By: James Delingpole, courtesy, UK Daily Mail
Imagine a world where CO2 was our friend, fossil fuels were a miracle we should cherish, and economic growth made the planet cleaner, healthier, happier and with more open spaces.
Actually, there’s no need to imagine: it already exists. So why do so many people still believe otherwise?
How come, against so much evidence, everyone from the BBC to your kids’ teachers to the Coalition government (though that may change somewhat now Energy Secretary Chris Huhne has resigned), to the President of the Royal Society to the Prince of Wales continues to pump out the message that man-made ‘climate change’ is a major threat?
Why, when the records show that there has been no global warming since 1997, are we still squandering billions of pounds trying to avert it?
These are some of the questions I set out to answer in my new book — which I can guarantee will not make me popular with environmentalists.
Almost every day, on Twitter or by email, I get violent messages of hate directed not just at me, but even my children. Separately, I’ve been criticised by websites such as the Campaign Against Climate Change (Honorary President: the environmental activist and writer George Monbiot). I’ve had a green activist set up a false website in my name to misdirect my internet traffic. I’ve been vilified everywhere from the Guardian to a BBC Horizon documentary as a wicked ‘denier’ who knows nothing about science.
Not that I’m complaining. Margaret Thatcher once famously said: ‘I always cheer up immensely if an attack is particularly wounding because I think, well, if they attack one personally, it means they have not a single political argument left.’
That’s just how I feel about my critics’ ad hominem assaults. They’re born not of strength but out of sheer desperation.
The turning point towards some semblance of sanity in the great climate war came in November 2009 with the leak of the notorious Climategate emails from the University of East Anglia.
What these showed is that the so-called ‘consensus’ science behind Anthropogenic Global Warming (AGW) — ie the theory that man-made CO2 is causing our planet to heat up in a dangerous, unprecedented fashion — simply cannot be trusted.
The experts had, for years, been twisting the evidence, abusing the scientific process, breaching Freedom of Information requests (by illegally hiding or deleting emails and taxpayer-funded research) and silencing dissent in a way which removes all credibility from the scaremongering reports they write for the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.
(The IPCC is the heavily politicised but supposedly neutral UN advisory body which has been described by President Obama as the ‘gold standard’ of international climate science.)
Since Climategate, the scientific case against AGW theory has hardened still further. Experiments at the CERN laboratory in Geneva have supported the theory of Danish physicist Henrik Svensmark that the sun — not man-made CO2 — is the biggest driver of climate change.
The latest data released by the Met Office, based on readings from 30,000 measuring stations, confirms there has been no global warming for 15 years.
Now, with sunspot activity (solar flares caused by magnetic activity) at its lowest since the days of the 17th-century frost fairs on the Thames, it seems increasingly likely we are about to enter a new mini Ice Age. Should we be bothered by this? Of course we should. Not only does it mean that for the rest of our lives we’re likely to be doomed to experience colder winters and duller summers, but it also makes us victims of perhaps the most expensive fraud in history.
Over the past 20 years, across the Western world, billions of pounds, dollars and euros have been squandered by governments on hare-brained schemes to ‘combat climate change’.
Taxes have been raised, regulations increased, flights made more expensive, incandescent light bulbs banned, landscapes despoiled by ugly, bird-chomping wind farms, economic growth curtailed — all to deal with what now turns out to have been a non-existent problem: man-made CO2.
But if anthropogenic warming is not the threat environmentalists would have us believe, why do so many people believe it is? And how come so many disparate groups — from the hair-shirt anti-capitalist activists of Greenpeace and Friends Of The Earth to the executives of big corporations, to politicians of every hue from Gordon Brown to David Cameron to scientists at NASA and the UEA — are working together to promote this pernicious myth?
Phil Jones, head of the Climatic Research Unit at the UEA which was at the centre of the ‘Climategate’ scandal, for example, was given £13.7 million in grants for his department’s research work; the environmental non-governmental organisations such as Greenpeace came on board because scaremongering helps them raise revenue.
Politicians were attracted because it was a good way of being seen to be addressing an issue of popular concern, and a handy excuse to put up taxes.
Big corporations joined in the scam as a) it enabled them to ‘greenwash’ their image through campaigns like BP’s ‘Beyond Petroleum’ and b) it meant all that extra environmental regulation would be a handy way of pricing their smaller competitors out of the market place.
