William Lind looks beneath the global warming narrative

Summary: William Lind takes a sharp and accurate look at the politics of climate change. In modern America, always look beneath the glossy surface of narratives in the news.

Crisis on fire.
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Global Warming

By William S. Lind at Traditional Right, 10 April 2019.
Posted with his generous permission.

A March 15 article by Larry Kummer at the Fabius Maximus website discusses how global warming advocates have misused a worst-case scenario to generate panic. Titled “About the corruption of climate science”, Kummer’s article details how politicians are misrepresenting climate projections, especially one called RCP 8.5. That their goal is to create fear should not surprise us: from the government’s perspective, fear is a growth industry.

Russell Kirk called conservatism “Politics Of Prudence”, and prudence suggests we should pay some attention to climate change, or, to be more precise, increasing volatility in weather. That is something we can observe happening. Conservatives’ belief in stewardship means we owe it to future generations to hand them a planet in at least as good condition as we received from our forefathers. Reducing our own consumption, including of fossil fuels, is desirable.

But the Left seeks far more. In fact, its goal is nothing less than total control of every aspect of human life, which we call “totalitarianism”, justified by fear of climate change. Since everything a person does, including breathing, affects the climate, if climate change is a huge threat, someone needs to control everything. That “someone” should obviously be whoever is most concerned about the climate, i.e., the extreme environmentalists and the larger coalition of which they are part, the culturally Marxist Left.

Every totalitarian ideology offers a one-factor explanation of why it deserves power over everyone and everything. For Marxism-Leninism, it was that the whole condition of man and society was determined by ownership of the means of production. The Communist Party, through the state, therefore had to control all producers and consumers, i.e., everyone. Today’s cultural Marxists argue that all of history is determined by which groups, defined by race and gender, have power over which other groups. Therefore, they, through the state, must have complete control over all such groups and everyone in them.

National Socialism justified its demand for total control by the need for racial purity, since race determined everything, and Fascism’s power derived from its theory that everyone was defined by their corporate role in society. Mussolini said, “Everything for the state, nothing against the state, nothing outside the state.” Italy’s congenital inefficiency made sure that didn’t happen, but it is what all ideologies seek–including the ideology of environmentalism, for it is ideology, not science, that drives those sowing panic about global warming.

Theirs is an ideology of which we should warn even more strongly than other ideologies, because, again, everything we do affects the environment. This makes their demand for total control seem even more justifiable. Add in widespread public panic over increasingly volatile weather and you have an excellent basis on which everyone should surrender their freedom. Why, humanity itself stands on the brink of extinction. How can you justify your puny desires to do as you please?

We need a global warning against overstatements of global warming and its consequences. In fact, we have been for several centuries in a period of unusual climate stability. We cannot expect that to go on forever, because we know that in the past, the climate has changed and weather has become more volatile. Human ingenuity should prove adequate to deal with it, so long as we do not block that ingenuity through too much government intervention. Yes, overpopulated areas with dysfunctional states and cultures are likely to suffer, as they will under any scenario. The solution is not to let them come here, unless we want to become them.

Meanwhile, when we hear hysterical statements about global warming ending life as we know it in a few decades, we should remind ourselves that this is politics, not science. It is politics designed to panic us into surrendering our freedoms to a new, hideous totalitarian ideology. For those who want to see how such a totalitarianism might play out, read about Cascadia in Thomas Hobbes’ {AKA WIlliam Lind’s} recent novel, Victoria: A Novel of 4th Generation War.


The Left looks at climate change and see an opportunity

Lind points to an obvious but too-seldom mentioned fact: to many on the Left, stoking fears of climate change are a means to gain power. They have been quite open about that. As Matthew C. Nisbet says in “Sciences, Publics, Politics: The Green New Dilemma“, from Issues in Science and Technology, Spring 2019.

“Progressives see climate change as not only a crisis but also an opportunity. As argued by Naomi Klein in her 2014 best-selling book, This Changes Everything: Capitalism vs. The Climate, a climate movement inspired by bold policy proposals such as the Green New Deal, and equal in intensity to political movements that battled slavery and colonialism, would allow an alliance of left-wing groups to achieve a diverse range of social justice goals. For progressives, climate change, she argued, is the best chance to right the ‘festering wrongs’ of colonialism and slavery, ‘the unfinished business of liberation.’”

Proposals for a Green New Deal end the masquerade, proudly announcing that “fighting” climate change is a means to larger ends. See About the Green New Deal, dreams given form.

About the author

William S. Lind is director of the American Conservative Center for Public Transportation. He has a Master’s Degree in History from Princeton University in 1971. He worked as a legislative aide for armed services for Senator Robert Taft, Jr., of Ohio from 1973 to 1976 and held a similar position with Senator Gary Hart of Colorado from 1977 to 1986. See his bio at Wikipedia.

William Lind

Mr. Lind is author of the Maneuver Warfare Handbook (1985), co-author with Gary Hart of America Can Win: The Case for Military Reform (1986), and co-author with William H. Marshner of Cultural Conservatism: Toward a New National Agenda (1987). Most importantly, he is one of the co-authors of “Into the Fourth Generation“, the October 1989 article in the Marine Corps Gazette describing fourth generation warfare.

He’s perhaps best known for his articles about the long war, now published as On War: The Collected Columns of William S. Lind 2003-2009. See his other articles about a broad range of subjects…

  1. His posts at TraditionalRight.
  2. His articles about geopolitics at The American Conservative.
  3. His articles about transportation at The American Conservative.

For More Information

Ideas! For some shopping ideas, see my recommended books and films at Amazon.

Please like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter. For more information see all posts about doomsters, about fear (perhaps become our greatest weakness), about the RCPs, about the keys to understanding climate change, and especially these …

  1. About the mass extinctions supposedly occurring now.
  2. Focusing on worst case climate futures doesn’t work. It shouldn’t work.
  3. Updating the RCPs: The IPCC gives us good news about climate change, but we don’t listen.
  4. Roger Pielke Jr.: climate science is a grab for power.
  5. Secrets about the 1.5°C world temperature limit.
  6. A crisis of overconfidence in climate science.
  7. A look at the workings of Climate Propaganda Inc.
  8. About the corruption of climate science.
  9. The noble corruption of climate science.

Books about the crisis in climate science

The Rightful Place of Science: Disasters & Climate Change by Professor Roger Pielke Jr. (2018).

The Polar Bear Catastrophe That Never Happened by Susan Crockford (2019).

Disasters and Climate Change
Available at Amazon.
The Polar Bear Catastrophe That Never Happened
Available at Amazon.


25 thoughts on “William Lind looks beneath the global warming narrative

    1. Martha,

      Some of your links were wrong. I fixed and re-formated your comment for easier reading.

      I don’t know Tim Ball, but I know several eminent “skeptic” climate scientists. None believe that AGW is a “deception.” Science is usually about dynamics (eg, how much of past warming is anthro), magnitudes and rates (eg, about future warming), and replication (eg, validation of models). Science is a social process, and is as imperfect as are all social processes.

      1. Paul,

        Can you provide a rational reply? It’s nice that you shared your feelings, but information or logic would be more helpful.

      2. If climate change policy becomes all about regulating people’s behavior while the major corporate players and those connected carry on as usual and/or devising wise to profit from scarcity above all else: Larry is correct. I would just say that authoritarianism can use the binaries (conservative/liberal, right/left) as useful tools. It needs the binary.

      3. LT,

        “I would just say that authoritarianism can use the binaries (conservative/liberal, right/left) as useful tools”

        That’s a vital point! Divide and Rule! It worked for the Romans, and it works for our leaders today. Only together are we strong.

  1. Good morning Larry. Happy Palm Sunday.

    There’s this guy in Colorado who disagrees with you on the Global Warming issue. He goes by the name “Durango Bill”. I read his site because I’m interested in what your critics write about you. I went through the same exersize with Bill Lind.

    This process has now taken years. You and Bill are still my favorites. Over the years I’ve been taking what I’ve learned from you including links to other sites, mostly PJ Media. You may be happy to know I’m beginning to get positive feedback.

    I’m sensing a shift. I hope my senses aren’t deceiving me. It seems many Americans are catching on to that “Us vs Them” Kabuki and their situation as sheep.

    Lind’s post and your’s he cited are some of the best on the web. Thank you for introducing me to Judith Currie and Roger Pielke.

