The Guardian seems to be going overboard on the legal approach to saving the planet.

It’s not enough that 80% of the world’s population believes that we’re faced with a climate emergency, and that every government, every international agency, and every scientific body on the planet is determined to eradicate the danger of climate catastrophe. Having suborned the scientists, the media, academia and every political party on the planet, the Guardian is now calling in the lawyers. 

Today they launch a new series of articles under the heading “Climate Crimes – investigating how the fossil fuel industry contributed to the climate crisis and lied to the American public. ”

“Climate Crimes” is an offshoot of theguardianorg

a “charitable organisation” whose mission is “to advance and inform public discourse around the most pressing issues of our time” and “support projects aimed at strengthening the capacity of independent news organisations to .. create sustainable business models.”

Among their “partners” are; Conrad N. Hilton Foundation, the David and Lucile Packard Foundation, the Aga Khan Foundation, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, and the Oak Foundation. Other contributors include: Abby Rockefeller, the Rockefeller Family Foundation, the Jewish Communal Fund, the Houston Jewish Community Foundation, and Zipporah Schefrin. (I mention Zipporah because of the odd name, and sure enough, Google knows only the one, and a great lady she seems to be, having given generously to the Brooklyn Museum, the Yale University Art Gallery, and the Metropolitan Museum. Only thing is, Zipporah died in 2011, and is in no position to donate money to a good cause like theguardianorg.)

Among the journalistic projects that theguardianorg has supported are:

– Climate Change in the US: the dangers and the solutions

– Environment, climate change, and energy reporting at Guardian US 

– Antiracism and America

– Age of Extinction

– Feminist Economics, Genderqueer generation

– This Land is Your Land

(I checked outthe latter, and, no, it’s not about Palestine, which presumably doesn’t figure as one of “the most pressing issues of our time.”)

Their “sustainable business model” seems to involve siphoning money off dead American billionaires (plus the Aga Khan and Bill & Melinda Gates) to pay for the contributions of stringers who parrot exactly the same garbage as the Guardian’s “ten or eleven” (ex-editor Rusbridger’s estimate) environmental journalists used to do on regular salaries. And to do this they’ve set up a charitable organisation which employs eight full-time staff. Well, if it’s sustainable, it must be good – as long as it lasts.

Relevant Aside: Every Guardian article I read has appended to it a homily such as the following:

… as you join us today from France, we have a small favour to ask. You’ve read 1537 articles in the last year [sometimes the number is 340, or 621, but the Graun was never very good with figures] making you one of our top readers globally. […]With no shareholders or billionaire owner, we and set our own agenda, and provide trustworthy journalism that’s free from commercial and political influence, offering a counterweight to the spread of misinformation.

Free from commercial and political influence?” The Guardian’s unique selling point is that, instead of being financed by shareholders or a billionaire owner, it’s financed by dozens of billionaire owners. The people behind the foundations financing Guardian journalism, from the Aga Khan to dear Zipporah Schefrin, to the Bill (ex Bill and Melinda) and Melinda (ex Melinda and Bill) Foundations all have this in common – that they’re all stinking rich. I mean, beyond-the-dreams-of-Croesus, free-to-bend-the-frail-organs-of-civil-society-to-their-will stinking rich. If that’s “free from commercial and political influence,” then I’m a Russian nihilist and there’s nothing to be done but to assassinate the sympathique idealistic young multi-ethnic staff of theguardianorg before they can do any real harm.

Where was I?

Oh yes, among theguardianorg‘s projects is the Guardian’s new series of articles under the heading of “Climate Crimes.” Climate Crimes kicked off its Rockefeller-financed independent journalism with six articles, all published at 8am this morning, one of them being this explanatory introduction:

Climate crimes: a new series investigating big oil’s role in the climate crisis – A new Guardian series examines attempts to hold the fossil-fuel industry accountable for the havoc they have created.”

Under an illustration of a jerrycan of “gasoline” belching smoke, attached to a pair of handcuffs (wt f***ing f?) the unsigned article begins:

As the impacts of the climate crisis multiply across the US, from intensified drought and wildfires in the west to stronger hurricanes in the east, a question is echoing ever louder: who should be held responsible? According to an unprecedented number of lawsuits filed by US cities and states that are currently making their way through the court system, the answer is fossil fuel companies. The lawsuits marshal a sweeping array of well-established facts that detail how for decades, major petroleum corporations knew that burning fossil fuels wreaked havoc on the environment. Industry elites heard dire warnings from their own scientists who predicted the urgency of the climate crisis nearly 60 years ago

“Nearly 60 years ago” suggests to me circa 1962, but the linked article refers to an article from 1958, more than a decade before scientists started worrying about global cooling. And the “dire warnings from their own scientists” were about the now well-known side effects of our fossil fuel economy, namely smog, pollution of rivers, etc. with much honest discussion of oxides of nitrogen and sulphur, ozone, etc.

The Guardian is linking to an honest scientific paper by oil company scientists attempting in 1958 to assess the dangers of pollution from carbon-based products, and suggesting (falsely) that it is hiding the dangers of CO2. The article never mentions CO2, or the climate, or global warming. It attempts honestly, (and no doubt with the interests of its employers in mind) to tackle a real problem. 

The Guardian’s systematic lying about the sources it links to recalls the efforts of the Nazis to systematically bend a tired, boring anti-Semitic strain of German neo-Darwinist thought to the service of their fantasies. There’s an Enemy, and it’s been Corrupting Our Politics for Too Long. 

Climate Hysteria, as presented at the Guardian, has nothing in common with Fascism, which was an aggressive assertion of national power, but much in common with the roots of National Socialism – which was the reaction of a highly educated middle class to their humiliation on the international stage. What’s the point of being among the most sophisticated beings on the planet (in Berlin or Vienna in 1930, or London or New York in 2021) if the Poles or Czechs (or Afghans or Chinese) don’t respect you?

This post was originally to be about two of the introductory articles in the Climate Crime series, namely:

The climate crisis is a crime that should be prosecuted”

By Mark Hertsgaard 

and

Big oil and gas kept a dirty secret for decades. Now they may pay the price”

By Chris McGreal

An analysis of these two articles will follow soon. Note that the key document cited in the above articles to establish the guilt of the companies who have provided us with fuel, lubricants, and plastics for the past century or more is by Cook, Lewandowsky, Oreskes and Maibach. At least three of these four authors are proven liars. Any prosecution based on evidence such as this should be guaranteed to fail in any court on the planet. We need to make sure this happens.

25 Comments

  1. Should I apologise for the above over-the-top rant? Probably, since it weakens our authority to have a self-confessed loony like me on board. But (speaking honestly for a moment, and not reasonably, what is the correct tone to adopt when addressing people who think that oil companies hid the fact that they “knew that burning fossil fuels wreaked havoc on the environment” and “predicted the urgency of the climate crisis nearly sixty years ago,” and who cite in support of their claim a paper in which oil companies openly discuss the environmental damage they’re causing, and don’t mention CO2 or the climate at all?

    I’ve never got into an argument with an Amish, but I bet that when they defend their attachment to a 17th century way of life, they cite the bits of Scripture that support their claims, and not the bits that demonstrate that they’re talking bollocks. But they don’t have the support of 600 media outlets, dozens of dead billionaires, and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.

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  2. As a Monday to Friday Guardian reader I feel the overwhelming need to confess and atone for any grievous sins I may have committed as an employee of American and Canadian oil companies in the late 1970s and early 1980s. It goes without saying that I must be guilty of contributing to the finding of new oil and gas deposits the use of which (by others) have caused untold harm by the raising of global temperatures, the wholesale raising of sea levels and multitudinous other harms.

    But I knew nutting guv about any climate change.

    But what I don’t understand is why others who invented things so that the hydrocarbons were used more and more, so polluting our pristine planet. Why isn’t the mighty investigative arm of the Guardian after those bods? Why aren’t the Germans being reviled for inventing an internal combustion engine, and the Americans for devising the assembly line, so inducing so many innocents to purchase their planet-wrecking transportation devices. Statues of Daimler and Ford should fall!

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  3. Haven’t checked out the articles yet, but it’s hard to see where they could go legally on this. The campaign in the US to prosecute Exxon via this angle, after some years of twisting and turning to try and maintain some credible legal pressure, not only fell apart, but spectacularly so and opening the gaggle of US AGs pursuing it to counter-claims of malpractice. The utter lack of evidence that you note above, even with a strong cultural wind raising bias everywhere, cannot in the end cut it unless the whole of the Law is effectively already overthrown. While it’s true that other cases with a historic angle are still making their way through the courts in the US and elsewhere, afaik they’re not likely to do much better.
    https://nypost.com/2019/12/14/exxons-big-court-win-exposes-major-malpractice-in-the-new-york-attorney-generals-office/

    There’s much more mileage in prosecuting governments (or indeed oil or other companies, as the Grauniad mentions) for future ‘climate unfriendly’ acts such as building airports, given that many governments are indeed blithely passing NetZero aligned legislation that leaves them open to exactly this. But the legal basis for such is entirely different and looking forward not retrospectively. Most of the ‘Exxon knew’ angle related by the Grauniad has already been exercised and legally failed. And I note that the Cook et al paper was first published 2 months before Exxon’s big win in 2019.

    I suppose that, given core cultural narratives are false anyhow, omitting the fact that this angle has already been shown to be wrong in law and is unlikely to reverse that outcome in any significant way, is just one more blatant untruth to add to the pile. IOW this is not about expecting to win, but about demonization in the public eye; getting the mud to stick even if the accused ‘technically’ get off. The law professor quote in the Grauniad article essentially acknowledges this: “Even if they’ve got a pretty good chance of winning the litigation in places, the discovery of pretty clearcut wrong doing – that they knew their product was bad and they were lying to the public – really weakens the industry’s ability to resist legislation and settlements.” Even if thrown out of court, the ‘clearcut wrong doing’ is defined by the moral position of the culture, not by the outcome in Law or by any evidence.

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  4. Geoff, I haven’t argued with one of the Amish either, but there are many other “cults” with similar beliefs and customs across the USA. I do recall discussing serious matters with one of them during a long coach journey. Very odd. He was a palaeontologist working in a research centre for the oil company I worked for. He didn’t believe in evolution but did believe that the Earth only had a biblical lifespan being a matter of only a few thousand years old. When I expressed amazement that he had been university trained to be a palaeontologist which I thought required him to believe in slow evolution of the critters he was using to correlate rocks in our company’s exploratory wells and from this the great length of geological time, his response was unarguable. He stated that God had placed the critters in the wells for believers like him to use. No appeal to radioactive decay dating or any other means of establishing greater than biblical age for the Earth got any purchase. They were brushed aside using his religious belief.
    After a short time, I gave up and the rest of our journey was spent profitably discussing American Football.

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  5. “…his response was unarguable. He stated that God had placed the critters in the wells for believers like him to use.”

    This is what social psychologist Dan Kahan calls ‘knowing disbelief’. I.e. a cultural bias is so strong that in some even with expert subject knowledge, it causes them to disbelieve the founding principles of that knowledge.

    It definitely exists. Kahan quotes the case of some Muslim doctors who similarly to above disbelieve evolutionary principles despite using them in advanced medical fields. However, Kahan at one point tried to employ this angle to explain the bulk scepticism of climate calamity within publics. The problem being that publics are essentially climate-illiterate; hence there is no ‘knowing’ side for the ‘knowing disbelief’ to work on anyhow. Kahan focuses on the US, and in this context I pointed out that Rep / Con bulk scepticism of climate calamity is not ‘knowing disbelief’, but simple disbelief of something their cultural team disapproves of, as indeed Dem / Lib support for same is simple belief of something their cultural team approves of; neither side are working from significant knowledge. To his credit he did say he didn’t have the evidence yet for a persuasive case. (He tried to demonstrate that mid-West US farmers have expert climate knowledge by virtue of their profession and ‘know’ it’s a problem, yet still reject calamity. But the evidence he called up shows only that farmers adapt to whatever is going on as they always have, hence improving continuously while also coping with every kind of weather trend across centuries).

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  6. The trouble with the courts is that they are a law unto themselves.

    Just ask OJ and Bill Cosby.

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  7. I don’t know what the handcuffs are doing on the gas can, especially as they don’t have teeth so probably can’t be locked (pretend bondage cuffs?), but the can itself was made by Blitz USA, which was America’s biggest gas-can manufacturer until 2012, when it declared bankruptcy to protect itself from what were described (not just by Blitz) as frivolous lawsuits, so it is a handy symbol of the damage that lawsuits can inflict upon evil capitalists involved in the evil fossil-fuel industry.

    (The lawsuits were about people who had been killed or injured when gas cans exploded, allegedly because they lacked flame arrestors in their spouts. Yet it seems to be true that all or almost all of the accidents happened when people poured petrol onto existing fires or started new fires with petrol. I have scars testifying to how very stupid such behaviour is.)

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  8. ANDY
    The New York Post article you link to links to another article which explains the gist of the case:
    https://nypost.com/2019/12/10/exxonmobil-cleared-of-hiding-costs-of-climate-change-from-investors/

    It’s truly bizarre, since everyone agrees that it wasn’t about climate change, but about ExxonMobil hiding the truth about the cost of environmental protection measures from investors.

    Applying your principle that the actors in culture wars are unconscious of their own motives, I come up with something like this: “We, successive NY Attorney Generals and other right-thinking, progressive, environmentally concerned folk, have spent decades making life a misery for you, heartless polluting capitalists by piling on the environmental measures aimed at putting you out of business. By pretending to your investors that these measures aren’t hurting, you’re giving us the finger, so we’ll take you to court for depriving your innocent investors of information which is necessary for them to maximise their investment opportunities.”

    It’s a bit complicated, even for high court judge. The Guardian’s approach is much more direct, more aligned with the “ecocide” movement, in alleging direct harm from their activities – manslaughter, in effect. If, as the articles suggest, they’re depending on the old Exxon leaks, the case seems feeble. As far as I know, the Exxon internal memos essentially said, “The science isn’t settled, it’s a hypothesis, not a proven fact, let’s wait and see, etc.” Suggesting that’ there’s anything illegal in this seems tantamount to claiming that Exxon had no right to defend themselves from what were then hypothetical attacks.

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  9. So this is how it works:

    In 2004, climate scientists established a new discipline called Detection and Attribution (D&A) which, for the first time, enabled a quantification of the extent to which risk of extreme weather events had been increased by global warming. Someone decides that the implied culpability should be placed at the door of Big Oil and lawsuits should ensue. A primary factor in this culpability is that Big Oil knew they were having this impact from the outset but kept it quiet. However, it was only in 2004 that anyone had developed a means to assess the impact. So, unless Big Oil had invented D&A long ago and not told anyone, the accusation has to be a nonsense. The scientific development that inspires the accusation also proves their innocence.

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  10. Geoff: “It’s truly bizarre, since everyone agrees that it wasn’t about climate change…”

    Or… it’s very consistent indeed, since in the public domain at least *none* of it is actually about climate-change anyhow. It’s only about the survival of a new culture and the virtue-signalling of its membership at the expense of everything around it. But especially at the expense of those interests perceived as contradictory to the cultural ideals. Hence demonization of same by any means. But indeed you may be perfectly correct regarding how different groups such as the AGs or the Guardian, justify their actions to themselves. Albeit at a layer down from simply ‘saving the planet’. After all, when you’re fighting pure evil and you pre-know who is evil too, pretty much any justification is acceptable. And indeed it all seems legally feeble at best; if mud sticks that may not matter in the longer term though. Cultures are blind, they simply develop along paths that amount to ‘try everything’; big or small, daft or apparently cunning, and all at once. But via selection, successful paths (for the culture) will grow. And as John determines above, there is more typically little or no logic to the cultural onslaughts, which is rather an expectation for a populational entity with probably less core encoding than a cold virus.

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  11. I think the oil companies should get together and call their bluff.

    If they all refused to sell their products, on the basis that they didn’t want to continue destroying the climate, how long until the utter mayhem caused people to demand that the Greens pull their heads in? Weeks at most.

    Even if they seriously threatened to do it, say from the beginning of 2022, the government would be forced in to eithercompelling the oil companies to stay in business or giving them legal protection.

    The problem isn’t that the oil companies aren’t green enough. The problem is that they are too green, and therefore unwilling to actually flex their real power.

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  12. On 30th June, the Guardian had an article about new coal-fired plants being built in 5 Asian countries, and which included this:

    “Five Asian countries are jeopardising global climate ambitions by investing in 80% of the world’s planned new coal plants, according to a report.

    Carbon Tracker, a financial thinktank, has found that China, India, Indonesia, Japan and Vietnam plan to build more than 600 coal power units, even though renewable energy is cheaper than most new coal plants.

    The investments in one of the most environmentally damaging sources of energy could generate a total of 300 gigawatts of energy – enough to power the UK more than three times over – despite calls from climate experts at the UN for all new coal plants to be cancelled.”

    On the same day, the Guardian had a piece written by Michael Mann, which included this:

    “To an outside observer like myself, Australia’s approach is reminiscent of the what we saw several years ago with other intransigent countries – hesitant, stubbornly clinging to outmoded energy systems and unwilling to embrace the necessary and inevitable transition away from fossil fuels.

    The difference is now, the rest of the world is moving swiftly down the path of a renewable energy transformation, while Australia’s “leaders” are still bickering about which direction the country should go.”

    Does the rest of the world include China, India, Indonesia, Japan and Vietnam, and if not, why not? Unless one argues that artistic licence is reasonable in this sort of writing, then it seems to me that the two articles, which appeared on the same day in the same newspaper, can’t both be completely accurate. Does the Guardian not employ fact-checkers or even editors, to check for consistency and accuracy of reporting? Do the Guardian’s readers even notice the inconsistencies?

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  13. The BBC is joining in – must remain in lock-step with the Guardian, of course:

    “Then and now: Arctic sea-ice feeling the heat”

    https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-57650226

    “In our monthly feature, Then and Now, we reveal some of the ways that planet Earth has been changing against the backdrop of a warming world. The shrinking sea-ice in the Arctic is not only a sign of climate change, it is causing the planet to warm more quickly. This is because more sunlight is being absorbed by the darker ocean, rather than being reflected back into space.”

    A special monthly feature about climate change…..

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  14. I suspect/know that Mark highlights the Guardian because the news organisation that produces it allows us to sample its wares free of charges. Other news organisations allow very limited access or charge. From my reading of weekend papers (Telegraph and Times) I judge they can be equally blinkered when it comes to matters climatic, environmental and dealing with future energy supply. In fact, together with the output from the BBC, for someone of the more sceptical persuasion it’s all getting to be slightly overwhelming. With the ramp-up to COP, newspapers are writing any old tat that supports the alarmist case and deliberately ignoring any counter evidence or argument. It’s all getting increasingly rather depressing. I read about normal weather variability magically transformed into arguments for humongous changes in climate, warnings of dangerous weather (when hasn’t weather been dangerous?) and demands for our governments to “save the planet” at our expense. Then I pick up my iPad and read offerings from Cliscep. My knowledge of the world’s insanity regarding matters climatique increases manifold and there is a tendency for me to sink ever further into gloom. This is not a new phenomenon, but COP-fuelled it has become more marked. Previously I would seek any humour I could find and sprinkle it across Cliscep and Bishop Hill. But Covid and the recent extreme focus of the media have rendered me largely climate humourless. I and many many others appreciated GolfCharlie for his almost divine abilities to cause us to smile, laugh out loud and sometimes ruin computer keyboards with spilled coffee. Oh, how I miss him/her.

