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« The ecologist view versus the economist view | Main | Lew's downfall »

The green authoritarian meme

At a dinner last night I found myself sitting next to a gentleman who was previously prominent in local politics and we had a very interesting chat. He was disparaging about environmentalists, saying that they were the same people that the Labour party had struggled to remove thirty years ago - the Trotskyists, the Militant Tendency and the like.

This makes a great deal of sense when you look at the modus operandi of many greens - the smears, the whispering campaigns, the ad-hominems and, as an excellent op-ed in Spiked describes, the rampant authoritarianism, opposition to free speech and crushing of dissent.

The outrage prompted by someone daring to suggest that debate over climate change might be a good thing, the shock that a politician might think that, yes, free and open political debate of an issue that could shape how society produces and consumes is important, the venom and ad hominems that have come the way of someone defending a principle - free speech - that anyone who cares about democracy ought to defend… it all goes to make Brandis’s point about ‘a new authoritarianism’ emerging, an attempt ‘to control the commanding heights of opinion’, ‘where rather than winning the argument [the new authoritarians] exclude their antagonists from the argument’.’ As Andrew Bolt put it in the Herald Sun, it amounts to something approaching a ‘dictatorship of the mind’.

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Reader Comments (44)

Ah, the uber-warmist Margaret Curran ('everyone's a denier') method - watch her accompany her hero Miliband as they ignore the Scottish public and stalk off into their limo while being heckled in Motherwell

Apr 26, 2014 at 11:19 AM | Unregistered CommenterBarbara

... Brandis’s point about ‘a new authoritarianism’ ...

There's nothing new about it.

Apr 26, 2014 at 12:14 PM | Unregistered CommenterJake Haye

He was disparaging about environmentalists, saying that they were the same people that the Labour party had struggled to remove thirty years ago - the Trotskyists, the Militant Tendency and the like.

Gosh. Has anyone told Tim Yeo, Lord Deben, Prince Charles and the others? True, the now rootless ex-Labour Party left generally uncritically endorses the climate change meme but the suggestion that it has any significant role in the activities of the eco-lobby or the wider environmental movement is as baseless as the absurd idea that the movement's critics are funded by "Big Oil".

IOW, the claim, however reassuring, is arrant nonsense unencumbered by fact.

Apr 26, 2014 at 12:47 PM | Unregistered CommenterDaveB

DaveB has a point that it's not just Trotskyists and Militant Tendency reborn. It's a combination of hard left and greedy troughers that gives energy to the new authoritarianism and that's one reason the 'new' is fair comment by Brandis - one of the best believers in AGW we've had the pleasure of encountering in many years.

Apr 26, 2014 at 1:06 PM | Registered CommenterRichard Drake

DaveB definitely has a point. It was, after all, the Labour Party that had thrown out its militant tendency, the trots, etc, AND after Blair had removed clause IV that it went green.

Right, left, hard left, hard right, and centre movements ALL went green. That needs a better explanation than the one offered.

Apr 26, 2014 at 1:53 PM | Unregistered CommenterBen Pile

Ben: quite so. Being a bit picky, though, I don't think all shades of green are equally authoritarian. Where does the shut-down-the-debate impetus primarily come from? I know I don't know.

Apr 26, 2014 at 2:02 PM | Registered CommenterRichard Drake

Agree with Dave and Ben. Blaming all this on the far left is just wrong. The old far left wasn't green at all.

Apr 26, 2014 at 2:15 PM | Registered CommenterPaul Matthews

Richard, I don't see much a of gulf between, for example, the Gummer's (i.e. green-right) and the Nurses (i.e. green left). Outside of the mainstream -- or rather, away from the establishment -- you get darker green ideas from the activists, and from the campus (e.g. Lew). Monbiot-esque whackjobs can scream and shout all they like about why deniers and sceptics should be cut out of the picture... Meanwhile, climate policies were put out of democratic control anyhow. There's the authoritarian who screams and shouts, but who has no power. And then there's the seemingly softer authoritarian, whose actions were far more significant.

Apr 26, 2014 at 2:18 PM | Unregistered CommenterBen Pile

Ben, thanks.

Meanwhile, climate policies were put out of democratic control anyhow. There's the authoritarian who screams and shouts, but who has no power. And then there's the seemingly softer authoritarian, whose actions were far more significant.