    From a Real Environmentalist, 35 years experience as Environmental Engineering Technician, outdoorsman, hunter, fisherman and the guy who picks up the trash left by slobs.

    1. Longtrail,

      Thank you for the nice feedback! I hope you are right about the tide turning in America.

    2. Longtrail,

      Follow-up comment – I used to read critiques of my posts, and respond. But almost always they were uninterested in rational debate. Facts and logic often enraged them, and the replies were illogic, chaff, and vitriol.

      That was true when dealing with leftist laypeople and climate scientists. I’ve some great stories about these “discussions.” But they were a waste of time, so I don’t even look any more. A few climate scientists review my posts for accuracy (but not, unfortunately, clarity). That’s good enough for me.

    3. I am a longtime skeptic, not of climate change, which obviously occurs all the time, but of the unsupported, unsupportable assertion that it will be catastrophic, and soon. After years of complete immersion in the topic, I just don’t see the threat, for reasons far too numerous to mention here. Long story short: It just doesn’t add up.

      Durango Bill is a cut above the typical CAGW advocate (He loathes FM, by the way,) but ultimately cut from the same true-believing cloth. Pardon the mixed metaphor. Bill’s site is loaded with crude anti-Trump and anti-skeptic propaganda. It’s quite offensive, and Bill could not care less. I had an extended email exchange with the guy, civil, rational, and data-driven from my side, but he wasn’t interested in engaging, and blocked me after a couple of go-rounds. So much for open-mindedness.

      It is gratifying to see clear thinkers like Bill Lind and Larry Kummer writing about topics I myself have explored over the years in numerous essays, (to a much, much smaller audience, alas.)

      It is blindingly obvious what the Left is up to on this issue. Who controls carbon controls life.

      We face a catastrophe alright, but not the pretend one predicted by climate change activists.The real catastrophe is the seriously degraded life that awaits us if the Left gets its way.

      1. S Snell,

        (1) “We face a catastrophe alright, but not the pretend one predicted by climate change activists.”

        This is a bit trivial, but I’m pedantic. Technically, all we can say is that the odds of catastrophe appear low based on what climate scientists know today. Climate sensitivity to CO2 might be on the high side of the large estimated range. They might be wrong about the odds of the methane apocalypse. RCP8.5, the worst case scenario in AR5, requires improbable assumptions (as befitting a worst-case) – but stranger things have happened.

        (2) So why do you read “Durango Bill”? I read websites that discuss the public policy aspects (which is the focus of science posts here). I read websites that report about climate science – providing abstracts & links to reports and papers, and quotes from scientists (lots of that here). I don’t read non-experts nattering on about the science. The IPCC and major climate agencies provide a wealth of info. Many eminent scientists have websites or publish articles for the public.

        (3) Interesting that “Durango Bill” has popped up in this discussion. Someone calling himself Bill Butler lists that as his website. Looking back at his comments (last one in 2015), he shows a remarkable contempt for climate science. Scientists are good when they agree with him. Bad when they disagree with him. My favorite example of the latter is his disdain for the large peer-reviewed literature about the “pause” or “hiatus.” {See links to papers discovering the pause (section 9), discussing causes of the pause, and forecasting when it will end.)

        As a guilty pleasure, I enjoyed Butler’s poor reading comprehension (again, I’m referring to his comments here from 2013 to 2015). I’m a strong supporter of the IPCC and major climate agencies. All posts here start with their work as the starting reference point. All points here are made with reference to their work or the peer-reviewed literature. Yet most of his “rebuttals” are to things I have never said and don’t believe – e.g., that the world isn’t warming, that anthro effects are not increasingly large, etc. Here’s an example. He’s shadowboxing. Which means he always wins (in his own mind, at least)!

        Esp noteworthy is that I see no pingbacks from “DurangoBill.com. Which is why I ignore it. Any website I mention gets a link, so readers here can go see it for themselves – and the folks at the other end get a ping, and see they were mentioned.

      2. S. Snell,

        Follow-up to your comment about the Durango Bill website.

        One of Bill Butler’s comments illustrates the dysfunctional nature of public discussions of climate change. I cited (with links) scores of papers about the warming “pause” or “hiatus.” He said that he had proven all those scientists (hundreds of them) wrong, and pointed to graphs at his website. I’m uninterested in laypeople’s analysis of pure science (vs. its implications, such as for policy or ethics).

