Environment, Politics, recent

Straight to Hell: Millenarianism and the Green New Deal

Millennials and Gen Z and all these folks that come after us are looking up, and we’re like, “The world is going to end in 12 years if we don’t address climate change.”
~Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, interviewed by Ta-Nehisi Coates at the MLK Now event.

I wish we didn’t have 12 years. It’s our lungs that are going to get choked
with wildfire smoke. … Climate delayers are the new climate deniers.
~AOC on Instagram Live.

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, popularly known as AOC, is the youngest member of Congress and she is preoccupied with the coming Apocalypse. The world, she warns anyone who will listen, is going to end in 12 years. “Like, I’m sorry to break it to you,” she announced during a live Instagram broadcast as she made dinner in her Bronx kitchen. “If we do nothing, there is no hope. There is a global threat to the planet. We are dying now.” Her Green New Deal, she insists, is the only way to avoid this looming catastrophe.

AOC’s apocalyptic warnings are not mis-statements nor are they tangential to her thinking, even if she has recently backtracked on some specifics. Although her Green New Deal is ostensibly a strategy designed to address climate change, much of the content isn’t green at all. Instead it is rooted in apocalyptic theology and the radical secular millenarian movements derived from it. These political movements, once they gain power, usually end in a cataclysm, although not the one they have been so busily warning us about.

The Millenarian Promise

And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes;
and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow,
nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain:
for the former things are passed away.
~
Revelation 21:4

Millenarianism comes in many forms, and it usually forewarns of imminent devastation. However, it also tends to denote rebirth, followed by a period of glory and restitution (usually 1000 years) for the elect. The most powerful expression of Christian millenarian thought can be found in the Book of Revelation, which foresees the defeat of the Beast and his prophet by the armies of heaven. Satan’s defeat in the final conflict will bring about the end of history, when the new Jerusalem descends on earth so that God may dwell among his people.

Revelation, also known as the Apocalypse of John, is a profoundly ominous book, and its meaning has been the subject of much debate among religious scholars. The Medieval conception of the Apocalypse was largely shaped by the ideas of Joachim of Fiore (1135–1202), sometimes referred to as the “mad monk.” Fiore was convinced that Revelation was literal prophesy, and that the catastrophe it promised would usher in an era of unprecedented peace which he called “The Third Age.”

Medieval Europe was consequently riven by radical movements feverishly awaiting deliverance. Heretics were pitilessly persecuted. Doom was nigh and Europe surrendered to sectarian bloodletting in anticipation of the promised Third Age that never arrived. Antisemitism flourished during this time of apocalyptic enthusiasm: in 1140 the mystic Hildegard of Bingen preached that the Antichrist was alive and that he was a Jew, leading to widespread pogroms in Germany.

In 1553, the Anabaptists, a Christian sect practising the shocking heresy of adult baptism, established a millenarian proto-communist city state in Münster. Their prophet King, Jan Bockelson van Leiden, proclaimed himself the Messiah and announced that he would preside over the final days. All money was held in common; people ate in communal dining halls while listening to readings from the Bible; polygamy was enforced and women were held to be common property. But the promise of paradise soon devolved into an earthbound reign of terror. Anyone attempting to flee was executed and Catholic Princes laid siege to the embattled city. God did not intervene to protect Münster. Instead, its messianic King was arrested and tortured to death.

The Historian Norman Cohn, in his 1957 book, The Pursuit of the Millennium: Revolutionary Millenarians and Mystical Anarchists of the Middle Ages, found that Millenarian movements always picture salvation as:

  • Collective, in the sense that it is to be enjoyed by the faithful as a collectivity.
  • Terrestrial, in the sense that it is to be realized on this earth and not in some other-worldly heaven.
  • Imminent, in the sense that it is to come both soon and suddenly.
  • Total, in the sense that it is utterly to transform life on earth, so that the new dispensation will be no mere improvement on the present but perfection itself.
  • Miraculous, in the sense that it is to be accomplished by, or with the help of, supernatural agencies.

It might have been expected that millenarian thinking would disappear with the Enlightenment and the Age of Reason. But Cohn found that these ideas and the manias they inspired reemerged in the twentieth century’s secular totalitarian and revolutionary movements.

In what could be a description of the Green New Deal, Cohn argued that these movements felt themselves to be engaged in a struggle of unique importance, “different in kind from all other struggles known to history, a cataclysm from which the world is to emerge totally transformed and redeemed…this is the essence of the recurrent phenomenon of revolutionary millenarianism.”

The philosopher John Gray has further investigated how the religious millenarian framework has been repeated in allegedly secular radical movements. As he argued in a 2009 essay for the New Statesman:

The millenarian mentality did not end with the waning of religion—twentieth century secular totalitarian movements exhibited similar patterns of thinking. … Communists and Nazis alike anticipated a historic cataclysm, a rupture in history in which human life would be utterly transformed … Both replicated apocalyptic conception of collective salvation that was structurally identical to that of powerful strands in medieval Christianity. It was no longer God that would bring about the salvation of the world. “Humanity”—or a privileged section of it, thought to be especially progressive or racially superior—would initiate the miraculous transformation.

Maoism, Pol Pot, the Jacobins, the Bolsheviks, and the Nazis are well described by Cohn and Gray’s analyses. All these groups were ready to kill on a massive scale to bring about a transformed society, a New Jerusalem on earth. In the aftermath of the Holocaust and the collapse of communist totalitarianism in 1989, there were commentators who mistakenly felt the West had at last purged itself of this mental framework. This was not the case.

Environmental Eschatology

The Green New Deal was sponsored by AOC and introduced as House Resolution (H.Res.109). Entitled “Recognizing the Duty of the Federal Government to Create a Green New Deal,” it calls for net zero global greenhouse gas emissions by 2050 and the immediate upgrading of all existing buildings in the US to achieve energy efficiency. While there are obviously no calls for violence to be found within its pages, the rhetoric of its supporters is replete with apocalyptic ideas and language. It is interesting that during this new era of millenarian enthusiasm, the specter of antisemitism, and its attendant tropes of malevolent Jewish power, have once again emerged from the section of the conspiratorial Left most committed to a utopian vision (although not in the New Green Deal itself).

AOC has been at pains to stress that there is nothing especially radical about the Green New Deal, and that it fits squarely within the American political tradition, from the American Revolution to FDR’s New Deal. Senator Ed Markey, sponsor of the Senate version of the resolution, has been less guarded about the nature of their project. In a trenchant op-ed in the Boston Globe headlined, “The Green New Deal Is More than a Resolution—It’s a Revolution,” Markey wrote, “The climate crisis isn’t politics, it’s life and death.” He added that “the goals of the Green New Deal are an existential threat to Big Oil, oil-industry magnates, and major Republican donors the Koch brothers, and their corporate polluter allies.”

Those who worry about global warming but also understand the state of current technology, counter that we don’t really have the required solutions at the moment. As David Hart, an informed Washington technology analyst wrote:

I am in whole-hearted agreement with the goals of the Green New Deal, as laid out yesterday by Sen. Ed Markey (D-MA) and Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY). I want the United States to stop emitting greenhouse gases, create millions of good jobs, and promote justice and equity. I only have one problem with the plan. It won’t solve the climate crisis.

A core problem is that the Green New Deal is not globally cost effective. Research on better and cheaper technologies would be a more pragmatic and effective route forward to reducing global carbon emissions. Nor does it help that many environmentalists remain allergic to the prospect of a nuclear solution.

But these are empirical points. And the Green New Deal is taking place on the millenarian plane, closer to a Biblical prophecy. It is naïve to subject it to empirical criticism.

A Message from the Future

During Holy Week 2019, shortly before Easter, the Intercept published a short promotional film entitled “A message from the Future with Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez,” along with a lengthy accompanying essay by Naomi Klein. The film is co-written by Klein’s husband Avi Lewis and AOC, narrated by AOC, and illustrated by activist Molly Crabapple. It purports to show what the future will look like once the Green New Deal is implemented.

The video opens with AOC, now with a few grey hairs, riding a bullet train from NYC to DC in 2028, reflecting back on her part in saving America. After a description of the newly diverse Congress of 2018, AOC shifts into a conspiratorial history of global warming: ExxonMobil, we learn, knew what was happening but willfully chose to sow doubt and denial about climate change, even as the “climate bomb” of Hurricane Maria devastated AOC’s ancestral island of Puerto Rico. “Lots of people,” she says ruefully, “gave up and said we were doomed.”

However, the Democrats had recaptured the White House in 2020 and launched “the decade of the Green New Deal”—a social and ecological transformation that included, inter alia, new “green jobs,” Medicare for all, a Federal jobs guarantee with dignified living wages, universal childcare, and high wages for teachers, domestic workers, and home health aides.

The Green New Deal has been widely criticized for its technocratic shortcomings, and the film acknowledges some of these criticisms in passing. “When it came to healing the land,” AOC sighs, “we had huge gaps in our knowledge. Luckily, indigenous communities offered generational expertise.” But even indigenous wisdom was not enough to prevent another onslaught of fires, droughts, and a flood which left Miami submerged. However, the Green New Deal had prepared Americans with new infrastructure, and—best of all—“by committing to universal rights like healthcare and meaningful work for all we stopped being so scared of the future.” The film closes with “Ileana,” a child of color from AOCs district, who has grown up to win AOC’s seat in Congress in 2028 so she can continue AOC’s good work. “We can be,” AOC concludes, “whatever we have the courage to see.”

The film effectively conveys AOCs vision of the future. But its logic is haphazard and confused. The links between its social justice imperatives and pragmatic policies for reducing carbon emissions are tenuous. It is not obvious, for example, how Congressional diversity is linked to arresting climate change. Nor is it clear why Medicare for all will heal the environment; some environmental thought holds that human population growth is a cancer on the planet, (although there is debate in green circles about the wisdom of anti-humanism).

But if AOCs message from the future makes no sense as a coherent environmental statement, it makes complete sense as a millenarian prophecy. The Apocalypse is imminent. There is a battle of good against evil. The outcome is one of an earthly paradise. Here God’s faithful “remnant”, who are illustrated throughout the film, are those who have “faced systemic injustices.” The actual Green New Deal Resolution reveals their identities:

Indigenous peoples, communities of color, migrant communities, deindustrialized communities, depopulated rural communities, the poor, low-income workers, women, the elderly, the unhoused, people with disabilities, and youth (referred to in this preamble “frontline and vulnerable communities”)

The Beast is represented by corporations and capital—specifically, ExxonMobil and (presumably, though unnamed) co-conspirators like Fox News, the Republican Party, and anyone in the liberal center or broader Left not on board with the Justice Democrats’ agenda. Donald Trump is, naturally, the anti-Christ.

A widely ridiculed and hastily deleted FAQ, briefly posted on AOC’s Congressional website, promised that the Green New Deal would provide, “economic security for all who are unable or unwilling to work.” This line, in particular, provoked much stunned incredulity, but the FAQ was simply a reheating of the idea that in the final Kingdom, the saints would enjoy ease and riches, security and power for all eternity. This is a standard egalitarian millenarian promise, not a climate change plan.

Rather than mocking AOC’s Green New Deal and its more absurd elements, we should be troubled by it. It is a reminder that many Americans are desperate for salvation and that religion is no longer slaking this thirst. It points to some underlying problem in US, some sort of social or economic disturbance, of which the opioid epidemic is another symptom.

For a long time, any questioning of, or even neutral discussions about global warming has been treated as intolerable dissent. Pragmatic caution and incrementalism have been scorned as evidence of suicidal weakness or worse. What is new in the Green New Deal is this type of religious certainty has been extended to discussions around technological solutions as well. “I will be damned,” AOC declared in May, “if the same politicians who refused to act then are going to try to come back today and say we need to find a middle-of-the-road approach to save our lives.”

It is increasingly heretical to argue we need to develop better science and technology first before implementing anything as ambitious as the Green New Deal. Evaluating and proposing green technology today is no longer a question of pragmatic policy, it is a matter of eschatological doctrine, of “my truth.”

With the Green New Deal, secular apocalyptic ideas have entered the mainstream of American politics. Millenarian thinking has always been present in the US, but it was avowedly religious. Today, those warning of the imminent Apocalypse are not just cranks in sandwich boards on street corners; they are seated in Congress. The radical millenarian ideas that flourished in the Middle Ages or unstable European societies in the early twentieth century can now be found at the heart of the Democratic party.

