The late Michael Crichton figured out 15 years ago that the climate change juggernaut is a Leftist faith, intended to rework the economy, not true science.
[Wolf Howling, who occasionally guest blogs at Bookworm Room, wrote this post.]
With virtually unlimited money and power at stake, the watermelons (green outside, red inside) are pushing harder than ever to put the U.S. on a path to green Nirvana, where ostensible mitigation of anthropogenic climate change justifies every conceivable regulation, law, and tax, as well as the reordering of our economy and Constitution.
Before starting up this post, some facts many of you might not know. The US has been reducing carbon emissions for years, more so than any other country. In 2017, we produced less carbon than we did in 2005. Indeed, we produced 40,000,000 metric tonnes of CO2 less than we did even in 2016. We accomplished that without regulation — for all those Obama regs were rolled back by 2017 — and without implementing authoritarian government. Yet you will hear no progressive acknowledge those facts in any of the numerous links below. Those are inconvenient facts, and the climate change push is faith based.
The average American is not very concerned with the climate change issue. According to NBC, climate change did not even register as a concern among voters in 2018. But understand that the climate change movement is a juggernaut. It is the single most important issue for progressive left politicians, both foreign and domestic, and their cronies in the private sector, public sector, and academia, all of whom stand to benefit beyond the imagining from the most lucrative scam in history.
Within the past two weeks, once and future Speaker of the House, Crazy Nancy, announced that House Democrats will establish a “Select Committee on the Climate Crisis” as soon as they are seated as the majority. The NYT is running near daily editorials on climate change as the world’s most pressing issue, claiming Trump is evil and everyone who does not embrace the Paris Accords, a carbon tax, and every other thing the left demands to save us from climate-ageddon is mentally and morally defective. On his latest edition of Meet The Press, NBC’s Chuck Todd devoted the entire hour-long show to anthropogenic climate change, though the panel ONLY included those pushing the canard and demanding government action. As justification for the completely stacked panel, Todd stated:
“We’re not going to debate climate change, the existence of it… Human activity is a major cause, period. We’re not going to give time to climate deniers. The science is settled, even if political opinion is not.”
And the Democrat’s newest and shiniest, Rep.-elect Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, with the support of Bernie the Red, recently published her plan for a Green New Deal, as part and parcel of reforming of our nation into a socialist utopia. Bottom line, this is the number one issue for the progressive left, and we ignore it at our extreme peril.
I say extreme peril because once you can tax and regulate carbon dioxide produced by man (which is only about 10% of the total amount produced naturally every year, as the earth is responsible for the rest), AND once you establish it as the greatest moral issue facing mankind, the dam breaks. The proggies will have their hands in a bottomless cookie jar with no one to stop them from gorging short of a civil war.
The list of things that progressives have claimed over the years are caused by climate change is extensive indeed. Likewise, since virtually every human activity involves energy and the production of carbon dioxide, anything can be taxed, regulated, or subsidized. If you’re a vegan and you want to force everyone else to give up eating meat, just claim that meat production contributes to global warming and then tax cattle farmers out of existence. Don’t like the Second Amendment? Might bullets and guns cause pollution and be a cause of global warming? What about transferring our tax dollars to good progressives in the name of climate change mitigation? Solyandra was the most notable, but only one of many. Or what about subsidizing incredibly expensive electric cars for wealthy proggies? Remy even has a catchy Christmas tune about that one.
According to the change-istas, even our republican system of government can and must be jettisoned in the name of the greater good. How many times have we been treated to climatista’s, from journalists to academics to politicians both foreign and domestic, demanding that we adopt a socialist authoritarian government as the only way to effectively combat climate change.
Rep.-elect Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s (Socialist Idiot-N.Y.) recently published her plan for a Green New Deal, It is an amazing bit of utter utopianism that would have even Marx doing a face palm. In the Communist Manifesto, Marx only promised equality of outcome; Ocasio-Cortez promises much more:
The Plan for a Green New Deal (and the draft legislation) shall recognize that a national, industrial, economic mobilization of this scope and scale is a historic opportunity to virtually eliminate poverty in the United States and to make prosperity, wealth and economic security available to everyone . . .
