Some thoughts about policy for the aftermath of the climate wars.

Policy Folder

Charles Mackay wrote in his book, Extraordinary Popular Delusions and the Madness of Crowds – “Men, it has been well said, think in herds; it will be seen that they go mad in herds, while they only recover their senses slowly, and one by one.” The book may have been written in the mid-nineteenth century, but here we are at the kick off to the twenty-first, and that mass psychology is only too familiar. Maybe Hari Seldon was on to something after all.

The global warming craze is dying down. People, as Mackay noted, are coming out of it one by one and that process is accelerating with every passing day. Governments are cutting subsidies for green technologies not only because they don’t work, but because government coffers are empty. They’re broke. The politicians no longer mention it because it no longer gets votes and indeed just attracts a baleful hostility from a cash-strapped electorate, worried about paying their soaring power bills in the midst of the worst recession in living memory.

The reputation of climate science has taken a terrible beating, with one iconic symbol after another brought down by the skeptic blogosphere. The arrogant and at times criminal behaviour of some of the alarmist scientists involved, such as Peter Gleick, has further eroded any respect for it. Within the field and in related ones, researchers are now emboldened to question the supposedly “settled” science. Across the world, the carbon trading market is dead. The journalists specialising on the environment are finding their jobs disappearing or under threat, and are consequently moving on to other more viable niches. Basically, the popular media are deserting the party. High principles about saving the planet are all okay, but one’s livelihood is so much more important, isn’t it?

The whole political movement has already made too many poor inward-looking decisions and from any conceivable strategic viewpoint, their position is by now unrecoverable. The mainstream politicians are avoiding them like the plague or keeping them in the waiting room for a change, and there’s an emergent pattern of alarmists being released from hitherto safe sinecures like NASA, the BBC and certain prestigious news outlets in places like Washington, amongst others. The embarrassment factor has just got too big and the establishment is, as they euphemistically say, reconfiguring its posture.

The only people, who will be left on the burning deck of the sinking ship when all else have fled, will be the political activists and the committed climate scientists, who aren’t all that clued up politically.

That’s a wall, look at it, and read the writing on it. You’re being flushed.

Their reaction to that message is to scream ever more loudly, ever more dire warnings of the increasingly terrible things about to crash down on us. With such extreme behaviour, they’re rapidly pushing themselves towards the political fringe, which is exactly where we want them to be. They’re not thinking too straight. It’s like watching a manifestation of that definition of insanity; persistently and single-mindedly doing exactly the same thing over and over and somehow expecting a different result.

Even the science wing of the cause is trapped in that same obsessive compulsive loop. No matter how many times they try to rehabilitate things like the hockey stick, it’s by now irrelevant. Even if they could get it to successfully run the length of the skeptic gauntlet, it would still be irrelevant. Crying wolf louder and louder, results in people not listening, harder and harder. That’s the basic syndrome and they’re by now already well into diminishing returns.

As they say on all the wrassling programs; there’s no way out, you’re going down Dude. It’s just a matter of time and time, as I’ve said before, is on our side.

If you agree that’s a reasonable assessment of the current state of play, the “let’s get ahead of the game” question has to be – where do we go from here?

Now that it’s in retreat, we have to start the push to get much of the environmentally justified policy scrapped or reversed. However, there’s two decades worth of policy and regulation in place, so it’s consequently difficult to see where one should start. There’s so much of  it.

Stepping back from the problem, I think we should be guided by a complete reversal of the current environmental priority. From now on, we should save people first and then the Earth, rather than the other way around. If any policy injures people in favour of the name of the environment, it gets scrapped. People first, planet second. A nice simple mantra.

Some environmentalists actually do think that’s already the priority but the boots on the ground reality is the other way around. Environmental policy is pushing the poor of the developed world into things like fuel poverty and butchering its way through the defenseless in the developing world. The victims know that too. As a typical example, read the article on VAD below, but there are lots of other instances.