Can the radical millenarian vision offer salvation for American current darkness? AOC says, “You can’t be what you can’t see.” But we have seen what secular apocalyptic movements look like. Not one of them has delivered on their prophecies of a Third Age and their promises of a paradise on earth. They have all reliably delivered something else: visions that, if implemented, invariably take us straight to Hell.

 

Correction: an earlier version of this article identified Naomi Klein’s husband as Avi Lerner, not Avi Lewis. Quillette apologises for the mistake. 

David Adler is a writer who lives in rural Connecticut.

171 Comments

  1. Nick Tait says

    The urgency of a drastic response to manmade climate change has, it would appear, been accepted by the vast majority of experts in the field.
    The most effective way to debunk and counter the Green New Deal would therefore be a serious, well-thought-out alternative strategy, based upon the principles very briefly alluded to in this article.
    Odd really that nothing remotely approaching such a strategy has been offered.
    All I’ve come across is screeching anti-science wingnuts.
    Almost as though the GND, while imperfect, is the best option…..

    • Inigo Montoya says

      The GND would hardly make a dent anyway. US CO2 emissions are 7.25% of the world total, and falling fast – this without any significant federal policy for the last twenty years. The battle will be fought not in the liberal West but in autocracies where debate about climate policy isn’t tolerated. The best the US can do is what it did in the 80s and 90s, namely, invest in R&D that will make green technologies cheaper for other countries to adopt.

      • Dean says

        Everyone can say they hardly make a dent. Very stupid argument. Australia again just voted to do nothing because we hardly make a dent. The human civilization in the history of the universe is now going to hardly make a dent

        • Inigo Montoya says

          The Chinese can’t. But anyway, I think there are ways the GND budget could be spent far more efficiently, allowing the US to truly make a difference. Realistically, Australia is just too small a country to register, though I suppose its efforts could inspire others.

        • Tony says

          Australian’s voted against the fundamentalism of Labor’s policies across a wide range of prescriptions including environmentalism and social justice. It does not mean that many within the electorate do not favour considered responses to climate change.

        • Jay Salhi says

          What would be stupid would be to commit economic suicide while not making a dent. Nobody is capable of making a major dent with current technology. The US, with a 13% reduction thanks to fracking is the leader of the pack. Yet fracking is demonized by the apocalyptic green zealots. Ditto nuclear.

          This movement has little to do with actual concern about climate.

          • Dzoldzaya says

            Hence why we have the biggest collective action problem in human history.

        • Luke says

          Dean, Australia just voted to fulfill our Paris agreement targets of 26% reductions.
          It unbelievable in reducing our emissions by a quarter is seen as doing nothing.

          • Jonathan says

            They have NOT reduced their emissions. They have set a “target”. It means nothing. If they don’t reach it, nothing happens. China promised that they would continue to increase their emissions until 2030, and then start to reduce them. We’ll see.

        • peterschaeffer says

          D, “Everyone can say they hardly make a dent”. China produces around 1/3rd of global CO2. China can make a huge difference and will. China already dominates global CO2 output and will continue to do so until 2100 at least.

      • peterschaeffer says

        IM, “The GND would hardly make a dent anyway. US CO2 emissions are 7.25% of the world total, and falling fast”. Not quite. As Geofiz notes below, the U.S. is around 14% of the world total. Check the BP Review of World Energy for one data source. Note that the BP data is good, but only includes fossil fuel CO2 emissions (concrete production is not included).

        U.S. CO2 emissions in 2007 were 5.8814 billion tons. In 2017 U.S. CO2 emissions were 5.0877 billion tons. In 2007 China emitted 7.2148 billion tons of CO2. in 2017, China emitted 9.2326 billion tons of CO2.

        In other words, China increased CO2 output more than twice as much as the U.S. cut.

        Once again, these are fossil fuel emissions only.

    • Dave says

      Just because scientists can describe what they see as a problem in great detail does not mean it is in fact a problem worthy of costly solutions. CO2 is critical to our environment and contributes to the biodiversity of the planet. Furthermore the levels of CO2 currently in our atmosphere are much lower than they have been in centuries past and are considered to be below optimum for the ecosystems of Earth.
      Nuclear power can provide stable and relatively inexpensive energy without creating GHGs.
      Not all solutions should or can be provided by governments. In fact, the wisdom of using the coercive power of a heavily militarized state to solve anything, let alone something of this scale should make everyone nervous. Many governments have implemented “solutions” to problems only to find out these solutions end in death, internment camps etc… Some fine examples include communism as a solution to economic inequality. Ask the folks who survived communism how that solution worked out.
      We assume warming is bad, but studies have shown that previous eras of economic and intellectual progress coincided with warmer periods. The enlightenment is a prime example. A CO2 rich atmosphere and warmer climate makes for a better climate for agriculture in most of the world. Unless you think cros grow better in the cold and frozen ground…
      If there are any negatives we can expect from “climate change” they will come on slowly over decades, not 12 years. Perhaps individuals, municipalities and local communities should spend resources figuring out what they might encounter over the coming century and find ways to adapt that do not involve world-wide government bureaucracies and enforcment mechanisms, but rather voluntary action.
      The economic costs of such drastic programs are completely beyond justification and none of these programs are likely to yield a result that is remotely worth the cost.

      The fact that you are looking for alternative solutions from “deniers” suggests a lack of understanding of the political and economic positions these “deniers” are taking. You just dont like other solutions because they are not what you want.

      • Chris says

        “Just because scientists can describe what they see as a problem in great detail does not mean it is in fact a problem worthy of costly solutions.”

        This is a non sequitur. The reason costly solutions are necessary is not because scientists describe ‘what they see as a problem’ (it’s actually a problem, by the way) in great detail but because of the extensive nature of the problem – the world economy is run on fossil fuels – and the dire consequences of climate change. A transformative solution is the only way to prevent the worst possible outcomes. (This is not an endorsement of the GND.) This is unfortunate but true because we have passed the tipping point of climate change – nothing that can be done now will prevent a roughly 2 degree rise in global temperature. It gets worse from there – gradual solutions would have been great had they started in the 1970s or ’80s.

        “Furthermore the levels of CO2 currently in our atmosphere are much lower than they have been in centuries past and are considered to be below optimum for the ecosystems of Earth.”

        This is complete rubbish. The current CO2 levels are higher than they’ve been in 400,000 years (https://climate.nasa.gov/climate_resources/24/graphic-the-relentless-rise-of-carbon-dioxide/).

        The rest of your comment is full of non sequiturs and oddly conceived mish-mashes. The only thing more or less right is the sentence about nuclear energy (the mining/creation and manufacturing of materials needed to construct nuclear power plants does create GNGs).

        • dave says

          First to clarify my point on “optimum CO2” I’ll refer you to this link: https://wattsupwiththat.files.wordpress.com/2016/06/moore-positive-impact-of-human-co2-emissions.pdf

          Key takeaways here are:
          A. Plant life on Earth benefits from much higher concentrations of atmospheric CO2.
          B. Milankovich cycles strongly predict periods of glaciation that last centuries and we are nearing a new cycle of glaciation. When this occures, atmospheric CO2 will drop to levels that would be detrimental to all plant life on Earth and that means less food for you.
          C. Human emissions of CO2 may now be offsetting or limiting the effects of potential glaciation by keeping the atmosphere warmer and by elevating levels of CO2 in the atmosphere so that plant life does not suffer as much from extreme cold.
          D. While it is true that CO2 causes some warming, it will be offset by considerable cooling that will naturally occure as a result of our movement towards a cooling cycle.

          Also, keep in mind that the models used to determine how much warming additional atmospheric CO2 will cause relies heavily on assumptions about climate sensitivity to increases in CO2. There has not been one model that has predicted our current climate, in fact the vast majority of climate models predicted much higher temperatures than have been experienced. The problem with the models is that first, they tend to overestimate climate sensitivity to CO2 because they overestimate how much water vapor plays a role in warming. Water vapor is supposedly the driving force of much of the predicted warming, yet, modeling atmospheric water vapor is fraught with issues. First of all, not all atmospheric water vapor results in warming. Cloud formation often reflects solar energy back into space more effectively than it traps it resulting in a net cooling effect, yet the models are notoriously horrible at modeling cloud formation. Second, the models are not good predictors of future climate because they are attempting to predict a chaotic system that is well beyond our computational capacity to predict. Yes, the computers are powerful, but anyone who delves into chaos theory for more than five seconds will begin to appreciate the difficulty of modeling something as complex as the climate.

          Most climate experts expect our global temperature to rise no more than 1C over a 100 year period. The most comprehensive “solutions” offered by the IPCC will not even make a dent in that figure over the same period of time, despite drastic economic sacrifices and social upheavals that would come with these solutions. That is not my opinion, it is the opinion of the IPCC itself (the part about how much impact their solutions will have).

          Wealthy western societies may have enough wealth to cope with drastic economic adjustments caused by these radical climate change mitigation plans, but other nations are just barely able to feed their own people. Yes, many 3rd world countries suffer largely because of totalitarian governments, but depriving large parts of Africa and Asia from utilizing fossil fuels, or making such use prohibitively expensive would only exacerbate their problems. If these poor nations had more robust energy infrastructure right now, millions would be saved from disease, and suffering due to better healthcare, and a more robust economy that comes with reliable and inexpensive energy. People are burning dung in huts to boil water so they dont get diarrhea. This causes all sorts of health problems that can be avoided by having reliable energy sources. As we enter a colling period, food crops may be affected further burdening these poor countries.

          My point about government solutions is that the only ONLY way governments solve anything is by forcing FORCING individuals, businesses and other private entities into doing things they might not otherwise want to do or afford to do. Non-compliance therefore becomes a potential violent confrontation. Look at Paris right now. Sure, the Pariaian elites are fine with the draconian fuel taxes, but the folks that bring the cheese from country to market by truck cannot afford these measures, it is destroying their livelihood and they are showing their displeasure at this government “solution” by setting fire to the city of Paris. Do you think something as absurd as the GND or whatever plan the IPCC has for us will be any different?

          The planet has natural environmental cycles because it is a complex and chaotic system. Our ability to predict climate is limited. Even if we assume are best predictions are correct, our “solutions” are inadequate and would likely disrupt our economy in very harmful and socially disastrous ways. When the “solution” is likely worse than the problem, why continue forward with this solution? Humans have shown great adaptability. We have lived through ice ages and we live in areas that are extremely hot and survive nicely. Perhaps the solution is to adapt rather than attempt to modify something so massive, complex and chaotic as our climate by radically upending our economic and social fabric.

          • Chris says

            Oh boy – Patrick Moore. There’s plenty of material online debunking his nonsense, much of which is repeated in that ‘study.’ But I will agree with you on one thing: our solutions are inadequate. I also think you needn’t worry about death camps, etc. – no one is really going to do anything major about greenhouse gas emissions. There’s no political will or capacity to tackle such an immense (worldwide) problem. At best there will be gradual, local efforts and minor government actions, none of which will amount to much.

        • Shawn T says

          Chris. “nothing that can be done now will prevent a roughly 2 degree rise in global temperature.” So what? The underlying assumption is that the perfect global mean temperature occurred in the early nineteenth century? That was the existential apex? Now, adding two degrees tips us toward apocalyptic temperatures? This is where the science becomes entirely speculative. Cities under water. Polar bears on dry land…DRY LAND!! Wars. Storms. Fires. Dogs and cats sleeping together! You also declare “truth” in your reply multiple times – establishing the dogma is settled. Finally, speaking of non sequitur, “but because of the extensive nature of the problem – the world economy is run on fossil fuels – and the dire consequences of climate change. A transformative solution is the only way to prevent the worst possible outcomes.”

          • dave says

            You forgot about the children tunning around trying to put out their burning hair… THE CHILDREN!!!

        • D-Rex says

          ‘The current CO2 levels are higher than they’ve been in 400,000 years ‘ yes but 400,000 years is a blink in geological time. It puts things more into perspective to say that CO2 levels just before the industrial revolution were lower than 99% of earth’s history. If we made it to the next glaciation without the use of fossil fuels, chances are that it would have been the end of trees permanently, so it was a stroke of luck thay the industrial revolution happened when it did.

          • S Snell says

            I strongly suspect that Co2 levels have been higher multiple times in the last 400,000 years, during interglacial periods, but that our methods of measurement are just not accurate enough to capture this. I know, I know, ice bubbles. But continuous diffusion, not to mention even a moment of liquefaction at any point in 400,000 years would completely skew the reading.

      • Dan Flehmen says

        Dave, what is the personality disorder by which someone chooses to parade grotesque ignorance to an intelligent audience?

