They make a desert and call it peace: Robert Manne on climate denials victory


The deniers victory looks something like this (Source: Skynews)

They make a desert and call it peace…” – Tacitus

 I’m only just begun reading Robert Manne’s article on the “victory” of climate change denial:

So far nations and the international ‘community’ have failed conspicuously to rise to the challenge posed by these dangers. Since the Rio Earth Conference of 1992, which initiated the search for an international agreement, carbon dioxide emissions have risen by 40% or more. At Kyoto in 1997, a first, modest agreement was reached. It did nothing to prevent the pace of emissions increasing. Since the failure of the Copenhagen conference in 2009 to find a replacement for Kyoto, there has been no prospect of any new international agreement. Nothing was expected from the conference held at Rio in June on the 20th anniversary of the initial international gathering. Nothing was achieved. Elizabeth Kolbert of the New Yorker has captured perfectly the world’s response so far to the warning issued by climate scientists 20 years ago: “It may seem impossible to imagine that a technologically advanced society could choose, in essence, to destroy itself, but that is what we are now in the process of doing.”

More comments and discussion forthcoming – but tell me what you think.

I have argued for many years that “we” have failed.  The failure is not simply our inability to reverse atmospheric CO2 levels.

We failed to recognise the ferocity of the conservative “counter-reformation”.

As I noted in response to Graeme Redfearn’s article, we have heard the call to arms:

What we are seeing is a counter-reformation: in short an attack on the last 50 years of progressive politics, government regulation and even secularisation. It is nothing more than a campaign of revenge against those that dare question the privileged world view of the few.

They have looked for the enemy, and have seen us: progressives, liberals, greens, the LGBT community, indigenous Australians, the irreligious and scientists.

We have dared (dared!) to suggest the ethical circle of concern be drawn ever more broadly to include not just women, gays and minorities but even non-human species. Perhaps even the planet itself.

This may explain the cause of the barely comprehensible rage that finds expression in the denial movement, anti-gay marriage stance of conservatives and resurgent right-wing parties of Europe.

From the rage of the Tea Party against “leftist elites’ and News Corporations relentless war on the mildly progressive centre right Gillard government, the politics of hate and division seem to rule.

This in turn lead has led to a sense of defeat or deflation amongst those fighting to preserve a livable climate: “Why cant the public see what’s happening?”

As recent polling suggests, concern for climate change and environmental issues amongst the Australian public has declined. It would seem a few decent rain showers that have filled some damns and angst over the “carbon tax” has turned many into climate agnostics: in essence, they may accept that the climate is changing, but they’re going to hold off supporting policies designed to mitigate climate change and its impacts. 

So if the deniers hold the levers of power – as Redfearn has pointed out – and the public has no appetite for action and prefers the safe, warm media bubble of Master Chef and endless home renovation projects what can we – should– do?

Firstly, contemplate the use of counter power.  


2 thoughts on “They make a desert and call it peace: Robert Manne on climate denials victory

  1. Sou says:

    We’re on a slow path to mass suicide and all because some people would rather die than modernise energy sources and infrastructure.

    This is the ‘Critical Decade’. There is still time to prevent annihilation. Will we use it well?

  2. John Davidson says:

    Manne shows a dire lack of knowledge on multiple issues. Science isn’t determined by votes (i.e. a consensus) but how well a hypothesis fits the known facts and isn’t broken as new facts appear (e.g. observations). The bottomless pit of money is on the side of the warmists, well in excess of $100 billion over the last 25 years. On the same side we find the media, which is never reluctant to publish scare stories, and in some cases very keen to reflect the demographic group that seem to be the readers/listenders/viewers (think Farfax, ABC). What Manne and others don’t get is that there is wide agreementthat Co2 should, in theory, cause some warming and the real question is how much. Observational evidence, both recent and historic, indicates negligible warming, even less than the theoretical warming because other climate forces counterbalance that warming (i.e. there’s negative feedback). The IPCC and numerous alarmists claim that there should be positive feedback, but that’s not appearing in temperature record. Manne a leading public intellectual? Only in his own mind.

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