Tuesday, November 9, 2021

Net Zero Watch: Net Zero Referendum campaign passes first hurdle


In this newsletter:

1) UK Government has to respond to Net Zero Referendum push
Guido Fawkes, 5 November 2021

2) Welcome to Net Zero: Green shift will lead to 'permanently' higher energy bills, Bank of England warns 
The Daily Telegraph, 5 November 2021

3) Nick Rosen: A Net Zero referendum? Bring it on
The Spectator, 6 November 2021

4) Nigel Farage may back a Brexit-like referendum on Net Zero
The New American, 5 November 2021

5) Sean O'Grady: A referendum on Britain’s Net Zero policy? It’s Brexit all over again
The Independent, 2 November 2021

6) Allister Heath: We need a referendum on net zero to save Britain from the green blob
The Daily Telegraph, 20 October 2021

7) Brendan O'Neill: Climate Derangement Syndrome
Spiked, 5 November 2021

Full details:

1) UK Government has to respond to Net Zero Referendum push
Guido Fawkes, 5 November 2021
Despite Boris’s attempts to resist calls for another referendum, a petition calling for the government to hold a vote on whether to keep the 2050 net zero target has today reached 10,000 signatures – meaning that the government must formally respond.

If the petition hits 100,000 signatures it will have to be debated in Parliament, so Boris may have to reconsider his stance yet. Re-ordering our society to achieve net zero is a massive change; one that has not yet been democratically endorsed. 
Let the politicians who want us to eat bugs, have cold showers, lukewarm heat pumped houses, higher energy bills and far more expensive foreign holidays, make their case!
2) Welcome to Net Zero: Green shift will lead to 'permanently' higher energy bills, Bank of England warns 
The Daily Telegraph, 5 November 2021
The spike in energy costs is being partly driven by a global switch away from coal, Andrew Bailey has said, as he warned households face permanently higher prices because of a shift to green policies.

The Governor of the Bank of England told BBC’s Today programme that a switch out of coal could leave households with a “more permanent” rise in energy bills as Britain moves towards a net zero economy by 2050.

He said: “In the transition, which is obviously going to be a quite long run transition, it is reasonable and necessary to think we might transition from what I might call more polluting hydrocarbons - coal - through greater use of less polluting hydrocarbons and eventually, let’s hope, we emerge in a much more complete renewable economy.

“It is possible some of what we’re seeing with gas prices at the moment is already climate change starting to have an effect if there is a switch out of coal, which a lot of people want to see, it is possible that is part of the story."

Full story
3) Nick Rosen: A Net Zero referendum? Bring it on
The Spectator, 6 November 2021

The left-green axis has been in uproar in recent weeks because several right-wing commentators have suggested holding a referendum on the government’s net zero measures. If the Telegraph, Sun, and Reform party support it, say critics of a referendum, then it’s got to be a bad idea.
As an environmental campaigner since the 1970s, I say bring it on. Even if the initial impetus for a referendum came from right-wing groups, net zero will affect our livelihoods and basic freedoms for decades. The way to counter accusations that it is the invention of a woke elite is to widen the debate.

What will be the terrain of that debate? And what is the net zero equivalent of the Irish question during the Brexit referendum — the issue that, if overlooked because it suits both sides to do so, will cause a paralysing disconnect between legislation and action?

After decades of environmental campaigners being ignored or derided, it's hardly surprising the current set of policies devised had some deep-seated flaws. Heat pumps are a case in point. They only work by using a huge amount of electricity. Green advocates also understate the hit to our current standard of living in the coming post-carbon era of reduced consumption and 'climate justice'.

As with Brexit, the eco-lobby fear voters 'won’t understand the real issues'. This translates into their failure to make the case for major systemic reform to reduce global warming.

