The climate action group ‘GO’ seeks to influence the politics of climate change through mob intimidation.
The CBC seemed yesterday to be very much on the side of the protesters who attempted to break into the deadlocked Copenhagen climate talks. Reports expressed sympathy with the mob’s “frustration” at the “lack of progress.” Inside the Bella conference centre, meanwhile, a bunch of NGOs reportedly tried to help those storming the barricades to infiltrate the building.
Far from being unwelcome to promoters of draconian action, these arrogant noisemakers are a welcome force for intimidation. Take James Hansen, the director of NASA’s Goddard Institute for Space Studies, who appeared yesterday morning on CBC’s The Current. Mr. Hansen’s Al Gore-orchestrated testimony before Congress in 1988 and 1989 was of seminal importance to the UN climate agenda. He has become perhaps the most oft-quoted voice of official climate alarmism. Like Mr. Gore, Mr. Hansen recommends direct action. In his new book, Storms of My Grandchildren, he writes: “As in other struggles for justice against powerful forces, it may be necessary to take to the streets to draw attention to injustice. Civil resistance may be our best hope. It is crucial for all of us, especially young people, to get involved. This will be the most urgent fight of our lives.”
Mr. Hansen did not mean “fight” metaphorically. He testified on behalf of the “Kingsnorth Six,” a group of Greenpeace activists who caused tens of thousands of dollars worth of criminal damage in trying to shut down a British coal utility.
The Current’s Anna Maria Tremonti — in soft, deferential, non-Larry Solomon mode — claimed that Mr. Hansen, who had allegedly suffered “gagging” by the Bush administration, was giving a “rare interview.” In fact, the gagging consisted of an attempt by NASA officials to get Mr. Hansen to obey the rules which applied to all NASA scientists about giving interviews. Meanwhile Mr. Hansen is reckoned to have given over a thousand interviews during his “silent” period.
Nevertheless, a lot of what Mr. Hansen said yesterday made sense: the Copenhagen process is hypocritical and should scrapped; cap and trade is a crock, from which the only people likely to get rich are Goldman Sachs and JpMorgan Chase; current negotiations are all about paying off developing countries so that developed countries can continue emitting greenhouse gases.
Mr. Hansen suggests that if you want to slash emissions you have to tax them and rebate all the proceeds to citizens. Of course, this is Stephane Dion’s Green Shift, except that Mr. Hansen suggests that “Not one dime should go to ... politicians to pick winners.” No argument there. Mr. Hansen calls his system “fees and dividends:” from each according to his emissions, to each according to … well, to just being there. But the key issue is how far human emissions contribute to global warming, and thus how far there is any point in slashing them. This rather essential point didn’t come up yesterday.
Mr. Hansen skated deftly around Climategate, noting that it didn’t matter to the science, which was settled. However, his most worrying remark — given his views on activism — was that scientists should be politicized. Of even more concern is how widely Mr. Hansen’s activism is promoted by the warmist lobby, which doesn’t just theorize about skirting the democratic process.
Maurice Strong, the self-confessed “world’s leading environmentalist,” recently wrote that “Our concept of ballot-box democracy may need to be modified.” This would be less of a concern if Mr. Strong had not also been instrumental in allowing NGOs inside the Rio/Kyoto/Copenhagen process.
Mr. Strong himself hasn’t been so prominent since the Iraqi oil-for-food fiasco, but he is involved in something called The Global Observatory, GO, an organization designed to act as “a catalyst, bridging the gap between those responsible for making the decisions at [Copenhagen] and the public.”
GO was set up by José Maria Figueres, a former President of Costa Rica. Exactly what Mr. Figueres has in mind when he talks about “bringing the public into negotiations” is clear from a clip available on YouTube, in which he frankly admits that the key to getting the “right” decisions is using NGOs to assemble mobs to pressure politicians. Mr. Figueres says that he’s not willing to leave the future of his children in the hands of the 1,500 negotiators at Copenhagen, so his plan was to set up a “tent” at the meeting in which there would be scientific experts (He mentions Mr. Hansen). If such scientists declared that, say, Costa Rica was “backtracking,” then GO would get on the phone to select NGOs, who could have a mob outside the presidential palace in 45 minutes. This would result in a call to the country’s environment minister in Copenhagen to change their position.
And lest you think that GO is some fringe group, Rajendra Pachauri, head of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, IPCC, recently said: “The Global Observatory is a useful, timely initiative that can make a difference. We have to back up our words with action. The GO can help create the political space that will inspire, engage and enable leaders from all around the world to take action.”
By mob intimidation.
Every NGO should be tossed out of the Bella centre so that national leaders can come to a non-conclusion today in peace. Meanwhile noisy protesters should be seen for what they are: not idealistic young people, but political dupes of a plot to subvert democracy.