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Europe is beginning to turn against the prophets of climate alarmism

May 19, 2023

By Paul Homewood


h/t Ian Magness

A bit of common sense for a change!




A few days ago, I received an email from my local council offering “climate anxiety” therapy for those worried about global warming. It was too interesting an invitation to refuse. A “climate psychologist” convened the group and asked for their feelings: afraid, angry, helpless and guilty were the main words offered. Such anxiety is natural, he said, but can be remedied by “distancing” oneself from negative climate news. He didn’t quite say how such a feat could be achieved.

For children it would mean avoiding school, where much of this is now built into the curriculum. It would also mean avoiding television or radio news, seldom short of climate gloom. This week, for example, the BBC announced that the planet is “predicted to pass the 1.5 degree global warming threshold in the next few years,” a tipping point after which terrible effects become irreversible. This was followed up by a guest saying how global warming would be worse for Europe than Bangladesh. But the balancing good news – of which there is plenty – was never mentioned.

We’re now familiar with the lack of scrutiny or perspective when the subject is discussed. Some newspapers tell writers to avoid neutral phrases like “climate change” and instead say “emergency”, “crisis” or “breakdown”. Politicians have tended to compete with each other to see who can ring the alarm the loudest. Ed Miliband wanted to decarbonise electricity by 2030; Theresa May made Britain one of the few countries in the world with a legal target to hit net zero by 2050. But just how much would this cost? No one was really told.

Now, the bill is beginning to land – and reality beginning to bite. Dutch farmers recently drove tractors into The Hague to protest against its green diktats. In Germany, where the war in Ukraine has brought a new energy realpolitik, wind turbines are being dismantled to make way for an expanded coal mine. Sweden’s 27-year-old environment minister has been quietly diluting the green laws she inherited. Emmanuel Macron – famously chastened by the gilets jaunes – last week called on the EU to stop its barrage of green legislation, saying that enough is enough. We might just have passed Peak Green.

It’s all moving quite quickly. Last autumn, Germany signed an EU target to ban the sale of internal combustion engine cars by 2035. It now opposes the idea, as does Italy, Poland and Czechia. That’s not to say the green agenda is collapsing under the pressure of public scorn: it’s simply being subjected to the kind of scrutiny that was never applied in the first place. How much will it cost? What will it achieve? Germany’s transport minister has been making a good argument: what’s the point in electric cars if the power that drives them comes from burning coal?

Rishi Sunak has been quietly dialling down the green agenda he inherited from Boris Johnson, using the language of net zero while adding his own dose of realism. He has created the “Department for Energy Security and Net Zero” – the first part of the job being the most important. So he has authorised new drilling in the North Sea and even the opening of a new coal mine in Cumbria, both projects over which Johnson prevaricated. His recent energy security speech was given in a fusion research centre in Oxfordshire: a nod to his hopes for technology, not diktats, to make the green running.

The Tories are trialling a new, more optimistic “bright green” message emphasising technology, progress and achievement. Britain has cut carbon emissions faster than any G20 country since 2010. Quite a feat. Factor in imports and we’re the second-fastest. UK carbon emissions per head are now at their lowest level since the invention of the traction engine in 1859. The average British household uses a quarter less energy than 20 years ago. All stunning achievements that are getting harder to ignore.

Sadiq Khan is running into trouble with his Ulez zone, similar to those in Bristol and Oxford, because it’s hard for him to deny that the air is cleaner than any time in living memory. I turned 50 last weekend. In my lifetime, nitrogen oxides levels have fallen by 78 per cent, PM10 levels by 75 per cent, PM2.5 by 81 per cent and sulphur dioxide by 98 per cent. If the Mayor of London regards this as a crisis, I’m not quite sure what word he’d use to describe the last couple of centuries.

There has never been a better time to be young, be old or to bring children into the world. But successive opinion polls show that eco-anxiety is all too real: we’ve somehow managed to rear a generation who are anxious and alarmed about a future where they can expect to live a longer, healthier life than any generation that has come before them.

