When Marxist Physics Professors do Climate Scepticism

We quite often quote physics professors here, but not often physics professors discussing “the key role of maintaining dollar hegemony and the importance of the petrodollar to US global dominance,”or who argue that the US has an existential interest to ensure that opioid drugs are traded in US dollars” and who quote Albert Camus, professor Mike Hulme, and a Major General of the Chinese People’s Liberation Army as authorities.

Professor Denis Rancourt does this, and he does it rather well, in a paper published by the Ontario Civil Liberties Association entitled “Geo-economics and Geo-politics drive Successive Eras of Predatory Globalisation and Social Engineering: Historical Emergence of Climate Change, Gender Equity, and Anti-racism as State Doctrines” (April2019).

He is interviewed by Colin Todhunter at the leftwing site Counterpunch in this article which is reproduced at Wall Street’s favourite right wing libertarian site Zero Hedge here.

[Anyone who shapes their opinions in order to fit in with their world views, filtering them according to their political or other beliefs (as psychologists tell us we all do) will by now be thoroughly confused, and can stop reading, leaving the discussion to the adults.]

Here’s an extract from the Counterpunch article:

Interviewer: You discuss the need for states to ensure consent: the need to pacify, hypnotize and align populations for continued globalization; more precisely, the need to divert attention from the structural violence of economic policies and the actual violence of militarism. Can you say something about how the issue of global warming relates to this?

Denis RancourtIrrespective of whether the so-called ‘climate crisis’ is real, exaggerated or fabricated, it is clear, from the data in my report, that the ethos of global warming was engineered on a global scale and benefits the exploiters of the carbon-economy and, more indirectly, the state. […]

Carbon sequestration schemes have devastated local communities on every occupied continent. If anything, carbon schemes − from wind farms to biofuel harvesting to industrial battery production to solar-cell array installations to mining uranium to mega hydro-dam construction and so on – have accelerated habitat destruction. Meanwhile, economic and military warfare rages […] while our educated children have nervous breakdowns trying to get governments to “act” on “climate”.

In the early-1990s, a world conference on climate environmentalism was an express response to the dissolution of the Soviet Union. This was part of a global propaganda project intended to mask the new wave of accelerated predatory globalism that was unleashed now that the USSR was definitively out of the way.

Interviewer: What are your thoughts on Greta Thunberg and the movement surrounding her?

Denis Rancourt: It is sad and pathetic. The movement is a testament to the success of the global propaganda project that I describe in my report. The movement is also an indicator of the degree to which totalitarianism has taken hold in Western societies; wherein individuals, associations and institutions lose their ability for independent thought to steer society away from the designs of an occupying elite. Individuals (and their parents) become morality police in the service of this ‘environmentalism’.

What’s interesting here is not the standard Trotspeak condemnation of US capitalist hegemony, but the fact of fierce attacks on current obsessions with climate change, gender equality and anti racism being expressed at CounterPunch, which is one of the nerve centres of U.S. right-on lefty thought. But let’s look at Professor Rancourt’s paper, which is even better.

Part One is about Economic Globalisation, following the USA’s withdrawal from Bretton Woods and the fall of the Soviet Union. It has a number of graphs attempting to demonstrate that post-fall-of-the-Soviet-Union liberalisation leads directly to death and disaster. Basically, anything that starts to rise exponentially circa 1990 can be associated with anything else that does the same, thus proving (e.g.) that the use of glyphosate (Roundup) herbicide is a plot to kill us all from nasty diseases. This might be so, I wouldn’t know. But didn’t the ability to spot exponential rises due to new computery thingummies start round about then? If, in the nineties, you had a degree in epidemiology and several megabytes of brand new computer space, isn’t a recent hockeystick-shaped whoosh just what you’d be looking for? I’d like some expert comment on that.

Part Two, which is about Social Construct Globalisation, covers 28 pages, ten of which are about the climate change movement, and very good they are too:

The empire seeks to turn our attention away from actual crimes with actual victims […] and instead asks us to look up to the sky for the threat (CO2) that could end the human species, no less, unless we are sufficiently good, active, and cooperative.

This, in our opinion, is the process of how the global-warming “religion” was born. Like any proper religion of an empire, it must be taxable, exploitable by a large layered array of power players, and useful in motivating massive restructuring campaigns. The alleged danger must be gigantic, involving humanity and the planet itself, in order to focus attention, and for personal investment in the religion to be rewarding.