        • dave says

          I don’t know Dan, perhaps you can ask your psychiatrist. While you are paying for that hour of personal discovery, why not ask him what sort of disorder causes folks to go around calling people ignorant without bothering to even debate the ideas they find to be wrongheaded? Seems to me you are just using psychobabble to insinuate that I am ignorant while making yourself look smart. Better book a few sessions Dan.

    • peterschaeffer says

      NT, China produces about twice as much CO2 as the US. Developing countries account for around 2/3rd of all global CO2 emissions (and more than 100% of the growth).

      AOC’s rhetoric (hot air?) reflects the left-wing madness that claims that only U.S. CO2 affects the planet. Of course, that’s not true but reflects a very real strain of science denialism on the left.

      It is revealing that AOC doesn’t trouble herself to mention China or the developing world. Even if the GND cut U.S. emissions to zero, CO2 will still accumulate in the atmosphere.

      The following headline tells the story AOC strangely can’t bring herself to tell.

      “China Emits More Carbon Dioxide Than The U.S. and EU Combined”

      • Inigo Montoya says

        While I basically agree with your comment (and in fact I said something similar above), to be fair, it will be very hard to get developing countries to cut their emissions if the US appears to be doing nothing.

        • Ed Bo says

          To be completely fair, it will be very hard to get developing countries to cut their emissions even if the US really does cut its own.

          • peterschaeffer says

            IM, EB, As you folks have (correctly) pointed out, U.S. CO2 emissions have declined significantly in recent years. CO2 output in the developing world has grown rapidly. The bottom line is the people in the developing world want refrigerators, lights, heating, cooling, etc. Those things require energy and lots of it.

    • Hmmm says

      There are many proposals out there by serious folks that cover a spectrum of possible approaches. You could try looking them up. If all you’ve come across are screeching anti-science wingnuts, as you say, the fault is yours.

    • WW says

      Ummm, have you been paying ANY attention to discussions about Nuclear power? An achievable zero emissions power generation that is banned by the Geeen New Deal because of that scary word Nuclear? Their are more options than the GND lays out, but all the ones that don’t lead to one world government socialism are rejected because “saving the world” isn’t the real goal.

    • Alan Gore says

      The one way the US could actually go carbon-free by 2050 would be to convert our fossil fuel power baseload to nuclear. If Franklin Roosevelt, who summoned this form of energy into being, were still around with his original New Deal, that’s how it might be done.

    • Anonymous says

      @Nick Tait
      “The urgency of a drastic response to manmade climate change has, it would appear, been accepted by the vast majority of experts in the field.”

      Field ? What “field” ? There are all kinds of scientists in all kinds of fields weighing in on all aspects of this issue with a vast array of opinions.

      You might want this to be simple, but it ain’t.

    • James McDonald says

      DID YOU OFFER ANY IDEAS? NO? THEN STFU!

      • Anonymous says

        Yeah, I have an idea. YOU should STFU since you know nothing about science.

      • Will Raper says

        Here is an idea. Hurry up and die of AIDS.

    • Ray Andrews says

      @Nick Tait

      How very true. Such is the polarization that rational, prudent, science based thinking is abandoned by both factions. It’s a war of religion with both sides claiming that God is on their side, when if fact God is equally disgusted with all of them. As you say, given the outright refusal to admit to anything of science by the Deniers, forced to choose I’d take GND, at least they want to try to do something. My friend E’s argument goes something like this: “The GNDers exaggerate the dangers and refuse to face the difficulties therefore the best thing is to do nothing but carry on as before.” How about, as you say, offering a well thought out alternative that both concedes the need to reduce emissions (heck for health reasons is nothing else), while offering workable strategies for achieving it?

      • Shawn T says

        Ray. The underlying flaw in the “where’s your solution?” discussion is the assumption that horrible consequences require DRASTIC action. “Carry on as before” has never happened. Action has been ongoing, with or without the burning of deniers/heretics. High efficiency light bulbs, furnaces and air conditioning. Huge improvements to MPG. Changes in gasoline formulation. Shifts to natural gas. Much more efficient insulation. Recycling. Solar on businesses and homes. Composting. Carbon capture technology. Improved efficiency in coal fired electricity production. Paperless billing. It goes on and on. The world works nothing like it did 30 years ago or 20, 10 and even last year! You assume nothing has changed since the dawn of the industrial revolution. None of it required guaranteed income, free health care, carbon exchanges or any other confiscation of wealth scheme. Read the GND. The problem isn’t just the cost. Bank takeovers, worker reps on community action committees, the freebies I mentioned and much more: “at least they want to do something” is naive. Demanding a government dictated “plan” to equal the crazy, drastic one put forward in the GND or swallow the GND as the only remaining option is a flawed choice.

        • Ray Andrews says

          @Shawn T

          “None of it required guaranteed income, free health care, carbon exchanges or any other confiscation of wealth scheme.”

          But this is typical. When sober people want to talk about climate change, we end up with rants against the whole of the SJW agenda … or the whole of the SJW agenda.

          “Demanding a government dictated “plan” to equal the crazy, drastic one”

          But the government makes plans of this sort all the time. The national energy grid was a government plan. If someone puts forward a crazy plan, then put forward a better one. As you say, having to chose between zero concern and hysteria is a flawed choice.

          “Carry on as before” has never happened.”

          Sure. As you say, much has changed anyway and that’s marvelous. I myself would like to see more of such change, and even prudent government policies speeding it along. A tax on carbon is probably a good idea, remembering that the money does not vanish, it goes to whatever projects the government wants to fund. Perhaps the money could go to further tax cuts for the billionaires.

          The thing about ‘you guys’ is that you just stonewall and/or come up with not too believable stories of almost the entire scientific community engaged in some monstrous plot to turn you into a serf in the new global order. Blanket denials of human impact on the climate just make you look like morons. Would someone offer me S(ane)GND please? IMHO it would start with a massive return to nuclear.

          • Will Raper says

            Considering that every “scientist” that believes it is 100% funded by a government entity it is prudent to question their motives.

            Also, when they start to actually follow the Scientific Method we can talk.

          • S Snell says

            . . . and the problem with “you guys” is that you always wave away all perfectly sane and sober, data-based arguments against hair-on-fire panic, which ultimately is driving the climate argument. Climate change is clearly an emotional issue, and emotion subverts reason. You, Ray, are a case in point. Normally a very sensible and smart guy, your reason leaves you when you discuss climate. And you show remarkable resistance to any suggestion that maybe this climate thingy might have been overblown. Spend even a single afternoon on JoanneNova or WUWT, or Climate Depot or Judith Curry’s site and witness smart, credentialed people making rational arguments that support a healthy skepticism.

            That said, it won’t kill us to be a little less wasteful. And yes, nuclear. But nuclear ain’t gonna happen, period, because the green lobby won’t allow it, ever, for no reason other than that it scares them.

    • WH says

      That may be the company you keep. I see the same problem with the GND – no actual strategies other than panic and just “putting science to work” as if three weeks of overtime is all that’s standing between us and unlimited cheap clean energy. And I say this as somebody painfully mindful of my personal environmental impact, which is somewhere below average. It’s certainly ambitious and maybe even appropriately so, but it’s when campaigns of this nature fall short or encounter insurmountable hurdles – and they will – that things can really go south. Suffice it to say we should be accountable, cautious, realistic, detailed, under-promise and over-deliver. It doesn’t seem like any of this characterizes the GND.

    • Yeah well that has to include technologies that we actually have to replace fossil fuels. Other than nuclear, which the activists hate and don’t understand at all in the grand scheme, there simply doesn’t exist any technology that can replace fossil fuels. Battery technology has hit the brick wall of thermo dynamic laws, so forget about storing that wind and solar power, it is only supplemental. Nuclear is the ONLY answer right now and yet the same people who say they are serious about climate change utterly reject it. By doing so they indeed – as other have stated – are showing that they are not serous about climate change, just brow beating their opponents.

    • Corrie says

      Credible GND backers I know all think that the specifics on it are flexible and conceptual only. That may be fine, but what I find nauseating is its conjoining with Identity Politics issues. At a time when moderate conservatives are finally on board with some level of action on environmental issues, the ‘left’ is making it unpalatable for them.

    • Will Raper says

      Why does anybody have to come up with an alternative to a proposal that every democrat refused to vote for?

      Or did that thought not enter your weak mind?

    • Tersitus says

      “… Accepted by the vast majority of experts in the field…”. And why not, since all it requires of them is to risk nothing, prove nothing, pay lip service to the fashionable, assume a pose, and do exactly nothing but repeat the credo of the virtuous on cue.
      As for “the most effective way to debunk” — well, give the Green New Dealers and the “experts in the field” half of everyone’s money for the next twelve years, start paying the politicians in carbon credits, and move to Venezuela. Let “settled science” do the rest.

    • TheDude says

      What I got out of it was that environmentalism is a cult complete with its own doomsday scenario and the messiah to lead the chosen to safety.

  2. Peter Kriens says

    Never heard anyone advocate for nuclear power?

    • Alfons Kuchlbacher says

      I remember Greta Thunberg had a post, that nuclear power may be a solution, but was rapidly silenced by the radical green-lefts in europe.

    • Aux says

      This is just one of the reasons why it’s obvious climate change is just an excuse; the goal being socialism. There is very little green and lots of state power in the GND.

  3. E. Olson says

    “While there are obviously no calls for violence to be found within its pages…”

    What happens if many building owners decide they can’t afford to install all the Green New Deal mandated efficiency features? After all, the future of the planet is at stake, we cannot allow dissenters to slow our collective response to solving global warming. We must therefore arrest the owners and take away their property.

    What happens if the building owners have guns and refuse court orders to vacate their buildings and report to prison? After all, the future of the planet is at stake, we cannot allow dissenters to slow our collective response to solving global warming. We must therefore shoot and kill the owners and take away their property.

    What happens if the Green New Deal is 100% successful in eliminating US greenhouse gas emissions in 10 years, but China, India, Africa, Brazil, etc. continue to build coal plants and ferry their growing populations between climate controlled homes and climate controlled workplaces in expanding fleets of fossil fueled cars and jets, and global emissions continue to rise? After all, the future of the planet is at stake, we cannot allow backwards countries to thwart our collective response to solving global warming. We must therefore go to war and destroy their populations and infrastructure to eliminate their excessive emissions.

    Cue Music to the sight of “non-violent” mushroom clouds filling the horizon:

    We’ll meet again, don’t know where, don’t know when, but I know we’ll meet again,
    some sunny day.

    • The BIG E. strikes again! Fantastic. Eloquently written with a perfect swansong. What a great movie. What a great epic. When can we start shooting? This’ll be the greatest epic ever made. The final apocalypse. Hard to make though, with just grass, tree and rock technology. Oh well…

  4. bumble bee says

    I have emailed my senator, Sen Markey twice expressing the obvious ridiculousness of the GND and how thankful I was when it was voted down in the Senate. What amazes me the most here are the numb-nuts who think this is even viable. It is all pure fantasy, magical thinking that has zero ability of even working.

    • James Lee says

      My favorite part is the federal jobs guarantee and Universal Health Care all in the context of de facto open borders.

      Sure, that will work. Let’s also give everyone a million bucks a year while we are all flying around in our personal jets.

      If you are going to go big, let’s go real big.

  5. Kevin Herman says

    The Green New Deal is complete nonsense. Who is going to come up with the actual plans? The garbage that idiot kid burped us tells us nothing about how you could retrofit every building in the US for energy efficiency in ten years or pay for it. Its full of astounding (a saner mind might call them insane) objectives but super short on explanations/details on how to obtain them. A bunch of dumbass kids (and that’s what most congressional aides are) would be putting together a 100,000 + page plan about how we are going to change vast aspects of our country in only 10-15 years. The final bill would make Obamacare look like a short story. Its enraging this kind of stupidity is gaining any kind of traction in the United States. Can’t we go back to normal lunacy like the Robin Hood Tax or Universal Income?

    • bumble bee says

      I don’t believe that the GND is solely AOC’s. I believe she is suppose to be the vehicle to get this passed. Others are behind this illogical plan. Who the others are, I do not know off the top of my head, but there is no way AOC developed this nonsense.

      • jakesbrain says

        Look up the Justice Democrats, the organization that got her elected. They’re dedicated and shrewd campaigners, but their ideology is a hopeless morass. I’m reminded of Ishmael summing up Ahab: “‘All my means are sane, my motive and my object mad.'”

      • Locketopus says

        Whenever she wanders off her pre-written script, it becomes apparent that she is a deeply stupid and ignorant child. She’s basically just a photogenic sock puppet.