As with the Project Fear advertising during Covid, we need to ask if there are side effects to the one-sided barrage of negativity or how it must feel to be a sixth-former subjected to years of classroom alarmism. Even the brightest minds can be affected by this. I was at an Oxford seminar earlier this month where a student said she had decided not to have children so as to not burden the planet. A logical conclusion (not having a child easily outweighs all other carbon-saving lifestyle changes) but a rather depressing one.

The case for optimism is not just based on the pace of progress and the certainty of more innovation to come but on the basic economics of it. Reports envisaging high sea levels for Bangladesh also assume the country will end up as rich as the Netherlands is today, therefore able to build more flood defences. This is its best hope. Getting richer needs more people, so humans remain more of a solution than a problem. This is why climate-related deaths have fallen by about 90 per cent over the course of the last century: wealthier countries can better prepare for natural disasters.

In my climate therapy session, one attendee used a rather rebellious word to describe his feelings about the future: “optimistic”. It’s a very defensible position, with an ever-mounting base of evidence to support it. As the dark-green agenda fades over Europe, the case for rational eco-optimism is waiting to be made.

  1. May 19, 2023 10:09 am

    A brief glimmer of hope. But a long way to go yet.
    Getting entrenched believers (or those with snouts in the trough) to admit they were wrong will be along hard fight.
    But, at least a glimmer

  2. dave permalink
    May 19, 2023 10:12 am

    “Men, it has been well said, think in herds; it will be seen that they go mad in herds, while they only recover their senses slowly, one by one.”

    From, ‘Extraordinary Popular Delusions and the Madness of Crowds’ by Charles MacKay.

    The tide probably IS turning, but enormous damage has been done to rationality, which may never be repaired. And as, somehow, there is a pervasive, modern tendency for people to become the more nasty and intolerant the more they pretend to good-will and inclusiveness, the turning of the tide may not be enough.

    The crazies need a psychological ‘way out.’ Pretending with them that net zero is only being delayed for a while is the only one I can see.

    • 186no permalink
      May 19, 2023 10:30 am

      Face saving is what the likes of CCP and Mafia require when they are backed into a corner of their own making…….

    • Colin Brooks AKA Dung permalink
      May 19, 2023 2:24 pm

      Sadly Nelson seems to accept the need to cut emissions so I do not see this as a step in the right direction

    • Wim Goossen permalink
      May 19, 2023 10:48 pm

      Or if one takes a look at a few of the darker pages of history, society will force the “crazies” out, often this is a bloody proces. Think about the experience of former president Ceaușescu. One moment he was the Boss, two days later, staring into the barrels of AK47’s.

  3. Realist permalink
    May 19, 2023 10:20 am

    Whether any good news will come of this is another matter, but enough people signed the petitions to force a debate

    ——-cut here—–
    Parliament is going to debate the petition you signed – “Amend the 1999 GLA Act to remove the Mayor’s power to impose road use charges”.

    The debate is scheduled for 26 June 2023.

    ———-and here——

    Parliament is going to debate the petition you signed – “Revoke local government powers to charge CAZ, LEZ, and ULEZ.”.

    The debate is scheduled for 26 June 2023.

  4. 186no permalink
    May 19, 2023 10:28 am

    Watch the (previously) brainwashed, deluded, ignorant anti humanists seek to change the recent history of their hysteria; beware the “Ferguson Defence” , adopted by such as Ardern, of nothing left in the tank which sceptics might restate as ” I’ve screwed over all those evil anti vaxxer climate deniers as far as I can now someone else can pick up the torch” – or “I didn’t know I could get away with it until the Chinese did then I knew we could”.
    I am not vindictive but I am very very angry; the nexus populated by the likes of Ardern, Ferguson, Trudeau and the thousands and thousands of their ilk HAS to be pursued for the rest of their lives for what they have inflicted, and its consequential scams – and for what? – no surrender, no rehabilitation. They have to face the mirror every day, all day.

    Rant over – it will not happen, if only because being sceptical requires either a brain or ( as in my case ) a very bad, near fatal experience exacerbated by medical incompetence makes you examine everything, trust in “professionals” gone for ever, detestation of career politicians elevated to unbreachable levels…..and I have, still, to retain some sanity. The consequences of my annus horribilis means I hope I never ever meet any of these ……….I will not be responsible for the outcome….

