Monbiot should be careful about using an affinity of narrative to explain the global warming skeptics, because the same affinity can be used to explain the gw alarmists. Man-made global warming is the perfect, apolcalyptic morality tale. Monbiot also makes the mistake of questioning the motives of every scientists he disagrees with, while putting those who agree with him under no such scrutiny. Why not question the motives of scientists who work for governmental agencies, agencies that stand to increase in power and influence, and butgetwise, under any anti global warming regulatory scheme? When facts are not with you, question motives.
There has been a huge amount of tosh spouted by the environmental movement, with their own pathologies and a fondness for trying to persuade through fear and emotional manipulation. But these groups are distinct from government and climatologists.
Of course government agencies and climate scientists have an interest in believing that global warming is real, but they have a more powerful reason for believing otherwise, one that we all share. While the individual departments may have an interest in securing a bigger slice of the funding pie, every department adjoining them in academia and government has the opposite interest, and the governments, the ultimate paymasters for all of this, have the most powerful reasons of all to believe it was nonsense, and that is precisely the line many governments have taken. But those governments that have tried to hold this line have had to change their positions, and the governments that accepted what the climate scientists were saying have got themselves into a dreadful political pickle—predictably so—as they are now in a position of having to deliver on past promises, and delivering on those promises is not politically palatable (see, for example, Majesty, We Have Gone Mad).
The monstrous, colossal conspiracy theory doesn’t withstand the most cursory inspection. Meanwhile (and sorry for the repetition) the evidence of global warming that we were being warned about in the 1980s (I have had little reason to doubt it myself since the 1990s) are starting to manifest in front of our eyes. ‘Usage of the Thames Barrier has increased from once every two years in the 1980s to an average six times a year over the past 5 years’ according to a UK government report.
No single weather event and no particularly hot or cold year be chalked down to climate change but the overall trend is difficult to deny.
The talk of the polar ice melting is now being reinforced by the urgency with which the arctic powers (Canada, USA, Denmark, Norway and Russia) have started contesting the rights to extract oil around the North Pole. Before the changes in climate were observed the oil that was there was regarded as unexploitable and so there was no serious attempts to resolve the situation. Not any more. This Summer it looks as if we will have the an ice-free north pole. The less ice we have the less light gets reflected and so the warmer we get—it is feebback mechanisms like this that are causing the real concern.
I really, really want to believe that this is all alarmist nonsense. Who wouldn’t. But the climate scientists consistently seem to be able to defend their positions and the predictions they have been making seem to be manifesting all around me. Against this the ‘sceptics’ have not said anything to me that lasts the most cursory inspection by a climatologist—you just have to wait for a few months or often weeks for their pet theories collapse. They shift around telling us that its not happening, its not man made, its benign and finally we find that well there is nothing we can do about it anyway so heck we may as well keep on partying and make the best of it.
My problem is that this is a the pathology of addiction, and as we should expect with addictions, the addiction screws up the host, providing a powerful illusion of being necessary and useful. (I explain in Climate-Change Denial exactly why I think the pursuit of materialistic goals as ends in themselves is a mug’s game.) The really awful part of this is the damage that the denial has been causing as it is much easier to make adjustments gradually than violently.
And Duquette argued yesterday in Environmentalism is a Luxury that now that the pain of higher energy prices has become apparent, the smart thing to do would be to abandon policies that make energy even more expensive.
If John McCain were a smart politician, and I’ve yet to be convinced that he is, he would reverse himself on cap and trade just as he has done on offshore oil drilling, leaving Obama and the Democrats to explain to their working class constituents why they have to bear the crushing burden of skyrocketing fuel bills in order to preserve the scenic ocean vistas and ecological values of globetrotting Democratic elites.
But McCain has now admitted that his proposed plans for offshore drilling will have no practical impact, but wants to stick with the policy anyway for its psychological effects—and of course he doesp; he wants to win the election in November. But it was precisely this issue that finished HRC—her gas tax pander backfired with a marginal win in Indiana. And look at how McCain’s credibility stacks up against Obama in the latest Gallup poll:
McCain, as much as dearly might like to, can’t touch the cap-and-trade policy: i) the Democrats would just have to replay some of the adverts that he has already broadcast and ii) it would blow away the only truly credible distance he can put between himself and the Bush administration, which he must establish to have a chance of winning.
Cheap gas has gone for ever. The reason that the adjustment is now so painful is because of the years of denial and the longer it is carried on the more painful it is going to get. Folks are staring to wake up to this reality. If anyone can convince me otherwise I will be delighted to hear.