Insulate Britain has taken a blatantly saleable policy (save money and reduce carbon emissions by massive insulation of all buildings) and made it politically toxic. Greenpeace and Friends of the Earth for years promoted the idea that small changes to our consumption patterns and waste-bin arrangements would somehow be enough to see us through the green transition. They did this to placate their mainly urban, mainly graduate supporters.

Boris won Brexit, and the last election, by promising to 'take back control'. The putative green referendum would also be about power — in both senses of the word. There are many other factors, from food to biodiversity, but energy production is responsible for 75 per cent of all carbon emissions. So who will control energy production?

The Swiss bank UBS puts the cost of cleaning up all power grids on the entire planet by 2050 at between $120 and $160 trillion — financed by taxes and energy consumers — in other words, by us all. The UK, with a 1 per cent share of global emissions, is probably on the hook for $1.4 trillion – about half our annual GDP.

UBS says the huge sum is needed to 'retool the world's existing capital base to run on clean fuels'. But what if that capital base, created in the early 20th century, is wrongly constructed for our needs in the 21st century? That is the elephant in the room — the issue that neither side wants to discuss.

A referendum could help decide if we really want to bet the whole trillion on what may prove to be the wrong horse.
This week’s announcements about green finance at COP26, and the dubious promise to 'quit coal' skate over the role of the energy companies. Paradoxically they are being tasked with selling less of what they make. That will only work if they are subsidised or nationalised.
Some green campaigners will be advocating decentralised power supplies, known in the trade as micro-grids. Just as the internet revolutionised communications by turning the broadcast one-to-many model into a multicast many-to-many, so the energy grid can be retooled to allow every energy consumer to become a producer.

But BT Openreach turned out to be one of the biggest obstacles to the rollout of high-speed broadband in the UK. National Grid boss John Pettigrew told the Sunday Times last weekend that his company was geared up for the coming multi-directional age. But it's possible he is gearing up to obstruct it.

It would 'require a complete reorganisation of the regulatory arrangement for utility services,' said Subhes Bhattacharyya, Professor of Energy Economics and Policy at De Montfort University.
The area where left and right-wing libertarians may be able to agree is that net zero policies can prevent large corporations skimming a profit if energy production takes place on our rooves. The network for creating and distributing energy will move decisively in the direction of the individual. 
Opponents of decarbonisation may have dreamed up the idea of a referendum on net zero — but that doesn't mean they will win it. Exposing the environmental lobby’s beliefs and arguments to debate can only increase their resilience.
4) Nigel Farage may back a Brexit-like referendum on Net Zero
The New American, 5 November 2021
Nigel Farage, one of the main promoters of the Brexit campaign, which eventually led the United Kingdom to leave the European Union in 2020, signaled last week that he may have picked his next cause to champion — a referendum asking British citizens their opinion about Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s new “Net Zero” climate plan.
In a tweet, Farage stated, “This could well be my latest campaign.”
“I’ve been saying that the rush to net zero, that the way in which it’s being done, is going to be ruinous,” Farage said. “It will lead to yet more huge transfers of money from the poor to the rich, and given that China isn’t going to play the game anyway, by the looks of it nor is Russia either, what’s it going to achieve?”
According to Johnson, his ambitious plan, which was published in the weeks before the U.K. hosted COP 26 in Glasgow, Scotland, will harness the “unique power of capitalism” to bring down the cost of converting to so-called green energy “so we can make net zero a net win for people, for industry, for the UK and for the planet.”

It will also likely cost the average British citizen a lot more in taxes and higher energy costs. And it’s those people — as in the Brexit movement — that Farage believes will be vital in bringing about energy sanity to the United Kingdom.

“[Johnson is] pushing for Net Zero, but it’s supported by all the other parties in Westminster, massive, over 90% of MPs are strongly in favour of Net Zero,” Farage noted. “And yet, just like the European question, my sense of it’s been and a growing sense of it’s been, that out there in the shires, people are asking, hang on, who’s paying for all this? Are you serious?”

