Summary: The Left finds a new cause justifying political violence — climate change. Let’s examine their justifications for violence and the reasons they find it necessary. This story reveals much about 21st century America, and why our political system is in serious trouble.
The Left has (again) brought violence to America’s colleges — suppressing conservatives’ speech by means ranging from sheep-like chanting to riots (throwing bottles, spraying mace, etc.). Now they have taken a small step to expanding their violence by attacking America’s infrastructure to “fight climate change.” The Right started this cycle of political violence, and the Left are accelerating it.
The Guardian gives space to Emily Johnston, an eco-terrorist (violence used for political purposes). She is a “poet and co-founder of 350Seattle.org.”
“Normal methods of political action and protest are simply not working. If we don’t reduce emissions boldly and fast, that’s genocide. …As recent months have made clear, climate change is not only an imminent threat; it is an existing catastrophe. …if we don’t reduce emissions boldly and fast; business as usual is now genocidal. …I have little doubt that the awful weather events of the last couple of months played some role in this — it’s not just scientists seeing the truth anymore: the building is indeed burning, and all the world’s babies are in it. “
She makes no attempt to justify her claims. As for recent weather, many climate scientists have said that it was business as usual (e.g., see the hurricane data). But the useful idiots on the Left applaud anyway!
“The Building Is Burning and All the World’s Babies Are In It
— Using Force to Fight Climate Change.“
By “Gaius Publius” at Down with Tyranny.
As evidence Publius cites the latest iteration of the “Antarctica will flood the world” story that has circulated for decades, based on Eric Holthaus’ one-sided alarmist screed about it at Grist. The Left regards alarmist propaganda as gospel, and circulated it widely. But Holthaus’ version was so extreme that even The Guardian debunked it. See more about this issue here.
Why Leftists fear a certain planetary apocalypse?
America has been bombarded for thirty years by predictions of certain doom from climate change. These were at best weakly supported by the reports of the IPCC. Over time the Left’s opinion of the IPCC went from “gold standard of climate science” to “too conservative” (e.g., see Inside Climate News, The Daily Climate, and Yale’s Environment 360). But their campaign failed to terrify Americans into supporting the Left’s agenda.
With the creation of new scenarios of climate change for the IPCC’s AR5 (Representative Concentration Pathways), activists hit the jackpot. The worst case scenario was described in “RCP 8.5: A scenario of comparatively high greenhouse gas emissions” by Keywan Riahi et al. in Climate Change, November 2011. It included this misrepresentation: “Compared to the scenario literature RCP8.5 depicts thus a relatively conservative business as usual case with low income, high population and high energy demand due to only modest improvements in energy intensity.”
This became the Left’s vision of our future, and the basis of one of the major research programs of our time. Scores of papers described the consequences of this worst case future. All were horrific, as they should be for a worst-case scenario (see a sample of them here).
It was a phenomenal waste of resources, which continues even today. It’s an extended proof that “pouring more water on a rock does not make it wetter.”
Many of these studies generated lurid news coverage, describing this apocalyptic future as our destiny — unless we make radical changes to our economy, our government, and our society. It is the climate change version of “if it bleeds, it leads”. See examples here. More recent, and more bizarre, examples are
- “The Uninhabitable Earth” By David Wallace-Wells in New York Magazine — “Famine, economic collapse, a sun that cooks us: What climate change could wreak — sooner than you think.”
- “Are we headed for near-term human extinction?” by Zach Ruiter at Toronto NOW — “Recent studies suggest it is irresponsible to rule out the possibility …”
- “Are we doomed?” by Sammy Roth, writer of USA Today’s “Climate Matters” newsletter.
These stories greatly exaggerate the science, and are based on worst case scenario which is the opposite of “business as usual”. RCP8.5 assumes large changes in long-standing trends. Most importantly, it assumes fertility in the Africa will not crash — as it has done everywhere else — and that technological progress stalls (in the real world, it is accelerating). See details here.
The Left’s leaders have borrowed a page from the fascist textbook: exaggerate a threat into an existential danger. Use fear to justify extreme measures and unify your followers. There were two major reactions to this campaign. The Left believes, and has grown increasingly terrified. The Right remembered the Left’s many previous fear campaigns since the 1960s — all of which have proved false (see a few of their classics). They became skeptics. Some became outright deniers of climate science (e.g., believing there is no “greenhouse effect”).
Left and Right each see a different future for the world. Neither pays much attention to the IPCC. Both cherry-pick individual papers that support their biases and declare them to be Truth (the extreme version of this is what Andy Revkin calls “single-study syndrome“). People on both political extremes in America tend to be immune to logic and facts,
This makes resolution of the political debate almost impossible in the foreseeable future. There are ways to break the gridlock (such as testing the models), but that won’t happen under current conditions. This sets the stage for terrified Leftists to resort to violence, applauded by the larger population of Leftists.
Of course, the Left will scream “unjust” when the Right responds with violence on those issues they consider existential threats (as they will). If so, we will have started another cycle of violence.
This is all very Weimar. This kind of slide to political violence didn’t end well for post-WWI Germany. Political violence won’t end well for us. But this is unnecessary. We need not be led like sheep by our political extremists, both sides of which work against us.
For More Information
Recommended: To better understand the state of knowledge — and the massive uncertainties — in climate science today, I recommend reading about the “Climate Change Statement Review Workshop” Climate held by the American Physical Society (APS) in NYC on 8 January 2014. a a panel of distinguished physicists questioned three climate scientists who support the climate change consensus and three climate scientists who do not. See this summary by Rupert Darwall and the full transcript.
If you liked this post, like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter. For more information about this vital issue see the keys to understanding climate change, all posts about political violence, about extreme weather, and especially these …
- How we broke the climate change debates. Lessons learned for the future.
- A story of the climate change debate. How it ran; why it failed.
- Look at the trends in extreme weather & see the state of the world.
- Good news for the New Year! Salon explains that the global climate emergency is over.
- Stratfor gives us good news, showing when renewables will replace fossil fuels.
- News misreporting a big GAO report about climate change.
- Save the world from climate threats, myths and fears.
- Roger Pielke Jr. describes the politics of unlikely climate scenarios.
Two interesting books about climate change.
To learn more about the state of climate change see The Rightful Place of Science: Disasters and Climate Change by Roger Pielke Jr. (Prof of Environmental Studies at U of CO-Boulder).
Polar bears provide a test of climate forecasts. Their story is well-documented in Dr. Susan Crockford’s powerful 2017 book Polar Bears: Outstanding Survivors of Climate Change. It’s a classic example of telling the rest of the story about “doomed polar bears.” She describes the remarkable resilience of polar bears — top predators in one of Earth’s harshest environments — to climate change.