If there is any doubt of the potential for the global warming paradigm to in-effect be a State “religion”, even justifying war, the words of Noam Chomsky, spoken in 1994 to 1996 and 1999, merit being noted:

“—For example, suppose it was discovered tomorrow that the greenhouse effect has been way underestimated, and that the catastrophic effects are actually going to set in 10 years from now, and not 100 years from now or something. Well, given the state of the popular movements we have today, we’d probably have a fascist takeover—with everybody agreeing to it, because that would be the only method for survival that anyone could think of. I’d even agree to it, because there just are no other alternatives around right now.—”

Noam Chomsky admitting he’d support a fascist takeover – that’s the Noam Chomsky who wrote one of the best analyses of the anarchist defence of Barcelona during the Spanish civil war – that’s a quote worth verifying. [I’ve dropped all references, but they can be found in the original paper]

Rancourt supports his thesis that global warming hysteria was engineered as a response to the fall of the Soviet Union thus:

In a 2017 encyclopedia article, Mike Hulme writes:

“—The growing political resonance of climate change was partly explained by the dissolution of the Soviet Union between 1989 and 1991. Fears of Cold War destruction were displaced by those associated with climate change, prompting the observation at the time from cultural theorist Andrew Ross that, ‘apocalyptic fears about widespread droughts and melting ice caps have displaced the nuclear threat as the dominant feared meteorological disaster’..”

After a discussion of the machinations of the UNFCCC (Earth summit, IPCC) Rancourt comments:

The formalized institutional backing at the highest levels, the involvement of sectors of civil society (NGOs), and the media coverage, instantly gave the global warming narrative a large boost, both in the amount of scientific activity and in the cultural and media realms […] The said boost was artificial, in that the planet did not suddenly experience an onslaught of sustained climate and weather catastrophes in December 1991. There was no global change of atmospheric or climatic regime in 1991. There was no sudden increase in atmospheric concentration of CO2 in 1991.[…] Likewise, climatologists did not, in 1991, suddenly start using climate models to simulate the effects of increasing CO2, or suddenly develop more sophisticated global circulation models. On the contrary, radiative and heat-transfer atmospheric physics and global circulation models of the planet were essentially as advanced as they are today as early as the 1960s, and were being used to make essentially the same CO2-effect predictions as today. […] Coupling of the ocean and atmosphere systems was included in global circulation models in 1969. By 1980, detailed simulations of spatially-resolved earth surface warming were being produced. […] No one got excited about a coming end of the world whatsoever, not even when relative newcomers James Hansen and colleagues at the NASA Institute for Space Studies concluded in more alarmist terms in their 1981 paper in the influential journal Science:

“—The global warming projected for the next century is of almost unprecedented magnitude…”

Likewise, climate and environmental scientists did not flock to research the coming CO2- induced possible end of the world. This flocking of direction in scientific research did not occur until the UN’s post-Soviet-Union new-found UNFCCC concern to “stabilize greenhouse gas concentrations in the atmosphere at a level that would prevent dangerous anthropogenic interference with the climate system”, and until the media hype surrounding the Earth Summit.

There follow long analyses of the timing of awareness of climate change / global warming and such spinoffs as carbon trading, based on word searches (not my favourite social science tool) in the scientific and official literature, as well in as in various popular media, with a useful summary awkwardly sandwiched in the middle:

In summary, all the reviewed data shows that “global warming” suddenly became “a thing”, both in the general culture and in the science community, when the UNFCCC and Earth Summit said it was a thing. Both the UNFCCC and Earth Summit were organized immediately following the fall of the Soviet Union. This sudden “turning on” of “awareness” regarding an impending end of the human species from increasing atmospheric CO2 occurred at this late time even though virtually all the relevant science and its predictions (with the same limitations as today) had already been done and communicated by the end of the 1960s…

Rancourt then turns to the “Emergence of gender-equity and anti-racism as state doctrines in the post-Soviet-Union era”and rather oddly begins this equally interesting section with an excellent summary of the previous one:

Global warming is a powerful state-religion that has siloed concern and individual emotional investment away from the violence of globalization and class exploitation, including actual environmental destruction in the immediate environments of many communities, towards a diffuse danger for which everyone, and therefore no one, is responsible. It serves to appease the consciences of the professional-class collaborators, and of middle-class individuals who are vulnerable to privilege-guilt.

The whole paper is well worth reading. As I’ve indicated briefly above, I’m not sure he’s entirely proved his case that climate change hysteria stems entirely or largely from a conscious attempt by our masters to manage the post-Soviet world, but a profound and detailed analysis on a leftwing blog of climate change hysteria by a Marxist professor of Physics is a rare enough occurrence that we can at least salute it as Dr Johnson saluted the first inroads of feminism into organised religion: “Sir, a woman’s preaching is like a dog’s walking on his hind legs. It is not done well; but you are surprised to find it done at all.”


