The Ever Moving Goalposts


One more thing on the Guardian’s EU story: Note that David Cameron was speaking at an event organised by a group named ‘Stop Climate Chaos.’ The willingness of the alarmists to adapt their nomenclature to the shifting evidence has been nothing short of remarkable. When I was a child, skeptics used to note that groups like Friends of the Earth and Greenpeace had spent the early 1970s fretting over the supposedly imminent global cooling, only conveniently to change their minds when the data came in, and exchange their cold apocalypse for a hot one. More recently (perhaps as a result of this embarrassment) the environmental lobby opted to hedge their bets, so ‘climate change’ became the favored term. This has evolved, in turn, into the more eschatalogical (but equally vague) ‘global climate chaos.’

There is an uncomfortable parallel here with the insidious way in which the pigs transmogrify the Seven Commandments in Orwell’s Animal Farm to suit their current needs. To be in favor of stopping ‘Climate Chaos’ is a little like being in favor of stopping ‘Bad Things From Happening,’ or pointing out, as the fictional Edith Heare does in the Onion, that ‘Somebody Should Do Something About All the Problems.’ It affords a group the scope to lobby for legislation without ever having to pay for their mistakes if the evidence contradicts their predictions. Moreover, it allows lobbyists to decide upon an enemy — coal, for example – and then highlight the supposed transgressions of that foe as and when they become available, or it becomes expedient.

Is there another area in modern politics in which a national leader would pander to such deliberate ambiguity?


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