In the last two decades, in particular, we have been confronted by a climatologist information tsunami. It started with the announcement that something called ‘The Greenhouse Effect’ was at work on a global level; an unwelcome warming purported to be the result of ‘greenhouse gases’, most notably CO2, linked to the industrial revolution and subsequent industrial and transportation developments across the globe.
The term ‘Greenhouse Effect’ then faded out, to be replaced by the term ‘Global Warming’. This took a rather broader sweep in describing a warming trend also exacerbated by emissions like methane and nitrous oxides, as well as problems associated with an increase in acidification of the oceans. But things got a lot more complex around the year 2,000 when the term ‘Climate Change’ then usurped its predecessor.
Climate Change introduces a far wider remit to the whole equation, greatly broadening the potential terms of reference of the debate. The term, one can hardly fail to observe, sheds any mention of ‘warming’. Now climatologists and government were given license to state “We may have been wrong about the warming affects, but we were right about climate change.”
Controversy had already surrounded the various prognoses of The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change established by the United Nations to deal with slowing the rate of global warming. Amongst other things, climatologists struggled to agree upon how many parts per million of atmospheric CO2 constituted a red line beyond which one dared not go.
In the meantime, the ‘green movement’ seized upon CO2 emission increases, and vigorously proposed a renewable ‘clean energy’ solution capable of providing adequate energy for all, at very little cost to the environment and biosphere.
The political implications of devising an energy strategy capable of satisfying the climatologists, the corporations (upon which government finances heavily depend) and the vociferous Greens, took on an ever greater significance.
The battle-lines were drawn: would climate change become the biggest single catalyst for rethinking and reworking centuries of reliance on carbon emitting fossil fuels, mined at ever greater depths, so as to keep the globalised market place chundering onwards, forever eviscerating the sacred sites of nature’s diminishing untainted canvas? Or would the whole thing be fudged?
Al Gore’s leap to preeminence as the seer of climatic Armageddon was followed by other famous entertainers, sporting instantly acquired green credentials. The NASA space agency also got in on the act, pushing forward its own take of the state of play. A few eminent detractors held out with a very different prognosis on the science, which rapidly earned them the title of ‘deniers’. Nevertheless, we were required to face the possibility that dear old Earth might actually be moving into a phase of global cooling, not warming at all.
That pretty much brings us to where we are today. For we Westerners, ever greater swathes of giant wind turbines and banks of solar panels bear testimony to the political credence given to the favoured scientific prognosis: that CO2 and other related particulate emissions must be kept below the red line of 400 parts per million.
The Greens eulogize about the numbers of jobs that this ‘green revolution’ will create, while nobody seems to want an eighty metre wind turbine near their second, or even first home.
But all this might still just about pass for some degree of progress on the road to a greener, cleaner world…if it were not for one or two areas of absolute denial that present a great schism in the overall scheme of things. Areas of denial which have the affect of raising a large question mark about the authenticity of the entire process.
The first is the fact that it is ‘war’ which produces the single greatest volume of man made CO2 emission on this planet. It is the vast military industrial complex which stands behind the preeminence of the global market place and neoliberal capitalism itself, that exceeds any other single activity on Earth in contributing to climatologists views on what is causing climate change.
Have you ever heard military exercises and war being raised as the major cause of man made climate change? Not likely. No, that is taboo. Not just in governmental circles, but in just about every institution concerned with climate change, including the Greens and George Monbiot.
To leave the war machine out of the picture renders highly questionable the entire motivation behind correcting the consensus backed causes of climate change. It is taboo, because the great majority of consensus supporters are part and parcel of an economic system whose roots – and wealth – are dependent upon the vast financial earnings derived from arms sales and the military industrial machine, whose engines are kept turning 24/7 by vast volumes of carbon sucked up and mined from beneath the Earth’s surface. And that, it seems, is very unwelcome news.
The general exclusion from public debate of the military’s role in raising global emission levels, is indicative of a grand scale cover-up which must be laid bare if any genuine progress in planetary healing is to be made.
I will tell about the second area of ‘absolute denial’ in my next posting to come soon. In the meantime, do try to consider the implications of ‘the denial of war’ on the way our society operates today…
Julian Rose is an early pioneer of UK organic farming, an international activist, holistic thinker and writer. He is President of The International Coalition to Protect the Polish Countryside, and is the author of two books with some very powerful perspectives: Changing Course for Life and In Defence of Life.
Lot’s of interesting things going on. You can find out more about his work at: www.changingcourseforlife.info