What is the climate “emergency”, “crisis”, “catastrophe” (take your pick) really about?
According to teenager Greta Thunberg, who now appears to lead the climate crisis campaign, “It is not just about the environment. It is a crisis of human rights, of justice, and of political will. Colonial, racist and patriarchal systems of oppression have created and fueled it. We need to dismantle them all.”
So, for anyone thinking that this is about science and rational responses to very real ecological challenges, they have been set straight. This is about total revolution. This revolution will require the combined efforts of the likes of Karl Marx, George Washington and Fidel Castro – at the very least. Curbing emissions is clearly a tiny part of this class struggle.
If the running dogs of capitalism and patriarchy are to be silenced once and for all, we must screw up our courage, gird our loins, and jet off to the latest climate change conference – this time in Madrid, Spain. This one doesn’t look to be quite as much fun as the last soirée in Sicily. That one had hundreds of private jets, mega yachts and helicopters bringing the rich and famous to the gigantic party. There, the actors, royals and assorted beautiful people in attendance broke off from the celebrations only long enough to denounce the truck drivers and farmers who insisted on staying home and shamelessly burning diesel fuel in their trucks and tractors – for the rather mundane purpose of earning a living.
The Madrid climate catastrophe party crowd will probably be wondering how their icon, Greta, will arrive this time. It will be recalled that she sailed to the New York climate change conference in a high-tech yacht so she wouldn’t be accused of burning fossil fuel to get to the conference. The fact that the captain of the yacht had to be flown across the ocean to do this did not bother her adoring fans. Nor did the fact that a camera crew followed her across the ocean in a fuel guzzling ship. Nor, apparently did the fact that wherever she goes an entourage flies on jets to join her. Did it ever occur to Greta – and the thousands of people who have gone to the hundreds of climate change conferences all over the world – that if they really were concerned about emissions they would stay home and hold their conferences by all of the modern communication vehicles this internet allows us? Apparently not.
It is a fact that the fuel it takes to keep an Airbus in the air for one day is enough to enable a farmer working 3,000 acres to keep his operation going for more than ten years. In fact, the fuel used by the jet set to get to and from just one climate party would power the average Indian village for years.
If these people flying and yachting to climate change conferences really believed that there was a “climate crisis” or “catastrophe” or (whatever overheated words they find to use next) they would clearly not jump on jets and attend climate change parties. If there was a crisis or an emergency, they would take emergency action – no more air travel, no more living in huge air conditioned houses, no more chateaus and summer and ski palaces. The politicians would not continue living their opulent lives. The movie stars would scrap their jets and their yachts.
But they don’t and they won’t. In fact, they continue living their highly privileged lives while telling the truck drivers and farmers back home that they must pay whatever new taxes, or endure whatever new restrictions the jet setters decree from their Madrid luxury hotel rooms.
Our own Prime Minister went from using the phrase “climate change” to “climate crisis” without taking a breath during the recent election. His compatriots upped the rhetoric even more, using even more apocalyptical words. Few noticed that right after the election – right after the “climate crisis” talk – our fearless leader jumped on his jet to go skiing or surfing, and his colleagues flew off to their chateaus or winter palaces, without missing a beat. Further notice that now that the election has been won the Liberals have gone back to talking about “climate change” and have ditched – until the next election, that is – the scarier words like “crisis” and “emergency”.
Obviously, the people yowling the loudest about a “crisis” or “emergency” or “catastrophe” know that there is no such thing happening. Yes, there are serious ecological challenges, including a warming planet. And yes, serious planning for the future must take place. But the continual hyping of the issue is totally unproductive if the goal is to meet those ecological challenges.
Even the world’s most senior scientists are now warning that the climate emergency scaremongers have gone too far. Petteri Taalas, who is described as the world’s top meteorologist, and a senior IPCC scientist, recently warned that the climate crisis extremists are misleading the public with their scare tactics. He is quoted as saying that to the climate scare crowd “this has taken on all the elements of religious extremism”.
It is not hard to find evidence of the extremism of which Taalas speaks. Predictions that we only have ten years to save the planet (made by Al Gore in 2006 – Prince Charles went further and only gave us eight years) have thoroughly scared children, like Greta. Those dire predictions, and the alarmist rhetoric have even resulted in gullible people giving up on the idea of having children, so worried are they about adding more CO2 to the atmosphere.
And those extremists have found their saint in that scared child. As her words reveal, finding practical solutions to ecological problems is not even their goal now. The goal is the same one that Karl Marx or history’s religious icons had in mind. It is changing the world into the green Marxist utopia they want. The climate issue is now only the excuse they use to accomplish what they see as this higher goal.
But by hyping climate change into a “crisis”, “emergency” and “catastrophe” to win an election, the Liberals have painted themselves into a corner. They know that there is no emergency, but to please the people who took them at their word, they are now being pushed into doing things that will do great damage to the economy, while accomplishing absolutely nothing worldwide. Canada is in for a rough ride.
The politicians should come clean and tell the truth: there is no emergency. Panic and scare tactics do not solve problems – cool heads and smart-thinking do.
Brian Giesbrecht is a retired judge and a senior fellow with the Frontier Centre for Public Policy.