by John Ward
The media orchestration of climate anxiety is there for all to see across all continents. The Slog analyses the likely motivations behind this downpour of dire prophecies.
I may be more aware of this than most (I’ve been travelling for the last week) but the last month has seen an unprecedented number of “climate crisis” stories featured by the old media. Since October 7th, The New York Times, Washington Post, Guardian, Independent, Telegraph, Figaro, Le Monde, Straits Times, Dallas News, Irish Times, Chicago Tribune, The Australian, BBC news, ABC (Australia) News, Sky News and all the major US channels have led (as in front page/main item) at least once on what they describe as a “climate change emergency”. Several of them have made the subject a major feature at least four times.
The alleged catalyst for all this is a UN Climate update by the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) published on October 8th last. The IPCC tome is extremely specific in some areas, warning that there we have “only a dozen years for global warming to be kept to a maximum of 1.5°C” and “urgent and unprecedented changes are needed to reach the target” if we are to avoid a fate of “drought, floods, extreme heat and poverty for hundreds of millions of people.” Such action will, say the authors, mean climate agreements at the top end or greater than those agreed at the Paris Summit a few years back.
In ploughing through these endless articles (over 95% of which focus purely on the 1.5°C statistic, without actually understanding it) the robotic use of the words “experts”, “last chance”, “carbon taxes”, “disaster”, “man-made” and “catastrophe” give me cause for concern on several bases.
The first is that the IPCC is pretty unanimously of the “settled science” view when it comes to the “reasons” for climate change. That’s fine if they want to be that way, but the role of carbon and “greenhouse gas” emissions has been challenged in the past by equally impressive scientific groups (including NASA). Climate change remains a subject with a great deal of doubt on all sides.
The second is that the IPCC has a long history of unsubstantiated bias against the nuclear power sector. The latest report from these “experts” condemns nuclear power as ‘dirty and dangerous’, which is quite untrue on both dimensions: not a single human being has ever died from nuclear energy waste disposal, and the two serious accidents (at Chernobyl and Fukushima) were caused in both cases by incompetently corrupt manufacturing processes. Fukushima in particular has had a massive ecological effect that is as yet difficult to assess, but the event has had a good salutary effect in quite rightly scaring the pants off construction specialists and sovereign safety regulators alike.
The third is that the alternatives to nuclear are, on the whole, a bit of a joke – and entail cost/disposability challenges that far outstrip toxic waste. Yet the IPCC blithely asserts that nuclear ‘cannot compete against natural gas’ (a falsehood involving pollutant technology far from renewable) and continues to encourage solar and wind…which produce electricity uneconomically, have enormous maintenance issues, and are made unreliable by, um, changing climates around the world.
For myself, I remain convinced that the best solution by far is likely to be the next generation of fusion techniques to harness the inestimable power our nearest star churns out: I would ban fracking, increase oilco taxes and use the money for urgent research into that Ra possibility.
You see the thing is, I am neither a climate change denier or acceptor. We simply don’t have the breadth of vision or length of trends yet to mouth off with faux certainty about CO², sea levels, coal, oil, timescales, toxicity, greenhouse gas rates of atmospheric escape or a thousand other factors. Our knowledge of the planet’s balancing mechanisms, for example, is roughly equivalent to that of a rodent trying to grasp the offside rule.
I accept that ozone holes are a problem needing urgent attention. I plant trees all the time (but only the right kind) and I think potable water shortage is a much bigger threat to human survival than climate change. But I’m not convinced by much as yet; rather, I’m happy to make a difference where the maths seem to me irrefutable. When it comes to trees, for example, there are more trees in the UK today than there were in 1000 AD. The threat to humanity from broken food chains is, I sense, enormous – as bad as that from resistant bacteria. In 2018, more Earthlings now die from obesity than from starvation. And so it goes – on and on: the bewildering factual overload of knowing far too little about far too much.
However, the most important doubt I harbour about this media tidal wave of climatic fear is double-headed. First, it feels coordinated to me – I’m left asking cui bono? And second, I’m wondering why now all of a sudden – is there a distraction motive involved in all this?
As the teenage years of the 21st century draw to a close, it requires an extraordinary level of naivety to view the United Nations as an entity engaged in furthering the good of humanity without fear or favour. Like all other entities with high-sounding names and avowed charters, it is a weapon of various Alt States. Its condemnations of chemical warfare, for example, are hard much of the time to separate from mainstream US neoconservative foreign policy. I have been surprised myself in recent years by the number of times ‘following the money’ from UN reports, panels and actions leads inexorably back to places like Texas, Washington, Brussels, Westminster, Google, Twitter and Facebook. The UN is – to use one obvious example – somewhat soft on the oil business, natural gas as n energy form, and fracking. Monied interests lobby the UN, and the more powerful UN members lobby the smaller fish.
This is especially true in the field of climate change – which is today an industry in its own right. There are more than a few quants in Wall Street, the City and Frankfurt with a lot to gain from all the carbon footprint and other nonsense promoted with a more neoliberal than ecological motive.
In the three months prior to the UN’s IPCC report, BlackRock increased its stake in shares of US Ecology Inc (NASDAQ:ECOL) by 8.3%. During the five days prior to the report, however, shares in US Ecology stock traded down $1.16…..allowing the directionalisers to get in at an exceptionally cheap price. US Ecology’s price per share has gone from $48 to $68 since February. A worrying aspect of this share is that it has a PE ratio of nearly 43. That is to say, a very high rating compared to actual potential: it has ‘fix’ overvaluation written all over it.
At another level entirely, it does no harm to look more closely at both US Party politics and Alt State geopolitics in the IPCC context. Track the former issue since early October, and you will note that American (and UK) establishment media have been beating Donald Trump’s climate change scepticism around the head without cessation during that period. As for the geopolitics of it all, if you are out to damn nuclear power, coal-generated electricity, and broadscale air or water pollution, what better bogeymen than Russia and China….the two key threats to US global hegemony?
Distraction from financial collapse
For many years now, I have maintained that the three key weapons employed by the unelected Giga-Rich are deception, distortion and distraction. It is hard to avoid the conclusion that more and more mainstream business opinion leaders, analysts and journalists are (at last) singing from a hymn sheet entitled For those in peril on the Sea.
We have been deceived about unemployment and inflation, while looking on incredulous as most stock valuations around the world have been distorted to suggest an unwarranted valuation. Now perhaps, the time has come to distract from what is being prepared.
During the exact same period – October 9th to the present day – there seems to me to have been a joint IMF/World Bank media strategy to get their warnings in a row while most people were fretting about imminent climate dangers.
On October 8th, the IMF cut its global growth forecasts. On October 10th, the World Bank and the IMF announced extended loan packages with stringent repayment conditions for Developing World borrowers. Since then, both organisations have variously talked about the need to change WTO rules and “storm clouds on the horizon”. Over the last 48 hours, they have in turn issued a guide to helping sovereigns around the world in their dealings with “financial technology” or fintech….along with warnings about “increasing trade tensions” that might hamper growth.
But all of these virtue signals have been out-shouted by climate change hysteria.
Nobody can draw firm or final conclusions from the machinations of the many élites on the citizen’s back. The sole intention of this post is to remind everyone that belief based on trust will no longer do – only quod secundum opinionem will do: opinion based on evidence.