Of Ecological Bondage

Recently, the 3rd Nobel Laureate Symposium decided to hold a trial, charging humanity with ruining the planet. Based on the so called 9 Planetary Boundaries, a jury of 20 Nobel Laureates sat in judgment while “compelling evidence” was presented showing that “humanity may now be capable of radically altering the remarkable conditions for life on Earth.” The Planetary Boundaries approach was developed by 28 scientists, who estimated that three of the boundaries, climate change, the nitrogen cycle and biodiversity loss, have already been crossed and that several others are all ready in dangerous territory. We have all been charged with transgressing boundaries laid down by a group of scientists most people have never heard of, judged and found guilty by a gaggle of Nobel Prize winners, and been remanded to the UN for punishment. This sham trial does not represent justice but an attempt to place humanity in ecological bondage.

On Tuesday, May 17, the 3rd Nobel Laureate Symposium put humanity in the dock, charged with crimes against nature. “This court case is a bold step to take, especially in the context of this Nobel Laureate Symposium. It is, however, a necessary step towards recognizing that our generation is the first to know that human pressure is so large that the possibility of irreversible changes to the Earth System can no longer be excluded. The prosecution will therefore maintain that humanity must work towards global stewardship around the planet’s intrinsic boundaries, a scientifically defined space within which we can continue to develop,” said Professor Will Steffen, prosecutor and Director of the Australian National University's Climate Change Institute.

An announcement on the Global Symposium 2011 site described the trial this way:

With Planet Earth as plaintiff and Nobel Laureates as jury members, compelling evidence will be presented showing how humanity may now be capable of radically altering the remarkable conditions for life on Earth. Nobel Laureates will hear how our vast imprint on the planet’s environment has shifted the Earth into a new geological period labelled the “Anthropocene” – the Age of Man.

The proclaiming of a bogus new geological period has been a ploy of radical environmentalists and climate change alarmists for several decades now. Past President of the AAAS, James J. McCarthy, used his 2009 AAAS Annual Meeting keynote address to proclaim much the same thing. As if there was any doubt what the verdict would be, a follow on press release states, “the Stockholm Memorandum concludes that the planet has entered a new geological age, the Anthropocene.” If these shills for radical environmentalism are anything, they are predictable.

Described as “one of the most recent and most significant attempts to provide scientific guidelines for such improved stewardship,” the Planetary Boundaries approach was published in Nature in 2009. A detailed explanation of the 9 Planetary Boundaries can be found on the Stockholm Resilience Centre web site, but here is the list with abbreviated descriptions:

  • Stratospheric ozone layer — This is a reference to the infamous ozone hole of decades past. Even the boundary creaters admit that we appear to be on the path that will allow us to stay within this boundary.

  • Biodiversity — It is claimed that biodiversity is being reduced by human activities more rapidly in the past 50 years than at any time in human history. Still, “further research is needed to determine whether a boundary based on extinction rates is sufficient, and whether there are reliable data to support it.”

  • Chemicals dispersion — “At present, we are unable to quantify this boundary; however, it is nonetheless considered sufficiently well defined to be on the list.” Human emissions of all sorts of chemicals must be doing something bad, even if we don't know what exactly.

  • Climate Change — Every eco-activist's favorite boogieman. By passing 387 ppmv CO2, we have already transgressed this Planetary Boundary. “A major question is how long we can remain over this boundary before large, irreversible changes become unavoidable.” Notice how the changes are always “irreversible,” as if Earth's climate has not been both significantly warmer and colder than today.

  • Ocean acidification — Hand in hand with those global warming causing CO2 emissions is what all that carbon dioxide is supposedly doing to the world's oceans. The claim is: “The ocean acidification boundary is a clear example of a boundary which, if transgressed, will involve very large change in marine ecosystems, with ramifications for the whole planet.”

  • Freshwater consumption and the global hydrological cycle — “Water is becoming increasingly scarce and by 2050 about half a billion people are likely to have moved into the water-stressed category.” Water use is indeed becoming a pressing problem, but we still have time work things out.

  • Land system change — “This land-use change is one driving force behind reduced biodiversity and has impacts on water flows as well as carbon and other cycles.” Humanity is converting land to its own uses, as if other animals don't shape their environments as well. Perhaps we should turn the planet to one big park.

  • Nitrogen and phosphorus inputs to the biosphere and oceans — “A significant fraction of the applied nitrogen and phosphorus makes its way to the sea, and can push marine and aquatic systems across thresholds of their own.” This is also tied in with changes to the carbon cycle and changing land use patterns, but a big culprit is the use of chemical fertilizers. The US could cut its fertilizer runoff by 40% if it stopped raising corn (maze) for automotive ethanol.

  • Atmospheric aerosol loading — This is considered a planetary boundary for two main reasons: (i) the influence of aerosols on the climate system and (ii) their adverse effects on human health at a regional and global scale. Perhaps we should fine Iceland for all of those volcanic eruptions?

