Essay: carbon footprint as ‘original sin’

Original Sin Oil on panel, 237 x 87,5 cm

Original Sin Oil on panel, 237 x 87,5 cm (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

This essay appears today in The Chronicle Review and it makes an interesting claim:

What is the carbon footprint, after all, if not the gaseous equivalent of Original Sin, the stain we inflict on Mother Gaia?

Pascal Bruckner writes:

There are at least two ecologies: one rational, the other nonsensical; one that broadens our outlook while the other narrows it; one democratic, the other totalitarian. The first wants to tell us about the damage done by industrial civilization; the second infers from this the human species’ guilt. For the latter, nature is only a stick to be used to beat human beings. Just as third-worldism was the shame of colonial history, and repentance was contrition with regard to the present, catastrophism constitutes the anticipated remorse of the future: The meaning of history having evaporated, every change is a potential collapse that augurs nothing good.

Catastrophism’s favorite mode of expression is accusation: Revolutionaries wanted to erase the past and start over from zero; now the focus is on condemning past and present wrongs and bringing them before the tribunal of public opinion. No leniency is possible; our crime has been calculated in terms of devastated forests, burned-over lands, and extinct species.

The prevailing anxiety is at once a recognition of real problems and a symptom of the aging of the West, a reflection of its psychic fatigue. Our pathos is that of the end of time. And because no one ever thinks alone, because the spirit of an age is always a collective worker, it is tempting to give oneself up to this gloomy tide. Or, on the contrary, we could wake up from this nightmare and rid ourselves of it.

read the entire essay here: http://chronicle.com/article/Against-Environmental-Panic/139733/

h/t to reader “Jamie”

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51 Responses to Essay: carbon footprint as ‘original sin’

  1. Richard M says:

    Well, he got it half right. Carbon is being used as a guilt tactic to get folks to follow the new religion of Gaia worship. The problem is it is a false religion. So many true believers are going to be so disappointed. We can only hope the recoil can be channeled in a positive direction.

  2. Bob Diaz says:

    Extreme environmentalist’s logic:

    You were born, don’t you feel guilty about that?

  3. philjourdan says:

    I guess every religion needs some type of “original sin” so they can claim to be the salvation for those who do not sin. An interesting comparison.

  4. Gary Pearse says:

    Re the CO2 Sin: Wearily give ourselves up to it or wake up and rid ourselves of it. Perhaps rgbatduke’s thought (Quote of the week) on what one extreme one might envision after the fraud is realized (climate sensitivity of 1C rather than 2.5C) is synonymous to ridding ourselves of it:

    “….climate sensitivity plunges from the totally statistically fraudulent 2.5 C/century to a far more plausible and stillpossibly wrong ~1 C/century, which — surprise — more or less continues the post-LIA warming trend with a small possible anthropogenic contribution. This large a change would bring out pitchforks and torches as people realize just how badly they’ve been used by a small group of scientists and politicians,…”

  5. JEM says:

    This brings us back to the article on ‘pathological altruism’ I linked over at BH…

  6. Just Steve says:

    What does it say about a “religious belief” or its god (Gaia) when puny mortal man can purportedly destroy said god?

    Apparently poor Gaia has a pronounced “achilles heel”.

  7. olsthro says:

    A baptism in the AL Gore/IPCC church of AGW will absolve this!

  8. arthur4563 says:

    Most notably at odds with reality is the belief in a benign Mother Nature. When one examines the
    number of catastrophic weather/climate events events, and the capricious way in which tens of thousands of organisms are allowed to come into existence, only to be killed off thru mass extinction, you’re confronted with a picture that shows Mother Nature to be stupid, hateful and downright evil. In other words, Mother Earth sucks and needs to be controlled by humans, as much as possible.

  9. DirkH says:

    I know followers. When they talk about the future then always in terms of the inevitable catastrophy. It’s a doomsday cult. I have never seen one of them celebrate any success by environmentalists. It’s negative only.

  10. Jimbo says:

    And what are carbon credits if not today’s equivalent of Medieval indulgences.