    Early morning blues? It’s pouring down buckets outside and I had planed to garden. So very possibly. But then…

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  15. Alan

    You’re right on all counts. Much of the media is every bit as bad as the Guardian and the BBC when it comes to climate change, but I can access Guardian and BBC propaganda (for now) without having to get past a paywall.

    The rate of descent into climate madness is depressing, but chin up. We’re starting to see articles pointing out what net zero means in reality – great cost to people’s wallets/purses and massive (and undesirable) changes to their way of life. It’s only a matter of time before there is a voter revolt, and/or the politicians in charge realise they’re on a hiding to nothing if they carry on down this road.

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  16. My apologies Geoff. After years of reading Guardian extracts selected by Mark I automatically thought that your fine (but depressing) piece came from his stable. Actually my depression has largely been brought about by reading negative stories day after day in Open Mic.

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  17. Sorry Mark but I refuse to be drawn from my morning funk. I know too much history not to recognise that whole populations have been drawn to their doom despite their objections. Looking forward to a time when our populations revolt over changes that our “betters” argue are necessary to save the planet, could well be a pointless exercise.

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  18. Mark Hodgson (2 Jul 2021 7.39 pm)

    “Five Asian countries are jeopardising global climate ambitions..”

    Reading the beginning of your extract from the Guardian I thought: “Naughty Kyrgystan..” but it turns out to be five of the biggest countries on the planet, being ticked off by the Graun and Carbon Tracker as if they were wayward schoolboys.

    More and more I feel that climate hysteria is going to provoke grave problems of geopolitics, fuelled by the cultural and historical ignorance of the climate lobby, and the manipulation of their loony movement by the Dr Strangeloves currently in the ascendant in the West. Of those five countries, three were colonies of European powers within my lifetime, and two were “sleeping giants” we had learned to fear and mistrust. They are now thriving “successful” powers (whatever one thinks of their politics) on which we depend for a huge proportion of what we consume. And the supposedly leftwing Guardian and their associates lecture them in a way that would embarrass a colonial administrator out of an Evelyn Waugh novel.

    With forces on the right itching for a bust up with China, and forces on the left thinking that emitting CO2 is a crime against humanity, we could be heading in a dangerous direction.

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  19. MARK
    I read Alice Bell’s Guardian long read, which is actually quite interesting. It’s an edited extract from Our Biggest Experiment: An Epic History of the Climate Crisis by Alice Bell, and since she takes the story back to the seventies, when scientists were worrying about global cooling, she unwittingly reveals what an unscientific business it is. Take this for example:

    MacDonald was also a “Jason” – a member of a secret group of elite scientists who met regularly to give the government advice, outside of the public eye. The Jason group had met to discuss carbon dioxide and climate change in the summers of 1977 and 1978, and MacDonald had appeared on US TV to argue that the earth was warming.
    You might imagine there was some culture clash between Pomerance, a Friends of the Earth lobbyist, and MacDonald, a secret military scientist, but they made a powerful team. They got a meeting with Frank Press, the president’s science advisor […] After MacDonald outlined his case, Press said he would ask the former head of the meteorology department at MIT, Jule Charney, to look into it… [Charney] invited two leading climate modellers to present the results of their more detailed, richer models: James Hansen … and Syukuro Manabe …
    The scientific proceedings were held in the old carriage house of the mansion, with the scientists on a rectangle of desks in the middle and political observers around the side. They dryly reviewed principles of atmospheric science and dialled in Hansen and Manabe. […] The two models offered slightly different warnings about the future, and in the end, Charney’s group decided to split the difference. They felt able to say with confidence that the Earth would warm by about 3C in the next century, plus or minus 50% (that is, we would see warming between 1.5C or 4C)…</

    And lo, the science was settled.