    • Ben Vorlich permalink
      May 19, 2023 11:30 am

      People like Stern have got away with failed but repeated prophesies of doom for decades. This group will sit in the background issuing warnings until the end of time.

    • Adam Gallon permalink
      May 20, 2023 5:00 am

      Whatever that load of verbal diarrhoea meant.

      • 186no permalink
        May 20, 2023 8:18 am

        Haha, still struggling with English Comprehension I see – stick to being a TASie ( let’s see if you can work that out ) otherwise looking at pictures might be your limit….bet you are grateful for spellcheckers.

  5. Mike Jackson permalink
    May 19, 2023 10:44 am

    An excellent article by Fraser, a columnist always worth paying attention to even when you don’t agree with him.
    His second last paragraph is the one that really nails it. Unless the human race suddenly loses its ability to question, invent and adapt then there is no crisis and no reason to throw overboard millennia of human experience.
    The Bangladesh argument is the perfect example of the twisted thinking of the eco-fascist. While arguing (correctly) that that country is vulnerable and admitting — when forced to and through gritted teeth — that deaths from climatic events have fallen by 90%, and that’s in absolute terms while the world population has increased considerably, they also admit that that country will become as rich as the Netherlands and yet for some reason will be unable to solve a similar problem in the same way.
    It is not, and never was, about climate. The attack on CO2 specifically is an attack on modern life and ultimately on “civilisation” itself. Which sounds like paranoia but give me a better argument if there is one. I haven’t found one yet.

    • johnbillscott permalink
      May 19, 2023 11:50 am

      The Grand Plan

      We know that there is no Climate emergency, it is a fabrication started by the UN at the Rio Conference in 1992. Since that time, as Maurice Strong, who was Chair, was a proponent of World Government by the UN. He visualized the best way to accomplish the goal was to collapse Western societies was by creating mass hysteria proselytized by the willing dupes in our education system that CO2 is going to destroy the world because allegedly it will cause the temperature to go up 3*C.

      At a 2022 news conference in Brussels, Costa Rican Christiana Figueres, executive secretary of U.N.’s Framework Convention on Climate Change, admitted that the goal of environmental activists is not to save the world from ecological calamity but to destroy capitalism. “This is the first time in the history of mankind that we are setting ourselves the task of intentionally, within a defined period of time, to change the economic development model that has been reigning for at least 150 years, since the Industrial Revolution,” she said.

    • Gamecock permalink
      May 20, 2023 4:28 pm

      “Unless the human race suddenly loses its ability to question, invent and adapt then there is no crisis and no reason to throw overboard millennia of human experience.”

      As Gramsci pointed out a hundred years ago, communism will not be accepted straight up. Cultural hegemony must be achieved first. The myriad crazy shit being proffered today (trans-rights . . . really?) is intended to breakdown Western civilization, to where the people will accept global government. The issue is never the issue. It’s not about the environment. The US and Britain, Hungary and Poland, are the last strongholds of freedom on earth. The fight is for the future of the world.

      Brexit was a monumental victory.

      “The Bangladesh argument is the perfect example of the twisted thinking of the eco-fascist.”

      I take exception to fascist. They are communists.

      • Realist permalink
        May 20, 2023 5:15 pm

        Of course they are communists. Better words than “eco-fascist” are “eco-terrorist”and “watermelon”

  6. Ian Wilson permalink
    May 19, 2023 11:03 am

    I will believe Rishi Sunak has been having a change of heart when he reverses his decision, made on his very first day in office, to ban fracking (again!) for shale gas.
    It might have been hoped the rumours Russia may have placed explosives on the North Sea pipelines might have concentrated his mind but it seems he is willing to see our gas supplies blown up before standing up to the Green Mafia. If the pipelines were severed, could he face treason charges for betraying national security?

    • gezza1298 permalink
      May 19, 2023 12:55 pm

      It would also help if millionaire Sushi and his millionaire chum kHunt were not taxing the oil and gas industry to death.

      • Realist permalink
        May 19, 2023 2:17 pm

        Not only the industry. Look at the TAX element of the actual price at the pump.

