Climate Change: Who Are the Ideologues?

Climate Change: Who Are the Ideologues?
Hoesung Lee (C), chair of the IPCC, speaks during a press conference of the Intergovernmental Panel for Climate Change (IPCC) at Songdo Convensia in Incheon on Oct. 8, 2018. JUNG YEON-JE/AFP/Getty Images
Mark Hendrickson

Disagreements often lead to insults. When I was a kid, when one of us thought another was “all wet” (wrong), the favored insult was, “Your mother wears army boots.”

Silly, wasn’t it?

The equivalent barb for adult (not necessarily grown-up) intellectuals is to call someone with whom they disagree an “ideologue.” While ideologue has a non-emotive meaning (“a person who believes very strongly in particular principles”), when used as an epithet, it’s an insult. It brands one’s opponent as dogmatic, impervious to reason, closed-minded, and unwilling to reconsider one’s beliefs in light of facts and evidence.

The United Nations’ most famous climate change bureaucracy, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), and its media allies deride and denounce dissenters from their official orthodoxy as “ideologues.” But is it possible that the IPCC clique includes its share of ideologues? Let’s see.

Climate Models and Flawed Predictions

First, consider climate change models. There’s a methodological split, if not an ideological schism, here. The IPCC and journalists who predict climate-related catastrophes cite climate change computer models. I don’t know the current count of such models, but a few years ago, there were 102.

Those models share a common problem: When scientists back-test those models by entering known data from recent decades, it turns out that actual global temperature rises far more slowly than the models say it should. (The one model that predicts the least warming is a Russian model, in which CO2 is modeled to have much less influence on temperature than the other models assign to it.)

By contrast, the many scientists who for years have been disputing the models’ dire predictions, joined over the past few months by Belgian, Japanese, Finnish, Dutch (representing 500 scientists), and Italian scientists (more than 90 of them), denounce the computer models for gross arbitrariness, the neglect of critical factors, and sheer uselessness. These scientists rely on hard data—actual measurements.

So, who are the ideologues—the scientists who cite facts and real-world evidence, or the scientists who insist that we base our public policies on models that aren’t validated by observed facts?

Second, look at the track record of those predicting climate catastrophes. Such alarming predictions have been going on for the past 50 years. Dozens of supposed deadlines have passed without one of the catastrophist predictions yet coming close to happening.

One IPCC report unequivocally stated that “long-term prediction of future climate states is not possible” because “the climate system is a coupled nonlinear chaotic system.”

The Competitive Enterprise Institute gathered more than 30 news reports of egregiously failed predictions in past years. It’s sobering to see how “the most advanced scientific knowledge” repeatedly led to spectacularly wrong predictions—predictions that weren’t even in the ballpark. See also Mark J. Perry’s “18 Spectacularly Wrong Predictions ...". Well, as I’ve written before, nobody is an expert about the future.
Again, though, this raises the question: Who are the ideologues? Is it those who have repeatedly been spectacularly wrong, but who insist that this time they’re so right that anyone who disagrees with their speculative conclusions is a denier of reality? Or is it those who look at the comically awful track record of environmentalist predictions and conclude that some skepticism is warranted?

Pre-Selected Agenda

If an “ideologue” is someone who pursues a pre-selected agenda under false pretenses, then consider the following statements by some of the powerful climate change movers and shakers:
Ottmar Edenhofer, an IPCC senior official, said in 2010: “One has to free oneself from the illusion that international climate policy is environmental policy. ... [One] must say clearly that we redistribute de facto the world’s wealth by climate policy.”
Christine Stewart, former Canadian minister of the environment, said in 1988: “No matter if the science of global warming is all phony ... climate change [provides] the greatest opportunity to bring about justice and equality in the world.”
Christiana Figueres, executive secretary of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, said in 2015: “[We] are setting ourselves the task of intentionally ... [changing] the economic development model that has been reigning for at least 150 years ...”
Saikat Chakrabarti, Rep. Alexandria Ocasio Cortez’s (D-N.Y.) then-chief of staff, said in May 2019: “The interesting thing about the Green New Deal wasn’t originally a climate thing at all. ... [We] really think of it as a how-do-you-change-the-entire-economy thing.”
The March 2009 U.N. Global Green New Deal report stated: “We must not miss this chance to fundamentally shift the trajectory of human civilization.”

Despite the obvious priority that key players in the climate change movement place on political and economic objectives over scientific concerns, fellow-traveling journalists have insisted vehemently that “deniers” must not only concede a need for a massive top-down restructuring of nations’ economies, but also accept as indisputable truth the unproven “scientific” theories and opinions adopted by the IPCC.

This reeks of totalitarianism.

They want everyone to submit to the elite’s grand plans and dutifully and unquestioningly recite their official catechism. They demand that we think what they tell us to think. They’re force-feeding us a green version of Mao’s “Little Red Book.”

Indeed, the quasi-religious totalitarian nature of the IPCC’s official party line is that there is now a movement encouraging citizens to “confess” to climate sins. When will the show trials begin?

Leftist ideology is the only reasonable explanation for why the IPCC repeatedly criticizes the United States while treating the People’s Republic of China with kid gloves.

By way of comparison, the United States has about the same amount of CO2 emissions today as five years ago and a capacity of 107.1 gigawatts of energy from CO2-heavy coal, while China has, since 2011, burned more coal than the rest of the world combined and has current plans to increase its coal-based energy output domestically by more than 20 percent, while also “building hundreds of coal-fired power plants in other countries,” according to NPR.

How ironic—no, cynical—that the Chinese regime had the brazenness to tell September’s U.N. climate change summit that they are “entitled” to monetary support for addressing climate change.

The evidence that a leftist political ideology permeates the climate change movement is abundant. While the ability to forecast future climate conditions will continue to elude us (as the IPCC has stated), it’s safe to predict that life for the common man will take a radical turn for the worse if the peoples of the world let political elites amass the power they crave to restructure economies and redesign human society.

Power-hungry elitist ideologues pose a clear and present danger to human beings.

Mark Hendrickson, an economist, recently retired from the faculty of Grove City College, where he remains a fellow for economic and social policy at the Institute for Faith and Freedom.
Views expressed in this article are opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of The Epoch Times.
Mark Hendrickson is an economist who retired from the faculty of Grove City College in Pennsylvania, where he remains fellow for economic and social policy at the Institute for Faith and Freedom. He is the author of several books on topics as varied as American economic history, anonymous characters in the Bible, the wealth inequality issue, and climate change, among others.
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