Thursday, 12 September 2019

Quote of the day - the climate apocalypse

From geographer Joel Kotkin:
The Catholic Church discovered millennia ago that the prospect of apocalypse provides a brilliant tool of propaganda. To people in the Middle Ages, observed historian Barbara Tuchman, “apocalypse was in the air,” the spawn of human sin. In much the same way the environmental movement links human material aspirations with impending disaster, citing manmade climate change as the singular explanation for everything from starvation, wars and crop failures to hurricanes, floods or any other unusual weather.
For all that I'm not a climate change denier (just rightly sceptical of the screeching, frantic policy prescriptions from those most loud about the issue) Kotkin's observation seems to be bang on the money. I've commented already that modern climate change environmentalism has more in common with millinarian religious cults than with more usual political movements. It is dominated by simple, scary words - 'emergency', 'extinction', 'crisis', 'catastrophe' - rather than by the considered assessment we saw a few years ago from the IPCC and through work like the Stern Review, we now have a shout of "do something" linked to setting targets and undermining the market systems that provide the best route for response to the challenges.

The worst outcomes of all this are either the imposition of arbitrary emissions targets that result in global depression or the triumph of denialism leading to us stopping the gradual transition away from an extractive economy. So long as we indulge the Greta Thurnberg doom agenda this polarisation becomes more and more likely and we will become more attached to a set of essentially arbitrary policies rather than as has been the case up to now, a more considered and gradual process away from those things most contributing to climate change - deforestation, burning fossil fuels - and a focus on things that are less important but focus directly on consumer behaviour (eating meat, using plastics).

We should also begin to talk about the good news - levels of deforestation have declined (despite the best efforts of environmentalist-driven demands for bio-fuels) and the use of the most polluting hydrocarbons (coal, crude oil) in energy is declining while use of renewables rises. There isn't a climate apocalypse but the manner in which politicians and public officials are being led to endorse the nonsense of a "climate emergency" reminds us just how difficult it is to counter those absolutely wedded to an apocalyptic doom cult.


1 comment:

Anonymous said...

It's just another version of the 'bogey-man' requirement. For much of the 20th century, governments instable lands always kept a convenient bogey-man available, whether that was Hitler, Stalin, Chairman Mao, Saddam Hussein et al, some real, some imagined, some exaggerated, to justify separating their citizens from large amounts of money in defence against 'him' and to enable the state to constrain the freedoms of citizens under the false flag of 'security'.

That had become overplayed, losing its power and indeed often exacerbated relations between nations out of all proportion to any differences, so they needed to find a single 'global bogey-man', one which would allow the same local 'benefits' but not create inter-state tensions - step up, 'Global Warming', 'Man-Made Climate Change', call it what you will, it's just the latest personification of the 'bogey-man complex' coming to a country near you.

Climate is changing, climate has always changed (remember the ice-ages?) and it always will, similarly species have always died out, become extinct, none of that is affected by what car I drive, whether I choose to eat meat, break wind or use a plastic bag.