The science of climate change may well be “settled”… as far as the scientists in the media are concerned, anyway. But the politics of climate change is not settled at all.
And, since the end of the pandemic, the scientists have had to give way on who actually runs the country. So, today, I want to delve into the growing divergence between doing whatever it takes to save the planet and… doing whatever you think is more important than saving the planet.
The inspiration for our discussion is a cartoon I spotted on Twitter, but can’t seem to find anymore. The picture shows a chart with two diverging lines – climate change predictions and climate change data. A scientist, in trying to straddle the two lines, balances precariously as they continue to diverge over time.
For today, forget about the science and the data. Consider the same idea from the cartoon, but applied to government policy and the climate change hysteria.
After all, if the scientists are right about climate change, they should be engaging in hysteria. We’re talking about the end of civilisation. We should be panicking.
Which begs the question: what the hell are all those politicians doing flying around in private jets with vast entourages while the rest of us communicate over zoom?
Why are politicians still eating meat and engaging in flatulence?
Why are they having children?
Would they be doing these things if they believed in the climate change science?
Those are not the sort of questions I want to ask you today…
Hypocrisy is one thing. We don’t expect our leaders to live up to the virtues they espouse.
Instead, consider actual government policy that directly impacts us.
Again, I don’t want to be asking questions like this one: How can leaders, who supposedly believe the world will end unless we stop emitting carbon, be imposing ULEZ and 15-minute city “cells” on us, while travelling across the country themselves?
How can they be banning fossil fuel cars for fear of rising sea levels while buying ocean front villas?
Again, this is just hypocrisy in following their own rules. Nobody ever expected world leaders to actually follow the law and wear masks or give up on mistresses during the pandemic, after all. And so we don’t expect them to make sacrifices to save the planet.
Instead, I want to ask about the shift in government policy which diametrically opposes the climate change dogma. It’s a different kind of hypocrisy altogether. One where something other than saving the planet is suddenly more important.
According to Bloomberg, “Germany is considering re-routing existing subsidies for eliminating coal-fired power plants to help defense manufacturers build new production facilities.”
Is creating a German arms industry more important than saving the planet?
It is the latest wave of opposition that the London mayor has had to contend with around his plan to extend the Ulez zone to cover the whole of the capital in August. Eight outer London boroughs are refusing to install Ulez cameras within their boundaries.
I don’t know about you, but refusing to install cameras designed to cut emissions during a climate emergency is a bit odd…
The dead giveaway is of course nuclear energy. Given the choice between expanding capacity for the most extensive – some would argue practically unlimited – form of electrical power generation on the planet (nuclear) and letting the planet burn, the French Germans are choosing to spend their time arguing about it.
The latest iteration of the debate is putting the viability of a hydrogen pipeline at risk. The French want the Germans to admit that nuclear is “green”, but the Germans don’t like the idea of being humiliated by the French on emissions data indefinitely, so they oppose the plan. And so the French are holding up the hydrogen project which the Germans claim would save the planet in return.
Does that sound like a climate emergency to you?
In Australia, the Australian Financial Review reports, “Thermal coal producers will be forced to set some of their output aside for the domestic market under a new coal reservation policy in NSW as the government battles to shore up the state’s energy needs.”
Building up coal supplies seems at odds with saving the planet from carbon.
Would any of this be happening if policymakers believed the planet is going to hell if they don’t cut emissions?
Here’s another way to put it: if politicians did believe the science on climate change, what would their policies actually look like?
According to the economist Steve Keen, a friendly sort of fellow who has taken an interest in the topic, even World War II-style policies would be underdoing it.
We’re talking blackouts, “Put that light out!” posters, rationing, mass nationalisation and plenty more.
I’ve met the professor and he really is a nice sort of fellow. At least he was to me. But my jaw still dropped when he gave his answer to the question of what politicians need to do about climate change.
But my point is not about climate change itself. It’s that there is a propaganda gap.
It’s no longer about the divergence between what politicians are doing in their private lives and what they espouse.
It’s no longer about hypocrisy in what politicians do in their public lives either.
It’s about what governments are actually doing in terms of policy and what they’re saying about climate change – they’re wildly far apart.
And my real point is that, somehow, this gap is going to have to close. Presuming you have a functioning democracy, anyway.
Which might sound like an assumption too far, but this newsletter was launched by Nigel Farage, who has some experience in teaching the establishment a lesson or two about what people actually want. And, by the way, he’s quite optimistic on that front, generally speaking.
Anyway, either voters start to buy into the climate change narrative and demand their politicians declare war on carbon, with all the privations that entails, or politicians change their tune on the science.
Government policy, it seems, is already shifting away from what the scientists want. Just as it did during the pandemic, funnily enough…
Indeed, we’ve seen the same phenomenon unfold during the pandemic, of course. Vaccinated mask wearers kept getting Covid and wondering why. Eventually, the science caught up with experience reality. If a bit late…
I expected another lockdown to be imposed on us based on what politicians and scientists were saying. But, in the end, government policy was the opposite of what the science demanded. It may be time to wake up to the propaganda gap in climate policy too.
Editor, Fortune & Freedom