    • Lightning Rose says

      Hey! If somebody’d like to spot me half a million dollars to tear down the walls of my hundred-year-old house to bring it up to AOC’s code, plus put $60K worth of solar panels on the roof to wipe out my $60.00 a month electric bill, hey, I’m all over that. But I’m not holding my breath.
      As usual, the Democratic party thinks money grows on trees. And that woman’s a bigger wack than most. I predict she’ll be a one-term wonder very quickly. She’s embarassing the party.

      • E. Olson says

        LR – as home owner you are clearly a member of the bourgeoisie, and you are therefore expected to refit your home at your own expense for the good of the proletariat. Failure to comply lead to a choice between enrollment in re-education camps where you will labor for the people while learning your proper role in society, or two 45 caliber slugs in the back of the head. In either case, your house will then belong to the state.

        • Ray Andrews says

          @E. Olson

          For God’s sake. There are no end of building code laws already, restaurants have to install grease traps for example, if you don’t/haven’t you get a fine and an order to comply. You don’t get shot in the back of the head. Overly stupid retrofitting requirements would be just the sort of thing to send AOC back to Starbucks. Get a grip E, we’re not going to see reeducation camps anytime soon. Heck, it’s not even on the agenda here in the PR of Canadistan. The Ozies just showed what they think of overly zealous climate salvationists.

          • E. Olson says

            Ray – what most people don’t understand is that when you put the force of law behind any initiative, you are sanctioning the state to use force to enforce the “will of the people”. What happens if you don’t pay the fine (perhaps because you can’t afford it) for some code violation? Can the government just let it slide? No, they will use force to get their compliance, whether it involves garnishing wages, going to court (where the government has unlimited prosecutorial power), or ultimately arresting the “criminal” at gunpoint. And what happens if the “criminal” resists? More charges, more force, and more lethal results.

            Do you think the early supporters of Lenin, Hitler, Mao, Pol Pot, etc. ever believed their favored politician would set up re-education camps, death camps, and secret police, or that many of them would end up being classified as “enemies of the people”? Don’t think for a minute that zealots like AOC wouldn’t put you in jail or even shoot you for not complying with the Green New Deal, which is the reason that protecting the 2nd amendment is so important.

          • Ray Andrews says

            @E. Olson

            “you are sanctioning the state to use force to enforce the “will of the people”

            Obviously. Surely everyone knows that laws are (well, should be) enforced and that there will be consequences for breaking them? But this is true of every law. What is categorically different about some Green law? One simply hopes that some sense will be applied. Up here the way these things work is basically that when you’re doing a reno you hafta bring things up to code including insulation standards. It’s not the gulag. With older buildings you just take care not to hang a picture, and they leave you alone.

            “Don’t think for a minute that zealots like AOC wouldn’t put you in jail or even shoot you for not complying with the Green New Deal”

            I’d rather not think about it all the things AOC might do. If we could return to moderation and sanity then AOC would just evaporate. I hate to say it but your hysteria is the equal and opposite force to the hysteria of the Greenies and like with magnetism, one generates the other. You should be able to see that. My extremism does not cancel or even resist your extremism, it makes it stronger. AOC creates you, and you create AOC. The progressives have given us Trump, and Trump has given us AOC in return. Thanks Don. What we have here is an arms race and arms races usually end badly. Joe B. is looking like the next Prez and you know why? Cuz he’s sane. He’s neither a mad dog nor a lunatic. Holy cow, forget asking for a great leader, I think America will thank their lucky stars for regular guy.

  6. Klaus C. says

    Realistically, humanity is unlikely to be able to do much about climate change. Effective global action would require levels of organisation and co-operation far in excess of anything that’s yet been achieved, or may ever be possible.

    The interesting question is: just how disastrous will climate change prove to be? The answer seems to be: pretty disastrous, but probably not apocalyptic, which would require a runaway greenhouse effect not thought feasible for Earth’s systems.

    As individual citizens, there’s pretty much nothing we can do except try to move to the less affected regions. I’m currently living in Tasmania, which was ironically once thought to be one of the safest places in the event of global catastrophe, but is now set to experience ever-worsening annual wildfires as a result of the drying out of temperate rainforests, normally too wet to be much affected by dry electrical storms.

    Last summer saw my nephew (and many others) airlifted from a disastrous fire in the south-west wilderness, which along with hundreds of other fires destroyed large numbers of rare old trees. Anyone wanting to visit the Tasmanian wilderness had better do so soon, but don’t come in summer.

    • peterschaeffer says

      KC, the countries that count (matter) in this debate are China and India. My guess is that they will get serious about global climate change somewhere after 2030. They will probably favor geoengineering schemes to solve the problem. Will this work? Not clear at this point.

      However, the U.S (or Australian) debate is mostly meaningless (to the planet). The countries that matter don’t care (much) about global warming at this point and probably won’t for decades to come.

      • TarsTarkas says

        Follow the money. I think you will find that considerable funding for the Eco-wackos comes from the Han Empire. It’s straight Sun Tzu. The problem is the sycophantic press absolutely positively won’t investigate this, just like they cannot investigate their own complicity in an attempted coup. It doesn’t fit the narrative, so if they ignore it, it didn’t happen or doesn’t exist.

        • Inigo Montoya says

          Thank God we have you! Without your perspicacious insights that are totally not cribbed from the president’s twitter feed, the world would truly be lost!

        • E. Olson says

          TarsTarkas – we already know the the Russians have been providing funding to Western environmental groups for years to aid their efforts to shut down the supply of fracking generated gas and oil, and thereby raise the prices for Russian gas and oil.

          • Inigo Montoya says

            It’s a classic baptists-and-bootleggers coalition. That certainly doesn’t mean climate change isn’t real.

        • Ray Andrews says

          @TarsTarkas

          Longing as I do for a conspiracy, who better to point the finger at than the Yellow Peril? But seriously, Putin has given us Trump, and perhaps She, doing his part, is funding the other side? Point being to destroy the center and thus drive America insane and it hardly matters if they blow their brains out with the gun held in the left hand or the right.

    • peterschaeffer says

      KC, I looked up the projections for Tasmania’s climate out to 2100. Hardly dire. See “Appendix 1 – Predicted changes to Tasmania’s climate” for the details.

    • skeptic says

      “The interesting question is: just how disastrous will climate change prove to be? The answer seems to be: pretty disastrous, but probably not apocalyptic”

      No. The answer which physics provides is “mildly inconvenient at worst but probably beneficial overall”. How about actually reading the current literature on climate sensitivity which indicates that the climate models are running hot by twice the actual warming rate and which indicate that the best empirical estimate of climate sensitivity is well below the hysterical fears of the climate alarmists.

      “There is thus now solid peer-reviewed evidence showing that the underlying forcing and heat uptake estimates in AR5 support narrower ‘likely’ ranges for ECS and TCR with far lower upper limits than per the AR5 observationally-based ‘likely’ ranges of: 2.45°C vs 4.5°C for ECS and 1.8°C vs 2.5°C for TCR.”

      https://judithcurry.com/2014/09/24/lewis-and-curry-climate-sensitivity-uncertainty/

      Read Bjorn Lomborg

      Global warming is real, but a problem, not the end of the world. Claims of “catastrophic” costs are ill founded. Inaction has costs, but so does action. It is likely that climate action will lead to higher total costs in this century. Climate action through increased energy costs will likely harm the poor the most, both in rich and poor countries.

      The cumulative cost of inaction towards the end of the century is about 1.8% of GDP
      While this is not trivial, it by no means supports the often apocalyptic conversation on climate change.
      The cost of inaction by the end of the century is equivalent to losing one year’s growth, or a moderate, one year recession.
      The cost of inaction by the end of the century is equivalent to an annual loss of GDP growth on the order of 0.02%.
      However, policy action as opposed to inaction, also has costs, and will still incur a significant part of the climate damage. Thus, with extremely unrealistically optimistic assumptions, it is possible that the total cost of climate action will be reduced slightly to 1.5% of GDP by the end of the century.
      It is more likely that the cost of climate action will end up costing upwards of twice as much as climate inaction in this century – a reasonable estimate could be 2.8% of GDP towards the end of the century.
      Climate action will harm mostly the poor. Examples from Germany and the UK are given.
      To tackle global warming, it is much more important to dramatically increase funding for R&D of green energy to make future green energy much cheaper. This will make everyone switch when green is cheap enough, instead of focusing on inefficient subsidies and second best policies that easily end up costing much more.

      https://judithcurry.com/2014/07/30/lomborgs-senate-testimony/

    • D-Rex says

      Anyone who thinks a 2 or even 5 degree rise in temp over the next 100 years would be disastrous better pray that planet earth never comes out of the ICE AGE we are currently in. Jeez, the blind hysteria of the alarmists is awe inspiring.

  7. JG says

    But the climate situation is on the brink of being apocalyptic

    “For a long time, any questioning of, or even neutral discussions about global warming has been treated as intolerable dissent.”

    Don’t blame the “Left” here, blame the major party that denies it’s happening. People are turning to panic because the “reasonable” warnings have been ignored and every year we don’t act on climate the situation gets more dire.

    • Morgan Foster says

      @JG

      Most people are not panicking.

    • peterschaeffer says

      JG, In just a few seconds I found the following

      “USDA Forecasts Record High Corn Yield and Soybean Production for 2018”

      Just one data point to be sure, but somehow the apocalypse does not seem to arrived.

    • @JG
      “Global warming” became a public issue around 1990. Ots leading scientist – James Hansen – abandoned science for advocacy in the mid-90s. By 2000, we were being told “We have 12 years before the apocalypse.” (Ref. The Nobel prizewinning An Inconvenient Truth.) Twenty years later…”We have 12 years before the apocalypse.”

      Climate change as public policy has ALWAYS bern apocalyptic. It’s not a sudden development in response to denial. Rather, the increasing stridency of denial is a response to the repeatedly histrionics and exaggerations of the apocalyptic “Left.”

      Calm down, make some actual provable scientific climate predictions, and maybe we see motion on the issue. But no one ever solves a predicted millennialist catastrophe…because they’re not meant to be solved. They’re meant to cleanse.

    • S Snell says

      @ JG

      “But the climate situation is on the brink of being apocalyptic.”

      Really?

      Evidence, please. A globe slightly warmer than a hundred fifty years ago, when the Little Ice Age was still having an effect, does not count as “apocalyptic.”

      Look at the data, not the scary headlines.

    • Andrew Vanbarner says

      These reasonable warnings have been ignored at least since I was in undergrad on the 1990s.
      It’s now 2019, and we were assured that Florida would be underwater by now. It’s not.
      We were told polar bears would be extinct by 2015. They’re not.
      We were told that there would be droughts, constant and cataclysmic storms, mass famine, and heavy flooding.
      Didn’t really happen.
      And it probably will be a very gradual process, if these things do happen, and we’ll be able to gradually deal with them, without destroying our economy or losing our freedom.

  8. Andrew Scott says

    This isn’t a statement for or against AOC or NDOCs (new deal of color): the attempted link between the Green New Deal and Millenarianism is just too weak. What they have in common is a belief in a better future. One could draw parallels, but the comparison doesn’t yield a shred of useful insight, only an opportunity to compare an opposing viewpoint to weird cults and Nazis.

    For emphasis, I’m not defending AOC. (“Climate bomb”, really?) But this is a pandering article which makes useless comparisons that lead to nothing.

    • Inigo Montoya says

      The author mentions many more commonalities than just “a belief in a better future”. Hillary Clinton, presumably, believes in a better future, but he doesn’t consider her ideology to be Millenarian. Can you explain why you find the link unconvincing?

    • Sean says

      Actually the link is both intellectually and historically strong. One can at least plausibly trace it from Joachim de Fiore to Hegel and then to Marx. One can also trace it, far more concretely, through the post-millennialist, Pietist, and social gospel movements to progressivism in the United States. Another path of influence is by way of late mediveval and early modern communist movements and later religious “utopian” socialists through Marx and others. The Book of the Apocalypse figures strongly in all of this, even if the religious aspect was dropped by the atheists, and the Social Gospel people who later became non-religious progressives following the failure of their belief in the coming of the messiah.

  9. Rowdy says

    Nice to see the link made between the ever-tenacious religious millenarianism and climate millenarianists. It could have been improved by noting that the actual religious millenarianists are a strong voice in climate debates today. Members of my own family are waiting for the coming of Jesus in the rapture, and therefore see no point in doing anything to address any environmental problems, and regard any proposals to do anything about climate change as a trick of the Devil.