Allister Heath, the editor of the Daily Telegraph, seems to have given Farage the idea. In an October 20 column, Heath argued that “Voters don’t like being treated like naughty children, let alone apathetic imbeciles, by technocrats convinced that they know best.”

Heath admonished Johnson and the Conservative government for their rush to decarbonize the U.K. in the lead-up to COP 26. According to the editor, some in government seem to have forgotten the lessons of Brexit less than two years after it became reality.

“It beggars belief, therefore, that a government of Brexiteers, in power only because they led a populist rebellion against another cross-party consensus, have forgotten this crucial lesson when it comes to net zero, and are seeking to enshrine a revolution without consulting the public,” Heath wrote.

In the days prior to COP26, the Daily Telegraph  commissioned a poll on whether the British public supported having a referendum on the issue of Johnson’s Net Zero plan. A plurality of more than 1,700 polled supported a public vote about the issue, with 42 percent saying they either tended to support or strongly supported holding a national referendum on the issue.
Only 30 percent tended to oppose or strongly opposed a vote on the subject, with 28 percent being undecided.
Farage referenced the poll, saying, “Clearly a lot of you out there feel, this shouldn’t be done without you being asked, and this isn’t really what you voted for in 2019.”

Still, even Farage, who is no stranger to controversy, felt the need to issue a caveat. “But is a referendum on a specific issue like this really feasible, or should referendums be saved for major constitutional questions?”

The costs of Johnson’s Net Zero pledge will be high regardless of whether those costs come directly in the form of taxation, or in consumer prices going up if only corporations are taxed. It seems that many British citizens want their say about that.

Farage, who has some experience with controversial British referendums, has been prolific in his activism, having been a member of European Parliament from 1999 until the U.K.’s exit from the EU in 2020.

Farage was the leader of the UKIP party, which featured prominently in the Brexit referendum. In late 2018, he helped form the Brexit Party, which loudly called for a “no deal” Brexit as former Prime Minister Theresa May struggled to achieve a deal on the U.K.’s exit from the European Union.

Since July of this year, Farage has hosted a call-in radio show on LBC in Great Britain. Perhaps Boris Johnson and the U.K. government’s absurd push for “net zero” emissions has reawakened the political fight in the radio host.
5) Sean O'Grady: A referendum on Britain’s Net Zero policy? It’s Brexit all over again
The Independent, 2 November 2021
Those who want net zero to happen have to learn the lessons of the lost battles of Brexit – and start to take on the arguments against the net zero plan that are resonating with people

According to Boris Johnson, it’s not what the politicians or the corporations think about the climate crisis that matters, but what the “punters” think. That’s right enough. He also says that the punters – the people – are demanding change, and that therefore it must happen. That, I fear, we can’t be so sure about.
One of the more disturbing bits of climate news flying around in recent days was an opinion poll that suggested a sizeable chunk of the population – arguably a majority – wants a referendum on whether or not we should pursue the government’s net zero policy. The poll showed that 42 per cent do want such a vote, with 30 per cent opposed, and a large number of “don’t knows”. Leaving the undecideds out, that makes 58 per cent who’d like a referendum on the net zero policy.
There are a few voices being raised in support of the idea, such as Steve Baker and Iain Duncan Smith; a small social media campaign – Car26 on Twitter – up and running; and, predictably, Nigel Farage has declared that it might be his next campaign. So, yes, it’s Brexit all over again, folks.

Of course, after all that we’ve been through, and are still going through, Britain needs another referendum like a hole in the ozone layer, but whenever people are offered a vote on anything – and certainly something that’s going to cost them money – they tend to seize on it. The better news is that a global opinion poll conducted by the UN found overwhelming belief – two thirds – that there really is a climate emergency, with an impressive 81 per cent of respondents in the UK agreeing.

