It’s one thing for the patriarchs of the tobacco industry to swear under oath that smoking is harmless - it was an odious and immoral thing to do, certainly - but nothing compared to the crimes of the oil industry in funding climate change denial. I am beginning to think that a special place ought be reserved in hell for politically or financially motivated climate change sceptics.
Even if we are misreading the data, there remains an obligation on us to take all the possibilities seriously. If climate change impacts on us financially, then we must address it; it will not disappear if we ignore it, or rail against it, or donate money to organised naysayers. This is the reason there has been positive movement in the business world ahead of government policy.
If the loudest voices come from the left of politics, those on the right do not automatically have to take an opposing stance. As unpleasant as it may be, the issue must be embraced universally. Debate can be healthy, but denial by any opinion leader, at this point, is an absolute wrong. As opposed to terrorism, this is a real war and those who undermine our efforts for selfish motives are as guilty of sedition as any saboteur or fifth columnist. Worse, for there is more at stake. The future of everything we know.
I just wish people could get that into their heads.
In the last week, I have heard a conservative speaker comparing climate change to the Y2K bug, I have seen Andrew Bolt on the ABC Insiders programme, with his mocking smile, belittling the concept as if it was nothing more than the whining of tree-hugging pinkos, claiming that, even if climate change was real, why should we move against it if the big emitters did not?
If we do not act and the world descends into nightmare, where does that leave the stubborn, short-sighted opinions of Andrew Bolt? Does he become, with his like, a figure of historical infamy? In the future, when the question is asked, if you could travel back in time, what would be the first thing you would do? will the automatic answer be, kill the mothers of all the Andrew Bolts of this world?
And the mothers of the men who caused the demise of the EV1? I’ve just finished watching, ‘Who Killed The Electric Car?’. Less than a decade ago General Motors produced a viable electric car – the EV1. It was a success, it was there on the streets in America, it was the future. But it was destroyed by greed. By shadowy monsters at the helm of Big Oil, who brought about the recall and subsequent compaction of every vehicle. An extreme measure to meet an extreme threat to their vested interest. I wonder if history will hold these criminals accountable?
Consider this article by hater of life Jennifer Marohasy. Consider the style of her argument. She refers to climate change ‘hype’. She uses the release date and the lack of a bibliography in an attempt to undermine the veracity of a report. Then she launches a sly rhetorical attack on those who take the safety of our world seriously. ‘For those who enjoy the thrill of the more extreme doomsayer predictions, the 21-page summary will be a disappointment.’ Oh yes, we were disappointed. The world is not about to end tomorrow, damn it.
It’s not much use pulling her article apart in detail. Let’s just say she goes on to misrepresent Al Gore and put her own mischievous and very unscientific slant on the figures revealed by the report.
Why? What is motivating her to reduce a dire global threat into a political punching bag? Is she ignorant, or merely evil?
It is revealing that her Courier Mail article reappears on the site of the extreme conservative think tank The Institute for Public Affairs, [where Marohasy gets her pay cheque]. If there was ever a gaggle of treasonous wretches to be put up against the wall come the revolution, these are they.
Consider their knee-jerk reaction to the recent Garnaut report on climate change. Penned by Alan Moran, it rolls out all the old chestnuts. To dramatically cut emissions would be to return to ‘living standards to similar as those currently experienced in the developing world’. Two points here. a] I would rather have third world living standards than none at all, and b] it is widely agreed by thoughtful commentators that, if action is taken now, living standards need only suffer marginally, if at all.
In response to Garnaut’s suggestion that trade pressures be used to reinforce developing countries sense of public spirit, [Moran’s paraphrasing], he wails that this ‘would destroy the world trading regime and retard all countries' living standards’. Money money money. When will they get it into their heads? It’s about a lot more than money.
I won’t go on about this article, either. It’s full of the same old stuff. Solar power has no future as a baseload generator. Denial of fossil fuels to developing countries will create ‘intense political tensions’ [and extreme climate change will not?]. At times, you almost get the feeling that Moran is aware of the absurdity of his own argument: Garnaut’s targets are impossible to meet, so let’s not bother.
These climate change sceptics are, by this stage, on a level with creationists - yet their motives are far, far more malignant. They are driven by venality, greed, fear or, at best, obdurate stubbornness. But the future is at stake. This is only a political and financial problem by extension. The real problem rests with the continuance of life as we know it. It will take a massive, unified effort to save our future. There will come time when we should no longer tolerate this species of malefactor in our midst - or at least name them for what they are: evil.