“The irresponsibility and immorality of climate change denial”

Krugman.jpg When does opposition to action on climate change cross the line between legitimate political debate and enter the realms of irresponsible, immoral and dangerous inaction? Paul Krugman, professor of economics at Princeton, Nobel prize winner and New York Times columnist is in no doubt: most of those who voted against the Waxman-Markey emissions reduction bill in Washington earlier this week breached all the principles of good governance.

…most rejected the bill because they rejected the whole notion that we have to do something about greenhouse gases. And as I watched the deniers make their arguments, I couldn’t help thinking that I was watching a form of treason — treason against the planet.

To fully appreciate the irresponsibility and immorality of climate-change denial, you need to know about the grim turn taken by the latest climate research.

Krugman mentions MIT’s revised projections, and the Copenhagen synthesis report analysed in recent posts by Bryan Walker conveys the same message. But it was the quality of the debate in Congress that really upset him…

Krugman was particularly moved by the comments made by Representative Paul Broun of Georgia:

Indeed, if there was a defining moment in Friday’s debate, it was the declaration by Representative Paul Broun of Georgia that climate change is nothing but a “hoax” that has been “perpetrated out of the scientific community.” I’d call this a crazy conspiracy theory, but doing so would actually be unfair to crazy conspiracy theorists. After all, to believe that global warming is a hoax you have to believe in a vast cabal consisting of thousands of scientists — a cabal so powerful that it has managed to create false records on everything from global temperatures to Arctic sea ice.

Yet Mr. Broun’s declaration was met with applause.

You can watch Broun’s speech at Climate Progress. It’s not a pretty spectacle. Krugman then asks the big question:

Still, is it fair to call climate denial a form of treason? Isn’t it politics as usual?

Yes, it is — and that’s why it’s unforgivable. […] …the deniers are choosing, willfully, to ignore that threat, placing future generations of Americans in grave danger, simply because it’s in their political interest to pretend that there’s nothing to worry about. If that’s not betrayal, I don’t know what is.

No doubt Krugman’s blunt assessment will meet with howls of fury from cranks and deniers around the world. But he has a very good point, one that I would like to explore a little in the New Zealand context. Let me be clear about one thing: I do not think that people who are ill-informed, misinformed or disinclined to believe in the dangers of global warming are guilty of any offence — other than, in some cases, wilful ignorance, perhaps born of ideology. Nor would I include industries and companies lobbying for soft treatment under any carbon pricing regime. Much as I think that contributes to the difficulty of solving the problem, it is still a perfectly legitimate course of action for them to take — provided that they don’t deny the obvious, the existence of the need for action.

The culpable ones, the people who will be vilified by future generations are those who have deliberately spread disinformation on the reality of the problem for ideological or purely political purposes — who have sought to delay action and in so doing made the long term damages worse than they need have been. In the US, the Competitive Enterprise Institute and Heartland have been in the forefront of carefully orchestrated campaigns to undermine public trust in climate science and its findings. Heartland have gone beyond the boundaries of the USA and sponsored climate denial around the world, organising conferences and publishing a veritable cherry orchard of denialist tomes. These organisations and their paymasters will have to face up to the consequences of their actions.

In New Zealand, the Climate “Science” Coalition have done their feeble best to spread the denialist message, but have only really found a receptive ear in the ranks of the libertarian right and whatever Rodney Hide is calling himself this week. Their sole success has been the National Party’s craven (and from a Krugman perspective shameful) agreement to ACT’s demand for an ETS review, but on a global scale they are unlikely to be more than footnotes to a sorry story.

In the case of tobacco, it took about 20 years for the industry’s machinations to be found out and brought to court. With climate change, it may not take so long. My guess is that at some point in the next decade, the clear and present danger to which Krugman refers is going to be undeniable, the damages obvious and the human and monetary costs mounting. The world at large is going to wake up to the inconvenient truth. The shift of public opinion will be swift, and cranks and deniers will be as popular as Nazis in London during the Blitz.

Every year’s delay now means a year more of warming when its at its worst. You don’t need to channel Lovelock to know that it’s going to be bad. The deniers have made a bargain with the devil, but we will all pay the price. For that they deserve all the infamy coming to them. And come it will.

14 thoughts on ““The irresponsibility and immorality of climate change denial””

  1. Gareth, are you aware that the new carbon trading market can and will be manipulated by the same financial mongrels and government stooges who have brought the world to the brink of economic meltdown?

    In the Rolling Stone there’s an article entitled: “The Great Bubble Machine” by Matt Taibi who has documented how the well-connected Goldman Sachs has managed to manipulate and profit from every financial bubble since the 1920’s and how they’re getting set to do it again with the creation of a carbon trading bubble.
    It is a financial scam run by a psychopathic elite who have no empathy for the common man or woman.
    The Great American Bubble Machine

    Also, in ‘Global warming hysteria serves as excuse for world government’, Daniel Taylor outlines how the exploitation of the natural phenomenon of “global warming” was a project of the Club of Rome and the Council of Foreign Relations.

