Forbes: Climate Leaders Believe Faith Rather than Action will Achieve Green Salvation

Martin Luther, whose famous ninety-five thesis against the Catholic Church triggered The Reformation.

Guest essay by Eric Worrall

Are greens facing a growing crisis of confidence, in leaders who make great public shows of climate piety, without backing those words with actions?

Is The Climate Change Debate A Replay Of The Reformation?

Michael Lynch Contributor 
Jun 30, 2019, 07:12am

In the early days of the global warming debate, I read an English writer praising his country’s example of recognizing climate change compared to American skepticism, although he did admit the British hadn’t actually taken steps to address the problem. Similarly, the U.S. has reduced greenhouse gas emissions more than most countries in the past few years, but incidentally, mostly due to cheap natural gas, and it remains the climate villain in the eyes of many because the president is a denier.

Some of the new proposals to address climate change put me mind of the debate between faith and works, especially when they seem more for demonstration purpose than actually reducing emissions.  Numerous governments have suggested phasing out all carbon-based electricity generation or all petroleum-fueled vehicles by a point decades into the future, and these tend to be hailed by activists as representing, if not solutions, then great strides forward. New York state, for example, just proposed phasing out carbon-based electricity by 2050; France wants to ban conventional vehicles by 2040, the U.K. by 2050.  But as Michael Coren notes, “So far, it’s just words.

And we have been here before. Many other national and sub-national environmental programs were later abandoned; the 1990s saw California enact mandates for electric vehicle sales—requiring 10% of sales in 2003 be zero emission vehicles—which was adopted by a number of other states, primarily in New England. Ultimately, it was abandoned after wasting billions of dollars. Numerous locales in the U.S. signed on to requirements for oxygenated gasoline, only to back out at the last minute when the cost became apparent.

Read more: https://www.forbes.com/sites/michaellynch/2019/06/30/is-the-climate-change-debate-a-replay-of-the-reformation/

Are we seeing a green version of The Reformation?

I agree with the author that there seems to be growing criticism of the blatant hypocrisy of high profile greens, their great public displays of green piety no longer seems enough to cover for all their private jets, opulence, and utter personal hypocrisy.

Yet even amongst greens critical of the hypocrisy of their leaders there is very little acknowledgement of practical issues. For example, very few greens, even amongst those to take their personal lifestyle choices seriously, seem to recognise that US fracking technology has substantially reduced the USA’s greenhouse emissions. Many greens continue to vigorously oppose zero carbon nuclear energy, despite its obvious benefits in terms of reducing CO2 emissions.

Sadly the author mars an otherwise excellent article by finishing up praising the potential benefits of a carbon tax, though he doesn’t really explain why a carbon tax would be different from previous failed green schemes.

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60 thoughts on “Forbes: Climate Leaders Believe Faith Rather than Action will Achieve Green Salvation

    • Liberal Billionaires are all-in for carbon taxes. Every one of them.

      The middle-class, the fixed income seniors on pensions, the working stiff who like his boat or ATV on the weekend, they all should ask the serious question, “Why?”

      • It’s like the stock market. Billionaires and insider traders “game” the market. Traders in “carbon taxes” game the market. We do have a very good record of how that speculation and “gaming” worked out in 1929.

      • while oppose suppressing facts on the basis that may be “offensive” , it seems that the white fellas beliefs are pretty much a dream as well.

        Aboriginal people are thought to have arrived in Australia via land bridges from the north about 50,000 years ago.

        The migration hypothesis is just that. An hypothesis: a scientific word for something someone dreamed up but does not yet any conclusive evidence for. A bit like CAGW.

        • IMO, clever humans crossed the Wallace Line in boats or rafts, a rough journey, but one way to reach Australia. Land bridges would have carried animals too and Australian fauna does not reflect this being primarily marsupial. I agree, the land bridges notion is nothing more than a suggestion, and not a very good one at that.

      • That is a fair comment since the view the Earth is only a few thousand years old to many of their Christian students it is therefore offensive to teach otherwise.

  1. Faith plays a prominent role in ‘consensus’ climate science. It’s faith that the IPCC will provide an accurate summary of the science and when conclusions are subjective, present all sides. Instead, they demonize those who don’t accept their subjective conclusions.