As Ms. BWR noted when she read that bit, Ocasio-Cortez is promising our nation “a unicorn in every pot.” Ocasio-Cortez does not use the word “socialism” in her plan for a Green New Deal, but she doesn’t need to. She envisions a federal government with plenary power over the economy, Moreover, she would use that power to enact every major progressive agenda item, irrespective of whether it is related to the canard of catastrophic anthropogenic global warming:
. . . the Plan (and the draft legislation) shall:
- provide all members of our society, across all regions and all communities, the opportunity, training and education to be a full and equal participant in the transition, including through a job guarantee program to assure a living wage job to every person who wants one;
- diversify local and regional economies, . . .
- require strong enforcement of labor, workplace safety, and wage standards that recognize the rights of workers to organize and unionize free of coercion, intimidation, and harassment, and creation of meaningful, quality, career employment;
- ensure a ‘just transition’ for all workers, low-income communities, communities of color, indigenous communities, rural and urban communities and the front-line communities most affected by climate change, pollution and other environmental harm including by ensuring that local implementation of the transition is led from the community level and by prioritizing solutions that end the harms faced by front-line communities from climate change and environmental pollution;
- . . .
- mitigate deeply entrenched racial, regional and gender-based inequalities in income and wealth (including, without limitation, ensuring that federal and other investment will be equitably distributed to historically impoverished, low income, deindustrialized or other marginalized communities in such a way that builds wealth and ownership at the community level);
- include additional measures such as basic income programs, universal health care programs and any others as the select committee may deem appropriate to promote economic security, labor market flexibility and entrepreneurism; and
- deeply involve national and local labor unions to take a leadership role in the process of job training and worker deployment.
Do read the entire plan so that you can get some grasp of just how unmoored from reality these people are and the extent to which they give meaning to the phrase the “banality of evil.” They would centralize power, destroy the economy, destroy lives, take away freedoms, and make us serfs with their plan, all for the ostensible purpose of the public good.
And that last bit is the key, for there is no possible way any of this can be fully enacted unless people are convinced that this is a righteous cause in the religious sense. For many who have jettisoned Judaism and Christianity in favor of progressive atheism, climate change has become their new religion. No one pointed this out with greater clarity than the late Michael Crichton in a 2003 essay.
. . . Today, one of the most powerful religions in the Western World is environmentalism. Environmentalism seems to be the religion of choice for urban atheists. Why do I say it’s a religion? Well, just look at the beliefs. If you look carefully, you see that environmentalism is in fact a perfect 21st century remapping of traditional Judeo-Christian beliefs and myths.
There’s an initial Eden, a paradise, a state of grace and unity with nature, there’s a fall from grace into a state of pollution as a result of eating from the tree of knowledge, and as a result of our actions there is a judgment day coming for us all. We are all energy sinners, doomed to die, unless we seek salvation, which is now called sustainability. Sustainability is salvation in the church of the environment. Just as organic food is its communion, that pesticide-free wafer that the right people with the right beliefs, imbibe.
Eden, the fall of man, the loss of grace, the coming doomsday—these are deeply held mythic structures. They are profoundly conservative beliefs. They may even be hard-wired in the brain, for all I know. I certainly don’t want to talk anybody out of them. . . But the reason I don’t want to talk anybody out of these beliefs is that I know that I can’t talk anybody out of them. These are not facts that can be argued. These are issues of faith.
And so it is, sadly, with environmentalism. Increasingly it seems facts aren’t necessary, because the tenets of environmentalism are all about belief. It’s about whether you are going to be a sinner, or saved. Whether you are going to be one of the people on the side of salvation, or on the side of doom. Whether you are going to be one of us, or one of them. . . .
