Secular Right | Reality & Reason



If Only It Were About The Science

Cross-posted over at the Corner
Britain‘s winter snows generate an interesting reaction from Spiked‘s Brendan O’Neill. Here’s an extract:

…I’m not one of those people who believes snowfall necessarily disproves every claim made by warming-obsessed climatologists. Rather the snow crisis demonstrated, in high definition, the gap between the fear-fuelled thinking of the elite and the struggles of everyday people. It illuminated the million metaphorical miles that now separate the fantasy politics of our so-called betters from the concerns of the rest of us.
Not surprisingly, with snowstorms smothering Western Europe and the East Coast of America, many asked: ‘What happened to global warming?’ On the 20-hour bus-and-boat-and-train-and-car journey I took from London to Galway, surrounded by people forced to make a similar trek because their flights were also cancelled, there was much jocular banter along the lines of: ‘So this is the climate change we’ve been warned about…’ As people made new friends and arranged impromptu carpools for the final legs of their journeys, there was a palpable sense that the world we inhabit is not the same as that inhabited by greens. That isn’t surprising when you consider that greens have been telling us for the past decade that snow will disappear from our lives. Literally…Newspapers provided us with a ‘hellish vision of life on a hotter planet’ where deserts would ‘reach into the heart of Europe’ and global warming would ‘reduce humanity to a few struggling groups of embattled survivors clinging to life near the poles’.

Dramatic stuff. And unadulterated nonsense. The thing that occupied people’s minds at the end of 2010 was not how to explain to their sweating children in the deserts of Hampshire why snow disappeared from our lives, but rather how to negotiate actual snow. Again, this isn’t to say that the snow proves there is no planetary warming at all: if it is mad to cite every change in the weather as proof that Earth is doomed, then it’s probably also unwise to dance around in the slushy white stuff in the belief that it proves that all environmental scientists are demented liars. But the world of difference between expert predictions (hot hell) and our real experiences (freezing nightmare) is a powerful symbol of the distance that now exists between the apocalypse-fantasising elites and the public.

What it really shows is the extent to which the politics of global warming is driven by an already existing culture of fear. It doesn’t matter what The Science (as greens always refer to it) does or doesn’t reveal: campaigners will still let their imaginations run riot, biblically fantasising about droughts and plagues, because theirs is a fundamentally moralistic outlook rather than a scientific one. It is their disdain for mankind’s planet-altering arrogance that fuels their global-warming fantasies – and they simply seek out The Science that best seems to back up their perverted thoughts. Those predictions of a snowless future, of a parched Earth, are better understood as elite moral porn rather than sedate risk analysis….

Spot on, I think. And an old, and all too familiar, story.



  • John · January 8, 2011 at 5:47 am

    I agree. Of course, that’s why they don’t call it “global warming” anymore. Nowadays it’s “climate change”. Therefore, every storm, snow, or heatwave can be blamed on human activity. This means all human activity must be regulated by our betters.

    Fortunately, environmentalism as a religion may have peaked. The average person in China and India doesn’t care a whit about climate change; they just want good jobs. I don’t forsee Brazilians, Russians, or Indonesians getting too worked up about it either.

    Environmentalism isn’t total hokum. The CFC ban that is healing the ozone layer is an example of environmental law done right. But the gaia worshipers will always be in the minority.

  • Panglos · January 8, 2011 at 1:52 pm


  • Stephen · January 8, 2011 at 6:37 pm

    John: could you provide a link that shows that the ozone layer is now healing? I suspect that people just aren’t talking about it now, but I am willing to be persuaded otherwise.

  • John · January 8, 2011 at 7:43 pm


    Here’s some data showing it had shrunk over the decade,

    And here’s a National Geographic article called “Whatever Happened to the Ozone Hole?”

  • Stephen · January 8, 2011 at 8:56 pm


    Thanks for the links. Unfortunately the National Geographic article was all talk, no data, and the other only went back ten years. I graphed the data provided and could not spot any trend, and further found this paragraph interesting:

    “The year-to-year variation in the size of the ozone hole is mainly related to the weather conditions in the polar stratosphere. The warmer conditions that prevailed over Antarctica in the winter of 2010 resulted in a smaller ozone hole as compared to previous years.”

    I continue to hold my opinion that the CFC-induced ozone layer problem is a theory not yet supported by the facts. In this way it is like AGW, and is not a good example of environmental law done right.

  • Stephen · January 9, 2011 at 2:27 am

    And with excellent timing, here comes the site Watts Up With That? with a posting on the ozone hole:



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