    Dr. James Hansen – “Storms of My Grandchildren”
    “…The public must be firm and unwavering in demanding “no offsets,” because this sort of monkey business is exactly the type of thing that politicians love and will try to keep. Offsets are like the indulgences that were sold by the church in the Middle Ages. People of means loved indulgences, because they could practice any hanky-panky or worse, then simply purchase an indulgence to avoid punishment for their sins. Bishops loved them too, because they brought in lots of moola. Anybody who argues for offsets today is either a sinner who wants to pretend he or she has done adequate penance or a bishop collecting moola….”
    https://www.commondreams.org/headline/2009/12/30-6

  11. hunter says:

    This post frames a truly interesting perspective on the AGW movement.
    I am reading a book on the anti-Christ concept/myth. The correlation between AGW belief and traditional eschatological (end times) belief is striking. It appears to get stronger around millenial times. Anti-Christ/apocalyptic fanatics cling to their beliefs no matter the evidence for years at a time. Their interepretation of the apocalypse/anti-Christ threat allows them interpret everything through the lens of their ‘revelation’.
    Think what that implies about AGW:
    When did AGW believers get frenetic in their claims?
    Why do AGW beleivers cling so tightly to their belief in climate doom?
    Why are they obsessed wtih CO2 ‘solutions’ often at the expense of the environment?
    Since we all produce and contribute to CO2 in the atmosphere, why is the need to blame those happen to disagree while producing the same CO2 so high?
    This sociological look at AGW is much more productive than arguing with the believers about their failed scientific predictions and the lack of climate cooperation with their prophecies of doom.

  12. Duster says:

    One card that Marx kept up his sleeve when he wrote that “religion is the opiate of the masses” is the card which substitutes “any ideology can be an ..” for “religion is …”. Ideology by and large substitutes dogma for critical thought and fixed opinion for “we don’t know,” or a qualified response like “we think…”. The brutal difference between the scientific method and other forms of thought is that it always holds open the option of returning to first principles, or even questioning those and replacing them is necessary. The difference is “brutal” because at any time, an observation can be made that invalidates and entire corpus of knowledge. Centuries of serious thoughtful work can wind up in the bin simply because it cannot explain an observation.

    Scientists, in contrast to the method, are human, hate to redo work unnecessarily and ultimately tend to invoke some set of principles as authoritative, rather than simply “good enough.” The latter leaves open the possibility that the principles in fact were actually, really not “good enough.”

  13. Eric Simpson says:

    Secular guilt felt over the Puritan “waste not, want not” ethic…
    Among the non-religious there can be a kind of secular guilt for “violations” of the oldtime Puritan work ethic. It’s the “waste not, want not” dictum that has been inculcated in us since our first days. When we drive around in big SUVs, and seem to be just living the good life for no seeming purpose, this doesn’t jive, and the guilt is felt, with dispensation coming in calling for cutting back these “wasteful” ways. To save the world is now the missing outward purpose. Yes, to “cool” the world. Or to placate the angry gods (as the storm gods [sound familiar?]).

  14. deadrock says:

    You might find Melanie Phillips book “The World Turned Upside Down” to be interesting as she speaks to this characteristic of the left in terms of guilt, redemption, sin, and millenarianism using many different avenues. She is on youtube with several interviews/reviews of her book as well.

  15. JohnWho says:

    I wonder:

    How much CO2 do we humans exhale into the atmosphere every minute?

    @Bob Diaz

    “You breathe, don’t you feel guilty about that?”

  16. Donald Mitchell says:

    As one who does not intend to quietly leave, I shall continue to liberate carbon from its repositories in the earth and combine it with oxygen to provide a nutrient needed by plants so that they may grow and provide food for the herbivores who will in turn provide sustenance for carnivores and omnivores (which will hopefully include a more enlightened homo sapiens) so that they can in turn feed the myriad of critters which will assist in providing nutrients for plants. It might be interesting to see how the world changes as we replenish the basic building block of life – carbon dioxide. At least it should not be dull.

  17. RS says:

    With every PPM increase in CO2, the ENTIRE plant world rejoices.
    The flowers and trees are singing, just like in a Disney movie.

