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The paradox of Degrowth Communism Left-wing doomerists are empowering global elites

Misanthropic anti-humanism is running wild (AGUSTIN PAULLIER/AFP via Getty Images)

Misanthropic anti-humanism is running wild (AGUSTIN PAULLIER/AFP via Getty Images)


December 5, 2022   7 mins

One might think that the arrival of the planet’s eight-billionth resident — a title symbolically awarded to Vinice Mabansag, a baby girl born in the Philippines — would be cause for celebration. Amid a sharp drop in the global fertility rate, the staggering rise in the world population witnessed over the past 70 years is the result of the extraordinary advancements in public health, nutrition, personal hygiene and medicine that have extended lifespans and dramatically reduced maternal and child mortality rates. Vinice’s birth, in other words, is a testament to the power of human ingenuity to make the world a better place.

And yet, for many in the Western intelligentsia and policymaking circles, little Vinice is a harbinger of doom — a reminder of how “overpopulation” is destroying the planet. The prize for the most miserable response predictably goes to the New York Times. The paper used the occasion to offer a platform to Les Knight, the founder of the Voluntary Human Extinction Movement, which calls on people to abstain from reproduction to usher in man’s extinction — the only possible solution to the problems facing the Earth. “Look what we did to this planet. We’re not a good species,” Knight is quoted as saying.

At the very least, by opting out of reproduction, couples will avoid “sentencing their offspring to a rapidly deteriorating quality of life and unimaginably horrible death”, according to the movement’s website. This mixture of misanthropic anti-humanism and Malthusian apocalypticism used to be among the fringiest of fringe theories; today, however, wishing for humanity’s extinction is touted as just another form of benign environmentalism. The reaction of other mainstream outlets was less grotesque, but the message was more or less the same: the growing global population, said CNN, represents a serious “challenge” to the environment.

The idea of “overpopulation” is difficult to talk about seriously, since it is inevitably tied to outlandish conspiracy theories about 5G or Covid vaccines being part of a nefarious plan to depopulate the planet; but it’s clear the elites are concerned about the issue, as the Times piece demonstrates. The argument is one we’ve heard a million times: human activity is destroying the planet’s biodiversity, and outstripping its capacity to replenish natural resources, and more people on the planet means more pressure on nature.

The issue is rarely framed in terms of the need to forcibly reduce the world population — though it is becoming increasingly acceptable to talk of the need for tools of population control, such as one-child policies, regardless of the fact that the population growth rate is falling rapidly. Rather we are told of the need to “change the way we live” by reducing our “ecological footprint”. The most important goal of all, according to governments and international institutions, is Net Zero — the need for the world to bring greenhouse gas emissions down to zero as soon as possible.

This might seem like a sensible idea on paper; there’s no denying that fossil fuels have serious drawbacks in terms of climate alteration and pollution. Yet its practical implementation is a different matter entirely. The pressure on developing nations by institutions such as World Economic Forum, the UN and the World Bank to stop subsidising fossil fuels or to ban fertilisers in food production has already caused chaos, political instability and unrest in dozens of countries: in 2019, there were major protests in Sudan, Zimbabwe, Haiti, Lebanon, Ecuador, Iraq, Chile, and Iran.

These protests serve as a reminder that one can be concerned about climate change and the state of the planet while still being sceptical of the idea that these problems can be solved through top-down solutions imposed on nations by the Davos-attending, private jet-flying, corporate-backed (if not corporation-owning) policy-building elites of the world — people at the absolute peak of the global capitalist power pyramid. Yet remarkably, these very elites have found an unlikely ally in the struggle against the evils of anthropogenic activities: radical anti-capitalists known as “degrowthers”.

Degrowthers claim that the problem at the root of humanity’s negative impact on the planet is economic growth itself, which in turn is said to be driven by the logic of the capitalist mode of production. It is, in the words of Jason Hickel, one of the most prominent degrowth advocates, “organised around the imperative of constant expansion, or ‘growth’: ever-increasing levels of industrial extraction, production and consumption”. The solution to the many of the world’s problems, according to degrowthers, is therefore to “go beyond growth” — and ultimately capitalism itself.

Once relegated to the political fringes, degrowth theory has been gaining traction in recent years among environmentalists and Leftists. Who, five years ago, would have bet on an academic book about the relationship between capitalism and the planet becoming a bestseller? Well, Capital in the Anthropocene (English translation forthcoming), a book on degrowth from a Marxist perspective written by Kohei Saito, an associate professor at Tokyo University, appears to be on track to do just that, having sold more than half a million copies in Japan since the book was published in 2020.

Saito’s message is simple: capitalism’s drive for profit is destroying the planet and only “degrowth communism” can repair the damage by slowing down social production and sharing wealth. Humans need to find a “new way of living”, and that means replacing capitalism.

But what does this mean in practice? There seems to be some confusion about this, even among degrowth activists. Growth is generally measured using the concept of Gross Domestic Product (GDP), which represents the total value of all the goods and services produced domestically by a nation during a given period, and therefore the size of its economy. If the latter is expanding, we call it economic growth; if it is contracting, we call it a recession or even a depression, depending on the length of the contraction.

Yet while the appeal of turning to GDP seems obvious — a higher GDP tends to be associated with higher incomes and higher standards of living, and studies show it correlates with national happiness — material wealth isn’t everything. Indeed, the concept of GDP has long been criticised as a poor way to measure a country’s well-being. It doesn’t take into account the state of the environment, levels of inequality or human health, or crime rates; neither does it take into account whether a country is growing its GDP by building guns and prisons or by building schools and hospitals. And yes, growth clearly has a negative impact on the natural world — as does any human activity, for that matter.

However, it’s one thing to acknowledge the limitations of economic growth — that is, GDP —  as a measure of national well-being; it’s another to say we should dismiss it altogether, or even that we should “stop growing”, especially when so many countries around the world are striving to industrialise and grow out of poverty. To be fair, degrowthers such as Hickel are keen to note that “degrowth is not about reducing GDP. It is about reducing the material and energy throughput of the [global] economy.” But this is little more than sophistry, as that would almost certainly entail a reduction in GDP.

Hickel says this could be achieved by allowing low-income countries to “increase energy and resource use in order to meet human needs” — which is a welcome distinction from the WEF’s Net Zero-for-all approach — while drastically reducing energy and resource use in high-income countries, by “scal[ing] down ecologically destructive and socially less necessary production (i.e. the production of SUVs, arms, beef, private transportation, advertising and planned obsolescence), while expanding socially important sectors like healthcare, education, care and conviviality”.

I wouldn’t mind living in a society with better parks, schools, hospitals, museums, libraries, and fewer SUVs, Primarks and H&Ms, with good jobs for all in non-polluting industries and sectors. The problem, as far as I’m concerned, isn’t the society envisioned by degrowthers. It’s the unintended consequences of their theory. Most obviously, they erroneously conflate energy and resource consumption, but the two are very different. The production of things inevitably entails the use of finite resources, and therefore cannot be expanded indefinitely. But the same doesn’t go for the production of energy: nuclear energy, for instance, could provide bountiful, clean, carbon-free energy, thus allowing us to potentially expand energy use — ideally to power less resource-intensive industries and sectors — while rapidly phasing out fossil fuels once and for all. And yet, most environmentalists and degrowthers are zealously opposed to nuclear energy.

This highlights the second problem of degrowthism (and environmentalism in general, for that matter): its inescapable Luddite, anti-industrialist bias, which represents a conceptual obstacle to the massive state-sponsored industrial and infrastructure investment that would be needed to make our economies more sustainable — for instance, by rapidly building up nuclear capacity.

And here lies the third problem: even assuming citizens in Western countries did come round to accepting a deliberate reduction in their material wealth in exchange for immaterial benefits, it is highly unlikely they’d consent to the massive expansion of state power that would be required to implement such a programme. The authoritarianism and assault on democracy witnessed during the pandemic has understandably made many fearful of unchecked government power. No programme that requires giving the state even more sweeping powers of intervention in the economy — something which I personally view as necessary — will win the support it needs until we’re able to build a new democratic social contract. This means, among other things, clawing back the only institution that has historically managed to deliver democracy — the nation-state — from the clutches of the globalists and corporate interests that have hijacked it. But this will take time — something degrowthers constantly repeat we don’t have.

This is where the most concerning element of degrowthism and any other form of apocalyptic environmentalism comes in: by constantly engaging in “doomerism” — the idea that either we fix everything or we’re all screwed — they’re effectively saying that anything is justified in order to “save the planet”, including all manner of authoritarian interventions. It’s like Zero Covid on steroids. After all, if the very survival of life on Earth is at stake, surely we can’t allow the complexities of democratic debate and deliberation to stand in the way of doing what’s needed? Indeed, rather ominously, Saito cites the pandemic as proof that “rapid change is possible” — with apparently little concern for the fact that this “change” was achieved by sweeping aside democratic procedures and constitutional constraints, militarising societies, cracking down on civil liberties, and implementing unprecedented measures of social control.

In this sense, doomerism offers a political cover to what is ultimately the easiest way to reduce people’s consumption levels: making ordinary people poorer — which indeed seems to be the solution pursued by elites. This highlights probably the main flaw in degrowth theory: the driving force of capitalism is not growth or even profits, but power. Those sitting at the top of the capitalist pyramid are more than happy to have less growth if this means increasing their influence. How else should one understand our ruling classes’ passion for growth-crushing austerity?

This is the ultimate paradox of degrowth communism: its proponents may want to overthrow capitalism, but their ideology is actually empowering the globalist capitalist elites they claim to be fighting.

***

Order your copy of UnHerd’s first print edition here


Thomas Fazi is an UnHerd columnist and translator. His latest book is The Covid Consensus, co-authored with Toby Green.

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Jim Veenbaas
Jim Veenbaas
1 year ago

You would think after nearly three centuries of being utterly discredited, this Malthusian garbage would die an ignoble death. Yet it still persists.

Although capitalism needs continual consumption, it’s also driven to produce greater efficiency. We need fewer resources to produce the same amount of goods. The examples are everywhere – less land to produce more food, better fuel mileage for vehicles, less manpower to produce goods.

We are much more concerned about the environment in free-market democracies than authoritarian countries like Russia or China. There’s more trees in North America than 100 years ago. We might think rivers are dirty in the west, but compare that to the Ganges.

Degrowth groups like the Extinction Rebellion are death cults – period. They get zero traction with the general population and will whither away when the kids have to get real jobs.

The most perplexing thing for me is why the political elite and technocrats are so invested in climate alarmism and net zero. It doesn’t take a rocket surgeon to realize that wind and solar cannot sustain a modern economy. Yet the political leadership in every country in the west has embraced this ideology.

Might make an interesting subject in the future for some Unherd writer.

Chris W
Chris W
1 year ago
Reply to  Jim Veenbaas

As you say, the whole climate change thing and Net Zero is just pathetic. But.. it is scary when whole generations of school kids are taught about these things as facts, unarguable facts.

We will have the situation in about 30 years when new generations will have a powerful share of the vote, and this vote will only elect those who shout loudest about climate change. Anybody, who wants to talk about realism will not get elected.

So, Net Zero people will be in total control but they won’t have the means to deliver. Disaster and many deaths will follow.

