Do they still read at Harvard these days or is at all just about empathy, gender awareness, race sensitivity and important stuff like that?
I only ask because if they do still read at Harvard there’s an article I’d like to draw to the formerly respected university’s attention. It’s by journalist Matt Ridley (who’s cleverer than Harvard graduates, btw: he went to Cambridge which is, like, almost being good enough to get into Oxford) and it was the lead story in the recent Spectator.
Ridley’s must-read piece tells us something rather interesting about the global warming debate: the catastrophists have lost the argument – and even the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change admits it, if you read the small print.
The received wisdom on global warming,published by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, wasupdated this week. The newspapers were, as always, full of storiesabout scientists being even more certain of environmentalArmageddon. But the document itself revealed a far more striking story: it emphasised, again and again, the need to adaptto climate change. Even in the main text of the press release thataccompanied the report, the word ‘adaptation’ occurred ten times,the word ‘mitigation’ not at all.
The distinction is crucial. So far, the debate has followed acertain bovine logic: that global warming is happening, so we needto slow it down by hugely expensive decarbonisation strategies –green taxes, wind farms. And what good will this do? Is it possibleto stop global warming in its tracks? Or would all these greenpolicies be the equivalent of trying to blow away a hurricane? Thisquestion — just how much can be achieved by mitigation — is one notoften addressed.
There is an alternative: accepting that the planet is warming,and seeing if we can adjust accordingly. Adaptation means investingin flood defences, so that airports such as Schiphol can continueto operate below existing (and future) sea level, and airconditioning, so that cities such as Houston and Singapore cancontinue to grow despite existing (and future) high temperatures.It means plant breeding, so that maize can be grown in a greaterrange of existing (and future) climates, better infrastructure, sothat Mexico or India can survive existing (and future) cyclones,more world trade, so that Ethiopia can get grain from Australiaduring existing (and future) droughts.
It’s in this context that I want to draw attention to possibly the most embarrassing, lame-arsed, ignorant, credulous, politically correct, shaming, half-witted, preposterous, retrograde public statement ever made by a Harvard president in the former university’s once-distinguished history. It’s by a woman called Drew Faust who, heaven knows how (pact with the devil, maybe?) has managed to parlay her way into the top job at the university, despite knowing diddly squat about one of the most important issues of our time, viz: how much longer are we going to keep restricting freedoms, raising taxes, destroying free markets, misallocating scarce resources and ruining the land in the name of a problem – “man made climate change” – which to all intents and purpose doesn’t actually exist?
Professor Faust’s answer – as it has been at so many seats of learning, unfortunately, from Michael “Hockey Stick” Mann’s Penn State to the Climatic Research Unit at the University of Easy Access, even unto the heights of Oxford which has a thriving, lavishly funded eco bollocks department – has been to ignore all the latest evidence and carry on like Climategate and the 17-year “pause” in global warming and the move to adaptation described above by Matt Ridley never happened.
Here’s one of the worst bits of the fund-raising letter Faust sent to her alumni:
First, and at the heart of our mission as a university, is research. Our research across Harvard–in climate science, engineering, law, public health, policy, design and business–has an unparalleled capacity to accelerate the progression from nonrenewable to renewable sources of energy. The Harvard Campaign has identified energy and environment as a priority, and we have already raised $120 million to support activities in this area. As part of this broader campaign focus, I intend to catalyze the aspects of that research specifically focused on shaping and accelerating the transition to a sustainable energy system.
I challenge our talented and dedicated faculty and students to identify how their efforts can propel societies and individuals along this path. And I challenge our alumni and friends to assist me in raising $20 million for a fund that will seed and spur innovative approaches to confronting climate change, as an element of our broader campaign efforts in energy and environment. To launch this new Climate Change Solutions Fund, I will immediately make available $1 million in grants to be allocated at the outset of the coming academic year.
Do I need to spell out how ineffably stupid this is? Well, just in case Professor Faust – or any of Harvard’s more recent intake – is reading this, I guess I do. Harvard is supposed to be a world class university – a place where the brightest and best come in order to broaden their minds and partake of the choicest intellectual fruits of Western civilisation.
In what wise, pray, will Harvard achieve this by splurging $120 million – plus another $20 million, if the alumni are dumb enough to stump up – on research that is already out of date, on a cause (“sustainability”) which is arguably doing far more harm than good, on an argument which has been lost?
Maybe, it’s about time Harvard ditching that motto “Veritas”. “Testiculos” has a nice ring about it, don’t you think?