    … “In a report titled “The First Global Revolution” (1991) published by the Club of Rome, a globalist think tank, we find the following statement: “In searching for a new enemy to unite us, we came up with the idea that pollution, the threat of global warming, water shortages, famine and the like would fit the bill…. All these dangers are caused by human intervention… The real enemy, then, is humanity itself.”

    “Richard Haass, the current president of the Council on Foreign Relations, stated in his article “State sovereignty must be altered in globalized era,” that a system of world government must be created and sovereignty eliminated in order to fight global warming, as well as terrorism. “Moreover, states must be prepared to cede some sovereignty to world bodies if the international system is to function,” says Haass. “Globalization thus implies that sovereignty is not only becoming weaker in reality, but that it needs to become weaker. States would be wise to weaken sovereignty in order to protect themselves…”

    Refer: http://www.prisonplanet.com/articles/march2007/140307hysteria.htm

    We are not hearing the truth from the media because the media is controlled, as this statement from David Rockefeller,
    who is regarded as the kingpin of the New World Order, reveals:
    “We are grateful to the Washington Post, the New York Times, Time magazine, and other great publications whose directors have attended our meetings and respected their promises of discretion for almost forty years. It would have been impossible for us to develop our plan for the world if we had been subject to the bright lights of publicity during these years. But the world is now more sophisticated and prepared to march towards a world which will never again know war, but only peace and prosperity for the whole of humanity. The supranational sovereignty of an intellectual elite and world bankers is surely preferable to the national autodetermination practiced in the past centuries. It is also our duty to inform the press of our convictions as to the historic future of the century.”
    – Bilderberg Meeting 1991

    1. Clare, thank you for those thoughts. You are of course entitled to your opinions, but facts are another matter. With respect to global warming, I heartily recommend Spencer Weart’s The Discovery Of Global Warming (linked in the sidebar), which covers the history of climate science — right back to the early 19th century. I think you’ll find that an open minded reader will be forced to include that global warming is not a hoax initiated by the Club of Rome, the Illuminati, or anyone else.

  2. Don’t you worry Clare,
    We of the club from the back of Bourke have this evil cabal totally under control. We presently have their fiendish ice melting machine surrounded in a backwater of the Darling and have no intention of letting them continue with their evil plan to melt the Antarctic. We have been aware of their plans for world domination almost since their inception, and have so far manged to thwart their every move. You will no doubt be aware of the present financial crises and be under the impression like most, that it was almost totally caused by NINGA loans in the US, this is not the case and indeed was caused by us by getting the kiddies from the Cunnamulla schools to withdraw all their savings at once thus causing a run on the banking system worldwide, this in turn will cause an almost fatal collapse in their plans for the supranational sovereignty of an intellectual elite and world bankers. Of course we are not out of the woods yet and we still need to carry on our work, for this we need to remain a totally secret organization, so I would request that you don’t reveal any of this to anyone and everyone who is not Clare please keep you eyes shut when reading this post. And whatever you do KEEP WEARING THE HAT.

    1. Laurence
      So you’re a Bourker too – nudge nudge, wink wink, gives secret handshake. I didn’t realise.
      Mind you – you should expect to be fined harshly for being so overt, notwithstanding that my eyes were closed at the time.

  3. But Laurence, it’s all totally true! There’s a conspiracy! Look, we have evidence! If the evidence is refuted, it’s just further proof that there’s a conspiracy to distort the evidence. And round and round the logic goes…


  4. This won’t come as any surprise, but Clare has written for ‘Investigate’ magazine in the past though she apparently doesn’t now. Even for ‘Investigate’ she may be a little extreme, which is quite something.

    1. Her blog is, hmmmm, remarkable… From the about page:

      The mainstream media has lied about who perpetrated the attacks of 9/11. They lied about who was really behind the 7/7 bombings of London and about who was responsible for the Bali bombings. They have been lying to us about “global warming” being a problem and are concealing what the pandemic is really all about.

      Clare’s first stop after leaving here was the NZ CPR forum, where she posted this:

      The number of skeptics is swelling everywhere but there is still the odd con artist or ill-informed know-it-all floating around.

      If people have time, post comments under this load of utter bollocks.
      “The irresponsibility and immorality of climate change denial”

      Tin foil hats at the ready?

      1. Oh dear…
        I had a good giggle at her blog. I guess she also believes that the CIA agent who killed Kennedy and faked the moon landings, also blew up the WTC and fabricated AGW.

    1. Yes… I read her comment a day ago and left here dumbfounded…a bit disappointed that I couldn’t think of an appropriate response. Good to see that Laurence hit the spot.

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