Walter Marvell
Walter Marvell
1 year ago
Reply to  Chris W

This article is very important. There are a set of quite terrifying threads of political ideology that are bubbling to the surface and many bear the shadow of Pol Potism. Think of why his brutal ultra eco- communism saw modernity smashed and the cities emptied into labour camps in the countryside. Perfect degrowth! Clear blue skies over no carbon Cambodia. Population degrowth too via totalitarian murder. Keep Pol Pots credo in mind as we look anew at what is happening in a Western world deep in a pyschotic state of hysteria or mania. The Reds have reached for Green to plug the ideological void created by the failure of Socialism. But they are animated first by a deep negative anti industrial/anti capitalist fervour – so degrowth and the further extension of the power of the State (shown to be arbitrary under Bio State) will lead only to mass poverty and ruin. If the enterprise culture is the enemy, we can only head one way – back to the world of Soviet Gosplan and the USSR, minus the cheap energy. The obsessional war on fossil fuels two decades before a reliable nuke and renewal supply has been prepared will trigger starvation in a developed world without fertiliser. Our political and academic leaders do not yet see this danger – they exist in an unhinged bubble and are wholly insulated from the chaos their ignorant wokery inflicts on the poor and strivers. The doomerism they drink in from the zealot BBC (a self declared ‘champion’ of climate change) is sealing their ignorance in. Meanwhile looney progressives in teaching are sickening and indoctrinating the minds of the wild eyed terrified young – all told they will die in the fire before they hit 30. Anti natalism may well take off in a generation or so. The threads have not all connected. It is still early days. But if the near existential dangers of the Doom Credo and Net Zero are not called out and stopped over the next decade, read up on the Khmer Rouge. Pol Pot is the logical endpoint of this mania.

Isabel Ward
Isabel Ward
1 year ago
Reply to  Walter Marvell

Generally I agree with you. However, a bit OTT and fatalistic in other respects,

Julian Farrows
Julian Farrows
1 year ago
Reply to  Isabel Ward

I’m not sure: https://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/2023/01/anthropocene-anti-humanism-transhumanism-apocalypse-predictions/672230/
It seems like a crazy fringe academic idea at the moment, but then again look at how many fringe ideas have come to be injected into the mainstream lately.

Julian Farrows
Julian Farrows
1 year ago
Reply to  Isabel Ward

I’m not sure: https://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/2023/01/anthropocene-anti-humanism-transhumanism-apocalypse-predictions/672230/
It seems like a crazy fringe academic idea at the moment, but then again look at how many fringe ideas have come to be injected into the mainstream lately.

Rob C
Rob C
1 year ago
Reply to  Walter Marvell

One interesting thing about the Khmer Rouge is that they didn’t even keep to the idea of a rural workers’ paradise. Farm workers were forced to work 16 hour days, 7 days a week when before the entire needs of the country had been supplied by far fewer workers laboring for far fewer hours. And what happened to all this new agricultural output? It was used to buy foreign arms because Pol Pot’s regime was afraid Cambodia’s neighboring countries would attack him. (There were no signs of that, Viet Nam invaded Cambodia because Pol Pot was encouraging incursions into Viet Nam.)

Walter Marvell
Walter Marvell
1 year ago
Reply to  Rob C

Good points. I have just realised that the Neo Khmer Extinction Cultists had better hurry up. The countryside the Kulak Londoners will be force marched into fpr work and death will not even exist in 5 years as concrete eagle killing Windfarms take up all the arable land. Madness. On a more serious note, we do need to worry about the national derangement/hysteria and prevailing state credos – and the longer term state failure to deliver stable resilent markets in energy, labour and – the next horror – food.

Walter Marvell
Walter Marvell
1 year ago
Reply to  Rob C

Good points. I have just realised that the Neo Khmer Extinction Cultists had better hurry up. The countryside the Kulak Londoners will be force marched into fpr work and death will not even exist in 5 years as concrete eagle killing Windfarms take up all the arable land. Madness. On a more serious note, we do need to worry about the national derangement/hysteria and prevailing state credos – and the longer term state failure to deliver stable resilent markets in energy, labour and – the next horror – food.

B Emery
B Emery
1 year ago
Reply to  Walter Marvell

I see you’re at it again, Pol pot today? I see your ‘threads aren’t quite connected,’ that much is obvious. What are you are one man propaganda machine? No miracles today?
Some notes for others up ticking the crazy.
I do not dispute the contents of the article, I think Fazi raises real concerns we should have about these organisations, in a very sensible way and they are a problem, massively corrupt, they need knocking down a peg or two at least.
However, it is also worth noting we are at the moment embroiled in massive geopolitical power struggle between the west and the east. Energy war, commodity war, information war, infrastructure if you count the nord steam. So, we must be very careful not too get too carried away with our rhetoric, as Mr marvel frequently does and recognise this is happening alongside all this other stuff. We will probably need strategies to cope with the consequences, especially if it kicks off over Taiwan, this will disrupt global shipping, the European energy market is all over the place and opec are falling out with America. This stuff is going to affect us, so although these people may have all these plans, there’s a lot of conflicting interests at play at the moment and we need to be careful not to get too hung up on the megaCorp master plan, which if anything represents neither right nor left, just their own variously changing and churning and I dare say at times, conflicting megacorp interests. They may fund different organisations to divide and conquer if you like, but. I don’t see why they wouldn’t be above say pushing a far left agenda one place, and pushing far right elsewhere, will back the most likely winner, regardless of party. If we want to reclaim the state we need both sides for a balanced democracy. So. I’m just here, wanting to urge caution as an armchair expert, which is all I am.
Mr Marvel, no reply required this time 🙂 though it was a lot of fun last time, I leave you in peace.

CHARLES STANHOPE
CHARLES STANHOPE
1 year ago
Reply to  B Emery

Marvell by name, Marvell by nature?

Last edited 1 year ago by CHARLES STANHOPE
B Emery
B Emery
1 year ago

Indeed, quite marvellous, I have to hand it to him – I’d give him a job as spin doctor.

B Emery
B Emery
1 year ago

Indeed, quite marvellous, I have to hand it to him – I’d give him a job as spin doctor.

CHARLES STANHOPE
CHARLES STANHOPE
1 year ago
Reply to  B Emery

Marvell by name, Marvell by nature?

Last edited 1 year ago by CHARLES STANHOPE
Richard Hart
Richard Hart
1 year ago
Reply to  Walter Marvell

You hit the nail on the head. It is the West these nutters want to destroy. No reference by them them of the rapidly expanding populations of Africa and Asia.

Last edited 1 year ago by Richard Hart
Isabel Ward
Isabel Ward
1 year ago
Reply to  Walter Marvell

Generally I agree with you. However, a bit OTT and fatalistic in other respects,

Rob C
Rob C
1 year ago
Reply to  Walter Marvell

One interesting thing about the Khmer Rouge is that they didn’t even keep to the idea of a rural workers’ paradise. Farm workers were forced to work 16 hour days, 7 days a week when before the entire needs of the country had been supplied by far fewer workers laboring for far fewer hours. And what happened to all this new agricultural output? It was used to buy foreign arms because Pol Pot’s regime was afraid Cambodia’s neighboring countries would attack him. (There were no signs of that, Viet Nam invaded Cambodia because Pol Pot was encouraging incursions into Viet Nam.)

B Emery
B Emery
1 year ago
Reply to  Walter Marvell

I see you’re at it again, Pol pot today? I see your ‘threads aren’t quite connected,’ that much is obvious. What are you are one man propaganda machine? No miracles today?
Some notes for others up ticking the crazy.
I do not dispute the contents of the article, I think Fazi raises real concerns we should have about these organisations, in a very sensible way and they are a problem, massively corrupt, they need knocking down a peg or two at least.
However, it is also worth noting we are at the moment embroiled in massive geopolitical power struggle between the west and the east. Energy war, commodity war, information war, infrastructure if you count the nord steam. So, we must be very careful not too get too carried away with our rhetoric, as Mr marvel frequently does and recognise this is happening alongside all this other stuff. We will probably need strategies to cope with the consequences, especially if it kicks off over Taiwan, this will disrupt global shipping, the European energy market is all over the place and opec are falling out with America. This stuff is going to affect us, so although these people may have all these plans, there’s a lot of conflicting interests at play at the moment and we need to be careful not to get too hung up on the megaCorp master plan, which if anything represents neither right nor left, just their own variously changing and churning and I dare say at times, conflicting megacorp interests. They may fund different organisations to divide and conquer if you like, but. I don’t see why they wouldn’t be above say pushing a far left agenda one place, and pushing far right elsewhere, will back the most likely winner, regardless of party. If we want to reclaim the state we need both sides for a balanced democracy. So. I’m just here, wanting to urge caution as an armchair expert, which is all I am.
Mr Marvel, no reply required this time 🙂 though it was a lot of fun last time, I leave you in peace.

Richard Hart
Richard Hart
1 year ago
Reply to  Walter Marvell

You hit the nail on the head. It is the West these nutters want to destroy. No reference by them them of the rapidly expanding populations of Africa and Asia.

Last edited 1 year ago by Richard Hart
Isabel Ward
Isabel Ward
1 year ago
Reply to  Chris W

Whist I generally agree with you I think you (and others ) seem to underestimate the power of people to change their minds. I suspect that in 30 years time people may not think quite the same – of course a lot of damage may be done by then.
Another thing – it seems common to point out how narcissistic and selfish a lot of young people are – you think at the end of the day they will go for “anti-growth”. We are told how “environmentally concerned” they are and yet it took a few days to clear up at the end of the Glastonbury festival because of all the rubbish strewn around…

Last edited 1 year ago by Isabel Ward
John Riordan
John Riordan
1 year ago
Reply to  Isabel Ward

I hope you are right – and believe that you may well turn out to be. As a middle-aged man I don’t frequently talk to the kids directly about what they believe, but the odd times I talk to younger people about this stuff I don’t usually get the sense that they’re ideologues. They mostly seem grounded, sensible and kind – and usually quite practically focussed.

The point is that in another 20 years, these are the people who will be making the decisions that determine how and whether everything keeps working. It’s one thing to vent on social media about political concepts: it’s quite another to be the one who signs off on measures that will crush freedom and living standards along with the human cost that this entails.

In a certain sense the pandemic has been a blessing because everyone’s eyes have been opened to the truth that GDP is not some abstract concept that only policy wonks and plutocrats care about: it is a key determinant of how we live and how long we live. The pandemic response was a degrowth strategy and it sowed the socioeconomc seeds which are now leading to the deaths of millions of people globally.

This lesson is in the middle of being learned the hard way right now. It is unlikely to be forgotten.

Last edited 1 year ago by John Riordan
John Sullivan
John Sullivan
1 year ago
Reply to  Isabel Ward

People in a brainwashing cult will ‘go for’ anything. It’s because of complacency from people like you that the world is on the mess it’s in.

Isabel Ward
Isabel Ward
1 year ago
Reply to  John Sullivan

I’m neither complacent nor in denial I just think its beneficial to be take a more ‘measured’ approach. I am not saying that a lot of damage will be not be done in the process. I think reality will set in and the “brainwashing cult” will dissipate over time.
Personally, I work hard to change people’s minds regularly, I just think that behaving, as in the US, and veering from from one side to the other doesn’t help.
Thanks for the ad hominem though.

John Sullivan
John Sullivan
1 year ago
Reply to  Isabel Ward

You don’t like what I say so you play the ad-hominem card. Classy. Not quite as effective as the racism card, but no one is perfect.
I said you were complacent, not in denial – was that your attempt at a straw man argument? Your ‘more measured’ approach has achieved what exactly? Two years of lockdown, vaccine clot shot coercion, a UK annual excess death rate approaching 100,000, the race-baiting grifter ‘Ngozi Fulani’ escalating the BLM hatred with impunity, unaffordable energy costs, uniparty politics … I could go on.
As for “veering from one side to the other”, I have no idea what that nonsense is supposed to mean. Whatever it means, what does it have to do with your complacency – to which I will now add the charge of arrogance.

CHARLES STANHOPE
CHARLES STANHOPE
1 year ago
Reply to  John Sullivan

An excellent evisceration of Ms Isabel Ward and her ‘complacent’ position. It well illustrates how appalling this problem has become.You deserve 100 “thumbs up”.

Incidentally wasn’t the Ngozi Fulani creature ‘wired for sound’ during her completely stage managed ‘confrontation’?

Last edited 1 year ago by CHARLES STANHOPE
John Sullivan
John Sullivan
1 year ago

Thank you. As you can see from the outraged and childishly emotional response from ‘Vici C’ though, we have a long way to go.
I fear I may have had one or two thumbs ups negated by thumbs down from her and her misguided ilk?

John Sullivan
John Sullivan
1 year ago

Thank you. As you can see from the outraged and childishly emotional response from ‘Vici C’ though, we have a long way to go.
I fear I may have had one or two thumbs ups negated by thumbs down from her and her misguided ilk?