It looks, then, rather like support for net zero is enthusiastic in principle, but fragile and shallow when it comes to the practical measures (ie paying for it). The danger is that if any opportunity arises for that uncertainty to bubble up into political influence it will weaken the resolve of political leaders to hold the line against it – just like Brexit. To put it crudely, the movement for a referendum on net zero is being used as a kind of Trojan horse or entry drug for full-on climate crisis denial and the abandonment of the target by the UK, just as the campaign for an “in/out” EU referendum ended up with the pretty hard and antagonistic Brexit we have today.

All that is needed, as with Brexit before it, is for the anti net zero lobby to capture the Conservative Party through a combination of external pressure and internal activism. This is what forced David Cameron to promise a referendum, when he was threatened with being ousted in around 2013-14, and the Brexit process was set in train.
The external pressure on Brexit in those days and after was exerted by Ukip and then the Brexit Party. Now they have been succeeded by Reform UK, whose leader Richard Tice is standing in the Bexley by-election. Reform UK say Tice is “standing against Boris Johnson’s highly taxed nanny state and net-stupid energy policies”. He won’t win, but Johnson’s advocacy for net zero (and his economic policy) has opened up some space on the right.

The point is that those who want net zero to happen have to learn the lessons of the lost battles of Brexit – and start to take on the arguments against the net zero plan that are resonating with people. Just as it was no good relying on expert economists and their forecasts last time round, it will be no use thinking that consensus views of climate scientists and their own modelling decades hence will win public opinion this time around.
As with Brexit, and Covid for that matter, you can always find some maverick or conspiracy theorist with a spurious qualification to challenge the status quo, and anyone can produce a chart pointing in the opposite direction for anything, in a post-truth world.

Project Climate Change Fear won’t make people support prohibitively expensive change, even in rich nations. A few months ago, prosperous Switzerland had a referendum, as is their habit, and rejected their government’s climate crisis plan.
President Macron, for other reasons, has talked about a referendum that will put the climate into the French constitution.

My climate change fear, as it happens, is that the climate deniers will win the arguments. When they say that whatever the UK does is irrelevant because China and India are going to carry on burning coal, what is the answer to that? It ain’t “global leadership” or “setting an example”, because no one believes the Chinese or Indians will take much notice. It’s the analogous argument to the old one about nuclear disarmament: if Britain gives up its nukes, so will Russia. It sounds hopelessly naive.

And, yes, who is going to pay for the electric cars and the air and ground pumps that will replace our gas boilers? There is actually still no honest answer to that, and if there was one –“it’s you, mate” – it wouldn’t exactly be a vote winner. The cheapest new electric vehicles are about £20,000 and few with any practical range are available for less than that, while air and ground heat source pumps are also new and unfamiliar, as well as expensive. Even those who want to make sacrifices for the planet will be reluctant to vote for having no car, or being cold at home in winter – which is what the deniers will be claiming.

And as for the billions rightly going to developing countries to help them deal with the devastation the rich industrialised West has inflicted on them, well, we know what a disturbingly large proportion of the public thinks about international development aid, don’t we?

There is lots of complacency around the climate crisis, but the most dangerous of all is that the arguments have been won, and the case has been made, and all we need to do is to get on with it. We are far from that, evidently, because if the peoples of the world were as angry as they should be then there’d be no problem at the Cop26 conference.
But the arguments have not been won, and the punters are not yet pushing their leaders to implement the necessary changes. Quite the opposite, in fact. That’s the scary thing.
6) Allister Heath: We need a referendum on net zero to save Britain from the green blob
The Daily Telegraph, 20 October 2021
As with membership of the EU, the political elite is imposing a revolution on the public without consent

Does the blob never learn? Voters don’t like being treated like naughty children, let alone apathetic imbeciles, by technocrats convinced that they know best. Much of the electorate is now in a permanently defiant, irritable mood. It has grown allergic to stitch-ups by the ruling class across Westminster, the City, the arts and academia, and is repelled by attempts to impose a single political vision as a fait accompli, with no debate and no consultation. This applies as much to radical environmentalism and net zero, the groupthink du jour, as it does to Brexit, the NHS, overseas wars, crime or immigration.

