Richard Branson (shown), chairman of Virgin Group Ltd., has offered a $25-million prize for the best solution for ending so-called global warming using geoengineering (also called climate engineering), which is the deliberate and large-scale intervention in the Earth’s climatic system.
The goal is to “find true breakthroughs and hopefully create new ways of attacking the climate change problem,” Branson said in an interview.
Sir Richard Branson, who was knighted by Prince Charles in 2000 for his “services to entrepreneurship,” founded such firms as Virgin Atlantic Airways and Virgin Mobile, and with an estimated net worth of $4.9 billion is the seventh-richest citizen of the United Kingdom.
During the United Nations Rio+20 Conference on Sustainable Development in Rio de Janeiro in late June 2012, The New American’s foreign correspondent, Alex Newman, asked Branson what he wanted from Rio+20; he called for planetary carbon taxes and global treaties, supposedly to protect the environment. In a press conference after the day’s events, he reiterated his support for such power-grabbing schemes while lobbying against new oil drilling.
What sorts of climatic engineering might scientists propose who are hoping to claim Branson’s prize? A Bloomberg report on this topic quoted David Titley, a professor in Pennsylvania State University’s department of meteorology, who admitted that tinkering with the earth’s climate may carry more risk than efforts to reduce carbon emissions — the “solution” usually proposed by those who assert that climate change is the result of mankind’s activities.
“Climate intervention involves techniques that are of high and unknown risk,” said Titley. “The risks for mitigation and adaptation are understood and manageable.”
The Bloomberg report noted: “Some proposals are uncontroversial, such as using charcoal to lock carbon dioxide into soil or scattering carbon-absorbing gemstones.”
However, other proposals seem quite bizarre, considering how environmentalists usually are so wary of any human activity that impacts our climate. The report continues:
Other ideas to cool the planet have scientists worried about unintended consequences. There are proposals, untested at scale and with uncertain costs, to block the sun’s rays with airborne particles or seed the oceans with carbon-absorbing iron. That they’re even being considered reveals both frustration over government inaction and skepticism that policy alone will solve the problem.
Those who complain of “government inaction” in the face of climate change that is by all likelihood the result of naturally occurring cycles might do well to recall the story of King Canute, who ruled Denmark, Norway, and England almost a thousand years ago.
According to the story (which may be apocryphal), Canute tired of the flattery poured on him by his courtiers and intended to teach them a lesson about the human limitations of kings. According to one account written by Henry of Huntingdon (the author of a history of England, the Historia Anglorum), Canute set his throne by the seashore and commanded the incoming tide to halt and not wet his feet and robes. Yet, wrote Henry, “continuing to rise as usual [the tide] dashed over his feet and legs without respect to his royal person. Then the king leapt backwards, saying: ‘Let all men know how empty and worthless is the power of kings, for there is none worthy of the name, but He whom heaven, earth, and sea obey by eternal laws.’” Canute then hung his gold crown on a crucifix and never wore it again, “to the honor of God the almighty King.”
However, those who insist that governments take action to reduce climate change obviously do not understand that climate has always changed and always will, since such change is a natural phenomenon, as surely as the rising tides that King Canute demonstrated are impossible to stop.
Bloomberg quoted one such individual, Mark Maslin, a fellow at the U.K.’s Royal Geographical Society, who said: “For the last 20 to 30 years, governments, at the back of their minds, have assumed that mitigation is the main way forward. However, asserted Maslin, researchers now realize that the planet needs “other urgent ways of dealing with CO2.”
Those who reject the theory that climate change, usually described as “global warming,” is anthropogenic (caused by human activity) are often branded as “climate deniers,” even though their ranks include many highly qualified and respected scientists in fields such as meteorology. One such individual, Anthony Sadar, a certified consulting meteorologist and the author of In Global Warming We Trust: A Heretic’s Guide to Climate Change, wrote an article for the Washington Times on June 10 about “incessant ad hominem attacks” constantly directed at that those on his side of the debate. He observed:
We witnessed this just recently with Arizona Rep. Raul Grijalva’s [D-Ariz.] attack on several prominent atmospheric scientists who dare to defy the authoritarian “consensus” on climate. These veteran scientists include MIT emeritus atmospheric-science professor Richard Lindzen and climatologists John Christy and Roy Spencer.
Sadar noted that Alan Carlin, a retired senior Environmental Protection Agency analyst who had challenged the Obama administration’s faulty climate science, in his new book Environmentalism Gone Mad, wrote that those pushing the “global warming doctrine” have almost always “refused to openly debate the scientific issues raised by skeptics but instead derided them or questioned their motives or sources of funding.”
In that book, noted Sadar, Carlin pointed out that the “catastrophic anthropogenic global warming” hypothesis, which asserts that rising carbon-dioxide concentrations will dramatically increase average global temperatures, “does not satisfy the scientific method” largely because observed reality has not matched predictions. He asks the reader to consider that, aside from the one surface temperature analysis just released in the journal Science, numerous temperature measurements have revealed that the globe has experienced a relative flatlining of temperatures for nearly two decades, despite man’s best efforts “to stay alive and comfortable with carbon-based fuels.”
As we write, the Tenth International Conference on Climate Change is taking place in Washington, D.C. Organized by the Heartland Institute, the conference is sponsored by several conservative organizations including the Heritage Foundation, the Competitive Enterprise Institute, and the John Locke Foundation. This year’s theme is “The New Science and Economics of Climate Change.” Among the conference’s keynote speakers are William Harper, professor of Physics at Princeton University, Sen. James Inhofe (R-Okla.), and Rep. Lamar Smith (R-Texas).
Speaking on June 11, Inhofe told attendees that he agreed with former French President Jacques Chirac’s statement that global warming “is the first component of authentic global governance.”
“The United Nations is the reason that this all came along. We all know that,” Inhofe said.
“They want independence. They don’t want to be accountable to anybody, to the United States or any other country,” the senator continued, explaining that global climate change policies would give the United Nations its own funding source and make it unaccountable to its member countries.
Inhofe also said that the UN’s 1997 Kyoto Protocol is “about leveling the playing field for big business worldwide,” and if bureaucrats control carbon emissions, “you control life.”
Photo of Richard Branson: AP Images