One of my favourite childhood stories was the Emperor’s new clothes. I’ve always been suspicious of the pressure from crowds to make us believe things may not be true.
There was something about Greta Thunberg’s furious eruption at the United Nations last month which made me want to take a step back.
The more the media resonated with congratulations as she trumpeted “don’t believe me believe the science”, the warier I became.
Two things about the green eruption of angst and anger worry me; aspects of the science despite the fact that Greta insists the science is incontrovertibl,e and the taste and smell of the politics that occasionally peeks out from behind the Green movement, both set all my alarm bells ringing.
A couple of days ago, the deputy leader of the Extinction Rebellion movement said something casually alarming in a TV news interview. She was commenting on the direct action in London, and that both democracy and capitalism had failed us and were partly responsible for the the apocalypse we were facing, I smelt a rat.
I don’t think much of either democracy or capitalism, but every other political system is worse than democracy and capitalism, for all its one-eyed ruthlessness has lifted more people out of poverty than any other economic system. If the Green agenda is to replace both of them, it won’t just be the weather than causes us trouble.
So, what’s wrong with the science? Karl Popper, one of our best philosophers of science explained the scientific method best when he wrote that it’s all about falsification. You test a theory, until it either proves untrue, or partially untrue and needs modifying; or doesn’t prove untrue and can be relied on.
But climate science doesn’t work that way. It’s all about prediction. That’s not science as Popper knows it. It brings in models that suggest what the future might be. When they get it wrong they have to be tweaked or radically changed. But they are never ‘right’ because they all deal with the future and that can’t be tested or falsified, since we are in the present.
Rupert Darwell, has written two books looking at both the history and the politics of the green movement. The ‘History of Global Warming’ and ‘Green Tyranny: Exposing the Totalitarian Roots of the Climate Industrial Complex.’
In the first he points out that predictive science has a woeful record in the past. It was only a couple of decades ago that we were being told the best models were predicting a new ice age and disastrous global cooling. It’s not obvious that the global warming models of today are as reliable as they are treated as being.
Darwell’s second book looks at the politics that publishes and massages the so far predictively-unreliable science. He is especially critical of the International Panel for limate Change. He claims that at the U.N. climate change meetings, politics trumps science as a process. `The best examples of this are the IPCC Assessment Reports. Every six years or so, the IPCC issues a massive report assessing the issue of climate change. But because the report is so dense, the work of the scientists is handed to a group of public officials, who then write a summary. In the end, science is relegated to a bit part in a political drama.
The politics gets murkier when the enormous investments in green technology appears to have struck a political bargain with both science and governments to maximise the returns. Neither the economics not the efficiency of green energy stack up in Germany for example, which is at the front of the experiiment. Even the environmentalism doesn’t hold water when it is alleged that wind farms kill up to three million bats a year as pressure waves from rotating blades cause their lungs to explode.
The Ivanpah solar project in the Mojave Desert, in which Google invested 178 million dollars, uses 300,000 mirrors over a 3500-acre site and incinerates “an average of one bird every two minutes; a contractor for the plant, estimates 6,190 bird deaths for the year there.
How was Greta Thunberg ‘discovered’? A financier called Ingmar Herzhog who was trying to maximise his profits from his investments in green contracts was auditioning for fresh green faces to push the PR credentials. Greta’s mum was trying to publicise a book on how green issues saved her family, and a new star was born.
Greta, completely dedicated and utterly personally innocent, is the public face of a movement which involves compromised science, problematic investments and flawed environmentalism. A level of popular anxiety fed with apocalyptic alarm day after day in the media is spearheading a movement which says it intends to subvert democracy.
Before we surrender our popular vote to the new warm-mongers with their special interest which go further than fixing the weather, we need to be a bit more wary of what lies beneath.