    Alice and I go back a long way. She banned me from commenting at her blog for racism and sexism. She’s an interesting case, since as a historian of science, she likes to insist that there are always two sides to any scientific question – as long as one of the sides isn’t sceptical.

    Alan Kendall (3 Jul 2021 7.46am)
    No apologies needed. I’m honoured by the mistake. I’m just as obsessed by the Guardian as Mark is, for the same reasons. It’s free, and it’s the epicentre of climate hysteria, even if the virus is now everywhere.

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  20. Hello Geoff,

    You wrote, “Climate Hysteria, as presented at the Guardian, has nothing in common with Fascism, which was an aggressive assertion of national power, but much in common with the roots of National Socialism …”

    I am interested in your argument above because I am trying to understand the extent to which totalitarian, fascist and Nazi ideas have come to play a significant and sometimes dominant role in Western political discourse these last three decades. For example, the often overwhelming of the British media by climate emergency/change stories is reminiscent of the intolerant, totalitarian mindset.

    Perhaps I should not be surprised by these developments since green-related issues seem to be centre stage almost every day, and appear to becoming more and more shrill as we approach COP 26 at Glasgow in November.

    Over a decade ago Peter Taylor in his book “Chill – a reassessment of global warming theory” [Ref. 1] warned us that, “Green is fast emerging as the new Black” and “That the green economy will be wearing a black shirt is not yet obvious, as such things seldom are at the outset.”

    In short, we were warned long ago, but (as your article relates) perhaps parts of the press had already been suborned.

    Reference 1.
    Peter Taylor, “Chill – a reassessment of global warming theory”, Clairview, 2009, especially pages 14 and 367.

    Regards,
    John.

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  21. John Cullen
    I remember PeterTaylor’s book coming out. He rather disappeared from the scene afterwards, I think. (There was Climategate and Copenhagen to think about…) Another who made the Green/black comparison was Rupert Darwall in “The Age of Global warming” (2013) in which there’s an interesting discussion of the Greenshirt movement in the 20s/30s.

    I hope it’s clear that I do NOT think that the Guardian (or the BBC or New York Times) is run by Nazis. The similarities I was pointing out were rather with the kind of obscure intellectual pseudo-Darwinist, racist, anti-Semitic ideas that were circulating in Germany at the turn of the century, which are discussed inter alia in the early chapters of Ian Kershaw’s “Hitler,” which is why I was careful to use the word “proto-Nazi.” It’s still probably a bad idea to draw these comparisons, and I always regret doing so. Not just because of the Godwin argument, but because it distracts attention from the reality of the danger. Even the word “totalitarian” can lead us astray, because there are ways in which the Guardian’s politics (by which I mean the dominant centre left ideology in the Western world) are less “total” in their range than say, traditional conservative values (in the realm of sexuality, for example.)

    Any ideology on the rise will attract contradictory strands which are at opposite poled culturally. There’s a weirdo hippy Gaia-worshipping strand to environmentalism, just as there was a mystic teutonic mythology strand to Nazism. But it wasn’t Wagner-loving mystics who put into practice the brutal Nazi programme, but rather efficient faceless bureaucrats.

    A serious study of rising Green totalitarianism (if that’s what it is) might do well to spend less time on Thunberg and the nutters of Extinction Rebellion, and more time on the nice young people manning the thousands of green NGOs, think tanks and pressure groups. Scroll down “who we are” on any one of their websites and marvel at them.

    You say: “.. perhaps parts of the press have already been suborned.” My reading is that it is the press has done a large part of the suborning. I did a bad rambling article on the Guardian’s ex-editor Rusbridger some time ago

    Alan Rusbridger: the Graun’s Net Zero Climate Journalism


    in which I forgot to mention that Rusbridger’s decision to turn the Guardian into the flagship of the climate movement arose from a chance conversation with Bill McKibben. Of course, the same movement has taken place at the BBC, NYT, etc. so it can’t all be blamed on one chance conversation. But it’s fascinating to see how a movement which has suborned the politics of the entire western world may have its origins in the meeting of minds of a tiny number of influential people all living in the same socio-cultural bubble.

