The WWF and the cost of Climate Alarmism

What a strange body the WWF (formerly the World Wildlife Fund, now the Worldwide Fund for Nature) has become these days.

The quote above is from a recent column in the UK’s Daily Telegraph, from Christopher Booker. He points out the role of the WWF in promoting the global warming scare, the way in which WWF activists have infiltrated the IPCC, and other institutions of government and international agencies.  It is now, in many respects, more like a multinational corporation than the original conservation charity that it was when founded. What I found most interesting in his article was the following:

Last November, Prince Charles, as president of WWF UK, flew to Tanzania to hand out “Living Planet” awards to five “community leaders” involved in WWF projects around the delta of the Rufiji River, which holds the world’s largest mangrove forest. Part of their intention has been to halt further damage to the forest by local farmers, who have been clearing it to grow rice and coconuts. This is because the mangroves store unusual amounts of “carbon” (CO2), viewed as the major contributor to global warming. (Another WWF project in the delta is to find a way of measuring just how great a threat release of that CO2 might be.)

Shortly before the Prince’s arrival, it was revealed that thousands of villagers had been evicted from the forest, their huts in the paddy fields torched and their coconut palms felled. This was carried out by the Tanzanian government’s Forestry and Beekeeping Division, with which WWF has been working. But Stephen Makiri, the head of WWF Tanzania, was quick to insist that WWF had never advocated expelling communities from the delta, and that “the evictions were carried out by government agencies”.

One of my greatest concerns in the global warming scare is the harm that it does to so many people. Much of that harm is indirect, such as the impact of ‘biofuels’ on food prices. For those living in poverty, even a small increase in food prices might be a disaster. However, when the impacts are indirect, it is sometimes hard for them to be seen as concrete. I liked this article as the cause and effect are direct and cannot be subject to challenge. I am guessing that the people being evicted are probably so poor that their options for the future are limited and bleak.

I have, in previous posts, highlighted other economic impacts of the global warming scare. For example, I discussed the closure and removal of a steel plant in the UK, which was relocating to India as a result of anti-carbon dioxide policies. In this case, through no fault of their own, jobs were lost and relocated to India, thereby helping India in its development. However, what did those workers in the UK do to deserve to lose their jobs? Here in New Zealand, I have highlighted the idiocy and cost of wind energy, and placed emphasis on the fact that it is the poorest in society who will pay the greatest price. They spend a disproportionate amount of income on power.

In the case of the UK workers, and the less well off in New Zealand, the impacts of anti-global warming policy are unfortunate, and more than a little unfair. However, in the case of many of the really poor in the world, the price is greater than unfair. The price is life and death. I have already mentioned biofuels as one example of negative impacts. However, there is a greater and even more abstracted cost; the loss of economic growth due to policies to limit emissions of carbon dioxide.

Poverty kills, and policy which limits economic growth can only result in keeping more people mired in poverty. It is not possible to put any figures on the cost that might not be contested, but one thing must be certain. Making energy more expensive must, absolutely must, be a choke on economic growth. That choke on economic growth will have real impacts upon the prospects of life and death for many people, and will see their children’s prospects likewise left as marginal. Loss of economic growth hurts us all, but it hurts some more than others.

When thinking of these impacts, we need to look at the impacts in the context of the growing body of evidence that suggests that there has been outright dishonesty by climate scientists. Many will have read the Climategate emails, and been alarmed at what they read. The latest consideration of the deceptions of the UK’s Climate Research Unit makes sobering reading. The discussion is technical, but reveals that there was intentional deception in the development of temperature records to support the alarmist position. The result of this deception was a key supporting foundations for climate alarmism.

In a recent upset, the Heartland Institute used very poor taste to garner attention to the global warming skeptical position. They have been widely criticised for stepping back from the high ground, and the criticism is deserved. Nevertheless, some in the alarmist camp have used what are often ugly methods to promote their ’cause’; these include claims that they are saving us all from disaster, death and destruction, and therefore that those who ‘deny’ their claims should be treated as criminals.

However, here we now all are, in a position where key evidence in the debate on global warming increasingly appears to be deliberate deception. And the longer the scare goes forwards, and the longer the time that policy is directed towards the alarm, the more the harm is being done to economic growth. The lack of economic growth has real consequences in the here and now, and going into the future.

Whilst I must accept the possibility that the alarm about global warming might be justifiable, I need far more than the deceptions of corrupt science to shift my skepticism. There are undoubtedly good and honest scientists sitting on the alarmist side, but when seeing that key foundations are built upon sand, and on seeing the Climategate emails, I find it hard to find anything that might justify the ongoing cost of the global warming alarmism. Reading Booker’s column on the WWF, we can see a direct cost of alarmism, but the real cost is too abstract to see. I look around and see that the corruption of science is very clear, and the cost is too high.



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