    Such convictions are a very prevalent strand in US protestant Christianity, and baked in to the US political landscape, affecting at some level the political debate. AOC and her team are just the other side of this millenarian coin.

    • TarsTarkas says

      There’s also the twelfth imam cult in Persia. The Ayatollahs seem willing to sacrifice millions upon millions of people in order to bring their paradise on earth. If so they’re in for a surprise, I rather doubt that that Imam however would let them run the world as they see fit.

  10. PM says

    If all 350 million American citizens perfectly follow the Green New Deal, what effect will that have on earth’s environment if the remaining 7 billion people on our ‘planet’ do not follow it? I like clean air and clean water, but, mostly, I prize clean thinking.

  11. Morgan Foster says

    What AOC and her Children’s Army fail to consider is the unlikelihood that the Democratic Party would survive a decade of national economic hardship under the Green New Deal.

    • GrumpyBear says

      @Morgan

      LOL, agreed. Except I’d say three months instead of a decade.

      Remember the Sun Chips bag that was going to revolutionize consumer packaging by being biodegradable? It was rejected because the crinkling sound was too loud, so Sun Chips are once again packaged in plastic.

      GND appeals to only two types of people: idiots, and people who don’t pay taxes.

  12. I wonder if AOC is a betting person. I’d be willing to put a lot of money up against her 12-year claim. A lot of money.

    Also, the Australian voters just rejected ideas that are much saner than AOC’s. Her nonsense is taking the short route to the dustbin of history.

  13. Lightning Rose says

    About 5 years ago, under the influence of WAY too much early-morning NPR, I was brainwashed into the environmental-apocalypse religion hook, line, and sinker. My mother raised me on “green” publications produced by NGO’s seeking donations, and I wasn’t a critical enough thinker until recently to see these folks as anything other than the “good guys.” Meanwhile, I used influence and alliances where possible to amass some not inconsiderable personal accomplishments in habitat preservation and conservation, albeit quietly. I lived the “green” talk.
    I still consider myself a conservationist who has no problem with well-managed hunting/fishing. I live with animals and daily see Nature’s reality, not the Disneyfied version.

    One day, having heard a particularly depressing report on incipient climate change, and in light of my living being strongly bound up in the seasonal cycles of climate, I threw onto Google “What can YOU do about global warming?” The search answers made my jaw drop. I was directed to a dot-gov site which preachily proclaimed that it was now hardly an American problem, that the best, most worthwhile thing we could do was buy those obnoxious, squiggly compact-flourescent light bulbs. Seriously. I was like, are you FUCKING KIDDING ME?????!!!!! No mention of airline use, buying endless junk you don’t need made on the far side of the world, humongous houses, SUV’s, bottled water, vacation homes, yachts, and a hundred thousand other things NO ONE needs but those who can consume without apology. Light bulbs. Really. My BS meter went off, DING!!!

    I got red-pilled then and there, and started to read. BOOKS, not blogs, and difficult ones, by people with a lifetime in weather forecasting, paleontology, biological sciences and geology. And quickly found out that this entire conflating of legitimate human pollution and waste concerns with minimal, gentle climate trends well within the bounds of natural trends was, frankly, a house of cards resting ONLY on computer models bought and paid for by the UN which dredge data so “adjusted” they would make ECONOMISTS blush! Dig further and search “Climategate,” “Maurice Strong,” “hockey stick” etc. and the egregious fictional fabrications behind the “sustainability” agenda is laid bare. But carpet-bomb enough impressionable minds, it becomes “truthiness!”
    Goebbels would be proud.

    This entire myth is dependent on highly-emotional but low-information, dare I say scientifically ignorant, populations. It’s a catalyst for upper-middle-class White Guilt, with no lifestyle changes required, while providing MAXIMUM virtue-signaling value. Wear that Patagonia jacket, you can still fly to ski in Vail. THAT level of hypocrisy. Having studied the ongoing phenomenon for the ensuing 5 years for pure voyeurism’s sake I can only conclude The Planet ™ is in very good shape; no credible threat is in sight short of asteroids or hemmorhoids; absolutely no one is about to downgrade their “lifestyle” and the usual despots and totalitarian superpowers don’t even bother giving it lip service. There’s a REASON why the Paris, Kyoto, etc. agreements were “non-binding” and unenforceable. Wink, wink!

    Like abortion or transgenderism, science doesn’t matter, for you cannot win a rational argument with irrational people. THEY WANT TO BELIEVE. Toss a garlic clove their way and retreat gracefully, it does as much good as anything. Personally, I’m kind of glad my house is not presently under 3 miles of ice as it was 12,000 years ago, and I haven’t noticed anyone telling me yet that I can’t kick up my furnace a notch on a dark and stormy night or fire up my 4 x 4, v-8 Tundra. And I don’t expect anyone will. This ENTIRE issue is an emotional distraction from more substantive real-world issues that no one has the money or will to address.

    AOC should be choked out by a complete absence of publicity. The lifeblood of this “cause” is noise, fortunately lately it’s a well-known ratings killer. I have 4 dogs and a horse that look VERY SMART alongside that bug-eyed Bolshevik bartender boob. She is a clickbait phenomenon only. Don’t give her clicks. Don’t give ANY of them clicks. Vote with your mouse!

    • Morgan Foster says

      @Lightning Rose

      “…that bug-eyed Bolshevik bartender boob.”

      Thank you for this. I will use it elsewhere with, I hope, your blessing.

    • E. Olson says

      Another very good comment LR, and where is the media in reporting the biggest scientific fraud in history? Off interviewing people who either have zero scientific background (i.e. virtually all politicians, celebrities, and academics), or people who have a financial interest in maintaining climate panic (i.e. virtually all Leftist politicians and NGOs, renewable energy investors, climate scientists). And yet while they are telling “journalists” that the world will end in 8 or 12 or 16 years unless we give up capitalism, democracy, and fossil fuels, these doomsters are almost always living a life of luxury with private jets, multiple mansions close to the “rising sea”, and have often made their own fortunes investing in fossil fuels and/or carbon credit markets. A reporter with half a brain might therefore ask: “hey if we are all going to die in 12 years, why are you flying around the world in a private jet and investing in coal?”.

  14. Cynical Old Biologist says

    It does not matter what actions you take to combat climate change or become more “sustainable” or whatever, nothing will make any real, long-term difference if you do not simultaneously realise that the population must stop growing. Cut back per-capita consumption of fossil fuels by 10% but then expand the population by 11% and what have you improved in terms of environmental impact? Nothing. And every new mouth to feed requires more of the planet’s finite resources to provide food, clothing, shelter. I used to be a member of the Green Party but I don’t bother with them or with any “sustainability” BS nowadays since almost none of the sustainability spruikers want to address the population question. The issue is suppressed in almost every area of academia, politics, and the media.

    Don’t worry, the human species is so adaptable and so widespread, that when the current human expansion phase comes it its inevitable, unhappy conclusion, there will still be people clinging on somewhere to start the process over once again – but at a very much lower level without the concentrated resources that are the foundation for the current phase.

    • E. Olson says

      More people than ever are living longer than ever in greater comfort than ever – and this must stop now to save the planet.

      Experts say about 5 billion of us need to quickly get off the planet promptly and cleanly, and it would certainly be helpful if more people would die at an earlier age, and certainly those big screen TVs, SUVs, mcmansions, jet powered holidays, non-seasonal foods, 24/365 electricity, and meat consumption must stop immediately.

      Of course the “experts” include all the people that told us 30-50 years ago that we would all be dead from by now from over-population, running out of natural resources, mass-starvation, return of the ice-age, global warming, but why take the chance that they are wrong once again…

    • Jin Molnar says

      TY Cynical Old Biologist.
      It’s about as simple as that.
      Except that I would see the population decline after the peak not necessarily as unhappy, more like a fascinating denouement.

      The idea that Humans won’t take time out of their busy schedule of hunting or foraging to enjoy the pleasures that lead to procreation is as untenable an idea as it is possible to conjure up.

  15. Geofiz says

    Sigh!

    I am so sick of the phrase: “scientists say”:

    I AM A SCIENTIST!! I have done original work on Plio-Pleistocene climate change (caused by Milankovitch cyclicity) and won four best paper awards for that work.

    Here is what scientists say:

    1) Anthropogenic global warming is real.
    2) The world will get hotter.
    3) The world will not end in 12 years. NO REPUTABLE SCIENTIST IS SAYING THIS!!!!!! I know that the press and AOC think they are quoting the IPCC study when they say this but they are wrong. Let me repeat: That is not what the study says!!!

    As Ernie Moniz (Obama’s DOE secretary and MIT Professor) put it: “The world will get hotter and we will adapt”.

    U.S. CO2 emissions account for about 14% of total emissions. China accounts for 29%. Growth in global energy-related CO2 emissions from 2005 to 2017 was led by China, India, and other countries in Asia, which collectively increased by 6,260 million metric tons, while emissions in the rest of the world collectively decreased by 220 million metric tons.

    Largely due to China, world CO2 emissions have grown by 23% since 2005. U.S. emissions declined by 13% during that same period. But even if we take our CO2 emissions down to zero (and destroy our economy in the process), global CO2 emissions will continue to rise as long as China generates power. India is closing in on their long-term goal of electrification for the entire country. This goal has been accomplished in large part, by building coal plants. Once people have electricity – they use it.

    https://www.eia.gov/todayinenergy/detail.php?id=34872

    The other thing we read in the press is that China is pursuing a low carbon economy. Indeed, they are building a lot of solar panels, but they are largely for export to the U.S. and Europe. China is currently building hundreds of new coal plants. These new plants alone will have greater power capacity that all of the coal plants currently operational in the U.S. China currently has 48% of the world’s coal-generated power.

    https://www.theepochtimes.com/china-building-new-coal-plants-equal-to-entire-us-capacity_2679901.html

    The bottom line is that the GND is virtue signaling that will destroy our economy and do little to slow AGW. I doubt that the Chinese premier is one of AOC’s Twitter friends, however, I am sure he loves what she and others is trying to do to the U.S. economy.

    I really enjoyed this article and the historical perspective it provides. I am old enough to remember when “The Population Bomb” came out. We were all supposed to be dying or starvation by now. I am pretty sure the end of the world will be postponed (Grin).

    • Jay Salhi says

      “I am old enough to remember when “The Population Bomb” came out. We were all supposed to be dying or starvation by now.”

      First there was the population bomb. Then acid rain. Then the ozone layer. Then destruction of of the rain forest. All allegedly existential threats that no one talks about anymore. In 20 years time (maybe less), some other scare will supersede climate change as the next looming catastrophe.

      • Locketopus says

        Yes, and isn’t it a curious coincidence that the proposed solution to the Existential Threat of the Day is always communism?

        • Geofiz says

          Charles Krauthammer had a great comment on this. I cannot remember the exact wording so I will paraphrase.The left has these grand utopian visions. But some people do not want to go along. More and more coercion is necessary to bring them into the fold. Sooner, rather than later, you have despotism.

          A recent poll by showed that while a majority of Americans believe in AGW, only 28% would support measures that cost more that $10/month.

          https://www.nbcnews.com/news/us-news/more-americans-believe-global-warming-they-won-t-pay-much-n962001

          The recent election in Australia and the unrest in France shows us that the extreme measures proposed by the left to fight AGW cannot be enacted in a democracy. The environmental activist McKibben stated that fighting climate change will require people to accept lower standards of living. As regards such proposals as the GND he is undoubtedly correct.That does not work in a democracy.

          Therefore the only alternative is a world dictatorship.

      • Humans seem to have an innate need to feel some sort of existential dread. Probably a feature, not a bug, because in an uncertain world, the paranoid survive where the complacent do not.

    • ga gamba says

      Great comment.

      Surely the best way for the industrialised West to deal with emissions is to export the remaining polluting industries to the part of the world (Asia) that does far less to limit them. So, not only does production continue, it does so by generating even more emissions than it had previously. To assuage our guilt of compelling China, India, and the rest to manufacture our stuff, we also transfer $100 billion per annum to the developing world.

      Golly, I wonder who this plan benefits. It sure isn’t the Earth and certainly not the working class in the (post) industrial nations.

    • TJR says

      BBC2 broadcast a documentary about climate change about 5 years ago. After going through all the evidence, and arguments against it, the presenter concluded that we are pretty sure climate change is happening, that it will continue and that we are at least partly responsible for it.

      However, he concluded by saying something like “Of course we are not destroying the planet, the planet will be fine whatever we do, we are just making the planet a bit less habitable for ourselves.”

      (The reason nobody talks about acid rain or the ozone layer any more is that international agreements and actions largely sorted those problems out, just like clean air acts got rid of the London smog).

    • jimhaz says

      “The world will get hotter and we will adapt”

      Most studies demonstrate that prevention is better than the cure. And then there are difficult to assess problems that could arise – such as widespread plankton decreases.

      On the China point – manufacturing has been transferred from us to them, so naturally their emissions will increase and ours decrease. But look at what happened to their cities as a result of pollution…and now they are transferring the pollution to other less developed countries.

  16. OWG says

    It’s all just an “anchoring” device so that anything less crazy will be more acceptable to swing voters.

  17. Chip says

    The millenarian descriptions of the current environmental movement are almost exactly word for word what was written about the earlier environmental movement.

    Back in the 60’s and 70’s, the environmental movement drew dark visions of air that was unfit to breathe, rivers so polluted they caught on fire, ground underneath children’s playgrounds that was filled with toxic chemicals.
    I remember because was one of those who scoffed and mocked them for their hysteria.

    Except…They were perfectly correct on all counts. Today, after a massive series of laws and regulations, the air is cleaner than ever, the water more pure, and the ground considerably cleaner.

    Sorry man. The tree hugging hippies were right, and the rest of us were wrong, just flat out wrong.
    I don’t know which parts of the Green New Deal will work, or not.

    But if you want to argue against it, you might want to avoid sounding exactly like a Dow Chemical flack telling everyone that phosphates in the water is nothing to worry about and besides, the hippies need a bath.

    • Shamrock says

      “the air is cleaner than ever, the water more pure, and the ground considerably cleaner.”

      Excellent. Nothing more for us to do then.

      • @Shamrock
        I suppose you are being sarcastic, but consider that in the main, good enough is good enough.

  18. Morgan Foster says

    I vote we burn up all the fossil fuel, let the environment crash, exterminate all human life.

    It can’t be worse than the meteor that killed the dinosaurs.

    Life will return without us, and all will be well again.

    • Foyle says

      Vote Thanos! Sometimes I wonder what the long term vision is for the anti-human brigade. They do realise that life will be extinguished in 1billion years or so by sun as it heats up don’t they? As far as we know we are the sole instance of intelligent life (brains are super expensive to run) in half a billion years of complex life, we may be the only chance life has of surviving and spreading beyond earth’s demise. So do they really care about life’s continuance or not?

  19. Rick Phillips says

    “The film is co-written by Klein’s husband Avi Lerner”…. “Avi Lewis”

  20. TheSnark says

    Right now Joe Biden is leading the polls for the Democratic nomination, and Ms Pelosi is keeping the AOC-style wing-nuts in check in Congress. Both are old-fashioned liberals; not my cup of tea but generally in touch with reality. There is still hope that the D’s will offer a reasonable alternative to Trump (rather than just his “progressive” mirror image).

    • CTE says

      Agreed, and there was the survey that showed that dems wanted a more moderate future for their party. All good news.

      But this progressive religion is still very mainstream in media and culture. I wonder sometimes if it will have to just fail on its own merits. AOC, for example, may fail simply because of the Amazon blunder. But for the whole ideology to fail, I’m not sure what would have to happen, and really don’t want to find out.

  21. GrumpyBear says

    From the author:

    “It is not obvious, for example, how Congressional diversity is linked to arresting climate change.”

    It’s obvious to me: Hetero white men are the root cause of all evil. It follows then that any problem can be solved by replacing them with with gay/trans, women, and people of color.

  22. Jackson Howard says

    Can defeat Germans in WW1 : check
    Can defeat Nazis and Imperial Japan in WW2 : check
    Can rebuild Europe and stall Communism : check
    Can beat the Soviets to the Moon and bankrupt them with arms race : check

    Can deal with climate change and beat China ? Nope. Too expensive.

    Pathetic.

    Is the GND flawed ? Sure is. But it’s a heck of a lot better and more sensible than the conservative head in sand approach. Reality has this nice property that it does not go away when denied. The conservative approach to climate change is as sensible as the soviets management of the Chernobyl accident.

    Which is sad, because we had the lead and credibility on environmental issues. Want to beat China and get Europe on board ? Devise a sensible wind+solar+hydro+nuclear plan, put in a carbon tax which increases every year in a predictable manner and create carbon tariffs for goods from polluting countries like China. In the end, China made stuff is consumed in the US+EU. Carbon tariffs from the two would make China go green at a pace. Plus, I’m quite sure arguing that carbon pollution is a illegal subsidy would work as an argument for carbon tariffs at the WTO, especially if the EU is on board.

    Finally, I’m quite sure carbon tariffs and green infrastructure can be “sold” to Democrats since it’s a part of the GND. Just remove the non-sense part of it I say.

    Going for energy independence while we still have the Permian oil bonzana available to kickstart it with “cheap” energy is the right strategic move anyway.

    • WW says

      Again, how about Nuclear power. Oh wait, that’s completely out because implementing it doesn’t achieve socialist goals…..

      Take your straw man to hell with you.

      • Jackson Howard says

        As I said : wind+solar+hydro+nuclear is the way to go.

        France is the only country with a proven track record of electric sector decarbonation in the timeframe required.

        Wind and Hydro are nice but seem costly. Germany spent 300B eur replacing 15% of nuclear power with 15% of RNE. Not that great of a deal IMO.

        If sensible infrastructure projects are socialistic, they yeah, I’m a socialist I guess. Carbon pricing and tariffs are the only way for markets to solve the issue. Not backing this is begging for the left to come up with big state solutions when things will get bad enough, and it’ll pass given that we’ll have zero credibility left on environmental and energy matters.

    • Geofiz says

      Jackson:

      Your problem is that you compare efforts that could be accomplished solely by the U.S. to an effort that would require every country to participate. As I mentioned in an earlier post, the U.S. produces 14% of the worlds CO2. china poraduce 29%. Since 2005 we have reduced carbon emission by 13% largely by switching from coal to natural gas. China increased theirs by 25%.

      Overall global CO2 emissions have increased by 23% since 2005, even as ours have decreased. So even if we took our emissions down to zero, CO2 emissions would still increase.

      As I also mentioned,China is currently building 100’s of coal plants. Some of these will be located in China. Others are being built in Africa. They are building them in Africa for the same reason that the British built railroads there in the 1800’s. He who controls the infrastructure controls the country Sub-Saharan Africa is only 16% electrified. Global emissions are certainly going to continue to increase with increasing electrification of the African continent.

      Do you intend to tell the Africans that they cannot have cheap power? How are you going to enforce this? Do you really want nuclear technology in the hands of some of the African governments? And how exactly are you going to convince China not to build power plants? Or India? The more we damage our economy by making energy more expensive, the more China and other countries benefit.

      As we are seeing today tariffs, carbon and otherwise, make all goods more expensive. And as we have also seen, China can and will retaliate. I actually support Trump’s policy with China, but it is ludicrous to think that we will not suffer economic damage if he fails to get a deal and the tariffs he proposes are enacted. Do you really think that the EU would agree to suffer that same damage? How do you intend to determine which products in China were made with clean energy? What if China just pays the tariffs and makes their products more expensive? The cost of the tariffs will certainly be less than the cost of converting to renewable energy And no one in the world is making iphones with clean technology so it is not like you have options? What about Vietnam, Kenya and other third world countries? Do we put tariffs on all their goods as well? Those tariffs will likely totally destroy their economies as they lack the resources to make a switch to green energy. Are you OK with that? Maybe they will just trade with themselves and avoid the tariffs. What then- war?

      As hard as this is for you to grasp, the U.S. cannot simply dictate policy to the world. And thinking of AGW as a problem that can be solved by U.S. action is magical thinking. All it does is make you feel good, while the poor suffer the most from your policies.

      • Geofiz says

        Energy is in everything we do. Food the average family for a week takes the equivalent of 22 gallons of gas to grow ship, sell and cook. Do you own a pair of jeans? That pair of jeans will take the equivalent of three gallons of gas to manufacture ship, sell and wash. Since energy is in everything we do, the cost of energy is in everything we do. That cost falls disproportionately on the poor. I may have a nicer car than someone who is poor, but we both consume gasoline. My car is probably newer, so it likely consumes less. I may eat better but we both eat. We both heat our houses in the winter and cool them in the summer.

        In Texas, I pay $0.11 per KwH because the power plants have easy access to natural gas. In Massachusetts, the average rate is $0.23 KwH because the state refuses to permit pipeline from gas fields in Pennsylvania. Instead, they import LNG from Yemen. This not only increases the cost, it increase the CO2 emissions as the gas has to be transported by ship.

        To the average Harvard grad, a few extra hundred dollars a month to power his 80″ TV makes little difference. To the poor black single mom, it may mean choosing between heat and food. Interesting that this “inconvenient truth” is never discussed by the left.

        Few people understand the scale of the problem. I strongly suggest that anyone interested in energy watch the movie, The Switch, produced by Dr. Scott Tinker of the University of Texas. It is not partisan. In addition to the movie, Dr. Tinker has developed as series of videos to be used in energy education. They are available at this website

        https://switchon.org/

        The movie is on Youtube at

        https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Oj76hJ7XmBM

        • peterschaeffer says

          Geofiz, That’s not true. Massachusetts imports LNG from Yemen and Russia. Why leave out Russia? Of course, that’s crazy. Vast quantities of natural gas are available from Pennsylvania. However, Massachusetts is too “pure” to use U.S. gas.

        • S Snell says

          It amazes me that the issue of energy has largely been omitted from this discussion. Energy IS everything. Energy, great gobs of it, is what allows this advanced, interconnected, comfortable civilization to exist. And without it, the whole thing would collapse in a heap, in a hurry.

          It also amazes me how ignorant of very basic science are the loudest voices in favor of climate intervention.No sense of scale, no understanding of geologic time, no understanding of thermodynamics, no appreciation of complexity, no grasp of economics. Zero. People who know almost literally nothing about how the planet actually works are eager to make some pretty drastic changes that will affect everyone, basically forever.

      • Alan Gore says

        “Do you really want nuclear technology in the hands of some of the African governments? ”

        This has already happened: Koeberg.

    • GSW says

      @Jackson Howard

      Nice work here – several completely false and ludicrous analogies combined with a set of policy proposals that would destabilize the international system and immiserate billions of people all in service of the risibly false opinion that a) the 19th/20th century was the best-of-all-possible climate worlds for humanity as a whole; and, b) that this best-of-all-possible climate world can be somehow be fixed (frozen?) in place in a stable state by the application of human technology.

      You imagine this as a “conservative” vs “liberal/progressive” political issue, but I just see mass delusional crackpottery. In the interests of full disclosure, I live in a place that just 10,000 years ago was completely covered by a glacial sea without a single fossil fuel burner in sight anywhere. Straight to hell, indeed!

    • Locketopus says

      Is the GND flawed ? Sure is.

      Calling it “flawed” is like calling communism under Stalin “flawed”.

      Reality has this nice property that it does not go away when denied.

      Reality doesn’t contradict the laws of physics, dude. The GND does. There is not anything like sufficient skilled labor and raw materials to rebuild every structure in the United States within 12 years. There’s some “reality” for your ass.

      We won’t even get into the myriad ways it violates the rules of lesser sciences (such as basic economics).

      We’re not all dead from overpopulation, ozone holes, air pollution, acid rain, the new Ice Age, or any of the other disaster scenarios you people have cooked up as an excuse to grab power. We’re not going to die from “global warming” either.

      If you “greens” actually gave a shit about the environment, you’d be demanding massive construction of nuclear power plants, and also be cheering on Trump’s attempts to reduce Chinese imports, but you’re not doing that, are you?

      Note, too, that the socialist countries have historically been environmental disaster areas. Got an old nuclear reactor you don’t want any more? Just dump it in the Arctic Ocean whole! That’s what the good Marxists in the Soviet Union did.

      Only rich people can afford to care about snail darters and spotted owls, and socialism is a fool-proof method for making people poor.

      • jimhaz says

        The author only wrote the article to have a whine at AOC – the GDN was dead 1 week after its release and would only ever have been partly implemented even under a massive Democratic win.

    • @JH

      Your use of the term “carbon pollution” is key. In no meaningful sense is CO2 a pollutant, or a threat, as the EPA very publicly re-classified it in 2009, an egregiously political, scientifically indefensible move.