        His reply perfectly showed what’s wrong: “What is your problem in reading the charts on my webpage?”

        This is a commonplace among laypeople these days. Climate deniers, CAGW activists, anti-vaxers, etc. All believe their analysis should be considered as valid rebuttals to those of actual scientists working in their own fields.

      3. Replying to Larry’s replies to my comment:

        I visited Durango Bill’s (Bill Butler) site maybe twice twice, initially because of the Durango (Colorado) connection. Regarding climate change, Bill made some arguments that were competent but refutable, and I foolishly thought we might have a dialogue.

        Bill clearly thinks of himself as an authority and does not like to be challenged, even in a friendly way. Unfortunately this is true of partisans on all manner of topics. However, on the subject of climate change, IMO there is far more asserting of authority, often with a moral flourish, from the catastrophist side than the skeptical. Most skeptics of my experience seem pretty reasonable.

        I disagree with you about the value of critiques of science by laypersons. Science is a process, not a club. You and I can read a graph or dissect an argument just as well as the guy with the PhD. A well-made argument should should not be excluded from the discussion just because its originator has no honorific appended to his name.

        As you know, much of the problem with the climate issue lies with its extreme politicization, which has also infected the science. The pressure to conform is large, so you end up with a surfeit of practitioners who are as much advocates than scientists. These people often behind the screen of authority.

        I come at the issue from a geology background. If you look at the long span of history this little carbon blip is no big deal. There are gobs of carbon sinks in nature. We are also still very much in an ice age and likely will be for at least the next several million years. Furthermore CO2 is really a pretty minor GHG, especially in comparison to water vapor, which is usually, pointedly, amazingly, omitted from the discussion.

        I think the methane threat is overblown. The top couple of meters of soil, which have the most organic matter, always thaw every summer, throughout the arctic. Even if the thaw reaches deeper layers, there is no ready conduit to the surface for methane thus liberated, so the venting is likely to very slow, hence minor. Methane is also quite perishable and degrades quickly.

        Far more likely, and worrisome, is the inevitable decay of the Holocene interglacial period. Geologically speaking, this is overdue. Perhaps a flood of CO2 can help keep it at bay for a few more centuries.

        The main thing is this: It would be an act of colossal, irreversible stupidity for us to radically restructure our economy and society to deal with the very iffy threat that is climate change. Tor prevent this from happening we need to push back, hard, against the AOCs of the world and their acolytes.

        All of that said, it probably is a good idea for us to start reining in our extravagant overuse of fossil fuels and resources. We have become a very wasteful, very spoiled society.

    4. Longtrail
      Your comment on “Durango Bill”
      got me interested — interesting name.

      I went to his website / blog and read
      “Debunking the Deniers of Global Warming”

      Mr. Durango Bill is clueless about
      climate science, and wouldn’t know the
      difference between real science and
      junk science if someone handed him
      the answer on a card to read.

      Based on that one article,
      I would not trust anything
      Durango Bill says
      on ANY topic.

  2. This world has been here for billions of years and withstood many catastrophes, it will not become extinct by a few puney actions of man. There are inbuilt systems to counteract any offset actions.

    1. Philip,

      “it will not become extinct by a few puney actions of man.”

      That’s true, but are you serious? Who says that the “earth” would become “extinct”? What does that mean, anyway.

      There are “actions” of man that might have awful effects on us – or even exterminate our species. Biowar and nuclear war, for example. If we hadn’t instituted pollution controls, the mid-21st C would have had more than “puny” effects on us. RCP8.5 is an unlikely scenario of climate change, but would be very bad news.

      A detached attitude to such calamities is hard to achieve, but possible. I was driving with James Lovelock, originator the the “Gaia” concept down to the Museum of Natural History in Washington. We were discussing all-out nuclear war. Locklock surprised me by remaking that it would have very little effect. I said “It could kill off every human.” He replied, “Yes it might do that; but I was thinking of the effects on the general biosphere.”