  1. Well, certainly interesting. But notwithstanding from your excerpts Rancourt seems to have incidentally got some things right, such as the religious (aka cultural) nature of climate catastrophism, and a new space at the top table of competing cultural drives after the fall of the USSR, the overall impression is one of a monster sized conspiracy theory. And one which conveniently explains why the older set of values he appears so invested in, such as ‘class exploitation’ or the ‘structural violence of economic politics’, are no longer the emotive top guns they used to be, yet critically, in a manner that does not actually demote them. So, all the new stuff is deliberately ‘engineered’, to hide that which is still is the most critical. Yeah, right. Cultures are emergent, not engineered, as is historically very clear regarding the main standard he uses to compare with, i.e. religions. Such conscious engineering as may take place in nascent stages is soon lost in the noise as emotive selection steers the culture. And given that allies and enemies occur ad-hoc according to local conditions, at least until the local areas all start to join up (for a successful global culture), then e.g. the climate culture can indeed be allied with the political left (as in the US), or the centre-right (as in Germany), or have the blessing of religion (e.g. per the Pope), or its determined opposition (e.g. per some evangelicals such as the Cornwall alliance). And any other alliance or opposition anywhere else. When a new culture pushes into the pack, it necessarily alters the whole landscape as all the others track the best new course for their interests. At the level of (prior) culturally committed individuals, this means seeing at least some personal interpretations that could come from all over the map, while the dust settles anyhow and before the relationships become more stable (lets hope this never happens regarding catastrophic climate culture, as that means it will have become a long term global player).

    Liked by 2 people

    As always, I’m delighted to see your analysis of an article, subsuming its thesis under a much more general, abstract analysis (and amazed at how you do it so fast.) Then I wonder: what exactly are you saying that refutes or throws light on the thesis presented?

    The essence of your comment seems to be that:
    1) Rancourt is presenting a conspiracy theory
    2) Rancourt is invested in an “older set of values”, “such as ‘class exploitation’ or the ‘structural violence of economic politics’” which “are no longer the emotive top guns they used to be.”
    3)  “Cultures are emergent, not engineered […] Such conscious engineering as may take place in nascent stages is soon lost in the noise as emotive selection steers the culture.” 

    1) Agreed. Marxism is a well-developed conspiracy theory. The first tentative steps at sociological theorising during the Enlightenment by Rousseau, Condorcet etc. were efforts at conspiracy theorising. Until then, for two thousand years, from Spartacus and Caesar’s assassins up to the early Russian revolutionaries, efforts to overturn a despotic system were conspiracies. Marx’s analysis of the conspiratorial nature of the hegemony of the ruling class represented a huge advance in understanding. For decades after, (up to the first world war and the success of Bolshevism in Russia) his followers could agitate openly as political opponents of a well-defined class conspiracy. It took a world war and 50 million deaths to temporarily stifle the idea of a class conspiracy to keep the workers in their place.

    2) Marxist slogans are no longer “top guns” as you say. Which doesn’t mean that the ideas of which they are the necessarily simplified referents are false. Time will tell, which, I think, is the sense of your use of the word “emergent.”

    3) One day I’m going to insist that you write us a whole article explaining the meaning of the word “emergent.” I always think I understand you, in context, but I want something more concrete than my intuition. Here you accept that something other than “emergence” – i.e. conscious engineering – “may take place in nascent stages.” Well, we’re in a nascent stage of something now, here at Cliscep, and busy fending off the day (as best we can) when we will be “lost in the noise as emotive selection steers the culture.” I read your comments as a Cassandra-like warning that we’re bound to lose in our modest attempt to be reasonable in an irrational world. Am I wrong?

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Blind hog finds some nuts.
    Glad that even a Marxist can see through the climate consensus.
    And yes, there is a global oligarchy, which follows oligarch principles. We have large players divvying up power in the always doomed hubris/delusion that they can impose a world order that funnels the moolah and power to themselves and their lackeys.
    As to the pathetic swipe at Roundup, as toxic as salt water, and ignoring the reduction in starvation, plague, weather deaths, increasing lifespans, reduced infant mortality, etc…
    Well he is a Marxist, which means he is a blind hog wearing welder’s goggles.
    But what a great article.


    Glad you liked it. To be fair to Professor Rancourt, I’ve no idea if he is really a Marxist. I was using the word as a kind of ironic insult, which is its main use nowadays, which is doubly unfair, because it’s usually used of precisely the people Rancourt is attacking.


  5. “This sudden “turning on” of “awareness” regarding an impending end of the human species from increasing atmospheric CO2 occurred at this late time even though virtually all the relevant science and its predictions (with the same limitations as today) had already been done and communicated by the end of the 1960s…”

    We do need big thinkers like Professor Rancourt, even if their big thinking may not be entirely accurate. Their expansive commentary opens up the arena so people can start to see patterns and connections. The Prof posits that the fall of the USSR and the sudden decline of the threat of nuclear Armageddon sparked the emergence of the new global threat based upon runaway global warming from CO2 emissions. He may be right, but there is a more obvious point to be made: global warming did not become a “thing” in the science community and wider society until global warming happened. Warming began in earnest only after 1976 and indeed, during the 1960s, when much of the foundation science was laid, the world was cooling – not an ideal circumstance in which to erect a fear-based cultural hegemony based upon runaway global warming! There is in fact the hint that during the 1970s global cooling scare, the establishment was preparing an alternative fear-based scenario based on the science of anthropogenic aerosol cooling – the general idea being that aerosols from the burning of fossil fuels were going to propel us rapidly into a new ice age . . . . . if we didn’t stop burning fossil fuels and dismantle the oil-based industrial/capitalist economy. Then rapid warming happened and the message became: the world will burn to a crisp . . . . . . if we didn’t stop burning fossil fuels and dismantle the oil-based industrial/capitalist economy!

