Pissed-off Toff

‘Man-made climate change?’ It’s the religious instinct gone mad.

in Big Issues

The much-publicised Channel 4 ‘Climate debate’ broadcast at the end of November was not a debate at all, says Pissed-off Toff. It was a celebration of the fundamentalist neo-pagan religion which threatens to destroy our way of life.

I recently received a telephone call at ten o’clock in the morning.

“Hello, old boy,” said the cheerful voice on the other end of the line. “I know it’s a bit last-minute, but can I give you a late lunch at White’s? Half-past-one-ish?” Not one to turn down an invitation to the grandest club in London, I duly smartened myself up and walked across Green Park and through the hallowed black door at the top of St James’s Street.

I was, however, in a bad mood; nor were things much improved by a strong pre-prandial G&T at the bar, or even by the truffle-infused smoked almonds which my host and I consumed as various chaps in well-cut suits came up to greet him.

“I’m terribly sorry, George,” I said a little later, poking at the delicious crab meat on the plate in front of me while the wine waiter poured out the Chablis and the great men of our island story stared down at a sea of linen-covered tables bedecked with silver in the best dining room in London.

I’m terribly sorry, I continued. Perhaps it’s just me and perhaps I’m just a miserable failure. But I think that I am going a little mad. It’s not just the thought that we might never leave the accursed EU; it’s not just the increasing insanity of the PC movement; it’s not just that I am bored to screaming point with having the ‘trans’ agenda and veganism and ‘diversity’ rammed down my throat on a daily basis. 

No, it’s not just these things; or even terrorism, come to think of it. Worst of all is this climate-change madness, the notion that cow-farts are destroying the planet and that we’ve got to shut down everything and go straight back to the Middle Ages and no-one is raising a single objection. Have we entirely lost our minds?

“It’s the new religion, old boy,” said George, urgently summoning the wine-waiter to replenish my glass. “It’s the new religion.”

* * * * *

When Channel 4 subsequently broadcast their ‘climate debate’ I was seated in front of the TV, pen and paper at the ready. 

The word ‘debate’ suggested that there might be some disagreement about our headlong rush towards ‘decarbonisation’ and economic self-destruction. But not a bit of it. From start to finish, the programme was a no-questions-asked affirmation of the new ‘man-made global warming’ religion, with the various panellists competing to signal their obeisance to it.

As Louis Armstrong sang What a Wonderful World, a trio of opening scenes showed the increasingly tedious David Attenborough predicting the end of life on earth; then a deranged Greta Thunberg, horribly underdeveloped for her 16 years, delivering the same message to the recent UN climate change conference in New York; and then a cute Koala bear being rescued from a forest fire in Australia, with the implication that the conflagration was not a natural phenomenon (which of course it was), but the result of evil human activity.

As Krishnan Guru-Murthy, the ethnically-diverse host of the programme, made clear from the outset, a whole range of premises was to be taken for granted. ‘Climate emergency’; ‘man-made global warming’ due to carbon emissions caused by human activity; the absolute necessity of creating a world-wide ‘carbon-neutral’ economy; the certainty that if this is not done very soon, and that if global temperatures rise by even 1.5°, then the planet will reach a ‘tipping-point’ after which it will self-destruct; the firm belief that methane from cow-farts causes global warming; the certainty that animal species are becoming extinct at an unprecedented rate, again due to man-made global warming … (I can no longer be bothered to put inverted commas round these terms) …

These were all articles of faith, accepted without question by the presenter and the five panellists, all of them leaders of their respective parties: Jeremy Corbyn for Labour, Nicola Sturgeon for the SNP, ‘Jo’ Swinson for the Liberal Democrats, Sian Berry for the Greens, and a certain Adam Price for Plaid Cymru; but no Boris Johnson for the Tories, and no Nigel Farage for the Brexit Party, either … prompting the reflection that these last two do not have much time for the dogma of imminent man-made catastrophe.

That this was a religious – or at the very least a highly moral – gathering was emphasised by the clothes of the women: Sturgeon in a severe red outfit without adornments of any sort; Swinson in a severe mauve outfit, again unadorned; and Berry in a severe green outfit, ditto. All three of them looked like the priestesses of an austere millenarian cult.

We have a “moral obligation to tackle the global climate emergency,” intoned Sturgeon, while Swinson warned us that “Brexit is a moral crime for environmental reasons” and that “turning our back on the EU is the best way to turn our back on fighting the climate emergency.” And now that ‘Jo’ Swinson of the ‘Liberal’ Democrats had enlightened us as to her ‘moral’ reasons for wishing to overturn a democratic vote to leave the EU, all that remained to be discussed was the speed and rigour with which an ecologically virtuous zero-carbon economy was to be instituted. 