      — Charles Sheffield in “Unclear Winter”

    2. Philip,

      I too wage this uphill battle — OCO (carbon dioxide) has been around, in our atmosphere, as long as Earth exists. It had concentration of up to 25-times of current level and that’s only as far as we can tell; and for a considerably longer time (and that’s a gross understatement), than this “industrial age” that’s being blamed on humans’ caused Global Worming (my favorite spelling). The high concentration of OCO later on was essential to “grow” the coal reserve we can and do use now …
      If we use all our carbon resources on useless luxury and other clear wastes (such as wars), we likely may not have enough of this stuff to help us through the coming glaciation. I think many rational people do see this and do, in turn, support this AGW ‘movement’ on that platform.

      Well, Larry is right, no amount of OCO would cause Earth to become extinct (as in Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy), and as about us, you and me and Larry etc., no doubling of its recent concentration could possibly cause any catastrophe.

  3. Hi Larry,

    Thanks for posting this classic Lind piece. I wish I could get many of my friends and family to read it for its many subtle points, among which is that a conservative of Lind’s ilk (a variety they likely could not name or describe) can at once hold that the climate must and will change, that it’s essential and moral that we pass down a world at least as viable to our heirs as we were ourselves bequeathed, and that any effective solutions to be found for problems we might identify will almost certainly not be dictated from on high.

    It’s not that governments can’t do things well at scale, but rather it’s really hard to do so, and when they don’t the consequences can be catastrophic, stupid, wasteful, and counterproductive. Examples: ethanol fuel policies, corn, sugar, and other agricultural subsidies, and any number of Froot Loop trade policies not the least of which is the Jones Act (smacks forehead).

    I’m sure that many who signed onto the “Equality Act” requiring women’s and girl’s sports teams to accept transgender athletes did so knowing that they had the cover of the McConnell Senate and were merely virtue signaling. However, some (many?) were not, and the legislation of biology is daft, insane, stupid, reckless, and very, very dangerous. It’s probably already a thoughtcrime to recognize this.

    LK> But almost always they were uninterested in rational debate. Facts and logic often enraged them, and the replies were illogic, chaff, and vitriol.

    The Trump election catalyzed something. Obviously, things had been building pressure (Bloom’s Closing 1987; Orwell’s 1984 missed 1948 by one year), but people I used to banter with or actually engage in ideas can no longer tolerate any challenge of orthodoxy. Otherwise intelligent people will believe “Russia!-fill-in-the-blanks” because Rachael Maddow said so. Maddow says it, it has the imprimatur of God. Might as well inscribe it on tablets and lock them away in the Ark of the Covenant. Madness! Because Lind reveals his conservative perspective, many simply could not read the article and consider what he writes, however much his goals and values might actually align with their own.



    1. Bill,

      “It’s not that governments can’t do things well at scale, but rather it’s really hard to do so, and when they don’t the consequences can be catastrophic”

      I do not believe that is the problem. Government do many things on a large scale, and quite well. To mention just one, they build transportation and communication systems at scale, and very well. They’ve been doing so since Rome (and before, in China). The problem is people using government power for social experiments on a large scale. The odds of disaster are pretty high, for obvious reasons.

      1. Yes, agreed. Problems like transportation, comms, sanitation, etc., that yield to recursive solutions (you can find someone to work on them at any scale) can be handled by government at any scale. Many problems addressed by social engineering do not have a similar structure. The rest of a road is unchanged by adding an additional mile one side or the other. A classroom will change unpredictably by the addition of an additional child and more so the addition an additional 10 children and more so if some of those kids can’t speak English, read, etc.

        I hadn’t thought about it as such, but things like ethanol policy and ag subsidies are social engineering beyond just funneling money between interest groups.

      2. Bill,

        “Many problems addressed by social engineering do not have a similar structure.”

        I do not believe that’s the big problem with the government’s social engineering. We know how to build roads and com networks. We know how to build schools and teach reading, writing, and math. But tinkering with the rules about private life – social scientists are at the stage of the physical sciences when Aristotle was writing. Using Americans as lab rats for their experiments is hubris, if not insanity.

  4. Contrary to the allegations of the alarmists, who argue that an increase in “extreme weather events” with global warming, increased greenhouse gasses should REDUCE cyclone energy and extreme weather events. Specifically, the energy for heat engines comes from temperature DIFFERENCES, not just from high temperatures. In the case of tropical cyclones it’s the water being warmer than the air that supplies the energy.