Replace food staples with biofuel crops and let the food riots begin. Refuse to let the developing world have access to better GM seeds, and let the crops fail. Let them starve. Don’t allow them funds to build power plants, leave them without light and heat. Don’t let them have access to DDT, let millions die needlessly of malaria every year. The list is endless but the common denominator of them all, is spending lives to save the Earth from various perceived but illusory threats.

Explicitly and publically swapping the priority in this way is not some sort of optimistic stab at a solution on my part. If you really want to protect the environment, then that’s actually the only way of achieving it, especially if you want to get the developing world on board. One of the key reasons why the whole green project failed, was that the developing world not only distrusted it, but always despised it for its rank hypocrisy. It’s the people of the developing world who are on the bleeding edge of environmental policies. That’s why they torpedoed Copenhagen and every annual climate clam bake since. They’ll do the same to any future ones too, unless there’s a sea change in the politics of the environment.

When the ordinary person is prosperous and feeling good, it gives them the time, the leisure and the disposable wealth to care about things beyond life’s essentials. It’s not difficult to get them interested in the environmental fundamentals such as clean air and water, and conservation of endangered flora or fauna.

Conversely, when people are hungry, desperate or under economic stress, care for the environment drops to the very bottom of their list of concerns. Every honest opinion poll in the developed world has been showing this since the recession began. In the developing world, if desperate people need heat and light, they’ll keep doing things like burning every tree in sight until there isn’t a single one left, Haiti being an extreme and terrible example of the latter.

If what people in poverty need to do to get by, is trash the environment, that’s exactly what they’ll do and they’ll be right as well. People first, planet second. If you are seriously expecting them to do anything else, you really need to park your ideological baggage on one side for a moment and really think – this argument is a no brainer. When you stress people, they go back to basics – they’ll look after themselves and their dependents and to hell with you and your tender environmental concerns. You’re the one living in cloud cuckoo land, not them.

Using that simple change in priority, there are many obvious quick win policy changes which could easily be put in place. Simply abolishing the lavish subsidies enjoyed by the renewables gravy train, would stop the money transfer from the poor to the already rich, and lift hundreds of thousands out of fuel poverty in the developed world. When you’ve been backed up against the wall and can no longer afford to heat your home, you don’t much care about the environment.

In the developing world, the changes are mainly in the area of food and health. In the short-term, we can quickly implement policy changes, which while they may result in a lot of professionally offended people being knee-deep in the blood of sacred cows, will save a lot of lives.

We need to give real help in fixing the root causes of problems rather than just mitigating their effects. They need access to cheap GM seeds that are drought and disease resistant. We need to stop growing bio fuels, to bring back down the price of food staples. They need access to things like DDT, so they can get rid of malaria, like we did half a century ago.

The big thing which is needed, and will bring on prosperity, is electricity. So much of the developing world is rich in minerals and ores. Africa, for instance, has 4% of the world’s coal. Let’s help them build generation plants. Whatever your view on that, what is obvious is they will build those plants in the end, because renewables are a laughably inadequate option for the developing world. It’s only by building real infrastructure that prosperity can come about.

When people are lifted out of grinding poverty, then they’ll be inclined to consider the environment, never mind the planet.

Longer term, we have two other problems closer to home facing us, neither of which have any simple solutions, but both will have to be addressed at some point. The commonality they share is rehabilitation.

The first one is rehabilitating environmentalism. Like every global warming skeptic out there whom I’ve ever talked with, I was and still am an old-fashioned environmentalist. Like a surprising number of them, I was there at the start, doing my part in preventing the needless and wanton destruction of nature, because I loved it.

We human beings are not some new suddenly discovered strange creature living outside the food chain, we’re part of it and always have been, part of nature and that’s what every true hunter celebrates with every kill. Everyone in the whole chain has to eat. We all have to get by. Believing anything else is a dangerous and decadent self-indulgence, which only people fundamentally out of touch with nature could have come up with it. That’s how we got into this situation in the first place.

The political monstrosity environmentalism mutated into now threatens to lose some of the ground that was gained in the seventies and eighties. I’m not sure what can be done to mitigate that damage except rebranding it to something new like stewardship of nature, but I fear the damage runs deep. It’s by now a tainted brand. People are deeply cynical nowadays about anything to do with the word environmental. Two decades worth of damage in the popular psyche, I’m afraid.

