Wednesday, August 30, 2017

Club of Rome conspiracies from Timothy Ball at WUWT

Sou | 12:46 AM Go to the first of 17 comments. Add a comment
Timothy Ball is Anthony Watts' most conventional conspiracy theorist, and an utter nutter. Anthony decided for his blog audience he would target the crank end of cyberspace and Tim fits the bill admirably. His latest theory is that the Club of Rome invented climate science, and as a nefarious plot.

Some might call WUWT fans wackadoodles, others will think of the funny farm. Wattsupwiththat is a natural meeting place for paranoid conspiracy theorists who think that efforts to protect humanity and nature are a satanic plot.

Tim is a greenhouse effect denier who wrote the first chapter in an obscure book that gained modest popularity among climate conspiracy nutters a few years ago, called "Slaying the Sky Dragon - Death of the Greenhouse Gas Theory".  There was no death, of course, but the book is a bible of some of WUWT's "climate hoax" conspiracy theorists. Not that they understand anything in it (who would? It's gobbledegook.) Nor would they understand anything about physics, chemistry, climate or mathematics. They just get some comfort from seeing they are not the only weirdos in the world.

I say Tim's a conventional conspiracy theorist because pretty well every article he writes is a derivation of the New World Order conspiracy theory, which is a classical conspiracy theory that can be traced back to the 18th century (maybe earlier) and has roots in anti-semitism. Climate science denial, racism, sexism, anti-semitism and right wing fanaticism can often be seen together. Tim isn't all that old, but he hasn't been able to move beyond the 1970s. Anything and everything achieved in the past half century or so, doesn't count. Most things achieved before the 1970s don't count either.

Today he's crediting the discovery of global warming to the Club of Rome. (I don't recall Tim ever mentioning the beginnings of climate change science.) He's probably thinking of the first report from the Club of Rome: The Limits to Growth, which was based on work conducted by an international team of researchers at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

After trying to argue he's not a conspiracy theorist, Tim went to water and spent most of the rest of his article describing his wacky paranoid conspiracy theory. He wrote:
An appropriate appellation for the AGW deception is a cabal.
A small group of intriguers, especially one formed for political purposes.
In the case of AGW, the cabal was the Club of Rome (COR). 

Tim put up a list that he claimed identified the political motive for the findings of climate science. (Remember, the first report was based on the findings of MIT researchers, not the original members of the Club of Rome.) Here is his list, with my comments in italics:
  • COR [Club of Rome] expanded the Malthusian idea that overpopulation would exhaust food supply to all resources. This is one of the hallmarks of overpopulation, when the population grows beyond the capacity of its food supply.
  • They claimed each person used resources and the number of people was increasing so the demand would increase. Duh! Of course demand will increase as population grows.
  • Those who achieved development used resources at a greater rate and more nations were developing. They had to be stopped, and development curtailed overall. This is where Tim's fantasy takes flight. The Club of Rome is about redirecting and conserving so that all development is sustainable in the long term, not stopping any and all development.
  • Development was achieved by use of fossil fuels and must be eliminated. I don't know if Tim is saying development must be eliminated, or that fossil fuels must be eliminated. See below.
  • A parallel population reduction program was essential, hence the Cairo conference in 1994. The Club of Rome had no involvement in the 1994 Cairo conference. Perhaps Tim just thinks that there should never have been any efforts to improve women's health, infant mortality and protection for women from unsafe abortion services. (Deniers do tend to be sexist, after all.) 
  • Beyond potential resource exhaustion (Limits to Growth), they needed a vehicle to manipulate people toward their agenda: a fear factor with a global threat. It's almost a truism that climate science deniers are scared of being scared.
  • Through Maurice Strong, COR member, they set up the IPCC to prove that the use of fuels produced CO2 that was causing runaway global warming. There is no record that Maurice Strong was ever a core member of the Club of Rome - verified by the Club of Rome itself. (He seems to have been a member of a Canadian section, but that is different.) It wasn't the Club of Rome that started the IPCC, though their work was a wakeup call on environmental issues generally. Tim ignores the role of all the member nations of the United Nations, and the World Meteorological Society.
Limits to Growth does discuss CO2 and other forms of pollution. For example, on page 81 there is the following passage, remembering that this was written 45 years ago:
However, no upper bounds have been indicated for the exponential growth curves of pollutants in figures 15-21 [which included CO2 in the atmosphere], because it is not known how much we can perturb the natural ecological balance of the earth without serious consequences. It is not known how much C02 or thermal pollution can be released without caus­ing irreversible changes in the earth's climate, or how much radioactivity, lead, mercury, or pesticide can be absorbed by plants, fish, or human beings before the vital processes are severely interrupted.
I think Tim Ball probably really is one of the nutcases, who believes the nonsense he spouts. If he was a rational person, he'd know that there is no "small group of intriguers". He'd know that the evidence of global warming is incontrovertible and supported by the research of thousands upon thousands of scientists over many decades. It's grounded in hard fact.

