Academic arrogance

MOST PEOPLE of my acquaintance consider me to be relatively even-tempered, capable (most of the time at least) of reasoned argument and prepared to listen to other points of view without brushing them off as the ravings of lunatics or the fact-free ramblings of those who have decided to park their brains and rely on others to do their thinking for them.

I confess I tend to make an exception in the latter instance for those whose support for the more outré views on climate suggests that either their brains have turned to soup or that they are simply too bone-idle to make use of the intelligence with which they were endowed. Allegedly. I suspect that, also in this instance, the feeling is mutual.

Readers of the random postings on this blog, if there are any, will know that one theme that has been fairly constant since the early days has been the effect to which the putative “cures” for climate change bear most heavily on the poor. Most of those that I meet in the real world and on-line whose view of climate science is similar to mine (yes, the climate has been getting warmer but not so much recently; yes, it would be surprising if mankind didn’t have something to do with it; no, it is not going to be catastrophic) tend to agree with me on that subject also.

This is not some new fad on our part. Many of us have been involved in one way or another in working for or contributing to those organisations who are out in the field (or the desert or the jungle) trying to make some small difference to the well-being of people that our governments seem determined to ignore while the NGOs who claim to be working on their behalf  become increasingly concerned with polishing their CVs, treading the corridors of power and being seen at annual climate gabfests.

(If you are serious about the world’s poor, especially in Africa, then I suggest you might like to donate your spare coppers to Mercy Ships, Mary’s Meals, or Water Aid. Let Oxfam. SCF, and CAFOD whistle until they can prove that they’re in the business of aid not politics.

We have also at various times and in various ways done our small best to counteract the dubious mantra that it is climate change itself, rather than the expensively wasteful expenditure called for by such meaningless “accords” as Kyoto that is the biggest threat to the poor of the world.

If you want to see what I have written (and I mean every word of it) you can go and take a look hereherehere, and not least here and here.

After that you might like to go and take a look at this blog by Robert Wilson.

I don’t know anything about Wilson, except that he is some sort of academic and judging from this quote I’m not surprised.:

Concern for the poor, you see, is something that simply oozes out of the hearts of right-wing climate change deniers/skeptics /lukewarmers.. That is when they are talking about climate change.

It appears that Steve Milloy at Junk Science has upset him but knowing how precious academics can be I doubt that required much effort. I wonder if he knows what it is to be poor or whether he has any genuine concern for those in the “developed” world and elsewhere living at or close to the poverty line or who, thanks to the insane policies of western governments are dying before their time because they cannot afford to heat their homes. Or whether he is in favour of diverting large sums of money that could be spent on clean water, agriculture and cheap reliable energy into the pockets of dictators (because that is where much of the aid money he claims we “deniers” would like to put a stop to ends up) or closer to home into the bank accounts of already wealthy landowners.

And whether he actually knows anyone outside the tight little group-think circle of climateers to tell him how stupid that comment really is.

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Energy reality

A recent posting at Bishop Hill looks at moves both in the US and Australia to rein in the profligate expenditure on climate change with the US Department of Defense being instructed that none of the money sent its way is to be used for climate-related activity and the new Australian government taking an axe to funding for the CSIRO (Australia’s national science agency) and, according to The Guardian:

the Australian Research Council … the Australian Institute for Marine Science and the Australian Nuclear Science and Technology Organisation. Also slashed was funding for postgraduate researchers, for environmental science, clean technologies, water science and Cooperative Research Centres. There have also been huge cuts to R&D and innovation programs, and to virtually every federal renewable energy program.

The posting has attracted a number of comments including an argument that “however much some might dislike the fact, clean tech is the future.”

I took issue with this statement making the point that I don’t really know what “clean tech” actually is and that “clean” itself in the context of climate change / global warming / renewable energy / etcetera is one of those weasel words which means — Humpty-Dumpty like — what the speaker wants it to mean depending on the argument in play at the time.

Like the advertising claim that a disinfectant can kill 99% of known germs on the assumption that “germs”=”evil”, the environmentalists use of the word “clean” implies “good” as opposed to “dirty” which is “bad. Environmentalists live permanently in this black-and-white world where nuance is unheard-of.