Vici C
Vici C
1 year ago
Reply to  John Sullivan

Ad hominem fits you perfectly. Why would she like what you say? A personal. ill informed insult. A worked through, considered argument would have been better received. Implying her measured approach resulted in the lockdown etc etc is incomprehensible. Or did you mean the government took a measured approach? I would beg to differ, it felt more like a panicked approached, ultimately dictated by WHO. I bet you can’t understand how Hancock did so well in the jungle? Despite his history : one, he was bullied. Two, he didn’t bully.

John Sullivan
John Sullivan
1 year ago
Reply to  Vici C

Oh dear. You clearly never passed any kind of English comprehension exam.
Why would I waste time on a “worked through, considered argument” with her, or you, when you are so clearly utterly incapable of understanding what I am saying, or of giving it even the slightest consideration?

John Sullivan
John Sullivan
1 year ago
Reply to  Vici C

Oh dear. You clearly never passed any kind of English comprehension exam.
Why would I waste time on a “worked through, considered argument” with her, or you, when you are so clearly utterly incapable of understanding what I am saying, or of giving it even the slightest consideration?

CHARLES STANHOPE
CHARLES STANHOPE
1 year ago
Reply to  John Sullivan

An excellent evisceration of Ms Isabel Ward and her ‘complacent’ position. It well illustrates how appalling this problem has become.You deserve 100 “thumbs up”.

Incidentally wasn’t the Ngozi Fulani creature ‘wired for sound’ during her completely stage managed ‘confrontation’?

Last edited 1 year ago by CHARLES STANHOPE
Vici C
Vici C
1 year ago
Reply to  John Sullivan

Ad hominem fits you perfectly. Why would she like what you say? A personal. ill informed insult. A worked through, considered argument would have been better received. Implying her measured approach resulted in the lockdown etc etc is incomprehensible. Or did you mean the government took a measured approach? I would beg to differ, it felt more like a panicked approached, ultimately dictated by WHO. I bet you can’t understand how Hancock did so well in the jungle? Despite his history : one, he was bullied. Two, he didn’t bully.

Guy Pigache
Guy Pigache
1 year ago
Reply to  Isabel Ward

Good luck with being reasonable with the small number of Twitterati who inhabit Unherd space

John Sullivan
John Sullivan
1 year ago
Reply to  Isabel Ward

You don’t like what I say so you play the ad-hominem card. Classy. Not quite as effective as the racism card, but no one is perfect.
I said you were complacent, not in denial – was that your attempt at a straw man argument? Your ‘more measured’ approach has achieved what exactly? Two years of lockdown, vaccine clot shot coercion, a UK annual excess death rate approaching 100,000, the race-baiting grifter ‘Ngozi Fulani’ escalating the BLM hatred with impunity, unaffordable energy costs, uniparty politics … I could go on.
As for “veering from one side to the other”, I have no idea what that nonsense is supposed to mean. Whatever it means, what does it have to do with your complacency – to which I will now add the charge of arrogance.

Guy Pigache
Guy Pigache
1 year ago
Reply to  Isabel Ward

Good luck with being reasonable with the small number of Twitterati who inhabit Unherd space

Isabel Ward
Isabel Ward
1 year ago
Reply to  John Sullivan

I’m neither complacent nor in denial I just think its beneficial to be take a more ‘measured’ approach. I am not saying that a lot of damage will be not be done in the process. I think reality will set in and the “brainwashing cult” will dissipate over time.
Personally, I work hard to change people’s minds regularly, I just think that behaving, as in the US, and veering from from one side to the other doesn’t help.
Thanks for the ad hominem though.

Walter Marvell
Walter Marvell
1 year ago
Reply to  Isabel Ward

We must look for grains of hope. And of course younger generations may change minds. But some major bricks in the Degrowth totalitarian Wall are sliding into place right in front of our eyes. It is unbelievable – but the British State has said nyet to coal nyet to nukes (1 on way in 10 years gee thanks) nyet to fracking and has slapped 75% tax on our North Sea oil and gas producers. There will no be cheap power for maybe a decade. This is economic suicide – enacted by Tories. The State is growing ever more authoritarian after a taste of emergency rule – and simultaneously ever more greedy for tax as its bailouts steer both it and the suffocated enterprise culture onto the rocks. The economic crisis has only just begun. Meanwhile in the arena of policy and thought, I fear all the political establishment is gripped by a new more potent form of digital age groupthink reminiscent of China in 68. Good luck to the kids and students who can defy it. They will not find objective truth on the BBC or media. There is only propaganda as with Covid. Will their unis help them confront this madness?? I dont see any grounds for optimism there either. Where will resistance come from?? I repeat – the Tories are now leading a pro recession degrowth strategy!!! Labour will accelerate it. The die I fear is cast. Give your grandkids hoes and shovels for Xmas.

Isabel Ward
Isabel Ward
1 year ago
Reply to  Walter Marvell

The resistance will com from reality. Yes, its all very sad and a lot of damage will be done as you say but the resistance is gradually growing. In some ways Putin has drawn attention to all these problems.

Warren Trees
Warren Trees
1 year ago
Reply to  Isabel Ward

The big difference with this generation of “believers” of doom is that they also seem to possess a complete disdain for basic Western Christian values. Without any moral rudder to steer them while in power, other than their narcissism, they will inflict unspeakable, but not unique, crimes “solutions” to deal with the over-population and over-consumption issues they think are at fault. None of this will happen willingly. I’ve read how they are taught in school how to simply ignore what older people have to say because they are unfamiliar with technology and don’t know the “truth” about things. If you aren’t taught to hate the “excesses” of the older generation, how can you convince the young to pilfer our retirement savings and social security checks in the name of equity and saving the planet?

Walter Marvell
Walter Marvell
1 year ago
Reply to  Warren Trees

I agree. We must hope that every generation matures into wisdom and sets aside the wild romantic excesses of youth. But the millenials do seem.to face a set of uniquely nasty and new challenges. Exposure to social media – and its mega augmented terror of social ostracism – has triggered a tidal wave of mental ill health, depression and anxiety. This feels abnormal. The young are raised (as you rightly say) in a new super secular faith detached from our christian roots. It is an open global multicultural world – again something new and different. Then at school and uni they get whacked by the nihilistic ravings and apocalyptic doomism of their eco nut teachers.They also get drenched early in the fear-inducing Equality Mania and so imbibe yet more terror of any form of discrimination. And if they seek to challenge any of these heavy State endorsed Orthodoxies, where will they find the Truth? The BBC is a de facto Ministry of Propaganda preaching Newspeak on identity politics, race & BLM, Climate Change, Europe, Brexit and more. They see us adults unsure of what a female is. For sure Kids are resilient. But this generation are being pummelled by a set of appalling new ideological forces. This all feels very different to the far simpler life in the 60s 70 and 80s. And I do not think it will end well.

Walter Marvell
Walter Marvell
1 year ago
Reply to  Warren Trees

I agree. We must hope that every generation matures into wisdom and sets aside the wild romantic excesses of youth. But the millenials do seem.to face a set of uniquely nasty and new challenges. Exposure to social media – and its mega augmented terror of social ostracism – has triggered a tidal wave of mental ill health, depression and anxiety. This feels abnormal. The young are raised (as you rightly say) in a new super secular faith detached from our christian roots. It is an open global multicultural world – again something new and different. Then at school and uni they get whacked by the nihilistic ravings and apocalyptic doomism of their eco nut teachers.They also get drenched early in the fear-inducing Equality Mania and so imbibe yet more terror of any form of discrimination. And if they seek to challenge any of these heavy State endorsed Orthodoxies, where will they find the Truth? The BBC is a de facto Ministry of Propaganda preaching Newspeak on identity politics, race & BLM, Climate Change, Europe, Brexit and more. They see us adults unsure of what a female is. For sure Kids are resilient. But this generation are being pummelled by a set of appalling new ideological forces. This all feels very different to the far simpler life in the 60s 70 and 80s. And I do not think it will end well.

Warren Trees
Warren Trees
1 year ago
Reply to  Isabel Ward

The big difference with this generation of “believers” of doom is that they also seem to possess a complete disdain for basic Western Christian values. Without any moral rudder to steer them while in power, other than their narcissism, they will inflict unspeakable, but not unique, crimes “solutions” to deal with the over-population and over-consumption issues they think are at fault. None of this will happen willingly. I’ve read how they are taught in school how to simply ignore what older people have to say because they are unfamiliar with technology and don’t know the “truth” about things. If you aren’t taught to hate the “excesses” of the older generation, how can you convince the young to pilfer our retirement savings and social security checks in the name of equity and saving the planet?

Isabel Ward
Isabel Ward
1 year ago
Reply to  Walter Marvell

The resistance will com from reality. Yes, its all very sad and a lot of damage will be done as you say but the resistance is gradually growing. In some ways Putin has drawn attention to all these problems.

Chris W
Chris W
1 year ago
Reply to  Isabel Ward

I hope you are right.

John Riordan
John Riordan
1 year ago
Reply to  Isabel Ward

I hope you are right – and believe that you may well turn out to be. As a middle-aged man I don’t frequently talk to the kids directly about what they believe, but the odd times I talk to younger people about this stuff I don’t usually get the sense that they’re ideologues. They mostly seem grounded, sensible and kind – and usually quite practically focussed.

The point is that in another 20 years, these are the people who will be making the decisions that determine how and whether everything keeps working. It’s one thing to vent on social media about political concepts: it’s quite another to be the one who signs off on measures that will crush freedom and living standards along with the human cost that this entails.

In a certain sense the pandemic has been a blessing because everyone’s eyes have been opened to the truth that GDP is not some abstract concept that only policy wonks and plutocrats care about: it is a key determinant of how we live and how long we live. The pandemic response was a degrowth strategy and it sowed the socioeconomc seeds which are now leading to the deaths of millions of people globally.

This lesson is in the middle of being learned the hard way right now. It is unlikely to be forgotten.

Last edited 1 year ago by John Riordan
John Sullivan
John Sullivan
1 year ago
Reply to  Isabel Ward

People in a brainwashing cult will ‘go for’ anything. It’s because of complacency from people like you that the world is on the mess it’s in.

Walter Marvell
Walter Marvell
1 year ago
Reply to  Isabel Ward

We must look for grains of hope. And of course younger generations may change minds. But some major bricks in the Degrowth totalitarian Wall are sliding into place right in front of our eyes. It is unbelievable – but the British State has said nyet to coal nyet to nukes (1 on way in 10 years gee thanks) nyet to fracking and has slapped 75% tax on our North Sea oil and gas producers. There will no be cheap power for maybe a decade. This is economic suicide – enacted by Tories. The State is growing ever more authoritarian after a taste of emergency rule – and simultaneously ever more greedy for tax as its bailouts steer both it and the suffocated enterprise culture onto the rocks. The economic crisis has only just begun. Meanwhile in the arena of policy and thought, I fear all the political establishment is gripped by a new more potent form of digital age groupthink reminiscent of China in 68. Good luck to the kids and students who can defy it. They will not find objective truth on the BBC or media. There is only propaganda as with Covid. Will their unis help them confront this madness?? I dont see any grounds for optimism there either. Where will resistance come from?? I repeat – the Tories are now leading a pro recession degrowth strategy!!! Labour will accelerate it. The die I fear is cast. Give your grandkids hoes and shovels for Xmas.

Chris W
Chris W
1 year ago
Reply to  Isabel Ward

I hope you are right.

Roger Irwin
Roger Irwin
1 year ago
Reply to  Chris W

I find disputable ‘facts’ being presented from all sides.
The bit I find alarming is the religious zeal with which these ideals are defended. From both camps.

Ted Ditchburn
Ted Ditchburn
1 year ago
Reply to  Chris W

Everybody knows this because we have so many people who pretend they do not know what deep down we do.

Vici C
Vici C
1 year ago
Reply to  Chris W

Ah, the next generation. They will make their bed, they will lie on it and then realise it is not tenable.