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Why be amazed at an ordinary comment based upon your excerpts? Surely we are not supposed to present only specifically targeted and long brewed white papers as comments to posts, or nothing; the other comments here are not white papers. My comment is informed by my experience, as is everyone else’s. This doesn’t grant it any particular level of truth, or untruth. It stands or falls on it’s explanatory ability, which is also the case for everyone else, and the flurry of real-time exchange is how we all get to see different viewpoints. It also means we’ll all get to see some mistakes.

    1) I didn’t mean (or say, I think) Marxism as conspiracy theory, although his ideological commitments mean some entanglement. I meant his particular personal conspiracy theory that new stuff on the scene such as climate catastrophism and gender equity, have been deliberately engineered to mask those issues he is particularly invested in. So I think you are probably agreeing with the wrong thing; Rancourt is indeed presenting a conspiracy theory, but at most only very loosely based upon Marxism (i.e. in the sense that Marxism for all I know may view everything not in line with its own ideals as a conspiracy), but it didn’t and couldn’t formally have conceived of issues such as climate catastrophism and other modern expressions. Also, the fact that there are and have been many conspiracies that are real and actual (such as the plot to kill Caesar), does not invalidate in any way that there is a class of theories which mistakenly views large-scale social processes as having focused and consciously coordinated deliberate intent as their main causation and development (which in the case of CC would now have had to be sustained over decades and enormous numbers of people, and in the case of the major religions, over millennia). Nor does this preclude aligned interests and some heritability of same.
    2) All core narratives generated by strong cultures are wrong; they arise via emotive selection (so not reason) to serve the (evolutionary advantaged) purpose of keeping the in-group aligned. This is incompatible with truth. So I don’t mean emergent in the sense that the most reasonable or most true concepts will rise to the surface. This is what happens when cultures *don’t* dominate (and indeed very fortunately, they don’t have things all their own way; albeit slowly, we are developing ways to grow out of them). When and where they do dominate, emergence is driven via emotive selection, which subverts reason. The process is analogous to selection in biology producing emergent species.
    3) See 2). And you could read some of the stuff I have written 😉 What is being engaged here at Cli-Scep is, for now at least, and notwithstanding we all (so including me), come at it with some cultural bias, not cultural in nature. This is clear because it lacks the single-most recognisable thing about an emergent culture – a policed consensus. There is no consensus here, everyone has a different take – witness this conversation 🙂 Nor does the fact that most commenters here hold a view that something is very wrong with climate catastrophism, in any way (to date) form a policed consensus. Some folks on both sides of the CC debate have bewailed this. On the orthodox side, because they complain they don’t have a fixed target to aim at and defeat – skeptics are all over the map, and on the skeptic side because some feel efforts are too diverse and fractious to succeed. ‘If only we could get behind one big idea’ they say, maybe ‘we could break the consensus’. IMHO this diversity is good, because it means one can rely upon the fact that culture has not staged a take-over, notwithstanding which, cultural allies of skepticism (e.g. Rep / Con culture in the US), must still be recognised and separated out as such; some of what they pursue against climate orthodoxy will not be sensible but a feature of their (conservative, not ‘climate skeptical’) cultural beliefs.

    “I read your comments as a Cassandra-like warning that we’re bound to lose in our modest attempt to be reasonable in an irrational world. Am I wrong?”

    Yes, you are wrong, this is not at all the case. As in prior threads I recall, you seem to be tending towards an interpretation of my views which says ‘culture is all’, and because it is largely autonomous and can roll over reason, ‘we are doomed’, and reason can never prevail. But it is very much the case that culture is *not* all, and nor it does not always prevail, and while it’s a continuous war, we have developed ways in which reason can still win out at large social scale despite the cultural instincts that for so long gave us a major (group) evolutionary advantage. One such system is called ‘the law’. Another is the enterprise of science. However, while culture is indeed not all (and even where it presides is not always net negative, especially for older cultures that evolve to be benign), it can be BIG and can come in waves that may be net pretty damn negative, at national or even global scales. These waves (temporarily, one hopes, and so far this has been the case at the longest scale) can subvert those very systems we have put in place to promote reason.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. “We do need big thinkers like Professor Rancourt…”

    I think climate skeptics need Prof Rancourt like they need a bling hog tied to their ankle. He may have found some nuts, but he’s still blind, and the hog can run off blindly anywhere with skeptics tied to it. Not to mention which, whoever holds the main rectitude in his long and fractious disputes with his employers, awarding everyone in his physics class an A+ irrespective of their performance, in order to ‘remove the instrument of power and oppression in the classroom’, is an act which I think can only undermine the enterprise of science and make it more vulnerable to cultural takeover (of whatever kind), no matter what his high and genuinely held motivations may have been.

