Thongchai Thailand

A HISTORICAL CONTEXT OF THE CLIMATE MOVEMENT

Posted on: March 23, 2020

bandicam 2020-03-29 08-20-12-490

 

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 (1)  The real movement is climate action, not climate change: The commonly held belief is that the issue in AGW climate change is climate and that therefore, the debate is about the details and the science of Anthropogenic Global Warming and climate change and about its fearful projections and impacts  formulated in terms of how dangerously warm it would get without the prescribed climate action. Here I present the case against this assumption and propose that the climate affair of our time is best understood not in terms of climate change but in terms of climate action. Climate Action is the underlying movement for which climate change serves only as the rationale and the motivation.

(2) Climate action is an expression of anti fossil fuel activism.  Anti fossil fuel activism is best understood in terms of the 1960s and 1970s anti smog, anti pollution, and anti oil spill movement that had won the pollution war and had assumed that they had won the war against fossil fuels  {the blogger was in that movement protesting in Berkeley, CA}. Thereafter, beginning in the late 1970s, the roots of a vibrant energy revolution were nurtured with great enthusiasm and great expectations. Renewable energy innovations held out the promise of the end of fossil fuels and the pollution they cause simply by the availability of a better product in the market for energy.  An energy movement to renewable sources of “natural energy” such as wind, solar, hydro, tidal, and geothermal took hold and grew rapidly with forecasts of a renewable energy revolution and the end of fossil fuels. The hills along the highway from Berkeley to Sacramento California became dotted with wind turbines and in Northern Sonoma County, California a geothermal power plant began supplying electricity to the grid.

(3) At the same time, the so called “peak oil” and “end oil” forecasts of the coming depletion of fossil fuel resources began to appear in the news simultaneously with the Club of Rome report of the imminent depletion of the essential resources that sustain the industrial economy. These forecasts, along with energy crises of the OPEC oil embargo of 1973 and the uprising against the Shah of Iran in 1979, had created a crisis in the fossil fuel industry that was perceived as a weakness in Big Oil. This condition of the once vibrant energy sector led to forecasts of its eventual demise, and the search was on for alternatives to fossil fuels.

(4) The pollution and oil spill issues and the energy crises of the 1970s created a feeling among consumers, energy analysts, and energy activists alike that fossil fuels were on the way out. It was thought to be axiomatic, particularly so among the anti pollution & anti fossil fuel activists, that the clean energy alternatives that were then being developed and implemented would be our energy future. It seemed certain then that the days of our fossil fueled economy were numbered and that a new age of renewable energy was dawning .

(5) It was in this context of an exciting anticipation of an energy technology revolution that would end the age of fossil fuels, that the climate change issue was inserted into the energy dialog with a modernized and significantly revised version of Callendar 1938 [LINK] , the world’s first anthropogenic global warming and climate change (AGW) paper. {Footnote#1: A common criticism of AGW climate science is that the name was changed from global warming to climate change when warming became harder to prove is not correct as both terms have been used since Callendar 1938}.  {Footnote#2: the claim by climate science of an earlier origin of climate change science with Svante Arrhenius(1896) contains a fatal logical flaw [LINK] }. The Callendar paper [LINK]  notes that temperature data in Britain and parts of Europe on average showed a rising trend from 1900 to 1938 and that over the same period atmospheric CO2 concentrations measured in various parts of Europe had also gone up during a time when the industrial revolution was burning fossil fuels and exhausting carbon dioxide into the atmosphere. In his paper he related these events in a causation sequence where observed changes in atmospheric composition are attributed to fossil fuel emissions of the industrial economy and the observed warming in surface temperature is attributed to changes in atmospheric composition specifically with respect to the heat trapping effect of carbon dioxide that was known at the time principally from the works of Tyndal and others [LINK] . A relevant feature of the Callendar paper is that it contained no fear of warming and no call to climate action against fossil fuels. The warming then was a welcome relief from the hardship of the Little Ice Age that had created extreme hardships in Europe [LINK] . Callendar had also pointed out the agricultural benefits of higher atmospheric CO2 concentration in terms of a driver for much needed photosynthesis. The Callendar paper was well received and a few papers followed in this line of research by Revelle and others.

