Discover more from Climate Resistance
Behind the 'climate crisis' myth: green ideology
The world is healthier, wealthier, and safer than it ever has been. And most of this progress has been achieved in the era of global warming. The green story does not add up.
For much of the recent history of climate politics, demands for the radical reorganisation of society to save the planet rested on the precautionary principle. However, in recent years, where green activists used to talk about precaution, they now talk about the ‘climate crisis’.
In the eighties and nineties, Adherents of the precautionary principle argued that a hypothesis of a potentially civilisation-ending catastrophe merely needs to be plausible to be sufficient to compel action, and that the world cannot afford to wait for scientific knowledge to verify the threat with any certainty. This urgency was the basis of the Montreal Protocol on limiting ozone-depleting substances, and it was the hope of many greens that the same formulation could be used again to drive global agreements on climate change.
The problem for adherents of the precautionary principle is that, as is the case with all green ideologues’ prognostications, too much time passed without the events they were sure would befall us, undermining the original hypothesis. In the 1970s, before global warming had been invented, environmentalists proclaimed that civilisation stood on the brink of collapse. Limits to Growth and The Population Bomb were global best sellers, putting green politics at the top of the global political agenda, and cementing the end of post-war optimism with a terminally negative outlook that the West has not shaken off, despite the books’ manifest failures.
The precautionary principle (and many $billions of ersatz ‘philanthropic’ generosity) saved the greens and their ideological project the humiliation they deserved by adding an unending not-if-but-when caveat to their soothsaying. Like devotees of the end-times sect in Peter Cook and company’s skit at the 1979 Secret Policeman’s Ball, green doomsday cultists could defer the day of judgement indefinitely, at least in theory… But not in practice. The precautionary principle is an article of faith, and work both ways when fully considered. Progress towards a global climate lockdown agreement has been slow in significant part because many countries have been unwilling to undermine the certain benefits of economic growth on the basis of uncertain speculation. The precautionary principle, has thus been of decreasing value towards advancing the climate agenda as time has passed. There are only so many times even the most faithful are willing to climb the mountain to wait for salvation from doom before doubt creeps in.
The new claim, intended to overcome the global climate policy agendas’ inertia, is that certainty has been achieved by science, and that scientists have shown that the world is in the grip of the very catastrophe that environmentalists had predicted: people are starving, diseases are rampant, storms, floods, wildfires and heatwaves kill thousands by the day, forcing millions from their homes and into poverty.
The problem, of course, is that it is not true. In every region of the world, and at every level of economic development, people are living healthier, wealthier, longer, and safer lives. In the few places where this trend of continued progress does not hold, other reasons better account for the failure than slightly different weather: failed states, corruption and conflict.
I first became aware of this shift from prediction to precaution to outright lie beginning in the late 2000s. A report by the Global Humanitarian Forum – erstwhile UN Chief Kofi Annan’s think tank – made the claim that climate change was taking 300,000 lives per year, and that this would rise to near twice that number by 2030. The report had adapted the method from a WHO report in 2002, which merely assumed that a proportion of deaths from malaria, diarrhoea and malnutrition could be attributed to anthropogenic climate change – a foreshadowing of the epidemiology-by-back-of-an-envelope modelling we are now all too familiar with.
The problem for the green narrative then, as now, is that deaths from these diseases of poverty were falling, and have continued to fall, radically. Between 2000 and 2019, the number of deaths from malaria in the world fell from 900 thousand to 560 thousand – given the world’s population increase, this is equivalent to a halving of the mortality rate. Over the same time, the number of deaths caused by diarrheal diseases fell from 2.4 million to 1.5 million. And deaths from malnutrition fell from 506 thousand to 212 thousand. What this means is not merely that there is no evidence of a climate crisis, there extremely good evidence of the opposite: humanity is thriving.
Many other metrics of human welfare bear out the same picture of reality. But try to explain this indubitable progress to the protestors who, on the words of UN chiefs, nonagenarian BBC voice-over artists and degenerate green ideologues of the Guardian and green blob, block roads and demand nothing less than the cancellation of industry and the economy and the immiseration of the entire world, to make certain that all of humanity’s development is undone. The good news provokes an angry and uncomprehending rage in green activists. To compare the story of the climate crisis with the facts is to betray one’s own children, country and world, and to condemn future generations to an ‘unliveable planet’.
The facts and stats of the world are in contradiction to the ideological conception of nature held by the global green Great and Good and by the street-level environmentalists, but not the broader public. So what is this ideology, and how does it overwhelm its victims’ capacity for reason and facts?
Beneath the dire prognostications of the 1970s onwards is the belief that nature can be understood in toto as a system, which through its known and unknown mechanisms produce a balance on which its mechanisms, including populations such as us depend for their continued survival. No doubt many parts of the natural world can be understood as systems, but it is the matter of the total system, and its ability to produce ‘balance’ which are in question, and which have deeply mystical underpinnings. Moreover, the implication from this understanding is that society must be disciplined by the supposed limits of this system, such as its capacity to absorb greenhouse gases. If we fail to observe this imperative, the system will fall out of balance and will punish us.
As David Attenborough explains, it,
Our economies and political systems are unconsciously predicated on the belief that nature will continue to be a benign and regular provider of the conditions we need to thrive. […] Our stable and reliable planet no longer exists. The impacts of this destabilisation will profoundly impact every country on Earth.
We can know that this is a false belief, because it is a myth that nature has ever been anything but extremely hostile, rather than a benign ‘provider’. Hence, until the end of the 1880s, a quarter of all British children died before reaching their fifth birthday. In Germany, half of children did not survive that long. Globally, infant mortality was 22.4 per cent in 1950. In 2021, it was 3.7 per cent. The ‘planet’ is manifestly far less hostile to humanity than it was just a lifetime ago. And this is thanks to industries, to expanding access to markets, and to technological and scientific development – sheer artifice – not to Natural Providence. David Attenborough is as misled and misleading as he is a ‘national treasure’.
It is ideology which sustains the view that because life seemingly out-of-balance with ‘nature’ must produce an angry reaction from ‘nature’, the climate crisis must be happening and people must be suffering Her wrath. The facts are irrelevant to green ideology’s victims. The facts flow from the higher truth, not from scientific observations of the world. This is the nature of ideology. It is insidious, and far more powerful than reason.
So much for philosowaffle about ideologies… What is the upshot of all this? In our new short film, we at Climate Debate UK attempt to show how this regressive ideology has been transmitted, from the top strata of global society, through governments and the media, to very young children. At a Bristol ‘school strike’ climate protest addressed by Greta Thunberg in February 2020, a Sky News crew interviewed three protesters, none of which to my eyes could have been much older than six.
“There’s only one world”, a girl explains to the interviewer. “If we destroy it all, then we have no other place to live”. “Right now, we are not acting”, adds her little friend. “We should act now.”
If the words of global climate technocrats, so earnestly spoken by such innocent faces is not an abomination, then nothing is. Tiny children’s view of the world and their own futures have been poisoned by an ideology that has no care for facts, much less the children and their prosperity. Their heads have been deliberately filled by the false idea of a ‘climate crisis’ in order to make them instruments of a political agenda, against their own interests, far before they are equipped to understand the claims they reproduce.
Society needs to confront green ideology urgently. It is the greatest threat to our safety and prosperity.
Please watch and share our film: