by William F. Jasper
The New American
Global-warming alarmists are turning up the heated rhetoric as the UN’s Paris “Climate Summit” approaches, claiming that the supposed “crisis” of global warming is “the equivalent of war,” even though there has been no measurable warming of the planet for the past nearly 19 years.
“It is life on our planet itself which is at stake,” French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius declared on November 8 at a press conference in Paris, as foreign ministers and climate envoys from around the world met to prepare for the United Nations global summit on climate change. The heavily promoted event will take place in the “City of Light” November 30-December 11. Failure to enact a global environmental regime, said Fabius, would have “catastrophic consequences” for all life on our planet. Fabius, a former prime minister of France and a key figure in the French Socilaist Party, as well as the Socialist International, made a similarly florid appeal before the Council on Foreign Relations, the globalist brain trust that has been one of the leading forces pushing the climate panic.
A couple of weeks earlier, a headline in The Times of San Diego proclaimed: “Governor: Climate Change Challenge Equivalent to World War II.” Governor Jerry Brown, the Times story reported, “told climate scientists at the Scripps Institution of Oceanography that addressing climate change is the moral equivalent to building the atomic bomb first in World War II.” Brown, commonly referred to as “Governor Moonbeam” for his New Agey, off-the-wall statements, style, and policies, told climate researchers and activists at the two-day UC Summit on Carbon and Climate Neutrality that global warming is an “existential threat” similar to that posed by Hitler and the Nazis in World War II.
“He likened the ‘existential threat’ of climate change to Nazi Germany, and noted that California’s universities managed the national laboratories that built the bomb 70 years ago,” the Times reported.
We have been enduring shrill warnings by politicians and enviro-activists about supposed imminent doom from global warming (now more frequently called climate change) for more than two decades. However, the nearer we get to the UN’s Paris summit — billed by many activists as the “last chance” to avoid climate Armageddon — the more alarmists are turning up the rhetorical heat (yes, once again) to new levels. “Catastrophic,” “existential threat,” “equivalent of war” are just a few of the overheated phrases they are using to stoke public fears sufficiently (they hope) to win support for draconian controls over all human activity. “This is war,” they proclaim, and we have to treat it as such. Ergo, governments must assume wartime powers to inflict the necessary austerity, controls, sacrifice, rationing, redistribution, and pain necessary for survival.
A recent example of this type of exhortation is The Atlantic’s “Why Solving Climate Change Will Be Like Mobilizing for War.” Repeatedly invoking “the war against climate change,” the author of the article, Seattle-based environmentalist Venkatesh Rao, proposes that mankind place blind trust in scientists and technocrats to redesign and regiment society — for the good of all. “It’s clear that the market is unlikely to solve the problem of climate change on its own,” Rao avers. “If scientists are right, and there is no reason to think they aren’t, averting climate change will require such large-scale, rapid action, that no single energy technology, new or emerging, could be the solution.”
There will necessarily be pain associated with the “solution” he proposes. “In other words, we are contemplating the sorts of austerities associated with wartime economies,” says Rao. “For ordinary Americans, austerities might include an end to expansive suburban lifestyles and budget air travel, and an accelerated return to high-density urban living and train travel. For businesses, this might mean rethinking entire supply chains, as high-emissions sectors become unviable under new emissions regimes.” And of course, it also means many businesses will shut down, and millions of jobs will disappear.
According to Rao’s influential Atlantic essay, “Properly qualified, there is only one successful precedent for the kind of technological mobilization we are contemplating: the mobilization of American industry during World War II.”
The proposed climate change war — and no other term is suitable given the scale, complexity, and speed of the task — requires a level of trust in academic and energy-sector public institutions (including international ones) comparable to the trust placed in military institutions during times of war.
The significant political difference is that climate change offers up no conveniently terrifying dictator, against whom to rally the troops and general population….
What climate change does offer in place of an evil dictator though, is a powerful appeal to parental instincts. The degree to which we are able to prevent future pain will depend strongly on the ability of politicians to establish the narrative that we must allocate high costs today, while we can still afford them, in order to save unborn generations from avertable disasters.
“Climate change is not a game for amateurs,” Rao warns. “The evolving nature of the science, and the possibility (always present in science) that some of today’s beliefs might be overturned by new evidence and models, is not a reason to second guess scientists or trust conspiracy theorists instead.”
“So,” he concludes, “a technocrat-led, government-coordinated international response is probably necessary.”
A similar message was recently delivered at a TED lecture by Alice Bows-Larkin that has achieved a wide Internet viewing. A researcher with the activist/alarmist Tyndall Center at England’s University of Manchester, Bows-Larkin calls for “planned austerity” on a level she acknowledges will be horrendous. According to her, “If you’re in a country where per capita emissions are really high — so North America, Europe, Australia — emissions reductions of the order of 10 percent per year, and starting immediately, will be required for a good chance of avoiding the two-degree target.”
She expounded further:
Let me just put that into context. The economist Nicholas Stern said that emission reductions of more than one percent per year had only ever been associated with economic recession or upheaval. So this poses huge challenges for the issue of economic growth, because if we have our high carbon infrastructure in place, it means that if our economies grow, then so do our emissions. So … to avoid the two-degree framing of dangerous climate change, economic growth needs to be exchanged at least temporarily for a period of planned austerity in wealthy nations.
“This is a really difficult message to take,” Bows-Larkin acknowledges, “because what it suggests is that we really need to do things differently. This is not about just incremental change. This is about doing things differently, about whole system change, and sometimes it’s about doing less things.”
The type of “whole system change” Bows-Larkin talks about is completely in sync with the megalomania expressed in the repeated calls by Christiana Figuerres, the UN panjundrumess who will preside over the Paris summit, for “the complete transformation of the world.”
Bill Nye “The Science Guy” is also hammering this “climate change war” theme. In an appearance on the HuffPost Live program, Nye declared that global warming is “certainly the most serious problem facing humankind right now.” “We’re gonna need some regulation to get people on board, and just like they had in World War II,” he said, pointing approvingly to government rationing of food and other commodities. Nye, whose climate panic antics we’ve reported on previously, also displayed his vindictive side, insisting that HuffPost Live host Josh Zepps refer to global-warming skeptics as “deniers,” a malicious label designed to equate skepticism of exaggerated climate alarm with Holocaust denial.
(This is not unusual fare for the Huffington Post, which has zealously championed climate alarmism for years. See, for instance, “Global Climate Change: Preparing for World War III” by HuffPost writer Bob Burnett, a Berkeley activist and founding executive of Cisco Systems.)
One of the most fanatical voices of the global-warming panic lobby is that of neo-Marxist author Naomi Klein, a much-promoted speaker on the college circuit and frequent guest “expert” of the corporate Big Media as well as “progressive” alternative media. Her latest book, This Changes Everything: Capitalism Vs. the Climate, has been showered with the expected acclaim from these sources. Especially appealing to her collectivist fan base are her appeals for “collective sacrifice” — to be enforced by government agencies, advised, of course, by experts such as herself.
“In fact we humans have shown ourselves willing to collectively sacrifice in the face of threats many times, most famously in the embrace of rationing, victory gardens, and victory bonds during world wars one and two,” Klein writes in her new book. “Indeed to support fuel conservation during world war two, pleasure driving was virtually eliminated in the UK, and between 1938 and 1944, use of public transit went up by 87% in the US and by 95% in Canada. Twenty million US households — representing three fifths of the population — were growing victory gardens in 1943, and their yields accounted for 42% of the fresh vegetables consumed that year. Interestingly, all of these activities together dramatically reduce carbon emissions.”
“Yes, the threat of war seemed immediate and concrete,” Klein continues, “but so too is the threat posed by the climate crisis that has already likely been a substantial contributor to massive disasters in some of the world’s major cities. Still, we’ve gone soft since those days of wartime sacrifice, haven’t we? Contemporary humans are too self-centered, too addicted to gratification to live without the full freedom to satisfy our every whim — or so our culture tells us every day.”
Not surprisingly, the New York Times gave Klein’s book a glowing review, praising it as “the most momentous and contentious environmental book since ‘Silent Spring.’”
Yes, according to the Times (and the Nyes, Raos, Bows-Larkins, and Kleins of this world), we need government, led by a firm, visionary leader — a Fidel Castro, a Mao, a Stalin (a Hitler?) — to enforce the “collective sacrifice” necessary to save us from an imaginary threat.