The late great Ray Evans reminded us that Professor Robert Nisbet identified the three great redemptive struggles that had had taken place in what we now call western civilisation. The first of these was Christianity which had a major influence in the knitting together what we now regard as Western nations and in establishing a code of ethics. The second was Marxism, which in its most virulent 50 year period sought to undo much of the legacy of Christianity.
Back in 1983 Nisbet saw rampant environmentalism, then emerging, as about to become the third great redemptive movement in western civilisation.
Back in the 1980s, the Club of Rome was defining soon-to-be emergencies and raw material depletions that would undermine the possibility of sustainable growing incomes by the end of the 20th Century. Global warming, with its far more elusive Armageddon dates, gave this a new impetus. As a theory of disaster, the validation dates of disastrous warming can be placed far into the future.
This was not always so. While working on the issue in Michael Porter’s “think tank” the Tasman Institute in 1990, an associate, Arizona Professor Bob Balling, pointed out that the satellite data from 1979 will provide irreproachable evidence of global climate changes and, with twenty five years of data, the global warming scare will be over early in the 21st century. Balling was right about the climate trends; actual increases, which are likely largely due to the on-going increases evident since 1800, have been around 0.4 degrees, far less than prophesised. But the momentum persists, buttressed increasingly by commercial vested interests.
The fires in Australia have added to the scare. Almost everyone reading this will find themselves agreeing with these conclusions by Roy Spencer:
1) Global wildfire activity has decreased in recent decades.
2) Like California, Australia is prone to bushfires every year during the dry season. Ample fuel and dry weather exists for devastating fires each year, even without excessive heat or drought.
3) Australian average temperatures in 2019 were well above what global warming theory can explain, illustrating the importance of natural year-to-year variability.
4) Australia precipitation was at a record low in 2019, but climate models predict no long-term trend in Australia precipitation.
5) While reductions in prescribed burning have probably contributed to the irregular increase in large bush fires, a five-fold increase in population in the last 100 years has greatly increased potential ignition sources, both accidental and purposeful.
Yet this cool clinical rational analysis has no place in the mainstream media. The Fairfax press, the ABC and the Guardian have wall-to-wall commentary saying the fires are evidence of dangerous warming. As epitomised by Piers Morgan, they also are quick to lay the blame on Australia for allegedly not doing enough. This is notwithstanding that Australia wastes twice as much as any other nation on “clean energy” and has more rooftop solar facilities, the electricity from which costs three times as much as that delivered from coal generators. Moreover, anything that Australia did would have trivial impact on something that can only be global in nature.
The communist experiment was proven false in less than half a century but still has its adherents (many of whom transferred to the green movement). Proof or otherwise of the global warming issue will always face the difficulty of establishing the counter-factual against which outcomes can be measured. It will be a long debate and the measures used to counter a supposed warming trend (replacement of coal and gas by wind and solar, prevention of water use for farming, green tape on land clearing and mining approvals) could easily wreck existing living standards.