THE funniest thing about German director and writer Roland Emmerich’s 2004 meteorological disaster flick The Day After Tomorrow is that it was made to cash in on climate hysteria but had to accelerate catastrophe so it could be concertinaed into a cinematically viable timeframe; into mere days, in fact. Emmerich admitted his other motivating deadline was the 2004 US presidential election. The film’s inept President and Vice-President were meant to be mockeries of George Bush and Dick Cheney, both supposedly indifferent to ‘climate change.’ Two years later, Al Gore worked essentially the same narrative artifice and earned fulsome praise for doing so. When it comes to weather-doom, the challenge for promoters is to make theorised but non-existent terror an ongoing cultural and political spectre. Along the way, a shorter-term benefit is supposed to be the routing of non-leftist governments, incumbent or prospective (which never seems to happen). They’re trying it again now using the 2019-20 bushfires. Leftist historians of culture like to argue the brilliant monster movies of the 1950s were metaphors for the psychological distress of potential nuclear war. Among the better known of the genre are The Day the Earth Stood Still (1951), The War of the Worlds (1953), The Blob (1958) and Invasion of the Body Snatchers (1956). The difference between these two kinds of schlock is that the threat from communists and their collaborators was real. Enter The Green Swan.
Released on Monday by the Bank for International Settlements, The Green Swan is both the name of a new book (link is to the PDF) and what its authors obviously hope will catch on as a “climate-change alternative to the term ‘black swan’, used to describe unexpected and extreme occurrences that have major effects.” The headline thesis of the report is that the world’s central banks (including the RBA) may have to take over coal mines and coal-fired power stations following a climate-caused disaster – this to fulfil their stabilisation mandates and forestall a GFC. Borrowing the fantastic hurry-it-along plot device of Emmerich, the BIS argues that “under an abrupt transition scenario … financial assets could be subject to a change in investors’ perception of profitability [and] lead to fire sales which could trigger a financial crisis.”
The “abrupt transition scenario” could be anything – even whatever is popularly perceived to be the ultimate cause of a damaging weather ‘event.’ As we have seen this summer, ‘perception’ of linkages and culprits is routinely manipulated by the media, left-wing politicians and corporate scaredy-cats. Anthony Albanese has gone on record saying that under Labor, no coal-fired power station will be built in Australia ever again. The BIS is – dare I say it – playing with fire. Four of the five authors of The Green Swan do not work for the BIS at all (as acknowledged at its website). Three are professional climateers while Professor Patrick Bolton is a business economist with a blue-ribbon resume. Blue ribbon or not, he appended his name to a document that begins by quoting the 11,000 scientists of debacle fame. It will be recalled that one of the 11,000 was Mickey Mouse. If you can forgive that – in Chapter One’s epigraph – and read on, you will find a lot of politics and weather forecasts but nothing actuarial and nothing that hasn’t long been subsumed within conventional insurance economics.
“The UN Human Rights Committee considered a challenge brought by Mr Teitiota, and while the committee found he was not at imminent risk, it did find that such claims may be upheld in future as the impacts of climate change worsen.”
In other words, The Green Swan is one of a growing list of official bureaucratic documents (or interventions) whose purpose is to keep fear alive (because the voting public isn’t fearful). Like the others, it brings forward into the cinema of now imagined catastrophes from the future. Most disturbing of all, The Green Swan seeks to psychologically undermine – indeed, gaslight – the energy industry. While it’s true that perceptions alone have crashed markets, it is mendacious to assert this could ever occur in relation to electricity without political and administrative sabotage. The BIS is nodding and winking to the perpetrators – even if its actuating premise (in different words) is correct: that ideological saboteurs could indeed ruin profits in the sector (or the perception of future profits). If this was a rational age, the so-called ‘central banks’ central bank’ would have made the same argument but as a warning to policy-makers of the havoc climate zealots – not the climate – have already wrought. Josh Frydenberg today rejected The Green Swan’s buy-out scenario while embracing the “adaptation, mitigation and resilience measures” it also encourages. I started by referring to the most hilarious aspect of a bad weather movie. As risible schlock, not even that comes close to the Treasurer and the Opposition Leader discussing carbon dioxide emissions today … for the year 2050.