        >> taxing the oil and gas industry to death.

    • dave permalink
      May 19, 2023 1:12 pm

      “…gas supplies…”

      ‘Markets’ seem to have come to the conclusion that there is less and less to fear:

  7. Gamecock permalink
    May 19, 2023 11:34 am

    The future isn’t what it used to be.

  8. Phil O'Sophical permalink
    May 19, 2023 11:34 am

    Surely any ‘climate anxiety’ therapy should be simple; beginning by telling participants that the bad news that disturbs them is simply propaganda and that there is no crisis about which to be anxious.

    This could be supplemented by a short presentation of real world data on all the propaganda points, and the obvious fact that people live happily in Helsinki and Singapore which have an average annual temperature difference over 23deg. So even a projection of a 1.5deg. rise over time is nothing we cannot mitigate even if true. And then there are the benefits, like fewer deaths from cold and longer growing seasons and more vigorous plant growth from all that lovely CO2.

  9. Tammly permalink
    May 19, 2023 11:38 am

    I’m hoping for a huge tipping point where the temperature goes up hundreds of degrees but gets focused in a beam that strikes and incinerates a small spot in Portland Place. Well I can dream

  10. bobn permalink
    May 19, 2023 11:51 am

    Hurrah, Fraser Nelson is starting to wake up, but he has a long way still to go.
    ‘the case for rational eco-optimism is waiting to be made.’ Wake up Fraser and read! What do you think the ‘Global warming policy foundation’, this blog, Profs Ian Plimer, William Happer and Bob Carter, the ‘CO2 Coalition’, Drs Patrick Moore and Tim Ball and thousands of other learned individuals have been doing and saying over the past 20yrs. The case has been made and the evidence presented – just do some reading! There is no man made climate emergency! Climate changes naturally and there’s not a damn thing we can do about. Learn to live with nature.

    • Thomas Carr permalink
      May 19, 2023 5:35 pm

      Fraser Nelson is still the editor of the Spectator according to Wikipedia. The sister paper which publishes from the same address is Spectator Australia (SA) .
      S A has just run an article by John Mole headed “Solar: a risky waste of time and money” which is well worth a read. It concentrates on Energy Payback Time ( EPBT) from a sunny Australian point of view.
      Subject to the rules on copyright I could forward the article to anyone who cares to read it. It would be easier to make it available to Paul who could then decided whether it can be printed verbatim or summarised in one of his next bulletins.

  11. May 19, 2023 11:55 am

    The climate is what it is. Blaming humans is the problem, but the article skates over that.

    • 186no permalink
      May 19, 2023 12:54 pm

      Correct; but this is not the first time Mr Nelson has approached the water, taken off his shoes, dipped his toes and then retreated and the DT is very guilty of putting articles hinting at a sceptical POV – always buried far away from the front page – only to include a statement or comment 100% pushing the narrative such as “warming caused by humans” etc……so the editorial bent of the DT remains bought off, afraid to put the increasingly stated “obvious’ illiteracy of NZ/AWG CC apparatchiks – and Mr Nelson clearly dare not adopt Mark Steyn’s stance; his written comments clearly hint he knows what’s what…

      • dave permalink
        May 20, 2023 10:08 am

        I occasionally look at the Spectator. I give it 4/10. It is shallow while pretending to be deep.

        From the main article of May 20:

        “Higher education is a global race, and Britain’s place is in danger.”

        Forsooth! 0/10 for that vulgar silliness.

        BTW, Uganda and Russia have jointly declared they will refrain from deploying weapons in space against each other. The technology race between those two powers had me worried. My money was on Uganda winning it, however.

  12. It doesn't add up... permalink
    May 19, 2023 12:49 pm

    I think Macron’s volte-face can be attributed to the excellent report and Parliamentary enquiry D’enquête visant à établir les raisons de la perte de souveraineté et d’indépendance énergétique de la France, which spares no blushes in accusing purveyors of energy policy over the past couple of decades of various degrees of malfeasance. For those who read French, it is worth dipping into – there are wonderful tournures de phrase such as this paragraph:

    Cette histoire est celle de choix politiques et de débats de société tronqués.
    C’est la volonté d’imposer une opinion, sans en partager ou même en mesurer les conséquences. Cette histoire est celle de l’endormissement d’une nation qui a oublié de penser sa puissance et son rôle mondial, se recroquevillant sur son marché intérieur et des stratégies électorales, oubliant l’intérêt et l’ambition nationaux.