Walter Marvell
Walter Marvell
1 year ago
Reply to  Chris W

This article is very important. There are a set of quite terrifying threads of political ideology that are bubbling to the surface and many bear the shadow of Pol Potism. Think of why his brutal ultra eco- communism saw modernity smashed and the cities emptied into labour camps in the countryside. Perfect degrowth! Clear blue skies over no carbon Cambodia. Population degrowth too via totalitarian murder. Keep Pol Pots credo in mind as we look anew at what is happening in a Western world deep in a pyschotic state of hysteria or mania. The Reds have reached for Green to plug the ideological void created by the failure of Socialism. But they are animated first by a deep negative anti industrial/anti capitalist fervour – so degrowth and the further extension of the power of the State (shown to be arbitrary under Bio State) will lead only to mass poverty and ruin. If the enterprise culture is the enemy, we can only head one way – back to the world of Soviet Gosplan and the USSR, minus the cheap energy. The obsessional war on fossil fuels two decades before a reliable nuke and renewal supply has been prepared will trigger starvation in a developed world without fertiliser. Our political and academic leaders do not yet see this danger – they exist in an unhinged bubble and are wholly insulated from the chaos their ignorant wokery inflicts on the poor and strivers. The doomerism they drink in from the zealot BBC (a self declared ‘champion’ of climate change) is sealing their ignorance in. Meanwhile looney progressives in teaching are sickening and indoctrinating the minds of the wild eyed terrified young – all told they will die in the fire before they hit 30. Anti natalism may well take off in a generation or so. The threads have not all connected. It is still early days. But if the near existential dangers of the Doom Credo and Net Zero are not called out and stopped over the next decade, read up on the Khmer Rouge. Pol Pot is the logical endpoint of this mania.

Isabel Ward
Isabel Ward
1 year ago
Reply to  Chris W

Whist I generally agree with you I think you (and others ) seem to underestimate the power of people to change their minds. I suspect that in 30 years time people may not think quite the same – of course a lot of damage may be done by then.
Another thing – it seems common to point out how narcissistic and selfish a lot of young people are – you think at the end of the day they will go for “anti-growth”. We are told how “environmentally concerned” they are and yet it took a few days to clear up at the end of the Glastonbury festival because of all the rubbish strewn around…

Last edited 1 year ago by Isabel Ward
Roger Irwin
Roger Irwin
1 year ago
Reply to  Chris W

I find disputable ‘facts’ being presented from all sides.
The bit I find alarming is the religious zeal with which these ideals are defended. From both camps.

Ted Ditchburn
Ted Ditchburn
1 year ago
Reply to  Chris W

Everybody knows this because we have so many people who pretend they do not know what deep down we do.

Vici C
Vici C
1 year ago
Reply to  Chris W

Ah, the next generation. They will make their bed, they will lie on it and then realise it is not tenable.

Hugh Bryant
Hugh Bryant
1 year ago
Reply to  Jim Veenbaas

If the elites had themselves to adopt the lifestyle changes they wish to impose on the rest of us they’d pretty quickly shut up about it. They get away with this nonsense because we let them.

Paul K
Paul K
1 year ago
Reply to  Jim Veenbaas

Head, meet sand.

John Sullivan
John Sullivan
1 year ago
Reply to  Paul K

Head, meet vacuous chamber of climate loony.

John Sullivan
John Sullivan
1 year ago
Reply to  Paul K

Head, meet vacuous chamber of climate loony.

John Sullivan
John Sullivan
1 year ago
Reply to  Jim Veenbaas

Agreed – except perhaps for your final sentence. ‘Balanced, grow up’ Unherd writers make the same mistake as all the other indoctrinated cultists who don’t even realise they’re indoctrinated cultists.
“… one can be concerned about climate change and the state of the planet while still being sceptical …”
Those who ‘believe’ in the charlatan invention of man-made global climate change are anything but ‘sceptical’.

Rosie Brocklehurst
Rosie Brocklehurst
1 year ago
Reply to  Jim Veenbaas

I hardly think Malthusian ideas about population were garbage and nor have they been refuted -not 300 years ago or now. Your argument about consumption is one sided and blinkered. Today, while I can shop with Ocado in England despite 15 per cent food inflation, Somalia and Eritrea people are eating meal if they can get it, and Pacific islands are gradually being flooded. I don’t call inflation or starvation ‘efficiency’, (although some on here would). Authoritarian countries meanwhile have not only re-written history to suit themselves but appropriated science to fit the political needs of the moment. There, ideologically conflicting narratives are increasingly difficult to unravel by anyone in power who have not had the pressures from below yet to make them wake up. For decades, communist economic ideals have been subsumed by an oligarchy and forms of organised state capitalism that require markets. China’s State capitalism requires force and an imperative to imperial expansion and is also dependent on sustaining markets. They are increasingly subject to revolt. How western leaders have embraced climate change has been a hard slog for the scientists and informed activists and is anyway, fafr too little too late, due not in small part to people like you and deluded conspiratorial, unscientific ideologies. No Government of the West will embrace climate change without evidence. Your evidence is partial weak and thin and paid for by big oil.

Chris W
Chris W
1 year ago

I am a scientist and proud of it. Today, I don’t trust any scientists because they are fighting for research grants and will ‘prove’ that the moon is made of green cheese if they would get more grants.
Science used to teach you to question everything. So, if you believed in AGW you had to fight it and try to show you were wrong. However crazy this sounds today, it does lead to impartiality.
The problem on this site is that everybody believes they are right. Period. Everybody else must be wrong. That analysis includes you and your beliefs.
I have read dozens of books and papers on AGW. At first the ideas were all over the place but governments and media made a decision – to exclude the gainsayers. No more grants unless you say that AGW is the truth. There is absolutely no proof anywhere that AGW is correct. Only beliefs like yours’. So, somebody has instructed you as follows: If anyone tells you that AGW is wrong, just say that Big Oil has paid for them to say it.
And you, in your ignorance, are following instructions.

Guy Pigache
Guy Pigache
1 year ago
Reply to  Chris W

Occasionally somebody shines a light. Thank you

Rosie Brocklehurst
Rosie Brocklehurst
1 year ago
Reply to  Chris W

I am not ignorant but a medical scientist and well read on this issue too. The gainsayers have had plenty of traction and yes Big Oil did indeed pay for a lot of PR denials and counter-actual research (just as big tobacco did over health harms) and now, even a few in oil are coming round to understanding the causes and consequences of fossil fuel burning. So don’t talk dangerous twaddle. If you really want to go around with a paper bag over your head then go ahead. I quite like some articles on Unherd but mostly its a place for regurgitating stupid conspiracies and it attracts trolls.-hence your ridiculous assumptions about climate scientists and rudeness calling me ignorant.

Last edited 1 year ago by Rosie Brocklehurst
Scott C
Scott C
1 year ago

Rosie – an upvote for Chris W – a down vote for you. I like critical thinkers who know how to navigate through your “dangerous twaddle”.

Jim Veenbaas
Jim Veenbaas
1 year ago

Yet another straw man. There is absolutely no money on the skeptical side. Big oil funding some denialist campaign is nothing but a conspiracy theory.

The big cash is on the alarmist side. In addition to an endless trough of grants, the most high profile climate scientists receive straight up cash awards and prizes from a myriad of foundations and programs. The father of alarmism James Hansen has received $2 mill in awards, such as the Heinz Award, the Dan David Prize, Taiwan’s Tang Prize, just to name a few.

Big Oil spends infinitely more money greenwashing than supporting any skeptical science. And it will continue to sell oil, regardless of what we believe. Fossil fuels make up 81% of the energy mix today, a whopping 1% decrease from 82% two decades ago. And if we destroy the fossil fuel industry in the west, they’ll simply move to Asia and Africa, which they are doing already.

Conspiracy theories are a dime a dozen. There’s a bunch of them about Gazprom financing eco groups to cripple fossil fuel production in the west. Meh.

Here are some real numbers from the budgets of eco organizations in 2012. Remember this is 10 years ago:

The Nature Conservancy: $949,132,306

Greenpeace International: $406,000,000

Wildlife Conservation Society: $230,042,654

World Wildlife Fund: $208,495,555

This is just the top of the pyramid. There are hundreds of NGOs promoting fear. A cynical person might argue these groups have a vested interest in promoting climate porn – their budgets and fundraising benefit from it.

Yet we’re supposed to believe the Heartland Institute – a common target accused of taking money from big oil – with its $4 mill budget, is stopping the world from adopting renewable energy.

Go ahead. Keep telling yourself there’s some well-financed cabal of science deniers out there brain washing the masses – that climate alarmists are on the side of angels.

Last edited 1 year ago by Jim Veenbaas
Guy Haynes
Guy Haynes
1 year ago

Well I’m not a scientist and, while well read and educated, can’t pretend to understand every intricacy of climate science.

The reason I have a massive amount of skepticism over the climate change movement (or at least the solutions proposed by it) are in no way scientific and everything to do with 45 years of witnessing human behaviour:

1. Its proponents do not in any way practise what they preach. When they’re telling us all that half the world’s land mass will be underwater if we don’t stop flying, simple folk like me smell a massive rat when these folk each turn up in their private jets before returning to their 3rd beachfront mansion that they’ve just bought.

2. They lie about stuff – witness the lawsuits against Michael Mann and the University of East Anglia emails. If as they say we’re dealing with an inarguable truth, why is there any need to bend the truth? Sounds more like a narrative than a truth to me.

3. They brutally silence dissent. I know that this is all the rage in the 21st century but I still can’t get my little head around the idea that people who claim to have the facts on their side are completely unwilling to debate those facts openly, or even allow contrary facts the light of day. For what it’s worth there are alternative points of view out there (e.g. Watts up with that) but never covered in the mainstream.

4. Nobody involved has the slightest interest in tackling the worst offenders – China and India – when it comes to the environment.

5. This has been going for decades, so plenty of time for some evidence to build up, yet every prediction, and I mean EVERY SINGLE prediction has gone wrong. As a keen skier I’m pretty glad they have, but seriously, for something where the science was settled you’d think they could point to one thing, somewhere, anywhere, that’s been predicted and has actually come to pass?

6. A disproportionately large number of its proponents just happen to have become much richer and much more powerful over the past couple of decades.

I wonder whether we are all being scammed because the people involved are ACTING like it’s a scam.

And BTW I’m all for doing stuff to help the environment. I’m just not sure that there’s enough there to justify halving our standard of living, doubling the cost and sending the difference to the politicians to get richer.

But that’s just me I guess.

John Sullivan
John Sullivan
1 year ago
Reply to  Guy Haynes

Nice post.
BTW, you “wonder whether we are all being scammed”. Take it from me – we are.

John Sullivan
John Sullivan
1 year ago
Reply to  Guy Haynes

Nice post.
BTW, you “wonder whether we are all being scammed”. Take it from me – we are.

Scott C
Scott C
1 year ago

Rosie – an upvote for Chris W – a down vote for you. I like critical thinkers who know how to navigate through your “dangerous twaddle”.

Jim Veenbaas
Jim Veenbaas
1 year ago

Yet another straw man. There is absolutely no money on the skeptical side. Big oil funding some denialist campaign is nothing but a conspiracy theory.

The big cash is on the alarmist side. In addition to an endless trough of grants, the most high profile climate scientists receive straight up cash awards and prizes from a myriad of foundations and programs. The father of alarmism James Hansen has received $2 mill in awards, such as the Heinz Award, the Dan David Prize, Taiwan’s Tang Prize, just to name a few.

Big Oil spends infinitely more money greenwashing than supporting any skeptical science. And it will continue to sell oil, regardless of what we believe. Fossil fuels make up 81% of the energy mix today, a whopping 1% decrease from 82% two decades ago. And if we destroy the fossil fuel industry in the west, they’ll simply move to Asia and Africa, which they are doing already.

Conspiracy theories are a dime a dozen. There’s a bunch of them about Gazprom financing eco groups to cripple fossil fuel production in the west. Meh.

