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.