Home Environment The Important “50 to 1″ Project

The Important “50 to 1″ Project


Nine new videos provide fresh insight into the climate debate. These reasonable voices, representing diverse perspectives, deserve to be heard.

A little over a week ago, independent filmmaker Topher Field and his talented team gave the world a gift. It comes in two parts.

The first is a 10-minute video in which Topher uses numbers from mainstream sources such as the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (UN), the Stern Review (UK), and the Garnaut Review (Australia) to demonstrate that trying to combat climate change by cutting greenhouse gas emissions is economic insanity.

First of all, reducing emissions via any of the mechanisms attempted so far simply doesn’t work. Even though we’ve been talking about the need for dramatic CO2 cuts for a couple of decades, the trend is clearly in the opposite direction. Here are statistics from the US Energy Administration regarding the amount of CO2 we humans generate annually:

  • in the year 2000, it was 24,150 million metric tons
  • by 2005, it was 28,262 million
  • by 2010, it was 31,502 million
  • by 2011, the last year for which figures are available, it was 32,579 million

People who are sincerely worried about climate change need to confront the unpleasant fact that we have no reason to believe that emission cuts are even possible. Good idea, nice try, but the real world isn’t cooperating.

The video’s second message is that, even if measures intended to cut emissions did work, their cost is prohibitive. Spending 80% of the world’s gross domestic product (GDP) in order to prevent negative climate change impacts that will amount to 3% of GDP makes no sense.

Activism is all about making a positive difference. But if a few minutes of basic arithmetic reveals that the measures your movement supports are idiotic and unworkable, surely precious time is being wasted. Environmentalists who sincerely believe the planet is endangered need to find a more effective way to respond to climate change.

Which brings me to the second part of Topher’s gift. Eight people contribute brief remarks within that 10-minute video. I myself appear for a few seconds. But each of us was interviewed at length and those complete interviews are all available.

There’s David Evans, who used to be a climate modeler for the Australian government before he concluded that something was dreadfully wrong. There’s his spouse, Joanne Nova, who was once alarmed by climate change but is now a prominent climate skeptic.

There’s Henry Ergas (an economist), Fred Singer (a physicist), and Christopher Essex (a mathematician). There’s Anthony Watts – who runs the world’s most popular climate blog, WattsUpWithThat. And there’s Marc Morano, the editor of ClimateDepot.com – who used to work for Republican senator James Inhofe).

We are eight diverse voices from three countries. We each bring our own analysis to the climate debate. We admittedly have our differences – political and otherwise.

But we are reasonable, calm, and sane. None of us hates the environment.

I therefore have a modest proposal for climate change activists. Given that your present course of action isn’t working, doesn’t it make sense to widen the tent? Surely it’s time to consider alternative points of view.

An open mind is a beautiful thing.

All the videos may be seen here. For those who’d prefer to load the extended interviews onto their MP3 players or phones, the following audio-only tracks were prepared by a WattsUpWithThat reader:

economist Henry Ergas: http://tinyurl.com/lag69ag

mathematician Christopher Essex: http://tinyurl.com/kgurk43

ex-climate modeler David Evans: http://tinyurl.com/oq2bx3m

journalist Donna Laframboise: http://tinyurl.com/n7qpb7l

Climate Depoteditor Marc Morano: http://tinyurl.com/lywhg7q

science communicator Joanne Nova: http://tinyurl.com/lv8gunn

physicist Fred Singer: http://tinyurl.com/kxxw9k7

WattsUpWithThat editor Anthony Watts: http://tinyurl.com/n4la7xn


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here