  18. Ill Tempered Klavier says:

    “Save the planet!?!? The planet doesn’t need saving. Some people are {beep}, but the planet’s doing just fine.” George Carlin

  19. Brady says:

    Good words these:
    “The ecology of disaster is primarily a disaster for ecology … We have to try to push back the boundaries of the possible by encouraging the most fantastic initiatives, the most mind-boggling ideas… Every new invention must strike the heart of human desire, elicit astonishment, and allow people to embark upon an unprecedented voyage … If a generous defense of the environment is to develop in the course of the next century, it will exist only as the servant of humans … The friends of the earth have for too long been enemies of humanity; it is time for an ecology of admiration to replace an ecology of accusation… Above all, we have to save the world from its self-proclaimed saviors … We need trailblazers and stimulators”
    Well said, very well said :-)

  20. Tom Stone says:

    I remember reading a theory based on the Gaia hypothesis that humans were placed on this plant to burn fossil fuels to “free up” carbon that had been over-sequestered by nature in coal, oil, methane, etc.

  21. Alan Watt, Climate Denialist Level 7 says:

    Several interesting things going on here. The Chronicle article brings up one of them. The other is the reemergence of the “noble savage” myth of the 17th and 18th centuries — the notion that life would be better, purer if we got rid of all this artificial technology that depends on fossil fuels. Mystically, people will become nobler if we adopt a “more sustainable” lifestyle.

    Unfortunately, the vast majority of us selfish, unenlightened cusses refuse to see what is simply obvious to the 97% of all right-thinking people and must therefore be bludgeoned guided to the proper path by reasonable and necessary state coercion collection action. This tends to be the end result of such Utopian schemes because their proponents simply cannot understand why everyone doesn’t believe likewise and often come to attribute lack of agreement to evil intent.

  22. more soylent green! says:

    I thought Columbus’ discovery of the New World was the original sin.

    Sigh. That was last century, I guess.

  23. more soylent green! says:

    Pathological altruism: “altruism in which attempts to promote the welfare of others instead result in unanticipated harm.”

    See: http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424127887324688404578545523824389986.html

    In other words, the anti-carbon cult doesn’t care if their policies do more harm than good. The average person, given the facts, will usually determine the costs of eliminating carbon fuels far outweighs the benefits.

  24. Dave Wendt says:

    Mr Bruckner’s piece is indeed thought provoking. I particularly liked his closing bit

    “If a generous defense of the environment is to develop in the course of the next century, it will exist only as the servant of humans and nature in their mutual interaction and not as an advocate speaking through an entity called “the planet.”

    The friends of the earth have for too long been enemies of humanity; it is time for an ecology of admiration to replace an ecology of accusation.

    Save the world, we hear everywhere: Save it from capitalism, from science, from consumerism, from materialism. Above all, we have to save the world from its self-proclaimed saviors, who brandish the threat of great chaos in order to impose their lethal impulses. Behind their clamor we must hear the will to demoralize us the better to enslave us. What is at stake is the pleasure of living together on this planet that will survive us, whatever we do to it. We need trailblazers and stimulators, not killjoys disguised as prophets.”

    Although I have always been a bit of a misanthrope myself, the overwhelming misanthropy of the CAGW/CACC enterprise would lead me to reject it even if I found its feeble science 100% convincing. The purveyors of climate doom have an abiding hatred for the “developed” world, despite the fact that concerns for the state of the natural world can only manifest themselves when providing for the basic needs required for subsistence doesn’t take up 100% of everyone’s day.

    Environmentalism would not exist except for the developed world. The atmosphere in a peasant’s hut is much worse than in almost any industrial complex in the modern developed world, except of course, for those like Russia and China, where the remnants of Communism have left their populations impotent to object to the pollution to which they are subjected. This is a tad ironic, because the system least capable of dealing with the problems of environmental damage i.e. top down command and control economies, are the very models that are demanded by climate alarmists to solve the mostly nonexistent problem of Carbon.

  25. William Astley says:

    ‘Anti-people, anti-development’ environmentalism followers accept the ‘anti’ as an assumed fundamental truth. The ‘anti’ rules out options, rules out analysis as to what is the problem. There is no discussion of pros and cons concerning the ‘anti’, there is no discussion of costs. The leaders provide the message telling the followers what they shall be ‘anti’ against.

