Wednesday, December 09, 2009

Environmentalism as Religion

This is an issue we wrote about in our 2006 research report, (see pages 19-32), and an article from the Wall Street Journal also finds deep fervor and apocalyptic visions within the environmental movement.

An excerpt.

'I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end, the first and the last." Is it not obvious that the vision of apocalypse as it was revealed to Saint John of Patmos was, in fact, global warming?

“Here's a partial rundown of some of the ills seriously attributed to climate change: prostitution in the Philippines (along with greater rates of HIV infection); higher suicide rates in Italy; the 1993 "Black Hawk Down" battle in Somalia; an increase in strokes and heart disease in China; wars in the Middle East; a larger pool of potential recruits to terrorism; harm to indigenous peoples and "biocultural diversity."

“All this, of course, on top of the Maldives sinking under the waves, millions of climate refugees, a half-dozen Katrina-type events every year and so on and on—a long parade of horrors animating the policy ambitions of the politicians, scientists, climate mandarins and entrepreneurs now gathered at a U.N. summit in Copenhagen. Never mind that none of these scenarios has any basis in some kind of observable reality (sea levels around the Maldives have been stable for decades), or that the chain of causation linking climate change to sundry disasters is usually of a meaningless six-degrees-of-separation variety.

“Still, the really interesting question is less about the facts than it is about the psychology. Last week, I suggested that funding flows had much to do with climate alarmism. But deeper things are at work as well.

“One of those things, I suspect, is what I would call the totalitarian impulse. This is not to say that global warming true believers are closet Stalinists. But their intellectual methods are instructively similar. Consider:

“• Revolutionary fervor: There's a distinct tendency among climate alarmists toward uncompromising radicalism, a hatred of "bourgeois" values, a disgust with democratic practices. So President Obama wants to cut U.S. greenhouse gas emissions by 83% from current levels by 2050, levels not seen since the 1870s—in effect, the Industrial Revolution in reverse. Rajendra Pachauri, head of the U.N.'s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, insists that "our lifestyles are unsustainable." Al Gore gets crowds going by insisting that "civil disobedience has a role to play" in strong-arming governments to do his bidding. (This from the man who once sought to preserve, protect and defend the Constitution.)”