The reaction from a member of the Club of Rome: "It is incredible".

It's not clear to me that Tim has ever read anything from the Club of Rome. Professor Ugo Bardi, who is a full Member of the Club of Rome, sent me this statement about Tim Ball's fantasy article. As he said, Tim and his fans at WUWT could be confusing the Club of Rome with Homer Simpson's Stonecutters:
It is incredible how Mr. Ball recycles vague legends that go back to the 1970s to support his stance. He needs to find some kind of support for the idea that the whole science of climate is a hoax, and so he finds a target in this pretended "cabal" of the Club of Rome, accused - nothing less - of having operated since its foundation in 1968 to promote world socialism. On this point I have to say, as a member, that I was never told that this was our real purpose!

In the end, in the whole set of rambling accusations that Mr. Ball levels against the Club of Rome, there is not a single one that can be even vaguely correlated to some real fact or events. All of them are just unsupported statements mostly created out of thin air. Just as an example, the Club of Rome played no role in the 1994 Cairo conference on population. As another example, Mr. Ball accuses Maurice Strong of having acted on behalf of the cabal  in setting up the IPCC and he cites the book by Elaine Dewar in support of this accusation. But the book by Dewar never mentions the IPCC and provides no evidence on the idea that Strong acted on behalf of the Club of Rome for nefarious purposes. Then, what to say about such statements referred to the Club such as,  "They claimed each person used resources and the number of people was increasing so the demand would increase" and I wonder how one would need a cabal to devise such a simple fact of life.

Overall, I am afraid that Mr. Ball confuses the Club of Rome with the Stone Cutters of "The Simpsons". 
Professor Bardi also told me:
I checked with the people of the Club of Rome, and there are no records that Maurice Strong was ever a member. He seems to have been a member of the Canadian section of the Club, but that is a different thing. Definitely, his relations with the Club were only occasional - hard to think that he was a part of the core group that organized the purported cabal.  
If you don't already, you really should check in regularly to Ugo Bardi's blog, Cassandra's Legacy. Update: See his latest article on this same topic: The Conspiracy of the Stonecutters: is Climate Science Denial going through a Seneca Cliff?.

From the WUWT comments

As intended, swarms of conspiracy theorists gravitated to WUWT to make sure their "thoughts" appeared on the internet. Seeing their comment magically appear on their iPad is one way they can feel as if they are now famous.

HotScot, despite Tim's reference to the IPCC, thinks that there are no papers showing that CO2 causes global warming. He's a fan of British courts, too, and thinks getting a law degree is how one learns about climate science.
August 29, 2017 at 2:08 am
I think Dr. Ball is pointing out the root of the AGW scam rather than blaming the COR for everything that happened since.
Personally, I’m of the opinion that the case of AGW should be heard in the British courts. Unlike the US court system, British courts are non political, indeed, they frequently tell our governments what to do.
That case should be prosecuted on the basis that there is no empirical evidence to demonstrate that CO2 causes global warming. There ought to be hundreds, if not thousands of papers demonstrating it by now, but there are none.
How can a scientific hypothesis exist whilst the underlying science has never been proven.
Have that exposed in open court and the UK government would be forced to abandon it’s insane spending on CO2 mitigation, Trump’s withdrawal from Paris would be independently justified and the rest of the worlds governments would revolt against their unwitting(?) Participation in the scam.
Keitho couldn't wait to get out this jumble of odd thoughts:
August 29, 2017 at 1:48 am
Absolutely. If you want to be King of The World you need to make the World a kingdom first. You do this by creating global laws and controlling global needs from the centre.
The political logic behind AGW is clear and obvious. The methods used to prop it up are as ancient as mankind. Threats and money working together keep us all in line.
Judging by the many risible articles linking Harvey to Man Made Climate Change found all over the serious media and even more so the totally silly comments they attract it is obvious our tertiary education system has failed to inculcate any critical thinking skills in the younger generation. The leap from CO2 being a radiative molecule with a warming ability to we are all going to die from Climageddon is just absurd but that is the accepted narrative.
AGW is a means to an end. The end is what it always is, power over mankind. Even Pinky & The Brain know that.