The environmental movement has only itself to blame, and like a lot of people who actively supported its genesis, I must take my fair share of blame. We took our eye off it and allowed it to be hijacked by the gangrenous and rotting stump of left of centre western political extremism in the aftermath of the collapse of soviet communism. Once they’d done that, it was easy to suck in the fashionable but feckless sons and daughters of the well-to-do middle classes, especially in the midst of an unusually long economic boom. Just dangle a righteous cause in front of their noses, in just the right way, to give their lives some shadow of a grand mission, and leave the rest to their youthful enthusiasm and entitled nature.

The coming battle for the real soul of environmentalism, I leave to my children and their’s, because that’s what I see as the timeframe of that particular struggle. But, by the time they walk onto the field, what will constitute what’s left of the environmental establishment will be institutionalised, moribund and I think, fairly easy to knock off its perch. It’s already looking distinctly shell-shocked.

The next one that’s going to need some rehabilitating is science, but fortunately the position on that one isn’t so dire. This may come as a bit of a shock to all you scientific lads and lassies out there, but the common person has always taken what any scientist says with a pinch of salt, and that’s even if they can be bothered to listen. As soon as they hear that magic opening phrase – scientists have said that – they tend to switch off. It’s a real tribute to the standard of science education around the world.

It’s not actually as strong a brand as its adherents like to believe. Amongst the self-declared intelligentsia – yes, among ordinary people – no. That’s why it was always the sons of the well-to-do middle classes saying they’d lay down their life to save Mother Earth, never a son of the working classes. It was that hidden stripe of retro class politics running through the whole thing.

That was always a flaw in the idea of hijacking science, or to be more exact, hijacking climate science, in the name of doing some re-engineering of society. Despite what people might think, science isn’t actually too important to the common person. A major facet of the climate wars was the vicious dog fights over the science, but what you’ve really got to take on board is that the vast majority of people never had a dog in those fights. They didn’t even watch them. You know, it was just bebop Jazz to them, some modern composers making terrible diatonic noises, crashes they couldn’t hear any damn point in, Kraftwerk at their inexplicable worst. You just can’t dance to the stuff.

Sorry about that, but scientists are actually not that significant to the ordinary man in the street.

If there was a single effective result from those fights, it was wresting the scientific heights out of the hands of the alarmists, which gives the politicians the authority to say the science is far from settled. It simply created that crack in the establishment consensus, that room for manoeuvre, which they will use. The alarmists signally never ever came close to proving their case, and for me that was science at its glorious best. It’s pure Missouri – show me. Proof talks, bullshit walks. Science is a harsh mistress, as the alarmist scientists have found out.

The one thing we must not allow to happen, is to win this war, and by default leave a policy vacuum there. Let it drift without direction and leadership, and it’ll be taken over by the same sort of venial creatures we’ve just beaten. It’s obviously not over, but it’s undoubtably heading in that direction and now is the time for what few real policy leaders we have, to start thinking about what comes next and make some sound proposals.

Too much damage has already been done. What we need now is a confident and timely take up of the policy initiative.

©Pointman

Related articles by Pointman:

The decline of the environmental lobby’s political influence.

How environmentalism turned to the dark side.

The big green killing machine: What is VAD?

Time, our secret weapon.

Click for a list of other articles.

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Comments
40 Responses to “Some thoughts about policy for the aftermath of the climate wars.”
  1. Rick Bradford says:

    The Green movement didn’t fail — it succeeded triumphantly, if we define Green as your ‘old-fashioned environmentalist’. We all pay attention to pollution and waste management these days.

    Where it all went wrong, as Greenpeace’s Patrick Moore said, is that after we had all become green, the hard-core Green activists looked like being out of a job, and had to become ever more extreme and shrill, and it is they and their methods (what Ken Wilber has called The Mean Green Meme) which have been so destructive and damaging.

    Perhaps we could say that green succeeded, but Green failed.

