Many good and decent people are very concerned, rightly or wrongly, with 'the environment' in general and with 'climate change' in particular. I suppose those who read this blog are mostly sceptical about climate alarmism, but I also suppose they, like me, find that most people they know are both 'good and decent' and 'alarmed about climate change attributed to humans'.
The more I study the science and the politics of climate, the less impressed I am with the leaders, and the most active and outspoken, in the scientific and in the political wings of the 'movement to alarm people about their impact on climate'. There is a lot to be dismayed about.
One immediate impact of these people is to damage industrial economies by forcing expensive and unreliable energy burdens on to them through wind, wave, and biofuels, and neglecting or discouraging the development and improvement of more economic methods such as nuclear fission, or the burning of coal and gas.
A more alarming, and longer-term, impact is surely to be expected from the deliberate frightening of children in schools with talk of doom and gloom, and of how humans and their industrial technologies are such a problem.
But there is also something there which can, or ought to, frighten adults - especially any who are familiar with the wars and revolutions in or near Europe in the 20th century. Leftwing movements in the Soviet Union and in Germany in particular led to totalitarian regimes which engaged in destructiveness on a massive and heart-rending scale. The National Socialists in Germany were particularly emphatic about going back to Nature.
(An extended essay by John Ray is referenced here in anticipation of any reader puzzled by my conflation of fascism with socialism: http://ray-dox.blogspot.com/2006/05/american-roots-of-fascism-american.html )
Part One: two essays from Germany
The following passage, with a little editing, could easily be from the pen of a modern green-activist:
'We recognise that separating humanity from nature, from the whole of life, leads to humankind’s own destruction and to the death of nations. Only through a re-integration of humanity into the whole of nature can our people be made stronger. That is the fundamental point of the biological tasks of our age. Humankind alone is no longer the focus of thought, but rather life as a whole . . . This striving toward connectedness with the totality of life, with nature itself, a nature into which we are born, this is the deepest meaning and the true essence of National Socialist thought.'
These are the words of a Nazi ideologue (1), and are quoted in the study by Peter Staudenmaier entitled
He ends with this warning:
'For all of these reasons, the slogan advanced by many contemporary Greens, "We are neither right nor left but up front," is historically naive and politically fatal. The necessary project of creating an emancipatory ecological politics demands an acute awareness and understanding of the legacy of classical ecofascism and its conceptual continuities with present-day environmental discourse. An 'ecological' orientation alone, outside of a critical social framework, is dangerously unstable. The record of fascist ecology shows that under the right conditions such an orientation can quickly lead to barbarism.'
(1) Ernst Lehmann, Biologischer Wille. Wege und Ziele biologischer Arbeit im neuen Reich, München, 1934, pp. 10-11. Lehmann was a professor of botany who characterised National Socialism as "politically applied biology."
A sister paper, by Janet Biehl, is entitled
Note added 17 April 2014. Here is a recent example of the cuddly wing at work in schools: http://www.wwf.org.uk/what_we_do/working_with_schools/our_work_with_schools/