The universal franchise was hard-won. The electorate is deeply attached to its democratic rights, not just when it comes to form – elections being held, and results respected – but also in terms of ethos. It expects the great questions of the day to be carefully discussed, and for voters to have the ultimate choice between meaningfully different options. Decisions cannot be delegated to a self-anointed, conformist oligarchy.

Voters hate it when, as with the EU, they were told by Labour, Tories and Lib Dems alike that ever-closer union was the best of all possible worlds, that the only acceptable debate was about the speed of integration, and that only a racist would disagree. Ordinary folks’ revenge, when it came, was devastating.

It beggars belief, therefore, that a government of Brexiteers, in power only because they led a populist rebellion against another cross-party consensus, have forgotten this crucial lesson when it comes to net zero, and are seeking to enshrine a revolution without consulting the public. Yes, the vast majority, at least in wealthy nations, wants to improve the environment, reduce pollution, bolster biodiversity, treat animals better and prevent man-made catastrophes.

But that is where the near-universal consensus ends: the details of how to proceed are explosively contentious, and require democratic assent to be legitimate. The parallel with Brexit is clear: the fact that voters all agreed that another European war must be avoided didn’t mean they all wanted to fuse their countries into a superstate.
The Government has learnt the wrong lessons from Covid – in a genuine health or military emergency, the electorate temporarily gives its support to any government it believes is doing its best. Even in such cases, a minority will favour alternative solutions, such as a Swedish approach.

Decarbonisation is entirely different to the pandemic, whether or not you judge that we face a climate emergency. The public won’t automatically rally around whatever the government proposes. Many, perhaps most, will hate much of it. Net zero involves long-term, hugely significant measures that could drastically modify lifestyles and give the state immense, permanent powers to socially engineer as it sees fit.

Do you agree that all new petrol and diesel cars should be banned in just nine years’ time? Or that gas boilers should be replaced, at great cost, with heat pumps, a technology that doesn’t quite work yet? Are you willing to eat less meat and pay higher taxes? Do you disagree entirely, or accept some of these ideas but not others? Or would you prefer to take it more slowly given China’s reluctance to act?

The shocking reality is that how you answer is irrelevant. The public isn’t being given a choice. The fact of, and speed, scale and method of decarbonisation have been decided: Tories, Labour and Lib Dems all agree on all the essentials. It doesn’t matter who wins the next election: a new orthodoxy rules supreme. There is no functioning democracy, no mechanism by which outcomes might change. This is a disgrace and extremely dangerous.

One doesn’t have to disagree with everything the Government is planning to be concerned. I really like electric cars, though I can’t see how banning combustion engines so quickly in the absence of better, long-range batteries can work. Why not let capitalism continue to organically shift consumers over? It is great that Boris rejects the hair-shirt, neo-communist approach to greening Britain, and that he backs nuclear and hydrogen.
But do I really trust a government that has waged war on the car, invented so-called low-traffic neighbourhoods and campaigned against Heathrow expansion not to revert to banning everything vaguely carbon-positive if it falls behind on its targets?

Why is its nudge unit advocating a tax on meat and producers and retailers of “high-carbon” food? The inflammatory document, disowned by the Government but commissioned by the Department for Business, demonises business travel and seeks to reduce international tourism and restrict airport expansion – goodbye, capitalist freedom.
Can the Government guarantee that it would never impose extreme restrictions, rationing on homes and business or even mini eco-lockdowns? Or use a punitive form of road pricing to drastically reduce mobility (as opposed to ensuring motorists pay appropriately for road usage)? Will the courts start striking down high-carbon housebuilding or farming?

Net zero isn’t a technical issue: it is an inherently political question, one of the greatest choices we have ever been asked to make. In the sickening absence of disagreement between the parties, a massive, uncontrollable backlash is guaranteed, at least when the bills start to drop. The only question is who the new green-sceptic Nigel Farage will be, and the next Boris figure? What will Vote Leave II look like?