Quick, someone call Chuck Todd — or any of the countless other climatistas who will brook no contrary evidence and would succeed on this issue by silencing the countless many who have looked at the foundation for climate alarmism and found it beset by politicized science and fraud. Such countless many are mentally and morally inferior, at least according to people like Al Gore, Chuck Todd, Barack Obama and, most recently, the NYT editorial board, which wrote this bon mot just the other day:
The conference itself showcased the very fossil fuels that scientists and most sentient people agree the world must rapidly wean itself from. . . .
The ultimate goal of the progressive left is to make climate change the overriding moral issue of our nation. According to Judaism and Christianity, morality is defined by how you treat with your fellow man individually. The overriding moral concern is with the sanctity of the individual. “Saving the planet” is not a moral issue in that sense, it is a survival issue. It is the antithesis of traditional morality’s focus on the individual because it allows, indeed encourages, any scheme for the collective good. For instance, just how chilling is it to think of the people who wrote the following snippet having plenary power over your life:
. . . A 2009 study of the relationship between population growth and global warming determined that the “carbon legacy” of just one child can produce 20 times more greenhouse gas than a person will save by driving a high-mileage car, recycling, using energy-efficient appliances and light bulbs, etc. Each child born in the United States will add about 9,441 metric tons of carbon dioxide to the carbon legacy of an average parent. The study concludes, “Clearly, the potential savings from reduced reproduction are huge compared to the savings that can be achieved by changes in lifestyle.”
One of the study’s authors, Paul Murtaugh, warned that: “In discussions about climate change, we tend to focus on the carbon emissions of an individual over his or her lifetime. Those are important issues and it’s essential that they should be considered. But an added challenge facing us is continuing population growth and increasing global consumption of resources. . . . Future growth amplifies the consequences of people’s reproductive choices today, the same way that compound interest amplifies a bank balance.”
The size of the carbon legacy is closely tied to consumption patterns. Under current conditions, a child born in the United States will be responsible for almost seven times the carbon emissions of a child born in China and 168 times the impact of a child born in Bangladesh. . . .
Regardless, the progressive left (and that includes the worst Pope since the bad old days of the Borgias.) is relentlessly trying to frame climate as a MORAL issue. Inner city failing schools, crime, mass illegal immigration, single parent families, declining life expectancy and i.q., bankrupt public pensions — none of those rise to the importance of climate change as framed by the left. Those are issues. Climate change is a CRISIS. Or as Nancy Pelosi recently said about the new Select Committee on the Climate Crisis she is creating:
. . . “the climate issue was my flagship issue” last time she wielded the speaker’s gavel.
“This was a national security issue, from healthcare providers, that this was a public health issue, clean air, clean water; on our economy, that we must remain preeminent, as No. 1 in the world, on green technologies; and that it is a moral issue,” she said. “If you believe — as do I — that this is God’s creation, and evangelicals certainly do — and that we must be good stewards, then we must act upon it. Even if you don’t share that religious belief, if you understand that we have a moral responsibility to the next generation, to pass the planet on in a responsible way.” ***
“But there is tremendous interest on the outside for us to return to that place where the climate issue is preeminent,” she added. “…Not only is it Energy and Commerce… but also Homeland Security, because this has become such an issue, hitting home by way of hurricanes, forest fires, so many different ways. So natural disasters affecting people so very directly in their lives.”
“So we do believe that it’s about stewardship of our planet. And we have to find the best way to engage the public to make the change that is necessary to put us on a different course of action.”
To date, we have dodged the watermelon bullet when President Trump pulled us out of the Paris Accords. The Accords, unconstitutionally agreed to and funded by Obama without submitting the Accords to Congress as a treaty, was the UN’s vehicle for establishing the canard that catastrophic anthropogenic global warming is settled science, giving it access to the wealth of the U.S. and, eventually, establishing UN primacy over American laws and policies.