Here are some real numbers from the budgets of eco organizations in 2012. Remember this is 10 years ago:

The Nature Conservancy: $949,132,306

Greenpeace International: $406,000,000

Wildlife Conservation Society: $230,042,654

World Wildlife Fund: $208,495,555

This is just the top of the pyramid. There are hundreds of NGOs promoting fear. A cynical person might argue these groups have a vested interest in promoting climate porn – their budgets and fundraising benefit from it.

Yet we’re supposed to believe the Heartland Institute – a common target accused of taking money from big oil – with its $4 mill budget, is stopping the world from adopting renewable energy.

Go ahead. Keep telling yourself there’s some well-financed cabal of science deniers out there brain washing the masses – that climate alarmists are on the side of angels.

Last edited 1 year ago by Jim Veenbaas
Guy Haynes
Guy Haynes
1 year ago

Well I’m not a scientist and, while well read and educated, can’t pretend to understand every intricacy of climate science.

The reason I have a massive amount of skepticism over the climate change movement (or at least the solutions proposed by it) are in no way scientific and everything to do with 45 years of witnessing human behaviour:

1. Its proponents do not in any way practise what they preach. When they’re telling us all that half the world’s land mass will be underwater if we don’t stop flying, simple folk like me smell a massive rat when these folk each turn up in their private jets before returning to their 3rd beachfront mansion that they’ve just bought.

2. They lie about stuff – witness the lawsuits against Michael Mann and the University of East Anglia emails. If as they say we’re dealing with an inarguable truth, why is there any need to bend the truth? Sounds more like a narrative than a truth to me.

3. They brutally silence dissent. I know that this is all the rage in the 21st century but I still can’t get my little head around the idea that people who claim to have the facts on their side are completely unwilling to debate those facts openly, or even allow contrary facts the light of day. For what it’s worth there are alternative points of view out there (e.g. Watts up with that) but never covered in the mainstream.

4. Nobody involved has the slightest interest in tackling the worst offenders – China and India – when it comes to the environment.

5. This has been going for decades, so plenty of time for some evidence to build up, yet every prediction, and I mean EVERY SINGLE prediction has gone wrong. As a keen skier I’m pretty glad they have, but seriously, for something where the science was settled you’d think they could point to one thing, somewhere, anywhere, that’s been predicted and has actually come to pass?

6. A disproportionately large number of its proponents just happen to have become much richer and much more powerful over the past couple of decades.

I wonder whether we are all being scammed because the people involved are ACTING like it’s a scam.

And BTW I’m all for doing stuff to help the environment. I’m just not sure that there’s enough there to justify halving our standard of living, doubling the cost and sending the difference to the politicians to get richer.

But that’s just me I guess.

Jonathan Andrews
Jonathan Andrews
1 year ago
Reply to  Chris W

I have some understanding of how scientists cheat to make few quid. The trouble is economists are worse

Jim Veenbaas
Jim Veenbaas
1 year ago
Reply to  Chris W

Chris W you would not believe how many times I have questioned my skepticism of climate alarmism. If everyone thinks the world is doomed, why do I persist in thinking this is so overblown? And I always come to the same conclusion; the solutions to climate change are much worse than the problem they are trying to solve. This is the utter disconnect that I can’t wrap my head around.

John Sullivan
John Sullivan
1 year ago
Reply to  Chris W

She is what we on the enlightened team of true science generally like to call a “useful idiot”.
All unevidenced wild assertions and calls to authority. Convincing, not.

Guy Pigache
Guy Pigache
1 year ago
Reply to  Chris W

Occasionally somebody shines a light. Thank you

Rosie Brocklehurst
Rosie Brocklehurst
1 year ago
Reply to  Chris W

I am not ignorant but a medical scientist and well read on this issue too. The gainsayers have had plenty of traction and yes Big Oil did indeed pay for a lot of PR denials and counter-actual research (just as big tobacco did over health harms) and now, even a few in oil are coming round to understanding the causes and consequences of fossil fuel burning. So don’t talk dangerous twaddle. If you really want to go around with a paper bag over your head then go ahead. I quite like some articles on Unherd but mostly its a place for regurgitating stupid conspiracies and it attracts trolls.-hence your ridiculous assumptions about climate scientists and rudeness calling me ignorant.

Last edited 1 year ago by Rosie Brocklehurst
Jonathan Andrews
Jonathan Andrews
1 year ago
Reply to  Chris W

I have some understanding of how scientists cheat to make few quid. The trouble is economists are worse

Jim Veenbaas
Jim Veenbaas
1 year ago
Reply to  Chris W

Chris W you would not believe how many times I have questioned my skepticism of climate alarmism. If everyone thinks the world is doomed, why do I persist in thinking this is so overblown? And I always come to the same conclusion; the solutions to climate change are much worse than the problem they are trying to solve. This is the utter disconnect that I can’t wrap my head around.

John Sullivan
John Sullivan
1 year ago
Reply to  Chris W

She is what we on the enlightened team of true science generally like to call a “useful idiot”.
All unevidenced wild assertions and calls to authority. Convincing, not.

Allison Barrows
Allison Barrows
1 year ago

I started to write a detailed response, but realised you’re a propagandist either in thrall of the ‘narrative”, or a pollinator of it. Doesn’t matter. “Climate change”, we were already told, was going to be the next panic after the Covid bullsh*t ran out of the power to terrify. But I’ve been fed the climate emergency crap since the Age of Aquarius when I was in grade school – all of it utter, provable nonsense Air travel then was still a fairly expensive and rare family endeavor (we used to dress up to fly from New York to Switzerland). It’s so commonplace now, people wear pajamas and slouch off to a climate protest in a waiting Uber without noticing the absurdity of their stance (we were on the way to LA with a woman who was flying out to protest the Keystone XL Pipeline a few years ago. I asked her why she wasn’t riding her bike from New England to Nebraska. She asked the flight attendant to move her seat. He didn’t). It’s all just ludicrous theater for people looking for a tribe in which to belong.

John Brown
John Brown
1 year ago

Whilst satellite measurements are showing a global increase in sea level of 1.6mm/year, hundreds of Pacific islands are actually growing in size. More importantly, not only is CO2 not the driver of the small and benign one degree C increase in global temperature (as shown by the Antarctic Vostok Ice Core Data) over the last 100 years since the Little Ice Age but is plant food and hence necessary for all life on earth. We need more CO2 not less.to promote plant growth and prevent famines. In fact if the whole world followed the Communists’ net zero CO2 religion, then life on earth would be extinguished. For the last 150 million years the CO2 level has dropped from many times its current value as a result of shelled marine animals using CO2 to build their shells, as evidenced by the existence of 100 million billion tons of carbonaceous rocks. In fact over the last 800,000 years the CO2 has dropped nine times to 180 ppm, just 30 ppm above the minimum level below which plants cannot survive. The last occasion being the most recent ice age which ended just 11,000 years ago. So unless himans release this captured CO2 into the atmosphere by burning fossil fuels or unless volcanoes emit sufficient CO2, then shelled marine animals will continue to deplete the atmosphere of CO2 until plant, and hence, all life on the planet, will die.

Jim Veenbaas
Jim Veenbaas
1 year ago

Interesting comment. Never have I denied that climate change is real or that we should not try to address it. I’m totally on board with nuclear energy. My beef is with overwrought alarmism and the delusion of net zero.

I always love it when informed alarmists make verifiably incorrect statements. Pacific islands are not gradually flooding. In fact, 80% of them have grown in size over the last 50 years. We know this for certain because of aerial photographs taken since WWII.

John Sullivan
John Sullivan
1 year ago
Reply to  Jim Veenbaas

“Never have I denied that climate change is real or that we should not try to address it”
And that’s your big mistake, if I may say so. Of course the climate changes, but that isn’t what the loony neo-Marxists globalists mean by ‘climate change’. Surely you know this?
By conceding that the delusional brainwashed fools have a point – by giving them an inch – they take a mile. We now have a fake cLiMaTe EmErGeNcY declared by moronic bureaucrats across the country, farms being requisitioned by the government, constant illegal interference with traffic in and around London, a serious risk of looming blackouts, and Oxford about to be divided into “15 minute zones”.
As for “trying to address it”; it seems rather strange to ‘address’ something which does not exist. Even were it to exist, how should we ‘address’ it?

John Sullivan
John Sullivan
1 year ago
Reply to  Jim Veenbaas

“Never have I denied that climate change is real or that we should not try to address it”
And that’s your big mistake, if I may say so. Of course the climate changes, but that isn’t what the loony neo-Marxists globalists mean by ‘climate change’. Surely you know this?
By conceding that the delusional brainwashed fools have a point – by giving them an inch – they take a mile. We now have a fake cLiMaTe EmErGeNcY declared by moronic bureaucrats across the country, farms being requisitioned by the government, constant illegal interference with traffic in and around London, a serious risk of looming blackouts, and Oxford about to be divided into “15 minute zones”.
As for “trying to address it”; it seems rather strange to ‘address’ something which does not exist. Even were it to exist, how should we ‘address’ it?

Warren Trees
Warren Trees
1 year ago

The issue is not embracing climate change or not. Everyone on the planet seems to agree that our climate has changed on this planet for the entirety of the 4.5 billion (4,500,000,000 for the uninitiated) years it has been in existence. The issue is whether our world and society should be tossed up like a garden salad over something humans have no answer for. Humans, by the way, that have only occupied this planet for a minuscule amount of time and even less time in an industrial age. And even less time measuring our climate, leading to an extraordinarily minute data set that would be utterly laughable if applied to any other serious study.

Chris W
Chris W
1 year ago

I am a scientist and proud of it. Today, I don’t trust any scientists because they are fighting for research grants and will ‘prove’ that the moon is made of green cheese if they would get more grants.
Science used to teach you to question everything. So, if you believed in AGW you had to fight it and try to show you were wrong. However crazy this sounds today, it does lead to impartiality.
The problem on this site is that everybody believes they are right. Period. Everybody else must be wrong. That analysis includes you and your beliefs.
I have read dozens of books and papers on AGW. At first the ideas were all over the place but governments and media made a decision – to exclude the gainsayers. No more grants unless you say that AGW is the truth. There is absolutely no proof anywhere that AGW is correct. Only beliefs like yours’. So, somebody has instructed you as follows: If anyone tells you that AGW is wrong, just say that Big Oil has paid for them to say it.
And you, in your ignorance, are following instructions.

Allison Barrows
Allison Barrows
1 year ago

I started to write a detailed response, but realised you’re a propagandist either in thrall of the ‘narrative”, or a pollinator of it. Doesn’t matter. “Climate change”, we were already told, was going to be the next panic after the Covid bullsh*t ran out of the power to terrify. But I’ve been fed the climate emergency crap since the Age of Aquarius when I was in grade school – all of it utter, provable nonsense Air travel then was still a fairly expensive and rare family endeavor (we used to dress up to fly from New York to Switzerland). It’s so commonplace now, people wear pajamas and slouch off to a climate protest in a waiting Uber without noticing the absurdity of their stance (we were on the way to LA with a woman who was flying out to protest the Keystone XL Pipeline a few years ago. I asked her why she wasn’t riding her bike from New England to Nebraska. She asked the flight attendant to move her seat. He didn’t). It’s all just ludicrous theater for people looking for a tribe in which to belong.

John Brown
John Brown
1 year ago

Whilst satellite measurements are showing a global increase in sea level of 1.6mm/year, hundreds of Pacific islands are actually growing in size. More importantly, not only is CO2 not the driver of the small and benign one degree C increase in global temperature (as shown by the Antarctic Vostok Ice Core Data) over the last 100 years since the Little Ice Age but is plant food and hence necessary for all life on earth. We need more CO2 not less.to promote plant growth and prevent famines. In fact if the whole world followed the Communists’ net zero CO2 religion, then life on earth would be extinguished. For the last 150 million years the CO2 level has dropped from many times its current value as a result of shelled marine animals using CO2 to build their shells, as evidenced by the existence of 100 million billion tons of carbonaceous rocks. In fact over the last 800,000 years the CO2 has dropped nine times to 180 ppm, just 30 ppm above the minimum level below which plants cannot survive. The last occasion being the most recent ice age which ended just 11,000 years ago. So unless himans release this captured CO2 into the atmosphere by burning fossil fuels or unless volcanoes emit sufficient CO2, then shelled marine animals will continue to deplete the atmosphere of CO2 until plant, and hence, all life on the planet, will die.

