Panic, Power, And Profit Were Made For Each Other
Headlines that prove a point are not so common, but here’s one that proves two points and proclaims a third: “COP26 summit: Focus on how to hit 1.5° C target – and billions in funding.”
The word panic means a “sudden overwhelming feeling of terror or anxiety, especially one affecting a whole group of people.” The word “panic” comes from the Greek god Pan, the source of irrational fear.
The panic in that headline comes from the implied promise that we must either hit the 1.5° C temperature target or say goodbye to humanity. Many take it seriously enough to stop having children who would be short-lived in a world doomed by blistering firestorms, floods requiring a Noah’s Ark, and winds that rock skyscrapers to their foundations.
At the Glasgow summit, kingpins and princes chanted the mantra that ‘climate change is killing the planet.’ The panacea (named after the Greek goddess of healing) is to get rid of fossil fuels—and with them, 80% of the Western world’s energy, which turns the big CO2 makers who copped out of COP26—China and Russia – into power duopolists.
Juvenile enough? We’ve barely warmed up.
The following story was not taken from “Alice Through The Looking Glass”:
How to toilet train your cow
And save the planet at the same time.
Puppies can be taught. So can human children. Now, in the hope of fighting climate change, Dr Jan Langbein, of the Fredrich-Loweffler-Institut in Germany hopes he can train cows to use the toilet, too.
The human psyche seems to have a propensity for swallowing tall stories. Renewable energy, the story goes, is the one and only hope to carry humanity forward.
In that case, thank God for emission-free, renewable nuclear power, say the sensible people.
What?! No, say the climatistas. That horrid thing? Rescue the earth with nuclear plants? Don’t even go there.
I’m reminded of the story about the drowning lady who rejects a lifeline because the lifeguard on beach duty had spurned her flirtation.
Yet the same economic journal that pinned hope on potty-trained cows also has moments of sobriety:
Safe and productive nuclear plants are being closed across the rich world, Closures and the retirement of older sites mean that advanced economies could lose two-thirds of their nuclear capacity by 2040 according to the IEA.
Hence, the surging energy costs and the real and present threat of inflation.
One doubts that the psyche would blink on being told the exact date of Mother Earth’s demise as predicted by climate models. If you want to give the panicked a soporific, allude to experts. Even when they foolishly put a time limit on their doomsday predictions, experts are never undone as were the false prophets of yore. There was Martin of Tours who predicted the end of the world by the year 400 or Harold Camping who gave the exact day: Humanity would become extinct on September 6, 1994. People circled the date on their fridge calendars.
Notes the New York Post, “The latest poor saps to join the ‘oops club’ are the authorities in charge of Montana’s Glacier National Park. For years they’ve been warning on their signs that the main attraction, the glaciers, would be “gone by 2020.” Is that the end of the prophets? No. Instead, it’s those misleading signs that have had to go, because 2020 has now arrived and those pesky glaciers, all 29 of them, remain stubbornly un-melted by climate change.”
Not to jump the gun, is Mother Earth even a patient to be cured? Who or what takes her target 1.5° C temperature? The very idea that she is running hot is meaningless.
“One cannot very well average the Dead Sea with Mt. Everest,” observes Richard Lindzen, Professor Emeritus of Atmospheric Sciences at MIT. Lindzen details the laborious method used to calculate the earth’s average temperature. “It may not even be a good measure of climate at all,” he concludes.
And even if the temperature was valid, who says that a hot world is more of a threat than a cold world? A study by 22 scientists found that cold weather killed 17 times more people than hot weather. As for deaths caused by natural disasters, they fell 80% over the period when the temperature rose by 1.25° C and the population quadrupled.
If climate panic is much ado about nothing, panic-driven profit is real enough. Climate finance is all the rage. At COP26, financial institutions controlling almost $9 trillion in assets pledged to uproot deforestation from investment portfolios. A bigger gesture came from the Glasgow Financial Alliance for Net Zero, a coalition. The asset owners and managers, banks, and insurers hold $130 trillion of assets, fancy cutting emissions from their investments to net-zero by 2050.
The corrupt people presiding over collapsed countries will be drooling at the mouth. Among the most corrupt and collapsed is the failed state of South Africa. From COP26, this lawless and bankrupt country will receive a gift of $8.5 billion to wean itself off coal-generated power. Criminal syndicates are already muscling in on the tempting pie. A good chunk of the procurement action will go to party comrades. Yet it’s applause all around from a business community that naively believes that money for a green and clean future won’t go the way of money from the dirty coal present: down the same black hole.
As we were led to regard a virus as an existential threat to health, so we’re led to regard climate as an existential threat to humanity. Get people to believe what they’re told and they’ll run to do as they’re told. The bigger the nonsensical scare, the taller the story you can get sheeple to swallow.
COVID is more about the power to control people than about health. Climate is more about the power to reset the economic system than about science. And the stakes couldn’t be higher. Individual liberty is at stake. Freedom of association and movement and letting people escape control at home are not only incompatible with using COVID to end liberty, but they are also antithetical to the left’s promised green utopia.
No wonder the doomsday crowd doesn’t take dissent very well. “If you cannot prove a man wrong,” said Oscar Wilde, “don’t worry. You can always call him names.” Names like “climate-denier,” “anti-science,” and “conspiracy theorist” would tinkle Oscar pink.
Never mind the impossible nonsense of a 1.5° C temperature target. The climate-obsessed are hoisted by their own petard. If they’re telling the truth that now really is “our last chance to save the planet,” then COP26’s failure to get countries to commit to reducing emissions to rescue the planet leaves us asking what the point is of going on with COPs and debating draft texts littered with 373 square brackets denoting areas of disagreement?
It makes ‘Orwellian’ obsolete as an adjective.
Steve Apfel is an economist and costing specialist, but most of all a prolific author of fiction and non-fiction. His blog, ‘Balaam’s curse,’ is followed in more than 15 countries.
Image by Andrea Widburg.
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