Is man-caused climate change a crisis that requires immediate action to reduce and eliminate carbon emissions to save the planet? Glenn Reynolds of Instapundit has a frequently-repeated phrase that he uses on this subject, which is "I'll believe that it's a crisis when the people who claim it's a crisis start acting like it's a crisis."
Plenty of people have pointed to extreme examples of the "do as I say, not as I do" syndrome in the climate wars. Twenty-three thousand people (23,000!!!!) jet off to Bonn to cook up schemes to force others to fly less. Al Gore has a 10,000+ square foot house that uses more than 20 times the amount of energy as the average American home -- and that's just one of his multiple houses! And so forth. But just because these people behave this way does not necessarily mean that they don't believe their own propaganda; it may just mean that they believe that the burden of sacrifice needs to be on you rather than on themselves. But are there some of their actions that go further and prove that they really know that it's all bullshit?
Because it's hard to get people too worked up over the idea that the temperature might rise a couple of degrees -- or even three! -- the big scare story always tends to revert to sea level rise. Antarctica is going to melt and we're all going to drown!! Or something like that. An article from the Guardian a few days ago (November 3) is typical of the genre:
Hundreds of millions of urban dwellers around the world face their cities being inundated by rising seawaters if latest UN warnings that the world is on course for 3C of global warming come true, according to a Guardian data analysis.
The article comes with plenty of photoshopped pictures of your favorite city deep under water. Here's one of the South Beach area of Miami:
OK then, undoubtedly the progressive climate-alarm-believing elite would situate themselves well away from the dangerous coastlines at some respectable higher elevation. Actually, not at all. The progressive and supposedly climate-alarm-believing elite clusters itself just as close along the coastlines as it can get: New York, LA, San Francisco, Seattle. In New York and San Francisco particularly, favored perches of the alarmists line up right along the waterfront. Tenants of my own office building -- no more than about 30 feet above mean high tide in downtown Manhattan -- include Vox Media. Or consider the Goldman Sachs headquarters, just a couple of hundred feet inland, and barely elevated abov the sea:
I guess that tells you what the smart money thinks. Would they really have put a billion dollar building there if they thought there was anything to this sea level rise thing?
Or consider the case of nuclear power. If carbon emissions really were a huge existential crisis, there is exactly one way to replace the energy we currently get from fossil fuels with energy that is sufficiently abundant and reliable, and reasonable enough in cost, to be a real way to power a modern economy for the entire world. That is nuclear. (By the way, I'm not saying that I am a fan of nuclear power. As far as I'm concerned, we should take what the market provides without government meddling and subsidies, and likely that is almost entirely fossil fuels for the foreseeable future. But what I am saying is that if climate alarmists think that it is absolutely essential to de-carbonize the world economy, then there is only one way to do that without destroying it, and that is widespread adoption of nuclear power.)
Undoubtedly then, the people who are really concerned with climate crisis should be advocating loudly for expansion of nuclear power to replace fossil fuels. Funny, but you literally can't find that. Yes, there are a few examples of lonely individuals out there making this point, but literally no example from any major environmental organization. For instance:
Natural Resources Defense Council? "Expanding nuclear power is not a sound strategy for diversifying America’s energy portfolio and reducing global warming pollution."
Sierra Club? "Nuclear Power Is Not the Answer. The Sierra Club remains unequivocally opposed to nuclear energy."
Greenpeace? "Greenpeace got its start protesting nuclear weapons testing back in 1971. We’ve been fighting against nuclear weapons and nuclear power ever since."
Union of Concerned Scientists? "Current security standards are inadequate to defend nuclear plants against terrorist attacks."
You could go on with this as long as you want.
So what's going on here? There is no way to avoid the conclusion that the biggest promoters of the climate scare don't actually believe their own propaganda. But there are several other reasonable hypotheses for why they continue. For the environmental groups, the reasonable hypothesis is that scaremongering and alarmism are the sine qua non of fundraising. The leaders of the environmental groups themselves know, because they have to, that intermittent renewable energy sources like wind and solar cannot meaningfully de-carbonize the world economy. But the halting advance of those non-workable energy sources means no imminent solutions and therefore a never-ending crisis that can keep career-long sinecures going.
And then there are the U.N. and its collection of scores of "developing" nations playing on the guilt and gullibility of first world bureaucratic elites. Consider this article from yesterday's Indian Express, reporting on the ongoing U.N. climate conference in Bonn, title "The COP Ritual: Frustration Shows Up As Bonn Climate Summit Is Deadlocked Again." What's to "deadlock" over, guys? I thought we all agreed that emitting CO2 is a crisis and we just all have to get together and eliminate that? How wrong you are! Excerpt:
Developing countries are demanding money in addition to the $100 billion developed nations have promised to provide every year from 2020. . . . Developing countries . . . have been demanding the setting up of mechanisms through which they can access financial help in the event of destruction caused by extreme weather events. This financial help needs to be in addition to the US$ 100 billion that the developed countries are obligated to provide every year from 2020 to help developing countries deal with climate change. One of the options being discussed is to raise money through taxes on fossil fuel industry.
Or to put it slightly differently, this was always all about graft, which was mostly to be paid by the United States, until it wised up and walked away. No wonder things are now "deadlocked"! Of course, transferring $100 billion a year from the U.S. and a bunch of EU suckers over to some third-world dictators was never going to do anything to "save the planet." But nobody ever really believed that bullshit anyway.