(6) But Callendar’s theory of warming lost credibility and popularity when the 38-year warming noted by Callendar ended in the 1940s and the world entered a 30-year cooling trend that created widespread fear of a return to the horrors of the Little Ice Age [LINK] . The AGW idea thus lay dormant until the cooling ended in late 1970s and until the trend had returned to warming  such that by the early 1980s a strong warming trend could be identified from the depths of the cooling in the 1950s to the early years of the warming in the 1980s.

(7)  This warming event and the landmark paper and Congressional Testimony by James Hansen in 1988 [LINK] served as the trigger that set in motion the modern version of fear based AGW activism against fossil fuels that we see today when the United Nations, invoked its newly created role as global environmental regulator by way of the UNEP (United Nations Environmental Program) and its claim to success of its Montreal Protocol that successfully implemented a global ban on ozone depleting substances and thus claimed to have solved the projected global devastation of human caused OZONE depletion [LINK] . This claim to success is shown to be illusory on a related post [LINK] . However, the UN was successful in presenting itself as a global environmental protection agency that had saved the world from ozone depletion.

(8) Fresh from its apparent success in stopping human caused ozone depletion with the Montreal Protocol, the UN took on the AGW climate change issue as laid out in the Hansen Congressional Testimony, as the new global environmental crisis for the UNEP to solve. The UN then decided to replicate the Montreal Protocol in terms of climate change in the Kyoto Protocol. The Kyoto Protocol (aka UNFCCC) failed. The UN bureaucrats could not appreciate the enormous difference between changing refrigerants and overhauling the world’s energy infrastructure. The end of fossil fuels that seemed to be in sight had suddenly vanished from view.

(9)  In response, the UN concocted a bureaucratic plan to achieve the Montreal Protocol success in the Kyoto Protocol/UNFCCC by holding a series of meetings of the signatories to the Kyoto Protocol (UNFCCC) . These meetings called “Conference of Parties” (i.e. Parties to the Kyoto Protocol UNFCCC), or COP, not only failed to implement the the Kyoto Protocol/UNFCCC, but provided sufficient evidence to all observers that the COP meetings were farcical and that the UN would be unable to replicate its Montreal Protocol success in the Kyoto Protocol/UNFCCC. This realization dashed all hopes that this process will achieve the desired goal of overhauling the global energy infrastructure away from fossil fuels although COP after COP continued to be held.

(10)  The UN’s failure to repeat its Montreal Protocol success in the Kyoto Protocol and the COPs that followed made the prime movers of anti fossil fuel activism realize that the Kyoto Protocol/UNFCCC battle against fossil fuels had been lost. It is thus that a Plan-B became necessary – a plan of intensive and extensive global fear based activism against fossil fuels and to keep ratcheting up the fear of fossil fuels until climate action against fossil fuels is achieved.

(11) This is the state of climate movement today. The individuals, organizations, and funding that animates this activism plan are not known but there are many guesses and propositions on the table [LINK] and it is known that the fear based anti fossil fuel activism program is well organized, well orchestrated, and well funded by its unknown prime movers [LINK] . The movement not only employs street protesters, child activists, the media, high profile spokespersons, and the movement against racism, but also climate scientists found on the internet and in public meetings and events, promoting the fear of climate change as a scientific truth that cannot and must not be questioned.

(12) SUMMARY: The need to continually ratchet up the fear of climate change and the language of fear and to find a danger of continued fossil fuel emissions in all destructive weather and climate events is best understood in the context of this post as a form of last ditch desperation in the final chapter of a failed movement against fossil fuels dating back to the hippie days of the 1960s. See also [LINK] .

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2 Responses to "A HISTORICAL CONTEXT OF THE CLIMATE MOVEMENT"

I agree completely with your analysis. There is also a parallel, general environmental movement, backed by many of the same people and institutions – think World Wildlife Federation and GreenPeace. This “Save the Earth” movement gained momentum with the passage of the Clean Air and Clean Water Acts in the early 1970s in the USA. I believe that the movement arises from Judeo-Christian belief in Original Sin, that is, guilt: a belief that Man has turned away from God and Nature ever since Adam and Eve and there will literally be Hell to pay! I am not in this camp; I have faith in Mankind. What has most surprised me is that the movement has continued to strengthen, even as the West has become more secular. But, I suppose what has happened is that “Save the Earth” has become a religion, supplanting Judaism and Christianity.

Brilliant comment as always, sir. Glad to have you here. Thank you.

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