Johnson should preempt this war, which could destroy the Tories, and call a referendum on net zero today. His obligation, in doing so, would be to explain in exhaustive, costed detail how he proposes to achieve the changes he so fervently believes in. The No side would present its case, holding Johnson to account, proposing alternatives, with the public taken through the pros and cons and trade-offs. The results should be legally binding, with MPs compelled to implement the verdict, and the question tightly defined. The Government will have its work cut out: the Swiss have just rejected plans to slash their own emissions and to slap higher taxes on fossil fuels.

The green challenge is too important, its implications too dramatic, to be left to an establishment that has embraced net zero as if it were a new religion. The public must have the final say, and the only way this will happen is through another referendum.

7) Brendan O'Neill: Climate Derangement Syndrome
Spiked, 5 November 2021
It’s the hysteria about climate change that poses the greatest threat to humanity.


Climate change is going to be worse than the Holocaust. It will give rise to a global epidemic of gang rape. There’ll be murder, war, slaughter. Your friends will die. Your children, too. The carbon-fuelled heating of the planet will bring ‘human life as we know it’ crashing to a violent, fiery end. It will be nothing less than doomsday.

These are just some of the hysterical claims that have been made in the discussion around COP26. As world leaders private-jetted their way to Glasgow for the latest UN gabfest on how to save the planet from mankind’s dirt, hubris and avarice, there was a severe outbreak of Climate Derangement Syndrome. Prime ministers, bishops, princes and noisy greens all tried to outdo each other with their apocalyptic warnings. It has been a grim competition of catastrophes, an orgy of hyperbolic prophecies that wouldn’t look out of place in the Book of Revelation.

It all kicked off months before COP26 opened. When the IPCC published its latest report in August, delirious scribes across the Western world were reaching for their thesauruses in order that they might drive home to dim readers just how nightmarish the future promises to be. It’s ‘code red!’ for humanity, they all insisted, uniformly.
If we don’t get a handle on carbon emissions soon, ‘our future climate could well become some kind of hell on Earth’, said Tim Palmer of Oxford University. The planet is on fire and it’s our fault – we’re ‘guilty as hell’, declared the Guardian, coming off like a crackpot millenarian preacher. Every unpleasant weather event was laid at the feet of dastardly mankind. ‘With raging wildfires, floods and pandemics, it seems like End Times – and it’s our own damned fault’, said one writer.

This feverish holding-up of the IPCC report as some kind of God-like indictment of mankind set the stage for the derangement we have seen around COP26. The Archbishop of Canterbury, the supposed moral anchor of the nation, set the tone with his perverse insistence that the consequences of climate change will overshadow even the greatest crime in history – the Holocaust. It will be a genocide ‘on an infinitely greater scale’, he said. He has since apologised for this shameful marshalling of the horrors of the Holocaust to the moany middle-class cause of going green.

Boris Johnson, who just a few years ago was writing newspaper columns slamming eco-hysteria, says climate change is a doomsday clock counting down to a ‘detonation that will end human life as we know it’. If we don’t cut carbon emissions, it will soon be ‘too late for our children’, he said, the clear implication being that climate change will gift the next generation a Mad Max-style wasteland in which life will barely be worth living. ‘It’s one minute to midnight’, said Boris. Actually, chirped the Archbishop of Canterbury, ‘the clock has run out’. Make your minds up – is it apocalypse now or apocalypse very soon?

Time has ‘quite literally run out’, said Prince Charles. He says we need to take a ‘war-like footing’ on climate change. Climate change is ‘another form of wartime’ and we may soon have to ration things like air travel, said famed globe-trotter Joanna Lumley. If COP26 fails, it will be a ‘death sentence’ for humankind, said UN secretary-general Antonio Guterres. ‘We’re digging our own graves’, he warned.

