A few months ago, I was asked to speak to a group of engineers and researchers toiling on high-tech projects under the auspices of USCAR (United States Council for Automotive Research), the umbrella organization for collaborative research among Chrysler, Ford and General Motors. The occasion was an annual luncheon where awards and recognitions are handed out for successes, extraordinary efforts and hard work well done.
Hot news at that time was Toyota's potentially passing GM in global sales...one more major milestone in the woeful declines of General Motors, "Detroit" and industrial America in general. But I noticed no one reporting the pertinent fact that Toyota sells some 2.5 million vehicles a year in its highly protected home market, to GM's next to none. Or that GM handily outsells Toyota nearly everywhere else, including here in the U.S.
Then I saw a cable-news panel of supposedly smart investment advisors attributing Detroit's ongoing woes to inferior quality and fuel economy. These tired, old misperceptions, blithely communicated as facts, provided inspiration for my talk, "Lies and Misperceptions."
Following a brief introduction, I asked the group for a show of hands: "How many believe that import-vehicle quality is better than domestic?" Not one hand went up. "Japanese vs. domestic?" Still none. Good! I cited some proof from J.D. Power and other quality surveys. "Imports deliver better fuel economy than domestics." Still no hands. Excellent! "An 'American' car is one built in America." A scattering of hands. I suggested that an "American" vehicle is one that wears a domestic brand, regardless of assembly location, because it supports U.S.-maker headquarters jobs (not just assembly and sales jobs), and the money it brings stays in this country to support this economy and that American company.
At Witz' End continues after the break.
"CAFE federal fuel economy standards should be substantially raised," I said. Another scattering of hands. I pointed out that CAFE has counterproductively encouraged more fuel consumption by reducing the cost of driving; that major increases will increase the cost of vehicles while decreasing their capabilities, safety and desirability; and that only sustained high fuel prices will change Americans' buying and driving habits. Not much argument there.
"The earth is warming." About half raised their hands. Yes, it has been...slowly and slightly, as it has countless times in history. "CO2 is causing it." A few concurred. Most educated technical folks understand that carbon dioxide, the harmless gas we breathe out and plants breathe in (and the fizz in our beer and cokes) is just four percent of so-called "greenhouse" gases, and that honest scientists without personal motives or agendas confirm that the earth's warming and cooling periods have always correlated with solar activity.
"We humans are the culprits." The same few hands. The majority knew that 96 percent of newly created CO2 is natural, less than four percent man-made, that past warm periods throughout history have occurred without help from SUVs, and that the most recent global cooling period (1943-1977) happened even as man-made CO2 was dramatically increasing.
I concluded that they all should communicate these truths and not let harmful lies and misperceptions stand unchallenged. I didn't say then what I strongly believe: that some big lies and misperceptions are intentionally perpetuated by people with motives and agendas, and that man-made "global warming" may be the biggest of all time.
The deceivers and the deceived insist "the debate is over." They tout a scientific "consensus" that human-generated CO2 is causing potentially disastrous "global warming" and that only drastic measures can prevent it. They know they can't win a fair debate, so they seek to cut it off. Many plan to profit hugely from combating "global warming." Scientists who refute it (those whose livelihoods don't depend on it) are threatened and demonized.
Now comes this myth-shattering "open letter" to Ban Ki-Moon, Secretary-General of the United Nations, which clearly demonstrates that the so-called "consensus" is as big a hoax as the unproven theory it supports. It is signed by more than 100 highly credible scientists from around the world, about 80 percent of them PhDs -- not "TV weathermen" as "global warming" preachers and disciples have charged. Below are some telling excerpts from this letter, plus a link to it and all who signed it.
Dear Mr. Secretary-General:
It is not possible to stop climate change, a natural phenomenon that has affected humanity through the ages....
The United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) has issued increasingly alarming conclusions about the climatic influences of human-produced carbon dioxide (CO2), a non-polluting gas that is essential to plant photosynthesis. While we understand the evidence that has led them to view CO2 emissions as harmful, the IPCC's conclusions are quite inadequate as justification for implementing policies that will markedly diminish future prosperity. In particular, it is not established that it is possible to significantly alter global climate through cuts in human greenhouse gas emissions. On top of which, because attempts to cut emissions will slow development, the current UN approach of CO2 reduction is likely to increase human suffering from future climate change rather than to decrease it.
The IPCC Summaries for Policy Makers...are prepared by a relatively small core writing team with the final drafts approved line-by-line by government representatives. The great majority of IPCC contributors and reviewers, and the tens of thousands of other scientists who are qualified to comment on these matters, are not involved in the preparation of these documents. The summaries therefore cannot properly be represented as a consensus view among experts....
The average rate of warming of 0.1 to 0.2 degrees Celsius per decade recorded by satellites during the late 20th century falls within known natural rates of warming and cooling over the last 10,000 years.... Leading scientists, including some senior IPCC representatives, acknowledge that today's computer models cannot predict climate. Consistent with this, and despite computer projections of temperature rises, there has been no net global warming since 1998....
In stark contrast to the often repeated assertion that the science of climate change is "settled," significant new peer-reviewed research has cast even more doubt on the hypothesis of dangerous human-caused global warming.... Balanced cost/benefit analyses provide no support for the introduction of global measures to cap and reduce energy consumption for the purpose of restricting CO2 emissions.... Attempts to prevent global climate change from occurring are ultimately futile and constitute a tragic misallocation of resources that would be better spent on humanity's real and pressing problems.
Yours faithfully, [List of signatories] Copy to: Heads of state of countries of the signatory persons.
Here is a link to the entire letter and the scientists who signed it, with titles and affiliations. It can also be found by going to www.epw.senate.gov, clicking on the "Minority" side, then searching "Open Letter to UN."
Note: Award-winning automotive writer Gary Witzenburg has been writing about automobiles, auto people and the auto industry for 20 years. A former auto engineer, race driver and advanced technology vehicle development manager, he has been a regular contributor to a wide variety of national magazines including Playboy, The Robb Report, Popular Mechanics, Car and Driver, Road & Track, Motor Trend, Autoweek and Automobile Quarterly and has authored eight automotive books. He is currently a Contributing Editor or Contributing Writer for AutoMedia.com, Kelley Blue Book, Automobilemag.com and TheCarConnection.com, Design Editor for Automotive Traveler and a North American Car and Truck of the Year Juror. He will also be contributing regular columns to AutoblogGreen (this is his first) and is ready for your comments below.