The Climate Change Deniers Have Won

PIC: Greenpeace China (PD)

PIC: Greenpeace China (PD)

What’s with the “let us hope” bullshit?  Nick Cohen writes at the Observer:

The American Association for the Advancement of Science came as close as such a respectable institution can to screaming an alarm last week. “As scientists, it is not our role to tell people what they should do,” it said as it began one of those sentences that you know will build to a “but”. “But human-caused climate risks abrupt, unpredictable and potentially irreversible changes.”

In other words, the most distinguished scientists from the country with the world’s pre-eminent educational institutions were trying to shake humanity out of its complacency. Why weren’t their warnings leading the news?

In one sense, the association’s appeal was not new. The Royal Society, the Royal Institution, Nasa, the US National Academy of Sciences, the US Geological Survey, the IPCC and the national science bodies of 30 or so other countries have said that man-made climate change is on the march. A survey of 2,000 peer-reviewed papers on global warming published in the last 20 years found that 97% said that humans were causing it.

When the glib talk about the “scientific debate on global warming”, they either don’t know or will not accept that there is no scientific debate. The suggestion first made by Eugene F Stoermer that the planet has moved from the Holocene, which began at the end of the last ice age, to the manmade Anthropocene, in which we now live, is everywhere gaining support. Man-made global warming and the man-made mass extinction of species define this hot, bloody and (let us hope) brief epoch in the world’s history.

If global warming is not new, it is urgent: a subject that should never be far from our thoughts. Yet within 24 hours of the American association’s warning the British government’s budget confirmed that it no longer wanted to fight it.

David Cameron, who once promised that if you voted blue you would go green, now appoints Owen Paterson, a man who is not just ignorant of environmental science but proud of his ignorance, as his environment secretary. George Osborne, who once promised that his Treasury would be “at the heart of this historic fight against climate change“, now gives billions in tax concessions to the oil and gas industry, cuts the funds for onshore wind farms and strips the Green Investment Bank of the ability to borrow and lend

All of which is a long way of saying that the global warming deniers have won. And please, can I have no emails from bed-wetting kidults blubbing that you can’t call us “global warming deniers ” because “denier” makes us sound like “Holocaust deniers”, and that means you are comparing us to Nazis? The evidence for man-made global warming is as final as the evidence of Auschwitz. No other word will do.

Tempting though it is to blame cowardly politicians, the abuse comes too easily. The question remains: what turned them into cowards? Rightwing billionaires in the United States and the oil companies have spent fortunes on blocking action on climate change. A part of the answer may therefore be that conservative politicians in London, Washington and Canberra are doing their richest supporters’ bidding. There’s truth in the bribery hypothesis. In my own little world of journalism, I have seen rightwing hacks realise the financial potential of denial and turn from reasonable men and women into beetle-browed conspiracy theorists.

Read more here.

13 Comments on "The Climate Change Deniers Have Won"

  1. Adam Cornell | Mar 29, 2014 at 8:24 pm |

    There is only one answer, it is Molten Salt Reactors.
    Gotta burn those warheads and the waste.
    Global energy starvation isn’t going to work.

    • I’ve said before that I don’t agree that there’s only one answer, but I did look up the thorium reactors you mentioned and do agree they are a great idea that should be implemented. But I still think solar will be a large part of the solution.

      But I completely agree with you about riba. That bullshit’s gotta be stopped.

  2. Jonas Planck | Mar 29, 2014 at 8:45 pm |

    This reminds me of the ol’ “glad to hear it!” trap…. how it works is you trick a denier into saying something like “Man’s activity can’t make catastrophic changes in the environment!” and you respond with “Glad to hear it!” and then splash them with gasoline and light it. “not my fault! your environment was going to be fire anyway!” Or the other one, wait until they say, “gun violence is not a medical issue,” say, “Glad to hear it!” and then shoot them in the leg. “Do ya want me to call the NRA to help you with that bleeding wound?”

    • ishmael2009 | Mar 31, 2014 at 9:20 pm |

      Dumbest fucking argument ever. Well done.