    Liked by 2 people

  8. Andy, blind hogs can still sniff out truffles. I don’t mind being led to a few truffles, if that’s the case. For the record, I don’t fully agree with his analysis that the global warming panic was suddenly invented in 1991 after the fall of the Soviet Union, but he does have a point that it became a socially engineered state religion, backed by global financiers who saw money to be made in the global warming industry. It cannot be denied that there is an element of premeditated, deliberate, calculated guidance by state and other actors in the emergence of global warming science feeding into a widespread ‘concern’ culture. Social engineering is a reality. It was ironically Margaret Thatcher who was instrumental in putting global warming on the political map in 1989, in her speech to the UN, fully two years before the break up of the Soviet Union. She was the first world leader to embrace the supposed ‘threat’ to the world climate from industrial emissions. But even there, it’s debatable whether there was design in her madness. The Tories wanted to wind down the coal mines and develop nuclear power and at that time, the coal mining unions were a formidable force to be reckoned with. ‘Saving the planet’ might have seemed like an ideal excuse to curtail coal mining in the UK. Who knows, but I doubt her sudden embrace of the nascent ‘climate crisis’ was ’emergent’.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Jaime:

    Indeed one can agree with some aspects of ideas without needing to be tied to a hog. Look him up.

    “‘Saving the planet’ might have seemed like an ideal excuse to curtail coal mining in the UK. Who knows, but I doubt her sudden embrace of the nascent ‘climate crisis’ was ’emergent’.”

    Exactly! Which just shows how consciously made intentions (especially in their millions) can contribute to an emergent (and so not predicted) monster. Later (but before her dementia), she was adamantly against that which she had a hand in creating. No-one can predict where ideologically motivated actions will end up – but it’s not usually anywhere good.


  10. A couple of points spring to mind. The prof might well be right to say that there has been no real advance in climate science since the 1960s (and this seems to bear out my hunch that no one on the believer side is prepared to move (probably because of an instinctive need to cling to this climate blanket) from the rough average for climate sensitivity reached in the early 70s, despite all the statistical analysis done by Nic Lewis and co) and even the warnings from Hansen and co in the 80s had no traction. However, the conclusion that the downfall of the USSR was the cause of the climate scare stories seems wide of the mark. I personally don’t recall much about climate scares until Gore got going around the turn of the millennium.

    And then there is the much touted Thatcher intervention. 1989 was at least 4 years after she had smashed the NUM, so why raise the flag on climate change for that reason? Besides, the story of the NUM and coal mining is a little more complex than this story makes it seem. Pace Geoff, the NUM were not by the 1970s very interested in the “class struggle” if they ever had been, it was mostly about maintaining pay differentials with other workers in the power generation industry. Deep pit coal mining was, in any case, dying in the UK – Harold Wilson’s government closed far more mines than Thatcher ever did and yet the black legend of Thatcher lives on, even on this blog.

    Which leads me to to the intellectual incoherence of the climate-obsessed who, in the UK seem to be from the political left.

    Coal is evil.
    Thatcher closed pits and waged war on miners.
    Thatcher is evil.

    Global warming is evil and should be stopped.
    Thatcher warned against global warming.
    Thatcher is evil.

    The incoherence is such that it is hard to explain rationally. If she was so keen to close coal mines and halt global warming, why do they still want to urinate on her grave?

    The incoherence and the lack of real science inevitably draws you into comparisons with all those competing and warring protestant sects in central Europe in the 16th century, fighting savage battles over whether Christ;’s blood was symbolically present in the Eucharist or actually present or whether it was just a remembrance. If you don’t have the right attitude on all aspects of the faith, you will get torn apart, like Lomborg, Pielke jr etc

    Liked by 1 person

  11. MIB:
    “If you don’t have the right attitude on all aspects of the faith, you will get torn apart, like Lomborg, Pielke jr etc”

    Indeed. In any strong culture, as you note of bitter long-ago religious conflicts.

    Thatcher was steering in that direction by at least 1988, and the coal industry retained the potential to hold the country to ransom for long after this, notwithstanding the splitting of the NUM and the increased legal restrictions on union action. After all, they wouldn’t necessarily act legally. Imported coal didn’t exceed British coal production until 2001, and of course non-transport energy dependence on coal was still much higher back then. I think the motivation of preventing ever again a similar conflict was highly likely a strong contributory factor to her actions (bearing in mind the strength of her opposition may have obscured logic too), albeit other factors were no doubt in play.


  12. Re the history of the climate change scare and mission to reduce carbon levels, Richard Lindzen, in his paper, ‘Climate Science: is it currently designed to answer questions?’ (2008) looks at reasons why it is flawed process, namely as a process based on models, and how it came about, namely, as a consequence of 20th century politicization of science generally, and of Governmen tcontrol.