    The warmist leaders do not care if the warmist policies will lead to the destruction of the Western industrial base. They live in a fairy tale world that is supported by rich donor money.
    All effort is to support the message. The analysis and discussion is to push the message.
    Anyone of questions the ‘anti’ are heretics, evil.

    As the warmists are followers they accepted the extreme AGW message as dogma. Dogma is unquestionable, truth.

    The absurd biofuel program is an example of what happens when there is no analysis. The profiteers take advantage of the situation.

    If all energy inputs are taken into account the conversion of food to biofuel (corn to ethanol for example) results in almost no reduction in CO2 emissions. If the N02 emission from fertilization to grow the food to convert to biofuel (Nitrous oxide is 300 times more potent as a greenhouse gas than CO2) there is a theoretical increase in warming to convert food to biofuel. As there is a limited amount of agricultural land to grow food for 7 billion people, virgin forest is being cut down to grow food to convert to biofuel which results in an increase in CO2. The amount of land required to provide all transportation fuel from biofuel is slightly more than all current agricultural land to feed 7 billion people. The biofuel mandate will lead to food wars and mass starvation if it is continued and the food to biofuel program will result in increase in CO2 emissions.

    Extreme environmentalism is a type of madness, green facism.

    Comment:
    There is an interesting book “Break Through: From the Death of Environmentalism to the Politics of Possibility” that expands on the essay, providing specific examples of why ‘fanatical, anti-people, anti-development’ environmentalism fails and the mindset of the leaders and followers.

    One of the authors of the book “Break Through: From the Death of Environmentalism to the Politics of Possibility” Michael Shellenberger is a producer of the new film ‘Pandora’s Promise’ which makes a case for nuclear power as the solution for global warming. Pandora’s promise provides facts that show that soft green energy will not work.

    “Environmental insiders Michael Shellenberger and Ted Nordhaus triggered a firestorm of controversy with their self-published essay, “The Death of Environmentalism.” In it, they argued that global warming is far more complex than past pollution problems. American values have changed dramatically since the environmental movement’s greatest victories in the 1960s, yet environmentalists keep fighting the same battles without realizing that the battlefield has changed. Noting a connection between the failures of environmentalism and the failures of the entire left-leaning political agenda, the authors point the way toward an aspirational politics that will resonate with modern American values and be capable of tackling our most pressing challenges.”

  26. Bull Manure is quite good for Fertilizer, also. But the foregoing was a great waste of time and talent. It too would be a good Fertilizer,

  27. Bob says:

    What is at stake is the pleasure of living together on this planet that will survive us, whatever we do to it.

    It sure seems to me that the author could have made his point without all the bloviating. At least he managed to connect the catastrophic environmental movement to Marxists retreads. In his text he talks about mankind’s return to pre-civilized beliefs in the deity of Mother Earth, or Nature, or whatever you want to call this world/universe in which we live. Are people really that goofy?

    What he doesn’t discuss is the outfight foolishness and shallowness of the believers. The world, or nature, or Earth does not care what we do, how we use its resources, or whether we even live or die. Humanity is not even a speed-bump in the big picture, and humanity can do nothing to destroy the earth. I don’t believe we even have the ability to destroy ourselves. If we screw up an ecology, then ecology itself will be forced to adapt, or even screw us! The Earth doesn’t care.

    You can believe in a higher power, or you can believe in randomness. The really stupid thing is to believe that Mother Earth gives a damn about what we do, or how we do it.

  28. more soylent green! says:

    Tom Stone says:
    June 17, 2013 at 12:59 pm
    I remember reading a theory based on the Gaia hypothesis that humans were placed on this plant to burn fossil fuels to “free up” carbon that had been over-sequestered by nature in coal, oil, methane, etc.

    Surely Mother Gia would not have created us if we didn’t have a special purpose. Maybe we just just need to find out what our special purpose is for?