      • Jonas Planck | Apr 1, 2014 at 2:41 am |

        They can’t all be gems. I think my point was that people wouldn’t be so free with their callous dismissals if there were immediate consequenses for choosing an unwise course of action or denying an obvious truth. Of course, as usual, I mangled the idea all to hell during the metaphor implementation phase… Mind you, it’s not conjecture, the Glad To Hear It trap was actually employed on many occasions during the open debates on colony rights during Civil War Three. Didn’t make the colonists look good, I can say that much.

  3. Reuben_the_Red | Mar 29, 2014 at 8:50 pm |

    Politicians are not bribed so much as hand-picked for their responsiveness to moneyed interests. That may well be in fact what makes for a good politician these days. That and an orange tan on that botox-injected face.

  4. Daniel Gill | Mar 29, 2014 at 10:07 pm |

    I believe strongly that the technology exists today to change things . and its simply a matter of people green shifting the economy to support those companies. this is what Stephane Dion wanted to do, as head of the Liberal party . but people didn’t vote for him out west because they didn’t like his accent. nothing to do with the fact he averted quebec separation forever (Clarity Act) and had he been elected then would have made canada a serious economic juggernaut in green tech .he came on the scene too early, when climate change science wasn’t big news and people weren’t aware of how serious an issue it was . he’ll always be a hero of mine and i’ll always be proud to vote for him living in his riding .

    • The problem here is that the neoliberal political consensus of the .001% want to extract the last dollar of value from their fossil-fuel assets and believe that if they extract enough wealth from the rest of us, they can buy their way out of the consequences of continued mismanagement for the sake of short-term profit.

      Managing empires for the short-term benefit of the most wealthy has been tried before. That’s why the majority of human empires exist only in archaeological digs and history books. They may manage to keep control over people’s choices, but external reality not subject to what they think is their Divine Will bats last.

      When this .001% controls the major parties no matter where in the 1st World one goes, they believe they don’t have to care what the rest of us think. When you go to the polls, no matter who you vote for and what nominal party you support, you get the same basic product with different marketing.

  5. BuzzCoastin | Mar 29, 2014 at 11:51 pm |

    the climate will persist in changing ever changing
    debates about it by mayflies
    will not

  6. Can tech civilization be saved? How late is too late? Interesting question. A problem which could have been fixed in the 90s with moderate reallocations of assets is probably still at the point where throwing money at it will minimize megadeaths. How long before it’s going to take a WWII total mobilization to deal with the problems? How long before even that can’t fix it?

    If anyone has numbers, would like to see them.

    • ishmael2009 | Mar 31, 2014 at 9:18 pm |

      How about no significant rise in global temperature for 17 years? There’s a number for you. How about not millions but billions of deaths prevented and lives sustained by technological civilisation. And finally, how about rejecting all “total mobilizations” and quasi-imperialistic fantasies for world utopia.

  7. Craig Bickford | Mar 30, 2014 at 5:25 am |

    The only thing in danger of dying off are some flora, fauna and more importantly humans. Climate change is not going to destroy the world, which should be a common sense to most, especially here but don’t be fooled by common sense. A lot of people think we need to save the climate or the whole world is doomed, which of course is ludicrous. My favorite part of this debate is how tied in things like Agenda 21 and the carbon credit exchange are to climate change, and how once those things are laughed away or ignored, the ones in power get really bored with the whole idea, or so it seems to be in my observations. I think there is definitely an agenda based on these observations to use climate change (hyped as it may be, I’m not saying it isn’t happening but there are figures to suggest that corporate pollution is far greater oin scope than any pollution you or I collectively could produce) as a control mechanism. One clear example of this is the inability of the politicos and those in power to accept that a more expensive sustainable alternative to carbon based fossil fuels would be needed in the interim until we solve the cost differential problem. Some will say this is entrenched interests, but I assert that this is BS. Survival should be human’s first interest, why are they not concerned with surviving? They have occulted some knowledge that has yet to be known by us.

  8. Facts and data won. Politics lost.

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