Tim Montgomerie has some things to get off his chest on the arrival of Barack Obama in the UK in today’s cover article for The Spectator:
Nobody could describe Donald Trump as lacking in self-confidence, but the billionaire egomaniac is emotional jelly compared with King Barack. Even before he won the Nobel peace prize, Obama was telling America that his elevation to the presidency would be remembered as ‘the moment when the rise of the oceans began to slow’. He doesn’t have Mr Trump’s gold-plated helicopter, private jet, penthouse and yacht. But when it comes to self-reverence and sheer hauteur there is no one to beat him.
Someone who believes his political personality can reverse global warming will have no doubts about his ability to persuade the British people to stay in the European Union.
Sea level is known to have been rising steadily for 20,000 years, since the Last Glacial Maximum. To choose it in 2009 as the metric by which the healing power of the new US President should be measured, with a mere eight years to work his wonders, was, I aver, achingly dumb.
Cut to Judy Curry’s blog nine days ago. She’s delighted that her very own scientific society, the American Geophysical Union, has opted not to refuse further grants and donations from ExxonMobil. Under considerable pressure to take the other, more damning point of view. The catalyst for so much angry activism? A donation of $35,000 last year. Exxon’s turnover in 2015 was $259 billion. The estimated annual size of the ‘global climate change industry’ is $1.5 trillion.
So based on the AGU number the oil giant may not be trying very hard. And if it’s really been part of a 25-year-plus plot to sow doubt in the public mind about self-evident truths of climate, the conspiracy has to be viewed as a colossal failure. $1.5 trillion a year’s worth and counting. And, while we’re at it, the charge that extreme libertarians are at the heart of diabolical opposition to the angels of climate light also needs to face the $1.5tn. If you think this number may be a tad much, given current uncertainties in climate science, including societal impacts, guess what? You’re another right-wing libertarian loser. Let’s make it $3 trillion a year and fast.
My word for what we’re being asked to believe in both cases is ‘moronic’. Not that all those selling such pap are morons. Some are much worse than that. Orwell’s torturer demanding that 2 plus 2 makes 5 doesn’t care about the truth of the assertion, just the humiliation and brokenness of the prisoner. Not what we’d really want our idealistic young people to be imitating.
Words of glimmers of hope
As I was considering re-entry into the world of climate blogging at the end of last month two phrases from popular culture hit me hard within a 24-hour period. It’s taken a while to decode what’s what with these but I think I may now be able to say something vaguely useful.
Steven Spielberg’s film Bridge of Spies is easily my favourite since The Lives of Others around ten years ago. That romantic East German connection. Near the start of the film alleged Russian spy Rudolf Abel meets his US lawyer for the first time, who we’ll call Tom Hanks. Hanks explains that everyone else apart from him wants to see Abel sent to the electric chair. His new client takes all this in calmly, leading to a major motif for the film being introduced:
Hanks: You don’t seem alarmed.
Abel: Would it help?
Strangely enough this isn’t repeated here with climate alarmists in view but despondent sceptics. Clive James has the number of the other lot’s fear of death skewing things for themselves and humanity. I can’t improve on that. Of course if some of our opponents could achieve Abel’s supreme rationality in the face of highly adverse circumstances (as they see it) all the better. But the more I’ve thought about it it’s the despair of sceptics that the communist antihero is helping me with.
Because behind the moronic we meet every day in climate is something ruthless and inhumane, despite all its pretensions. Something winning to the tune of $1.5 trillion a year yet determined to make illegal even the faintest vestiges of dissent.
Yet Abel’s attitude is the right one. It doesn’t help to be alarmed.
As well as watching one film courtesy of Amazon I was reading their Kindle version of “The Fully Authorised History of I’m Sorry I Haven’t a Clue”. Indian giant Tata feeling the need to give up on the Port Talbot steelworks was the big (and tragic) news of the day. I got to the page introducing Humphrey Lyttelton, in a bio panel, like major Oxbridge comic figures like Cleese, Brooke-Taylor and co before him:
There’s Humph’s political baptism while working at Port Talbot steelworks, making the privileged Eton boy a lifelong ‘romantic socialist’. Then the Second World War butts in …
I’d read that before about Humph but forgotten it was at Port Talbot that his political affections were formed. Stunned, I felt the crying and ongoing need for compassion.
The Left has largely bought into the moronic in climate. But compassion – not least for those without electricity, as well as those losing their livelihoods at a plant in Wales that uses the same amount of power per day as the city of Bristol – is surely a crucial ingredient for restoring climate good sense.
And for realising what’s more important than climate. The story behind my current pinned tweet had such an impact partly because the young Yazidi boy reminded me of my son at that age. He has two sisters who I’m glad to say are thriving with all the blessings of the West. But, whatever some foreign policy leaders say, in their moronic way, this one photo screams that climate isn’t the most important thing. Not even close.