If we consider that the incidence of — to take only one example — childhood asthma has increased markedly over the last half-century and more as the air has become “cleaner” one could make a plausible case for saying that “dirty” air has something going for it. It isn’t an argument I would care to support since the London pea-soupers of the early 1950s were hardly health-enhancing events but it is certainly true that since then technology has found ways to make fossil fuels less polluting and the incidence of allergies and childhood asthma has increased.

So talk of “clean-tech” begs the question: how much less polluting do they need to be? In what way are they currently not “clean” enough?

As usual the plea for cleaner energy runs alongside the claim that fossil fuels are “on the way out”. We have for the umpteenth time reached “peak oil / coal / gas”. The only way is down unless we sink massive sums into research now. And meantime we need to concentrate on wind and water and sunshine.The idea that there will be a dwindling number of customers for hydrocarbons any time in the next half-millennium at least or that there is any immediate need to place limits on the use of those fuels on grounds of “cleanliness” is a fallacy as has been proved by numerous experts on numerous occasions. Unless of course the neo-luddites have their way and artificial restrictions are placed on the use of hydrocarbons on the spurious excuse that that will “save the planet”.

Sheikh Yamani’s aphorism (was it all of 40 years ago? how time flies!) that the Stone Age didn’t end because we ran out of stones and what you might call the ‘oil age’ will end before we run out of oil was almost certainly correct and prophetic and to that extent the argument that research is needed has a certain merit. But there is no way that the move to the next generation of fuels can be forced either by government diktat or by neo-luddite obstructionism. If half the money currently being wasted on climate research or on paying the rich to become richer at the expense of the poorest by hosting wind farms were directed to solving the problem of what we do when current energy sources become depleted or too expensive to exploit then we might (I say again and stress might) make some progress on safe nuclear fusion or thorium or half-a-dozen other technologies as yet undreamt of.

I stress ‘might’ because the history of mankind is evidence that what in these days is called the ‘just in time’ principle is as old as the race itself. Various sayings from ‘cometh the hour, cometh the man’ to ‘necessity is the mother of invention’ demonstrate well enough that when the time comes that new energy sources are needed, as opposed to simply wanted by the neo-luddites to make them feel warm and cosy inside while the rest of us freeze, then those new energy sources will no doubt appear.

They may well be “renewable” but not in the sense in which the word is used today. An unpredictably intermittent supply of raw material can never be a sound basis on which to build an essential component of a civilised society and wishful thinking will not make it so. And wind and the sun can never ever be anything other than intermittent. The sun at least has the benefit of being predictable up to a point and in certain locations and within that limitation may have applications but wind, which can vary from second to second, is always going to create more problems than it solves.

To describe hydrocarbon fuels as a mature, declining industry is to ignore the simple fact that wind is not mature but obsolete and decayed. Windmills are a 13th century technology which the human race grew out of 200 years ago

So, the only “clean” fuel currently available which can do any/all of the things the environmentalists appear to want is uranium (thorium in however many years, maybe) and they won’t tolerate that either. So until they can point us towards a fuel which will provide cheap, reliable (as in 24/7) energy and one which can safely power transportation (including personal transport and aircraft) they are whistling in the wind.

And we shall have to keep on using the apparently inexhaustible supplies of hydrocarbons that have enabled all of us, environmentalists included, to become healthy and wealthy to a level our great-great grandparents would have believed impossible.

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Pig in a Scottish Poke

SO FAR I have managed to avoid becoming involved in the Scottish Independence debate largely through avoiding Scotland!

The extent to which I have a dog in this fight — or perhaps it would be more accurate to call it a Cairn terrier puppy — will shortly become clear but as an ex-pat living in southern Burgundy my Caledoinan connections are not at first sight obvious especially since both my wife and I are English-born.

And therein lies the conundrum. Apart from being educated in Scotland I started my working life there and returned in 1966 when I was made an offer I couldn’t refuse (there’s a job and it’s there; d’you want it?). Until four years ago that was my home.

Two of our three children live there; one was born in Scotland, married a Scot and has a daughter who will plainly be Scottish. Our children are all the family I have while my wife’s family are scattered across the globe from Canada to China. If we have any claim to a piece of the UK it would be to a piece of Scotland.