Jim Veenbaas
Jim Veenbaas
1 year ago

Interesting comment. Never have I denied that climate change is real or that we should not try to address it. I’m totally on board with nuclear energy. My beef is with overwrought alarmism and the delusion of net zero.

I always love it when informed alarmists make verifiably incorrect statements. Pacific islands are not gradually flooding. In fact, 80% of them have grown in size over the last 50 years. We know this for certain because of aerial photographs taken since WWII.

Warren Trees
Warren Trees
1 year ago

The issue is not embracing climate change or not. Everyone on the planet seems to agree that our climate has changed on this planet for the entirety of the 4.5 billion (4,500,000,000 for the uninitiated) years it has been in existence. The issue is whether our world and society should be tossed up like a garden salad over something humans have no answer for. Humans, by the way, that have only occupied this planet for a minuscule amount of time and even less time in an industrial age. And even less time measuring our climate, leading to an extraordinarily minute data set that would be utterly laughable if applied to any other serious study.

Daniel Lee
Daniel Lee
1 year ago
Reply to  Jim Veenbaas

There was a time when the Marxists insisted we should move to Communism because it was a better, more productive economic system. Now they’re arguing we should move to it because it’s literally the opposite.

Rob C
Rob C
1 year ago
Reply to  Daniel Lee

Wow, I never thought about it that way. Good point!

Steve Jolly
Steve Jolly
1 year ago
Reply to  Daniel Lee

A tyrant will always find a way to justify his tyranny.

Rob C
Rob C
1 year ago
Reply to  Daniel Lee

Wow, I never thought about it that way. Good point!

Steve Jolly
Steve Jolly
1 year ago
Reply to  Daniel Lee

A tyrant will always find a way to justify his tyranny.

Emre S
Emre S
1 year ago
Reply to  Jim Veenbaas

Why do elites support his? I believe it has to do with AI. Human economic worth will drop to zero for most individuals quite soon with machines taking over most tasks including white collar jobs. When humans aren’t needed to do things, they won’t have jobs, and any money other than what the state gives them in lieu of the political power they wield. When these billions become primarily an unnecessary cost for the powers that be that must be fed it’s not a coincidence degrowth becomes a solution.

Warren Trees
Warren Trees
1 year ago
Reply to  Emre S

Interesting. Most humans will simply become pests or vermin. I don’t see the economic advantage to that, however.

Warren Trees
Warren Trees
1 year ago
Reply to  Emre S

Interesting. Most humans will simply become pests or vermin. I don’t see the economic advantage to that, however.

JJ Barnett
JJ Barnett
1 year ago
Reply to  Jim Veenbaas

“The most perplexing thing for me is why the political elite and technocrats are so invested in climate alarmism and net zero.”

The simple answer is in 2 parts:
The originators of this idea were steeped in an ideology called ‘technocracy’ that started becoming very popular among the rich during the 1920s and 30s. They really believe that there are ‘better humans’ (and their great wealth is a testament to that superior nature and talent, in their view). They do believe that the world should be organised by the superior/smarter people, for the sake of everyone. [Pathological Narcissism …may I introduce you to my dear friend God Complex]They worked out that this narrative would make it possible to monopolise and take control of all the world’s resources and power, and that they could achieve using ‘catastrophe’ narratives what might otherwise require force.
All of the ideas that underpin the UN’s ‘Agenda 21 / 2030’ and the WEF’s ‘Great Reset’ (aka ‘4th Industrial Revolution’) are actually the frameworks and ideas from earlier private clubs of the uber-wealthy technocrats. The most notable of these is the Club of Rome. A really good article on some of that history is here.

…The Greta Thunberg’s and the XR muppets chaining themselves to things around London, they’re simply the useful idiots and shock troops for an agenda that they can’t even comprehend. That agenda is an energy-based economy, centrally administered by a global governance structure which is ‘partnered’ with private business interests. The fundamental plan (of Technocracy… and the Club of Rome.. to the WEF and the Trilateral Comm. and the Bilderberg Grouping …to the UN, and the ISD etc) it actually hasn’t changed much at all. If you look at what’s happening systematically all over the world, it’s a dismantling of local structures (with democratic feedback mechanisms) and then that power is being funnelled upwards into opaque quasi-government structures that are supra-national and impervious to citizen feedback. It’s the privatisation of governance.

A point which is rarely made, but very important, is this: If you read Agenda 2030 and the WEFs website/white papers they make it clear that the system they are pushing is a new mode of governance called “Public / Private Partnerships”.

“Public / Private Partnerships” is the centrepiece of the agenda. It’s all over the websites, it’s headlining the conference programmes, it’s on billboards, they’re throwing events about it, and they’re forcing ESG into the lending market to coerce participation across the private sector. Klaus boasts about “penetrating the cabinets” and placing their people directly into the government side of the equation.
“Public / Private Partnerships” = the merger of the twin power bases of State and Private Capital/Business. That is a literal dictionary definition of fascism. In fact, Mussolini wrote that fascism should more rightly be called Corporatism because it was the State acting in concert [and in service of] the Private Capital [the billionaire oligarch class]. Quite so.
So we should call it what it is… They’re trying fascism again, but with new branding. And this time they want to impose it globally, instead of in 1 country.

Last edited 1 year ago by JJ Barnett
Rob C
Rob C
1 year ago
Reply to  Jim Veenbaas

I don’t see a way to comment on the article, only a way to reply to other comments. Am I missing it?
Anyway, my comment would be that the elite and deepstaters are very concerned about the declining rate of population growth. Just do an engine search on “Is overpopulation a problem?” and you’ll see all the deepstate entities saying that not only is overpopulation not a problem but population decline is the problem.

Zirrus VanDevere
Zirrus VanDevere
1 year ago
Reply to  Rob C

I wonder about this, too, but have been recognizing a particular pattern for decades, now. One way for the deepstate to conquer the general populace is to subtly (and not so subtly at times) manipulate and encourage deep rifts between people -including racial and sexual ones- in order to provoke chaos. Uprisings are perfect scenarios for locking down a populace utilizing military tactics… basically a divide and conquer psyop on a multitude of levels

Zirrus VanDevere
Zirrus VanDevere
1 year ago
Reply to  Rob C

I wonder about this, too, but have been recognizing a particular pattern for decades, now. One way for the deepstate to conquer the general populace is to subtly (and not so subtly at times) manipulate and encourage deep rifts between people -including racial and sexual ones- in order to provoke chaos. Uprisings are perfect scenarios for locking down a populace utilizing military tactics… basically a divide and conquer psyop on a multitude of levels

Samir Iker
Samir Iker
1 year ago
Reply to  Jim Veenbaas

‘We might think rivers are dirty in the west, but compare that to the Ganges.”
That’s the other part of why these doomsday predictions are off the mark – different countries are at different levels of development, and often it’s just a matter of timr.

You really need to compare the Ganges to the Thames a 100 years back. Or, for instance, slums in Mumbai to those in London 19th century. And you will realise that things aren’t so bad, there are already programs underway to clean the Ganges incidentally, and birth rates are close to replacement levels in most Indian states, and increasing levels of energy generation capacity in India is green.

I am not saying this to pretend everything is hunky dory right now. Just that there is a good chance the majority of the world would see declining populations, clean environments, high levels of clean energy etc in just a few decades.

Jim Veenbaas
Jim Veenbaas
1 year ago
Reply to  Samir Iker

Excellent comment. I honestly believe India is the only democracy with any economic muscle that has adopted a rational and balanced approach to climate change.

Jim Veenbaas
Jim Veenbaas
1 year ago
Reply to  Samir Iker

Excellent comment. I honestly believe India is the only democracy with any economic muscle that has adopted a rational and balanced approach to climate change.

Steve Jolly
Steve Jolly
1 year ago
Reply to  Jim Veenbaas

You are correct to call Extinction Rebellion/VHEM death cults, because that’s what they are. I’ve made the point before that Malthusianism was created by a cleric and hits the same emotional buttons as every other apocalyptic religion/cult does. First, it introduces an original sin. In original Malthusianism, the sin was reproduction, or in other words, sex is bad. In modern times, consumption replaces sex because technology has rendered sex more or less irrelevant and because a lot of the prophets of the new religion were former free love hippy types. Second, it warns of the coming apocalypse. Overpopulation, climate change, ecosystem destruction. Our entire civilization will collapse into anarchy and we’ll be fighting over scraps in the streets while we all slowly die alone in the wasteland our sin has wrought. This is the fire and brimstone part of the sermon, where we’re supposed to tremble like sinners in the hands of an angry God. Then, once the congregation is sufficiently terrified of the coming apocalypse, the preacher throws out the lifeline. Ah, but if you repent of your sins, you can be saved. Repent of your sins and change your evil ways and here’s how you do it….. This is where, of course, the preacher asks for money, obedience, self-flagellation, personal worship, volunteers for suicide bombings, or whatever else is needed for ‘the cause’. It’s religious fundamentalism disguised by the trappings of scientific rhetoric and propped up by the usual profiteers, politicians, and false prophets that utilize the religious zeal to enrich and empower themselves. Fazi, unfortunately, seems to be less interested in calling out the environmentalist movement for what it is than in trying to graft it onto his clearly left populist/nationalist ideology. He seems like a Bernie Sanders type socialist who simply wants to get the environmentalist left to abandon the corporate overlords (which they won’t because those corporate overlords represent their best, and only realistic, chance at enforcing their puritanical worldview beyond their small congregation) in order to defeat the oligarchs by any means necessary. I’m not particularly interested in indulging dangerous zealotry for any particular cause. It has a habit of coming back to bite whoever supports it regardless of the reason (see the Americans and the mujahedeen).

Last edited 1 year ago by Steve Jolly
Richard Hart
Richard Hart
1 year ago
Reply to  Jim Veenbaas

The only adherents amongst this daft cult are to be found in the already depopulation West. I note that that doomers are in no hurry to evangelize their ideology in Africa, Asia or the Middle East.

Jeff Chambers
Jeff Chambers
1 year ago
Reply to  Jim Veenbaas

The most perplexing thing for me is why the political elite and technocrats are so invested in climate alarmism and net zero.
The “climate emergency” is a social control project, not an environmental protection project. Our post-democratic elites are so invested in it because it’s a method of dissolving democracy, and introducing the total-control state.

Ted Ditchburn
Ted Ditchburn
1 year ago
Reply to  Jim Veenbaas

We had de-growth…that was the nasty, brutish and short life we had on a planet that has been far hotter than even the doomsters envisage, and also far colder, than it is today.
As the article says the ideas extreme eco believers propound, are just neo-Marxism dressed up in nice guy clothes for the irredeemably ‘kind’, mwah! mwah! generation.

Carmel Shortall
Carmel Shortall
1 year ago
Reply to  Jim Veenbaas

“The most perplexing thing for me is why the political elite and technocrats are so invested in climate alarmism and net zero. It doesn’t take a rocket surgeon to realize that wind and solar cannot sustain a modern economy. Yet the political leadership in every country in the west has embraced this ideology.

Might make an interesting subject in the future for some Unherd writer.”

Short answer: the green agenda was basically invented by the Club of Rome.

Two books, The Limits to Growth (1972) and more especially, The First Global Revolution (1991) set out their desire for both depopulation and the means by which they hope to achieve this end – namely to convince the masses of “the threat of global warming” – what many now hysterically refer to as the ‘Climate Emergency’.

In anticipation of the carbon bollocks of Net Zero etc, we now have the paying off of farmers and government purchasing of farms in the Netherlands and Ireland. Similar happening in the UK and rest of Europe. Famine for the plebs in the short term is the desired outcome. Then vat-grown biosludge™️ with additional insects for the survivors. Not a conspiracy theory! Just a conspiracy.

Chris W
Chris W
1 year ago
Reply to  Jim Veenbaas

As you say, the whole climate change thing and Net Zero is just pathetic. But.. it is scary when whole generations of school kids are taught about these things as facts, unarguable facts.

We will have the situation in about 30 years when new generations will have a powerful share of the vote, and this vote will only elect those who shout loudest about climate change. Anybody, who wants to talk about realism will not get elected.

So, Net Zero people will be in total control but they won’t have the means to deliver. Disaster and many deaths will follow.

Hugh Bryant
Hugh Bryant
1 year ago
Reply to  Jim Veenbaas

If the elites had themselves to adopt the lifestyle changes they wish to impose on the rest of us they’d pretty quickly shut up about it. They get away with this nonsense because we let them.

Paul K
Paul K
1 year ago
Reply to  Jim Veenbaas

Head, meet sand.

John Sullivan
John Sullivan
1 year ago
Reply to  Jim Veenbaas

Agreed – except perhaps for your final sentence. ‘Balanced, grow up’ Unherd writers make the same mistake as all the other indoctrinated cultists who don’t even realise they’re indoctrinated cultists.
“… one can be concerned about climate change and the state of the planet while still being sceptical …”
Those who ‘believe’ in the charlatan invention of man-made global climate change are anything but ‘sceptical’.

Rosie Brocklehurst
Rosie Brocklehurst
1 year ago
Reply to  Jim Veenbaas

I hardly think Malthusian ideas about population were garbage and nor have they been refuted -not 300 years ago or now. Your argument about consumption is one sided and blinkered. Today, while I can shop with Ocado in England despite 15 per cent food inflation, Somalia and Eritrea people are eating meal if they can get it, and Pacific islands are gradually being flooded. I don’t call inflation or starvation ‘efficiency’, (although some on here would). Authoritarian countries meanwhile have not only re-written history to suit themselves but appropriated science to fit the political needs of the moment. There, ideologically conflicting narratives are increasingly difficult to unravel by anyone in power who have not had the pressures from below yet to make them wake up. For decades, communist economic ideals have been subsumed by an oligarchy and forms of organised state capitalism that require markets. China’s State capitalism requires force and an imperative to imperial expansion and is also dependent on sustaining markets. They are increasingly subject to revolt. How western leaders have embraced climate change has been a hard slog for the scientists and informed activists and is anyway, fafr too little too late, due not in small part to people like you and deluded conspiratorial, unscientific ideologies. No Government of the West will embrace climate change without evidence. Your evidence is partial weak and thin and paid for by big oil.

Daniel Lee
Daniel Lee
1 year ago
Reply to  Jim Veenbaas

There was a time when the Marxists insisted we should move to Communism because it was a better, more productive economic system. Now they’re arguing we should move to it because it’s literally the opposite.

Emre S
Emre S
1 year ago
Reply to  Jim Veenbaas

Why do elites support his? I believe it has to do with AI. Human economic worth will drop to zero for most individuals quite soon with machines taking over most tasks including white collar jobs. When humans aren’t needed to do things, they won’t have jobs, and any money other than what the state gives them in lieu of the political power they wield. When these billions become primarily an unnecessary cost for the powers that be that must be fed it’s not a coincidence degrowth becomes a solution.

JJ Barnett
JJ Barnett
1 year ago
Reply to  Jim Veenbaas

“The most perplexing thing for me is why the political elite and technocrats are so invested in climate alarmism and net zero.”

The simple answer is in 2 parts:
The originators of this idea were steeped in an ideology called ‘technocracy’ that started becoming very popular among the rich during the 1920s and 30s. They really believe that there are ‘better humans’ (and their great wealth is a testament to that superior nature and talent, in their view). They do believe that the world should be organised by the superior/smarter people, for the sake of everyone. [Pathological Narcissism …may I introduce you to my dear friend God Complex]They worked out that this narrative would make it possible to monopolise and take control of all the world’s resources and power, and that they could achieve using ‘catastrophe’ narratives what might otherwise require force.
All of the ideas that underpin the UN’s ‘Agenda 21 / 2030’ and the WEF’s ‘Great Reset’ (aka ‘4th Industrial Revolution’) are actually the frameworks and ideas from earlier private clubs of the uber-wealthy technocrats. The most notable of these is the Club of Rome. A really good article on some of that history is here.

…The Greta Thunberg’s and the XR muppets chaining themselves to things around London, they’re simply the useful idiots and shock troops for an agenda that they can’t even comprehend. That agenda is an energy-based economy, centrally administered by a global governance structure which is ‘partnered’ with private business interests. The fundamental plan (of Technocracy… and the Club of Rome.. to the WEF and the Trilateral Comm. and the Bilderberg Grouping …to the UN, and the ISD etc) it actually hasn’t changed much at all. If you look at what’s happening systematically all over the world, it’s a dismantling of local structures (with democratic feedback mechanisms) and then that power is being funnelled upwards into opaque quasi-government structures that are supra-national and impervious to citizen feedback. It’s the privatisation of governance.

A point which is rarely made, but very important, is this: If you read Agenda 2030 and the WEFs website/white papers they make it clear that the system they are pushing is a new mode of governance called “Public / Private Partnerships”.

“Public / Private Partnerships” is the centrepiece of the agenda. It’s all over the websites, it’s headlining the conference programmes, it’s on billboards, they’re throwing events about it, and they’re forcing ESG into the lending market to coerce participation across the private sector. Klaus boasts about “penetrating the cabinets” and placing their people directly into the government side of the equation.
“Public / Private Partnerships” = the merger of the twin power bases of State and Private Capital/Business. That is a literal dictionary definition of fascism. In fact, Mussolini wrote that fascism should more rightly be called Corporatism because it was the State acting in concert [and in service of] the Private Capital [the billionaire oligarch class]. Quite so.
So we should call it what it is… They’re trying fascism again, but with new branding. And this time they want to impose it globally, instead of in 1 country.

Last edited 1 year ago by JJ Barnett
Rob C
Rob C
1 year ago
Reply to  Jim Veenbaas

I don’t see a way to comment on the article, only a way to reply to other comments. Am I missing it?
Anyway, my comment would be that the elite and deepstaters are very concerned about the declining rate of population growth. Just do an engine search on “Is overpopulation a problem?” and you’ll see all the deepstate entities saying that not only is overpopulation not a problem but population decline is the problem.

Samir Iker
Samir Iker
1 year ago
Reply to  Jim Veenbaas

‘We might think rivers are dirty in the west, but compare that to the Ganges.”
That’s the other part of why these doomsday predictions are off the mark – different countries are at different levels of development, and often it’s just a matter of timr.

You really need to compare the Ganges to the Thames a 100 years back. Or, for instance, slums in Mumbai to those in London 19th century. And you will realise that things aren’t so bad, there are already programs underway to clean the Ganges incidentally, and birth rates are close to replacement levels in most Indian states, and increasing levels of energy generation capacity in India is green.

I am not saying this to pretend everything is hunky dory right now. Just that there is a good chance the majority of the world would see declining populations, clean environments, high levels of clean energy etc in just a few decades.

Steve Jolly
Steve Jolly
1 year ago
Reply to  Jim Veenbaas

You are correct to call Extinction Rebellion/VHEM death cults, because that’s what they are. I’ve made the point before that Malthusianism was created by a cleric and hits the same emotional buttons as every other apocalyptic religion/cult does. First, it introduces an original sin. In original Malthusianism, the sin was reproduction, or in other words, sex is bad. In modern times, consumption replaces sex because technology has rendered sex more or less irrelevant and because a lot of the prophets of the new religion were former free love hippy types. Second, it warns of the coming apocalypse. Overpopulation, climate change, ecosystem destruction. Our entire civilization will collapse into anarchy and we’ll be fighting over scraps in the streets while we all slowly die alone in the wasteland our sin has wrought. This is the fire and brimstone part of the sermon, where we’re supposed to tremble like sinners in the hands of an angry God. Then, once the congregation is sufficiently terrified of the coming apocalypse, the preacher throws out the lifeline. Ah, but if you repent of your sins, you can be saved. Repent of your sins and change your evil ways and here’s how you do it….. This is where, of course, the preacher asks for money, obedience, self-flagellation, personal worship, volunteers for suicide bombings, or whatever else is needed for ‘the cause’. It’s religious fundamentalism disguised by the trappings of scientific rhetoric and propped up by the usual profiteers, politicians, and false prophets that utilize the religious zeal to enrich and empower themselves. Fazi, unfortunately, seems to be less interested in calling out the environmentalist movement for what it is than in trying to graft it onto his clearly left populist/nationalist ideology. He seems like a Bernie Sanders type socialist who simply wants to get the environmentalist left to abandon the corporate overlords (which they won’t because those corporate overlords represent their best, and only realistic, chance at enforcing their puritanical worldview beyond their small congregation) in order to defeat the oligarchs by any means necessary. I’m not particularly interested in indulging dangerous zealotry for any particular cause. It has a habit of coming back to bite whoever supports it regardless of the reason (see the Americans and the mujahedeen).

Last edited 1 year ago by Steve Jolly
Richard Hart
Richard Hart
1 year ago
Reply to  Jim Veenbaas

The only adherents amongst this daft cult are to be found in the already depopulation West. I note that that doomers are in no hurry to evangelize their ideology in Africa, Asia or the Middle East.

Jeff Chambers
Jeff Chambers
1 year ago
Reply to  Jim Veenbaas

The most perplexing thing for me is why the political elite and technocrats are so invested in climate alarmism and net zero.
The “climate emergency” is a social control project, not an environmental protection project. Our post-democratic elites are so invested in it because it’s a method of dissolving democracy, and introducing the total-control state.

Ted Ditchburn
Ted Ditchburn
1 year ago
Reply to  Jim Veenbaas

We had de-growth…that was the nasty, brutish and short life we had on a planet that has been far hotter than even the doomsters envisage, and also far colder, than it is today.
As the article says the ideas extreme eco believers propound, are just neo-Marxism dressed up in nice guy clothes for the irredeemably ‘kind’, mwah! mwah! generation.

Carmel Shortall
Carmel Shortall
1 year ago
Reply to  Jim Veenbaas

“The most perplexing thing for me is why the political elite and technocrats are so invested in climate alarmism and net zero. It doesn’t take a rocket surgeon to realize that wind and solar cannot sustain a modern economy. Yet the political leadership in every country in the west has embraced this ideology.

Might make an interesting subject in the future for some Unherd writer.”

Short answer: the green agenda was basically invented by the Club of Rome.

Two books, The Limits to Growth (1972) and more especially, The First Global Revolution (1991) set out their desire for both depopulation and the means by which they hope to achieve this end – namely to convince the masses of “the threat of global warming” – what many now hysterically refer to as the ‘Climate Emergency’.

In anticipation of the carbon bollocks of Net Zero etc, we now have the paying off of farmers and government purchasing of farms in the Netherlands and Ireland. Similar happening in the UK and rest of Europe. Famine for the plebs in the short term is the desired outcome. Then vat-grown biosludge™️ with additional insects for the survivors. Not a conspiracy theory! Just a conspiracy.

Jim Veenbaas
Jim Veenbaas
1 year ago

You would think after nearly three centuries of being utterly discredited, this Malthusian garbage would die an ignoble death. Yet it still persists.

Although capitalism needs continual consumption, it’s also driven to produce greater efficiency. We need fewer resources to produce the same amount of goods. The examples are everywhere – less land to produce more food, better fuel mileage for vehicles, less manpower to produce goods.

We are much more concerned about the environment in free-market democracies than authoritarian countries like Russia or China. There’s more trees in North America than 100 years ago. We might think rivers are dirty in the west, but compare that to the Ganges.

Degrowth groups like the Extinction Rebellion are death cults – period. They get zero traction with the general population and will whither away when the kids have to get real jobs.

The most perplexing thing for me is why the political elite and technocrats are so invested in climate alarmism and net zero. It doesn’t take a rocket surgeon to realize that wind and solar cannot sustain a modern economy. Yet the political leadership in every country in the west has embraced this ideology.

Might make an interesting subject in the future for some Unherd writer.

