So, which is it; Global Warming, Climate Disruption or Climate Change?
We had nearly two decades worth of propaganda telling us we were the cause of the planet warming up and unless we stopped emitting carbon, we were all going to burn up in the looming thermogeddon. This scare was branded Global Warming and gradually entered the popular consciousness. People naturally got a bit concerned about this, especially as there were what seemed respectable scientists backing up this assertion but a snag developed. The snag of course was the warming was neither global nor particularly warm and indeed, it had already stopped about a decade ago, just before the turn of the century.
This was a presentation problem and was addressed by the classic propaganda technique of ignoring the facts and keep pushing the message. If you repeat anything enough times, from all media outlets and with government backed authority, people will believe it or act as if they do, especially if you can suppress any dissenting voices. In the old days, when you had complete control of the television, wireless and papers, this always worked. Give informed people false facts and they will come to false conclusions. When there’s apparently no controversy over the facts or their implication, people tend to accept those facts as presented without looking into things for themselves. They are, in effect, trusting in a more informed and authoritative opinion.
People do this not because they are lazy but because they have to. We all have to make trust decisions every day and a lot of them are life or death trust decisions, though we seldom realise this. When we cross a bridge or enter a building, we trust it was designed and built safely. When we board an aeroplane, we trust the crew and air traffic controllers with our life. When you eat a snack you’ve just bought, you’re trusting that you won’t get food poison. Trust is the basis of cooperation and cooperation is the essential behaviour which enables any society to exist, never mind to function. If we all suddenly decided to trust nothing and nobody, civilisation around the world would collapse in a day. Trust is so pervasive, it’s invisible.
We trust most things in our life without even thinking about them and all propaganda relies on the ruthless exploitation of this habit of trust.
The problem alarmist propaganda encountered in the last decade was the emergence of the internet as a commonly accessible information outlet because the content couldn’t be controlled. It became the only platform where the misinformation could be confronted and the contrary facts and conclusions could be presented, not only within a country, but across the entire world. In the context of global warming, a small cottage industry grew up in the blogosphere to confront the misinformation and spin being presented.
I’ve said in a previous piece here that the blogosphere is not a mass opinion former at its current stage of development, so by implication its nascent opposition to global warming could have been ignored by the propaganda machine but it very definitely wasn’t. Why was this?
Environmentalism in my opinion has become a totalitarian and anti-human movement. I used to be an environmentalist and still care about the environment but the political implications and effects of what environmentalism has come to stand for, offend pretty much every one of my democratic and humanitarian principles. The zealots of any totalitarian movement are fanatics who have the characteristic fanatic’s obsession with total acceptance by everyone else of their beliefs. There can be no exceptions and no opposition. None at all. It’s not good enough that seventy or eighty percent of people do as they say, it always has to be one hundred percent. As I said in a previous piece here, they can never stop. It is their greatest strength and their greatest weakness.
Their reaction to the skeptical blogosphere is a stark example of their greatest strength turning into their greatest weakness; they simply had to close down the last bit of opposition, even if it wasn’t significantly influential on the population at large. Despite their best and most vicious efforts, they couldn’t silence or marginalise it and those efforts not only bred a more robust skeptical community but actually helped it grow. They focused so much effort on the blogosphere that they began to change the propaganda memes in response to its criticisms when they really didn’t need to do anything. In the blogosphere, the whole idea of global warming had become a laughable piece of propaganda, defended only by assorted treehuggers and fanatics but it was still a common belief of the general public, who at that stage had not yet become distrustful of them.
They decided to move the goal posts. Since global warming was inconveniently not happening, they quite openly rebranded the scare to Climate Disruption but somehow this name didn’t stick and this was probably because the “disruption” bit of the name implied a disruption of the normal pattern of climate, which might involve proving some sort of disruption was actually occurring, never mind having to define what normality meant in terms of climate.
In response, it was relaunched yet again as Climate Change. This had the great advantage that nothing had to be proved as climate changes all the time, so the thinking was the scare would be pretty bullet proof from the skeptics. The politicians, scientists, advocacy groups, media and the moneymen, smoothly switched over from talking about global warming, to talking about climate change instead. They didn’t miss a beat.
Another advantage it had from a propaganda viewpoint, was that any extreme weather could be pointed to and declared to be a sign of climate change. When it suits the alarmists, climate and weather have a habit of being subtly interchangeable but only when it suits the message. The last three brutal Winters we’ve had were just dismissed as weather. If, on the other hand, they had been unseasonably warm, then that would have been climate.
The skeptic community should never use the term climate change for a number of reasons but the big one is that the rebranding of Global Warming to Climate Change was a huge mistake by the alarmists and they should be reminded of it at every opportunity.
It was a public admission that there was never anything to the supposed threat of the world warming uncontrollably so, in the absence of it failing to materialise, they had to change the threat. I like to remind them of that every time I write a piece or someone in company takes it upon themselves to lecture me about climate change. That highly enjoyable conversation usually runs along the lines of the following –
When you say climate change, do you actually mean global warming? Well no, erm actually global warming is just part of climate change, you see! So the twenty years of dire warnings about global warming was all wrong then? Well, no, it’s just that scientists understand climate better nowadays. But they thought they understood it for twenty years, what confidence should we have that they understand it any better now? But I want to talk about climate change. Well, as you seem to be admitting global warming was a false alarm, why should I get all concerned about climate change? etc etc.
Socrates would be proud. It’s the sort of conversation you can vary to your heart’s desire, just as long as you don’t let them off the global warming hook. Keep dragging it back to that and they either splutter to a halt or start muttering insults like denier at you. Either of these outcomes is a win for you since the whole conversation is for the benefit of the other people, who will be listening intently to someone who so outrageously, isn’t toeing the popular line. I’ve made more than a few new friends that way and I sometimes think it’s simply because I’m the only one of them who’s not only knocked their local eco bore off their olympian peak of moral superiority but more importantly, managed to shut them up for an evening.
Global warming was a specific threat that failed to materialise, so they moved the threat to something much more vague. Don’t let them get away with it. Every time they try to frame the debate around those words, shift it right back to global warming. When you post or talk with people, use the words global warming rather than climate change. If you don’t, you’re not only an unconscious victim of their propaganda but you’re also failing to exploit a major mistake they made.
So, the answer to the question above is – Global Warming.
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