Of course it fell to the middle-class death cult Extinction Rebellion to spell out what the globalist elites largely only hint at. Cameron Ford, the viral spokesperson for XR-offshoot Insulate Britain, said in an interview with Owen Jones that climate change will mean running out of food and ‘societal collapse’. And then? ‘You’ll see slaughter. You’ll see rape. You’ll see murder.’ It gets worse, believe it or not. ‘[Our] friends and our siblings and our children – we will lose everything we love.’ Shorter version: everyone will die. Owen Jones made no pushback whatsoever against these lunatic, utterly unscientific claims.

Then it was revealed that XR’s very own Nostradamus – its famously batty co-founder Roger Hallam – has been feverishly predicting the descent of humanity into a barbarous living hell. An unearthed document he wrote last year while he was in jail on suspicion of conspiracy to commit criminal damage, cheerily titled ‘Advice to Young People, as you Face Annihilation’, painted a picture of the future that would give John the Elder a run for his money.
We will see ‘the collapse of our society’, says Hallam.
And like all the best mad prophets, he knows exactly what will happen next. ‘A gang of boys will break into your house demanding food. They will see your mother, your sister, your girlfriend, and they will gang rape her on the kitchen table. They will force you to watch, laughing at you. At the end, they will accuse you of enjoying it. They’ll take a cigarette and burn out your eyes with it. You will not be able to see anything again. This is the reality of climate change.’

You have been warned. You’d better start recycling.
It might feel tempting to write off Hallam’s demented prophesising as just another outburst from a man so odd that even the eco-loons of XR have distanced themselves from him. But in truth he is only adding flesh to the bones of the elites’ own Climate Derangement Syndrome.
When people like Hallam and Ford foretell slaughter and rape and the burning out of eyes in a future world ravaged to dust by carbon emissions, they’re merely putting pornographic colour to the elite consensus that climate change will be a Holocaust-level event in which millions will die. There isn’t a cigarette paper’s difference between the Archbishop of Canterbury’s prophecy of a climate calamity worse than the Holocaust and Cameron Ford’s millenarian intonements about slaughter, rape and murder. Show me a meaningful distinction between Professor Tim Palmer’s prediction of ‘hell on Earth’ and Roger Hallam’s prison visions of hell on Earth.

We need to talk about this. We need to talk about Climate Derangement Syndrome and how frankly batshit crazy it has become. More to the point, we need to talk about how dangerous this way of thinking is to reason, freedom and the future prosperity of humankind. Indeed, it isn’t climate change that threatens to undo the great gains of human civilisation – it’s the hysteria about climate change.

The first thing to note about Climate Derangement Syndrome, whether it’s coming from the posh road-blockers of Insulate Britain, Clarence House or the Church of England, is that it has nothing whatsoever to do with science. This eco-hysteria single-handedly shatters the myth that contemporary environmentalism is a science-driven movement, merely concerned with acting upon the warnings contained in graphs and models drawn up by climatologists. Show me the piece of scientific research that says a gang of boys will rape your mother if we don’t achieve Net Zero by 2030. Where’s the peer-reviewed study that pinpoints the moment when slaughter, rape and genocide will occur if our governments fail to cut back on fossil fuels?

Of course no such studies exist. These malarial visions of future horrors spring from the realm of fantasy, not science. They are the misanthropic prejudices of the depressed middle classes, not scientific projections. They emerge from the well of existential dread in which the contemporary elites wallow, not from cool, calm modelling. And the truth is that this has long been the case with climate-change alarmism. ‘Science’ is the garb thrown on what in reality is the End Times foreboding of this new millennium’s morally at-sea elites. ‘Climate change’ is the all-encompassing idea of doom through which the Western bourgeoisie expresses its sense of moral, political and economic exhaustion.
All the recent talk of doomsday and genocide captures the extent to which the issue of climate change has been catastrophised to an extraordinary degree, how it has been transformed from a perfectly manageable problem into an apocalypse modernity brought upon itself; from a scientific theory about mankind’s impact on the planet into certain, unquestionable proof of the folly of the industrial era; from one challenge among many facing humankind in the 21st century into an indictment of the entire human species. In short, from a technical conundrum into a God-like revelation of the wickedness of greedy, industrious mankind.
Climate Derangement Syndrome is at root a revolt against modernity. It is a reactionary, Romantic, nostalgic cry of angst against the incredible world of production and consumption mankind has created over the past 200 years. This is why some at COP26 openly denounced the Industrial Revolution. First came Greta Thunberg, the prophetess of doom of contemporary environmentalism. She angrily denounced the British government as ‘climate villains’. The UK, she said, is largely responsible for the horrors of climate change – this ‘more or less… started in the UK since that’s where the Industrial Revolution started, [where] we started to burn coal’.