The (absent) Tories were aiming for carbon-neutrality by 2050, we were told. ‘Jo’ Swinson signalled her belief in a more virtuous 2045, whereas the one-eyed Corbyn was going for a punishing 2030. Not to be outdone for fervour, Nicola Sturgeon reminded us how vital it was that Britain should “lead the way” towards ecological purity; while her Welsh brother Adam Price – an almost amiable figure in this gathering of zealots – reminded us that “the entire world is looking at de-carbonisation” … and finally, the Swinson girl echoed the Scottish priestess with a reaffirmation of the need for Britain “to take a lead” in creating a new super-virtuous carbon-free world.

And how were these fantastical ecological ambitions to be realised? What practical steps were to be taken, on a political and individual level, to make the UK ‘carbon-neutral’ (you have to get with the lingo) by 2030, or 2045, or whenever? Against a constant drip of doomsday ecological pronouncements (“One in seven species in our islands is heading for extinction.” “We are facing the mass-extinction of one million species.” Et cetera.) … against the backdrop of this almost gleeful enumeration of the counts on which mankind has sinned against nature, we heard the answers.

(All these quotes are quite accurate, by the way. I wrote them down word for word, with one of my solid 18 carat gold ball point pens. I think, in this case, that it was the Parker flammé pattern, made in 1967 and still in perfect condition.)

“We need to think about our diet and where our food is sourced from,” said Sturgeon, before proposing the ‘decarbonisation’ of the gas-grid and the banning of single-use coffee cups and – um – of cotton buds, too. On a personal level she assured us that she was going to get a smart meter and to use the train more often.

‘Jo’ Swinson proposed an “international frequent-flyer tax,” had much to say in favour of ‘zero-carbon’ homes and ‘retrofitting’ existing ones, and thought that Britain should become the “world leader in off-shore wind.” She also proposed a new “Office of Environmental Protection,” together with the ‘greening’ of our cities and a ban on single-use plastic.

Corbyn, on the other hand, proposed introducing the “full provision of adequate bus services across the country, to limit carbon emissions.” He also promised to plant millions of trees, to improve recycling systems in local councils, and to reduce excessive packaging.

Adam Price proposed a “legally-binding international treaty” on carbon emissions; and in order to make the world a better place, he cycles to the Welsh Senate every day … oh, and he pledged to use only re-usable nappies.

And finally Sian Berry, who might be quite attractive if she weren’t such a prig, proposed the ‘rewilding’ of our countryside (though it was not clear whose land would be ‘rewilded’); she also proposed a tax on carbon and methane (i.e. goodbye to cattle); wanted to cancel HS2 and to spend the money thus saved on local transport; and in general wanted a “comprehensive system change.”

* * * * *

What to make of this wish-list, ranging from the banal to the megalomaniacal? I’d be all in favour of banning single-use coffee cups and of attempting to limit the evidently insane waste of the consumer economy; and of abandoning HS2, come to that. But what does it all have to do with ‘carbon emissions’? Nothing, surely. 

If, however, the aim is to create a ‘carbon-neutral’ economy by 2030, it would be necessary to bring almost all economic activity to a halt and to introduce totalitarian control on a scale undreamed of before. Of this there was not a mention. Or rather there was, but only obliquely, as when the girl from the Green Party mooted a “comprehensive system change.” Only at the very end of this ‘debate’, when three mad female academics made a short appearance, was the real agenda revealed, with one of them announcing that she was on a “mission to change the world.”

* * * * *

Granted the lunacy in evidence throughout this hour, it is difficult to know where to begin. But that we were witnessing a fanatical new religion at work, the successor to our moribund Judaeo-Christian one, could not be in doubt. (Indeed, almost uniquely for a programme on a commercial channel, there were no interruptions by unholy adverts). 

Consider. We have a new basic doctrine or dogma (the evil of man-made global warming); we have a new Original Sin (the Industrial Revolution and all it spawned); we have various prophets of doom (David of Attenborough, and his brother Al of Gore); we have a new virgin saint in the shape of St Greta of Sweden; we have the need to do penance (close down all industry in expiation of our sins); and in the meantime we can purchase indulgences (in the shape of carbon-offsetting) for those satanic airmiles to which we are so firmly wedded.

Most importantly of all, perhaps, we have a central premise which cannot be proven nor entirely disproven, so that the basis for this new ‘climate change’ religion – as for all religions – remains a thesis grounded not in evidence, but in faith. 

Nevertheless, since the Channel 4 programme was billed as a ‘debate’, I was hoping that there might be some discussion of the basic premise that man-made carbon emissions are warming up this planet to such an extent that we risk apocalypse.