    Richard Lindzen traces the ways in which science has changed from its traditional practice involving ‘the creative opposition of theory and observation wherein each tests the other in such a manner as to converge on a better understanding of the world.’ He identifies, in the aftermath of WW2. a shifting paradigm from ‘gratitude’ for the achievements of science during the War and in the ensuing two decades, with the lessening of new discoveries, change to a new paradigm for the science community in the late 1960’s, a paradigm of ‘fear,’ fear of the Soviet Union, fear of cancer, etc. Lindzen observes that ‘fear,’ as an incentive structure for big government spending in science and expansion of bureaucratic structures for stakeholders, is more compelling than gratitude.

    With the end of the Cold War, there arose a need to look for other fear incentives, which soon put the focus on the environment. Enter, also left of stage, your Anthropological Global Warming, Climate Incentive… Climate Change Science, here’s a small and immature field of science depending on fear-based support, which makes it particularly vulnerable to fear-based corruption.

    Richard Lindzen points to ways this is actually taking place in climate science. One consequence of the big spending paradigm in science appears to be that less emphasis is given to theory, because of its intrinsic difficulty and small scale, and more emphasis, instead, is on model simulation, (which calls for large capital investment in computation) and emphasis on adoption of large programs unconstrained by specific goals. More to be gained by perpetuation of problems than by solving them.

    ‘In brief, we have the new paradigm where simulation and programs have replaced theory and observation, where government largely determines the nature of scientific activity, and where the primary role of professional societies is the lobbying of the government for special advantage.’

    ‘Perhaps,’ says Lindzen ,‘the most impressive exploitation of climate science for political purposes has been the creation of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) by two UN agencies, UNEP (United Nations Environmental Program) and WMO (World Meteorological Organization) and the agreement of all major countries at the 1992 Rio Conference to accept the IPCC as authoritative. Formally, the IPCC summarizes the peer reviewed literature on climate every five years. The charge to the IPCC is not simply to summarize, but rather to provide the science with which to support the negotiating process whose aim is to control greenhouse gas levels. This is a political rather than a scientific charge… That said, the participating scientists have some leeway in which to reasonably describe matters, since the primary document that the public associates with the IPCC is not the extensive report prepared by the scientists, but rather the Summary for Policymakers which is written by an assemblage of representatives from governments and NGO’s, with only a small scientific representation.’

    There’s a video I’ll look for by meteorologist John Coleman that locates the origins of the carbon global warming scare to a paper written by Roger Revelle in the 1950’s and his influence later on his student at Harvard, Al Gore which was later taken up by Maurice Strong and the UN leading to the formation of the IPCC and its mission to investigate anthropological influence on climate.

    Liked by 1 person

  13. ANDY WEST (15 June 19 11.05am)
    I merely said I was amazed at the speed with which you commented, given that your comment was complex and takes some thinking about. Your comments are often complex, and always interesting. I always get the general drift, I think, but frequently feel frustrated, feeling I’m missing something, and I genuinely want to know more. When Hunterson 7 says “great article” (meaning Rancourt’s) I say “glad you liked it.” Your comments require a longer reply.

    Thanks for your point 3) which helps a lot with the concept of an emergent cultural idea being identifiable by it being the subject of a policed consensus. I can also grasp your idea that some “systems” (science, the law) are outside (superior to? ) cultural systems (though I can see how this idea could be challenged.)

    Having waited in vain for over a decade for some sign that the climate nonsense might be stopped rationally, e.g. by scientists or lawmakers, I can now only imagine it coming to a sticky irrational (cultural) end, e.g. by a populist revolt of the yellow vest type. The Rancourt article is therefore a positive sign, it seems to me, that a similar revolt, however tainted by weird conspiratorial ideas like a fear of glyphosate and deep state machinations, is preparing within the academic/intellectual left. It’s logical, since in that world there are people who hate Goldman Sachs and George Soros more than they fear global heat death. May the dissension continue!

    I didn’t know about his fractious disputes.

    Liked by 1 person

  14. Geoff:

    Um… I’ve always considered myself a slow thinker. I mitigate this by specialism, but that probably means after years peering at certain knowledge veins I don’t express myself very well for a wide audience. Or I’m just crap at explaining anyway!

    “…some “systems” (science, the law) are outside (superior to? ) cultural systems (though I can see how this idea could be challenged.)”

    I think ‘in opposition to’ would be better, which doesn’t mean there isn’t infiltration in both directions.

    “I can now only imagine it coming to a sticky irrational (cultural) end, e.g. by a populist revolt of the yellow vest type…”

    I fear you are right. While dissension in the cultural elite is good, I doubt this particular bit of dissent will make any dint (the weirdness undermines it too much). And afaics the general trend is still towards more conformance plus more social inertia in the direction of climate emergency and the catastrophic, despite things like the Australian election result and the actual yellow vests. But who really knows how things will play out? Not me 0:

    Liked by 1 person

  15. ‘…plus more social inertia in the direction of climate emergency and the catastrophic, despite things like the Australian election result and the actual yellow vests.’

    so polarization is also increasing, which supports your assumption of increasing likelihood of conflict. The heavy demands of the GND and zero-by-2050 are not going to improve this!


