EurActiv - Letters to the Editor


Regarding ‘Risk consultant: EU R&D hostage of ‘eco-religious fundamentalism’

I just came across the interview with Mr. Zaruk, and must say that I was appalled and scared when reading his views. But on the other side, he only expresses himself as what he is, a former lobbyist of the chemical industry more interested probably in pushing through private interests than the global commons.

Philosophy didn’t help him out on being wise and projecting balanced arguments. His is the kind of blind and non-constructive argumentation which is disgraceful of somebody who apparently wants to contribute to a better future…so be ready for attacks against the EU as an institution and its policymakers, EU citizens, the ‘environmentalists’, the NGOs…

Even though some of his arguments and remarks are somewhat valid and justified (like the one on the WHO scaring everybody on H1N1 while there are other, more serious threats), he seems largely the hostage himself of ‘sciencetech-religious fundamentalism’ which will lead us nowhere neither…it is a pity that such crucial questions are answered in such a bad way.

In his analysis of Europeans and Americans, it is easy to understand that in his narrow-minded opinion, Europeans are definitively on the bad side, full of their ancient fears and frozen in a ‘looser attitude’, which begs the question ‘Why are Europeans not embracing innovation?’.

I must say that a lot of the given arguments are simply ridiculous, such as ‘it is science and its technological advances that caused all the carbon increases and global warming?’

Anyone who is a bit clever knows that it is neither science nor technology which caused/causes global warming but humans and their behaviour, and the use humans make of what science and technology comes up with.

It is like this with GMOs too: science and technology made them possible, but it is up to our society/communities to make the decision whether to use this discovery or not.

In Mr. Zaruk’s point of view, science & technology come first. They are like a religion which should be followed without any questioning. He writes that ‘rather than God we have Gaia’, which he dislikes because he would prefer ‘rather than God we have science’.

What about humans, people and societies? Science and technology is an outcome of people’s activities, work and reflections. It is available to humans and not the other way round: our societies are not there to blindly serve ‘science & technology’ and the people leading and driving ‘science & technology’, and they are not there to follow their recommendations blindly.

Science serves society, not society science! Mr. Zaruk seems to have forgotten that we leave in a time of democracy, where each society decides upon its common future as a community in transparent and open processes, and not under the leadership of a self-declared class of scientists/experts deciding on their own for the good of everyone.

Whether you like it or not Mr Zaruk, ‘science & technology’ have gone a little bit more under a kind of ‘social control’, which is an excellent evolution of democratic societies. Unfortunately, or happily for Mr. Zaruk, this is still not always the case and several fundamental decisions for our future on this planet are made primarly by closed circles and in non-transparent processes involving scientists/experts and politicians without much or any input or consultation of the civil society. Scientists cannot be blamed for that, but politicians and lobbyists who push for non-tranparency, yes!

The precautionary principle and the reversal of the burden of proof is exactly this evolution of social control of ‘science & technology’ and is also the consequence of decades of environmental scandals and health catastrophes due to bad use of ‘science & technology’, usually because ‘industry & business & lobbyists’ have pushed hard for a non-precautionary approach. There are plenty of examples of this, be it the asbestos scandal in France, nuclear incidents or accidents in the past, Seveso, BSE, the on-going dangerous use of some pesticides, etc.

Of course people get scared and are wary of any scientific and technological development with a certain level of risk. Wouldn’t industry, with the help of some scientists and the majority of politicians, have lied for decades (with the following catastrophes)? We wouldn’t be at this point where probably some positive developments are sometimes stopped or delayed because of more risk-aversion.

It’s life, when you lie, trust gets lost…and trust is not a “commodity” as stated in the last paragraph, it is in the human heart and mind.

The point that Mr. Zaruk obviously does not mention about ‘risk’ is that it is almost always the weakest and poorest of society who eventually bear the dark side of the risk, so the case where the negative development becomes reality, not those who make the decisions and sit in the comfortable leading positions.

A kind of privatisation of the profits and socialisation of the costs: ‘Let’s take the risk. If it works well it’s good for everyone and perfect for those who will make big money with it, and if it turns out bad, it’s only bad for normal citizens: profits and glory were made and are safe for those who are made the decisions’.

