Monday, December 28, 2009

Why warming is more chic than cooling was

Mark Steyn nails it, as usual, with his MacLeans column about why global warmism is so appealing:

According to the CIA’s analysis, “detrimental global climatic change” threatens “the stability of most nations.” And, alas, for a global phenomenon, Canada will be hardest hit. The entire Dominion from the Arctic to the 49th parallel will be under 150 feet of ice.

Oh, wait. That was the last “scientific consensus” on “climate change,” early seventies version, as reflected in a CIA report from August 1974

Indeed. A lot of the loudest voices sounding the alarm over The Crisis Formerly Known as Global Warming are too young to even be aware that there was an equally urgent looming ice age crisis not much more than 3 decades ago.

The rest are old enough to know about it, but too dishonest to mention it, because that would be an admission that climactic scare mongering has a very poor track record.

Yet, when I reprised the line [that 30 year olds have seen no warming in their adult lives] in this space a couple of weeks back, thinking it was now safe for polite society, I was besieged by the usual “YOU LIE!!!!!!!” emails angrily denouncing me for failing to explain that the cooling trend of the oughts is in fact merely a blip in the long-term warming trend of the nineties.

Well, maybe. Then again, perhaps the warming trend of the nineties is merely a blip in the long-term ice age trend of the early seventies.

Why did apocalyptic warm-mongering take, where apocalyptic ice-mongering did not?

There were no fortunes to be made from government grants for bogus “renewable energy” projects. Unlike Al Gore, carbon billionaire, nobody got rich peddling ice offsets.

Precisely right: nobody was clever enough to figure out how to collect massive profits on the imminent ice age; today's scientists, pseudo-scientists, former VP's and assorted other hucksters have become rather more, ummm, entrepreneurial.

But profiteering only explains it for Al Gore and the few thousands of other guys who are in the pump and dump racket purely for the dough.

For the rest, the millions of true believers, it boils down to that most basic of human needs: religion.

Why did “climate change” remain the boutique scare-story of a few specialists last time round, and gain global traction this time round? In the Spectator, Maurizio Morabito puts it this way:
“Is the problem with the general public, who cannot talk about climate except in doom-laden terms, and for whom the sky is the last animist god?”

That last part explains a lot. Forty years ago conventional religious belief was certainly in decline in what we once knew as Christendom, but the hole was not yet ozone-layer sized. Once the sea of faith had receded far from shore, the post-Christian West looked at what remained and found “Gaia.” [...] [W]e’ve had climate change for four billion years. But now apparently there is an ideal state that Ma Mère has to be maintained in. A belief in a garden of Eden which man through sin has despoiled sounds familiar. But this time we get to pick. Not the Medieval Warm Period that causes the “scientific consensus” such problems, and not presumably the bucolic state the planet was in when Canada was 150 feet under, but some pristine condition somewhere in between.

When man was made in the image of God, he was fallen but redeemable. Gaia’s psychologically unhealthy progeny are merely irredeemable. Anti-humanism is everywhere [...]

Very few sciences could survive being embraced as a religion. Imagine the kind of engineering or math you’d get if it also had to function as a “faith tradition.” What’s also changed since the seventies is the nature of the UN and the transnational bureaucracies. Once it became obvious that “climate change” represents an almost boundless shakedown of functioning jurisdictions by dysfunctional basket cases, the die was cast. “Aid” is a discredited word these days and comes with too many strings attached. But eco-credits sluiced through an oil-for-food program on steroids offers splendid new opportunities for bulking up an ambitious dictator’s Swiss bank accounts.

And, because of this malign combination—corrupted science, ersatz religion, Third World opportunism—global warming took off in a way the old ice age never did. It would perhaps be too much to expect a generation of brainwashed schoolkids to shake off their brain-dead conformism. And so, between the anti-human left and an alliance of rapacious dictatorships, it now falls to a handful of economically expansive emerging nations—India, China, Brazil, a couple of others—to save the developed world from itself.

He notes the pandering to dictators without noting the very totalitarian mindset that underlies the entire movement, but that would be straying away from the point of the column: that packaging racketeering as religion, coupled with a cradle to grave propaganda campaign unmatched in modern human history, is the reason that "climate change" was able to sway the impressionable much more than the more modest campaign of the previous generation.

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