And it’s largely for that reason that I watch with a mixture of sadness and horror what Alex Salmond — hereinafter referred to as Eck the Fish (or perhaps just Eck) — is trying to do to “my” country further to boost his already super-saturated ego. Let us be clear about this; Eck claims to be a patriot (the last refuge of a scoundrel, according to Dr Johnson)  but in reality he is an arrogant, self-opinionated control freak. And those are just his good points.

You need to be a genuine insider to understand fully what is going on in the upper echelons of Scottish politics and I still know a couple of people who, if not right inside Eck’s Y-fronts, are as close as any human being would like to get.

“Alec is scared s**tless that he might lose this,” I was told. “He knows if the vote is ‘no’ he is as good as dead and the SNP with him. So he is saying anything he can think of that will give him a short-term boost because by the time the everything collapses in chaos he will be either long gone or president-for-life.

“in reality he’d be better off calling himself King — a true successor to the last Last King of Scotland, Idi Amin.

“His big problem at the moment is that Cameron has just started sawing off the branch he’s sitting on. Osborne has made it clear that the currency union is a non-starter and the opposition and the Lib-Dems have said the same. Now Cameron has made it clear that there is no way back from a ‘yes’ vote. The whole project is turning into a nightmare.”

An ally of John Swinney took a slightly different approach.

“You’d be surprised how many SNP members, including some in parliament, are praying to any god they can think of for a ‘no’ vote,” he said. “They know full well that the day Scotland finally gets cut loose and people start to add up the true cost there will be calls for heads to roll and that might mean literally.

“It’s a bit like the gay marriage argument versus civil partnerships. DevoMax would give Scotland pretty much everything it wants and in fact probably more and cheaper than independence. Salmond’s ego won’t stand for that and he’s doing everything he can to bluster his way through till the referendum.

“This is not about the good of Scotland; this is about the glory of Salmond.”

With four months to go to the referendum, Eck and his supporters are still not prepared to come clean about the costs of independence and what is more alarming, they appear to think that Jedi mind tricks (a wave of the hand and “these are not the facts you need”) are all that is needed for victory. If ever there was a recipe for recriminations too late to effect the result this has to be it.

The Scottish people are being promised a paradise built on (declining) North Sea oil and in a desperate attempt to keep the eyes away from the thimble with the pea under it are being urged to look to Norway and Switzerland — two of the most expensive countries to live in in Europe —as examples of how successful Scotland can become. They are being asked to put their trust in a politician whose grip on the reins is so tight that he cannot tolerate dissent in his own ranks let alone in “one of the most democratic parliaments in the world” (so we are told).

None of the facts and figures add up. Yes, Scotland could “go it alone” but it will be a desperately impoverished Scotland. The idea that Scotland will be able to share the UK currency or share the UK embassies or walk into the EU demonstrates the extent to which the Yes campaign is out of touch with anything resembling reality.

Army? Don’t know. Navy? Don’t know. Air Force? Don’t know. Corporation Tax? We’ll cut it. And when Osborn/Balls cuts the UK rate? Don’t know? And where will the money come from anyway? Don’t know? Shipbuilding (the one major heavy industry left)? Destined for the scrapheap as the UK takes its naval requirements south.

And so on. And so on. All questions; no answers. And what about a national anthem? How about Joni MItchell’s Big Yellow Taxi?

“Don’t it always seem to go
That you don’t know what you’ve got
Till it’s gone”

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Environment Wars

ABOUT a month ago I was encouraged to re-activate this blog by a couple of well-wishers who, flatteringly, told me that mostly they agreed with what I wrote and always found it worth reading.

Stroke the right bits and you’ll always get a response!

I cast around for a subject worthy of a re-launch (as a former salesman I am only to well aware that unless you make a big bang to get things off the ground again people will just mutter “same old, same old” and continue to ignore you) but not for the first time I kept finding that no sooner had I got the idea than I found that one or other of my blogging heroes — Matt Ridley or Booker or Montford at Bishop Hill — had got there first and said pretty much what I had planned to write and done it better.

A recent post at Bishop Hill inspired by a press release from Dart Energy has sparked off something of an internal spat on that site about the extent to which Montford is right to claim, as he does, that

It was really just a matter of time before the violence that has always been latent in the environmentalist movement spilled out into open view.

Not surprisingly there are commenters who take issue with such a forthright statement, and not all of them the usual trolling suspects who infest sceptical sites and whose only object is to shut down any sort of clear intelligent statement that casts any doubt on the firmly-held (or in some cases politically-conveniently-held) beliefs of the current generation of environmental hangers-on.

