Through the four days 15 - 19 August, many French towns and cities experienced high, and in a certain number of cases record high temperatures for mid-August. For French media and quite a few politicians - either "leading" or would be "leading" - this was however nowhere near enough. For them, what in French is called a "canicule" or hot summer weather, was the start of a probably, almost certainly long period of record-high temperatures, of course due to anthropogenic global warming. French media and politics went on to tell 'the people' that this special canicule might cause high, or even extreme high losses of life among vulnerable sections of the population - especially old persons and children. Urgent public advisory and communication measures were needed.
In a suspiciously coordinated way and from 15 August, all French 'mainstream media' from the press and radio to television news shows and billboard advertising, carried dependably lurid public health messages for 'the people'. These warned of the dangers from the approaching long period of extreme high temperatures, which of course were due to anthropogenic global warming. The inevitable 'expert panel' discussions on France's 5 state-owned TV channels, where the 'climate experts', by pure chance of course, only believed in anthropogenic global warming, triumphantly screened gory TV news archive clips of the 'climate crisis victims' of Paris, in 2003. Here, body bags had been necessary for the persons who died during the 2003 heat wave, in such numbers they overwhelmed the available city morgue capacity. Their bodies were stored in refrigerated meat trucks until burial.
After 2003, the theory and fear of anthropogenic global warming (AGW) was easy to 'sell' to the French public, at least until 2009 or 2010, when "propaganda fatigue" and information overload had taken its toll - aided by a succession of either normal, or relatively cool summers. We can say the steam went out of the theme, but elites never give up.
By August 15, 2012 the basic requirements for dusting off and re-promoting the AGW theme seemed to be in place. Very hot air was sweeping north from Morocco and Algeria. Temperatures in most of France were set to soar to 45 degrees centigrade (degC), according to the media, and remain extremely high 'for a considerable period': a large number of deaths of old persons and possibly children could be expected. The commercial, political and even cultural spinoffs from AGW could again be promoted, as in the 'good old days' before 2009 or 2010. This covers everything from hard selling 'low CO2 clean diesel' fuelled cars (despite diesel oil residues being highly carcinogenic, according to the World Health Organization), to promoting 'ecology politics', electric bicycles, Chinese-made cheap electric fans - and new French personal services for 'climate victims'.
French media, in its constant quest to cozy close to government and corporate elites, made sure 'the people' understood how clean-low carbon French nuclear power helps the splendid - even epic - struggle against global warming (called 'climate change' in maintream media talk). Without French nuclear power, although the calculation was not offered by the succession of excited weather forecasters hunched over their North Atlantic satellite picture showing the vast influx of hot air from the Maghreb, it might have been imagined by average members of 'the people' that temperatures in France could rise to 55 or 60 degC. Instead, often quivering with excitation, the forecasters told 'the people' that temperatures "above 45 degC" in some regions of France were "almost certain" and "probably for many days", possibly more than one week.
Although almost unprecedented, the French canicule of August 2012 was in fact terminated by 19 August. It had lasted 4 days. Several regions, for example all the north-west and north of France experienced either normal, or only slightly above-normal temperatures. The media-selected and media-friendly 'climate experts', and of course the TV and radio weather forecasters made a point of almost ignoring those regions of France, where temperatures were not especially high, for the very simple reason they are paid to promote AGW - or perhaps even worse, have ingurgitated so much propaganda and junk science on the subject over the years, that they believe it.
The political and media methods used in France to promote AGW stoop very low, demonstrating a certain level of panic among the political and corporate elites who, for reasons we could have difficulties comprehending, continue to need and want public fear of AGW, and are evidently concerned that so many of 'the people' do not believe in AGW any more. Apart from the 2003 Paris body bags of 'climate victims' (but also victims of woefully inadequate public health services), a favoured publicity clip used on France's 5 state-owned TV channels through 15-19 Aug 2012, among the regular advertising for 'clean diesel' cars, Nespresso and underarm deodorants, showed old persons being wiped with damp cloths, every hour, in chilled upmarket medicalised retirement homes. Several clips identified children below 5 years age, and persons with Alzheimer's disease, as particularly vulnerable to AGW, also needing regular wiping with chilled and dampened cloths, and the purchase of special 'life-saving' foods, marked with special notices on the plastic packaging in their friendly local supermarket. Despite this increasing carbon emissions through burning more fuel, the clips said, parents and relatives of affected or putative 'climate victims' should set their car's airconditioning to maximum - if they had AC in their car, when transporting potential 'climate victims' to nicely fitted-out and of course payment-only 'climate shelters'.
These special and paying treatments are needed to prevent 'climate victims', said the clips, before moving on to the the last word in Gallic inegenuity in cobbling up gimmick paying services profiting from AGW fear. Advertising clips on French state-owned TV channels during the so-short AGW crisis carried spots from accredited suppliers of subscriber-only pay services for hotline 'climate crisis' telephones. 'The people' can purchase these for Happy Few older persons, Alzheimer victims and possibly kids below 5 year of age. Armed with a shiny new carbon neutral cellphone, they can beat AGW - if they have enough cash and somebody is on the other end of the line when they phone.
By August 19, as we said at the start of this article, it was all over. Some cities still had temperatures of above 35 degC, but temperatures were set to fall by as much as 9 or 10 degC in the week ending 24 August. The doomshow of AGW had again failed to impress - or depress 'the people'. For the elites the readout is very simple: they need to cook up a new and different Doom theme, if that is how they want to control 'the people' and make cash at the same time.
By Andrew McKillop
Former chief policy analyst, Division A Policy, DG XVII Energy, European Commission. Andrew McKillop Biographic Highlights
Co-author 'The Doomsday Machine', Palgrave Macmillan USA, 2012
Andrew McKillop has more than 30 years experience in the energy, economic and finance domains. Trained at London UK’s University College, he has had specially long experience of energy policy, project administration and the development and financing of alternate energy. This included his role of in-house Expert on Policy and Programming at the DG XVII-Energy of the European Commission, Director of Information of the OAPEC technology transfer subsidiary, AREC and researcher for UN agencies including the ILO.