Last week, a senior member of Parliament for the UK’s Labour Party went on television demanding the UK – maybe even the entire world – be on a “war-like footing” to combat climate change.
“…if this were a war we wouldn’t be arguing about whether the Labour strategy or the Tory strategy were better, we would be working together to try and win […] Well, it is a war. It is a war for survival and climate change threatens everything […] So actually instead of playing party political games about who is up, who is down, what we need to be doing is saying let’s get together, let’s mobilise on a war footing and that is what is needed…”
Two days later, the exact same thoughts were expressed in a Financial Times column by Camilla Cavendish, former head of David Cameron’s Downing Street policy unit and Kennedy School of Government alumnus:
The answer is surely to invoke a wartime spirit, and make the fight against climate change a joint endeavour against a common enemy. If the public and political will is there, human ingenuity can prevail, with remarkable speed. In the second world war, America transformed its manufacturing base to produce tanks and ammunition. The Covid pandemic resulted in the discovery and development of vaccines at scale, saving millions of lives.
It’s interesting to note the comparison to Covid, but we’ll come back that.
The campaign isn’t isolated to the UK, in fact it kicked off on the other side of the Atlantic, with the Inquirer running an article headlined “President Biden should address the nation and declare war…on climate change” on July 16th, which argued:
Biden and his aides need to grab that metaphorical bullhorn and call the TV networks to announce a prime-time address from the Oval Office that will declare a national emergency — in essence, a state of war — to fight climate change.
Joe Biden himself called climate change an “existential threat” on July 27th.
The invocation of metaphorical war is of course nothing new.
“War” is a very important word in the world of politics and propaganda. It has – or is assumed to have – an immediate effect on the collective public mind; an instant connection to generations of shared memories, that promotes feelings of conformity and solidarity.
Some psychological study or focus group clearly figured this out decades ago, and as such the word “war” is frequently used to control narratives.
In Western “democracies” the deployment of the W word is code for bi-partisan agreement, attempting to breed faux solidarity between the same people they encourage to hate each other 90% of the time, whilst branding any dissenters as outsiders who are a threat to the safety of the group.
More pragmatically, being “at war” creates an “emergency” which justifies “temporary” suppression of human rights and freedoms and permits increases in the powers assumed by the state.
OffG – and others – have discussed this ad infinitum, past a certain point any authoritarian government needs to exist in a state of war in order to avoid collapse, and so enemies are created that, by their nature, can remain forever never undefeated.
See: “The War on Drugs”, “The War on Terror”, “The War on Covid”
…and, now, the war on climate change.
Or, more properly, “the war on climate change…again”.
Because neither Barry Gardiner nor Camilla Cavendish are the first person to express this thought. Not even close.
They were, in fact, echoing a University College London report from May 2021.
CNN warned we were “losing the war on climate change” in April 2019, plagiarizing the exact same headline in The Economist from a year earlier in August 2018.
Bill McKibben wrote “We’re under attack from climate change—and our only hope is to mobilize like we did in WWII” for the New Republic in August 2016.
Venkatesh Rao wrote “Why Solving Climate Change Will Be Like Mobilizing for War” for the Atlantic in October 2015, repeating the same arguments from a CNN article four months earlier.
Hell, all the way back in 2003 the New York Times was running editorials “After Iraq: Declare war on global warming”
(Ah, remember when Climate Change hadn’t yet received it’s unfalsifiability makeover and was still just known as “global warming”?)
Essentially, every few months they trot out this idea of “declaring war on climate change”, get almost no engagement from the public, and then go back to spouting alarmism and fear porn for a while before trying again.
They have been doing this for years. So far it has not worked.
…but this time might be a little different.
Why? Because we now live in a post-Covid society.
Consider, with the exception of the vaccines, everything brought on by Covid – the lockdowns, the financial collapse, all of the “Great Reset” – was originally meant to be a “response” to climate change.
They had a package of “solutions” ready and waiting for a public “reaction” that never came. People were simply never scared enough at the idea the world might get a bit warmer.
It could be argued that global warming’s repeated failure to spark a global panic is the very reason they resorted to “Covid” in the first place, but whatever the cause-and-effect relationship the fact of the matter is that Covid has laid a foundation for the “war on climate change” that never existed before.
“anti-Covid measures” provide precedent both for the use of extreme ‘responses’ and their apparent “effectiveness”
Covid created enough fear that they can increase climate hysteria by linking environmentalism to future potential “pandemics”
Covid (allegedly) “inspired global cooperation” and “demonstrated what we can achieve when we all work together”
Covid lockdowns (allegedly) “showed how the world can heal” by cutting emissions.
And, most vitally, the roll out of the Covid narrative demonstrated that once people have invested their virtue or personality in a story you can tell them almost anything relating to that story and they’ll be incentivised to believe you – NO MATTER HOW ABSURD IT MIGHT BE.
We noted earlier that several recent articles “declaring war on climate change” reference Covid, almost always as a global success story.
It is now common place to talk about avoiding climate disaster through the medium of Covid. The United Nations, the Council on Foreign Relations and International Monetary Fund have all run articles in the last couple of years with near-identical titles eg:
What the Coronavirus Pandemic Teaches Us About Fighting Climate Change
Perhaps the most blatant example of using Covid imagery to sell climate change and globalism is the call to create a “Global Climate Organization”, from Dr David King in the Independent a few days ago (our emphasis):
“In terms of a health crisis, such as the Covid crisis, we have a World Health Organisation and it’s based in Geneva and is part of the United Nations. We don’t have a world climate crisis organisation. That’s what we need, so that all countries of the world could come together through a body of this kind, as we do when there’s a health crisis, we all contribute to the cost of the WHO. We need a global system that pulls us all together to battle with this external threat to our manageable future.”
We know what this is, this is the “pivot from Covid to climate” they literally told us was coming.
The “Great Reset” has made a good start, but they still have a raft of fun policies they want to introduce (eg. rationing food). In a post Covid world, they are hoping to finally make “climate change” frightening enough that people will beg them to completely reshape the world as they see fit.
The amusing part is that it still doesn’t feel like it’s landing, to be honest.
Outside of the media echo-chamber and the virtue-signalers, all the “terrifying” temperature maps, the experts warning that “millions will die instantly” if they turn their air conditioning off, the new buzzphrase of “global boiling” is being met with a bit of a “meh”.
Unfortunate for them, because they’ve set themselves a deadline. Every year that passes without catastrophic climate breakdown, every summer the ice caps don’t disappear, every unseasonably cold or wet July is another nail in the coffin of their narrative, a few more normies disengaging from the story.
Which is probably why the coverage of “heatwave cerberus” and “global boiling” is fervid verging on feverish. There is an element of sweaty-palmed desperation seeping into every tweet, every headline.
They are running out of time.
The dark corollary of that is that someday soon they may well give up trying to persuade people, and start trying to force them.