Unfortunately, aside from withdrawing from the Paris Accord, President Trump has done nothing to stem the progressive stampede to this hellscape of a green and socialist red future. He has done nothing to correct how science is practiced in America; he has done nothing to force a review of our temperature records — the ever changing historical numbers upon which the canard of global warming is based; he has done nothing to force a change to the corrupt foundation of the UNIPCC; and, he has done nothing with the bully pulpit (or with federal funding of education) to push back against an education system that does not educate students, but rather marinates intolerant watermelon ideologues with neither a knowledge of history nor the analytical skills to think for themselves. In short, Trump has done the equivalent of winning the Battle at Cannae but, like Hannibal in the Second Punic War, he has failed to follow it up, setting the stage for losing the war.
I’ve flushed out my lament about politicized science, our manipulated temperature records, and the UNIPCC in other posts, most notably here. That said, I was reminded, reading Michael Crichton’s 2003 essay, how worried he was not about climate change as a religion, but rather what it meant for science and for children educated to be post modernist ideologues, impervious to contrary fact and unable to distinguish their preferred fantasy from actual reality. Indeed, that was the main topic of his essay, with “enviromentalism” as a faith based religion merely being the example:
I have been asked to talk about what I consider the most important challenge facing mankind, and I have a fundamental answer. The greatest challenge facing mankind is the challenge of distinguishing reality from fantasy, truth from propaganda. Perceiving the truth has always been a challenge to mankind, but in the information age (or as I think of it, the disinformation age) it takes on a special urgency and importance.
We must daily decide whether the threats we face are real, whether the solutions we are offered will do any good, whether the problems we’re told exist are in fact real problems, or non-problems. Every one of us has a sense of the world, and we all know that this sense is in part given to us by what other people and society tell us; in part generated by our emotional state, which we project outward; and in part by our genuine perceptions of reality. In short, our struggle to determine what is true is the struggle to decide which of our perceptions are genuine, and which are false because they are handed down, or sold to us, or generated by our own hopes and fears.
After discussing environmentalism as a religion at length, including the many doomsday predictions by the religion’s high priests that turned out not to be true, Crichton concluded his essay by saying:
Okay, so, the preachers made a mistake. They got one prediction wrong; they’re human. So what. Unfortunately, it’s not just one prediction. It’s a whole slew of them. We are running out of oil. We are running out of all natural resources. Paul Ehrlich: 60 million Americans will die of starvation in the 1980s. Forty thousand species become extinct every year. Half of all species on the planet will be extinct by 2000. And on and on and on.
With so many past failures, you might think that environmental predictions would become more cautious. But not if it’s a religion. Remember, the nut on the sidewalk carrying the placard that predicts the end of the world doesn’t quit when the world doesn’t end on the day he expects. He just changes his placard, sets a new doomsday date, and goes back to walking the streets. One of the defining features of religion is that your beliefs are not troubled by facts, because they have nothing to do with facts.
So I can tell you some facts. I know you haven’t read any of what I am about to tell you in the newspaper, because newspapers literally don’t report them. I can tell you that DDT is not a carcinogen and did not cause birds to die and should never have been banned. I can tell you that the people who banned it knew that it wasn’t carcinogenic and banned it anyway. I can tell you that the DDT ban has caused the deaths of tens of millions of poor people, mostly children, whose deaths are directly attributable to a callous, technologically advanced western society that promoted the new cause of environmentalism by pushing a fantasy about a pesticide, and thus irrevocably harmed the third world. Banning DDT is one of the most disgraceful episodes in the twentieth century history of America. We knew better, and we did it anyway, and we let people around the world die and didn’t give a damn.
I can tell you that second hand smoke is not a health hazard to anyone and never was, and the EPA has always known it. I can tell you that the evidence for global warming is far weaker than its proponents would ever admit. I can tell you the percentage of the US land area that is taken by urbanization, including cities and roads, is 5%. I can tell you that the Sahara desert is shrinking, and the total ice of Antarctica is increasing. I can tell you that a blue-ribbon panel in Science magazine concluded that there is no known technology that will enable us to halt the rise of carbon dioxide in the 21st century. Not wind, not solar, not even nuclear. The panel concluded a totally new technology-like nuclear fusion-was necessary, otherwise nothing could be done and in the meantime all efforts would be a waste of time. They said that when the UN IPCC reports stated alternative technologies existed that could control greenhouse gases, the UN was wrong.
I can, with a lot of time, give you the factual basis for these views, and I can cite the appropriate journal articles not in whacko magazines, but in the most prestigious science journals, such as Science and Nature. But such references probably won’t impact more than a handful of you, because the beliefs of a religion are not dependant on facts, but rather are matters of faith. Unshakeable belief.
Most of us have had some experience interacting with religious fundamentalists, and we understand that one of the problems with fundamentalists is that they have no perspective on themselves. They never recognize that their way of thinking is just one of many other possible ways of thinking, which may be equally useful or good. On the contrary, they believe their way is the right way, everyone else is wrong; they are in the business of salvation, and they want to help you to see things the right way. They want to help you be saved. They are totally rigid and totally uninterested in opposing points of view. In our modern complex world, fundamentalism is dangerous because of its rigidity and its imperviousness to other ideas.
I want to argue that it is now time for us to make a major shift in our thinking about the environment, similar to the shift that occurred around the first Earth Day in 1970, when this awareness was first heightened. But this time around, we need to get environmentalism out of the sphere of religion. We need to stop the mythic fantasies, and we need to stop the doomsday predictions. We need to start doing hard science instead.
There are two reasons why I think we all need to get rid of the religion of environmentalism.
First, we need an environmental movement, and such a movement is not very effective if it is conducted as a religion. We know from history that religions tend to kill people, and environmentalism has already killed somewhere between 10-30 million people since the 1970s. It’s not a good record. Environmentalism needs to be absolutely based in objective and verifiable science, it needs to be rational, and it needs to be flexible. And it needs to be apolitical. To mix environmental concerns with the frantic fantasies that people have about one political party or another is to miss the cold truth—that there is very little difference between the parties, except a difference in pandering rhetoric. The effort to promote effective legislation for the environment is not helped by thinking that the Democrats will save us and the Republicans won’t. Political history is more complicated than that. Never forget which president started the EPA: Richard Nixon. And never forget which president sold federal oil leases, allowing oil drilling in Santa Barbara: Lyndon Johnson. So get politics out of your thinking about the environment.
The second reason to abandon environmental religion is more pressing. Religions think they know it all, but the unhappy truth of the environment is that we are dealing with incredibly complex, evolving systems, and we usually are not certain how best to proceed. Those who are certain are demonstrating their personality type, or their belief system, not the state of their knowledge. Our record in the past, for example managing national parks, is humiliating. Our fifty-year effort at forest-fire suppression is a well-intentioned disaster from which our forests will never recover. We need to be humble, deeply humble, in the face of what we are trying to accomplish. We need to be trying various methods of accomplishing things. We need to be open-minded about assessing results of our efforts, and we need to be flexible about balancing needs. Religions are good at none of these things.
How will we manage to get environmentalism out of the clutches of religion, and back to a scientific discipline? There’s a simple answer: we must institute far more stringent requirements for what constitutes knowledge in the environmental realm. I am thoroughly sick of politicized so-called facts that simply aren’t true. It isn’t that these “facts” are exaggerations of an underlying truth. Nor is it that certain organizations are spinning their case to present it in the strongest way. Not at all—what more and more groups are doing is putting out is lies, pure and simple. Falsehoods that they know to be false.
This trend began with the DDT campaign, and it persists to this day. At this moment, the EPA is hopelessly politicized. In the wake of Carol Browner, it is probably better to shut it down and start over. What we need is a new organization much closer to the FDA. We need an organization that will be ruthless about acquiring verifiable results, that will fund identical research projects to more than one group, and that will make everybody in this field get honest fast.
Because in the end, science offers us the only way out of politics. And if we allow science to become politicized, then we are lost. We will enter the Internet version of the dark ages, an era of shifting fears and wild prejudices, transmitted to people who don’t know any better. That’s not a good future for the human race. That’s our past. So it’s time to abandon the religion of environmentalism, and return to the science of environmentalism, and base our public policy decisions firmly on that.