I certainly agree with that. To have a chance of putting it right we need reasonable debate of policy options and scientific uncertainty to become non-toxic. That's perhaps where the ranters continue to have negative power. But then the pervasiveness of terms like 'denier' defies conventional boundaries. Toxicity has been injected. The combination we end up with is new.

Apr 26, 2014 at 2:32 PM | Registered CommenterRichard Drake

Beware the banal in political analysis.

It's usually shortly after the "Greens are nabbut disillusioned Trots" bit (sometimes expressed as "The greens were infiltrated by refugees from the east European Communist Parties after the Berlin Wall went") that one is told that "Of course, no one will admit it but there's just too many people on the planet".

So, a couple of quotes just for the record.

"Recently three changes in atmospheric chemistry have become familiar subjects of concern. The first is the increase in the greenhouse gases – carbon dioxide, methane, and chlorofluorocarbons – which has led some to fear that we are creating a global heat trap which could lead to climatic instability. We are told that a warming effect of 1°C per decade would greatly exceed the capacity of our natural habitat to cope. Such warming could cause accelerated melting of glacial ice and a consequent increase in the sea level of several feet over the next century."

"The challenge for our negotiators on matters like this is as great as for any disarmament treaty. The Inter-governmental Panel's work must remain on target, and we must not allow ourselves to be diverted into fruitless and divisive argument. Time is too short for that."

No, they're not from Derek Hatton or Tommy Sheridan, they're from speeches by Margaret Thatcher, the first being that notorious one to the Royal Society (September 1988) in which she pledged to set up what is now The Hadley Centre. The second, with its clear call for suppression of dissent, was from her speech to the UN General Assembly, November 1989 (emphasis added).

As we all now know, these sentiments continue to bedazzle the Conservative Party rather than the slightly disingenuous claim that she never really believed the AGW hypotheses (well, not as such) that she made in an appendix to "Statecraft" (2002).

Apr 26, 2014 at 2:52 PM | Unregistered CommenterDaveB

The methodology of making one's opponents ineffective by shutting down argument is not just seen in climate topics, but has been used extensively in such areas as immigration policy, gay marriage, abortion and others. It involves using emotive language and taboo, and extending generally accepted principles in inappropriate ways to demonise opponents.

Wherever the techniques originated they are becoming widespread in use by the 'orthodox' intellegentia that would tell us all how to think. I don't think it's particularly assoicated with one political stripe or the other; just listen to any political speech over the last 20years and you'll hear an emotively high set of phrases with close to zero information content, but where the underlying intention is to make the man-in-the-street happy whilst the politicians go on to enact legistlation that would not in a thousand years pass muster if put forward in an honest open way.

Standing up for one's views becomes more and more difficult - just make a blog post or similar on one of the topics I've listed above and watch the tiny but active twitter mobs form and come screaming after you. There is both mob and organisation involved there.

I suspect the only counter to this is to use precisely the same tactics back.

Apr 26, 2014 at 3:01 PM | Unregistered CommenterCumbrian Lad

DaveB -
I have to ask, although the answer may not be available, what scientific source suggested to Thatcher that a 1°C per decade rate was within the range of possibility?

Apr 26, 2014 at 3:11 PM | Registered CommenterHaroldW

DaveB: 'has led some to fear' implies that Thatcher, though listening to alarmists in 1988, was not herself convinced.

The second, with its clear call for suppression of dissent, was from her speech to the UN General Assembly, November 1989 (emphasis added).

Not just emphasis, but unjustified interpretation, added. We can't know exactly what Thatcher had in mind when she said 'we must not allow ourselves to be diverted into fruitless and divisive argument' - without more context it could be just about anything. Her 2002 verdict in Statecraft is conclusive (and in the body of the text, not the Appendix, as you say). She nowhere claims she 'never really believed the AGW hypotheses' or indeed its opposite but she does mention Richard Lindzen twice in footnotes on pages 451 and 455, citing pieces he wrote in 2001 and 2002.

In short, Thatcher isn't the place to look for the origins of today's new authoritarians. She researched the subject, listened to the competing arguments and came to an eminently sensible conclusion. A pity she was removed from office around a year from giving the UN speech and the UK political class wasn't able to benefit from her trained scientist's reflections for a good deal longer.

Apr 26, 2014 at 3:29 PM | Registered CommenterRichard Drake

I find unpersuasive any line of reasoning that assumes the idological integrity of Yeo, Gummer & co.