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  22. Hello Geoff,

    Thank you for your explanations and clarifications on which I would like to comment a little further:-

    1. I wonder, was not the first part of the process of suborning that which occurred within the editorial departments of the mainstream media (e.g. the 28Gate meeting at the BBC on 26/January/2006, or your example of Rusbridger)? This was in turn followed by, as you suggest, those media then propagandising their respective readerships and viewers.

    As the late Leonard Schapiro of the LSE warned, “the true object of propaganda is neither to convince nor even to persuade. But to produce a uniform pattern of public utterances in which the first trace of unorthodox thought reveals itself as a jarring dissonance.” [Ref. 1]. We in the West certainly seem now to have the required uniform pattern of public utterances from our politicians, media and, increasingly, from our commercial/industrial sectors [Ref. 2].

    2. Yes, I understand that it was not those most in the public eye but rather the faceless bureaucrats who performed, as Arendt put it, their ‘banality of evil’ for the Nazis. And today there are many people working in NGOs, university departments, and even within government departments [Ref. 3] to achieve their various green goals.

    While it is still a long road from the NGOs etc. to the faceless bureaucrats, that road could be travelled very quickly if the cancel culture of censorship is strongly coupled to the aforementioned culture of media propaganda.

    3. In short, we in the West are in a pickle that seems to be largely of our own making. There is perhaps a modicum of hope in that it is becoming clear to everybody that the Net Zero policy goal appears to be monstrously expensive and also technically difficult or even impossible. Thus politicians may start to shy away from both the policy and its less savoury supporters. However, that still begs the question as to how and why we got into this situation? The like-minded influencers in the same socio-cultural bubble that you have pointed to are part of the answer, but, I suspect, only part – albeit a very important part.

    References
    1. Quoted in Y. Varoufakis, “And The Weak Suffer What They Must?”, Vintage, 2016, at page 245.
    2. https://www.thegwpf.org/content/uploads/2021/02/Constable-SECR.pdf
    3. https://ref.org.uk/Files/performance-wind-power-uk.pdf at pages 39 – 40.

    Regards,
    John.

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  23. The Guardian (or maybe the Observer, this being a Sunday) is still at it:

    “Study reveals effects of extreme heat on tens of millions of Americans
    Research shows more than a quarter of US population suffered ill health last summer, and it’s likely to get worse”

    https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2021/aug/07/study-health-extreme-heat-climate-crisis

    The whole article is about deaths from heat, yet at the end they’re still pushing this:

    “A study published last month found that 9.4% of global deaths can be attributed to exposure to extreme heat or cold temperatures.”

    Of course, the words are technically true, but nobody reading the article could be left in any doubt that heat is the serious killer, and nobody would begin to guess that the study linked to shows that cold kills ten times as many people as heat worldwide.

    The article also says this:

    “From 1998 to 2017, more than 166,000 people died due to heatwaves around the globe, according to the World Health Organization – including more than 70,000 who died during the 2003 heatwave in Europe. ”

    No mention of how many people died from cold, so I followed the link to the WHO website. Surely they could be expected to provide some context and deal with the issue of deaths from cold? Nope. Not a word. The link takes you to a section of the WHO website dealing with health topics, and specifically to heatwaves. Right, I thought, I’ll go back to health topics and see which others it mentions, other than heatwaves. There are loads, from abortion to Zika virus disease (and obviously, including climate change). But nothing about cold. There is, however, a statement that “More than 166,000 people died to extreme temperatures between 1998-2017” and a link. That’ll be it, I thought, This will show that deaths from cold massively exceed from those heat around the world. Nope again. It links to a report by the United Nations Office For Disaster Risk Reduction and the Centre for Research on the Epidemiology of Disasters titled “Economic Losses, Poverty & DISASTERS 1998-2017”. Again, so far as I can see, not a word within it about deaths from cold. One could be forgiven that the UN and WHO are interested only in some problems and not in others that don’t fit their agenda.

    Like

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