  29. Martin Clark says:

    As a former regulator (mea culpa) I tend to go and check out statutory definitions when this sort of question arises.
    Integrated Planning Act 1997:
    ["Integrated"? Sort of ... everyone has to fill in Form 1 for a start ...
    Always reminds me of the Penwill cartoon:
    https://dl.dropboxusercontent.com/u/90071372/IntegratedSolutions.jpg ]
    Definition of environment:
    “environment includes—
    (a) ecosystems and their constituent parts including people and communities; and
    (b) all natural and physical resources; and
    (c) those qualities and characteristics of locations, places and areas, however large or small, that contribute to their biological diversity and integrity, intrinsic or attributed scientific value or interest, amenity, harmony, and sense of community; and
    (d) the social, economic, aesthetic and cultural conditions affecting the matters in paragraphs (a), (b) and (c) or affected by those matters.”
    Sustainable Planning Act 2009:
    [With the benefit of hindsight, the choice of the term "sustainable" was perhaps unwise ... ]
    “environment includes—
    (a) ecosystems and their constituent parts including people and communities; and
    (b) all natural and physical resources; and
    (c) the qualities and characteristics of locations, places and areas, however large or small, that contribute to their biological diversity and integrity, intrinsic or attributed scientific value or interest, amenity, harmony, and sense of community; and
    (d) the social, economic, aesthetic and cultural conditions affecting the matters in paragraphs (a), (b) and (c) or affected by the matters.”
    Penultimate word changed, but that’s all.
    So, around here, leaving people out of the equation is a breach of the Act.

  30. martinbrumby says:

    Before criticising what Bruckner “should have written about”, perhaps read tbe whole thing:-
    “The Fanaticism of the Apocalypse” by Pascal Bruckner, Polity Press, 2013.
    Very Gallic, very intellectual. But vert perceptive – and funny too. Recommended.

  31. Skunkpew says:

    I’ve always believed this too. In both instances we are born, and we are compelled to sin against our wills. Simply by living, we breathe thus producing carbon dioxide. The EPA itself claims carbon dioxide is a pollutant that needs to be cleansed.

    So by living we are sinners. The only way to free ourselves from sin (breathing) is death. That’s about the gist of it to me.

  32. Henry Clark says:

    The prevailing anxiety is at once a recognition of real problems and a symptom of the aging of the West, a reflection of its psychic fatigue. Our pathos is that of the end of time. And because no one ever thinks alone, because the spirit of an age is always a collective worker, it is tempting to give oneself up to this gloomy tide. Or, on the contrary, we could wake up from this nightmare and rid ourselves of it.

    The CAGW-movement-related mindset overlaps with peakist claims and is that of rationing, a gloomy dream of use X% less of so-and-so to supposedly have it last Y% longer, which if their claims were true (they aren’t) would just mean such would run out anyway at a slightly different exact year.

    (Some don’t find it gloomy because they find joy in imagining tearing down others, like SUV drivers and “the 1%,” but that is messed up).

    Lack of a positive vision of the future means a negative one, in practice. That is particularly why space colonization is needed (which has its perceived problems go away if not having launch expenses ~ 1000 times propellant costs, if not seeking to amortize over only a handful of tons a year, if not having the equivalent of throwing away a 747 after one flight; for example, continuous zero-g having negative health effects is much like continuous exposure to hospital bedrest does similar, solvable by habitats with rotating sections once not so limited on construction mass). Very indirectly, today’s space tourism entrepreneurs may more than anyone break the root of CAGW-related ideology in the long term.

  33. JC says:

    It is the height of hubris that these people believe that the Earth is some kind of precious gift that we have been entrusted to take care of. The earth is a ball of rock that is drifting through the universe. Man has not been entrusted with it we have simply evolved on it and the best thing we can do for ourselves and our posterity is to get the hell off it. Not for its benefit but for ours.

    I have no responsibility to future generations. My responsibility is to here and now. Future generations will just have to deal with the world that they are born into.

    We should be good stewards of the resources that we posses but we should spend them wisely not hoard them like a miser. If mankind is to have any future it will be in the stars, not on this damp dirt clod.

    This planet may not resemble the world of today when we are gone but then it didn’t look like this before we were here and who’s to say that the world we live in is the best? I suppose that would all depend on your point of view… beauty in the eye of the beholder and such.

    The question we should be asking is not how to protect the Earth but how can we best use it to benefit us all. Some may be enjoying the ride but I wouldn’t mind getting of this merry-go-round.