  2. A.D. Everard says:

    One of your best, Pointman, absolutely one of your best – or perhaps I’m just so in love with the message.

    You’re spot on – we all care about nature. The watermelons took environmentalism and warped it into something ugly. I will never forgive them for that.

    I hope the turn around you describe is embraced wholeheartedly and comes swiftly. I know it won’t happen like that, it’ll come slowly and at different paces from different places, but I sure would like to see it sweep across the world.

    Cheers, mate. :)

  3. Reblogged this on gottadobetterthanthis and commented:
    Well, if I didn’t know better, I’d suspect our Pointman was reading my mail.

    It would be nice if sensible people took the reigns of environmentalism. Keeping some wild is certainly a worthy cause. Beauty in nature is evident to nearly all of us. Keeping some of it is a good thing. I hold with Pointy, though, people first. All people, not just the elite and not just the downtrodden, and not any other group, but each of us, individually. Each person matters, and collective coercion is as bad as individual coercion.

    I am reblogging because of the science point. Thanks, Pointman, I needed that. Yes, I see the damage climate alarmism has done to science in general, and I cringe. However, you are right. To us scientists, it is a big deal, and we are all diminished for it, but for most people, the damage is minimal, and confidence will ebb and flow as it always has. We will prove our science and ethics again by just being right and honest more often than not. Of course, it helps if we can admit when we are proven wrong. It also helps when we don’t call names and use other emotional tactics to attack those who challenge us.

    Regarding policy going forward, we need to keep the big picture in mind, and we must never settle for the notion that doing something is better than waiting. There is much harm in the world resulting from little more than the argument that doing anything is better than doing nothing. It is rarely true where politics rule. I like to remind my legislative representatives that it is not their job to legislate. It is their job to represent me and the rest of our district. It seems to me that politicians think they are not doing their jobs if they don’t pass laws, regulations, and increase spending, which of course requires increases in revenue, which can generally only be done with new or increased taxes. Viscous, self-destructive cycle. Our leaders must remember to educate themselves diligently and make decisions wisely, always with an eye to liberty and rule of law, not rule of the mob nor rule of fashion and fancy.

    Again, thanks Pointman. A very worthwhile read.

  4. Keitho says:

    I genuinely enjoy all of your articles Pointman and I agree with most of them. This one I totally endorse as you have accurately gauged the state of play. The alarmist tide is going out and rationality is returning.

    The one big message I have taken from this AGW fiasco is not that scientists can be duplicitous and self serving, that has always been the case, but rather just how collectively and selectively insane ordinary people can be. I have spent so much time on warmist blogs, places like the Guardian and the LA Times and many many others where useful idiots have beavered away in support of the cause. Ill informed, intolerant and driven by such self assurance making statements that they didn’t understand but tried to assume the mantle of scientists. The madness of crowds indeed.

    Let us hope, as you imply, that the spotlight moves away from scientists again and that the media can concentrate on stuff that actually matters. As it does I look forward to reading your thoughts about those things too.

    Warm regards

  5. meltemian says:

    ” a lot of professionally offended people being knee-deep in the blood of sacred cows ”

    Love it!!

    The next step is to remind governments that their purpose is to do what the people want and not implement their own, axe-grinding, schemes to further enrich themselves and their ilk.

  6. John says:

    That is the best essay on ‘environmentalism’ I have read. Period.

    It’s my point of view to a capital T.

    Bravo.

  7. Reblogged this on Power To The People and commented:
    If the Greens were really interested in the welfare of the worlds poor they would be doing all in their power to promote the develop of cheap and plentiful fossil fuel resources that would bring the worlds poor up from poverty. Instead by promoting a carbon free world they are doing just the opposite. The Green Movement is founded on a quest to return the earth to a backwoods Utopia where the elite live like Kings and the rest of us serfs starve and freeze to death in caves. However Pointman’s article provides some hope that people will see through the Green movements misanthropic proclivities and not willingly be led to the sacrificial altar of economic suicide and a slow death by energy poverty.

  8. MikeC says:

    Sorry a bit OT but not that much. My pet peeve is the three Rs: recycle, reduce, re-use. You have to admit, that’s a pretty big environmentalist slogan.

