A headline in Breitbart caught my eye yesterday:
French Anti-Environmental Riots Could Signal the End of Green Tyranny
I’ve never heard of an anti-environmental riot. What do they do? Burn things in order to add more carbon dioxide to the atmosphere? Tear down trees? Stamp on near-extinct insects?
Hundreds of thousands of protestors all over France have beendemonstrating for the last eight days. Mostly the protests have been peaceful if disruptive, but some like the ones in Paris have turned violent.
The police have used tear gas and water cannon; there have been dozens of arrests and at least two deaths. But amid the misery and mayhem, there’s one small crumb of consolation: these protestors could be ringing the death knell for the green tyranny which has held the West in its thrall for the last four decades.
Unlike the rabble of UK eco-activists who’ve been irritating Londoners over the last couple of weekends (blocking traffic; gluing themselves to the doors of government buildings; trying to get arrested), the protestors in France think environmentalism is the problem, not the solution.
Known as the “gilets jaunes” – named after the hi-vis fluorescent yellow waistcoats that all French motorists own because they are required to do so by law – the protestors are rioting against President Macron’s green policies. Specifically, they object to the government’s carbon tax and its attempts to price drivers off the road with higher fuel costs. (my added emphasis)
I suppose that the French government believes that the main threat to the planet is Anthropogenic Global Warming (AGW), and that we have to stop burning oil and coal, and instead power everything with windmills and solar farms. But French motorists, unlike their government, appear not to believe in the terrible threat posed by AGW. They aren’t prepared to trade in their Citroens for bicycles. And when the French revolt against something, they usually do it in style.
I think it may be wishful thinking on the part of the author of this piece, James Delingpole, to hope that “these protestors could be ringing the death knell for the green tyranny which has held the West in its thrall for the last four decades.” But I certainly think that public sentiment is beginning to swing against environmentalism. 40 or 50 years ago I used to admire organisations like Greenpeace and Friends Of The Earth: now I detest them. I think they’re much more interested in Smashing Capitalism than they are in saving whales. In fact I don’t think they give a damn about whales or seals or trees or even AGW. They’re all watermelons: green on the outside, red on the inside.
Anyway, it seems that large numbers of French people have got thoroughly sick of an environmenntalism which simply taxes them more and more, and steadily reduces their standard of living, without offering anything in return.
But if they can revolt against 40 years of environmentalist conditioning, might they not also start to revolt against 70+ years of antismoking conditioning?
I suppose that it must take longer to throw off 40 years of conditioning than 70 years of conditioning. Environmentalism is of much more recent origin than antismoking. Greenpeace was formed in 1971, and Friends Of The Earth in 1969. So while the French anti-environmentalists appear not to believe that Carbon Dioxide Causes Global Warming, they almost certainly will believe that Smoking Causes Lung Cancer. Because everybody believes that.
You do know that Smoking Causes Lung Cancer, don’t you? Good, I knew you would.
Over this past year I’ve been taking a lot more interest in AGW than in previous years. And I currently believe that AGW has taken such a powerful grip on climate science because it was the only explanation they had for the ending of the last ice age, some 12,000 years ago. Or if it was not the only explanation (there are lots), it was the explanation that gained ascendancy within the climate science community.
A few months ago, I bought a copy of Principles Of Planetary Climate by Raymond Pierrehumbert. In the book he lists a number of remaining Big Questions in climate science. And there seem to be a lot of them. And several of them are about ice ages, how they begin and end. But it’s quite clear that, although he doesn’t know for sure, Pierrehumbert believes that carbon dioxide has a very big role to play in it. In fact it’s pretty clear that a great many global warming alarmists think the exact same way, although none of them seem to have come up with the exact mechanism.
The carbon dioxide theory of global warming has been around for a century or more thanks to Arrhenius, but in the 1960s it was developed much further by Carl Sagan to explain the high temperature (462º C) of the atmosphere of Venus, which is 96.5% carbon dioxide. The atmosphere of Mars is also 95% carbon dioxide. Both are believed to have experienced runaway global warming (another theoretical development by Andrew Ingersoll dating from about 1970) at one time or other. So why hasn’t the Earth, which lies in between the orbits of Venus and Mars, experienced similar runaway carbon-dioxide-driven global warming? The AGW scare has its origins in astronomy: if runaway global warming could happen on Venus, then it could happen on the Earth as well, and pumping lots of carbon dioxide into the Earth’s atmosphere could well trigger such a catastrophe.
But all this year I’ve been tinkering with another explanation for the cycle of ice ages that the Earth has been experiencing over the past few million years. And it’s one that has almost nothing to do with carbon dioxide or Milankovitch cycles or anything else. The climate scientists believe that the ice sheets melted at the end of the last ice age because the atmosphere above the ice warmed up in some way. And one would expect climate scientists to believe such a thing, because they study the Earth’s climate, which is more or less by definition constrained to the Earth’s atmosphere. But I’ve begun to believe that the ice wasn’t melted from above by a warming atmosphere, but from below by the warming of the surface of the Earth beneath the ice. And the computer simulation model that I’ve been developing all year is currently demonstrating exactly such warming (using snow rather than ice). I’ve begun to believe that we should be looking to geology to explain ice ages, not climatology. The Earth beneath our feet seems to me to be a much more mysterious place than Venus or Mars (on the surface of which a new lander has just successfully alighted)
And having an alternative explanation for the starting and ending of ice ages powerfully inclines me to support all these rioting French motorists. Because I don’t believe that carbon dioxide is anything to much worry about. Like them, I believe that environmentalism is the problem, not the solution: I’ve become an anti-environmentalist.