      CO2 is nothing less than the foundation of life on this planet, because plants require it to build tissue and marine organisms require it to build their shells. We are nowhere near a hazardous level of this gas, which is, in actuality, near an all-time low in atmospheric concentration, geologically speaking. Fifty-five million years ago, CO2 was ten to twenty times as abundant, and the planet teemed with life from pole to pole. The effect on the climate of the recent minor increase in CO2 has been greatly exaggerated. We are far closer to an icehouse climate than a hothouse one. For the record, warmth is good; warmth is life. Cold is death.

      In real terms, there is no crisis, and if there is no crisis then there is no need to radically restructure our society and economy from top to bottom, which would generate permanent and far-reaching repercussions, at crippling expense.

      Show me data that says we are genuinely in trouble. Don’t just quote some interested party spouting apocalyptic visions based on paranoid conjecture.

    • peterschaeffer says

      JH, So many errors, so little time. in 1918, or 1941, or 1960 the U.S. was the dominant economic power of the world and the dominant CO2 producer. Neither is true anymore. The world changes. Check the calendar. It is not 1960 anymore.

      In 1941, Japan attacked Pearl Harbor and destroyed a considerable portion of the U.S. Pacific fleet. In 2018, the U.S. produced record corn and soybean crops.

      China passed the U.S. in CO2 emissions in 2005. China passed the U.S. in total GDP in 2013. China’s economy is now considerably larger than the U.S. and produces twice as much CO2. In some respects (coal, steel, concrete, electric power, etc.) China dwarfs the U.S.

      “In the end, China made stuff is consumed in the US+EU.”

      Wrong. See “Mapped: The world’s largest CO2 importers and exporters”. Only about 13% of China’s CO2 is exported. China’s nominal GDP for 2017 was $12.01 trillion with exports of $2.216 trillion. Note that Europe (including Central Asia) and North America (including Canada and Mexico) account for just 41% of China’s exports.

      “Going for energy independence while we still have the Permian oil bonzana available to kickstart it with “cheap” energy is the right strategic move anyway.”

      This is so poor. The Permian Basin produces around 4 MBD. The U.S. consumes around 20 MBD of Petroleum (actually Petroleum products, not raw crude oil).

  23. C Young says

    Yes. Another driver of this the messiah complex exhibited by many politicians, particularly those on the left. Many of them have a deep psychological need to claim personal ownership of transformative policies. This allows them to claim world significance.

    A stunning illustration of this emerged last week in the UK. The ex-leader of the Labour party is known for two things, claiming to be a democratic socialist and his staunch opposition to the UK government’s austerity policies.

    Last week, Ed Miliband announced that the climate emergency meant that the UK should move to a ‘war footing’, effectively suspending democracy. This suspension of democracy was to be used to implement a far more extreme form of austerity that would close many industries overnight. This was to be implemented permanently, with no right of dissent for voters.

    In one sense, everything had been turned on its head, Miliband was standing against everything he had ever campaigned for. In another sense, nothing had changed. He’s always wanted a far-reaching, top-down re-organisation of the economy. Only the justifications had changed. Once again he was presenting himself as the one man who could save us all. Check out the messianic hand gestures in the BBC interview below.

    Unfortunately, it seems that people with psychological defects are the only ones now interested in running modern political systems.

    https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/av/uk-politics-48103757/climate-change-ed-miliband-says-uk-needs-to-be-on-war-footing
    https://www.spiked-online.com/2019/05/08/austerity-forever/

    • Jay Salhi says

      Good point. War analogies are scary. Civil liberties and basic freedoms were drastically curtailed during WWII. Doing that it a time of peace to fight metaphorical wars is a blueprint for authoritarianism.

      • OWG says

        And wars are, by their nature, notoriously wasteful and inefficient of the money spent. I always cringe whenever I see the analogy used for anything other than war itself.

  24. Jay Salhi says

    “Can beat the Soviets to the Moon and bankrupt them with arms race : check”

    It is common to use these silly examples that do not remotely capture how enormous the task of eliminating fossil fuels would be. Eliminating human reliance on fossil fuels is the equivalent of relocating every person on earth to the moon. It is impossible with current technology.

    • Jackson Howard says

      Indeed. It’s much harder. It’s akin to every country doing a moon program and a WW2 level effort. Twice. or Trice.

      Since when do we back down on doing things because they are “hard” ?

      The longer we wait, the harder it’ll be, until it’ll be truly impossible once cheap fossils fuel reserves are gone.

      The conservative approach at the moment is pretty much “peace in our time” and have fun/cash in while it lasts. There used to be a strategic vision.

      • E. Olson says

        Jackson Howard wrote: “Since when do we back down on doing things because they are “hard” ?”

        Answer: Humans back down all the time when things are perceived as too hard, because that is human nature. Most of the population is obese, and all that needs to be done is more exercise and better/less eating, but most people don’t do it because it is too hard. Unwanted pregnancy is easily avoided, and all that needs to be done is to use cheap, easy, and effective birth control (or not have sex), and many millions of people fail to do it because it is just too difficult. Much of the population spends more than they earn, and all that needs to be done is cut back on frivolous expenses and unnecessary luxuries, and yet many millions of people and many dozens of governments fail to do it because it is just too difficult.

        Stopping further warming is not just hard, but impossible to achieve. First, we don’t even know if warming has occurred over the past 20 years, nor how much over the past 50+ years is from natural sources and how much from human sources, because measuring global temperatures accurately is difficult if not impossible for both technical and political reasons. Second, virtually all human wealth beyond subsistence is dependent on cheap and reliable energy sources, and the only type that offers both are fossil fuels, so cutting back by 80% will lead to mass starvation, mass poverty, and bloody revolution. Third, nobody is dying or even threatened by global warming. Predicted flooding is not occurring, predicted deadly storms are occurring less often, crop yields are higher than ever from slightly higher CO2 concentrations, and higher temperatures (within reason) are actually associated with great human flourishing. So getting people to do hard or impossible when there is no real threat is truly impossible.

      • Locketopus says

        The longer we wait, the harder it’ll be, until it’ll be truly impossible once cheap fossils fuel reserves are gone.

        Nonsense.

        We have enough nuclear fuel to last for billions-with-a-b of years.

          • Locketopus says

            That is a propaganda piece, not a scientific journal article. Like most “greens” (i.e., reds), you’re not capable of distinguishing between the two because your entire worldview is based on fantasies and wishful thinking.

            We aren’t limited to “conventional reactors”, dude. The primary reason we haven’t built breeder reactors is that uranium is currently dirt-cheap. The technology is proven and well-understood. If uranium becomes more expensive, breeders become attractive.

            And with breeders, we have enough nuclear fuel to last for billions-with-a-b of years. Saying there’s only enough uranium for 80 years is so deceptive it crosse the border into outright lying.

        • Jackson Howard says

          With Gen4 breeders ? Sure.

          Not seeing those being built at any pace. I was more speaking about solar and wind, that require very large energy investments. Nuclear will likely see a revival once we realize that renewables cannot be scaled to the extent required for the price hoped.

          @E. Olson : you are right. By now global warming is impossible to stop. However we do have a choice in the endpoint. While getting +1-2°C might be a good deal for agriculture, going above that is going to likely to bear more costs than benefits for most regions. +4°C or +5°C is enough to make the tropical bands really difficult places to live in.

          We can get a pretty good estimate of the source of the carbon from isotopic ratios. That works. The extra CO2 is ours. Measuring climate is a political problem only in the US and Australia. In Europe climate change denial has not become part of the conservative identity (yet). Also, sea level rise and such are all in the 2080-2100’s, but for some reason people think it’s should already happen now. What I see know is glaciers melting at a crazy pace, unusual droughts and mountain side destabilized by permafrost thaw.

          • Locketopus says

            What I see now is a Viking dairy farm emerging from the ice in Greenland, which, given that cows can’t eat ice, means that Greenland was significantly warmer than it is now as recently as the Viking era.

            I also know that at various points the entire U.S. Midwest was under several miles of ice, which somehow all went away without help from SUV emissions.

            I also strongly suspect that what you describe as “melting at a crazy pace” does not quite measure up to, e.g., the event that produced the Channeled Scablands in Washington state.

            Now there’s some crazy melting for your ass.

          • D-Rex says

            JHsaid’ +4°C or +5°C is enough to make the tropical bands really difficult places to live in.’
            Last time global temps were 4°C higher than today’s temps the tropical bands were actually about 1°C cooler. You think a global rise of x means that rise uniformly around the globe but that’s incorrect. It’s the average change in temperature but we get a much greater increase at the poles and virtually none in the tropics. One of the benefits of this is that with a reduced latitudinal temperature differential, you get less extreme winds and other meteorological conditions. You also get much greater areas of productive land. Last time this happened, the boreal tree line moved 500km further north and the planet was 50% greener, an environmentalists wet dream I would have thought.

    • jimhaz says

      Eliminating human reliance on pointless and self-damaging consumption is the equivalent of relocating every person on earth to the moon. It is impossible under the plutocracies we live under.

      • Locketopus says

        Why don’t you set an example for us all by moving to North Korea? No high levels of consumption there. No plutocracies.

  25. Nick Podmore says

    Nuclear nuclear nuclear…France has the lowest emissions of all the developed countries…and the cheapest power. Pursuing hydrogen fuel cell technology and more efficient electric vehicles would further lower emissions. More people die from pollution related illness each year than have ever been killed by radiation, the greens are nut jobs for not embracing this tech….they are also killing us with their intransigence and childish scaremongering around nuclear

    • jakesbrain says

      Interestingly, the producer and screenwriter of HBO’s Chernobyl has said that he’s pro-nuclear because it’s the cleanest and greenest power available, and that it’s tragic that the stupidity which led to the Chernobyl disaster scared half the planet away from nuclear power entirely.

      We have better and safer nuke plants now; everything is designed with Chernobyl and Three Mile Island in mind — ending nuclear power would be the worst and most shortsighted solution.

      • the gardner says

        Chernobyl technology was pre- computers. I think we have come a long way. Gen IV nuclear is virtually zero meltdown risk.

        • Jackson Howard says

          Well, gen4 is on the early demonstrator state so, a bit early to tell.
          Tough on a pure physics / engineering PoV they are much safer than previous plants.

          I must say I like the peeble bed reactor design and molten salt reactors a lot.

          Sodium cooled is fine until you get a fire, and lead/bismuth has the issues of freezing and polonium production.

      • peterschaeffer says

        JB, Chernobyl used a graphite moderator design that has not been (I think) utilized for power production in the U.S. The Chernobyl design (roughly) has been used for military purposes in the USA. The Chernobyl design had a positive void coefficient which made it unstable in many cases. This design was/is rejected everywhere else in the world.

        By contrast, the Three Mile Island reactors were pretty conventional for the USA and globally. They were standard water cooled and moderated reactors and inherently much more stable.

  26. the gardner says

    Whether you believe in an impending climate disaster or not, new nuclear technologies are the way to go. If AOC and her ilk really believed their own BS, they would be embracing nuclear. But they aren’t, because it’s not about solutions. It’s about control.
    AOC reminds me of Jim Jones. Koolaid, anyone?

    • E. Olson says

      Gardner – I love the AOC film embedded above. High wages, solar powered bullet trains, and free health care, child care, and education for everyone, paid for by magic created apparently by the majority people of color and female Democrat government – it certainly isn’t paid for by the taxes paid by those fat cat oil merchants of death and all the evil oil workers, because that industry is obviously shut down. But no mention about China, India, Africa – how is AOC getting them on board the Green New Deal, and what happens if they don’t cooperate? Time for more magic I guess.

  27. Anonymous says

    “Research on better and cheaper technologies would be a more pragmatic and effective route forward to reducing global carbon emissions.”

    What’s wrong with carbon emissions ? First you need to prove that a problem exists before worrying about global solutions. I have read a great deal on this topic and I still have not seen any proof that a problem exists.

    If a problem does exist – it would have to be one hell of a serious problem to outweigh the global benefits of using fossil fuels.

    • Jan de Jong says

      This is the sane position indeed. Lacks excitement though.

