Guest opinion by Dr. Tim Ball
Most people were taken in by the false story of human-caused global warming. We can include all the students participating in the classroom walkout to demand governments stop climate change, organized by 16-year-old Greta Thunberg. Her goal is to keep global temperatures below 2 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels. Apparently, she has no idea that the temperature was near or above that level for most of the last 10,000-years in a period known as the Holocene Optimum.
They are taken in by the false claim that a minute amount of human-produced CO2 is effectively controlling the entire atmospheric system since 1950 and causing environmental collapse through global warming. They don’t know that there is an upper limit to the amount that CO2 can increase temperature. They don’t know that the average level of CO2 over the last 250 million years is 1200 ppm. They don’t know that every projection of temperature by the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) since 1990 was wrong. To paraphrase Winston Churchill, how did so few, fool so many, to such an extent, for so long?
Similar situations occur throughout history of people fooling the world, although this is undoubtedly the largest in terms of its acceptance, impact, and cost. It is tempting to point the finger at the IPCC, but the speed with which the story took hold, spread, and deceived so many people requires better explanation. It likely won’t stop it occurring in the future because it speaks to the nature of human beings and our inordinate and pandemic fear that the sky might fall. However, we might stop the current insanity.
Global warming due to human activities was a subset of the wider moral panic created by the new and necessary paradigm of environmentalism. There are many parallels between the claims of human-caused global warming (AGW) and such events in history as the Salem witchcraft trials. In that case, the climate was probably to blame. However, it was never identified at the time and rarely mentioned by experts today. Instead, during a time of poor harvests and social hardship people were looking for something or someone to blame. Now they believe unequivocally that humans are to blame for everything.
Between February 1652 and May 1693, they brought 200 people to trial on charges of witchcraft. The symptoms were identified first in two young women brought before a tribunal and accused of hearing voices, dancing frenetically to exhaustion, all the classic symptoms of witchcraft. The problem is that these are also the classic symptoms of Ergot fungus poisoning. Conditions were ideal for the occurrence of high levels of Ergot poisoning at that time, just as they were for other periods of witch-hunting in Europe in the Middle Ages. Once people in authority formalize the moral panic through the formation of commissions of inquiry and other vehicles, the stampede is on. It takes on a life of its own that ignores facts, reason, and logic. In the Salem area they hanged 19 people, 15 women, and four men.
All this occurred in a society of Puritan’s, people taking their belief system to extremes. Today’s moral panic is occurring in an equally narrow belief system called environmentalism.
Sociologist Stanley Cohen identified the pattern of moral panic in a 1972 book titled, Folk Devils and Moral Panics. First, he identified the five stages of the panic as follows. I added in italics the names of the appropriate agent, agency, or factor as it relates to the moral panic of global warming.
- Something or someone is perceived and defined as a threat to social norms and the interests of the community or society at large.
The Club of Rome identified industrial development using resources at an unsustainable rate as the threat. They do this by burning fossil fuels and the by-product, CO2, is raising the global temperature to catastrophic levels.
- News media and members of the community/society then depict the threat in simplistic symbolic ways that quickly become recognizable to the greater public.
The UN created the IPCC that produced the false science using their computer models that isolated CO2 as the cause of global warming.
They then deliberately distorted their findings by the creation of a Summary for Policymakers.
- Widespread public concern is aroused by the way news media portrays the symbolic representation of the threat.
The IPCC produced the hockey stick graph that rewrote temperature history. It showed no temperature change for 600-years (the handle) followed by a dramatic increase after 1880 (the blade). As Ross McKitrick said, the hockey stick became the poster-child for global warming.
- Authorities and policymakers respond to the threat, be it real or perceived, with new laws or policies.
Millions of dollars were directed to alternate energies, even though a cursory look shows they cannot replace fossil fuels. Meaningful cost/benefit analyses were never done.
In most countries, no activity occurs without first receiving unnecessary environmental and climate approval.
Most countries created environmental laws that restricted energy use and development in a variety of ways.
They exploited guilt by creation of the concept of a carbon footprint; a vague and meaningless measure but visible on the landscape.
- The moral panic and actions by those in power that follows it results in social change within the community.
Energy companies that provided the basis for development that improved the quality of life for everyone on the planet became the focus of attack, including lawsuits.
The car that gave millions freedom, mobility, and wider options became evil on wheels.
Cohen then identified “five key sets of actors: involved.”
- The threat that incites the moral panic, which Cohen referred to as “folk devils”;
The folk devil is CO2 coming from those evil planet-destroying industries driven by their selfish, self-serving, profit motive.
- Enforcers of rules or laws, like institutional authority figures, police, or armed forces;
The biggest was UN Agenda 21 created through the bureaucrats of national weather offices. They even built in a Principle (15) that allows them to act even if there is no evidence.
“In order to protect the environment, the precautionary approach shall be widely applied by States according to their capabilities. Where there are threats of serious or irreversible damage, lack of full scientific certainty shall not be used as a reason for postponing cost-effective measures to prevent environmental degradation.”
We don’t need evidence. If we decide it is a threat, then it is a threat.
- The news media, which breaks the news about the threat and continues to report on it, thereby setting the agenda for how it is discussed, and attaching visual symbolic images to it;
The media is the great selector and amplifier of the global warming false story. Every day, they take a normal weather or climate event and say or imply it is abnormal. An emaciated polar bear was just one example of a visual symbolic image.
The media are the gossis in the global village.
- Politicians, who respond to the threat, and sometimes fan the flames of the panic;
Senator Timothy Wirth, an originator of the public panic said back in 1993 that
“We’ve got to ride the global warming issue. Even if the theory of global warming is wrong, we will be doing the right thing, in terms of economic policy and environmental policy.”
Al Gore, from the pulpit of the White House, used the best storyteller in the world, Hollywood, to create the best piece of propaganda ever produced – An Inconvenient Truth. Now, there is the more hysterical claim from the UN itself that there are 12 years left.
- And the public, who develop focused concern about the threat and demand action in response to it.
Demand for action from a variety of groups across the world hasn’t produced the economy destroying total social control environmentalists sought. Now they are using the children in the ultimate form of child abuse. It is sickening to consider the use of children in the Salem witch hunts. It was two children who started the accusations but as one author notes,
“Puritan belief suggested that children were among the most likely to become servants of the Devil. They were easy to influence and take advantage of. In some cases, their environment made these children susceptible to thinking that they were evil sinners, which made it likely that their confessions were heartfelt.”
Some people will argue that we live in different times and such moral panic cannot occur today. Many will add, this is especially true in modern western society. It is true, there is no burning of witches, but the ostracization from the society of those that the mob identifies are deniers is only one step away. What you cannot deny is that the world was taken in by a patently false story and overwhelmed by exploitation of fear and guilt that we, the people, are destroying the planet because of our greed and ignorance. If you don’t believe it, listen to the children, whose future you are putting in jeopardy.
A cynical definition of a Puritan is a person who is afraid that somewhere somebody is having a good time. Environmentalists are the new green Puritans. Is this why the attendees at the Second Continental Congress, the authors of the Declaration of Independence, identified the Pursuit of Happiness as an inalienable right – or were they just having a laugh.
Anthony: To get an idea of just how “off the rails” these people are, have a look at this CNN thread on the topic: