A correspondent has informed me that the ACT Government has awarded Aspen Island Theatre Company $18,793, to assist with costs of the creative development of a new theatre work, ‘Kill Climate Deniers’. Since in some quarters I am thought to carry the marker of ‘climate denier’ (one of the stupidest epithets of our time) I was naturally alert, and alarmed as well. Perhaps the play is to be a comedy. Who knows. Maybe I’ll wear a disguise and go to see it.
But it raised for me once again the question of accountability. There is a lot of dire warning of ‘climate change’ about, and a lot of abuse of sceptics. In what sense are the Cassandras and abusers accountable for their actions? David Suzuki has asserted that politicians who don’t ‘take action’ on climate change should be jailed. Robert Kennedy Jnr has described such people as committing ‘treason’. The doom-laden utterances of Professor Flannery are familiar to all of a sceptical bent.
What if they’re wrong — quite wrong? If people have acted in particular ways because of what these people have said, and it all proves nugatory — and expensive — what then? Suppose, just suppose, that we are in for a long cooling spell. After all, the Antarctic ice sheet is now at the largest level ever witnessed (though that’s only thirty years or so). Do any of us have redress?
Anthony Watts’ website has run a thoughtful piece on accountability by Tim Ball, whose work I have mentioned before. Ball points out that engineers, in order to practice, must belong to a professional organisation, and that they are responsible for the quality of what they do and produce. So do lawyers and doctors. But not scientists, and especially not climateers.
Vaclav Klaus, the former President of the Czech Republic, and the only outspokenly sceptical national leader there has been in the past fifty years, wrote in his book, Blue Planet in Green Shackles:
Environmentalism is a political movement that originally began with the intent to protect the environment – a humble and perhaps even legitimate goal – but which has gradually transformed itself into an ideology that has almost nothing to do with nature.
This ideological stream has recently become a dominant alternative to those ideologies that are consistently and primarily oriented towards freedom. Environmentalism is a movement that intends to change the world radically regardless of the consequences (at the cost of human lives and severe restrictions on individual freedom). It intends to change humankind, human behavior, the structure of society, the system of values – simply everything.
The great assertion of the climateers is that humans have caused a problem that threatens the whole planetary eco-system. It is a belief for which the evidence is tenuous and ambiguous, but those who believe it do so passionately. Who decided that humans are the cause of the ‘problem’? Ball says that the climateers did, using scientific methods that are clearly wrong because the predictions are wrong. It is a classic circular argument.
There are leading environmentalists in every country who practice political abuse of environmentalism, as Klaus defined it. These individuals and their organizations have done great social and economic damage with environmental misinformation and false claims, for a political agenda of total government control under the guise of saving the planet. They are effectively a green fifth-column, the enemy within. Sadly, their exploitation and misuse of environmentalism is putting the entire paradigm in jeopardy, as people stop believing anything they’re told.
Worse, many of these organisations bare defined as charities, and are thus exempt from income taxation. And the big ones seem to be very wealthy indeed. I know that I’ve said all this before. But this time I want to raise the question of redress. What if they are all completely wrong, both about warming, and about the human contribution to it? How can they be held to account?
Dr Ball devotes much of his essay to the question of salmon fishing and farming in British Columbia, where once again the David Suzuki Foundation has been an aggressive foe of the industry, making (according to Ball) completely false statements about, for example, sea lice, climate, global warming and the rest. David Suzuki himself referred to farmed salmon as ‘poison’.
We seem to be in a repetitive cycle. A small minority makes a great fuss about something, and call on ‘science’ as its witness. Pressure grows in the media for the government to ‘do something’. Something is done, but there is little interest in the broad consequences. In the case of climate action in Australia, one outcome was the carbon tax, which cost most people a good deal of money, and had no effect whatever on carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, let alone on global temperature.
Yes, the Abbott Government has now repealed the tax, and a smidgin of money is being returned to us by energy companies. But who is to be held accountable for the mess in the first place? There is no enquiry, as with pink batts. And the doomsayers keep preaching disaster.
It’s a hard one, because so much of the doom is about what will happen at the end of the century, when few of us will be around. Oliver Wendell Holmes, speaking about the right of free speech, pointed out that no one had the right to call out ‘fire!’ in a crowded theatre: there needed to be also a sense of responsibility to go with the right.
Most days it is clear to me that the climateers see the notion of personal responsibility as almost laughable. They are SURE, and we must BELIEVE. It is so like the evangelist Christian revivalists of my youth, Canon Bryan Green, Billy Graham, and that ilk.