So far I have not mentioned either “climate change” or “global warming”, mainly because those two sound bites are irrelevant to the activities that are the subject of that posting even though one or other (depending on the state of the weather) are used as the excuse for the illegal, anti-social and increasingly violent activities spoken of.

When Montford uses the phrase “environmentalist movement” he is not referring to the disciples of people like John Muir or Theodore Roosevelt or Audubon or even David Attenborough or David Bellamy or a host of others who are conservationists as much as they are environmentalists. Over the past half-century there has grown up a movement which describes itself as “environmental” but has no regard for the beliefs of those who established “The Environment” as a cause. This movement is characterised first of all by severe tunnel vision which breeds an unquestioning belief in the rightness of everything it does or says, followed closely and inevitably by intolerance of even the mildest opposition to its goals.

Add to this the inevitable frustration born of the fact that nowhere — apparently with the exception of Brighton! — have the environmentalists succeeded in persuading even five per cent of the population that “green” philosophy has got anything much going for it and it becomes easy to see why the propensity for violence is never far beneath the surface.

This violence doesn’t necessarily take the form of physical attacks though it appears that in the instance quoted a “weel-kent face” (sorry for the Scotticism) has allegedly allowed her feelings to get the better of her. But if the violence is not always explicit the urge for violence is. Read any article on any aspect of environmentalism in the Guardian (or even the Telegraph, on occasion) and watch what the commenters think should be done to those who disagree with them. Whose bright idea was it to make a video which portrayed blowing up kids who didn’t kow-tow to the party line on global warming, currently the ultimate dogma for the committed environmentalist?

Or perhaps one can ask, which sick mind thought up that concept in the first place?

Patrick Moore may have disowned Greenpeace, the baby he gave birth to 45 years ago (or 42 depending on who you read), but its raison d’être then as now was direct action which meant criminal behaviour and at least by implication violence in order to get its own way. There is a very thin line between trashing GM crops and trashing people who get in the way of whatever “greater good” you have persuaded yourself to believe in.

Friends of the Earth are no better. Their acronym ‘foe’ is apt since ‘Enemies of Mankind’ (at least western mankind) is a more accurate description of their philosophy. They are big fans of “economic justice” and “climate justice” and “food sovereignty” and against “neo-liberalism” and it is very hard to decide whether more than about one per cent of those who pay lip-service to these bits of enviro-management speak have the faintest idea what the hell they mean or would sign up to them if they did.

One commenter on the blog post linked to above opined that the protesters at Dart Energy site were

a real fundamentalist movement on a level with the animal rights lot

to which I suggested that they almost certainly are “the animal rights lot”. The crossover between environmental activists — what I call ‘neo-luddites’ — and the animal rights activists is considerable and there for all to see. “Activism” has become a way of life for a class of people with too much brain power and not enough to keep them occupied. It appears to have replaced organised football hooliganism as the activity of choice for lazy undergraduates with a chip or highly motivated but unemployed whizz-kids with an over-inflated opinion of their own self-worth and the ability to bully lesser beings into acting as masseurs for their egos.

Violence is what they are about. Environmentalism is the current battleground.

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New Year’s resolutions

I have neglected this blog for too long.

The main excuse is inveterate laziness, of course, coupled with an unfortunate habit of choosing a subject only to find that those better qualified than I — I’m thinking especially of Matt Ridley and Ben Pile, whose boots I am not fit, in blogging terms, to lick — have had the same idea at the same time and handled it considerably better than I could.

I have also started to realise that I am better at argument than polemic and since the traffic on this site is embarrassingly tiny, or would be if I got embarrassed about such things, I have used my time more wisely by contributing elsewhere.

There does come a time, however …

2012 has been an unusual year for the climate sceptics. While most of the arguments have been going the sceptic way the alarmist tendency has been as active as ever with what strikes the enquiring mind as evermore strident and unbelievable claims, so much so that one is forced to ask what sort of mentality it is that apparently wants things to be worse than they imagined or closes its collective mind to any argument that states, posits or even gently hints that things might not be so bad after all.