  34. pat says:

    funny that Reuters thinks CAGW has only now become “religious”:

    18 June: SMH: Reuters: Climate change gets religious
    Few religious communities have gone as far in fighting climate change as a church in Queenslandwhich has 24 solar panels bolted to the roof in the shape of a Christian cross.
    “It’s very effective. It’s inspired some members of our congregation to install panels on their homes,” Reverend David Lowry said of the “solar cross” mounted in 2009 on the Caloundra Uniting Church, which groups three Protestant denominations…
    (Pope) Francis’s stress on environmental protection since he was elected in March and his choice of the name of a 13th century nature lover – Saint Francis of Assisi – may make a difference for all religions trying to work out how to safeguard the planet from threats including climate change.
    Under his predecessor, Pope Benedict XVI, the Vatican took green steps such as installing solar panels on the roof of the Papal Audience Hall in 2008. It says it wants to cut greenhouse gas emissions, but has no formal target.
    ***”Religious environmentalism is slowly increasing,” said John Grim, a coordinator of the forum on religion and ecology at Yale University in the United States. “It’s very uneven. Religions tend to be very conservative in their practice and doctrine.”…
    Saint Francis has long been a green inspiration…
    In the United States, many evangelical Christians stress a broad need for “stewardship of creation”, rather than man-made climate change, as a spur to action.
    Many evangelical Christians are Republicans who are more likely than Democrats to doubt that climate change is mostly caused by human activity, such as burning fossil fuels.
    “Americans allow their politics to inform their faith,” said Katharine Hayhoe, an evangelical Christian and climate scientist at Texas Tech University…
    Raising awareness of the environment could be a step to modernize the Church, besieged by scandal for covering up sexual abuse of children by priests and whose strict moral traditions are often at odds with a increasingly secular society.
    “With Pope Francis there is new hope,” said Reverend Henrik Grape of the Church of Sweden, who is also a member of the World Council of Churches’ climate change group.
    http://www.smh.com.au/environment/climate-change/climate-change-gets-religious-20130618-2of1c.html

  35. Jay says:

    Progress not progressiveness is the only way forward for the planet earth.. But then again western elites know this full well.. It was their leftist policies that rendered them 3rd class global citizens.. Its was never their politics, but their wealth that put them at the top of the food chain..

    So.. the term elite has to be redefined the moment China became the richest country in the world..
    The measure that stood the test of time, wealth, has been replaced with the green religion so the idiots who handed it all away (for short term gain) can walk around for another generation or two
    with their empty heads held high..

    Chinese elites are the true elites today.. They have the money to move mountains if the wish..
    Western elites cant make any money at home anymore so they desperately need the Global warming scam to line their pockets..

    Western elites wont even hire their own useless children anymore.. They fill their heads full of garbage.. Then send them off to university for a nice job funded by the tax payer.. Where do you think the useless ones end up?

    This top down make work project will be the end of them…

  36. Ghandi says:

    I’m sure the Gaia high priest Al Gore won’t tell you how his pseudo-religion has made him a multimillionaire. Yes, global warming is about the redistribution of wealth into the pockets of its stongest and most vocal proselytizers. Could Al be a descendant of P.T. Barnum?

  37. Gary Hladik says:

    The full essay is a pretty good summary of what we’re up against. A pretty good antidote is Matt Ridley’s The Rational Optimist.

  38. Gary Hladik says:

    more soylent green! says (June 17, 2013 at 2:35 pm): “Surely Mother Gia would not have created us if we didn’t have a special purpose. Maybe we just just need to find out what our special purpose is for?”

    I thought it was obvious. We were created to protect our mother from all those pesky comets and asteroids that keep wiping out so many of her children. :-)

    And not to criticize dear Mom, but we’d be closer to the goal if she’d made us intelligent. I’m just sayin’…

  39. imoira says:

    Silent Spring at 50 – The False Crises of Rachel Carson is a collection of essays by various scholars published by the Cato Institute in 2012 and edited by Roger Meiners, Pierre Desrochers and Andrew Morriss. One of the contributors is Robert H. Nelson who, in his essay Silent Spring as Secular Religion says, “A secular religion is real religion. It is nevertheless “secular” in the sense that it may not mention a god in the hereafter at all, or it may minimize the role of any such god.”

