The trouble with democracy is that quantity always wins out over quality. This is a dangerous thing to say, because it is now very easy to brand me as a fascist, right-wing totalitarian dictator. But as Anatole France said, if 52 million people say a foolish thing, it is still a foolish thing.
On September 21 hundreds of thousands of people will attend 1000 events in 88 countries, taking part in what has been described as a “great global climate wake-up call”. Let’s hope the great global climate is listening. But the people the organisers really want to be listening are government leaders and, of course, the media.
The organisers are Avaaz, a global campaigning organization that promotes activism among “ordinary people” and works mainly by way of e-mails. They do a lot of good work in protesting about injustice, but in this case are actually promoting it. Unknowingly, of course.
The aim of the “easy and fun” wake-up call is to persuade Governments meeting in Copenhagen to “make hard choices”, ignore “pressure from oil and coal companies” and “sign an ambitious, fair and binding global treaty that will stop a climate catastrophe”.
That seems straightforward enough. Only one or two problems: first, there is no scientific evidence that we are heading for a climate catastrophe; second, even if we were, the idea that it could be stopped by signing a treaty – even a global one – is preposterous; third, those opposing any such pointless treaty are not so much oil and coal companies but an increasingly growing number of scientists and precisely those “ordinary people” who Avaaz purports to represent.
These are the people who have been deprived of a voice. Having been betrayed by the politicians, they are now inundated by wake-up calls from thousands of people who know virtually nothing about climate science, but who rather like the idea of telling governments what to do.
There is a real danger that such a movement could help sweep to power someone who promised to deal with climate change, without any regard to his or her policies on freedom, law and the rights of individuals. Impossible? Wait and see.
It’s not impossible when the major media, like the BBC, ignore climate sceptics and take every opportunity to promote alarmists.
It’s not impossible when these same alarmists refuse to allow a voice to any other view by saying “the debate is over”. That is an outrageous thing to say, but thousands upon thousands of us calmly accept it.
And this in the face of so much evidence that the climate is not behaving as computers have predicted. I am tired of pointing out that the earth has not warmed at all this century, while carbon emissions have been increasing. Can the papering-over of this crack in climate orthodoxy be anything but sinister?
At Greenbelt arts and music festival I protested to Christian Aid about their massive tunnel vision on this issue (one shared by many charities and NGOs). A charming young girl said they “had to accept what the scientists said”. She had no doubts, and it is not surprising, because opposing views are never publicised. She will certainly not be reading a website like this. Why should she?
Twitter users are currently inundated by messages urging everyone to demand a treaty on climate change. Most of these are simply passed on by people too lazy to think about it or research it, but have accepted the popular view because it ticks all the right boxes: industry is guilty, government is guilty, we are guilty. Woe is us.
Meanwhile in the Spectator, Australian geologist Professor Ian Plimer is saying: “The hypothesis that human activity can create global warming is extraordinary because it is contrary to validated knowledge from solar physics, astonomy, history, archaeology and geology.”
And in Germany more than 60 scientists have written to Chancellor Angela Merkel pointing out that rising CO2 has “had no measurable effect” on temperatures, and global warming has become a pseudo-religion.
In Britain environment expert Paul Briggs says: “Energy and Transport policies are being blighted by CO2 emissions targets that are unachievable without restrictive laws and a huge amount of financial pain for no climate gain.”
And in the developing world there is a real risk that cash for aid will be diverted from, say, provision of clean water for all into measures designed to “reduce the impact of climate change”. The poor will suffer as usual, and the carbon-savvy entrepreneurs will make money. As usual.
There is no doubt that the climate changes, and its effects will sometimes be devastating on a local level. It has always been like that. Much of the eastern part of the county I live in was under water less than 2000 years ago. It is right to protect those affected in the most efficient and human way possible.
But we spend so much time pretending that we can change the climate, and so much money on measures that will have no effect, that we are effectively killing people who we could help. This is the sort of thing you might hope that Avaaz would get upset about. But no. They, like half the population, have been brainwashed.
I’m not a fascist, right-wing totalitarian dictator. I’m a cuddly, open-minded writer with poetic leanings, a love of unpolluted nature and no wings whatsoever. And I’m prepare to admit that democracy may be the best thing we’ve got in the way of government.
But I’m really, really tired of being swamped by these politically motivated, ill-thought-out, self-righteous slogans that bear so little relation to reality.