And I have heard it said that Maggie used AGW as a tactic against the miners. And back then the nature of the beast was far less clear and in the absence of the internet could be kept that way. I never doubted the whole CFC thing, for example.

"Right wing" true believers at most acknowledge AGW to be a problem, and generally advocate (superficially) practical means of dealing with it (fraccing, nuclear, revenue-neutral taxes, etc). They don't see it as a pretext to impose some childishly moralistic ideology, or as an opportunity to use the state to spite people they hate or envy. That is entirely the purview of the left.

Apr 26, 2014 at 3:32 PM | Unregistered CommenterJake Haye

Harold, the "scientific source" was James Hansen.

Apr 26, 2014 at 3:50 PM | Registered CommenterPaul Matthews

Climate change attracts all sorts for multiple reasons. It's one of those causes which is an opportunity for a perfect storm, which is why it is so huge and persistent.
I would reject the "they are ALL Trots" for the same reason I would reject "it's ALL about money", "it's ALL about control" etc, etc. It's partly about all about those and more - but the reasons and motivations are different for different participants. For some of the protagonists it's nothing to do with money as they don't profit from it, for many of the protagonists it's nothing about socialism because they are nothing like socialists.

I am sure that many of the types who would have been Trots or Marxists or Maoists decades ago are now fervent Greens, but are anything like all Greens latent revolutionary socialists? No, of course not.

If we ever say "it's all about X" we offer an easily-demolished straw man for alarmists because it's very easy to point to people involved who aren't interested in X at all.

Apr 26, 2014 at 3:53 PM | Unregistered Commenterartwest

"---The old far left wasn't green at all.--"

Really ?? The Nazis?

Apr 26, 2014 at 4:20 PM | Unregistered CommenterMatt

Artwest - +1

Apr 26, 2014 at 4:48 PM | Unregistered CommenterPhil D

Briggs has a relevant post on the more general topic of the crushing of dissent. It has a fine graphic to go with it: a poster showing a policeman staring out under the caption 'Looks like you've had a bit too much to think', and near the foot it exhorts the reader to 'Support your local Thought Police'. Here:

Apr 26, 2014 at 4:51 PM | Registered CommenterJohn Shade

Apologies for posting this again but the mention of Green Nazis reminded me of the extract below. For those who don't already know it, it always makes me laugh.

Apr 26, 2014 at 5:14 PM | Unregistered CommenterMessenger

From the Ecclesiastical Uncle, an old retired bureaucrat in a field only remotely related to climate with minimal qualifications and only half a mind.

(1) At a time when the IMHO accurately self-styled Australian Cultural Attache graces the London stage (still, or is he finished now?) it is an wry thought that one of that country's politicians appears to be leading the world away from the Luddite curse of legally enforceable political correct-ness imposed on advanced countries by political classes that would have regarded themselves as beyond effective challenge by anyone from that country.

(2) In days of yore you could insult without fear of consequences because those you insulted could not afford to sue and, anyway, you wouldn't have had the wherewithal to make a suit worthwhile. This was seen as unfair, so laws were made restricting freedom to speak unpalatable thoughts if they were deemed to be insulting or an incitement to hatred (and so on, I expect). This solved the problem by removing the right to insult but has unduly compromised the right, which sophisticated counties find it best to grant, to freedom of speech. So would it not have been better to remove or bypass the ineffectiveness of the libel laws?

(I wouldn't know how but find it difficult to accept that it could not be done.)_

(3) By concentrating on UK political maneuvers relating to green policies and climate change, both the DaveB/Drake/Matthews/Pile and the what Margaret Thatcher said or meant discussions above, albeit understandably in the context of this blog, distract from and minimize the significance of Brandis' point that restriction of freedom to speak one's mind is (albeit unsaid, deplorable) authoritarianism. IMHO, this rather than these and other aspects of the climate wars, is the significant issue that he and the Bishop raise.

Only Cumbrian Lad, Jake Haye and John Shade appear to appreciate the breadth of the Bishop's concern. (Messenger?)

Others may, but preoccupation with the climate war distracts them from making their appreciation clear. (Is this wishful thinking?)

Apr 26, 2014 at 5:32 PM | Unregistered CommenterEcclesiastical Uncle

what scientific source suggested to Thatcher that a 1°C per decade rate was within the range of possibility?

I'm sure Paul Matthews is right - I've certainly not found anyone other than James Hansen making the claim before Thatcher's RS speech, which was, of course, delivered a matter of weeks after Hansen's presentation to the US Senate's Energy Committee.

