Friday, December 09, 2011

Richard Feynman on the climate conference in Durban

Marc Morano sent us a link to a remarkable UNFCCC draft document that was proposed as the final statement by the participants of the ongoing climate fat cats' orgies in Durban, South Africa:
Update of the amalgamation of draft texts in preparation of a comprehensive and balanced outcome to be presented to the Conference of the Parties for adoption at its seventeenth session (note by the chair)
I suppose that the chair who has "amalgamated" the draft texts is that Latin American woman who has been trained in Al Gore's eco-terrorist training camps (where they memorized An Inconvenient Truth, among other things); sorry, I forgot her name and I don't think it's important enough for you and me to waste a minute by searching the name of that bitch.

The whole document is a kind of a hardcore Marxist rant. Everything that is important in this document is about the class struggle. The whole world is being divided to the rich and the poor. These two groups are treated totally differently: CO2 is a different chemical compound in different parts of the world.n The word "developed" appears 236 times (!) in the document. You also find four references to the "climate debt". What a theoretical construct! You may also learn about the "rights of Mother Earth", "rights of Nature", and especially "rights of indigenous people" (five times in the text). The human rights are "especially" the rights of women, children, migrants, and indigenous people. Sorry, men! ;-)
Breaking news: Thank God, Reuters informs that climate talks [were] suspended after rebellion over drafts. But you will be shocked to hear that the rebels – some savages plus the EU nuts – complained that the Marxist ambitions of the draft were not sufficient! ;-) The EU nut-in-chief Connie Hedegaard (whose MA in literature and history has made her a top personality of the European climate science because the more incompetent you are, the higher you can get) has complained about three tiny and disobedient nations that are blocking the EU-and-savages-proposed agreement – namely America, China, and India. :-)
If the "climate debt" is linked to the elevated CO2 concentration, I would like to mention that the interest rate on this debt is minus 2 percent because Nature's sinks absorb about 2 percent of the excess CO2 above 280 ppm, or (currently) about 2 ppm, every year. So the simplest way to repay the debt is simply to wait – something that you can't do if the interest rate is positive! ;-)

At any rate, Richard Feynman apparently attended the Durban 2011 conference and listened to the talks about the climate debt and redistribution between the rich world and the poor world. This is how he retroactively summarized it in his famous book:

... There was a special dinner at some point, and the head of the theology place, a very nice, very Jewish man, gave a speech. It was a good speech, and he was a very good speaker, so while it sounds crazy now, when I'm telling about it, at that time his main idea sounded completely obvious and true. He talked about the big differences in the welfare of various countries, which cause jealousy, which leads to conflict, and now that we have atomic weapons, any war and we're doomed, so therefore the right way out is to strive for peace by making sure there are no great differences from place to place, and since we have so much in the United States, we should give up nearly everything to the other countries until we're all even. Everybody was listening to this, and we were all full of sacrificial feeling, and all thinking we ought to do this. But I came back to my senses on the way home.

The next day one of the guys in our group said, "I think that speech last night was so good that we should all endorse it, and it should be the summary of our conference."

I started to say that the idea of distributing everything evenly is based on a theory that there's only X amount of stuff in the world, that somehow we took it away from the poorer countries in the first place, and therefore we should give it back to them. But this theory doesn't take into account the real reason for the differences between countries –that is, the development of new techniques for growing food, the development of machinery to grow food and to do other things, and the fact that all this machinery requires the concentration of capital. It isn't the stuff, but the power to make the stuff, that is important. But I realize now that these people were not in science; they didn't understand it. They didn't understand technology; they didn't understand their time.

The conference made me so nervous that a girl I knew in New York had to calm me down. "Look," she said, "you're shaking! You've gone absolutely nuts! Just take it easy, and don't take it so seriously. Back away a minute and look at what it is." So I thought about the conference, how crazy it was, and it wasn't so bad. But if someone were to ask me to participate in something like that again, I'd shy away from it like mad – I mean zero! No! Absolutely not! And I still get invitations for this kind of thing today.

When it came time to evaluate the conference at the end, the others told how much they got out of it, how successful it was, and so on. When they asked me, I said, "This conference was worse than a Rorschach test: There's a meaningless inkblot, and the others ask you what you think you see, but when you tell them, they start arguing with you!"

Even worse, at the end of the conference they were going to have another meeting, but this time the public would come, and the guy in charge of our group has the nerve to say that since we've worked out so much, there won't be any time for public discussion, so we'll just tell the public all the things we've worked out. My eyes bugged out: I didn't think we had worked out a damn thing!

Finally, when we were discussing the question of whether we had developed a way of having a dialogue among people of different disciplines – our second basic "problem" – I said that I noticed something interesting. Each of us talked about what we thought the "ethics of equality" was, from our own point of view, without paying any attention to the other guy's point of view. For example, the historian proposed that the way to understand ethical problems is to look historically at how they evolved and how they developed; the international lawyer suggested that the way to do it is to see how in fact people actually act in different situations and make their arrangements; the Jesuit priest was always referring to "the fragmentation of knowledge"; and I, as a scientist, proposed that we should isolate the problem in a way analogous to Galileo's techniques for experiments; and so on. "So, in my opinion," I said, "we had no dialogue at all. Instead, we had nothing but chaos!"

Of course I was attacked, from all around. "Don't you think that order can come from chaos?"

"Uh, well, as a general principle, or..." I didn't understand what to do with a question like "Can order come from chaos?" Yes, no, what of it?

There were a lot of fools at that conference – pompous fools – and pompous fools drive me up the wall. Ordinary fools are all right; you can talk to them, and try to help them out. But pompous fools – guys who are fools and are covering it all over and impressing people as to how wonderful they are with all this hocus pocus – THAT, I CANNOT STAND! An ordinary fool isn't a faker; an honest fool is all right. But a dishonest fool is terrible! And that's what I got at the conference, a bunch of pompous fools, and I got very upset. I'm not going to get upset like that again, so I won't participate in interdisciplinary conferences any more.

(The text continues with the "is electricity fire?" young rabbi story from the elevator.)

If you want to see a piece of amazingly impressive investigative journalism with a conclusion that is far from surprising, see Christopher Booker's analysis of the climate bias of the BBC.

1 comment:

  1. Great post, never knew about this conference. Also the possibility to listen to the post is an amazing feature for a blog. ;]