To understand the perversity of the dominant faction of the "climate change" cult, it is worth recalling a discordant moment from a decade ago that did not get sufficient attention. Back in 2013 NASA’s famous climate scientist James Hansen, the person who perhaps more than any other elevated climate change to the top of the world’s policy agenda with his sensationalized testimony to Congress in 1988, published a study that concluded nuclear power had saved 1.8 million lives worldwide between 1971 and 2009 that would otherwise have been lost from conventional fossil fuel pollution, especially coal. Hansen further estimated that an expansion of nuclear power could save up to 8 million lives over the next 40 years.
Never mind the suspect methodology, based on weak epidemiology, that Hansen used to arrive at these estimates. He’s long been hysterical about coal-fired power, once comparing trains transporting coal in the U.S. to “the death trains to Auschwitz.” What is significant here is that Hansen is strongly in favor of nuclear power, which sets him apart from Al Gore and other Oldsmobile-era environmentalists who can’t abide it.
To his credit, Hansen and a few other like-minded environmentalists have come to recognize that the anti-nuclear movement of 50 years ago set back the cause of slowing "climate change." For all the professions of achieving “net-zero” emissions by 2050, if California and Germany had spent as much money to support nuclear power as they have so far to subsidize intermittent and insufficient “renewable” wind and solar power, California and Germany would have zero-emission electricity grids today.
A marriage made in Hell.
But despite Hansen’s reputation as the pre-eminent scientific voice on behalf of climate alarmism, his study on the benefits of nuclear power prompted a strange reaction. Other leading climate activists labeled him a “climate denier.” In particular, Naomi Oreskes, a professor of the “history” of science at Harvard and leading purveyor of climate alarmist disinformation, called Hansen a “climate denier” in The Guardian.
Hansen is hardly alone as a nuclear heretic among the climate cultists. Bill McKibben, another leading climate hysteric, admitted to the late William Tucker that he privately thought nuclear power was a useful component for fighting "climate change," but told Tucker, “If I came out in favor of nuclear, it would split this movement in half.”
Therein lies the main point. It's one thing to be skeptical of nuclear power because of the problem of radioactive waste and its relatively high cost, though these factors are partly because political opposition to nuclear 50 years ago stunted the industry learning curve and development of expertise that would have lowered costs through technological innovation. But the intransigent opposition to nuclear power by many climate cultists is not because of cost, meltdown risk, or waste disposal. It is partly on account of a general technophobia, and even more so because the deep climate cultists care less about preventing climate change than they do about crushing civilization itself.
Nuclear power isn’t the only possible technological remedy for the obsession with potential climate change. Scientists and many in industry are researching carbon capture and storage, direct air capture and removal of CO2, and various “geoengineering” proposals that would prevent a possible climate catastrophe. Yet the most vocal leaders of the climate cult oppose all such proposals, and even try to block basic research into any of them.
Now and then the mask slips. Naomi Klein’s book, This Changes Everything: Capitalism Versus the Climate, argues that only socialist revolution can solve the climate “crisis.” It isn’t hard to find philosophers and political scientists arguing that democracy itself should be sacrificed to fight climate change. The open embrace of authoritarianism makes evident that climate change is only a pretext for their real object, which is revolution and the drive for power to achieve it. If climate change didn’t exist as a cause to be exploited, the deep left would find something else—any cause will do to mobilize protest against civilization.
What's with the octopus, Greta?
Right now the something else is the cause of Hamas, which is proving more able than Extinction Rebellion at getting large mobs into the streets. This was made evident when the Joan of Arc of the climate cult, Greta Thunberg, posted on social media a photo of herself declaring “Stand with Gaza,” alongside another activist with a “Climate justice now!” banner. It turns out that Thunberg is just as ignorant about the Middle East as she is about climate change: the photo included in the background a toy octopus—an old Nazi-era symbol of supposed global Jewish conspiracy.
With the joining of climate action and Hamas, we can think of Thunberg and her acolytes as the Hamas wing of the "climate change" cult. And instead of calling out the radicalism of Thunberg and her enabling elders like Klein, Oreskes, Gore, etc., the useful idiots of the media celebrate Thunberg. Time magazine named her “Person of the Year” in 2019—the youngest in the magazine’s history.
Scientists with genuine interest in climate, but who typically have no understanding of politics, fail to grasp the destructiveness of the radical element that prevents development of nuclear power or research into other technological options for coping with the unlikely event of significant climate change decades in the future. It is tempting sometimes to wonder if Thunberg is the devious creation of a mustache-twirling coal executive working from a Bond-villain lair in the mountains of West Virginia, except that foolish governments want to follow her ignorant advice, while leading segments of the climate cult are rushing to embrace the most evil cause since the heyday of the National Socialist German Workers Party.