The Politics of Alternative Energy (2): Greenism's Threat to Democracy
Sydney Herald columnist Richard Glover believes the time has come for all “climate-change deniers” to have “their opinions forcibly tattooed on their bodies”. Ah yes, Nazi-style totalitarianism, officially-sanctioned and enforced beliefs with the physical marking of dissidents. That’s the spirit, Richard.
Overlooking the stark fact of misrepresentation – no one denies that climate change is a reality, that is what climate does, change or vary over cyclical periods – what we, and quite a few others including countless scientists, do deny is that the recent warming period which flat-lined around 12 years ago, is entirely within normal, historic, temperature parameters.
But right there in the Herald columnist’s anger is revealed an underlying desire: to close down free speech and dissent. Better still, as CS Lewis depicted in The Last Battle (the battle against public square deception) stop thinking altogether:
“Now don’t stand arguing, please,” said Shift. “What does an ass like you know about things of that sort? You know you’re no good at thinking, Puzzle, so why don’t you let me do your thinking for you?”
“I’m the only one Aslan is ever going to speak to. He can’t be bothered talking to a lot of stupid animals. He’ll tell me what you’ve got to do, and I’ll tell the rest of you”.
Greenism’s climate alarmists are clearly worried. With a myriad of green taxes and subsidies forcing up energy bills coupled with the abject failure in cutting global carbon emissions and with the shale gas revolution offering a much cheaper and far more realistic alternative, the renewable energy bandwagon is proving an expensive commodity. In the absence of an articulate and convincing argument able to swing the public, the fallback position for all anti-democratic thinkers, as always, is silence the opposition. All the signs are that the green frontal assault on democracy is under way.
Chief among the most direct anti-democratic constructs of government is the complex ‘hidden’ network of green taxes, levies and subsidies obfuscating the real cost of renewable energy. Such is the nature of that scandal it warrants an article of its own (coming next in part III of this short series of 3). But first up are the increasingly desperate efforts of leading green voices revealing them to be no friend to free speech.
Former environmental journalist and filmmaker, Phelim McAleer, has found that alarmists, including Al Gore, don’t like him asking the inconvenient questions. McAleer has had his microphone switched off at a Gore press conference, been strong-armed out of a press conference for asking the “wrong questions” of scientists and politicians at the UN-backed Copenhagen climate summit, and plain assaulted on live television by environmentalists. Currently, Gasland director Josh Fox has used his legal team to get YouTube to remove a McAleer short that clearly shows Fox caught out factually over his portrayal of water faucets set on fire. At time of writing McAleer has set up Fight Gasland Censorship to back fight the issue in court.
A short film made by McAleer at the celebrity-attended launch of the eco-scare documentary The Age of Stupid, which maintains flying to be the greatest eco-threat and that man will be extinct by 2055, plainly shows eco-activist filmmakers and supporters don’t like being faced with their hyprocrisy over their personal flying arrangements. More pertinently, we might also wonder why it is left to independents like McAleer to ask the sceptical questions that ought to be the business of the media mainstream.
In the UK, the anti-alarmist film The Great Global Warming Swindle so enraged environmentalists that they succeeded in forcing a media watchdog into censuring Channel 4 which broadcast it. The Climate-gate scandal also revealed how leading UN IPCC scientist Michael Mann and colleagues in the UK wanted to “lose” the scientific evidence for the Medieval Warming Period. Mann and co wanted to pressure editors to shun the work of sceptic scientists. In the wake of Climate-gate we learned that the University of Virginia has shelled out $500,000 in legal expenses in a desperate attempt to prevent more of Mann’s emails and documentation receiving public scrutiny. As one observer of the Mann v Freedom of Information debacle points out: “If academics do not like the scrutiny that comes with being paid by the taxpayers, they should stop accepting public money.” Fair enough?
Whatever happened to the old-fashioned public square back-and-forth – and let the people decide? Why are alarmists so afraid of public debate? Perhaps because they are plainly not very good at it; after all, it is hard when you only have speculation on your side and all the hard facts are on the other side. Equally, poll after poll is also revealing a general public increasingly not buying into the alarmist message.
Some scientists and students alike, it seems, would also prefer to silence even the few journalists who are prepared to ask difficult questions. However, some environmental advisors are more open about the anti-democratic thrust of modern greenism. In Germany, RWE CEO Fritz Vahrenholz, one of the countries chief green government advisors, has admitted that decarbonisation can only be achieved by the “limitation of democracy – both nationally and internationally”.
So it should come as no surprise at all that it’s the European Union that has been able to fund a pioneering world lead in renewable energy infrastructure; the EU not being subject to the accountability and scrutiny of any electorate. It has diverted billions of euros of public cash into a renewable energy program that the public is becoming increasingly aware comes at enormous, fossil-fuel eclipsing, cost to them. Simultaneously, the EU has put every tax levy and tax break obstacle it can in the way of oil, gas and coal industries; the same fossil-fuelled industries that drive the wealth creation of EU states.
While Americans still have the luxury of voting in and out their political representatives, the same is not possible when it comes to the 27 European Commissioners and the EU President. Forget the European Parliament. That’s just for public consumption. It’s the unelected European Commissioners who call the real policy shots. It is ironic that as the Arab Spring brought a wave of optimism that the Middle East’s culture of totalitarianism could yet be thrown off by popular grassroots movements, Europeans appear to be sleepwalking in the opposite direction.
Increasingly, the new Green-ism appears able to make obfuscating the true cost headway only by riding roughshod over the will of the people. Gore, Fox, Hansen, Mann and journalists like Richard Glover have become the aggressive outriders for the cause. But, as energy companies increasingly feel the mounting anger about spiking domestic energy bills, where as much as one-fifth can be subsidizing failing renewable energy and decarbonisation programs, the pro-democratic blowback for political greens may not be long in coming.