Richard Drake:
She researched the subject, listened to the competing arguments and came to an eminently sensible conclusion.

Hmmmm. Well that's one way of putting it. Another is that she was lobbied and fell for the line. As Sir Crispen Tickell (then Britain’s UN representative who, having taken a year’s sabbatical in 1976 to study meteorology and astronomy at Harvard, felt qualified to write a book on AGW) explains:

"I think I persuaded Mrs Thatcher of the importance of climate change and she took it up in a famous speech at the Royal Society in 1988. She came to the United Nations in 1989 and gave a speech on it. She attended the World Climate Conference with me in attendance in 1990. And certainly that aspect of it she was always very strong about . . . Indeed I remember an all-day meeting with her ministers in which we discussed nothing else".

A slightly more authoritative source than James Hansen and a "science light" diplomat with a bee in his bonnet seems to have been then Met Office director Sir James Houghton, a respected atmospheric physicist driven by a mission to unite Christianity, science and environmentalism and blessed with a fire-and-brimstone style to match. AGW had long been an issue close to his heart – he was a veteran of the climate conference circuit well before Thatcher’s zeal was sparked. As I'm sure you know, he became the Hadley Centre's first director and co-chaired the IPCC FAR's "Scientific Assessment Working Group" (WG1).

(Tickell, incidentally, is a patron of the slightly chilling "Optimum Population Trust" alongside James Lovelock, Sir David Attenborough, Jonathon Porrit and others though it's now called Population Matters".)

We can't know exactly what Thatcher had in mind when she said 'we must not allow ourselves to be diverted into fruitless and divisive argument' - without more context it could be just about anything.

You can get a feel for the context by reading (as I did) all of Thatcher's speeches on the topic, by following the careers of the likes of John Gummer and by getting a feel for how the AGW agenda developed over the years both internationally and domestically. If you want a history of AGW from a right-of-centre political viewpoint, I'd strongly recommend Rupert Darwall's very fine book.

Jake Haye:
I find unpersuasive any line of reasoning that assumes the ideological integrity of Yeo, Gummer & co.

So do I.

And I have heard it said that Maggie used AGW as a tactic against the miners.

The Miners' Strike was over by March 1985; Thatcher's interest in AGW came significantly later.

"Green Nazis" reminded me of the extract below . . .

It's not an extract from the book, it's a piss-take, albeit an amusing one. In fact, the book, despite its unfortunate title and rather pompous tone, is a valuable study of the complex relationship between the Nazis and environmentalism.

Apr 26, 2014 at 5:34 PM | Unregistered CommenterDaveB

DavidB is wrong. There is a difference between those who ride the green bandwagon for their own selfish purposes (Yeo et al) and those who use the green bandwagon as a cover for their political views. The later are groups like Occupy who use any form of green scare stories to whip up supporters into a frenzy of hype. Those who follow this propaganda aren't necessarily Marxists, but they are naive and easily led useful idiots.

You just have to watch the actions of the politicians and big companies and compare it with the actions of the Occupy and anti-fracking groups. The former use the word green more as a marketing term, the later as a cover to push their violent authoritarian agenda through.

Apr 26, 2014 at 5:58 PM | Unregistered CommenterSadButMadLad

A well-spotted observation this, all the more remarkable considering the eminent Edinburgh Council source of the remark!
It is certainly not just the old 'hard Left' - 'climate catastrophe' proponents have permeated many organisations.However, it has attracted many critics of globalisation, Big Oil, indeed, Big Business of any sort, whether manufacturers, food suppliers or big retailers. Business is destroying the planet! It seems to be a specie of millenarianism - a yearning to find a universal cause for our grievances. It has also suited the 'progressives' at the BBC to be aligned with the man-made 'global warming' agenda. So it was heartening that last night's discussion was able to bring together critical voices from a wide range of backgrounds. .

Apr 26, 2014 at 6:27 PM | Unregistered CommenterBill Jamieson

First, Lady T considered the subject further and by the time she wrote her books she had decided that the alarmist approach was OTT and had rejected their unscience.

The theories I have heard about the Trots etc is that they really don't care about the environment, the important thing is to pursue policies which give them centralised control - Agenda 21 and all that. This fits nicely with the UN concept of globalisation and tax raising opportunities - where the tax is paid to the UN. I have read somewhere that part of the plan is to put all land into public ownership controlled by the UN.