markl is so deluded he doesn't even know that the world has been getting hotter and hotter:
August 28, 2017 at 8:35 pm
Excellent analysis of “why AGW” Dr. Ball. Too many people are afraid of being labeled a ‘conspiracy theorist’ to address the underlying issue of ‘why’. The AGW narrative was well crafted to make the social/moral implications a greater threat than reality….. and so it endures. One would think the complete failure of all AGW prognostications after decades of announcing them would be enough to convince even the least scientific minds that something is amiss. 

I feel sorry for dennisambler  who sees conspiracies everywhere. It's amazing that he was brave enough to crawl out from under his bed to post his comment. I've not posted them here (too long). Click the link in the date:
August 29, 2017 at 2:41 am
It is not a theory, the conspiracy is real and ongoing. The network is enormous and you can discover it if you choose to look. The rise of climate institutes, with the same common names on the advisory boards, the editorial boards of the major journals, a who’s who of IPCC authors, the government departments infiltrated by NGO’s, the list goes on. The agenda is described here: 

Leitwolf  doesn't think that the world's largest energy companies have enough money to fund climate research, not even the Koch brothers can afford to spend a bit of money on climate apparently. He thinks a message board might do the trick. Not WUWT's message board though.
August 28, 2017 at 8:54 pm
Why it continues? The answer is pretty simple and way different. Well of course the apologetics are organzied, they have plenty of money, but most of all, they have a narrative!
This is what the opposition is missing. It is like a small group of villains entering a small village, shooting around, while the good people run and hide. If they fail to organize, they will lose, despite outnumbering the villains. You are all about critizising the IPCC and its affiliates, but you failed in bringing up a better alternative. That is ONE better alternative.
I am proud to say that I have it, exclusively. I have mastered the whole science of climatology. Nobody needs to believe me, rather I am willing to proudly present my results and defend my findings against every critical thinker.
However that will not work! The whole scene is so unorganized, that you can not even have a reasonable discussion. Without constructive work, you will not build anything. I mean, there is not even a message board to sort out the good from the bad ideas. Not that it would be sufficient. As it is, there is simply nothing.
I can provide the wisdom. But if there are no structures, just panic, nothing will get off the ground. And well, it may be all about money. But it is just as much about ideas, to collect the funds. And it is about will, which is simply not existing. So I guess we are doomed by the science of doom after all. 

Mike Jonas thinks there is some mysterious as yet undiscovered "real climate science" waiting in the wings, if only he could get all current scientists around the world to quit.
August 29, 2017 at 12:16 am
What would be the outcome if the US govt simply stopped all climate science funding as currently done, took the flak using the line that the science is settled so no more funding is needed, and then quietly funded real climate science.

Anthony Watts has got the audience he deserves.


  1. Interesting how WUWT has swapped the Club of Rome for the KGB/FSB in its conspiracy theories. I wonder what has made them do that?

  2. These people are genuinely weird. The structure of the argument of Limits to Growth and climate change are quite different.

    Limits to Growth did talk about pollution, but was mainly worried that resources would run out. The problem of climate change is that we have too many fossil fuels.

    Limits to Growth wanted to reduce resource use. In case of climate change we have to develop and apply technologies to go to zero. Once we have this system it does not matter anymore how many people are living or how much energy they are using. For the other environmental problems that does matter.

  3. Brings new meaning to the phrase "Balls Up".

  4. https://junkscience.com/2017/08/bastardi-no-michael-mann-climate-change-did-not-cause-hurricane-harvey/
    Michael Mann tells the real "whoppers"

    1. Off topic, Danny. You probably meant the comment to appear under one of the Hurricane Harvey discussions. (Or is it an example of your own conspiracy theory?)

      It's also not in keeping with the comment policy.