Aside from the obvious cynical reason, namely that the grant money will only continue to flow for as long as further research into this supposedly settled science is allowed to continue, the most likely explanation is the one that I have always subscribed to: science has nothing to do with it while environmental politics has (almost) everything to do with it.

As someone who has had the dubious privilege over several years of being able to study local eco-nuts at close quarters, I can say unequivocally that their eyes are firmly on the past and that the sooner we return to the Dark Ages — or at the very least the 18th century — the better they will be pleased. Their problem has always been that the average voter has rejected the concept of a lifestyle which, to paraphrase my very first blog post, would lead to a life expectancy of 35 and a working day spent entirely in collecting enough berries for the next day’s breakfast and enough wood to keep the fire inside the hovel going until the Spring.

The ability to link CO2 — hitherto understood by most people to be an essential and largely benevolent trace gas — to a potentially lethal global warming was a godsend to the enviro-extremists and one which they took instantly to their hearts. Those of us who knew what was going on in the murky recesses of the environmentalist mind were sceptical from the very beginning and nothing we have heard or read or seen since has given us cause to change our position.

I said earlier that it was ‘almost’ all about politics. It was also — why are you not surprised? — about greed. From the beginning there was money to be made and prestige to be had and who wouldn’t want his share of the trillions of dollars and perhaps the titles and medals that were going to be flung about like so much confetti? All of a sudden second-rate scientists at third-rate universities were being fêted by governments; otherwise obscure economists were producing reports which (naturally) confirmed what politicians wanted to hear (“there’s tax in that there CO2, Prime Minister).

Somebody (who almost certainly wishes to remain anonymous) suggested that it would be possible to reduce atmospheric CO2 by generating electricity from wind, “but I think it will need a bit of subsidy to get it off the ground, minister. So another scam was born and if you don’t believe it was a scam consider:

  • the electricity company executive who went so far as to admit in public that the only reason his firm were building wind farms was because the government was subsidising them;
  • the persistent and dishonest practice of over-stating the actual amount of electricity produced per turbine by a factor of 3;
  • the persistent and equally dishonest refusal to admit that CO2 savings — if indeed there are any — are minimal.

The last couple of years has seen

  • an increasing number of studies which have cast doubt on the extent to which the positive feedback which the alarmists require to activate the Catastrophic bit of their Catastrophic Anthropogenic Global Warming actually exists
  • a flatlining of the temperature trend which casts doubt (temporarily at least) on the Warming bit;
  • and now a paper which calls into question the Anthropogenic aspect as well.

Which leaves only “Global” and since even the warmist community accepts that the concept of an average temperature for the earth is pretty meaningless there doesn’t seem much of the global warming hypotheses left.

But don’t expect the rats to jump ship quite yet.

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We’re all doomed

In todays Daily Telegraph, Spectator editor Fraser Nelson has an opinion piece under the title Ignore the prophets of doom – this is a golden age for the world. (Link here ).
I’ll leave you to read it for yourselves but the key points he makes are:
– The target of halving the proportion of the world’s population living on less than $1 a day by 2015 (set in 2000) was actually reached in 2008 — This staggering achievement, he says, received no fanfare, perhaps because the miracle had not been created by Western governments but by the economic progress of China and India.
– Life expectancy continues to rise; malaria deaths peaked in 2004 and Aids deaths three years later. Anthony Fauci, America’s leading authority on the disease, said last month that there could be an “Aids-free generation” in the reasonable future. “We have no excuse, scientifically, to say we cannot do it.”
– While the world population continues to increase, the world’s fossil fuel consumption is actually falling due to greater efficiency in transport and manufacuring systems.
– The raw data in the UK government’s own climate change risk assessment claims that there will be 11,000 fewer deaths per year by 2050 as fewer elderly will die of cold. But, he says, “do not expect to find this point made in any official report. The Environment Department is there not to give impartial advice, but to scare us.”
Not surprisingly, within 12 hours of the article hitting the DT website it carried well over 200 comments, virtually all of them either off-topic, violently disagreeing with either what Nelson said or more often what they thought he said or would have liked him to have said or assumed he had said because that’s the sort of things that these stupid poncey journalists say, innit, or just simply refusing to believe what he said because “everybody knows” that the world is going to hell in a handcart due to the machinations of the EU/the ‘banksters/global capitalism/the LibLabCon politicians/the Coalition/the last Labour government/the last Tory government/Nick Clegg/David Cameron/UKIP/not voting UKIP/the UN/global warming/Aunt Ethel’s wooden leg … insert fantasy of choice here!
The irony, of course, is that if the world is indeed going to hell in a handcart, it is less to do with the usual suspects listed above than with the idiots who cannot see beyond the end of their boring little prejudices.
What Nelson goes on to say is that change happens because people want it to, a point reinforced by the Queen two years ago in an address to the UN. And considering that she had at that time been for the best part of six decades at least the titular head — and a very active and involved one at that — of what was at her accession still one of the most influential nations in the world and even now punches well above its weight, one would imagine that her views might be worth listening to.
The lesson is one that China and India have certainly learned and that the moaners in the UK patently have forgotten.
“Change and decay in all around I see”, wrote Henry Francis Lyte in his hymn Abide With Me, but he was taking the realistic (to him) view of comparing this temporal and therefore corruptible world with the eternal perfection of the next.
“It’s all gone rotten and there’s nothing we can do about because it’s ‘their’ fault” is the secular version. So please stop telling us that things have got better because our small minds and even smaller attention spans cannot handle it. And anyway it’s up to you to sort it. Not my problem, mate. Stands to reason, dunnit?

