Monday, January 11, 2010

Awaiting the Berlin Wall moment

I was hugely taken with a piece by Brian Micklethwait in the under-rated Samizdata blog (via WFW). It compares the current state of the "climate change" debate with the latter stages of the Cold War.

Then as now, he writes, an informed minority of pro-economic-progress critics had won the academic argument against the pro-economic-derangement academics, and word of this victory was spreading. Even intelligent layman critics are starting to understand the details of the argument better than even the very smartest of the pro-derangement scientists, of the sort who are still advising governments, or who are still receiving and still trying still to believe this advice.

Yet nothing outwardly has changed - the wall is still standing. But, in this post-"Climategate" world, the authority of the so-called experts has been irrevocably tainted. Their creed is on an unstoppable path to destruction. Soon enough, the anti-warming dissidents will be on the march and young men will be taking sledgehammers to the walls of East Anglia University and the Hadley Centre. Then it will all be over.

A sign of the times is two of today's newspaper articles on global warming. One is from the left-wing orthodoxy of The Observer which is desperately trying to convince us that 2010, despite the cold, could very likely be the hottest year on record. The contrast with the Mail on Sunday could not be more extreme, where David Rose writes a lengthy piece headed: "The mini ice age starts here."

Featured by Rose is a figure straight out of central casting, the diehard apparatchik David Viner - a type who in the dying days of the Soviet Union would still have been spouting Marxist theory as gospel. He, famously, in the year 2000 told The Independent that within a few years snowfall would become "a very rare and exciting event" in Britain.

Then a member of the University of East Anglia Climatic Research Unit, he now heads the British Council's climate change programme, with the Orwellian task of indoctrinating "younger generations" in 60 countries with the mantras of the warmist creed, spending an annual budget of £10 million.

With his very existence dependent on his faith, he stands by his prediction. "We've had three weeks of relatively cold weather and that doesn't change anything," he says. "This winter is just a little cooler than average, and I still think that snow will become an increasingly rare event."

Writes Rose, "the longer the cold spell lasts, the harder it may be to persuade the public of that assertion." In fact though, the torrent of hostile (to the warmists) comment in response to any number of online articles on global warming attests to the fact that the public argument has been lost. Despite that, the apparatchiks will be the last to realise that the crowds gathering outside their palaces are not there to applaud, but to tear the walls down.

Thus yesterday, even as the Indian Mail Today was going to press, we had "Pachy" turning up in Bombay to collect his corporate citizen of the year award.

Local reporters recorded that the first Sedan rolled in by around 5.30 pm, a full one-and-a-half hours before the awards event was to begin. And surely, on hindsight, it was a wise decision. For, by 6.30, there was a queue of over 100 cars – Porsches, BMWs, Mercs and such like, interspersed with beacon-flashing official ones – stretching for well over a kilometre, waiting to enter the venue.

This was to honour the man who, six weeks ago, was telling us that the Western lifestyle was "unsustainable". Today, "we have reached the point where consumption and people's desire to consume has grown out of proportion," he declared.

Perhaps the Berlin Wall analogy is the wrong one. The closer parallel, perhaps, is the storming of the Bastille, with the formation of a Committee of Public Safety to supervise the safe transit of those tumbrels.