I want to argue that the Covid-19 pandemic looks like a real crisis in a way that man-made global warming (AGW) doesn’t. And that our aim as climate sceptics should be to make AGW look like a real crisis.
Not to make AGW be a real crisis – that I think is not within anyone’s power – but to force our leaders to make it look like one.
Make sense? I wasn’t expecting it to. Not yet.
The obligatory Churchill
Most people would agree that the UK faced a real crisis in May 1940. Here’s a nice summary of one key thing that the man who became our leader that month immediately said:
First Speech as Prime Minister to House of Commons
On May 10, 1940, Winston Churchill became Prime Minister. When he met his Cabinet on May 13 he told them that “I have nothing to offer but blood, toil, tears and sweat.” He repeated that phrase later in the day when he asked the House of Commons for a vote of confidence in his new all-party government. The response of Labour was heart-warming; the Conservative reaction was luke-warm. They still really wanted Neville Chamberlain. For the first time, the people had hope but Churchill commented to General Ismay: “Poor people, poor people. They trust me, and I can give them nothing but disaster for quite a long time.”
That’s from the International Churchill Society. They’re experts, I’m assuming.
At the time, as this summary alludes to, not everyone saw the crisis the same way. Some felt that the real crisis was that Churchill had become Prime Minister and was not willing, like them, to sue for peace with Hitler. The crisis as Churchill saw it wasn’t a crisis at all.
And, in a way, Churchill agreed with them. He always called the Second World War ‘The Unnecessary War’. Hitler could have been stopped far earlier, at far less cost.
Blood, toil, tears and sweat
Let’s jump to May 2020. Boris Johnson is paying tribute to the British people’s sacrifice as he begins to lift the lockdown measures announced on 23rd March. (Is May the best month to choose? It has been a common theme this year. Please feel free to be my researchers.)
The British people have had our share of blood, toil, tears and sweat this year due to Covid-19 and, to a limited extent, according to the government, it’s worked. Situation normal for a real and ongoing crisis. Or something worse, as it was in August 1940. The blood, toil, tears and sweat had a long way to go to make it through to VE-Day in 1945.
I’m not saying that the Covid crisis is as bad as the one in 1940. I’m not even saying that it is a real crisis. I’m not saying, therefore, that I accept that lockdown and other measures have really helped. Take me as agnostic on all that.
What I am saying is that it looks like a crisis. And AGW doesn’t.
The emaciated dog that didn’t bark
Show me a leader who has said to their people since 1988 “We’ve all made a massive sacrifice to deal with the climate crisis. $1.5 trillion a year is a vast amount of money that could have gone towards reducing energy bills for the poorest and other productive uses. But at least we’ve turned the tide a little in 32 years. Here are some of the highlights of what we’ve achieved …”
Instead we’ve had a furious Greta saying that we’ve done nothing. And every leader seems to kowtow to this ridiculously false statement.
So, AGW doesn’t look like a real crisis. Wouldn’t it be helpful if it did?