  16. May I point out that CRU was founded as long ago as 1971, and from the outset had amongst its aims 1) to identify the processes (natural and man-made) at work in climatic fluctuations, and 2) to make advisory statements about future trends of weather and climate. To me this suggests incipient concerns about climate were sufficient to fund an entire research institute and decades before the USSR collapsed.


  17. Denis (2.14pm), glad you found Geoff’s post and liked it. Sorry your comment got stuck in the moderation system (any further comments will go straight through).

    Alan, in the 70s CRU was very small and one of a tiny handful of climate research institutes, right? The warming scare and huge ballooning of the global climate industry didn’t take off until the late 1980s, pretty much at the same time as the Soviet Union was collapsing. That’s probably just a coincidence. Or could it be possible that (1984 style) a new enemy needed to be created?


  18. This living fossil of a professor brings to mind a concept I have been considering off and on for a few months:
    That Marxism and Socialism, while bandied about a lot are actually dead ideas. The mere use of the terms, as badge of honor or indictment, is nothing like a reality of either actually existing.
    They have never worked and nothing out there suggests that when tried again that the results will be different.
    So perhaps it is time to start exploring what positive world’s can be built in a “Post-Socialist”, “Post Marxist” age?
    It will almost certainly not be Utopian (one desperately hopes).
    And Capitalism may play an all too small part.


  19. Paul. It all depends upon what is being discussed – concern about climate change by the general public or by “those in the know”. What I’m claiming is that government and several international oil companies (amongst others) were prepared to stump up necessary funds to establish an new institution with the sole purpose of researching climate. That to my mind establishes concern. When that concern translated to a large sector of the UK public I cannot be certain because I was living in a bubble. I joined UEA in 1989 and by then it was already one of the major universities to study climate. From the outset I did my share of interviewing candidates for undergraduate places. Even by then there was a contingent (perhaps a quarter?) wishing to study at UEA because of our focus on climate (or at interview they gave this as a reason for wishing to come to UEA) . Later, when I became Director of Teaching, I interacted with Directors of other university departments and discovered that they also, around this time, had experienced an upsurge of interest in environmental matters, including climate. Several declining geology departments rescued themselves by incorporating environment into their portfolios. All this happened before 1991 and the breakup of the Soviet Union.
    When and how climate change became significant to the general public I cannot tell, but measured by student applications, it showed no upsurge after 1991.
    It seems to me that the past months there has been a definite upsurge in the fear quotient. What outside factor is being suggested as being responsible?


  20. Picking up again on the global cooling scare and the element of opportunism in declaring a global climate crisis, dependent upon the sign of global temperature change, here is news of an article from 1971, 5 years before rapid warming took off, when the earth was still in the throes of modest mid 20th century cooling, and ice age scares were all the rage:

    “The world could be as little as 50 or 60 years away from a disastrous new ice age, a leading atmospheric scientist predicts. Dr. S. I. Rasool of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration and Columbia University says that…

    The scientist was S.I. Rasool, a colleague of Mr. Hansen’s at the National Aeronautics and Space Administration. The article goes on to say that Mr. Rasool came to his chilling conclusions by resorting in part to a new computer program developed by Mr. Hansen that studied clouds above Venus.

    The 1971 article, discovered this week by Washington resident John Lockwood while he was conducting related research at the Library of Congress, says that “in the next 50 years” – or by 2021 – fossil-fuel dust injected by man into the atmosphere “could screen out so much sunlight that the average temperature could drop by six degrees,” resulting in a buildup of “new glaciers that could eventually cover huge areas.”

    Hansen was at that time seemingly on the global cooling team. He switched sides dramatically in 1981 of course – 5 years after warming began. What’s interesting is that the article was based on a paper released that same day by Schneider and Rasool which weighed up the effects of both anthropogenic aerosols and GHGs from burning fossil fuels and concluded that aerosols would produce the greater effect – “catastrophic” cooling resulting in a new ice age.

    “Effects on the global temperature of large increases in carbon dioxide and aerosol densities in the atmosphere of Earth have been computed. It is found that, although the addition of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere does increase the surface temperature, the rate of temperature increase diminishes with increasing carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. For aerosols, however, the net effect of increase in density is to reduce the surface temperature of Earth. Because of the exponential dependence of the backscattering, the rate of temperature decrease is augmented with increasing aerosol content. An increase by only a factor of 4 in global aerosol background concentration may be sufficient to reduce the surface temperature by as much as 3.5 ° K. If sustained over a period of several years, such a temperature decrease over the whole globe is believed to be sufficient to trigger an ice age.”

