Hide the decline

In modern public relations, half the battle is won if you can get the public — and the media — to embrace your choice of wording.

Few want to be dubbed “pro-abortion”; it’s much preferable to champion the cause of “choice.”

“Gay rights” and “pro-family” are both nice-sounding euphemisms, designed to allow activists and politicians on both sides to avoid discussing whether public policy should subsidize sodomy, while — on the other side — implying rather unkindly that gays and lesbians can’t be members of loving “families.”

For another example of such manipulative word games, take “carbon pollution.”

No one is likely to want to promote “carbon pollution.” The most common form of airborne carbon, to the common thinking, is soot. In the bad old days, coal-fired furnaces vented soot into the atmosphere. The stuff soon precipitated in a gritty layer which made everything downwind or in the immediate vicinity black and dirty.

So when last week the activist pro-regulation group Greenpeace said it “welcomes today’s EPA announcement,” proclaiming that “After years of delay at the behest of industry lobby groups, EPA has finally announced the schedule by which it will regulate carbon pollution,” the casual listener may have thought — indeed, may have been meant to think — that something is finally being done about nasty, gritty airborne soot.

But in fact, sooty “particulate” emissions from furnaces and power plants have long been subject to regulation. Newer technologies have cleaned up such problems till they’re a tiny share of what they were just 50 years ago.

Instead, those who promote vastly greater and more expensive regulation of the energy industry — those who would love to see America’s industrial output decline as our personal electric bills soar, in part to purposely paralyze industrial and economic development in America and Europe until the unregulated Third World can “catch up” — are purposely using the misleading phrase “carbon pollution” when they really refer to power plants emitting … carbon dioxide.

When a single carbon atom has bonded with two oxygen atoms, it forms a colorless, odorless gas which is not a “pollutant,” but is in fact used in the metabolism of plants, making the stuff vital to the survival of life on earth.

Breathing soot is not good for any known organism. Likewise breathing sulfur dioxide, or anything else identified up to this point as a “pollutant,” was more or less toxic. To now brand the useful and innocuous gas carbon dioxide a “pollutant” is verbal manipulation of the first order.

The “green” theory is that the activities of mankind are churning historically unprecedented amounts of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere, that this carbon dioxide is acting as a “greenhouse gas,” trapping solar heat and thus causing the earth to warm to such an extent that it many endanger life on earth.

There are several problems with this theory. First, while there may have been some minor warming in the late 20th century — a whistle-blower has revealed that much of the supporting data was unreliable or simply faked — there appears to have been no warming in the past decade, despite the fact none of the Draconian penalties now proposed has been in effect. (see http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fAlMomLvu_4 or http://www.firstcontactradio.com/blog/?p=262323.)

Second, carbon dioxide doesn’t appear to be a terribly effective “greenhouse gas” — water vapor does the job much better.

Third, the geological and historical record indicates there have been periods of higher carbon dioxide concentration in the past, and that they lagged rather than preceded solar warming. There is also evidence that much of the earth was once much warmer than it is now — and that indigenous life did just fine.

But the biggest problem with “global warming theory” as now propounded is that it lacks a vital component of any legitimate scientific theory — deniability.

That is to say, a legitimate scientist, proposing a theory to explain observed phenomena (rather than seeking a predetermined public policy shift) is expected to be honest enough to say, “If I’m right, you can confirm it by watching to see if ‘A’ happens, as the theory predicts. On the other hand, if you conduct the proposed experiment and the result is instead ‘B,’ which is the opposite of ‘A,’ then the current theory will stand disproved, and it’s ‘back to the drawing board.’”

Global warming theorists predicted a warm, dry winter. Instead, English and Northeast American airports are shut down under unusually heavy snows; it’s snowing in Tasmania (where it’s now high summer); the National Weather Service says Nashville and Atlanta could see serious snowfalls this week for the first time in 17 years — even the ever reliable Transportation Security Administration is rushing to do its part … by announcing that chilly passengers carrying thermos bottles of hot chocolate or coffee can expect to have them seized.

So, if there’s drought and unusually warm weather, we should attribute it to man-made global warming. But if the world is seized in a new deep freeze … we can also attribute that to man-made global warming?

That’s one heck of a flexible theory.

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