This article, published at Toby Young’s DailySceptic blog “Does a Great Disappointment Await the Climate Zealots?” is quite simply the best general, non-technical article on climate scepticism I’ve ever read. It says everything I’ve been trying to say for the past ten years, and it says it in a way that anyone who isn’t cognisant of HADCRUT, GISTEMP, and IPCC AR6 WG1 can immediately relate to.
It begins with an account of the career of the 15-year-old 19th century Xhosa political activist Noangqawuse (the African Greta Thunberg) and then proceeds to discuss the BBC’s Jeremy Vine, the Guardian’s George Monbiot, The Nation’s Treasure David Attenborough, and His Highness the Prince of Wales – on the way revealing that the coming cost of Net Zero to the average family is likely to be over £100,000, (though it links to a GWPF article which suggests a figure of nearly £500,000.)
The article then makes the link to current events, and slides smoothly into a general discussion of mass hysteria in the following magisterial fashion:
The war in Ukraine has shot energy security to the top of the news agenda. The decadent assumption by governing elites across Europe that they could build intermittent windmills and get other, less-than-friendly regimes to supply the vital back-up power, is dead in the water. All the evidence suggests that the citizens supporting Net Zero had not thought they would have to pay much for it, or alter their own lifestyles. Only perhaps to be expected, since serial doomsday forecaster Prince Charles leads the way on virtue, but has shown no sign of giving up his own four magnificent residences…
It is more than likely that a growing number of people will start to laugh at the failed predictions, the shonky models that are always wrong, the ‘settled’ science notion that insults the intelligence, the constant virtue signalling from those with palaces and private planes, and the ignorant demonising of routine bad weather. A new ‘Great Disappointment’ could be on the cards.
[Note that the links in the above extract are to Anthony Watts’ WattsUpWithThat and to Pierre Gosselin’s NoTricksZone.]
before launching into a generalised attack on millennial cults:
In 1957, a group of psychologists led by Leon Festinger published an influential paper, “When Prophecy Fails“. This examined a small UFO religion in Chicago called the Seekers that believed in imminent apocalypse. Looking at other examples from the past… they found that a failed prophecy actually led many believers to increase their commitment to the cause and attempt to recruit others into their belief system. In this way the pain of disconfirmation was lessened…
And here is Chris Morrison’s pessimistic conclusion:
In the recent past, no matter what climate change scares were debunked, the movement went from strength to strength. In addition, the green cash running through subsidised technologies, countless public bodies including academia and well-funded activist groups is huge. Politicians like Boris Johnson have changed their mind once in the face of the relentless green propaganda onslaught; they are unlikely to want to do so again in the near future.
If Boris buys it, we all buy it. Unless there’s an opposition that doesn’t buy it. Which there isn’t. So we’re stuck with it. And with energy price rises in tens of a percent or more, leading to general hyperinflation, our woes will have to be blamed on something or someone, probably Putin, who has hypersonic missiles with atomic warheads which he’s indicated he’s prepared to use…
Climate hysteria, and its political offspring Net Zero, are cult beliefs leading us to economic and political disaster. As this becomes evident to people faced with impossible energy bills, the cult must inevitably fail. But will it fail disastrously, like the Xhosa’s attempt to fend off British Imperial rule by killing off their cattle and thus committing economic suicide, or will it fade away gently, like so many other harmless fads?
A couple of years ago I came face to face with one of these failed cults, and I found it most enlightening. We’d made a special expedition to Bedford to visit the town museum, which has one of the world’s best collections of English watercolours. The museum was closed, though its website indicated it should have been open. The museum teashop was open, but its Italian owners had no knowledge of whether or why the museum was closed. I noticed a signpost pointing to another museum, just across the road, so we went there, which is how I discovered the Panacea Museum, Bedford, England, which I heartily recommend to anyone passing that way. Entrance is free, and they serve a delicious tea and home-made cream cake, very reasonably priced, in a delightful garden.
The museum preserves the memory of one Mabel Barltrop, a 53-year-old widow who founded the Panacea Society in 1919, and cured thousands of sick people throughout the world by posting them pieces of tissue dipped in some miraculous healing liquid of which she held the secret. The museum possesses an impressive collection of letters of thanks from people all over the world recovered from a variety of illnesses, and a valuable stamp collection.
