A couple of days ago, I quoted the Globe and Mail‘s John Ibbitson who said, “in this century, conservatives have struggled to meet the challenge of climate change.” Perhaps that’s because the “challenge” has been seriously overstated.
Michael Shellenberger is a Time Magazine “Hero of the Environment,” winner of the Green Book Award, and the founder and president of Environmental Progress. He is, in short, a lot “greener” than Elizabeth May, Catherine McKenna and Justin Trudeau all wrapped together. He is also the author of a new book, Apocalypse Never: Why Environmental Alarmism Hurts Us All, in which he “walks back” much of the rhetoric used by e.g. Greta Thunberg and the like. What’s behind the rise of apocalyptic environmentalism? (lifted from the book review) Mr Shellenberg says that while there are some powerful financial interests and there are desires for status and power, the main “driver” is a desire among supposedly secular people for transcendence. While such a spiritual impulse can be natural and healthy, what Ms Thuberg and others are preaching is fear without love, and guilt without redemption and this, Michael Shellenberg says is a harmful creed.
In a recent article in Forbes, which was subsequently removed (under pressure from the enviro-fanatics, I assume) but which is reproduced here, Mr Shellenbereger says: “Here are some facts few people know:
- Humans are not causing a “sixth mass extinction”
- The Amazon is not “the lungs of the world”
- Climate change is not making natural disasters worse
- Fires have declined 25% around the world since 2003
- The amount of land we use for meat — humankind’s biggest use of land — has declined by an area nearly as large as Alaska
- The build-up of wood fuel and more houses near forests, not climate change, explain why there are more, and more dangerous, fires in Australia and California
- Carbon emissions have been declining in rich nations for decades and peaked in Britain, Germany and France in the mid-seventies
- Adapting to life below sea level made the Netherlands rich not poor
- We produce 25% more food than we need and food surpluses will continue to rise as the world gets hotter
- Habitat loss and the direct killing of wild animals are bigger threats to species than climate change
- Wood fuel is far worse for people and wildlife than fossil fuels
- Preventing future pandemics requires more not less “industrial” agriculture.”
In other words, he asserts, almost everything that Justin Trudeau, Elizabeth May, Catherina McKenna and Greta Thunberg have been shouting at us for the past five years is rubbish. Yes, the climate is changing … no question about that; and no, change is not always good. But the change is not apocalyptic; it is not the challenge of a lifetime. It’s a problem, and Canada can and should be helping to solve that problem by, for example, reducing the global impact of things like coal-fired powerplants in Asia by exporting cleaner Canadian oil and gas and, especially, nuclear technology. That means that Canada needs to reverse Justin Trudeau’s policies and priorities ~ they need to be turned on their head and he needs to be turned out of office.
Mr Shellenberger says that he knows that telling the truth “will sound like “climate denialism” to many people. But that,” he says, “just shows the power of climate alarmism.” That is the danger when arguing against the Trudeau-Thunberg thesis: the “true believers” who are waging another “children’s’ crusade” against an enemy they cannot understand will howl with rage, and their howling will be amplified by an uncritical media because they do not know themselves, they only “know” the mindless mantra that has been forced on them. People, like Michael Shellenberger and other climate realists, face an uphill struggle in speaking the truth to blind, ignorant rage. But if we follow Sun Tzu’s guidance and understand both the apocalyptic children and the cynical, political hangers-on and if we understand the basics of a sound Canadian environmental policy, then we can and should prevail.
Mr Schellenbereger says that during the rise of the climate apocalypse movement he raimed silent for a variety of reasons, including fear of losing funding, but, “then, last year, things spiraled out of control … [first] … Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez said “The world is going to end in twelve years if we don’t address climate change” … [then] … Britain’s most high-profile environmental group claimed “Climate Change Kills Children” … [and then] … The world’s most influential green journalist, Bill McKibben, called climate change the “greatest challenge humans have ever faced” and said it would “wipe out civilizations” … [and] … Mainstream journalists reported, repeatedly, that the Amazon was “the lungs of the world,” and that deforestation was like a nuclear bomb going off.“
“As a result,” he writes, “half of the people surveyed around the world last year said they thought climate change would make humanity extinct. And in January, one out of five British children told pollsters they were having nightmares about climate change … [and] … Whether or not you have children you must see how wrong this is.“
Michael Shellenberger chose to correct things; his choice is to write a book ~ the aforementioned Apocalypse Never: Why Environmental Alarmism Hurts Us All; but Canadians can make a better choice. Canadians can accept that climate change is real and that it is a real, global problem and they can accept that Canada can do a lot to help reduce the global impact of carbon dioxide emissions by substituting cleaner Canadian oil and gas and clean Canadian nuclear energy for coal-fired energy production, especially in Asia. We can, as good environmentalists, “think globally and act locally.” Our local actions should include building pipelines (the plural matters) to get Canadian oil and gas to our seaports and to our own refineries and to get Canadian nuclear technology to the world.