Contributed by Drieu Godefridi, Ph.D., lawyer ©September 2016
English version of “La tentation totalitaire de l’écologie”
In 2010 I published a modest essay in epistemology (IPCC: A Scientific Body? ) characterizing the IPCC – UN study group on climate – as a political organization (and not a scientific one).
At the time, I was virtually alone in supporting this thesis. Talk television at the time denied me a platform, seeing me as some kind of denier of science, or a shill for Big Oil. Shortly thereafter, I was joined in this critical view by Canadian journalist Donna Laframboise (“IPCC: The Delinquent Teenager Who Was Mistaken for the World’s Top Climate Expert”), and many others, until this thesis was also adopted by the US Republican Party in its latest version, and today Nicolas Sarkozy (BBC, September 14, 2016). Does this mean that reason has triumphed? Does this mean that the IPCC reports will now be recognized for what they are, that is to say, political documents – and not scientific reports- making them the most disheveled liaison vehicle of environmentalist ideology? It is too early to tell. For, according to a conventional intellectual schema, as they are discredited, the proponents of the dominant thesis tend to become more radical.
Thus the National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER), which is the largest organization of Economic Research of the United States, has just published a study on how the US economy should adapt to climate change. This study has been largely picked up by the American press under the theme of: “the US Economy in WWII as a Model for Coping with Climate Change” (NBER Working Paper, September 2016). To fight climate change, the effects of which are compared to the bombs dropped on Europe by the Nazis (sic, page 4), this report suggests that to succeed in the fight against climate change one must transform the US economy into a ‘climate war’ economy. This implies, among other things, the limitless growth of government spending (“gold rush economics”), government control of the means of production, administrative control over economic factors (prices, rates, rents) and of course, rationing. A package which indeed defines the economy of a country at war. Considering that war is a situation analogous to the “ecological disaster” that we know, the author of the report shows how, in 1941, the American economy was converted into a war economy, how many new infrastructure projects were built by the government (including pipelines), how many new materials were invented such as synthetic rubber, and how new aluminum deposits were exploited.
Rationing of metals, privileges for the arms industry: this is the picture of a war economy. The best example, according to the author of the report, of what a government can do in a time of war, is the “Manhattan Project” that is to say the development of the nuclear bomb. Funding was provided by taxes and by borrowing.
The author continues to wonder why, with the success of the administered economy, why this “war socialism” (sic) was rejected after the war. The author’s conclusion? It was mainly due to communication problems because we let strikes settle and spread corporate propaganda for the “free market”. In that author’s view, there is, therefore no structural obstacle to the establishment of a planned economy in peacetime.
This planned economy would differ from previous as its objective, which would not be producing as needed, but to limit human production of greenhouse gases. The idea is that by assigning everyone a rightful place, the government would have the means to reduce CO2 emissions and to manage the consequences of extreme weather events (supposed to multiply, p. 3).
Ludwig von Mises and Friedrich Hayek showed that the control of economic activity involves the control of the life of every individual in all its aspects, not only in the economic aspects. The one who decides what can be produced, by whom and where; what can be consumed, by whom and in what quantities, this one does not only control the lives of citizens but is also the one that sets the scale of values. All at once the omniscient demon of Laplace, the Hobbesian Leviathan, and Big Brother, the master planner becomes the master of souls.
Moreover, the report of the National Bureau of Economic Research suggests, as an aperitif, the rapid, mandatory, displacement of the population (p. 5 and 17) and the prohibition of strikes (p. 35). This will pose no difficulty since the government will be freed of all financial and legal constraints (p. 15). This grand ‘climate change war plan’ will obliterate the basic freedoms of the public very effectively, since the intended enemy — “climate change” – is unlikely to be defeated.
Such delusional projects as this one, which is in line with the recommendations of the IPCC’s Malthusian view, are the mark of a debate that was believed to have been based on science, whereas it was rooted in ideology.
If we are to go ‘to war’ on these grounds, would it not be appropriate that following the American parliamentary majority, European politicians hold public hearings on the politicization of climate science?