    However, the foundation is built on quicksand and that is recycling. We’ve not yet taken an extensive critical look at that. A superficial look comes back that, other than perhaps recycling aluminum, the reasons for recycling were probably false (landfills, running out of resources), the cost of recycling is excessive and in all likelihood recycling causes more problems than it purports to solve.

    And one could easily argue that the comfort blanket of recycling can cause good people to become overly lax with regard to reducing and re-using (which I believe are both good concepts on their own).

    However, it’s pretty tough to bring that up in mixed company. Why it that?

    • Peter says:

      That slogan is actually quite a good one. I think it starts with reduce, then re-use, and finally recycle. It’s a sensible order of priorities.

  9. webber says:

    O Pointman, my Pointman, you have a habit of putting into words exactly what I’m thinking but could not express so well. I hope some of the policy wonks are listening to this.

  10. Rastech says:

    The best hands-on environmentalists I have known through my life, have been Gamekeepers. Under that catch all I include all the people, such as Angling Clubs, that roll their sleeves up and get into the rivers to clean them, keep them in good condition, keep the riverbanks in good condition, make sure the pests aren’t out of control, etc.

    Action rather than talk (or rather self righteous lecturing from people that don’t have a clue, let alone ever roll their sleeves up and get stuck in to what has to be done).

    Like David Bellamy’s words on fox hunting “I couldn’t do it, but I support those who can” – because what they did was necessary. Heck even Tony Blair now wishes he hadn’t banned it.

    As for the Third World, Mahatma Gandhi got it right:

    “There are people in the world so hungry, that God cannot appear to them except in the form of bread.”

    All the interfering busybodies have ever done with their clueless manipulation, is deprive these people of bread.

  11. Rastech says:

    MikeC: ” the cost of recycling is excessive and in all likelihood recycling causes more problems than it purports to solve.”

    Automated recycling plant was designed and built in the late 1970′s (I know this because a friend was one of the engineers involved). It’s efficient. It’s highly profitable.

    The bottom line is this:

    If it isn’t “One bin, one collection truck, and one reception point at an automated plant” it’s a Ponzi Scheme.

    That plant can sort everything, pelletise into fuel pellets what isn’t recyclable, burn those pellets in a furnace producing electricity to run the plant, sell large quantities of excess electricity to the grid, sell large quantities of excess fuel pellets for domestic stoves, sell large quantities of raw materials for recycling..

    The profit from these plants should be reducing local taxes substantially.

    Instead of which, profits are extracted for the benefit of local politicians, and concealed behind wasteful fleets of lorries collecting different different coloured bins, plastic bags, and recycling skips.

    I think there was a recent German study that pretty much confirmed that the way recycling is presently set up, is far from environmentally friendly or efficient.

    But it sure does establish a platform to further the Ponzi Scheme.

  12. Tom says:

    “. . . baleful hostility from a cash-strapped electorate, worried about paying their soaring power bills in the midst of the worst recession in living memory.”

    And not to mention . . . COLDEST freaking recession in recent memory . . . thank God for all that warming!

  13. 3x2 says:

    Using that simple change in priority, there are many obvious quick win policy changes which could easily be put in place. Simply abolishing the lavish subsidies enjoyed by the renewables gravy train, would stop the money transfer from the poor to the already rich, and lift hundreds of thousands out of fuel poverty in the developed world. When you’ve been backed up against the wall and can no longer afford to heat your home, you don’t much care about the environment.

    <i<[Here I'm talking about the UK]

    I don’t believe that there will be any “quick win policy changes”. This mess will be with us for at least another generation.

    The subsidy trough can’t be emptied. There can be few subsidy farmers that didn’t look at the small print of their contract with HMG before jumping in. Huge wind farms or PV on a domestic residence roof, we are stuck paying for these for twenty five years at least. The contract says so and any future Government would be very unwise to start trying to tear up contracts. What’s next? Bonds?