“The human pressure on the Earth System has reached a scale where abrupt global environmental change can no longer be excluded. To continue to live and operate safely, humanity has to stay away from critical ‘hard-wired´ thresholds in the Earth´s environment, and respect the nature of the planet's climatic, geophysical, atmospheric and ecological processes,” says Professor Johan Rockström, Director of the Stockholm Resilience Centre and lead author of the boundaries list. This remark shows that the Planetary Boundaries approach is nothing more than an expanded version of that old shibboleth, the ecological tipping point.

The three boundaries we have supposedly already crossed—climate change, the nitrogen cycle and biodiversity—are all areas of scientific contention. It is no secret that I am a global warming skeptic. Allen Simmons and myself even wrote a book examining the scientific basis for global warming, The Resilient Earth. And while I have touched on the nitrogen cycle only in the context of global warming, this blog has commented several times on the biodiversity “crisis” (see “Biodiversity: Manufacturing a Crisis” and “The Price of Biodiversity”). What I would like to know is, who was asked to speak in humanity's defense?


The hand-off from the laureates to the bureaucrats.

“We know the earth’s resilience and resource base cannot be stretched infinitely. Moreover we are now uncomfortably aware that “business as usual” is not an option anymore. Our societies and economies are integral parts of the biosphere and it is time for the leaders of the world to act as stewards of nature’s invaluable and inescapable contribution to human livelihoods, health, security and culture,” says Johan Rockström, Symposium Chair and previously identified Planetary Boundaries co-author. There seems to be more than a little intellectual incest here. This is unsurprising, since most climate change alarmists are better at self promotion than at science.

The sham trial's preordained verdict was quickly reached and included in the Stockholm Memorandum that was signed by the Nobel Laureates on May 18. You can download a pdf of the memorandum here. The memorandum will be handed over in person to the High-level Panel on Global Sustainability appointed by the UN Secretary General in preparation for the 2012 UN Conference on Sustainable Development in Rio de Janeiro (Rio +20) and for the ongoing climate negotiations.

This is yet another transparent farce, aimed at popularizing the views of radical environmentalists, co-opted bureaucrats and warmist leaning pols. Did these buffoonish boffins think their mock trial was witty, or that it would cause the unwashed masses to fall to their knees lamenting the sins of all mankind? This group should not be allowed to judge a kindergarten art contest, let alone the environmental culpability of the whole of mankind. This also reinforces the irrelevance of the Nobel Committee and the yearly baubles it passes out. Not being content to debase the Peace Prize and the prize for literature, by loading them with transnational progressive balderdash, the rot is now spreading to taint the scientific prizes as well.

How much weight should this proclamation be given? A quick check of the list of symposium participants reveals that, though there were some chemists, biologists and physicists present, the attendees included prize winners for literature, the president of the World Wildlife Federation, the president of the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), several “researchers,” a documentary film maker and the Mayor of Stockholm. Oh surely we can trust this group to pass judgment on us all.

We are supposed to be shamed into a life of ecological bondage, willingly ruled by the likes of the Laureate Symposium and the UN. More fool them, if they thought that finding humanity guilty of despoiling planet Earth would earn them anything other than disdain from those who actually work for a living. As though they themselves are not part of that same humanity, but are somehow better than the rest of us and therefore worthy to pass judgment.

This is just another sad example of unworldly academics, UN bureaucrats and government officials—whose well padded lifestyles are paid for by the toil and sweat of honest folk—banding together to perform an act of self aggrandizement. They are the clueless, dressing up to play childish games and thinking they are being profound. Their antics are almost humorous, until one realizes the number of hungry children who could have been fed by the money they squandered on their little ego trip.

Be safe, enjoy the interglacial and stay skeptical.

And I should care why?

The reality is that nature and animals are fundamentally selfish. They don't care how they are hurting the environment. They may not have the power to hurt the environment, but it is no good spirit of their own that makes it so.

What I find remarkable is how this breed of complainers has never actually spent time IN nature. Almost all of them are people locked away in cities, in apartment towers, never seeing an elk brought down by wolves, never seeing the openness of the desert, or the tenacity of the organisms that survive there, never walking through a forest and seeing snails and shit on the ground. There is no such thing as PRISTINE fool! The earth is constantly changing. If you were sensible, you'd change with it.

definition of dominant species

http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/dominant

Ecology . any of one or more types of plants, or sometimes animals, that by virtue of abundance, size, or habits exert so important an influence on the conditions of an area as to determine, to a great extent, what other organisms can live there.

so we are one of the dominant species on this planet. there are others that have also altered the planet for their benefit to the detriment of other species. While i dont believe it gives us license to run amok per se, i see no reason to feel ashamed about it either, like these people seem to.

If you can't blind them with brilliance

First they tried simplicity: CO2 causes global warming and people make the CO2. That didn't work. Now they are trying complicated: people are transgressing Nine Planetary Boundaries! This sounds like the old saying "If you can't blind them with brilliance, baffle them with bullshit."

Nobbly knee pieces

Any organisation that would give Obama a Peace Prize has no credibility-sounds like grandstanding for research grants to me(prostitution)