Mind you, when you look at the CVs of the Commissioners of the EU, they come from the same background, Maoist (Barroso), CND (Ashton) and similar for several of them.

Apr 26, 2014 at 6:41 PM | Unregistered CommenterDizzy Ringo

Paul Matthews, Dave B -
Thanks for your response for the source of Thatcher's figures. Certainly Hansen had been very vocal with the much-ballyhooed 1988 Senate testimony. I had imagined that Thatcher would have wanted a UK source.

Even the paper Hansen et al 1988 didn't claim rates of 1 K/decade, though. In figure 2, scenario A, which shows an exponential increase in temperature, attains a rate of perhaps 0.5 K/decade, but only at its furthest date in the future, 2050. Scenario A was intended to be an upper-bound, and Hansen wrote that "scenario A, since it is exponential, must eventually be on the high side of reality in view of finite resource constraints...Scenario B is perhaps the most plausible of the three cases." The projection of temperatures in scenario B is around 0.12 K/decade by 2050, far below Thatcher's "1°C per decade."

Apr 26, 2014 at 6:42 PM | Registered CommenterHaroldW

Insofar as energy policy and provision is concerned, whatever we really need, in fact the opposite seems to occur. Britain, has changed and has a become a wan pale shadow of its former self, we are now a weakling nation and in the figurative and in the actuality, the green agenda encapsulates some if not all of the reasons for the decline of Britain.

I don't mind paying fuel tax as long as the money is spent solely on road maintenance, I'd pay a bit more to energy bills and they can make a good profit for me - if I knew the energy providers had my best interests at heart and were trying to keep costs down and energy security and reliable supply was at the heart of their ethos and company policy - but it ain't is it?

I want less government and more control of what I pay out for - ie I can spend it better than civil servants. Why should civil servants tell me what to do, how to eat, what to eat and that I should conserve the environment [which I do voluntarily without a thought] but I have a very big problem with being ordered to recycle waste goods when I know the whole operation is a total sham. I hate being lied to. And...........We all know: the green agenda is total bollocks.

We can all argue the toss till the next blue moon arrives on the twelfth of never - right versus left, what is clear is the redistributive ethos of agenda 21 and the catch-all and oft quoted but barely intelligible concept of 'sustainability' - is straight from the commie script and which is 'manna from heaven' to our left leaning brethren and liberal persuaded elite.

The left name themselves "progressives" if ever there was a misnomer that would be it.

Apr 26, 2014 at 6:58 PM | Unregistered CommenterAthelstan.

DaveB: The research I was talking about was 1988-2002. How much Thatcher was influenced by or hoodwinked by Tickell, or anyone else, right at the beginning, I don't think we'll ever know. Also worth noting in Statecraft are her remarks about those pushing for world government. Talking of which, I must agree with Eccles Uncle that this thread is about a disturbing authoritarian streak in CAGW as we find it in 2014. Given Thatcher's clear statements in 2002 she's completely the wrong person to try to smear as the source of this, as I said earlier.

Apr 26, 2014 at 7:09 PM | Registered CommenterRichard Drake

Matt -- "---The old far left wasn't green at all.--"

Really ?? The Nazis?

Some try to say the Nazis were "left", though they are more broadly understood as "right" wing. The debate about which nominal group the belong to only serves to demonstrate the problem of imposing simple polar coordinates over complex historical changes.

Us 'deniers' should see the problem with such polarisation.

Apr 26, 2014 at 8:45 PM | Unregistered CommenterBen Pile

Apr 26, 2014 at 12:14 PM | Unregistered CommenterJake Haye

Brandis' point is still valid. Did you read the article?

Apr 26, 2014 at 9:37 PM | Unregistered CommenterJeremy Poynton

Apr 26, 2014 at 8:45 PM | Unregistered CommenterBen Pile

The German Workers' Party manifesto contains a number of central elements which are pure Socialism. A vast public service, a vast welfare state, and state control of industry.

Apr 26, 2014 at 9:39 PM | Registered Commenterjeremypoynton

Hey, Watermelon Man...

Apr 26, 2014 at 9:40 PM | Registered Commenterjeremypoynton

The absolutism of the green movement is an aspect of its religious aspects. In a secular age the earth/nature have replaced a deity as source of life and all moral force derives from living in harmony with earth/nature. The industrial revolution =our fall from grace/original sin; sceptics=heretics; carbon taxes= tributes and sacrifice; EPA, IPCC= inquistion. Combustion=sin. AGW dogma is not science but scripture. I doubt the rise of religious hegemony ever due to conviction but to those who find the bandwagon useful and fall in behind the priests and preachers, enabling them to impose an unquestionable orthodoxy.