    From his Conclusion:
    “Silent Spring is outwardly a work of popular science. More fundamentally, it is a message of environmental religion in disguise. That has been the pattern for secular religion in the modern age. Remarkably enough, Karl Marx even claimed a strict scientific status for his apocalyptic vision of history. It seems that many people have found it difficult to accept Jewish or Christian religion in their traditional forms. Yet, they also seem to have an undiminished desire for a strong sense of meaning in their life. Furthermore, many of them have retained more of the Jewish and Christian worldviews than they themselves realize.”

  40. Lokki says:

    I have long ascribed to the view that the Environmental Movement/now Climate Change Movement has its roots in mankind’s need for religion, and goes much farther back than Christianity. Priests have been threatening us with Doom!® since the first God-figurine was fashioned out of mud. We have a need to believe that someone is smarter than we are, and that someone knows what’s going on. There have always been priests to take advantage of that need to believe. (*Note I do believe in God, but don’t care much for religions). In the past 150 years we have turned to Scientists as our new priests, and you need only look around you to see that miracles that these priest have performed for us. Politicians made a stab at replacing them with Communism but failed to crank out the miracles like the Scientists have and so have been discarded, leaving the Science Priests as the only game in town.

    In the 90’s I began to wonder what was going to happen to the non-traditional-religion True Believers…. Communism was an obvious failure – too obvious to ignore anymore, and Western World man-caused pollution was essentially extinguished. They needed a new Devil for the Priests to fight. I speculated that it was going be Aliens and they had a good run going for a while too! Still, I marveled and literally slapped myself in the forehead in admiration when I learned that C02 was being called a pollutant. My take is pretty simple. Cynical environmentalist (priests) were faced with closing up shop and going out of business. They’d needed a new devil…. and found one in CO2. They learned from their past mistakes – they picked a ‘pollutant’ that they can NEVER wipe out.
    What’s better than the fact that -every time you draw a breath you are sinning – AND that sin is going to kill your children. Well, it will, unless we act NOW and you give generously to the Priests. Maybe, given enough money, but JUST maybe, they can save your children.

  41. JimF says:

    This is quite a good essay, one that identifies the various contributors to “ecologism” – the Religion of Gaia. These range from Christianity (original sin) through various hideous forms of Marxism into various schools of thought that cannot tolerate anyone (Rousseau; though the author doesn’t mention Sartre, he certainly informs some of the believers; the Club of Rome; and so forth). The commenters – most of whom seem to spell well, so are probably Ivy League graduates – of course hate what is being said. What is being said is summed up in the final statement, which is tasty:

    “…The friends of the earth have for too long been enemies of humanity; it is time for an ecology of admiration to replace an ecology of accusation.

    Save the world, we hear everywhere: Save it from capitalism, from science, from consumerism, from materialism. Above all, we have to save the world from its self-proclaimed saviors, who brandish the threat of great chaos in order to impose their lethal impulses. Behind their clamor we must hear the will to demoralize us the better to enslave us. What is at stake is the pleasure of living together on this planet that will survive us, whatever we do to it. We need trailblazers and stimulators, not killjoys disguised as prophets….”

  42. Trey says:

    Here’s what I posted over at The Chronicle:

    Wow, gathering from the comments here, Bruckner really struck a nerve. Personally, I think he is on to something. Freeman Dyson said something similar:

    “There is a worldwide secular religion which we may call environmentalism, holding
    that we are stewards of the earth, that despoiling the planet with waste
    products of our luxurious living is a sin, and that the path of
    righteousness is to live as frugally as possible. … Environmentalism
    has replaced socialism as the leading secular religion.”

    Dyson is not necessarily saying it’s a bad thing, but we must realize that worldviews with religious overtones can become dogmatic. Economics and science can be abused if taken too far (think Leninism and eugenics).

    For a really in-depth look at this topic, see The New Holy Wars: Economic Religion Versus Environmental Religion in Contemporary America, by Robert Nelson.

  43. Brian H says:

    Duster;
    Another POV on Marx’ “opiates” to keep in mind is that they were the miracle drugs of the age, permitting operations under anesthesia induced by something less violent than the Elizabethans’ wooden mallets.