They say about themselves:
For ninety years, members of the society quietly lived, worked and worshipped God in their community. Although they took care to reveal little about themselves to outsiders, the Society’s name became familiar to many people beyond Bedford through their national advertising campaign to open Joanna Southcott’s Box, a curious icon of inter-war Britain.
And not just of interwar Britain, because Joanna Southcott’s Box is still there, in Bedford, and still unopened.
Joanna Southcott (1750-1814) according to Wikipaedia, was a “religious prophetess,” and Mabel Barltrop was the eighth prophetess of her movement. According to Wiki, Joanna was quite a gal:
She became persuaded that she had supernatural gifts and wrote and dictated prophecies in rhyme. She then announced herself as the Woman of the Apocalypse, spoken of in a prophetic passage of the Revelation (12:1–6). Southcott .. began selling paper “seals of the Lord” at prices varying from twelve shillings to a guinea. The seals were supposed to ensure a holder’s place among the 144,000 people ostensibly elected to eternal life. At the age of 64, Southcott affirmed that she was pregnant and would be delivered of the new Messiah, the Shiloh of Genesis (49:10). The date of 19 October 1814 was fixed for the birth, but Shiloh failed to appear, and it was given out that she was in a trance… Southcott died not long after. The “Southcottian” movement did not end with her death in 1814, although her followers had declined greatly in number by the end of that century…In 1881 there was an enclave of her followers living in the Chatham area, east of London, who were distinguished by their long beards and good manners.
Southcott left a sealed wooden casket of prophecies, usually known as Joanna Southcott’s Box, with instructions to open it only at a time of national crisis and in the presence of all 24 current bishops of the Church of England, who were to spend a fixed period beforehand studying her prophecies. Attempts were made to persuade the episcopate to open it in the Crimean War and again in the First World War. In 1927, the psychic researcher Harry Price claimed to have come into possession of the box and arranged to have it opened in the presence of one reluctant prelate, the suffragan Bishop of Grantham. It was found to contain only a few oddments and unimportant papers, among them a lottery ticket and a horse-pistol.
Southcottians who denied the authenticity of the box opened in 1927 continued to press for the true box to be opened. A campaign.. was run in the 1960s and 1970s by… the Panacea Society in Bedford (formed in 1920), to try to persuade the 24 bishops to have the box opened, claiming: “War, disease, crime and banditry, distress of nations and perplexity will increase until the Bishops open Joanna Southcott’s box.” The Society claims to hold this true box at a secret location for safekeeping, with its whereabouts to be disclosed only when a bishops’ meeting has been arranged. Southcott prophesied that the Day of Judgement would come in the year 2004… Her religious teaching is still practised today by three religions the Christian Israelite Church, the House of David and the Panacea Society. The Panacea Society are the current custodians of Joanna Southcott’s Box.
The charm of the Panacea Museum lies in the fact that the house remains in the same state as it was in the thirties, when it was prepared to house the 24 Bishops whose presence was necessary for the opening of the box.
The delightful museum staff seem to be descendants of the many disciples of Mabel Barltrop who flocked to Bedford in the 1920s, and who took up residence in nearby Albany Road, and the museum faithfully preserves the ethos of the time. Even the toilet has the same chain-operated cistern, which works every time, unlike the modern “press 1 for piddles, 2 for big jobs” affair, as recommended by far left environmentalists like ex-London Mayor Ken Livingstone, who seek to conflate the revolutionary theorising of a Rosa Luxembourg with the technological fixes of late twentieth century eco-conscious sanitary product startups, intent on limiting our consumption of everything, even unto the water necessary to flush away the detritus of yesterday’s consumption, in accordance with the rules laid down by the sacred texts of the Green Blob.
Sorry. Where was I?
At the time of our visit there was a special exhibition devoted to the Hairies. These were an American baseball team, quite successful between the wars apparently, who were disciples of Mabel Barltrop, and who, like the 1880 Chatham Southcottians cited above, never shaved. I tried to find out more, but googling “hairies baseball” yielded 25 million results, so I desisted. Imagine photos of ISIS members or Chechen troops of the Russian army dressed in 1930s baseball kit, and you’ll get an idea of the kind of culture shock which you can encounter when you go for tea and cream cakes in a perfectly ordinary English market town.