      I'll add this for balance.

      “The kind of stalled weather pattern that is drenching Houston is precisely the sort of pattern we expect because of climate change,” climatologist Michael Mann explained in an email to ThinkProgress. Earlier this year, Mann co-authored a study explaining how human-caused warming is changing our atmosphere’s circulation, including the jet stream, in a way that leads to “increase in persistent weather extremes” during the summer.

      “I agree with Mike [Mann] that the weak steering currents over the south-central US coincident with Harvey are consistent with our expectations for a warmer world, which of course includes effects of a very warm Arctic,” Jennifer Francis, a climate scientist at Rutgers University, told ThinkProgress.

      This was reported at Vox:

      Upper-level winds in the atmosphere usually steer big hurricanes and keep them moving after they make landfall. With Harvey, those steering winds broke down, and a high pressure system to the northwest kept Harvey locked in place.

    2. Here's another source.

      Why has this storm not moved or barely moved?

      It's all because of the lack of steering in the upper levels of the atmosphere. There is an upper high near Bermuda, which is very typical, but there has also been a very strong high over the south western US. This pattern has pushed the jet stream way to the north.

      The jet stream is what grabs tropical systems and carries them off to the northeast. Harvey has been stuck. The storm is in between the two highs, it's trapped, and it has not been able to get picked up by the jet stream which is much farther to the north. This pattern doesn't break down until Thursday and that's why we have seven days of Harvey in Texas.

      Danny might prefer a video, where the meteorologist says the same about the weather pattern as everyone else has, including Professor Mann.

    3. Joe Bastardi?

      The last time we had a clown here who believes that carbon dioxide cannot cause global warming because this would violate the first law of thermodynamics we were treated to a discussion which included the theory of sentient photons with the predictive powers of Mystic Meg. It was all very amusing.

    4. Joe Bastardi? He of "CO2 can not cause global warming. I'll tell you why. It doesn't mix well with the atmosphere, for one. For two, its specific gravity is 1 1/2 times that of the rest of the atmosphere. It heats and cools much quicker. It's radiative processes are much different. So it cannot - literally cannot cause global warming"? He of "when you look at carbon dioxide, it increases 1.5 parts per million a year. We contribute 3% of that, which means the human contribution is 1 part per 20 million"? That Joe Bastardi?

      Good grief. Next you'll cite a flat-earther to explain that you cannot sail around the world...

    5. Inevitably, Bastardi's tosh was also reposted at WUWT. I just made this observation:

      WUWT Headline: "Michael Mann’s claims that Harvey was caused by global warming are destroyed by an operational meteorologist"
      Guardian Headline: "We can’t say that Hurricane Harvey was caused by climate change."

      Tosh of the day.

      As for Bastardi, tl;dr as usual.

      But my comments never appear at the site that does not censor.

  5. Is this the same Tim Ball that Michael Mann sued for libel? Does anyone the outcome of that?

  6. Edit:
    "Does anyone know the outcome of that?

    1. There's no outcome yet. It's still progressing.

  7. Professor Ugo Bardi on his blog Casandra's Legacy now has a post up about Tim Ball and his accusation of a cabal. The link is in the Blogroll.

    1. Thanks riverat. I've now added a link to his article.

  8. The weird thing about WUWT is that, when there is information about genuine conspiracies to misinform, they have no interest in it.

    Pro-Brexit Twitter account with 100,000 followers could be part of Russian 'disinformation campaign'

    Mind you, these are Rex Tillerson's friends being naughty.

    1. And another genuine conspiracy to misinform the public (or keep it ignorant) has just been uncovered.

      Donald Trump suppressed report into coal mining’s risk to public health, accuses world-leading Nature scientific journal

      Again, I suspect that the conspiracy hunting WUWT will somehow manage to miss it.

  9. Meanwhile Bret has just stumbled back into Climate, this time citing some gym superintendent at the University of Colorado.


Instead of commenting as "Anonymous", please comment using "Name/URL" and your name, initials or pseudonym or whatever. You can leave the "URL" box blank. This isn't mandatory. You can also sign in using your Google ID, Wordpress ID etc as indicated. NOTE: Some Wordpress users are having trouble signing in. If that's you, try signing in using Name/URL. Details here.

Click here to read the HotWhopper comment policy.