But money isn’t the only reason. If you read the private emails of the Climategate scientists, what you discover is that most of them genuinely believe in the climate change peril.
That’s why they lied about the evidence and why they tried to destroy the careers of those scientists who disagreed with them: because they wanted to scare politicians into action before time ran out. This was not science, in other words, but political activism.
A similar ‘end justifies the means’ mentality seems to prevail among all those environmental lobby groups. They don’t exaggerate or misrepresent because they’re bad people. They do it, as a former head of Greenpeace once charmingly put it when accused of having overstated the decline in Arctic sea ice, to ‘emotionalise the issue’; because they want to make the rest of the world care about these issues as much as they do.
Powerful feelings, though, are hardly the most sensible basis for global policy. Especially not when, as it turns out, they are based on a misreading of the facts.
One of the grimmest ironies of the modern environmental movement is just how much damage it has done to the planet in the name of ‘saving’ it. Green biofuels (crops such as palm oil grown for fuel) have not only led to the destruction of millions of acres of rainforest in Asia, Africa and South America, but are now known to produce four times more CO2 pollution than fossil fuels.
Wind farms, besides blighting views, destroying topsoil and causing massive noise pollution, kill around 400,000 birds a year in the U.S. alone. Environmentalists, in fact, have a disastrous track record when it comes to predictions and policy recommendations. Rachel Carson’s 1962 bestseller Silent Spring — which promised a cancer epidemic from pesticides — led to a near worldwide ban on the malarial pesticide DDT, thus condemning millions in the Third World to die from malaria.
Paul Ehrlich’s 1968 bestseller The Population Bomb, meanwhile, rehearsed another of the green movement’s favourite themes: overpopulation. By the Seventies and Eighties, he warned, hundreds of millions of us would be dying like flies because there wouldn’t be enough food.
Why did Ehrlich’s prediction never come to pass? Because, like most of the greenies’ doomsday scenarios, it overlooked one vital factor: progress.
Because the green movement has for years been ideologically wedded to the notion that mankind is an ecological curse (‘The Earth has a cancer. The cancer is man’, as a global think tank called The Club of Rome, which includes several current and former heads of state, puts it), it fails to understand the role which technology, human ingenuity and adaption play in our species’ survival.
Ehrlich’s population disaster was averted thanks to a brilliant American scientist called Norman Borlaug who devised new mutant strains of wheat which managed to triple cereal production on the starving Indian subcontinent.
Of course, there is still widespread concern over the use of genetically modified crops, but scientists argue that with proper safeguards in place they can actually be more environmentally friendly than conventional crops, using less water and fewer pesticides.
Similar technological advances in the field of energy make a nonsense of environmentalists’ claims that we are running out of fuel: long before coal ran out came the petroleum revolution; and, though we still have plenty of oil left, we now have the miracle of shale gas which lies in abundance everywhere from Blackpool to the North Sea, and is released using blasts of high-pressure liquid to open pockets of gas in rock.
Economic progress is not our enemy but our friend. It is an historical fact that the richer nations are, the more money they have to spare on ensuring a cleaner environment: compare the relatively clean air in London to the choking smog that envelops Beijing and Delhi; look at where the worst ecological disasters happened in the last century — under impoverished Communist regimes, from the Aral Sea to Chernobyl.
But the greens refuse to accept this because, according to their quasi-religious doctrine, industrial civilisation is a curse and economic growth a disease which can only be cured by rationing and self-sacrifice, higher taxes and greater state control.
That’s why I call my new book Watermelons — because it’s about zealots who are green on the outside, but in political terms, red on the inside. If only their views weren’t so influential, in schools, universities, in the media, in the corridors of power, the global economy wouldn’t be nearly in the mess it’s in today.
As someone who loves long walks in unspoilt countryside and who wants a brighter future for his children, I’m sickened by the way environmental activists tar anyone who disagrees with them as a selfish, polluting, anti-science ‘denier’.
The real deniers are those ideological greens who refuse to look at hard evidence (not just pie-in-the-sky computer models which are no more accurate than the suspect data fed into them) and won’t accept that their well-intentioned schemes to make our world a better place are in fact making it uglier, poorer and less free.