The media keeps reminding us that there is a consensus not only that the climate is warming (and it is), but that mankind is to cause and disaster is sure to result unless we return to a hunter-gatherer civilization, or something like that. It turns out that not all of the dissenters are on the Right. There’s Alexander Cockburn. Indeed, in his own incomparable way, he contends that the scaremongering is benefiting corporate interests:
While the world’s climate is on a warming trend, there is zero evidence that the rise in CO2 levels has anthropogenic origins. For daring to say this I have been treated as if I have committed intellectual blasphemy.
In magazine articles and essays I have described in fairly considerable detail, with input from the scientist Martin Hertzberg, that you can account for the current warming by a number of well-known factors – to do with the elliptical course of the Earth in its relationship to the sun, the axis of the Earth in the current period, and possibly the influence of solar flares. There have been similar warming cycles in the past, such as the medieval warming period, when the warming levels were considerably higher than they are now.
Yet from left to right, the warming that is occurring today is taken as being man-made, and many have made it into the central plank of their political campaigns. For reasons I find very hard to fathom, the environmental left movement has bought very heavily into the fantasy about anthropogenic global warming and the fantasy that humans can prevent or turn back the warming cycle.
This turn to climate catastrophism is tied into the decline of the left, and the decline of the left’s optimistic vision of altering the economic nature of things through a political programme. The left has bought into environmental catastrophism because it thinks that if it can persuade the world that there is indeed a catastrophe, then somehow the emergency response will lead to positive developments in terms of social and environmental justice.
This is a fantasy. In truth, environmental catastrophism will, in fact it already has, play into the hands of sinister-as-always corporate interests. The nuclear industry is benefiting immeasurably from the current catastrophism. Last year, for example, the American nuclear regulatory commission speeded up its process of licensing; there is an imminent wave of nuclear plant building. Many in the nuclear industry see in the story about CO2 causing climate change an opportunity to recover from the adverse publicity of Chernobyl.