  28. Philip Tisdall says

    I have been reading Quillete for several weeks now and I am impressed by the thoughtfulness of the articles and Comments. Thank you all. One of this article’s Comments referenced the Childrens’ Crusade of 1212. When I reviewed my knowledge on Wikipedia, I was struck by its similarity to the GND: substitute AOC for Stephen of Cloyes, Washington for Saint-Denis and Pelosi for King Phillip.
    “The second movement was led by a twelve-year-old[3] French shepherd boy named Stephen of Cloyes, who said in June that he bore a letter for the king of France from Jesus. Large gangs of youth around his age were drawn to him, most of whom claimed to possess special gifts of God and thought themselves miracle workers. Attracting a following of over 30,000 adults and children, he went to Saint-Denis, where he was reported to cause miracles. On the orders of Philip II, advised by the University of Paris, the people were implored to return home. Philip himself did not appear impressed, especially since his unexpected visitors were led by a mere child, and refused to take them seriously. Stephen, however, was not dissuaded, and began preaching at a nearby abbey. From Saint-Denis, Stephen traveled around France, spreading his messages as he went, promising to lead charges of Christ to Jerusalem. Although the Church was skeptical, many adults were impressed by his teaching.[3] A few of those who initially joined him possessed his activeness; it is estimated that there were less than half the initial 30,000 remaining, a figure that was shrinking rapidly, rather than growing as perhaps anticipated.”

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Children%27s_Crusade

  29. Brian Henry says

    Naomi Klein and Avi Lewis were big fans of Hugo Chavez right up until people actually started starving in Venezuela. It’s a wonder that their involvement doesn’t automatically and immediately put this project beyond the pale.

  30. Ewin Barnett says

    Marx’s vision of communism: from section 10.1 Millennial communism

    In messianic religious movements, the millennium is invariably established by a mighty, violent upheaval, an Armageddon, a great apocalyptic war between good and evil. After this titanic conflict, a millennium, a new age, of peace and harmony, a reign of justice, would be established upon the earth. Marx emphatically rejected those utopians who aimed to arrive at communism through a gradual and evolutionary process, through a steady advancement of the good. No, Marx harked back to the apocalyptics, the postmillennial coercive German and Dutch Anabaptists of the sixteenth century, to the millennial sects during the English Civil War, and to the various groups of pre-millennial Christians who foresaw a bloody Armageddon at the Last Days, before the millennium could be established. Indeed, since the immediatist post-mils refused to wait for gradual goodness and sainthood to permeate among men, they joined the pre-mils in believing that only a violent apocalyptic final struggle between good and evil, between saints and sinners, could establish the millennium. Violent, worldwide revolution, in Marx’s version made by the oppressed proletariat, would be the instrument of the advent of his millennium, communism.

    In fact, Marx, like the pre-mils (or ‘millenarians’) went further to hold that the reign of evil on earth would reach a peak just before the apocalypse. For Marx as for the millenarians, writes Ernest Tuveson,

    “The evil of the world must proceed to its height before, in one great complete root-and-branch upheaval, it would be swept away…”

    from
    Classical Economics, An Austrian Perspective on the History of Economic Thought, Volume II, by Murray N. Rothbard, page 317, 337-339
    link: http://mises.org/library/austrian-perspective-history-economic-thought

  31. NickSJ says

    Environmentalism has replaced Christianity as the dominant religion in many upper class circles. In real science, skepticism is welcomed to ensure that theories are thoroughly validated. In the environmental pseudo-scientific religion, skeptics are treated as heretics, while corrupt scientists like Michael Mann, author of the fraudulent “hockey stick” graph, play the role of priests guarding the sacred scriptures, and casting out unbelievers. In real science, theory must yield to data. In environmentalism, the data is changed to fit their theories, which are treated as divine revelations, even after their predictions prove false. Nature worship was one of humanities earliest religions, and it surprisingly has returned with a vengeance.

  32. John says

    Did Hildegard of Bingen say that the antichrist was alive and a jew? A quick google search yields no evidence for this. Indeed this link that I found: https://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/shows/apocalypse/explanation/legend.html
    says: “For Hildegard, Antichrist is born from the Church. That’s very crucial. Because there are two traditions really in Christianity, at war with each other for many, many centuries. One is that Antichrist will be born a Jew. The other one is that no, he won’t be a Jew; he will be born out of the Church.”

  33. petrichorX says

    The language revolution took 50,000 years. The agricultural revolution took 5,000 years. The industrial revolution 500 and now the information revolution at about 50. If we stay on trend, the biological revolution will be over in about 5 years – start to finish.

    Things are turbulent now because we’ve just passed through the mid-point of the information revolution. The iPhone was the mile marker. Just as the Model T was the way point of the industrial revolution. A piece of the revolution which touches the common man and then changes his life down to the bone.

    At the mid-points of these revolutions three things always happen: masses of people go into physical and psychological diaspora, they seek religion, eventually they turn to war. As the author rightly points out, there’s something apocalyptic in this whole religion thing.

    Each of man’s great revolutions engenders a shift in religion.

    Animism becomes polytheism with language which then becomes monotheism with agriculture. The industrial revolution brings us socialism. The information revolution is likely to bring us ecologism and then the biological will usher in skandism. In the beginning God is everywhere. In the end, we are God. In the beginning, we are nowhere. In the end, we are everywhere.

    The -als and the -isms have been doing this dance since we walked out of Africa. Alternating rungs in the ladder of civilization’s climb.

    With each revolution our world view becomes broader and that is answered by a religion which is more personal.

    Ecologism believes we can engineer the planet. Skandism will believe we can engineer life itself.

    Perhaps we can. If so, we should listen carefully to the engineers on this thread. Politicians are mostly lawyers in this country. They believe a thing can be changed through clever argument and the rule of law. Silly, rabbit. Things are changed by actions, not words.

    If you ask an engineer if we can alter climate to our will the answer is a swift ‘of course’. When you ask him what steps come to mind he’ll say, “Well, depending on which way you want the climate to go, we can either obliterate China and India or, if you want to go the other way, eliminate all forms of birth control on a global scale and bring back fireplaces.”

    Be careful what your new religion wishes for. Socialism wished for a lot in the 20th century. And it got it. Good and hard.

  34. lawrence says

    GOOD FREAKING LORD, people.
    Have any of you commenters actually read this disjointed and fantastic- as in fantasy, not as in praiseworthy- article by a children’s book writer who ignores the 12 year warning is from an October, 2018 report by the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) after a review of 6,000 articles resulting from research on the issue?
    How on earth does David Adler immediately relate that to Biblical warnings of doom from the Middle Ages?
    Even further how does he pen a freshman Member of the United States Congress in with the likes of “Maoism, Pol Pot, the Jacobins, the Bolsheviks, and the Nazis”?
    David Adler, as children’s authors likely are wont to do, paints the darkest creature he can, applying the Biblical allegorical title “beast” to oil companies and his new creation, a Pol-Pot-Jacobin-Nazi-Brooklyn-Freshman-Congress-Member and carries right on, as if he believes he is making sense.
    Adler has AOC and the Bible on the brain.
    Quillette, Quillette, Quillette.
    Shame on you for allowing this graffiti to grace your otherwise good pages.
    How did this bit of writing get here? It certainly puts the “art” in “article.”
    Was an editor at Quillette asleep? Was it a long day or week? Did Quillette editors publish this article out of amusement, giggling all the while, thinking your good readers, attuned to your sense of humour, would spit up their morning coffee in outright surprise and amusement?
    Mr. Adler, perhaps your views would be better submitted in the form of a children’s book. A Pol-Pot-Jacobin-Nazi-Brooklyn-Freshman-Congress-Member would, perhaps, make a most unusual villain if you can find a publisher to buy into the concept without smirking.

    • GSW says

      “article by a children’s book writer who ignores…” @lawrence

      I expect that you thought your wordy post both witty and wise. But if your best counter-argument is nothing more than a series of ad hominums, perhaps you should consider seriously the possibility that you might be blinded by the kind of climate “religious certainty” described by Adler.

      In the middle ages, if the weather was bad, it was thought to be God’s will (or the work of the Evil One) and prayer was the answer. It was a perfect circle. Isn’t it interesting that, in contemporary life, science has supplanted the religious paradigm and become both the cause and cure of poor weather – another perfect circle?

    • Geofiz says

      I have read the report. Perhaps you can show me the page where it says the world will end in 12 years.

      I must have missed that.

    • Locketopus says

      Even further how does he pen a freshman Member of the United States Congress in with the likes of “Maoism, Pol Pot, the Jacobins, the Bolsheviks, and the Nazis”?

      She is absolutely in the same range of the ideological spectrum as those groups.

    • You might also consider the possibility that the two David Adlers are not the same person. I happen to know that for a fact.

    • mikeb says

      Thank you, Lawrence. I was shocked that the IPCC was not mentioned in a climate change article on a supposedly well informed and balanced website. The problem is that CO2 stays in the atmosphere for a long time and the damage caused by it takes decades to be fully realized. People are not good at dealing with problems like this. Look at the state of retirement savings for comparison. The only real way to do it is to have government lead, and that won’t be happening for a while.

  35. Strawberry Girl says

    The Green New Deal is a repackaging of China’s Great Leap Forward. When that little experiment failed miserably and millions died from famine, next came the genocidal Cultural Revolution. This kind of ideology doesn’t acknowledge failure, just as the guy who fails to predict the day of the Second Coming simply chooses a new date.

  36. Chaco says

    The article strongly condemns the GND by drawing parallels to both messianic cults and totalitarian political enterprises that have previously failed and that were contemptible. By such comparisons the author attempts to subtly attack the underlying environmental science.

    What he ignores are the political and economic forces that propel the GND supporters. A generation that has lost hope and feels betrayed by their forebears. A generation that lives at a time where economic inequality is at its most extreme in a hundred years. And who can observe the environment deteriorating before their eyes as chemical pollution claims the oceans and the air and “progress” decimates habitats and species.

    Perhaps it is the same desperation and fear that have motivated failed extremist religious and political cults in the past that motivates the GND generation. If so, then the issue of extreme societal isolation is worthy of discussion. Or perhaps a forthright discussion of the destruction of the environment.

    The author, instead, attempts to dismissively deride the environmental movement and prompts the commentariat to revisit the CO2 imbroglio. But he cannot dismiss the degradation of the environment at the hands of mankind, nor the anger and frustration that fuels the GND movement.

    HIs failure to acknowledge the legitimate concerns about the environment and his reliance on the notion that technology will eventually solve the problems it created (while not creating new crises), indicates his ideological perspective and undercuts the remaining strength of his thesis. Which is that there is a coming crisis where the dissaffected and socially estranged are raising their voices and casting their votes for change.

    Demonization of a social movement is the first step toward its acceptance.

  37. Barney Doran says

    AOC and her ilk only want a socialist/communist government. If climate change can be made to be a means to that end, then it is a good thing. Much as Lenin saw war.

  38. The church traditionally separated fantasy and reality.
    Inside fantasy, outside reality.
    However today facts and fiction are intermixed.

    In the 17th century Descartes moved God from a cloud to earth , canonizing wild nature.
    Environmental organisations became the new (green) church.

    Religion originates from the notion of ignorence.
    It is also a firewall against fears.
    Secularization destroyed this firewall.

    The environmentalists did not repair it, but on the contrary used existential fears as a profitable business model.

    Unlike the church which expressed love to humans, the green church demands billions of sacrifices along a static lifestyle in poverty.

    in the middle ages, science and religion were separated.
    Religion was about heaven, science was on earth.
    Now the green church interferes with the energy generation on earth.
    The result is total failure.

  39. Pingback: Straight to Hell: Millenarianism and the Green New Deal — Torches and Pitchforks

  40. just an initial correction. the Anabaptists at Munster were in 1533, impt because it was the 1500 years since the Crucifixion/Resurrection.

  41. Hatred is the most accessible and comprehensive of all unifying agents. It pulls and whirls the individual away from his own self, makes him oblivious of his weal and future, frees him of jealousies and self-seeking. He becomes an anonymous particle quivering with a craving to fuse and coalesce with his like into one flaming mass… Mass movements can rise and spread without belief in a God, but never without belief in a devil.

    From the other great book on the millenarian mentality: Hoffer, Eric. The True Believer: Thoughts on the Nature of Mass Movements
    (Perennial Classics) (p. 91). HarperCollins. Kindle Edition.

  42. lol oh great, another smarmy smear piece from reactionaries who label anyone trying to change society at all as “dangerous religious cultists”, as if the death cult of capitalism is somehow not a death cult LMAO.

    –“Maoism, Pol Pot, the Jacobins, the Bolsheviks, and the Nazis are well described by Cohn and Gray’s analyses.”

    –“Not one of them has delivered on their prophecies of a Third Age and their promises of a paradise on earth. They have all reliably delivered something else: visions that, if implemented, invariably take us straight to Hell.”

    Of course you soulless drones can’t face the fact that your beloved neoliberal capitalism is the same thing, you’re clearly just morally weak tools who too worthless to do anything but support the status quo.

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