It’s been noted in a few articles here that cracks have been appearing in the fabric of Climate Alarmism. Firstly among environmental journalists, even at the BBC and in the Holy of Holies of Guardian Environment, where Goldenberg and Vidal have admitted there just might be more to environmental activism than warding off a slow roast in a CO2-fuelled hell. The blogs of government-funded non-governmental organisations founded to rouse the masses have largely fallen silent since Paris, even during this, the warmest winter the Northern Hemisphere has ever known. And now even the Gotha of climate scientists is divided, with the great Mann pitched against NOAA’s Karl and NASA’s Schmidt in a religious schism that may yet shake the foundations of the Consensus Triumphant. It would be an exaggeration to say that Mann et al have nailed their opponents’ opuscules to the church door, but it must have been quite painful, nonetheless.
But one corner of the warmist world network has remained immune to the plague of doubt.
It won’t have escaped your notice that a wave of leftwing indignation has been shaking the political establishments of the West. For all their faults and differences, Syriza in Greece, Podemos in Spain, and the Five Star Movement in Italy represent genuine popular mass movements whose rise would have seemed unthinkable just a few years ago. Jeremy Corbyn in Britain and Bernie Sanders in the USA would have been laughed off as fringe figures just months ago, and now they’re tapping nervously at the doors of power.
However different these figures and movements may be, there can be no doubt about what propelled them to centre stage: the 2008 banking crisis; the unemployment and loss of earnings it provoked, the disgust with the reactionary policies implemented to deal with it; and – in the background – a slow burning resentment at decades of declining wages and job security, and the growing gap between rich and poor. That may seem like just another left wing rant, but you can read similar analyses from the likes of Warren Buffet, George Soros, and the more thoughtful journalists in the Telegraph and Financial Times. The super-rich are too rich; they’re driving the world economy over a cliff; and they don’t care.
Yet when you look at the statements at the politicians at the centre of this vast worldwide movement, what do you find among their most pressing concerns? – climate change and renewable energy.
I caught the end of the last Clinton – Sanders debate in Florida in front of a Hispanic audience. The biggest cheer I heard for Sanders (certainly not from a typical cross section of Florida Democrats, but rather from Bernie’s supporters) was when he called for a carbon tax and a ban on fracking. Why? When Corbyn faced Cameron the day after the Brussels agreement, after Cameron told Corbyn (who was wearing a suit and tie) that he should be wearing a suit and tie, Corbyn listed the things that the negotiations had failed to address, namely: “…climate change, the power of global corporations, cyber-crime and terrorism, and refugee movements across the world …” But the first among them was climate change.
It was Benoît Rittaud of the climatosceptique blog skyfall.fr who alerted me to the extent of this phenomenon in this article.
The subject, Jean-Luc Mélenchon, is the unofficial leader of the far left in France, and the fact that he is standing in next year’s presidential elections will almost certainly mean that socialist president Hollande will be eliminated in the first round, leaving France to choose in the second round run off between a right wing conservative and the extreme right wing Madame le Pen.
As you’d expect for a far left candidate, the problems that concern his electorate are unemployment, unemployment and unemployment, which is 10% and rising under Hollande’s socialist rule, while it is 5% and falling in Conservative-ruled Britain and Germany. Melenchon had ten minutes of prime time TV on the main evening news in which he announced his candidature, and what did he talk about? Climate, climate, and climate.
Varoufakis, the telegenic Greek finance minister who seemed at one time to be the only politician in Europe with the guts and intelligence to face down German financial orthodoxy, the Brussels bureaucrats, and the IMF, has formed a new trans-European political party – Diem25. Its manifesto rings out like a peal of bells above the turgid fog of Euro Büro-speak. It even quotes Edmund Burke, which is odd coming from a self-proclaimed Marxist.
The list of Europe’s woes echoes the famous “a spectre is haunting Europe..” which opens Marx and Engels’ 1848 Communist Manifesto:
At the heart of our disintegrating EU there lies a guilty deceit: A highly political, top-down, opaque decision-making process is presented as ‘apolitical’, ‘technical’, ‘procedural’ and ‘neutral’. Its purpose is to prevent Europeans from exercising democratic control over their money, communities, working conditions and environment.
The price of this deceit is not merely the end of democracy but also the dream of shared prosperity:
The Eurozone economies are being marched off the cliff of competitive austerity, resulting in permanent recession in the weaker countries and low investment in the core countries
EU member-states outside the Eurozone are alienated, seeking inspiration and partners in suspect quarters
Unprecedented inequality, declining hope and misanthropy flourish throughout Europe
This is stirring stuff. Maybe Boris could borrow some of it.
But when you get to the positive points, the list of things “we aspire to”, you get a long list of adjectives: “A Democratic Europe… A Transparent Europe … A United Europe and so on, and it’s not until adjectives ten to twelve that you get back to the economic heart of the problem. And what are you being offered?
– A Productive Europe that directs investment into a shared, green prosperity
– A Sustainable Europe that lives within the planet’s means
– An Ecological Europe engaged in genuine world-wide green transition
We know that ecologists are wedded to the far left like a tin can to a dog’s tail. But they account for a trivial 3% of votes, and they have nowhere to go but to the left. The surge of anger fuelling the current leftwing movements is about jobs disappearing to China, steelworks moving to India, and bankers’ profits winding up in the Cayman Islands. It’s about 50% youth unemployment in Spain and zero-hour contracts in Britain. One can understand that a Cameron or a Miliband, surrounded by Guardian-reading think tank wonks, might be misled into thinking that renewable energy, sustainability and a light carbon footprint are the path to the voter’s hearts. But Varoufakis? Corbyn? The French Communist Party? What’s their excuse?
Or is it just that left wing politicians, eternal cuckolds, are always the last to know?