Sunday, August 24, 2008

Some Inconvenient Questions for Climate Fear Promoters

Two complementary posts to bring to your attention today. The first is a series of questions that give rise to skepticism about AGW theory.

The second, provides a synopsis of common constructs that many skeptics would subscribe to as the basis for their rejection of AGW.

Both posts presume the climate change is fundamentally a question of science. It is not. It is fundamentally an organizing construct for green ideology:
  • When the issue of global warming emerged nearly 20 years ago, it offered the environmental movement -- perversely -- a kind of hope, or at the least, a much tighter focus. This was because its implications were wide-ranging in a way that those of whaling, say, or industrial pollution, were not.
  • The threat of the warming atmosphere was a threat us all; the imperative to do something drastic about it therefore a universal one.
  • For the idealists of the green movement, this meant change, which was what they had always wanted -- change in human behavior, to a more caring, less exploitative and less wasteful way of life. The climate threat seemed to mean that this would have to happen, now. People would be obliged to live in respectful harmony with the Earth. They would be obliged to alter their ways: swap their cars for bikes and public transport; substitute renewable energy systems for coal-fired electricity; and consume less of everything.
  • The alternative was catastrophe. It was go green, or die.
The problem for green ideology is that has lacked a coherent politics of hope, one with vision that empowers both individuals and communities. Rather, contemporary environmentalism is stuck in the protest, consciousness-raising mode of the Woodstock era and as a politics of reform offers nothing but constraint and regression.

What is needed is a politics with vision for positive change and fulfillment: that vision requires much more articulation and a decision by the green movement to revamp the basis for environmental ideology away from limits and towards empowerment.

It will not be an easy transition for many people, particularly those heavily invested emotionally in the existing paradigm, despite its ongoing unsustainability.