July 17, 2011


Delingpole Takes On the Greens: When it comes to global warming, the issue is not about science, but about control. (Charlie Cooke, 7/15/11, National Review)

Having given up a career writing about “whatever [he] wanted to write,” he is now Mr. Climate-Change Skeptic. This was the “worst financial decision ever made.” So, if not for money, why would he do it? As the book’s title suggests, Delingpole considers the global climate-change movement to be not only wrong on the facts, but at heart a proxy movement that provides convenient cover for, at best, socialism; at worst totalitarianism; and, on its fringes, downright misanthropy. Taking a leaf out of Jonah Goldberg’s book, Liberal Fascism, Watermelons tracks the genesis of the modern Green movement to some vertiginous sources, whose aim is nothing less than the end of Western liberty. At the root of the problem, its author concludes, is the widespread belief among environmental advocates that mankind is a cancer, that humans are separate from and destructive of Nature, and that industrialization, capitalism, and democracy are fundamentally bad for the earth’s prospects of survival (hence the title Watermelons: they’re green on the outside, red on the inside).

It is, thus, not surprising that the former president of the National Academy of Sciences considers that he has “never witnessed a more disturbing corruption of the peer-review process” than that exhibited by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, because the issue is not about science, but about control, and the movement is populated by those “less interested in saving planet Earth, than destroying the capitalist system.” Is there much difference in the language and intent, Delingpole asks, between Green alarmists who want to plan every aspect of the “sustainable” future, and the Stalinist five-year plans and obsession with increasing tractor production?

Having laid out a case indicting — among others — the U.N., the Club of Rome, Rachel Carson, James Hansen, and Al Gore, and having made unveiled comparisons to the Nazi concept of Lebensraum, the author becomes self-conscious, as if suddenly noticing that he may appear to some as a conspiracy theorist, replete with tin-foil hat. To many he undoubtedly will, but he adroitly turns the anticipated charge to his advantage: There is a conspiracy, he argues, but the facts are in the favor of those cleverly labeled “deniers” (in order to link them to those who claim the Holocaust never happened). The conspiracy is on the other side.

Here he draws a comparison with the sinking of the Titanic, arguing that to claim that the facts are consistent with the global-warming theory in the face of overwhelming evidence to the contrary is equivalent to pretending the Titanic did not perish because it was, a priori, considered to be “unsinkable.” Laying out a damning history of environmental eschatology, he shows that none of the claims that have routinely been made have come to fruition. To borrow Mark Twain’s comment on the occasion of his mistakenly reported death, the rumors of apocalypse have been greatly exaggerated. Facts may be stubborn things, but the alarmists have managed to invert the usual burden of proof, requiring the impossible proving of a negative. “If there is only a small chance,” they cry, “then we should act now” — a serious misappropriation of Pascal’s Wager.

No, we should not act on the basis of a small chance, retorts Delingpole. It is when exhibiting his trademark sarcasm and borderline hyperbole that he shines, although he never gives the impression of being promiscuously or arbitrarily contrarian. Why, he asks, has not the Cameron-led British government embarked upon a “massive ray-gun building program” in case of deadly asteroid attack? Why not require all children to wear tin-foil hats in case there are aliens controlling their minds? Why not, indeed.

For all his wit, Delingpole has a key problem: He is very much preaching to the choir, not to the unbeliever.

...that there are multiple reasons to transition away from a gasoline-dependent energy regime irrespective of global warming. By doing so they would become influential in crafting sensible policy.

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Posted by at July 17, 2011 5:30 AM

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