    If you ask any proponent of CAGW why they believe that CO2 emissions are a problem, it always boils down to faith in science that they can’t or don’t understand themselves. So instead, they defer to the ‘consensus’ surrounding IPCC reports, since they’re under the illusion that the IPCC’s summaries are the result of proper scientific discovery. Little do they know that nearly every reference cited in IPCC reports since AR1 presumes that CO2 emissions are driving the climate system and will cause catastrophic warming if not stopped, yet not one single reference can robustly establish this connection with any kind of certainty. It’s simply taken on faith that CO2 is the problem and all the rest of the BS naturally follows.

    • Actually, the IPCC isn’t extreme enough for the alarmists any more. This, from the recent Judith Curry story:

      Whatever happened to climate scientists using the IPCC and National Assessment Reports in their analyses, either to support their arguments or otherwise refuting specific statements in these Reports? It seems that only scientists of the non-alarmist persuasion are citing these Reports any more. WUWT

      They are well beyond any pretense of actual science.

      • True. I recognized this a few years ago posting in The Guardian. I pointed out that many commenters were predicting temperature and sea level rises that were at the very upper limits of IPCC forecasts, and this was as out of agreement with the consensus as the luke warmers they so loved to disparage.

      • commieBob,

        The emphasis on the worst case is because the Summary For Policymakers emphasizes the consequences of the worst case ECS claimed in the Scientific Assessment Reports. It’s these worst case scenarios that trigger the irrational, emotional responses to an otherwise imagined catastrophe. Ironically, even their lower limit exceeds the maximum possible ‘gain’ of 2 W/m^2 of surface emissions per W/m^2 of forcing and this requires the atmosphere to incrementally absorb 100% of the incremental surface emissions!

        The Summary For Policymakers reflects the interests of the UNFCCC whose policy goals require the effect from CO2 emissions to be as large as possible, moreover; most of the gloom and doom is expressed in these reports. This is another aspect of the evil conflict of interest in the assessment of climate science that’s obscured by seemingly good intentions. The results are so wrong on so many levels, it should be embarrassing to those who anointed and then canonized the many serious errors.

    • Maybe I’m missing some information, but I have yet to here explanations for the pre-industrial warm periods that were warmer than current temperatures, such as the medieval warm period. I understand there was a roman warm period, and earlier ones.

  2. I’m not sure the reformation is the right analogy; what I prefer is the observation that Global Warming / Climate Change / Climate Chaos is the new Hellfire and Brimstone Religion for people who think they’re too smart to fall for a Hellfire and Brimstone Religion.

    “REPENT YE, REPENT YE, O YE EVILDOERS, FOR YE SHALL ALL PERISH IN FLAME! AND YE MUST GIVE TO US, THE KEEPERS OF THE HOLY EQUATIONS, ALL OF YOUR WORLDLY GOODS TO PROVE THAT YE ARE WORTHY OF SALVATION!!! REPENT YE, O REPENT YE, ALL YE WICKED ONES!!!”

    it’s the same old game.

      • Heck, just promote high-sulfur crude oil and they can accuse you of a trifecta of evil.

        • It might be economical to run some boilers off of sulfur since it is carbon free. I hear there are giant mounds of it in Khazakstan from the Tengiz field.

          • R. S.,

            USA and Canada have a share.
            Search with this: alberta mounds of Sulphur
            Use the ‘images’ tab.

      • Jim Jones promised his followers a jungle utopia. However, you may never leave his utopia. If you try, you’ll be sacrificed to the god of “Revolutionary Suicide”. Yes, the Warmists are committing “Revolutionary Climate Suicide”. In Jim Jones fashion, you will be giving away all your worldly possessions and “Climate volunteers” will build you a new eco-hovel where you will live and toil in the fields growing wholistic, macrobiotic, pesticide-free, herbicide-free, crops … by hand. It will all be WONDERFUL! until you want out. Until you tire of the oppression and insanity. Then you will be shot on the airstrip … and your children will be given eye droppers of cyanide to ensure their “Revolutionary” cooperation.

        • Jones was an avid reader who studied Stalin, Marx, Mao, Gandhi, and Hitler. Once “followers” committed to Jones, after the move to Guyana, it was too late and people tried to escape. Thing is, during the mass suicide, children were “administered” the “drink” first. And adults followed his instruction. It’s a shame he took a self induced lead pellet induction to the head, he should have taken the “drink” and suffered like all of his other “followers”.

