What insight. ‘Tis prosaic — Nick Cohen in The Guardian packs more truth — runs tantalizingly close to a major insight, yet skates off, one single word short.
It’s projection on a rampage, and Cohen almost seems to realize it. Perhaps we can help him?
“The climate change deniers have won”
Where else, but The Guardian?
Yes, Mr Cohen, those whom you deliberately and with malice call “deniers” are winning. Incredibly, even though they have only 0.03% of the funds, none of the machinery or the institutions, the enmity of western governments, existential opposition from the $350 billion renewables industry, no support from the large global carbon trading market, and only scorn and derision from the entire UN, and yet they are winning with nothing but wits and facts.
“Scientists continue to warn us about global warming, but most of us have a vested interest in not wanting to think about it”
- Any list of organizations, associations, committees.
- Any survey of keywords used in publications.
- Psychoanalysis, pop psychology, anonymous internet surveys
- Funding, imaginary or real.
- Studies of cults.
- Speculation about vested interests, oil companies, political ideology.
- Observations about the climate – weather balloons, ice cores, satellites, corals, rocks, thermometers, stuff like that.
All of which is a long way of saying that the global warming deniers have won. And please, can I have no emails from bed-wetting kidults blubbing that you can’t call us “global warming deniers ” because “denier” makes us sound like “Holocaust deniers”, and that means you are comparing us to Nazis? The evidence for man-made global warming is as final as the evidence of Auschwitz. No other word will do.
Tempting though it is to blame cowardly politicians, the abuse comes too easily. The question remains: what turned them into cowards?
Rightwing billionaires in the United States and the oil companies have spent fortunes on blocking action on climate change. A part of the answer may therefore be that conservative politicians in London, Washington and Canberra are doing their richest supporters’ bidding. There’s truth in the bribery hypothesis. In my own little world of journalism, I have seen rightwing hacks realise the financial potential of denial and turn from reasonable men and women into beetle-browed conspiracy theorists.
Climate change deniers are as committed. Their denial fits perfectly with their support for free market economics, opposition to state intervention and hatred of all those latte-slurping, quinoa-munching liberals, with their arrogant manners and dainty hybrid cars, who presume to tell honest men and women how to live. If they admitted they were wrong on climate change, they might have to admit that they were wrong on everything else and their whole political identity would unravel.
Climate change believers are as committed. Their belief fits perfectly with their support for
free market economicsgovernment handouts, opposition to state interventionthe green religion and hatred of all those latte-slurping, quinoa-munching liberals,those who stand on their own two feet, and contribute more tax than they take, with their arrogantunfashionable good manners and refusal to be told how to live. If the believers admitted they were wrong on climate change, they might have to admit that they were wrong on everything else and their whole political identity would unravel.
I am no better than them. I could write about the environment every week. No editor would stop me. But the task feels as hopeless as arguing against growing old. Whatever you do or say, it is going to happen. How can you persuade countries to accept huge reductions in their living standards to limit (not stop) the rise in temperatures? How can you persuade the human race to put the future ahead of the present?