Er zijn altijd onheilsprofeten geweest die het einde der tijden hebben aangekondigd. En er waren altijd mensen die daarin geloofden. Maar met ‘klimaat’ heeft het fenomeen ongekende proporties aangenomen. In een recente ‘posting’, onder de titel, ‘Pittsburgh, Not Paris: Explaining the Climate Hysteria’, analyseerde Peter Wood hoe het zover heeft kunnen komen. Ik pik er een aantal elementen uit.

“Humans in the near future,” predicted Michael Moore, the documentarian filmmaker, in a recent tweet, “will mark today, March 28, 2017, as the day the extinction of human life on earth began, thanks to Donald Trump.” Trump had just issued an executive order rescinding Obama’s Clean Power Plan. Where does a prophet of dystopia go after predicting something like that? When Trump, in his June 1 Rose Garden Speech, withdrew from the Paris Accord, saying “I was elected to represent the citizens of Pittsburgh, not Paris,” Moore was left with small change, calling it “a crime against humanity” and warning that “this admitted predator has now expanded his predatory acts to the entire planet.”

Some commentators have made sport of the most unhinged prognostications of doom. I understand the impulse. To anyone who is not caught up in climate hysteria, the breathless anticipation of catastrophe and the efforts to connect every groan of groaning humanity to the amount of CO2 in the atmosphere are evidence of — let’s be polite — a will to believe.

I am among those, however, who presume that life on earth will survive the Trumpocalypse. …

… climate catastrophism presents a puzzle. Just compare the fervor of belief and the stridency against opposition, on the one hand, to the quality of the claims, on the other. Catastrophism isn’t grounded in personal experience, and the “science” it lays claim to is, at best, wobbly. The “models” don’t match the facts, and the mismatches are enormous. Rival hypotheses for how the earth’s climate changes are simply ignored. Efforts to test the theory are met with indignation. Discrepant data are over and over again “recalibrated,” erased, or explained away as unreliable.

So much effort has gone into maintaining a theory that is really little more than an ill-supported conjecture that we are confronted less with a scientific problem than a sociological one. How can so many people subscribe to an idea — and so vehemently — that rests on so little?

Two parts of the answer are immediately evident. The manmade global warming movement incessantly appeals to authority, and it offers under the shelter of that authority the psychological satisfactions of fervent belief. The authority is supposedly “science,” as in “97 percent of climate scientists” believe this. That figure has been debunked over and over, but it is immutable in the minds of the clima-catastrophists.

The fervor is something else. This is by no means the first time we have seen this convergence between misplaced appeals to authority and the emotional thirst for certainty. … Princeton physicist Will Happer has drawn the larger lesson: the ardent belief in manmade global warming upheld by our educated elite resembles the view of witchcraft upheld by the educated elite in colonial New England.

Fervent belief is never to be relied on as evidence that a belief is well-founded. Such fervor may in fact be evidence of the opposite: a desperate attempt to wall off doubt. No one is fervent in believing that water is wet or that the sun is hot. Fervor requires a certain implausibility to sustain itself: a not-so-obvious truth claim that only people who have superior perception and understanding can see as valid. Fervent believers derive some satisfaction from being among those who grasp something that eludes less insightful people.

Na een historisch overzicht van de opkomst van de milieubeweging en de rol die Reagan en Thatcher hebben gespeeld bij de het toekennen van prioriteit aan klimaatverandering op de internationale agenda, gaat Peter Wood in op het religieuze karakter van de klimaathype.

How does such a thing take shape without people noticing that a massively popular counter-religion has established itself in American life—and in the life of most of the other developed nations? …

The answer, I think, is that the sustainability movement identified itself from early on with elite opinion. In commerce, sustainability comes from boardroom edicts, not the factory floor; from advertising agencies, not line producers. In the United States, sustainability initiatives are bankrolled by billionaires such as Tom Steyer, not by Main Street.

It is a religion, not of the masses, but of the elites, the upper middle class, professors, Hollywood, journalists, “knowledge workers,” school teachers, corporate CEOs, Wall Street, the Democratic Party, and a good portion of the establishment side of the Republican Party. As such, it is almost completely invisible to the people who fall into these categories. For them, “sustainability” is simply shorthand for the right way to lead your life and conduct public policy. It is unavailable as something that poses—or ought to pose—troubling questions, along the lines of “How do we know this is true?” “What if it isn’t?” “Why does it seem so convincing?”

All of this goes a fair way toward explaining the baffled outrage of media figures when confronted by Trump’s declaration that “I was elected to represent the citizens of Pittsburgh, not Paris.”

The invisibility of sustainability as a substitute religion is enhanced by the readiness of other faiths—Protestantism, Catholicism, Judaism, Buddhism, and various New Age religions—to accommodate its commands to their own. Pope Francis’s environmental encyclical, Laudato Si, elevated the synthesis of Catholic teaching and radical sustainability doctrines to a new level. This doesn’t make it any easier for people to reckon with the degree to which the movement cuts against traditional religious precepts, as well as secular scientific inquiry. Notably, Islam appears to be immune to the appeal to alter itself in favor of the edicts of sustainability.

Vaak is op dit blog betoogd dat bij grondige lezing blijkt dat de klimaatovereenkomst van Parijs niet veel voorstelt. Waarom dat nu zo veel ophef over de uittreding van de VS?

President Trump’s repudiation of the Paris Climate Accord, practically speaking, is not very significant, for the Accord was little more than a rhetorical gesture made by President Obama. It was not a treaty and was never approved by the Senate. Its provisions were “voluntary” for the nations that signed it …

Aldus Peter Wood (President of the National Association of Scholars).

Lees verder hier.

Maar ja, als het om religie gaat, moet de nuchtere ratio nogal eens het onderspit delven.

Voor mijn eerdere bijdragen over klimaat en aanverwante zaken zie hierhier, hier, hier en hier.