    We could really do with something similar here. Kathryn Porter summarised the near 500 pages of the main report (there are also two volumes of witness cross-questioning and statements) here:

    It is a serious piece of work, far outclassing anything produced by BEIS, the CCC, National Grid, OFGEM and their assorted hangers on – or our own Parliament.

  13. gezza1298 permalink
    May 19, 2023 12:59 pm

    Nelson would have helped his case if he had not included the Cumbrian coking coal mine as that is not part of our energy security. With our steel industry on the verge of collapse due to the government’s flawed energy policy, not much will be needed from the mine unless we can use it for exports.

  14. charles allan permalink
    May 19, 2023 1:30 pm

    Amazing how even Christians who believe that God controls everything in His creation yet somehow this does not include the climate even when He states that he can make it rain ,heat or shine wherever He chooses.
    Although climate can now be manipulated locally by geo – eng . overall it is powered by the sun which bill gates will find impossible to shield.

  15. glen cullen permalink
    May 19, 2023 2:24 pm

    Our UK government will be the last in the world to give up net-zero

  16. liardetg permalink
    May 19, 2023 4:09 pm

    But still no mention of the hammer blow for UK. We only produce one per cent of CO2 globally and nobody cares a toss about our virtue signalling, and heavier hammer still, CO2 has no serious effects on global temperature. From COP1 to COP27, what has been the effect on atmospheric CO2? Nothing. The Public needs to be taught to watch Moana Loa for the next few years and realise we have no control. And it doesn’t matter.

    • May 19, 2023 5:32 pm

      The looters will reply that it’s your tough luck Mauna Loa cuts into the fascist quota. Religious fanatics could tu quoque back by saying hashish burning produces CO2–so what? This is a Roman coliseum spectacle to we who do not advocate prohibiting energy or recreational drugs. Siding with either faction puts anyone in bad company because of the lamentable allies “both” sides have already chosen, and are infatuated enough to assume there is no third party.

  17. John Hultquist permalink
    May 19, 2023 4:12 pm

    I did a quick search and found the following average temperatures:
    London 13°C (56°);
    Barcelona 18°C (64°)

    Other sources may give different numbers.
    It is difficult to understand how a 1.5 degree increase would make London unlivable.

    • May 19, 2023 6:19 pm

      Even more difficult to believe it is even happening–if one believes in thermometers. Curitiba Paraná and Brownsville, Texas are both SAID to average 16ºC and are equidistant from the Equator. Brownsville is sea level and Curitiba 900 meters up. Yet Curitiba is almost always 16º plus or minus almost nothing, whereas Brownsville goes from rare light frost to over 40ºC in a zigzag. The Southern Hemisphere, where 1/9 of the population finds land to stand on, shows no warming trend to the naked eye seeing a thermometer.

    • Realist permalink
      May 19, 2023 6:57 pm

      Even 18 °C is still COLD. Somewhere in the range 25 – 32 °C is comfortable

      >>I did a quick search and found the following average temperatures:
      London 13°C (56°);
      Barcelona 18°C (64°)

  18. Physicist permalink
    May 19, 2023 4:13 pm

    What we are witnessing is a society that is ridding itself of gullible people. People who believed the press, and the politicians, both of which are lying for their own benefit, are now deciding not to have families. This can only make the population stronger.

    • les online permalink
      May 20, 2023 12:34 am

      What we have are billions of people beset by chronic anxiety, anxiety that advertisers are adept at manipulating easily…The list of Phobias is endless…
      Fear of viruses. Fear of contagion. Fear of Tomorrow. Fear of Martians…And being nurtured in the background, Fear of Earth shattering rogue comets…
      I dont include Fear of Nuclear War / Armageddon as that’s a Real Possibility !

  19. mwhite permalink
    May 19, 2023 4:26 pm

    “A 2-million-year-old ecosystem in Greenland uncovered by environmental DNA”

    “Late Pliocene and Early Pleistocene epochs 3.6 to 0.8 million years ago1 had climates resembling those forecasted under future warming”

    “Palaeoclimatic records show strong polar amplification with mean annual temperatures of 11–19 °C above contemporary values”

  20. May 19, 2023 5:25 pm

    After 46 years of this I’ve come to regard Econaziism as a truncheon with which liberals, hippies, blacks and latinos are able to beat superstitious mystical prohibitionists over the head. All the arguments for sending goons to ban LSD and plant leaves are of the same structure as arguments pleading for goons to shut off electricity so ABM systems will be disabled. It is the initiation of force running up against unequal yet apposite reprisal force. This is exactly the predicament I would wish on my worst enemies–a fight to the death over which end of the egg to open.

  21. Derek Wood permalink
    May 19, 2023 5:45 pm

    I wasn’t aware that we now have a Department for Energy Security and Net Zero. What bright spark dreamed that one up? Surely those two things are mutually exclusive?

    • Chris Phillips permalink
      May 19, 2023 7:40 pm

      And what’s worse, it’s headed up by the idiotic Grant Shapps who thinks that we’ll get energy security by building more wind farms.

    • May 20, 2023 3:37 am

      They are housed in the old Silly Walks Department offices in Whitehall.

  22. Ben Vorlich permalink
    May 19, 2023 6:23 pm

    Sometimes reality bites so hard it hurts

    CAPE TOWN, May 18 (Reuters) – South Africa will auction at least 10 new onshore blocks for shale gas exploration in the environmentally sensitive Karoo region, a government official told Reuters, as the country eyes alternative energy sources to ease its worst-ever power crisis.

    • Gamecock permalink
      May 20, 2023 12:01 pm

      My back yard is “environmentally sensitive.”

  23. May 20, 2023 12:19 am

    One possible explanation for “The average British household uses a quarter less energy than 20 years ago”: Killing off all those grannies and their need for Warmth, has paid off ?

    • dave permalink
      May 20, 2023 11:29 am

      The other explanation is that when the relative price of anything rises rational people economise – and investigate losses. When my youngest son was four, our heating bills started to go up. I suddenly realized that the ‘clicks’ I had been hearing were the result of his now being tall enough to reach the thermostat.

      He found it all very amusing. I would not have minded much, only he set it at 30 C!

  24. Gamecock permalink
    May 20, 2023 12:10 pm

    ‘Europe is beginning to turn against the prophets of climate alarmism’

    This signifies nothing.

    Communists hate freedom. They hate OTHER PEOPLE’S freedom. They will do or say ANYTHING to stop it.

    They have found ‘climate change’ (sic) very useful for getting people to give up their freedom.

    When it is no longer useful, they’ll:

    1. Act like it was never a thing,

    2. Deny they had anything to do with it (even though we have video),

    2. Find new tools to get you to accept giving up your freedom.

    The end of the climate change hoax will just bring on new communist agitprop; they’ll never go away.

    There is no finish line.

  25. Dave Gardner permalink
    May 21, 2023 1:34 pm

    I would regard the issue of the EU showing signs of turning against climate alarmism as being a consequence of Brexit. The two main countries driving the EU climate agenda have always been the UK and Germany. The UK has tried to be a world leader in tackling climate change from John Major’s government onwards, and it has done so partly by lobbying for ambitious climate action by the EU. Take the UK out of the EU, and that’s a major blow for the group of countries within the EU that want ambitious climate action.

    This article from 2018 gives more details of what I’m talking about:

    The article identifies two threats to continued ambitious climate action by the EU – Brexit and ‘wobbling’ by Germany. The ‘wobbling’ by Germany is no longer applicable because they have now got an even more green-leaning government in charge than they had in 2018. But Brexit has happened and that is a big blow.

    Unfortunately the UK is still heading down the path of climate craziness after leaving the EU. The only way out of it is to get rid of the weird group of green-leaning politicians that seek to represent us, and in my view that means ditching the first past the post voting system.

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