Apr 27, 2014 at 6:49 AM | Unregistered CommenterLjh

Ecc Uncle

The whole area of the undermining of our longstanding liberties piece by piece is something I find extremely concerning. It seems to me what is going on is reminiscent of the rise of oppressive regimes everywhere- but in fact, unless enough of us complain or revolt, there is actually nothing we can do about it if, as is the case, writing to one's MP is pointless, the EU controls much of what we do, and complaints are largely ignored or distorted by the media.

Similarly, refusing to co-operate with a new law or regulation which you see as undermining ancient freedoms may well prove to be pointless , since the powers of enforcement, punishment and coercion are in the hands of our overlords . Their downfall may and probably will be inevitable eventually, but probably after my time, but meanwhile, I have no idea what we can do to be saved.

Apr 27, 2014 at 9:09 AM | Unregistered CommenterMessenger

jeremypoynton :
The German Workers' Party manifesto contains a number of central elements which are pure Socialism..

Prior to taking state power, important sections of the National Socialist German Workers Party (NDSAP) did indeed promulgate a bizarre type of "socialism" in its campaigning. An early pamphlet by Goebbells that he even managed to get the NDSAP to publish painted an admiring pen portrait of Lenin but he abandoned his "left" face when he saw that Hitler strongly disapproved. Every vestige of Nazi left-leaning populism was ended once and for all during the Night of the Long Knives (July 1934) when leaders of the purportedly left factions (Strasser, Röhm et al) were assassinated by members of a by-then burgeoning SS.

The first meaningful environmental legislation to be passed in Europe was put through by Goering in IIRC 1936. That said, seeking the roots of the present-day Green movement in Dauerwald or "Blood and soil" crap is as fatuous as the notion that they are to be found in the scattered remnants of long-defunct far-left factions of the 1980s Labour Party. The Green movement is a complex political phenomenon; even to begin to understand it involves putting aside political prejudices however dearly one may hold them.

Apr 27, 2014 at 12:17 PM | Unregistered CommenterDaveB

The modern UK Green movement, organic food, sustainability and renewable energy is rooted in the Soil Association, started in Coventry in 1946 by ex-Blackshirts who had supported Mosley. One of them was a personal friend of Hitler's Agricultural Minister.

40 years later, carefully disguised, these people found a home in the Midland Lib Dems, and set out to push a new Great Leader to power in the 1990s. That process failed when he was dropped from the Party's list of candidates in 1999.

Their extremist policies live on.

Apr 27, 2014 at 2:34 PM | Unregistered CommenterTurnedoutnice

"The Green movement is a complex political phenomenon; even to begin to understand it involves putting aside political prejudices however dearly one may hold them."

And furthermore you can't have an opinion on climate science unless you are a climate scientist.

Apr 27, 2014 at 3:40 PM | Unregistered Commenterrhoda

Ljh - "In a secular age the earth/nature have replaced a deity as source of life and all moral force derives from living in harmony with earth/nature.”

I think that’s not quite there. We might say that our self-secularisation is marked by a felt need to arrive at conclusions. This isn't a need which we must meet to live - but a neediness to keep another conclusion at bay… the terror of the vacuum, or death. If holding a concept of God was good for anything, it was good for sabotaging all conclusions we thought (or flattered ourselves) we’d arrived at. It made us 'think again’ (as its stories and puzzles never tire of reminding us).

If we completely depoliticise 'climate change’ we can see that it contains two conclusions - the one asserted as the ‘settled science’, and the one insisted upon as the consequence of unsettling that science… the conclusion, or death, of the planet. Inconclusion becomes something that terrorises us - rather than a precondition for curiosity.

Our best description of human progress might be the finding of increasingly better inconclusions to hold open. The question is - are we up to the task as a secular society?

Apr 27, 2014 at 4:46 PM | Unregistered CommenterPeter S

It doesn't really matter about the motives of deep green. Yes they seemingly hate capitalism just like the hard-left, but it all begins and ends with the climate scientists. They have created this poisonous atmosphere whereby we are all morally repugnant just for questioning the very idea that man is not destroying the planet. Science-blind journalists and environmentalists merely latch onto this pseudo-science hype and turn it into hysteria.