    If that’s not evidence of hedging one’s bets and highly suggestive that the subsequent global warming scare (initiated in earnest after rapid global warming suddenly took off in 1976 after the Pacific Climate Shift) was essentially opportunistic in nature, I don’t know what is. You don’t need to be a raving conspiracy theorist to suggest the evidence points suspiciously in that direction. I for one am almost certain that, had the cooling trend continued, then CAAGC (catastrophic anthropogenic aerosol global cooling) would have become the ‘climate consensus’. Of course, it’s a conjecture which cannot be proved and of course, the principal cause of the post 1976 rapid warming (subsequently attributed almost entirely to GHGs) is still the subject of scientific debate (in isolated pockets of sanity).


  21. Alan (8:39 am): The dissolution of the Soviet union was signed into law in 1991, following its actual eventful breakup that concretely and visibly occurred in the preceding 5 or more years. There was an array of responses in different sectors of Western institutional, economic, and geopolitical activity, having different response times, prior to and following 1991. The dissolution was a global tectonic shift.


  22. Dennis. For the dissolution of the USSR to mean something to the population of the West (such that it influenced their ranking of the fear of climate change) it would have to have been an event that clearly signified the demise of the soviet threat. For me (and I think for many) this was the quick collapse of the coup against Gorbachev, followed by the breakaway of parts of the Soviet Union. This had special significance since I had just returned from a trip to the Urals where we had seen nary an indication of the imminent huge changes. Mind you, huge changes had already occurred and our conference was held in Perm, previously a completely closed city. Western visitors were a rare phenomenon, and stared at; we felt rather exotic.


  23. Just checked on Prof Rancourt at Wikipaedia and on his blog. He is indeed fractious, and not a Marxist at all, though at this short article
    he does say this:

    Three brilliant political theories on how to optimally organize and maintain society’s economic and power structures were described by Karl Marx, Adam Smith, and anarchists such as Michael Bakunin and Peter Kropotkin, which are, respectively: Communism (or socialism), Capitalism (not the present beast by the same name), Anarchism […]
    None of these models can result in a stable large-scale society because spontaneous creation and growth of dominance hierarchies will always occur, and the resulting dominance hierarchies continuously consume or destroy all the groups, associations and institutions that might enable democratic frameworks and islands of liberty.

    His first article on climate change seems to be this one from 2007 – well worth reading.


  24. Geoff, the prof self-describes as a (particular sort of) anarchist. If he’s still reading, maybe he’ll provide more on the on the ‘particular’, but anyhow see the very short 2009 interview here: https://chrisguillebeau.com/the-anarchist-professor-interview-with-denis-rancourt/

    Advice to avoid adherence to ideologies is good. Advice that systems such as education and the law perforce serve ideology (and / or oppressive dominance hierarchies), is not. (In the long-game, as noted above, these systems oppose strong culture and are responsible for the lessening, but far from defeat, of cultural grips. This is notwithstanding they can on shorter timescales be biased or subverted by culture. And they also erode dominance hierarchy – ask King John, and the Church). Granting everyone an A+ irrespective of their performance in order to ‘remove the instrument of power and oppression in the classroom’, is an ideological act. Noting the cultural (religious like) characteristics of the catastrophic climate change movement, as many others do and some even within the consensus, is reasonable observation. The proposition that CCC is a deliberate, consciously implemented project of social engineering, long sustained, specifically to divert from the violence of globalization and class exploitation, with presented correlations but not actual interlinked agency, is a conspiracy theory. Of course Rancourt is far from alone in assuming deliberate social engineering, although most who go in for a deliberate hoax cite money and / or standard socialist ideology as the underlying motive. A problem with deliberate creation and (essentially impossible) duplicitous long-term conscious co-ordination of reams of authorities, is that the adherents of climate catastrophism are spread over a wide spectrum of (non-climate) viewpoints (not to mention geographies), and any motive for creation from these may be nominated but the duplicitous aspect means that the critical evidence of coordinated agency would always be missing. Note the lack of conspiracy as main causation does not mean no agency, but many agencies; and main co-ordination is subconscious in culture. Quite apart from the fact that relatively stable democracies have existed for centuries, and that on the long timescale % deaths from war have continuously diminished (so at the biggest level of resolution, stability is always increasing), a policy of mistrusting essentially all social enterprises (afaics on quick scan) in order to better achieve stable large-scale society, would seem illogical at the very least, and quite likely to lead to particularly bad forms of anarchism (featuring violence). Notwithstanding indeed that excessive adherence narrow ideological plans does not produce good results either.


  25. Beth,

    Thanks for posting the Coleman video. I hadn’t seen it before. I spent lots of time down in San Diego around the time the Cosmos article was published.


  26. Andy West (11:29 PM): I have not self-identified as an anarchist for many years. My recent articles show this clearly, such as the one quoted from by GEOFF. I no longer believe in any form of anarchism as a viable socio-economic model. I continue to appreciate the great anarchist theorists of course and their criticisms of Marxism, etc.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.