  44. James Cook says:

    Very nice and powerful essay: My favorite part is the end. “Above all, we have to save the world from its self-proclaimed saviors, who brandish the threat of great chaos in order to impose their lethal impulses. Behind their clamor we must hear the will to demoralize us the better to enslave us. What is at stake is the pleasure of living together on this planet that will survive us, whatever we do to it. We need trailblazers and stimulators, not killjoys disguised as prophets.”

  45. Gary Hladik says:

    Lots of good references from commenters. Thanks. When you follow WUWT, you’re never short of reading material.

  46. Alan the Brit says:

    May I point readers to the Numberwatch blog. In it they wll find a marvellous essay by John Brignall entitled “In praise of carbon”. It shows the ridiculousness of the current eco-stalinists & warmists that surround us all today! AtB

  47. RobRoy says:

    http://www.city-journal.org/2012/22_2_apocalyptic-daze.html
    This is another essay by Bruckner about doomsday prophets.

  48. cwon14 says:

    How Gaiaism, self-hating communism, man-as-god, death culture all tie together is essential for understanding the the modern left in the globe and how essential AGW has been in converging these social forces. Atheism, post-normal science and zealotry for the Big Bang theory and against everything from vaccinations to GMO products can often be interwoven in the study.

    AGW is a Death Star.

  49. Lars P. says:

    William Astley says:
    June 17, 2013 at 1:22 pm
    ….. As the warmists are followers they accepted the extreme AGW message as dogma. Dogma is unquestionable, truth.

    The absurd biofuel program is an example of what happens when there is no analysis. The profiteers take advantage of the situation.

    If all energy inputs are taken into account the conversion of food to biofuel (corn to ethanol for example) results in almost no reduction in CO2 emissions. If the N02 emission from fertilization to grow the food to convert to biofuel (Nitrous oxide is 300 times more potent as a greenhouse gas than CO2) there is a theoretical increase in warming to convert food to biofuel. As there is a limited amount of agricultural land to grow food for 7 billion people, virgin forest is being cut down to grow food to convert to biofuel which results in an increase in CO2. The amount of land required to provide all transportation fuel from biofuel is slightly more than all current agricultural land to feed 7 billion people. The biofuel mandate will lead to food wars and mass starvation if it is continued and the food to biofuel program will result in increase in CO2 emissions.
    …..

    Exactly. And the same sad result comes from other such environmentalist initiatives. Look at the windmills and their CO2 balance in an integrated grid and the resulted environmental damage done for 10000 windmills to “replace” a quarter of the output of a coal/gas power generation station, keeping the power generation station to provide the rest.
    Look its renewable ok?:
    http://bishophill.squarespace.com/blog/2013/6/12/look-its-renewable-ok-josh-227.html
    http://www.windenergy-the-truth.com/index.html

    Making the same analysis for coal replaced through wood-pellets…. Cutting forests intensively to burn them. And transport those wood-pellets over high distances… Absurd.

  50. Pointman says:

    Youth, of course, is always the prized demographic to capture, hence so many environmental projects in junior schools, which in a number of cases are in reality nothing more than touchy feely political indoctrination programs. The none too subtle message being hammered home into formative minds, is that we’re harming the planet, which means we humans are somehow innately evil, but we can be saved by giving ourselves to Mother Gaia. Given the absence of not much in the way of any religious education in so many schools these days, it’s their first brush with the green version of original sin. Vacuums always get filled.

    http://thepointman.wordpress.com/2013/06/14/know-your-enemy-the-foot-soldiers/

    Pointman

  51. Dave Wendt says:
    June 17, 2013 at 1:20 pm
    “The friends of the earth have for too long been enemies of humanity; it is time for an ecology of admiration to replace an ecology of accusation.”

    Try http://www.industrialprogress.net and http://blog.aynrandcenter.org/earth-day-40/ No More Green Guilt by Keith Lockitch or http://www.glennbeck.com/content/articles/article/234/27473/ No More Green Guilt by Keith Lockitch on Glenn Beck (IIRC Keith presented or similar that to a Heartland Institute climate conference, Yaron Brook made a somewhat similar presentation to them) and http://andrewbernstein.net/books/.

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