Sunday, September 1, 2019


It isn’t a new idea… that human beings can control the climate. Many cultures have believed that gods and goddesses were in charge of nature but that we humans could influence them by making the proper sacrifices.

To primitive minds, the ups and downs of the natural world were all meaningful. If the climate was turning against us, it could only mean that we had done something very, very bad. For that the gods and goddesses of the climate, allied with Mother Nature, were punishing us. The only solution was to propitiate the deities by making our own sacrifices… and thus to accept punishment before the climate punishes us.

If you live in a world controlled by guilt/punishment narratives, you will accept that as gospel truth. And naturally, you know that the most sinful of nations, that would be the United States and its Western European satraps bore the most responsibility for the current crisis.

If countries like China and India are leading the world in pollution, we should sagely ignore the fact. If leaders in China and India are not gnashing their teeth and shutting down power plants to save the planet, we should assume that they are either evil or stupid or both. After all, if they were enlightened they would be following the hysterical rants of an autistic Swedish high school girl, a professional truant named Greta Thunberg.

Young Greta arrived in New York City, via sailboat, a couple of days ago and she will soon be declaiming the truth right below my office window. That is, at the United Nations.

In his Times of London column this week Niall Ferguson explains that primitive peoples in South America have already tried to propitiate the climate gods by performing ritual sacrifices. Being as they were more sophisticated than we are, they used to sacrifice human children. The next time you are tempted to believe that these primitives possessed some superior New Age wisdom, think about that one.

Ferguson wrote:

In 15th-century Peru, we learnt last week, children were sacrificed to propitiate the Chimu gods in an attempt to end natural disasters caused by the climatic phenomenon we now call, appropriately enough, El Niño. In our time the roles have been reversed. Now children warning of an impending climate catastrophe are the ones that have to be propitiated. Now it is they who demand sacrifices.

He added:

Back in the 1400s people in Peru believed that sacrificing their children would reduce rainfall. Not only did that not work. Regardless of their grim, murderous rites, they were soon to be hit by a far worse natural disaster than rain, namely the various lethal pandemics that swept the Americas after the arrival of Europeans. We know climate change can happen, because it followed hard on the heels of this “great dying”: the collapsing population in the New World reduced carbon dioxide levels as large areas of land returned to the wild, leading to the so-called Little Ice Age.

Let’s see, if we reduce carbon dioxide levels too much, lo and behold, we will have a New Ice Age and massive numbers of people will die. 

But, who is Greta Thunberg?

Greta, 16, is in New York at the invitation of the United Nations, having already established herself as a public figure in Europe by leading mass truancies to protest against climate change (“Fridays for Future”). Rather than flying, she sailed across the Atlantic in an “emissions-free yacht” to spare the Earth’s atmosphere the exhaust from a plane that was flying to New York anyway, with or without her.

Doesn’t this tell us that we give too much money to the United Nations and that perhaps it is time to wean it off American largesse?

Unfortunately, there is no such thing as a sixteen year old child who is an expert in climate science. A cult leader, perhaps, but certainly not an expert in metereology.

Yet what does it tell us about our world that Greta is about to add the UN general assembly to the list of august bodies she has addressed in the past year, after the Pope, the World Economic Forum and the European parliament? “I want you to panic,” she said at Davos in January. “I want you to feel the fear I feel every day.” That is not the voice of science. It is the voice of a millenarian cult leader.

The Paris climate accord is a scaled-up version of this. Even if adhered to, it will scarcely increase the share of global energy that comes from renewable sources. The effect on average temperature will be negligible: just 1% of what would be needed to limit the rise in global temperature by 2100 to 1.5C.

As for the cost, paying for the Green New Deal, to take a random example, will impoverish the nation and make the next century the age of Chinese world dominance. As though AOC cared:

It would be even more foolish to take, on the basis of apocalyptic visions, extreme precautions that end up costing more than inaction would. Subsidies to renewable energy have a cost. Cutting CO2emissions has a cost. Those costs in terms of forgone growth could exceed the costs of climate damage if we overreach in the way that, for example, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s Green New Deal would. The key point, as Lomborg says, is that vastly more people die as a consequence of poverty each year than die as a consequence of global warming. A CO2 emissions target is not the optimal target if meeting it would trap millions in poverty, not to mention ignorance and ill-health.

You see, China and India are building more power plants, even with the attendant pollution, because they want to lift people out of poverty. China for one knows what happens when harebrained schemes destroy the economy. Didn’t Mao’s Great Leap Forward produce a famine that caused over thirty million people to starve to death. Some might call it human sacrifice. It didn’t work. But, I promise you one thing, the Great Leap Forward did not hurt the environment. 

Ferguson concludes:

While the West virtue-signals, China, India, Brazil and others will continue to attach more importance to growth than to curbing emissions. The planet will grow warmer, just as it grew colder in the 1600s. And we shall adapt, taking advantage of the technological innovations that will gradually improve how we generate and store electrical power and ward off flood waters.


trigger warning said...

16 yr old Greta Thunberg is an interesting chica. Gooble her and check the images tab. She looks like a primary school child. I don't know anything about autism, but going by her childlike mien, she definitely got off the short bus to board that boat.

Of course, that's a perfect qualification for UN work.

Anonymous said...

Greta is flag-pole sitter for 2020. Publicity stunt.

Sam L. said...

“I want you to panic,” she said at Davos in January. “I want you to feel the fear I feel every day.” That is not the voice of science. It is the voice of a millenarian cult leader." I can only ask, WHEN did Al Gore get reincarnated as Greta?

Cutting CO2 emissions will reduce crop yields. It's a plant nutrient.