If modern industry is alone responsible for global warming, what – I wanted to know – caused the end of the last Ice Age about 12,000 years ago, when mankind had barely emerged from caves? Because if that wasn’t ‘global warming’ on an epic scale, what was it? And why, during the long period known as the Holocene Maximum, which lasted from approximately 7000 BC to 3000 BC, and when man’s impact on the environment was exactly zero … why was the world significantly warmer than it is today? And why, also, were temperatures during the so-called Medieval Warm Period (approx. 900 AD to 1300 AD) generally higher than those of the present day? This, again, well before industrialisation, and when the impact of man on the environment remained close to zero …

These temperature data are not disputed, even by the International Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), which far from being a scientific body, acts as a cheerleader for the ‘man-made global warming’ lobby. Unable to deny these undisputed facts, they attempt instead to ‘lose’ them. But the central, incontrovertible objection remains. Namely, that the temperature of the world has always fluctuated; no-one knows why; but ‘climate change’ most certainly had nothing to do with ‘man-made carbon emissions’ in the past; so what has changed now?

Other things that one hoped might be ‘debated’. The natural world both creates and absorbs quantities of carbon dioxide that are infinitely greater than anything created by human activity. So what’s the worry? And as for the idea that methane from cow-farts is destroying our planet, how is it possible that such a patently absurd notion is entertained for a moment by anyone who hasn’t gone mad? What will we demonise next? Mosquito farts? Thus my concern that the western world has, in fact, gone stark raving mad.

* * * * *

Let us however assume, just for the sake of argument, that man-made carbon emissions really are causing the planet to heat up to a dangerous extent. Even if we accept this thesis which countless authorities throughout the world reject, well then, the Channel 4 ‘debate’ was still an exercise in intellectual evasion and downright dishonesty.

Take the assertion, clearly implied at least twice during the course of the programme, that ‘man-made global warming’ is responsible for the mass extinction of species on a scale never seen before. Not even the IPCC supports this extravagant claim. Indeed, they specifically reject it, recently announcing that they could find no link between ‘climate change’ and species extinction.

Take, next, the claim made by Jeremy Corbyn that a ‘carbon-neutral’ economy would create masses of ‘green’ jobs. Like what, one wonders? Manning the treadmills when the power gives out, as it inevitably will if we go down this route? Or tilling the fields by hand when the electric tractors run out of juice and no wind-turbines are turning to recharge them? (Because there won’t be any oxen, since their farts produce methane; so we will have got rid of them.) Or perhaps there will be new employment opportunities manning the oars of the carbon-neutral galleys which we will row across the Channel to sell organic hand-made hemp ropes and genuine Celtic beads to our Gallic cousins … 

(To my surprise, however, Corbyn was the only man on this panel of fools and loons who hesitantly voiced one small concern about the fully-fledged back-to-nature agenda being advocated. In a still small voice, he did just once suggest that not all our energy needs can be met by – I quote his words – “wind, solar and wave.”)

Take, too, the claim made by the nice-but-dull Welsh chappie Adam Price that “the entire world is looking at decarbonisation.” Really? They might be looking at it; but they are also laughing at it; because neither China nor India give a damn about ‘decarbonisation’. Nor Russia, come to that. They might occasionally smile at us and even sign a treaty or two to humour us. But they will carry on building coal-powered stations and developing their economies in any way they see fit; and quite right too; and if we persuade ourselves that they are taking our new religion seriously, that is merely further evidence of our own madness.

Which brings us to possibly the most insane aspect of all this. Namely, that even if you accept that ‘man-made carbon emissions’ are set to destroy the world within ten years … even if British politicians accept this belief, impose it on us by force, and destroy our economy and livelihoods in the process … even if this occurs, nothing we do will make the slightest difference if the rest of the world carries on as before. It will be an act of pure self-harm.

Not that that puts off the true believer. Which in turn brings me to my last point. Namely, the way in which the fools who are in favour of destroying our modern economies always talk of ‘leading the way’. The ghastly Theresa May often used this expression, as did both Nicola Sturgeon and ‘Jo’ Swinson on the programme under review.

‘Leading the way’, eh? In other words, we’re going to commit economic suicide, and when we’ve done so the rest of the world will see what a brilliant idea this was and will follow suit. “Yes, how clever the British were to destroy their economy and to reduce their population to beggary,” the Chinese and Indians will say. “We really must do the same.”

Make no mistake. If acted on as its adherents devoutly wish, the ‘man-made global warming’ delusion will result first in totalitarian control of all aspects of our lives, then in disaster. It is a manifestation of the religious instinct gone mad, and one which makes the Puritans of the past look positively benign.

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