“When you reconstruct sea and land surface temperatures from the peak of the last Ice Age 21,000 years ago — which is referred to as the Last Glacial Maximum — and compare it with climate model simulations of that period, you get a much different picture . . . If these paleoclimatic constraints apply to the future, as predicted by our model, the results imply less probability of extreme climatic change than previously thought.” In other words, we’re not all going to die.
By painting Armageddon as the price of inaction, the green lobby has sought to achieve two goals. First, focusing in on an extreme scenario allowed advocates more effectively to play the we-should-do-something-just-in-case card. Second, with all nuance removed from the discussion, even the slightest evidence in favor of an anthropogenic contribution to climate fluctuations could be tied to eschatological imagery, and “climate moderates” could be portrayed as being just as complicit in bringing about the end of the world as the evil deniers. “Necessity” would thus become the mother of intervention.
“The whole aim of practical politics,” wrote H. L. Mencken, “is to keep the populace alarmed (and hence clamorous to be led to safety) by menacing it with an endless series of hobgoblins, all of them imaginary.” It is still a matter of debate whether there are any hobgoblins at all (the very existence of a “consensus” is rendered comical, given the existence of new papers such as Schmittner’s), but if they do exist, the tallest among them are disappearing at a rate of knots.
As they go, we must insist that so too do the invitations to be led to safety, for without necessity we have no reason to be slaves.
— Charles C. W. Cooke is an editorial associate of National Review.