Shamefully, Boris Johnson echoed Greta’s regressive brickbats against the Industrial Revolution. In his COP speech he pointed out that Glasgow was the place where the steam engine, ‘produced by burning coal’, was born. That, he said, was ‘the doomsday machine’ that led us to the dire predicament we find ourselves in now.

Forget tank-topped bumboys or comparing niqabs to letterboxes – this sub-Greta sneering at the Industrial Revolution is without question the most offensive and ridiculous thing Boris has ever said. To hear the elected leader of the UK describe the UK’s extraordinary contributions to industrialisation as the first stirrings of ‘doomsday’ feels genuinely depressing.
Brits should not feel ashamed of the Industrial Revolution, as Boris and Greta and eco-hairshirts suggest we should. We should feel immense pride at this radical overhaul of the processes of production and transportation. The Industrial Revolution was arguably the most important event in human history. Its positive impact on life expectancy, knowledge, liberty and equality, not only in the UK but also around the world, is almost incalculable.

It was the Industrial Revolution that dragged the populace away from the brutal, back-breaking serfdom of the land into the mad, teeming cities of London, Manchester, Sheffield, Glasgow. It revolutionised how we worked, how we lived, how we conceived of ourselves. It was the cradle of solidarity and struggle and demands for voting rights, employment rights, educational rights. It is not a coincidence that life expectancy was depressingly short for all of human history until the Industrial Revolution, when it started its stunning and steady rise. Without this revolution, most of us would still be tied to the land, never venturing further than the farm fence, unable to read, dead by 35. That’s the idyll eco-regressives fantasise about? These people are as historically illiterate as they are pseudo-scientific.

The COP26 mockery of the Industrial Revolution – more than that, the depiction of that revolution as the starting pistol of the coming climatic genocide – shines a harsh light on what is motoring today’s green hysteria. Not steam or coal, that’s for sure. No, it’s the elites’ loss of faith in modernity and in the human project more broadly. This is why climate-change hysteria is a far larger problem for humankind than climate change itself.
As Bjorn Lomborg recently explained on spiked, climate change is a ‘middling problem’. It is the derangement over climate change, the painting of it as an End Times event we probably deserve, that truly disrupts and undermines our civilisation. With its misanthropic disdain for human behaviour and aspirations, with its revisionist treatment of the birth of modernity as essentially a crime against Mother Earth, with its incessant demands for reining in economic growth, and with its censorious branding of anyone who questions any part of the regressive green agenda as a ‘climate-change denier’, climate-change alarmism is an express menace to growth, democracy, freedom of speech and the right to dream of an even more prosperous future for all.

Prince Charles is right that we need to get on a ‘war footing’. Not against climate change, though. Rather, against this ceaseless diminishment of humanity’s achievements and the baleful, untrue claim that modern man is a plague on the planet. This manmade apocalypticism threatens to upend the remarkable civilisation we have created far more than a bit of carbon does.

The London-based Net Zero Watch is a campaign group set up to highlight and discuss the serious implications of expensive and poorly considered climate change policies. The Net Zero Watch newsletter is prepared by Director Dr Benny Peiser - for more information, please visit the website at

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