          Cults *ALWAYS* end badly.

  3. Michael Lynch apparently misunderstands the Christian faith/works issue, so his metaphor is broken from the start. True faith will always produce works (you are always acting on what you really believe, regardless of what you say you believe or what you believe you believe). Luther, Zwingli, Calvin and other reformers cited numerous issues (thus the 95 theses, not the one thesis) with corruption in the Roman church as they saw it at that time.

    To imply that Luther would have been satisfied with people professing to believe X and not acting accordingly is just ignorant.

    • My reading is that Lynch seems to be suggesting greens are valuing expressions of piety more than substantive actions, and that this is wrong.

      While I vigorously disagree with greens, their authoritarian tendencies, and their crazy policy ideas, I do think they have been used badly by their hypocritical leaders, and that they mostly aren’t thinking through their ideas enough. Or maybe they have allowed themselves to be used badly by their leaders.

      • I agree with your reading, but the name for “valuing expressions of piety more than substantive actions” is “hypocrisy.” It has nothing to do with the Reformation. If this was the point he was trying to make, he would have been better served to go back to Jesus’ instructions to His followers to do what their religious leaders said, but not what they did. (The origin of the phrase, “Do as I say but not as I do.”)

    • From the original article:

      During the Reformation, there was an intense debate over whether Christians could enter paradise by doing good works, or whether faith alone allowed such a benefit. (See Fatal Discord: Erasmus, Luther and the Fight for the Western Mind by Michael Massing) This reminds me of the current attitude many have towards climate change policy, where some appear to think that faith alone is sufficient to solve the problem.

      I think he knows whereof he speaks.

      • Yes, I read that, commieBob; thank you. Yet “faith alone” in this context does not mean mere talk, or mere mental assent, much less acting opposite one’s professed beliefs. The author has simply used an inapt metaphor. He’s not the first.

        • Even today, I see the faith vs. good works supposed dichotomy working itself out in all sorts of congregations.

          Dog have Buddha-nature? Mu!

        • Just one mythical deity, substituted for another.
          Pay your indulgence to the Holy Mother Church, say five Hail Marys & your sins of whatever, are forgiven.
          Pay your Carbon Indulgence, declare a Climate Emergency & your sins of whatever, are forgiven.

    • I agree that the analogy is ill-conceived but yet I have long believed this to be in the mode of the free will vs. Determinism debate of Erasmus with Luther. However, the warmists are on the Catholic side. They believe that excessive living will bring on disaster and good works will save us from apocalypse. This can be individual but also sometimes a collective united enterprise. Think: Savanarola trying to save Florence with his attempt to get the whole city behind his bonfires of vanities. Lynch pointing out action not matching espoused intention matters for naught. What matters is the espoused belief that good works will bring salvation. The only difference is that this time it is not other-worldly salvation.

  4. The author lost credibility immediately by labeling the President a “D—-r”.
    I used to think better of Forbes.

  5. Actually, its PC run amok. We can’t say anything that in any stretch of the fervid imaginings of the PC mob that, in their collective estimation, someone in a protected class might be offended. Even when people in the protected class have no problems with any such expressions.

  6. They lie freely. On a BC government department website you can find that their carbon tax has reduced emissions by 17% per capita….. but that does not track with fuel consumption and population stats from other gov’t departments…..actually 1.5% increase it seems….

  7. ” … there is very little acknowledgement of practical issues”.

    Just so.

    Over the past decade, I have regularly interacted with renewable/anti-hydrocarbon types on several internet sites.
    It has taken me too long to recognize the incredible degree of willful ignorance displayed by these often very intelligent, concerned individuals.

    Possessing academic or artistic lifestyles – as a rule – these individuals possess virtually NO experience in the engineering, operational or business fields.

    One consequence, then, is the reliance upon “experts”, “studies”, “research” which is biased and targeted to an all-too-willing-to-believe audience.

    Hence, the pictures of forlorn polar bears perched upon small ice floes … images of muddy pipeline construction through verdant farmland, aerial views of seemingly crowded, West Texas drill pads.