This is the kind of philosophy which is developed by Zaruk, and that’s why his arguments are really those of a real coward and show that he has learnt nothing or little from past environmental and health-related catastrophes.

To write that “precaution is a policy tool for cowards” is an absolute shame and an insult to all those who work for sustainable development and science & technology.

It is easy now to attack those who care more for the general interest than to ask experts/politicians/industry for transparency and responsible behaviour.

And then he also comes up with “creationism” and tends to mix environmentalists and creationists or Catholics, writing: “And a lot of environmentalists look at science as a threat, as did the Catholic Church”.

This is a real shame. Since he believes so much in science, my question is “where are the scientific studies and sociological analyses to make such a miserable statement?” Mr. Zaruk probably knows very little about ‘environmentalists’, but doesn’t hesitate to judge quickly. If he had a bit more humility, he would first recognise that ‘environmentalists’ do not exist as such. But it is easier for his attacks to group the ‘non-believers’ into a category which is easily recognisable.

Among environmentalists, the variety of people and opinion is as diverse and large as in any other grouping, such as the ‘liberals’ or ‘conservatives’. Maybe some are negative on science, others not. Hence he completely forgets that probably the majority of people who want to protect the environment are very favourable to science and see it as a solution, or at least a partial solution, to environmental issues.

A lot of the current scientific and technological discoveries and solutions (think about renewable energies for instance) were actually made possible by the relentless work on research and development carried out for decades by people one could easily describe as ‘crazy’, because you must really have been crazy to work and believe in what science and technology is delivering today to protect the environment at a time when nobody cared about it 10, 20 or 30 years ago.

It is a real pity to see ‘science and technology’ defended by such a weak advocate, because indeed science and technology is crucial for finding solutions towards sustainable development (including chemicals). But when one pours everything, without tasting, into the same glass, one risks having to throw it all into the toilet, the very tasty part too. A good cocktail is one with measured drinks.

Jean Demodern


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  1. Dear Jean Demodern.

    In your religious rage against Professor David Zaruk, you seem to forget something: valid arguments for your belief in the existence of a real climate crisis. Unfortunately the argumentation on the side of the climatists has always been very weak – in fact political, emotional rather than scientific. Look at this Judgment Day sermon by the UN Secretary General.
    If it is this bad, it would be very comforting to know the arguments for it. Al Gore? In Oct. Of 2007 he had the verdict of a British court that his propaganda film ”An inconvenient Truth contained at least 11 incorrect statements which excluded the film from being used in British schools.,21985,22559777-5000117,00.html

    The IPCC? It consists of only 20% of people who have dealt somewhat with climate – according to IPCC´s William Schlesinger.
    Otherwise its ”experts” are people like peanut grower Jimmy Carter. The Chairman is an economist, but has the say as for what scientific information is sent to the UN. So what does science have to say in this political body?

    What does the Guru of climate forecasting, J. Scott Armstrong, Founder of the International Journal of Forecasting say: ”Climate Forecasting has no scientific basis”!

    You write
    1. Anyone who is a bit clever knows that it is neither science nor technology which caused/causes global warming but humans and their behaviour.
    a. On Aug. 13, the Telegraph reported on the Australian Senate having rejected a Cap-and-trade bill – calling global warming ”a figment of Al Gore’s imagination.”

    b.Last year 650 scientists in a US Senate Minority report made shocking statements about the scientist who have sold themselves, e.g. ”the greatest scandal in the history of science” .

    James Hansen of the GISS, the purveyor of global temprattures to the IPCC, has been caught redhanded in cheating twice: First his temperatures are ground-measured – not satellite-measured as with the 3 other companies measuring global temperature but not purveying to the IPCC and not finding global warming in the latest 11 years. It turned out that GISS´ thermometers as for 50% of them were placed near artificial heating sources

    Then GISS reported last October to be the warmest ever recorded – although cold records were reported all over the globe – even snow in the UK. It turned out that the measurements of September were carried over on the October record!!

    c. No wonder: There is big money in the European Climate Exchange where Al Gore is also making money.
    So of course, Al Gore and John Kery are paying James Hansen well off for his ordered services:

    2. Science serves society, not society science!
    Maybe a more precise statement would be: Some scientists serve policy – until they loathe at themselves – as some of the 650 mentioned above. – or like making money on delivering ordered results.

    3. it is almost always the weakest and poorest of society who eventually bear the dark side of the risk.
    and that’s why Zaruk s arguments are really those of a real coward and show that he has learnt nothing or little from past environmental and health-related catastrophes.
    The meaningless climate ideology could cost 2,4 mio US jobs over the next 20 years! According to the Phoenix Business Journal.

    According to the Danish newspaper, Jyllands-Posten 14 Aug. 2009, the price for keeping the global temperature rise below 2 centigrades will be 200.000 billions from 2100. accurate_climate_change_assessment_a_impossible_task_.html
    Who do you think will have to pay for this meaningless madness? Maybe we should be cowards on this point! That will certainly be economically more favourable to the poorest.

    4. Or maybe you have learned nothing at all, Mr. Demodern. There is no or minimal global warming until 1997. Since then the global temperature is stable or falling.

    The warmest decade in the last century was the 1930es

    This authoritative article by Prof. Richard Lindzen of the MIT shows that the Nobel Prize winner, the IPCC has exaggerated global warming by a factor of 6
    and that the CO2 concentration increase is much lower than shown by the IPCC, who has also had to discard its trump card, the hochey stick.

    Here you can see that over the ages beneficial global warming appeared, as the CO2 concentration in the air decreased.
    In fact CO2-increase occurs a few centuries after global warming started – due to release from the oceans. The contribution of man to atmospheric CO2 is negilgible!

    So, you may say: But the ice of Greenland is disappearing! No it is´nt. It is increasing
    But then the North Pole ice which they had promised us we could sail around this summer? On Aug. 22, 2009, it was a little bit larger than on Aug. 22, 1990 – according to satellite photos.
    But maybe you get a better survey on this animated picture from the University of Illinois: Since 1979 till this day there is no disappearance ot the North Pole ice.

    The leader of Greenpeace has just had to admit that his organisation has put out fake global warming data and that the North Pole ice will not be gone in 2030!

    Well, but the North Pole ice must be melting, because Obama told us in Berlin last summer that the Atlantic coast lines are receding because the sea level is increasing by up to 7 meters as Al Gore said – but this was rejected by a British court, of course.
    According to NASA the sea level was increasing by 3 mm a year until 2005 – now only by 2 mm a year. This sea level increase has been going on since the last ice age

    5. Because you must really have been crazy to work and believe in what science and technology is delivering today to protect the environment at a time when nobody cared about it 10, 20 or 30 years ago. It is a real pity to see ’science and technology’ defended by such a weak advocate.
    Well it seems that the start of the whole thing was Margaret Thatcher´s desire to substitute coal energy for nuclear energy.
    Therefore, money was granted to investigate into the damaging effects of carbon. The more money that was granted, the more scientists had their livelihood from producing ideologically desired results.
    Since then people like Gordon Brown and Barroso, who incessantly talk about the ”New World order,” have made it a political tool under the motto:”This is a global problem – and global problems need global solutions” – they even speak of world governance.

    Here is how the climate ideology started: Alexander King, the Club of Rome, The First Global Revolution”: “In searching for a new enemy to unite us, we came up with the idea that pollution, the threat of global warming, water shortages, famine and the like would fit the bill. . . . The real enemy, then, is humanity itself.”
    Mr. Demodern. Unless you can refute my arguments above, I must agree with Prof. David Zaruk: Environmentalism is a religion – or rather an ideology based on belief – disregarding knowledge.
    It is a disaster for mankind, since it will make the poorest hopelessly poor through CO2-taxes and tolls which will make all goods, including foods, hopelessly expensive – and have absolutely no effect on climate, bethere is no global warming – and no damaging effect by CO2, which is mainly derived from the oceans.

    Sustainability is associated with the Earth Charter – by Steve Rockefeller, Michael Gorbachev and Maurice Strong – it is a communist document

    Mr. Gorbachev has called the Earth Charter “The 10 Commandments of our time”.
    Yes, this is a religion, a Gaia religion. Here you can see the religion´s holy shrine, The Ark of Hope

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