    But with global warming, the air wouldn’t be getting as cold as quickly in the fall, so the energy for tropical cyclones should be reduced . This is counter-intuitive to folks who don’t know physics, but it’s why refrigerators consume electricity instead of produce it, and why tornadoes tend to be associated with cold-fronts.

    Based on these stories, it looks like I’m right, and those who cry about warming increasing the frequency of extreme weather are wrong.


    “Recent review papers reported that many high-resolution global climate models consistently projected a reduction of global tropical cyclone (TC) frequency in a future warmer climate, although the mechanism of the reduction is not yet fully understood. Here we present a result of 4K-cooler climate experiment. The global TC [tropical cyclone] frequency significantly increases in the 4K-cooler climate compared to the present climate. This is consistent with a significant decrease in TC frequency in the 4K-warmer climate.“


    “Our record demonstrates that the frequency variability of intense landfalling cyclones is greatest at centennial scale compared to seasonal and decadal oscillations. [T]he period between AD 1600 to 1800 [Little Ice Age] had many more intense or hazardous cyclones impacting the site than the post AD 1800 period.”


    “A comparison with North Atlantic and Western Mediterranean paleoclimate proxies shows that the phases of high storm activity occurred during cold periods, suggesting a climatically-controlled mechanism for the occurrence of these storm periods. … Periods of low storm activity occurred from 560 cal yr BC to 140 cal yr AD (SP9 and SP8, Roman Warm Period) and from 820 to 1230 cal yr AD (SP4, Medieval Warm Period).”

    “Our work illustrates a major constraint on the large-scale global atmospheric engine: As the climate warms, the system may be unable to increase its total entropy production enough to offset the moistening inefficiencies associated with phase transitions. … On a warming Earth, the increase in perceptible water has been identified as a reason for the tropical overturning to slow down, and studies over a wide range of climates suggest that global atmospheric motions are reduced in extremely warm climates.“

    1. Alan,

      The IPCC stated most of this clearly in their special report: “Managing the Risks of Extreme Events and Disasters to Advance Climate Change Adaptation.” They repeated most of those findings in their Fifth Assessment Report. I’ve written scores of posts about this.

      But, as you note, all of this is ignored by climate alarmists and their enablers in the press. Worse, not only do their ignore these findings – but they describe commonplace weather as extraordinary results of climate change. In this, as in so many things, the daily news has become dominated by propaganda.

      I’m amazed it has had so little effect on the US public. So far. But steady streams can erode away mountains, in time.

  5. Thanks for posting this here and on WUWT. To many, what’s in this post is common sense. Unfortunately, common sense isn’t as common as it used to be, apparently.

    I don’t understand this fascination with the Green New Deal and why it gets so much traction in the media. I don’t understand why so many average citizens are lobbying for the GND. The GND is a hangman’s noose around the neck. Once enacted, which is as likely as RCP 8.5, it would be like the floor dropping out from under us. We would hit the ground with our toes and then strangle to death, slowly, when we couldn’t stand on our toes any longer.

    I don’t believe we can blame AOC for this GND farce. There’s surely some activist/s behind the scenes orchestrating this. Listening to the statements from AOC makes it quite clear that she’s extremely ignorant regarding every aspect of governance. I’m not sure I’ve seen anyone quite as specious on nearly every topic as AOC and the other extreme elected leftists. Lord help us if this is the new normal and not just a passing fad.

    1. Joz,

      Thank you for your good review!

      “To many, what’s in this post is common sense. Unfortunately, common sense isn’t as common as it used to be, apparently.”

      We’re in the Crazy Years. Common sense is an endangered species. See the many hostile comments to this at WUWT.

      “I don’t believe we can blame AOC for this GND farce.”

      That’s an important point. The Left was working for this when she was tending bar. See this post about its history.

      “I don’t understand this fascination with the Green New Deal”

      Because it offers the Left an opportunity to win big by packaging their dream list into one shinny story.

      “I’m not sure I’ve seen anyone quite as specious on nearly every topic as AOC”

      Sarah Palin, whom the GOP ran for vice president under a elderly many with good odds of dying in office. And Donald Trump.

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