    Which leads me straight into something that doesn’t seem to register much in the UK. There are very few areas left where our domestic Politicians have any authority. We, in most areas that matter, are governed from Brussels. We cannot dump “The Climate Change Act”. The very best we could do is repeal it and immediately replace it with a slightly less suicidal Act. One which compiled with EU “directives”, but only just.

    So, with just two, intertwined, examples it is plain that two ‘test cases’ (UKHC or ECJ) would be sufficient to ensure that there will be no “quick win policy changes”. “Breach of contract” and “failure to comply with an EU directive”, both of which we would loose. And it wouldn’t matter that 99% of the UK Electorate wanted the changes.

    It is “worse than we thought” in that we ‘must’ (EU directive) go 20% renewable and, as is becoming clear, Wind ‘faceplate’ and Wind ‘reality’ are two different things. In order to ‘comply’ we are going to need more, much more. ‘Windy Miller’ has his bread buttered for decades to come.

    [There is a solution to one of the problems but let's not turn this into a political blog ;^}]

    Anyway – Interesting and thought provoking read Pointman. I always take something away from a visit here and today is no different. Keep it up.

  14. Michael Larkin says:

    Pointman,

    You talk as if it’s effectively over–just a matter of time now. Maybe you’re right in respect of AGW, but I think the underlying dynamic has a long way to go yet.

    Consensus is a very important thing. As often as not, it’s not explicitly enunciated. There are things that the large majority accept without ever really questioning them. They seem as self-evident as the air we breathe. Climate/weather used to be one such thing. Sometimes it’s hot or cold or wet or dry, and now and then there may be big events like hurricanes and tsunamis. That’s just the way it is, the way it’s always been.

    I think that quite possibly that’s the way it would still be had it not been for the demise of religion, especially in many European nations. Say what one likes about religion, it provides a framework of belief within which the vicissitudes of life can be more easily borne.

    Take away the dominant role of religion, and there’s no less need for a framework of belief. There’s piles of shit that still happens, even for atheists. Piles of shit that is no less hard to deal with because, secular or religious, our knowledge of how to deal with it is limited.

    What human beings most dislike is uncertainty. Very few are able to cope with it with equanimity. If true certainty isn’t there, human beings will invent it. This applies even to science, which is supposed to provide the means to identify what is uncertain so that it can be investigated, and to approach closer to truth without ever getting there; for if it gets there, then there can be no uncertainty, nothing to be investigated, and no progress to be made.

    At any given point in time, there’s always the tension between knowing (however reluctant we are to admit it) that shit is going to continue to happen, and the need to feel that there’s no uncertainty: that we can deal with it. The only way to eliminate uncertainty is through actual knowledge and understanding. If we don’t have that, typically we make stuff up and kid ourselves it’s knowledge and understanding.

    Call it religion or anything else you like, we all have frameworks of belief (atheism is no exception). We have to: it’s the human condition to want complete certainty, real or made up.

    If AGW as the bête du jour goes down the plughole (and no one would be happier than I if that happens), there won’t be an overnight change in human nature. There’ll still be a gap between what we actually know/understand and what we only think we know/understand. We’ll necessarily go on making stuff up; inertia in the system will always ensure there’s a lag between the actions we take and the realisation of the actions we should have taken. We’ll always be kicking ourselves in the pants or wryly smiling at how stupid we once were, and how much wiser we are now–even as at that very moment we are in process of making cock-ups that in due course will be nameable even by children.

    I am confident that even if AGW is completely rejected, even if environmentalism manages to become something sensible and effective, shit (real or imaginary) will still be perceived as happening, and people will carry on making stuff up that will continue to cause much havoc and human misery. The only hope is that the amount of that will gradually reduce.

  15. Great effort Pointman. You’ve probably seen it but on “people first, planet second” you have the support of Winston Churchill:

    The duty of government is first and foremost to be practical. I am for makeshifts and expediency. I would like to make the people who live on this world at the same time as I do better fed and happier generally. If incidentally I benefit posterity – so much the better – but I would not sacrifice my own generation to a principle however high or a truth however great.

