The rejection of Global Warmism goes official

What began with the release of the East Anglia University Climate Research Unit documents last fall has become, in a mere eight months, a global rejection and abandonment of Global Warmism. I wonder how the Warmists feel now—those people who said that anyone who doubted or questioned Global Warmism was a tool of evil industry, a hopeless ignoramus, or a person living in the Dark Ages? And have the people who religiously embraced this pious leftist save-the-globe-through-global-government fad, and then abandoned it, learned anything? Or will they automatically embrace the next salvific leftist fad that comes along?

Lawrence Solomon writes in the July 2 Financial Post:

Catastrophism collapses
G20 leaders in Toronto tried to avoid the fate of colleagues felled by warming advocacy

Last week’s G8 and G20 meetings in Toronto and its environs confirmed that the world’s leaders accept the demise of global-warming alarmism.

One year ago, the G8 talked tough about cutting global temperatures by two degrees. In Toronto, they neutered that tough talk, replacing it with a nebulous commitment to do their best on climate change—and not to try to outdo each other. The global-warming commitments of the G20—which now carries more clout than the G8—went from nebulous to non-existent: The G20’s draft promise going into the meetings of investing in green technologies faded into a mere commitment to “a green economy and to sustainable global growth.”

These leaders’ collective decisions in Toronto reflect their individual experiences at home, and a desire to avoid the fate that met their true-believing colleagues, all of whom have been hurt by the economic and political consequences of their global-warming advocacy.

Kevin Rudd, Australia’s gung-ho global-warming prime minister, lost his job the day before he was set to fly to the G20 meetings; just months earlier Australia’s conservative opposition leader, also gung-go on global warming, lost his job in an anti-global-warming backbencher revolt. The U.K.’s gung-ho global-warming leader during last year’s G8 and G20 meetings, Gordon Brown, likewise lost his job.

France’s President Nicolas Sarkozy, who had vowed to “save the human race” from climate change by introducing a carbon tax by the time of the G8 and G20, was a changed man by the time the meetings occurred. He cancelled his carbon tax in March, two days after a crushing defeat in regional elections that saw his Gaullist party lose just about every region of France. He got the message: Two-thirds of the French public opposed carbon taxes.

Spain? Days before the G20 meetings, Prime Minister José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero, his popularity and that of global warming in tatters, decided to gut his country’s renewables industry by unilaterally rescinding the government guarantees enshrined in legislation, knowing the rescinding would put most of his country’s 600 photovoltaic manufacturers out of business. Italy’s Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi similarly scrapped government guarantees for its solar and wind companies prior to the G8 and G20, putting them into default, too.

The U.K may be making the biggest global-warming cuts of all, with an emergency budget that came down the week of the G20 meetings. The two government departments responsible for climate-change policies—previously immune to cuts—must now contract by an extraordinary 25%. Other U.K. departments are also ditching climate-change programs—the casualties include manufacturers of electric cars, the Low Carbon Buildings Program, and, as the minister in charge put it, “every commitment made by the last government on renewables is under review.” Some areas of the economy not only survived but expanded, though: The government announced record offshore oil development in the North Sea—the U.K. granted a record 356 exploration licences in its most recent round.

Support for global-warming programs is also in tatters in the U.S., where polls show—as in Europe—that the great majority rejects global-warming catastrophism. The public resents repeated attempts to pass cap and trade legislation over their objections, contributing to the fall in popularity of President Barack Obama and Congress. Public opinion surveys now predict that this November’s elections will see sweeping change in the United States, with legislators who have signed on to the global-warming hypothesis being replaced by those who don’t buy it.

In the lead-up to the Toronto meetings and throughout them, one country—Canada—and one leader—Prime Minister Stephen Harper—have stood out for avoiding the worst excesses associated with climate change. Dubbed the Colossal Fossil three years running by some 500 environmental groups around the world, Canada—and especially Harper—are reviled among climate-change campaigners for failing to fall into line.

Not coincidentally, Canada has also stood out for having best withstood the financial crisis that beset the world. Fittingly, Canada and its leader played host to the meetings.

[end of article]

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July 4

James N. writes:

One of the hardest things to figure out about political leaders and Warmism is, did any of them ever believe it?

I have always thought, “No”, and I have therefore always believed that whipping up public concern about apocalyptic climate scenarios was merely a means to an end, the end being more central control and central planning.

This is an important issue, because if my hypothesis is correct, Warmism will simply be replaced with some new fraud, whether climate-related or otherwise.

Many conservatives and right-liberals are pleased with the demise of Warmism—but their pleasure may be short-lived, since the same old leftists will be back in business as soon as they figure out which lie to deploy next.

LA replies:

I’ve asked VFR’s leftist commenter Ken Hechtman what he thinks about James’s point.

Ken Hechtman writes:

As far as I know, the people who say they believe in global warming really do believe in it.

The first global warming documentary I ever saw was Lee Schnaiberg’s “Earth Changes” in 1989. His take on the subject was unusual at that time and it’s still unusual now. He found people who accepted it as a given that some warming and sea-level rise would be inevitable in the next few decades no matter what was said and done now. So his documentary was on “things people are doing now (and spending their own money on now) to prepare for the climate of the future.” There was one segment on the Army Corps of Engineers shoring up the beaches of Long Island. There was another about a farmer planting a peach orchard in North Carolina. The one that always stuck in my mind was about a BC Indian tribe that used their land claims money to finance climate-modelling research. They wanted to know what species of plants and animals would be living on their land in the next century. I always remembered that segment because of the incongruity of using space age technology to support a stone age lifestyle.

Jeff W. writes:

In response to your thread on the rejection of Global Warmism:

What many people forget is that leftism is not just a political philosophy. To my mind, it is not even mainly a political philosophy. Leftism is also a way of making a living and advancing oneself in society.

You and I do not know how to use government to shake down private companies. Leftists do. They do it every day. They are also experts in forming new bureaucracies, enlarging existing bureaucracies, and in getting government jobs for people. They are experts in getting government contracts. They know all the ropes in getting academic jobs for people. They also know how to manipulate the media to achieve these ends. They are experts in all these things, like expert chess players—except that what they do is a team sport. We conservatives are like people who don’t even know the names of the various pieces on the chessboard.

Global Warmism was supposed to impose taxes on gasoline, heating oil, and natural gas, allowing for the creation of millions of new government jobs worldwide. Thousands of lucrative government contracts would also be available. It was going to be a goldmine for leftists. But now that goldmine looks like it is played out.

But leftists are also like hotel burglars who walk down the hallway checking each door to see if one is unlocked. The Global Warmism door now seems to be locked to them. But they will continue to work every day to find new opportunities to enlarge government and advance themselves. It’s what they do for a living.

Posted by Lawrence Auster at July 03, 2010 08:34 PM | Send

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