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The meaning of denial

The term “denier” or “denialist” is one which climate change sceptics view either as inaccurate, offensive, or insulting depending on their stance on the subject and their perception of the intention of the perpetrator.

No sceptic with any reasonable grasp of the subject disputes that climate changes and none disagrees fundamentally that Earth has warmed by a Celsius degree or so since the Little Ice Age — though there are caveats around the extent caused, to a degree, by the “fluidity” of some of the temperature data.

Nor is it generally true that sceptics as a body dispute that carbon dioxide very likely has some part to play in temperature variation in the atmosphere or that man as a species inevitably has some influence on the climate of the planet he lives on and works for its raw materials and for the crops he needs to survive.

So, other than when applied to the lunatic fringe, the phrase “climate change denier” can have no basis in fact and those who use it are being deliberately perverse or demonstrating a wilful ignorance of just what it is their adversaries believe.

But wait a minute. What if they are right and those who call themselves sceptics do actually “deny climate change”? Suppose that the problem is one of definition and understanding of what constitutes “climate change” and what constitutes “denial”.

To investigate this we need to find out who are the supporters of climate change and look at what they believe as we can understand from what they say.

In the beginning was Paul Ehrlich. The great mystery of Paul Ehrlich (at least to those of us not of the Elect) is how any man can be so consistently wrong in virtually every pronouncement he makes and still be considered worth listening to.

Strictly speaking he pre-dates “climate change” but as we know, his claims are all of a piece with that belief system, and it is in that era (early 1970s) that we need to start.

In ten years all important animal life in the sea will be extinct

and

Five years is all we have left if we are going to preserve any kind of quality in the world

(Both from 1970)

And to which we can add:

Giving society cheap, abundant energy . . . would be the equivalent of giving an idiot child a machine gun.

Of similar vintage — and roughly the same level of accuracy in its predictions — is The Club of Rome, formed in 1968 and best known for Limits to Growth published in 1972 which predicted that economic growth could not continue indefinitely because of the limited availability of natural resources, particularly oil.

As Bjorn Lomborg has effectively proved in The Skeptical Environmentalist there is no realistic limit to the availability of natural resources since mankind’s ingenuity has always found ways round any difficulties which potential resource depletion might throw up and has always managed to discover new uses for old resources or new resources to continue old uses! It was (among others) the famous 1970s OPEC oil minister Sheikh Yamani who said, “the Stone Age did not come to an end because we ran out of stones”, adding that anything that might be called the “oil age” would end long before we run out of oil.

Moving the story on a few years (the global cooling panic never having quite caught on in the 70s) we can now look at the words of Maurice Strong at the 1992 “Earth Summit” (a fairly meaningless title for one of the many UN-sponsored navel-gazing exercises which have come to characterise what might be called “Gaiaism”, or Earth-worship):

“Isn’t the only hope for the planet that the industrialized civilizations collapse? Isn’t it our responsibility to bring that about?

To which the only sane answers have to be “no” and “no”!

(The mental cataracts that blind the environmentalists to the realities of human nature, human development and the relationship between man and nature through the ages could provide a major subject for scholarship but have no place in this article. Some other time, maybe!)

By this time the activists — many of them homeless ex-communists and fellow travellers bereft at the loss of their intellectual teat, the Soviet Union — have settled on “global warming” as the likeliest candidate for persuading the sheeple that they need to give up their comfortable (relatively) 20th century lifestyle and hand over the running of the world to the likes of Al Gore, James Hansen, Maurice Strong, Paul Ehrlich and a motley coterie of similar obsessives whose main claims to anything approaching fame are a) an ability to be wrong about everything, and b) the knack of continuing to persuade people that their nonsense is worth listening to.

By the time of the 1992 Rio Summit, the global warming scam was in full swing and before anyone had had the opportunity to debate the science we were all informed that the science was no longer a matter for debate because it was “settled”. Activists try to deny that the phrase was ever used but it is quite clear what they meant though as time passes it becomes more evident that the idea did not emanate from reputable scientists, not even the second-rate ones with second-rate degrees studying a second-rate subject at second-rate universities.

(In passing it is worth noting that Sir Crispin Tickell, largely responsible for persuading Margaret Thatcher that clambering on the anti-CO2 bandwagon was a good political move, graduated from Oxford with a degree in Modern History — his credentials for making any pronouncement on the subject of global warming, climate in any of its forms, and the dangers or otherwise of carbon dioxide are no better than mine!)

It is also worth noting that Tickell’s approach to Thatcher was purely political and that even at that stage “the science” was only useful as a means of persuading politicians to take the political action which the environmentalists had been urging on an unreceptive population for years.

It was always about the politics and the science was only ever incidental. Two more quotes:

From Tim Wirth (organiser of the notorious Hansen Senate hearings in 1988)

“We’ve got to ride the global warming issue. Even if the theory of global warming is wrong, we will be doing the right thing — in terms of economic socialism and environmental policy.”

And from IPCC Working Group III co-chair Ottmar Edenhofer

[COP-16 is actually] one of the largest economic conferences since the Second World War…

One has to free oneself from the illusion that international climate policy is environmental policy.

[In fact, it has] “almost nothing to do with the environmental policy.” [Its real purpose] “is redistributing the world’s wealth and natural resources.”

So in their own words the evidence that “climate change” is nothing to do with climate and everything to do with wealth redistribution (no mention of increasing the size of the cake, only of slicing it differently) or, as Wirth ingenuously describes it, “economic socialism”.

So far, so obvious. But where does the idea of denialism come from and why do the activists insist on the continued use of the word and its connotations in the face of the evidence? What are we missing?

Well, it all depends on what you mean …

As we know, “global warming” has morphed into “climate change” and “climate disruption” and (recently) “climate weirding” because, so we like to think, the climate refuses to play its part and the activists are being harried into a new phrase to avoid the inevitable loss of faith by the sheeple in a concept that patently is not consistent. I suspect this is only partly true and that “climate change” in all its variations has been turned into a global concept which bears little, if any, relation to climate or to science.

The hell with “climate”, Wirth tells us, the important thing is to do “the right thing” in terms of economic socialism.

And that, if I’m right, is what we are “denying”.

By attempting to argue the science we are opposing the vision of those like Wirth and his allies for whom “climate change” is no more than a nifty title for a whole package of ideas and ideals which can be adapted to suit the various elements — whether born-again socialists, amorphous environmental do-gooders, or ambitious control-freaks — prepared to sign up to the Grand Plan, whatever that may turn out to be.

We are, indeed, “denying” climate change because Climate Change is not about a changing climate but about finding within the science of climate an argument that can be used to justify what I have previously described as “unpicking the Industrial Revolution”.

For sure, climate has very little to do with it and if you have any doubts, let’s try one more quotation, this from Michael Oppenheimer, formerly of the Environmental Defense Fund, a lead author of the IPCC’s Fourth Assessment Report and now a co-ordinating lead author of the Fifth Assessment Report:

…the only hope for the world is to make sure there is not another United States. We can’t let other countries have the same number of cars, the amount of industrialization, we have in the U.S. We have to stop these Third World countries right where they are.

And if anyone can explain to me the connection between that particular comment and Oppenheimer’s position as an IPCC author except in the terms I have described above, I’d love to hear it.

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