It’s getting so that, every day, every where, more and more people are beginning to challenge the “debate is over” pronouncement regarding global warming. My two favorite from today are an interview with Christopher Horner, an environmental lawyer and (former?) liberal who wrote the The Politically Incorrect Guide to Global Warming (and Environmentalism), and Janet Daley, writing for the Telegraph, an ex-Marxist noticing similar tactics between the two causes.
FP: Can you talk a bit about the psychology involved here? The Left really isn’t interested in global warming and the environment, it’s really just about the Left’s lust for power. Give us your angle.
Horner: To distil this to the inescapable, simply note that the demanded response is exactly the same for both the “scientific certainty” of catastrophic man-made global cooling in the 1970s and the “scientific certainty” of catastrophic man-made global warming, both of which we have been falsely assured of. The same movement and even same people drove both alarms. Yet although every single bill on Capitol Hill and even the UN’s Kyoto Protocol is demanded in the name of ‘it’s-real-it’s-bad-it’s-here-now-it’s-our-fault-we-can-impact-it-but-we-must-act-now-it’s-a-moral-issue’, not one such proposal would under any scenario, under any set of assumptions, according to any champion, actually have a detectable impact on that which it purports to address: the climate. Seems a bit odd. In fact, the reasonable conclusion is that this agenda isn’t really about the climate at all, but instead about the one thing that we all agree would result, which is the attainment of longstanding policy objectives of making energy more scarce and moving energy sovereignty to a supranational body — something called the UNFCCC (www.unfccc.int).
And those longstanding policy objectives are held by the constituent parts of the Kyoto Industry, environmentalist pressure groups who seek to radically redistribute wealth, move the decisions of governing to the least accountable levels, all in the name of dramatically reducing that which they view as pollution: any global human population above 2 billion.
And the only way to have the agenda escape scrutiny is to scare the dickens out of people and shriek both that the debate — which no one can recall having — is over and, as is ritual now on all such “greatest threats”, “we must act now!”
The Tories are on about airfares yet again. This week, David Cameron and Gordon Brown will conduct a Dutch auction in how much to penalise you for environmental crimes. There is something oddly familiar about all this. Perhaps I am sceptical about the climate change campaign because its exponents remind me so much of the people I knew years ago on the Marxist Left: repressive, self-righteous, and inherently totalitarian.
Because of what they see as the indubitable rightness, and the absolute moral transcendence, of their cause, they can justify demonising anyone who criticises or dissents from it. Back then, the comrades used to shame those of us who blanched at their ideological ruthlessness with the epithet “wishy-washy liberal”: the exploitation of the working classes was the all-encompassing evil that had to be fought with whatever weapon it took. These days you are castigated for worrying about self-indulgent luxuries such as free speech and open debate when we are all about to fry – or drown, depending on where you happen to be on the stricken planet when the apocalypse arrives.
Hundreds of years after Galileo, we are apparently still prepared to suppress inconvenient intellectual opposition once political interests have become entrenched. Among those who attempted to prevent the film being shown at all was the Liberal Democrat spokesman on the environment, Chris Huhne, who, without having seen the programme, wrote to Channel 4 executives advising them in the gravest terms to reconsider their decision to broadcast it.
One respect in which the green lobby is significantly unlike the Trotskyist movement of my youth is that it seems not to give a stuff about the poor. Green taxes are regressive: they hit the lower paid, (who can actually be forced to cut back on their air travel and their heating) much harder than the affluent, who can simply absorb the extra costs and carry on living and flying as they always have.
As for that last point, the only evidence you need of that, I think, is the high flying Al Gore, buying his way out of climate warming purgatory by buying credits to make some other poor sap in the Far East give up his new found capitalist aspirations.