    We pragmatists have been unsuccessfully engaged in an information war in which the emotions, the psychology of the wider population has been more effectively identified and exploited.

    • We pragmatists have been unsuccessfully engaged in an information war ……

      Right you are, Joe B, ……. right you are.

      In reference to the “renewable/anti-hydrocarbon types”, ……one (1) dubious/photoshopped picture presented by an “expert” ….. is worth far more proof than a thousand (1000) words from us “pragmatists”.

    • Joe B – what gets me is that they all use fossil fuels every day, they are waiting for the green energy to come from the top down as a result “political will” which i guess means electing socialists to soak the rich.

    • Upton Sinclair put it clearly (when he had lost his bid for Governorship of California in 1934):
      “It is difficult to get a man to understand something, when his salary depends on his not understanding it.”

  8. Extreme Climate and Droughts are Nothing New; Collapse of the Akkadian Empire Circa 2,200 B.C.

    UNDER the renowned Sargon and his successors, the Akkadians of Mesopotamia forged the world’s first empire more than 4,300 years ago. They seized control of cities along the Euphrates River and on the fruitful plains to the north, all in what is now Iraq, Syria and parts of southern Turkey. Then, after only a century of prosperity, the Akkadian empire collapsed abruptly, for reasons that have been lost to history…A team of archeologists, geologists and soil scientists has now found evidence that seems to solve the mystery. The Akkadian empire, they suggest, was beset by a 300-year drought and literally dried up. A microscopic analysis of soil moisture at the ruins of Akkadian cities in the northern farmlands disclosed that the onset of the drought was swift and the consequences severe, beginning about 2200 B.C.

    “This is the first time an abrupt climate change has been directly linked to the collapse of a thriving civilization,” said Dr. Harvey Weiss, a Yale University archeologist and leader of the American-French research team.
    https://co2islife.wordpress.com/2019/06/30/extreme-climate-and-droughts-are-nothing-new-collapse-of-the-akkadian-empire-circa-2200-b-c/

  9. I don’t think the Reformation analogy is much good. The Crusades are much better where the Papal Bull initiating the Crusades granted indulgences to those who took up the sword.
    In England taxes were imposed to finance the King – Richard the Lionheart? (Have I got that right? I am no historian) in his endeavours. The Meme went global across Christendom.

    To me the similarities are remarkable when you adjust for the beliefs and attitudes prevailing at the time and the consequences still echo today.

    The recent Papal announcements sent a shiver down my spine.

  10. The Reformation ? More like Jim Jones …
    except they want US to drink the kool-aid …

  11. It’s funny, but not appropriate, that you use a picture of Dr. Luther for this article. Luther, of course, is famous for his (actually God’s) “sola’s”: Faith alone, Grace alone, Scripture alone. But by “faith”, Luther doesn’t mean what the climate alarmists mean. What they mean is more along the lines of “willpower” or powerful wishing. After all, if the science actually said what they think it said skeptics wouldn’t have a leg to stand on.

    There are two approaches to finding truth. As has been discussed innumerable times here on WUWT, the scientific method works for cases where one can repeatably examine a phenomenon and relies heavily upon statistical analysis in forming its models.

    The other approach, which people tend to forget about, is the historical/legal approach, which is used for looking at unique phenomenon, usually historical, that cannot, by their nature, be repeated. This approach (see https://issuesetc.org/2013/07/01/2-a-forensic-examination-of-the-gospel-accounts-j-warner-wallace-7113/) employs scholarly and legal methods to validate eyewitness testimony and historical documents. When Luther talks about “faith alone” and “Scripture alone”, he means trusting to the validated eyewitness accounts, the Gospels, and not to one’s own logic regarding what should or should not have happened.

    Which, of course, is what this website has been saying all along! Trust in the actual science and the actual historical records, not in your feelings or perceptions of how the climate “should” behave. And make no bones about it, the whole Anthropogenic Climate Change movement, like the ecological movement before it, is a religion, a false one, an offshoot of Gnosticism.

    More on the Solas: https://issuesetc.org/?s=Solas

  12. WWE of June 30th was the funnies one, the capitals verse sums it up
    perfectly.

    If one gees back to Martin Luther one sees the same pattern, while shielded
    by the German Princes who saw him as a means of no longer paying the
    Popes tithes, i.e. tax, Martin Luther translated the Bibles Latin into
    lay German.