    Quoted by Bruce Sharp quoting Arthur Schlesinger [[here|http://www.mekong.net/cambodia/2020.htm]]. No idea when Winston said it.

  16. Ian says:

    An interesting and apt assessment. Minor question – did you mean “venal” rather than “venial” in the second line of the penultimate paragraph?

  17. Matt says:

    Brilliant article –I pray you are correct. Just one tiny thing. Staple foods not stable foods -unless you have horses in mind.

  18. Excellant synopsis, one that should be widely published. The only addition that I would make would be to comment about the fate of charitees, which are starting to suffer the mistrust both the contributers to and beneficieries from are feeling after the war of attrition sustained by the major players over the last couple of decades in their mission to subvert political decisions in their quest for social change more in line with their ideology than the benefit of others.

  19. Beautifully presented and optimistic.

    You are right of course about the “counter revolution” being a matter of decades, though I don’t think the way forward will be pretty. And beyond that I remain discouraged by humanity’s insane preoccupation with utopia. All utopian ideologies start with a real problem or a grain of truth (the workers are exploited; the trains don’t run on time; we are polluting the planet), but the wheels quickly come off along the way and we end up with a body count.

  20. Thanks, Pointman. Very good article.

  21. Blackswan says:

    Pointman,

    A few months ago Australian Realists despaired of ever seeing any change in our legislated Climate Fraud juggernaut, but you’re proving to be right – as usual. Our coffers are bare and the Climate Commissars are beginning to backtrack on their subsidies and bribes.

    While we understand the motives of the politicians and ‘scientists’ on the gravy train, it’s hard to figure out the MSM. For example, today we have this …

    The planet has set a significant – and unwelcome – landmark with the concentration of heat-trapping carbon dioxide in the atmosphere passing 400 parts per million (ppm) for the first time in more than 3 million years.

    “Humanity has never been here before,” John Connor, chief executive of The Climate Institute, said in a statement. “We are in dangerous and uncharted territory, with little time to ensure a safe and sustainable future.”

    http://www.smh.com.au/environment/climate-change/global-carbon-dioxide-levels-hit-landmark-high-20130511-2je8u.html#ixzz2Swxqlw19

    But then they completely ignore this …

    A recent NASA report throws the space agency into conflict with its climatologists after new NASA measurements prove that carbon dioxide acts as a coolant in Earth’s atmosphere.
    NASA’s Langley Research Center has collated data proving that “greenhouse gases” actually block up to 95 percent of harmful solar rays from reaching our planet, thus reducing the heating impact of the sun.

    http://principia-scientific.org/supportnews/latest-news/163-new-discovery-nasa-study-proves-carbon-dioxide-cools-atmosphere.html

    With the majority of people getting their information from television and newspaper reports, is it any wonder that most are still in fear of the consequences of ignoring these relentless dire warnings? You’re absolutely right about the planet sliding down the list of priorities when people are weighing their options, but this ongoing campaign is causing great angst for many.

    With our Federal election due in four months and our Budget to be handed down next week, it remains to be seen how deep the government is prepared to slice into the promised tax cuts, family welfare bonuses, subsidies and offsets that were all linked to our Carbon Tax legislation but come what may, energy and fuel bills will continue to escalate into the foreseeable future.

    Your predicted changes can’t come soon enough for us.

  22. Edward. says:

    Nicely weighted piece Pointy, I see that rapier blade is kept honed razor sharp.

  23. Geoff Sherrington says:

    At the last Elections in the Australian State of Queensland, the left-leaning Premier, Anna Bligh, was roundly defeated by Conservative Campbell Newman, who had 13 years as a military officer/engineer as background. Following the election he ordered Greg Withers, partner of Anna Bligh and a former chief in the State environment bureaucracy, to wind back green energy programs he had helped to create over the past four years.

    • DavidH says:

      As I recall, supposedly Anna Bligh set things up so Withers would get a big payout on the expected cancellation of his contract. But Newman kept him on and made him work out his contract, undoing his own mess.

  24. Benj says:

    Like BH said, a must-read. You’re wasted in this backwater Pointy.

