Five Environmental Crises That Have Come And Gone
by JBS President Emeritus John F. McManus
What do extreme environmentalists do when their claims of looming catastrophe are shown to be unscientific or even ridiculous? They either abandon their current claim and find another cause to scare the public or they change the name of the fright they’re peddling.
Consider this. We no longer hear of “acid rain” destroying crops and other vegetation. “Ozone depletion” was supposed to cause cataclysmic increases in human cancer and more – but there is no mention of it today. Another bygone scourge known as “deforestation” had its share of frightening publicity, but we hear it no more. Another great worry aimed at the public was “overpopulation” and it, too, is no longer being marketed as a significant threat. Then, “auto emissions” became the target of those who insisted the automobile did far more harm than good.
Now we are supposedly being victimized by “climate change,” the most dire environmental problem ever to plague mankind, according to scaremongering environmentalists and sloppy journalists. Climate change was formerly known as global warming. When competent scientists poked big holes in the global warming propaganda, its leading advocates arranged the name change. We are now told that rising temperatures caused by human activity warms the planet, will melt polar ice, cause a significant rise in sea levels, and put dry coastal areas under water.
The history compiled by environmentalist scaremongers isn’t something they should be proud of. Acid rain had been named as the killer of spruce trees in Vermont and elsewhere. When a group of scientists went to see this calamity, they had to fight their way through healthy young spruce trees in order to find those dead or dying. But their search proved fruitless because there were none. Ozone depletion was going to cause skin cancer, cataracts, and damage to mankind’s immune system. The main culprit was chlorofluorocarbons used in air conditioners, as a cleaning agent for electronic parts, and more. Soon, the claims about the ozone hole disappeared but not until expensive studies showed the concerns to be absurd.
Deforestation of the Brazilian rain forest became an environmental cause in the early 1980s. But when the UN’s World Bank was found to be the financier of a 900-mile road-building project right through the forest, pressure for terminating it succeeded and the rain forest was left to grow naturally. Overpopulation then became the environmental cause d’jour.
Famed oceanographer Jacques Cousteau wrote in the November 1991 UNESCO Courier, “In order to stabilize world population, we must eliminate 350,000 people per day. It is a horrible thing to say, but it’s just as bad not to say it.” Fast forward several decades and demographers in various countries are now worried about declining birth rates. Overpopulation is no longer being discussed.
In 2014, climatologist Dr. Patrick Michaels, formerly of the University of Virginia and currently the leader of Cato Institute’s Center for the Study of Science, provided data showing “no significant warming trend in surface average temperature for 18 consecutive years.” At MIT in Massachusetts, Dr. Richard Lindzen became nationally known as a “climate skeptic.” Over at Harvard University, Dr. Willie Soon has paralleled Lindzen’s skepticism and angered the climate change partisans. But numerous former believers have moved into the camp of the skeptics. They all concede that temperatures will rise and fall; they don’t concede that humans are the cause.
More than sloppy science is at work here. Even before he was Secretary of State (2013-2017), John Kerry beat the climate change drum. In 2015, he pontificated, “When science tells us that our climate is changing and human beings are largely causing that change, by what right do people stand up and say ‘I dispute that’ or ‘I deny that elementary truth?’” He claims climate change is a more serious threat than terrorism, poverty, and weapons of mass destruction. Because of climate change, he wants government restrictions placed on people. His goal, easily known by studying his career, is a world government run by him and others like him.
If the people become aware that the claims of climate change advocates are pure nonsense, even dangerous nonsense, Kerry and his ilk will come up with some other scheme to frighten people into giving up their freedoms. We should make sure they don’t get away with it. Join The John Birch Society today to take action!
Support H.R. 861 to Abolish the EPA
by JBS President Emeritus John F. McManus
The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has been bedeviling Americans since 1970. Many have felt the sting of its steep fines, heavy costs to comply with questionable edicts, and occasional shutdowns of factories whose owners simply throw in the towel. “It’s all worth it,” say most environmentalists. “We’ve got to have clean air and clean water, and if there are casualties along the way, so be it.”
Perhaps the most common attitude expressed by determined environmentalists is that, like it or not, EPA’s laws have to be obeyed. Add to that the oft-repeated claim “once a law is on the books, everyone must comply.”
But there’s a fundamental problem underlying this thinking. It is that the EPA didn’t result from a properly enacted law passed by Congress, a route required by the very first sentence in the U.S. Constitution. This regularly ignored dictum states, “All legislative power herein granted shall be vested in a Congress of the United States….” If you understand the meaning of “all,” you can readily see that the constitutional intent left no openings for other ways to make law. The EPA’s birth didn’t arise through use of congressional law-making power. It resulted from a December 2, 1970, Executive Order penned by President Richard Nixon.
Congress had already passed legislation known as the Clean Air and Clean Water Acts. Then came the EPA. Once in the books via the Nixon executive order, the EPA (a swiftly growing federal bureaucracy) took over enforcement of those measures. The agency’s reach has grown exponentially over the years. In the mid-1970s, a U.S. Steel plant in Indiana faced enormous EPA-promulgated fines and chose to close down with the loss of 500 jobs. Kennecott and Consolidated Copper also closed down for similar reasons. Numerous other firms did likewise. Where fines had to be paid to call off the dogs of the EPA, some companies raised their prices and passed along those additional expenses to the general population.
The EPA then targeted the automobile industry. EPA lover Al Gore (who almost became President via the 2000 election) chimed with his astounding 1992 book Earth in the Balance. Among other excesses, it called for “completely eliminating the internal combustion engine over, say, a 25-year period.” That means automobiles and trucks. Gore still uses both.
In 1989, Stanford University Professor Stephen Schneider, an EPA cheerleader, spoke of the “ethical” problem surrounding any defense of environmental claims. He addressed the need to get some “broad-based support, to capture the public’s imagination.” How to do that? He stated:
So we have to offer up scary scenarios, make simplified dramatic statements, and make little mention of doubts we might have. Each of us has to decide what the right balance is between being effective and being honest.
The EPA started its crusade with arbitrary dictates regarding air and water. It then spread into issuing rules regarding land use, endangered species, waste disposal, radiation, and supposed global warming (now termed “climate change”). By 2016, the EPA had 15,376 employees and an annual budget of $8 billion. It continues to grow.
To counter all of this, freshman Congressman Matt Gaetz (R-Fla.) has introduced H.R. 861, a measure seeking total abolition of the EPA. His entire bill, a single sentence, reads: “The Environmental Protection Agency shall terminate on December 31, 2018.” A former veteran state legislator, he claims to have had “a front row seat to the failures of the federal government in protecting the environment.” Noting that “the American people are drowning in rules and regulations promulgated by unelected bureaucrats,” he proposes that there’s no need whatsoever for the EPA and sensible environmental protection should be handled at state and local levels.
H.R. 861 deserves support in Congress and among the American people, especially those who believe in a government limited by the U.S. Constitution.
Take action by calling your representative (202-225-3121) and senators (202-224-3121) to cosponsor this bill to abolish the unconstitutional Environmental Protection Agency.