After asking “What are Climate Sceptics sceptical about?“ a couple of Climate Sceptics contacted me to let me know. I will deal with the second response in another article, because the first response was so extraordinary – and long! It is reproduced almost in full below, but I have removed any clues to the author’s identity since it was written to me privately.
Now I disagree with much of the content of the letter, and at first I was shocked by the association of ‘Climate activists’ with (in order of appearance) ‘Nazis, Communists, Islamists, KKK, Stalin, Mao and Pol Pot’. But actually, the letter is written perfectly civilly, and if you can bear to read to the end, the authors main point is humorously made. The point can be summarised as:
Many climate activists utter opinions which can be interpreted as politically extreme – and so I should be careful about the people with whom I associate.
Having written recently about the difficulty of communicating across ‘tribal’ boundaries, I guess I should take this a lesson in the difficulties involved.
The difficulty in communicating arises because we disagree about what is fundamental. As I understand him, the author adopts the view that all this ‘Climate Change stuff’ is ‘just another specific political issue’, and he interprets everything through that political lens. In this sense, he reminds me of Bjørn Lomberg (author of The Sceptical Environmentalist) who views all this ‘Climate Change stuff’ as ‘just another specific economic issue’.
In a follow up e-mail, I asked whether the author disagreed with any of the specific scientific points I had made, and he said ‘No’. But these ‘technical points’ didn’t change his fundamental political opinion. Why would they? He would only be amenable to political arguments.
Personally I consider the science to be fundamental – I want to know ‘What is happening?”. However our best scientific efforts still have significant uncertainty and our politicians and economists find that difficult to deal with. Additionally, the time-scales of decades to centuries have previously been all but ignored by politicians and economists. I feel that if politicians were genuinely addressing the reasons for people’s concern – the reasons that had driven them to extreme political positions – then the extremists would find it harder to gain support.
Ignoring the hyperbole, the author’s rhetoric makes one point very well. If the Climate is going to change, then for all its difficulties, we would be better off in a democratic country than a non-democratic one.
Dear Dr Podesta
Thank you for your thoughtful article in C & I.
I have a problem when it comes to the climate story. Scientists dependent on Government money of some sort seem to be flag wavers for global warming, and they save the rest of us a lot of work by showing how their opposition is said to be paid by Big Oil or some such private provider. As an ancient political researcher, I reckon it is about politics.
I read William Golding’s Lord of the Flies years ago. It had a lasting impact. Especially about how the thin veneer of civilisation, democracy, liberty and prevailing morality can be swept away by a brutish elitist power grab. It’s the same philosophy that resorts to threats to life and limb, property destruction, public smears, vilifying dissent, curtailing free speech and imposing un-democratic regulatory ‘laws’ to get its way.
We tend to associate these hallmarks of totalitarian intolerance, vicious rhetoric and Luddite terrorism with brown-shirted National Socialism, red-book toting Communism or radical Islamism; movements alien to Judeo-Christian-rooted Western culture. But the same kind of rhetoric, threats to dissent and the push to circumvent the normal democratic processes are also close to home among the green-shirts of burgeoning eco-fascism.
A little harsh? Consider this.
Gaia Theorist and climate visionary James Lovelock has just become the latest high-profile alarmist to admit, as indeed you appear to, the movement never actually knew what it was talking about. Lovelock recanted his climate alarmist sins admitting, ‘The problem is we don’t know what the climate is doing’. True enough. But previously Lovelock was one of many quite prepared to ‘put democracy on hold’ for the cause (leftie code for ‘stopping you and me from having a say’ and them getting their way) Since Lovelock’s defection, former alarmist colleagues have been busy trying to find a low-carbon emitting bus to throw him under. Environmental writer Steve Zwick claimed in his Forbes blog that Lovelock is “not a climate scientist, let alone a contributor to the IPCC. Most climate scientists cringe when he starts to talk about the climate.” Its a shame Zwick didn’t warn us before Lovelock went AWOL that he was really a non-believer all along.
But then Zwick is intolerant only to those who disagree with him. Zwick’s combustable rhetoric resonates more with early National Socialism than with Lovelock’s restrained academia. Even as polar bears, penguins, glaciers and icy seas are all reportedly flourishing – all contrary to alarmist predictions – Zwick’s intolerance has an unmistakable Kristallnacht – style resonance. In his Forbes blog, Zwick demands, ‘Let’s start keeping track of them now, and when the famines come, let’s make them pay. Let’s let their houses burn. Shocked at reading back his own inflammatory rhetoric, Zwick feebly tries to damp down the public response in various addendum blogs.
Not that we should misrepresent him. Zwick does not advocate burning down the houses of sceptics now. Zwick merely wants to exact revenge after the warming apocalypse breaks, advocating standing idly by as sceptics’ houses mysteriously spontaneously combust. I believe the KKK has a similar policy.