I can’t find a reference to this exhibition on the museum’s website, but I did find one to an exhibition in 2018 called “Anthropocene – Keep it Green” with, among the participants; the Precious Earth Art Collective, Kezabelle Amber, Performance Poet, Jane Perrone on Composting, and our old friend Rupert Read of Extinction Rebellion, philosophy lecturer at UEA, speaking on the subject of “Climate Change – Do we Have the Will?“
I like to thing that in fifty years time there’ll be a similar museum somewhere in England’s green and pleasant land devoted to Extinction Rebellion, containing the sacred relics held in Greta Thunberg’s Box, to be opened in the presence of twelve climate scientists, eleven environmental journalists, ten green billionaire philanthropists etc. With fair trade tea and organic cream cake served at reasonable prices by the elderly offspring of Guardian readers.
I like to think that, but I’m not banking on it.
Beautifully written, more like this please
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The spirit of Cliscep is alive and well. Thank you Geoff.
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” … on the way revealing that the coming cost of Net Zero to the average family is likely to be over £100,000, (though it links to a GWPF article which suggests a figure of nearly £500,000.)”
There’s this article informs “Reaching net zero to cost £3 trillion, says National Grid ESO”
For 28million households, that’s £100k/household near-as-dammit.
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thanks for the link Joe & for the post Geoff.
can’t seem to cut & paste from Joe’s link.
what a mess, wonder if the high energy prices we see now are a godsend for the Net Zero planners ?
Our Greta is getting less and less publicity these days, so I was pleased to see this at Zero Hedge:
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Fantastic article, Geoff. As is Chris Morrison’s too. Naturally, I like the ‘cult’ / ‘religious’ (=cultural) explanations. And Chris’s example of the Xhosa and Nongqawuse, echoes my own fuller comparison of this millenarian movement with the modern situation: https://judithcurry.com/2019/07/29/child-prophets-and-proselytizers-of-climate-catastrophe/
The case of Southcott is interesting, I never heard of her before.
Cultural causation explains an awful lot, but as you note, the frustration is that this doesn’t help us much in knowing when it will fail, and whether it will fail relatively gracefully, or in some disastrous fashion. The situation in Ukraine has amplified what was already becoming a significant reality-constraint on the culture, and yet, this may still not be enough. I have no evidence, (other than circumstantial items, such as the culture is now touting that our energy problems from the war would not have occurred if we’d already weaned ourselves off fossil fuels), but I’m beginning to feel in my water that the culture will survive this episode.
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If not a box, then a book:
“Greta Thunberg to publish a ‘go-to source’ book on the climate crisis
The Climate Book will include contributions from scientist Katharine Hayhoe, economist Thomas Piketty and novelist Margaret Atwood”
“Greta Thunberg is releasing a new book this autumn, which aims to offer a “global overview of how the planet’s many crises connect”.
“I have decided to use my platform to create a book based on the current best available science – a book that covers the climate, ecological and sustainability crises holistically”, Thunberg said in a statement. “Because the climate crisis is, of course, only a symptom of a much larger sustainability crisis. My hope is that this book might be some kind of go-to source for understanding these different, closely interconnected crises.”
In The Climate Book, which is due to be published by Penguin this autumn, Thunberg has assembled more than 100 contributors, from scientists Johan Rockström and Katharine Hayhoe to economist Thomas Piketty and novelist Margaret Atwood. The 19-year-old also shares what she has learned from her own experiences of climate activism. In particular, she discusses the prevalence of greenwashing, revealing the extent to which we have been kept in the dark about the issue. She names this as one of our biggest problems, but also our greatest source of hope – because, she believes, once we are all given the full picture, we will be able to act.”
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Greta’s box is on its way:
CenSAMM, a civil society body funded by The Panacea Society, started an encyclopaedia of eschatonism last year:
Only two articles there address climate change eschatonanism. Here’s the main one:
That article says that, unlike the beliefs of most of the other cults covered by the website, environmental millenarianmism’s beliefs are justified.
Because? Joe Romm, Paul Kingsnorth, Al Gore, Unabomber, bla bla bla.
OK. Jolly good. Who would doubt such a well-funded source?
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Mark: “Johan Rockström and Katharine Hayhoe”
Well we can kiss goodbye to the science then; they both spout full-on catastrophe narrative.