Alas it has to end with these scientists questioning the shaky foundations of their science a bit more but those who do (like Curry) are vilified as traitors to the cause so there is no incentive. Oblivious to reason, the mainstream scientists still look at every possible excuse as to why their models don't reflect reality except the most blindingly obvious one and it seems that us skeptics pointing out the boring reality just makes them dig their heels in further. I guess the hysteria will only end when the global temperature starts to dip - and even that that will likely just start a new ice age scare. Failing that we need more science journalists to become a more skeptical. I've seen a few flickers there but they are soon extinguished by the mindless herd.

Apr 28, 2014 at 9:36 AM | Unregistered CommenterJamesG

I'm a bit late into this — just back from a weekend in Edinburgh and sorry I couldn't stay for Donna's talk.
I agree with Jake Haye's "there's nothing new about it" and his April 26,3.32 post where he talks about

... childishly moralistic ideology, or as an opportunity to use the state to spite people they hate or envy.
adding — quite correctly in my view
That is entirely the purview of the left.
Comparing debating with sceptics to wrestling with a pig is just the sort of thing that someone with the emotional age of an eight-year-old would preen himself for having thought up.
Jake and others are making the same argument that I have been making, here and elsewhere, since I first became involved in local union and then community politics decades ago. These are the same people that Labour eventually got rid of at least to the extent that they are of the same immature, selfish mindset.
Nobody is blaming the current situation entirely on the far left but to a great extent it is Delingpole's 'watermelons' that are calling the shots as they were then when the green camouflage was not needed. Deben, Yeo, et al have fully signed up because to use an old phrase they've been "given what they eat". ie influence and money. The fact that a couple of them might actually believe the green nonsense is merely an added bonus.
Sorry, but 50 years in the game tells me that this is essentially a "leftist" operation regardless of who the useful idiots are this time round.

Apr 28, 2014 at 3:47 PM | Registered CommenterMike Jackson

I know that a number of the Bish's followers are chemical engineers. Have any of you noticed that TCE has been hi-jacked by an editorial team espousing the usual anti-industrial nonsense about the IPCC report and "de-carbonising" etc? If you have, and are concerned, please write in as I have.

Vernon E

Apr 29, 2014 at 3:20 PM | Unregistered CommenterVernon E

Vernon E; I noticed much the same about the IChemE some time ago. Some of the journal articles seem to have been lifted from Greenpeace propaganda. If you can face it, have a look at the "Roadmap" (I think that's the title) which maps out where the Institute is headed and how it plans to get there.
Good luck with submitting your views. I had an exchange about 2 years back which went nowhere.
Since the oil & gas industry is a major employer of ChemEngers, you would think they would appreciate this comment:
"“All the solar panels and wind turbines in the world (at a taxpayer cost of $60 billion annually) have cut less CO2 emissions than US fracking.”"

Apr 29, 2014 at 6:41 PM | Registered Commentermikeh

mikeh: yea, i know we have had this conversation on at least one previous occasion but the latest editorial has really got me seeing red. please don't give up - we have to keep hammering away at it.

Apr 30, 2014 at 4:09 PM | Unregistered CommenterVernon E

The problem is that the Green movement has been able to attract a wide range of people.
1.Deep Green who are against industry, consider the World overpopulated and wish to return to a pre- industrial society.
2.Hard left Communists who left in the mid 80s and joined the German Green Party and are against western capitalism. Bob from Brockley has said that he left the Green Party because it has been taken by ex-Trots.
3. German romantics merged into the Nazi Party in the 1920-1930s and then became deep green in the 1950s.
4. Anti-western pro-developing countries.
5. Bureaucrats who enjoy power without responsibility and see enlarge UN and EU as pleasant careers.
6. Many charities.
7. Ex politicians who can make money by advising firms who gain subsidies.
8. Large numbers of middle class art graduates who do not have the engineering, applied science and medical skills to be of use to mankind.
In short people of an authoritarian nature who believe they are brighter and morally superior to others who actually do useful jobs. In many ways we have an over supply of useless middle class arts graduates. It is like a family firm which has reached the third generation: many members enjoy the dividends but do not want to work in it. By the fourth or fifth generation the number of useless mouths outnumber those actually working and earning the money and the company goes bust or is taken over..

May 3, 2014 at 3:06 PM | Unregistered CommenterCharlie

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