming that the scientific elite are bending truth in a quest for power, citing Climategate as an example.

Carbon Dioxide as a dangerous substance

Here is a big danger of our current governmental structure: If the Executive branch cannot get the legislature to pass the laws that it wants, it is still possible to get the same result by bypassing elected officials and having a bureaucratic agency issue regulations. From Business Fumes Over Carbon Dioxide Rule – WSJ.com:

Officials gather in Copenhagen this week for an international climate summit, but business leaders are focusing even more on Washington, where the Obama administration is expected as early as Monday to formally declare carbon dioxide a dangerous pollutant.

An "endangerment" finding by the Environmental Protection Agency could pave the way for the government to require businesses that emit carbon dioxide and five other greenhouse gases to make costly changes in machinery to reduce emissions — even if Congress doesn't pass pending climate-change legislation. EPA action to regulate emissions could affect the U.S. economy more directly, and more quickly, than any global deal inked in the Danish capital, where no binding agreement is expected.

Carbon dioxide as a dangerous substance! A substance necessary for life! This would make every human being who exhales–that is, who is alive–a polluter at every breath.

Adapting to global warming

Today the nations of the world meet in Copenhagen to attempt to forge agreements to stop global warming and the catastrophes that climate change will allegedly create. Instead of just trying to cut back on carbon emissions, as if the climate change can be prevented, the Dutch are taking steps to deal with the catastrophes should they occur. From Dutch defense against climate disaster: Adapt to the change – washingtonpost.com:

With the Copenhagen summit starting Monday, chances remain uncertain for a historic breakthrough in the fight to prevent climate change, but the Netherlands is leading a fight of a different kind: How to live with global warming.

As sea levels swell and storms intensify, the Dutch are spending billions of euros on "floating communities" that can rise with surging flood waters, on cavernous garages that double as urban floodplains and on re-engineering parts of a coastline as long as North Carolina's. The government is engaging in "selective relocation" of farmers from flood-prone areas and expanding rivers and canals to contain anticipated swells.

The measures are putting this water world of dikes, levies and pumps that have kept Dutch feet dry for centuries ahead of the rest of the world in adapting to harsher climates ahead.

Really, according to the doomsayers, isn’t it too late to do much of anything? Wouldn’t draconian cap-and-trade laws and restrictions on energy use cripple the world’s already tottering economies in a way that might be more devastating than what climate change would do? If people and nations really believe in climate change doomsday scenarios, shouldn’t the priority now be adaptation? Shouldn’t we start building dikes along the seacoast, or start selling beachfront property several miles inland? I mean, if people really believe those dire warnings.

The new rejection of science and reason

Liberals were aghast at President Bush, that pro-life evangelical Christian, for his alleged hostility to science. But Victor Davis Hanson argues that it is the current administration of President Obama and his postmodernist supporters who are showing the greatest hostility, not only to science, but to reason itself:

Barack Obama promised us not only transparency, but also a new respect for science. In soothing tones, he asserted that his administration was “restoring scientific integrity to government decision-making.”

In our new Enlightenment of Ivy League Guardians, we were to return to the rule of reason and logic. Obama would lead us away from the superstitious world of Bush’s evangelical Christianity, “intelligent design,” and Neanderthal moral opposition to human-embryo stem-cell research.

Instead, we are seeing an unprecedented distortion of science — indeed, an attack on the inductive method itself. Facts and reason are trumped by Chicago-style politics, politically correct dogma, and postmodern relativism.

He goes on to show what he means by discussing the government’s handling of the economy, the party line on global warming, and the treatment of radical Muslims such as Maj. Hasan. He concludes:

In short, we are witnessing the rise of a new deductive, anti-scientific age.

Instead of Christian, southern-twanged fundamentalists, we see instead kinder, gentler federal bureaucrats, globetrotting Ph.D.s, liberal hucksters, and politically correct diversity officers.

All are committed to the medieval fallacy that exalted theoretical ends justify very real tawdry means.

The result is the triumph of superstition, and the dethronement of science.

So does this herald what will come after postmodernism? Secularized superstition?

Notice that there isn’t much relativism among the true believers on the left, unless they are trying to undermine objective religions and philosophies. They themselves are very dogmatic about what they believe and about what they expect others to believe.

HT: Bruce Gee

“The data are surely wrong”

Another Climategate e-mail, the best one yet:

The fact is that we can’t account for the lack of warming at the moment and it is a travesty that we can’t. The CERES data published in the August BAMS 09 supplement on 2008 shows there should be even more warming: but the data are surely wrong. Our observing system is inadequate.

Click the link for the full text, the context, and discussion.