Hugh Bryant
Hugh Bryant
1 year ago

There may be individuals who are genuinely altruistic, but there is no class that is.

Every time one of these people, whether it’s Gary Lineker or Jeff Bezos, starts telling the rest of us we must give up our comforts, we must reply by telling them we’ll do so five years after they move to a small house, surrender all their excess wealth and stop driving, flying and eating in restaurants. We should crowdfund a commission to conduct surveillance and regular inspections to ensure there is no backsliding.

Then we’ll hear no more of it.

John Riordan
John Riordan
1 year ago
Reply to  Hugh Bryant

Not 5 years. Quite a few of them might happily do a 5 stretch in a bungalow if it meant purchasing a gilded lifestyle for ever afterwards. Make it for life and with a lead time of 25 years and that’ll do the job, probably.

Last edited 1 year ago by John Riordan
John Sullivan
John Sullivan
1 year ago
Reply to  John Riordan

Not 5 years, not ever. Slap the lot of ’em in jail and let ’em rot.

CHARLES STANHOPE
CHARLES STANHOPE
1 year ago
Reply to  John Riordan

“When a man knows he is to be hanged…it concentrates his mind wonderfully.”*

(* Dr SJ.)

John Sullivan
John Sullivan
1 year ago
Reply to  John Riordan

Not 5 years, not ever. Slap the lot of ’em in jail and let ’em rot.

CHARLES STANHOPE
CHARLES STANHOPE
1 year ago
Reply to  John Riordan

“When a man knows he is to be hanged…it concentrates his mind wonderfully.”*

(* Dr SJ.)

Emma Baillie
Emma Baillie
1 year ago
Reply to  Hugh Bryant

If only we still had one of those sort of political parties that believed in rich people paying high taxes…

John Riordan
John Riordan
1 year ago
Reply to  Hugh Bryant

Not 5 years. Quite a few of them might happily do a 5 stretch in a bungalow if it meant purchasing a gilded lifestyle for ever afterwards. Make it for life and with a lead time of 25 years and that’ll do the job, probably.

Last edited 1 year ago by John Riordan
Emma Baillie
Emma Baillie
1 year ago
Reply to  Hugh Bryant

If only we still had one of those sort of political parties that believed in rich people paying high taxes…

Hugh Bryant
Hugh Bryant
1 year ago

There may be individuals who are genuinely altruistic, but there is no class that is.

Every time one of these people, whether it’s Gary Lineker or Jeff Bezos, starts telling the rest of us we must give up our comforts, we must reply by telling them we’ll do so five years after they move to a small house, surrender all their excess wealth and stop driving, flying and eating in restaurants. We should crowdfund a commission to conduct surveillance and regular inspections to ensure there is no backsliding.

Then we’ll hear no more of it.

Christopher Chantrill
Christopher Chantrill
1 year ago

The whole point of politics is to force people.
Back in the day Marx said that the workers would be “immiserated” unless the capitalists were forced to de-immiserate them under Communism. But instead we got two centuries of growth. Who knew?
Now, with growth the normal, the Commies are saying that growth will kill us all, because climate and fossil fuels unless the growthers were fored to degrowth under neo-Communism.
Here’s a breathtaking thought. Politics and force and Commies is almost never the answer.

Greta Hirschman
Greta Hirschman
1 year ago

Yet, it would be hard to blame the Commies for WWI and WWII. Commies were a bunch of fellows before Lenin was sent back to Russia from Switzerland with the aim of helping German war efforts. Another German had the ‘brilliant’ idea of recreating Islamists to fight the Commies during WWII. An idea some Americans made their own. Let’s see what brilliant idea they can figure out to fight Islamism – another ‘solution’ based on we-are-all-equal-above-all-the-others.
History has plenty of such great ideas. Empires were happy with their growth policies until they collapsed, much often from their inner contradictions.
Politics is about persuasion more than force. Force often leads to resistance and setbacks.

Chris W
Chris W
1 year ago

Don’t agree. Politics is about persuasion for the <1% who can bother to be persuaded. For the 99+%, it is about force.

Chris W
Chris W
1 year ago

Don’t agree. Politics is about persuasion for the <1% who can bother to be persuaded. For the 99+%, it is about force.

Mr Sketerzen Bhoto
Mr Sketerzen Bhoto
1 year ago

To be fair to the original practical communists they were very much in favour of economic growth, just not that good at it, not for consumers anyway.

The green Marxists want unlimited immigration and degrowth, which can’t but make everybody poorer. Income is related to consumption anyway, to create a society with less possible consumption is to create one with less actual real income. If I can’t buy a car, or a beef sandwich, or a trip to France, I’m poorer than if I can. Despite the claims of equality here they seem to want to make everything more expensive, which rather than delivering communism would diver feudalism. You will have nothing and be happy, they won’t.

Rob C
Rob C
1 year ago

Were the original practical communists *really* in favor of growth or was that just deception? We make fun of the state capitalist countries for being incompetent at supplying their citizens with a consistent supply of the basics, even, but I think this may have been deliberate. If my theory that Leftism is basically Jesus’s moral beliefs taken to their ultimate, logical, extreme, then everybody must be allowed no more than the minimum required to survive.

Rob C
Rob C
1 year ago

Were the original practical communists *really* in favor of growth or was that just deception? We make fun of the state capitalist countries for being incompetent at supplying their citizens with a consistent supply of the basics, even, but I think this may have been deliberate. If my theory that Leftism is basically Jesus’s moral beliefs taken to their ultimate, logical, extreme, then everybody must be allowed no more than the minimum required to survive.

Roger Irwin
Roger Irwin
1 year ago

Who knew? Adam Smith.

Rosie Brocklehurst
Rosie Brocklehurst
1 year ago

Commies? Who exactly do you mean? As to force, I am so cold and tired I need to be forced to get out of bed some days. There is force and force. And there are ways to encourage that don’t feel like force. It is possible. But change is difficult. Like going on a diet. Foregoing cream cakes. Raising of consciousness by experience of others suffering. Caring for the starving over ones own greed. Politics and force was Capitalisms’ trajectory as well as Communisms. Both have been imperialist and expansionist.

Greta Hirschman
Greta Hirschman
1 year ago

Yet, it would be hard to blame the Commies for WWI and WWII. Commies were a bunch of fellows before Lenin was sent back to Russia from Switzerland with the aim of helping German war efforts. Another German had the ‘brilliant’ idea of recreating Islamists to fight the Commies during WWII. An idea some Americans made their own. Let’s see what brilliant idea they can figure out to fight Islamism – another ‘solution’ based on we-are-all-equal-above-all-the-others.
History has plenty of such great ideas. Empires were happy with their growth policies until they collapsed, much often from their inner contradictions.
Politics is about persuasion more than force. Force often leads to resistance and setbacks.

Mr Sketerzen Bhoto
Mr Sketerzen Bhoto
1 year ago

To be fair to the original practical communists they were very much in favour of economic growth, just not that good at it, not for consumers anyway.

The green Marxists want unlimited immigration and degrowth, which can’t but make everybody poorer. Income is related to consumption anyway, to create a society with less possible consumption is to create one with less actual real income. If I can’t buy a car, or a beef sandwich, or a trip to France, I’m poorer than if I can. Despite the claims of equality here they seem to want to make everything more expensive, which rather than delivering communism would diver feudalism. You will have nothing and be happy, they won’t.

Roger Irwin
Roger Irwin
1 year ago

Who knew? Adam Smith.

Rosie Brocklehurst
Rosie Brocklehurst
1 year ago

Commies? Who exactly do you mean? As to force, I am so cold and tired I need to be forced to get out of bed some days. There is force and force. And there are ways to encourage that don’t feel like force. It is possible. But change is difficult. Like going on a diet. Foregoing cream cakes. Raising of consciousness by experience of others suffering. Caring for the starving over ones own greed. Politics and force was Capitalisms’ trajectory as well as Communisms. Both have been imperialist and expansionist.

Christopher Chantrill
Christopher Chantrill
1 year ago

The whole point of politics is to force people.
Back in the day Marx said that the workers would be “immiserated” unless the capitalists were forced to de-immiserate them under Communism. But instead we got two centuries of growth. Who knew?
Now, with growth the normal, the Commies are saying that growth will kill us all, because climate and fossil fuels unless the growthers were fored to degrowth under neo-Communism.
Here’s a breathtaking thought. Politics and force and Commies is almost never the answer.

John Riordan
John Riordan
1 year ago

“This might seem like a sensible idea on paper; there’s no denying that fossil fuels have serious drawbacks in terms of climate alteration and pollution.”

Well there is, actually, at least in terms of the climate alteration part, which is not backed by serious science to the point where we can confidently declare that the proposition isn’t controversial. There is a large body of evidence and expert opinion that says that human activity is simply not having any dangerous near-term effects on the climate, for the simple reason that CO2 emissions whether natural or anthropogenic, don’t control atmospheric temperature. (This is not the same as claiming that CO2 has no effect at all. It does indeed have the effect of trapping radiation at certain wavelengths and thereby providing a warming effect, but beyond a certain concentration the effect is saturated).

However, the part relating to pollution is of course correct: the total global effort to use fossil fuels in all forms including coal is extremely polluting. An interesting factoid here is that the most radioactively-polluting energy source is not, as many would imagine, nuclear power, but coal, because the trace amounts of radioactive elements in coal when it is burnt are emitted in the exhaust from power stations, and this easily exceeds the tiny amounts of radioactive emissions from the nuclear power industry itself.

On the final point:

“This is the ultimate paradox of degrowth communism: its proponents may want to overthrow capitalism, but their ideology is actually empowering the globalist capitalist elites they claim to be fighting.”

There is no paradox here: most hard-left activists are really nothing more than disenfranchised would-be aristocrats themselves. Their aim, if successful, is not to rejoin the newly impoverished masses, but to share power with the established elites. This may make them scumbags, agreed, but sadly for the rest of us it is at least a strategy that has some chance of actual success.

Last edited 1 year ago by John Riordan
John Riordan
John Riordan
1 year ago

“This might seem like a sensible idea on paper; there’s no denying that fossil fuels have serious drawbacks in terms of climate alteration and pollution.”

Well there is, actually, at least in terms of the climate alteration part, which is not backed by serious science to the point where we can confidently declare that the proposition isn’t controversial. There is a large body of evidence and expert opinion that says that human activity is simply not having any dangerous near-term effects on the climate, for the simple reason that CO2 emissions whether natural or anthropogenic, don’t control atmospheric temperature. (This is not the same as claiming that CO2 has no effect at all. It does indeed have the effect of trapping radiation at certain wavelengths and thereby providing a warming effect, but beyond a certain concentration the effect is saturated).

However, the part relating to pollution is of course correct: the total global effort to use fossil fuels in all forms including coal is extremely polluting. An interesting factoid here is that the most radioactively-polluting energy source is not, as many would imagine, nuclear power, but coal, because the trace amounts of radioactive elements in coal when it is burnt are emitted in the exhaust from power stations, and this easily exceeds the tiny amounts of radioactive emissions from the nuclear power industry itself.

On the final point:

“This is the ultimate paradox of degrowth communism: its proponents may want to overthrow capitalism, but their ideology is actually empowering the globalist capitalist elites they claim to be fighting.”

There is no paradox here: most hard-left activists are really nothing more than disenfranchised would-be aristocrats themselves. Their aim, if successful, is not to rejoin the newly impoverished masses, but to share power with the established elites. This may make them scumbags, agreed, but sadly for the rest of us it is at least a strategy that has some chance of actual success.

Last edited 1 year ago by John Riordan
Bryan Dale
Bryan Dale
1 year ago

Free markets are the best means ever invented for the efficient use of scarce resources. Any government imposed system will not only make us poorer but increase the impact of humans on the environment.

Bryan Dale
Bryan Dale
1 year ago

Free markets are the best means ever invented for the efficient use of scarce resources. Any government imposed system will not only make us poorer but increase the impact of humans on the environment.

Frank Ott
Frank Ott
1 year ago

We cannot have perpetual growth on a finite planet. If one doesn’t bel