    So when the people actually read the Bible they noted the bit about he rich
    man not being able to enter Heaven, the eye of the needle bit.

    As a direct result they the poor started to riot as they were not getting the
    money from the rich as the Bible appeared to be saying.

    Martin Luther was not amused so he called on the Princes to use troops
    to stop such riots.

    Look at Henry the 8th, hr took over the role of the Pope, but kept a identical
    form of the Church services for the upper class, but ordered a very simple
    form for the peasants. Of course his new power as well as allowing him
    to divorce his first wife and marry Ann, also allowed him to plunder the
    vast wealth of the Churches Monistries .

    MJE VK5ELL

  13. Seems to me there are at least 2 kinds of analogies. There are principled analogies, such as 2 similar situations which share a common cause. And there are illustrative analogies, in which no such commonalities exist, only similarities. Typical mnemonic tricks used in all-night cram sessions would fall into this category.

    I can’t honestly see a clear principled analogy between Luther’s theses and the current climate controversy. But I think there is a pretty good illustrative analogy. Luther’s theses were actually an invitation to debate the issues he listed. Apparently that debate never happened; it is clear that the consensus hierarchy would have none of it. Refusing to participate in honest debate should be a red flag to any intelligent observer, in the 16th century, or the 21st.

  14. Given the (cough) mild amount of physical violence that came from the Reformation I am hoping it is not a literal comparison.

    Enlightenment would be higher on my wish list.

  15. For those willing to wander in an amusing SciFi world, L Neil Smith’s novel “Pallas” will provide much amusement re the non-scientific pronouncements of the “Greens”.

  16. Is Martin Luther looking for a nice cap-and-trade? That cap for a nice codpiece, maybe?

  17. The article is entitled: “Is The Climate Change Debate A Replay Of The Reformation?”

    No it is not! Not even close! Climate change alarmism is actually a replay of the Dark Ages – It is anti-science, anti-logic and anti-human – it is a pack of lies that was never about the environment – it was always about total control by the far-left, in their drive for totalitarianism.

  18. The difference between the “Reformation” and the relationship between skeptics and the climate lobby is that both Martin Luther and the Pope believed in the divinity of Jesus Christ. Today, the skeptics do not believe in the coming CO2 catastrophic disaster promoted by the climate lobby.

    It’s not an issue of how to address the issue, but whether or not there is an issue.

  19. The whole thing seems an aawful lot like prohibition.
    It seems and sounds like a good idea. That is, until it is actually implemented. Suddenly, there are more criminals than there law abiding citizens.
    Then the rules have to be changed again. Otherwise, there are more violations than can be punished.

  20. Since the solutions very frequently converge far faster on socialistic public policy than they converge on any meaningful mitigation of harm to the biosphere, the real motivation should be very clear.

  21. More like the witch trials, where people accused witches skeptics who were killedsacked.

  22. “Martin Luther, whose famous ninety-five thesis against the Catholic Church triggered The Reformation.”
    The problem with Luther’s 95 theses is that few people actually bother to read them. And so we get the kind of ignorant statement like this one. His 95 Theses were not ‘against the Catholic Church’. They criticised certain practices associated with Indulgences. One of the things which the 95 Theses did NOT do was to question the authority of the Pope. If you don’t believe me, then have a read of them for yourselves rather than take some third-, fourth-, fifty millionth-hand version of them.

  23. A carbon tax would be a terribly regressive tax, probably worse than the social security tax.

  24. Wait … so then there is climate change, you just whine that the proposed solutions wont’ work.
    Funny, cause till 3 seconds ago for the last 30 years you kept saying there was no climate change.

    So, what made you change your mind so radically?

  25. Note: California zero emissions mandate was dropped using a legal maneuver that was possible, only because Republican controlled the whole process, but was clearly anti democratic, heavily influence by GM.

    Ultimately GM went bankrupt, while Tesla is now eating the lunch of the bailed out GM and essentially every other car maker in the world.

    Isn’t ironic that not abusing democracy would have given GM a 10 years head start on Tesla, as supposed to a 10 years delay.

    My balls are laughing out really loud …

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