  25. Mike says:

    Yes, the green movement has been hijacked, but it seems to me that this was the case right from the start, or at least from when it started to grow strong in numbers. In Germany, protests against nuclear power took off in the mid 70s. I became involved, because I considered (and still do) the problem of atomic waste disposal unsolved. Since coal was abundant, and cleanly burning it just a matter of upgrading power plants to modern standards, why should we bother with nuclear energy?

    Turned out very few of the other protesters were there for similarly pragmatic reasons. Most knew next to nothing about any scientific subject, and didn’t want to, but had either politically radical views or romantic and nostalgic ones, and their protests were really directed at authority or technology in general.

    It was similar with the peace movement of the late 70s and early 80s. This movement took off when the Rooskies had deployed their midrange SS20 atomic rockets and mostly pointed them at West Germany, and the Schmidt government decided to counter that by deploying Pershing rockets in West Germany. Again, my reason for protesting was fairly simple: If those SS20 are pointed at us, why would we compound the danger by offering them targets? If we really needed to counter the threat, we would have been better off using submarines.

    Again, I was completely out of step with most fellow protesters, for whom this was just one focal point in a comprehensive and radical agenda. Because of those prior experiences, the absurd excesses of green activity around global warming hasn’t surprised me.

  26. Jimbo says:

    Thank you Pointman. Regarding the developing word scouring for fuel this is exactly what I have been telling warmists for some time. Deprive them of coal and oil and they will head to the forests and burn. Heck, it was reported this winter that GERMANS were stealing wood from forests due to high energy costs. What then do greens expect someone in Zambia to do? Greens are in fact the worst enemy of the environment. Look at Indonesia and the biofuels debacle when they started heavy deforestation to make way for palm oil trees. :(

  27. Jimbo says:

    As people come out of poverty fertility rates tend to come down. Look at Mexico. More energy is the only long-term solution, not less. Making people stay energy poor does not help the environment it damages it.

  28. NoFixedAddress says:

    @Pointman

    Re: Policy

    Just throwing this in ‘the ring’ and my thoughts were prompted by reading this article at ‘The American Spectator’ – Is Kleiner Perkins Sorry It Ever Met Al Gore?… http://spectator.org/archives/2013/05/13/is-kleiner-perkins-sorry-it-ev

    And what I was prompted to consider is that the entire “alternative energy” boondoggle is basically selling a revision of the perpetual motion engine.

    Free Energy! Just kick it off and it will run forever.

    You could even describe it as Welfare Energy. Something for nothing.

    But no-one is actually telling the story about the greatest revolutionary series of inventions that produced the STEAM age and then ELECTRICITY.

    And mass produced and distributed electricity wiped out WindMills and WaterMills.

    The use of Oil in engines stopped ‘pit pony’ coal workers.

    No one is teaching history!

  29. Dodgy Geezer says:

    …The alarmists signally never ever came close to proving their case, and for me that was science at its glorious best. It’s pure Missouri – show me. Proof talks, bullshit walks. Science is a harsh mistress, as the alarmist scientists have found out….

    They never came near to proving it, but that DIDN’T show science at its glorious best. Instead, we were treated to the entire scientific establishment suppressing any dissent.

    And they would have gotten away with it too, if it hadn’t been for that blasted Steve McIntyre.

    I think that depending on one man to keep science pure is cutting it a bit fine…..

  30. Climatism says:

    Reblogged this on CACA and commented:
    Brilliant essay on environmentalism – its contradictions , the hijacking of science, contempt for the grinding poor, policy failings and its boy-who-cried-wolf demise.

  31. Tim Wussow says:

    I’m not 100% sure about the DDT thing. But I think you may be right. Not sure about the GM crops thing, either. Seems to me we’re running into the same problems. Rich getting richer, monopolies, Monsanto. And worse, judging by the wheat we’re consuming, we’re feeding people food that they can’t digest. What we need to preach is open market products! If people want to develop different GM crops, let them do it in the open and label the products appropriately. If the government would do 90% less regulation, they could just make sure everything is open-market. Competition would make innovation thrive and bring down prices. You know……
    just my 2 cents..

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