A brief perusal of his Facebook page reveals Zwick is a ‘follower’ and defender of the character of Peter Gleick. Gleick, for the uninitiated, is the environmental scientist who recently hit the headlines as a proven liar when he impersonated a member of the Heartland Institute – whose crime was to disagree with Gleick on climate issues – to steal some of their documentation. It’s what eco-fascists don’t like to call criminal deception’.
Journalist Alex Lockwood (in the left wing Guardian) proposes ‘the internet should be nationalised as a public utility in order to contain the superfluous claims of warming sceptics’. Fred Pearce (again in the Guardian) demands we ‘silence the doubters’. At the 2007 Live Earth concert, Robert F. Kennedy Jnr called for sceptics to be ‘treated as traitors’ following this up with the demand that all coal executives ‘should be in jail for all eternity’.
Fascist intolerance? We’re only getting started.
Alarmist high priest James Hansen has called for sceptics to be put on trial for ‘high crimes against humanity’. Hansen has also endorsed a book by Keith Farnish that advocates sabotage and environmental terrorism by blowing up dams and demolishing cities to return us to an agrarian age. Hard left Grist magazine columnist David Roberts wants ‘war crimes trials for these bastards – some sort of climate Nuremberg.’
Canadian environmentalist author, David Suzuki, suggests finding a ‘legal way of throwing our [climate foot-dragging political] leaders into jail’ their climate negligence being ‘a criminal act’. Wouldn’t the Canadian Civil Liberties Association be appalled? After all, Suzuki is a former board member. Talking Points Memo is fairly representative of the views of hard left websites, asking, ‘At what point do we jail or execute global warming deniers?’ Don’t you just love the liberal virtue of tolerance?
Kari Norgaard is professor of climate change at the University of Oregon. At a recent London conference she called for sceptics to be viewed as ‘racists’ and climate scepticism as a ‘sickness’ needing to be ‘treated’. And the infamous Climategate emails scandal revealed key contributors to the UN IPCC reports threatening science editors, burying data and sounding generally like Richard M. Nixon at his most paranoid.
Surely we can expect better from government-sponsored officials? Apparently not. The above mentioned Professor Norgaard has recently urged President Obama to ‘ignore democracy’ and act on climate via executive fiat. She also backed Obama’s appointment of John P. Holdren – an avowed eugenist who has called for a ‘planetary regime’ to enforce abortions and mandatory sterilisation programmes – as his senior advisor on science and technology issues. Eugenist? Enforced population control. Isn’t that what the German National Socialists were most famous for practising? Not to mention Stalin, Mao and Pol Pot – leftists all – of course.
In 2007, US EPA chief, Michael T. Eckhart was exposed as authoring an email threatening to ‘destroy’ the career of a climate sceptic. In April this year, a senior Obama-appointee to the EPA boasted that the agency’s ‘philosophy’is to ‘crucify’and ‘make examples’ of US energy producers – the people without whom all modern society would grind to a halt, by the way.
Let’s sum up for a moment: burning houses, threats to life, limb, business, destroying careers, inflammatory rhetoric, deception, lies and preventing free speech. The message from the eco-fascist Left is resolute: don’t mess with us, or else. These are not people Joe Public would want to break bread with.
And we should also be clear about this: fascism per se has its roots in the beliefs and ideology of the radical Left, not as is often portrayed, the Right, radical or otherwise. German National socialism (it still exists), communism, even Islamism, all favour Big Government, centralised power and control, the subversion of democratic processes and, especially, the restriction of liberty and free speech.
If fascism in any guise doesn’t get what it wants, it has always sought ways of grabbing power first by bullying others to keep silent, then asserting the need to ‘put democracy on hold’. We can all understand the extreme need in times of war. But as Lovelock says, we have no idea what the climate is doing. Yet the eco-fascists are gaining social headway, imposing their will through regulatory ‘laws’ often emanating from unaccountable quangos (quasi-non-governmental organizations), unelected czars and other un-democratic agencies such as the European Union.
Still not convinced things are that bad? Well here’s my last shot.
In April the US Department of Homeland Security released its Environmental Justice Strategy. It makes provision to incorporate the notion of ‘environmental justice’ as a ‘homeland security’issue. If you thought Homeland was all about apple pie and keeping citizens safe from terrorists, think again. Under President Obama they are about to create local ‘federal law enforcement’ agents empowered specifically to enforce green laws and regulations in the name of ‘securing the homeland’. In short, a green police force. If it can happen in the land of the free, how long before the cop green-print recycles to the socialist European Union?
Now I am not saying that you subscribe to any of this undemocratic nonsense yourself, but I like to remember the story about the drunk and the pig, I’m sure you know it…
‘Twas an evening in October,
I’ll confess I wasn’t sober,
I was carting home a load with manly pride.
When my feet began to stutter,
and I fell into the gutter,
And a pig came up and lay down by my side.
Then I lay there in the gutter,
and my heart was all a-flutter,
Till a lady, passing by, did chance to say:
“You can tell a man that boozes
by the company he chooses,”
Then the pig got up and slowly walked away.