November 22, 2007

Sea Change on Climate Change

As a collective, we don't seem to have much of a memory for events... unless they're tragic or catastrophic, of course. Politicians generally depend on this poor group memory to allow their careers to survive embarrassments of all kinds. However, some of us do remember, and that recollection is often unsettling. Take the current atmosphere on global warming, as a prime example. It wasn't long ago, maybe six years, when the mass media were very skeptical about climate change. Newspaper and TV journalists always ran stories claiming global warming together with pieces that cast doubt on the 'theory,' as it was always characterized. Ten years ago they were questioning the very notion of 'warming,' offering various kinds of alternative theories that ranged all the way to 'a new Ice Age.' Then they seemed to grudgingly accept the evidence for warming, but now they challenged the mechanism. Was it 'natural cyclical processes,' that needed further research... or was it due to the increase in atmospheric carbon dioxide caused by human industrial activity? That 'debate' went on for a few years until sometime around 2006. Then something interesting happened-- a 'sea change' in group-think: the mainstream media achieved a breakthrough of sorts regarding 'climate change.' No longer do we see skepticism over the fact of global warming-- nor over the mechanism that purports to explain it; now it is taken as obvious, almost self-evident, that global warming is caused by human activity.

Most citizens, even those who consider themselves well-informed, tend to regard this change in media outlook-- if they even notice it-- as 'just one of those things;' a phenomenon rooted in the tangle of human consciousness, and multiple choices. But, suppose it's not just inexplicable; suppose it's a deliberate strategem, by hidden proponents, for presently unknown purposes. In other words, could it be that the media have been directed to go from honest skeptics and agnostics on the subject of climate change, to implicit believers and supporters of the 'greenhouse gas emissions' school of teaching? There's little doubt that the media have made an about-face; the question then remains, what is behind this abrupt turnaround? I'll put that question aside for the moment.

Concerning global warming, there's only two possibilities: either it is caused by human-generated 'greenhouse gases,' or... there's some other mechanism at work whose nature we don't yet understand. In my essay on 'Climate Change Heresy,' I present a brief overview of why I'm convinced that the carbon gas emission theory is impossible-- a bogus theory that is, today, almost entirely carried by the power of the mainstream media. That means that there is some other theory, another mechanism, by which the Earth's average temperature is rising. (If you, dear reader, are not convinced of the weakness of the greenhouse gas theory, I invite you to stay unbiased long enough to study both sides of the issue, as presented by their own proponents.) Now, since the greenhouse gas theory fails, why would the hidden manipulaters of the mainstream media direct their minions to promote it to their mass audiences? Indeed; who stands to gain from this bogus explanation?

That was the question a friend of mine posed when he had read my above-cited essay. In other words, what would the media achieve by backing a false theory? I suggested a few plausible reasons that were advanced by other analysts (e.g. the 'alternative energy' industries will gain; the environmental lobby gets a boost; etc.). Of the putative reasons, the most plausible is the most abstract: by fostering the notion that global warming is the direct result of human activity, the hidden 'powers that be' create a desired general climate of fear among the populace-- fear that facilitates the slide towards full authoritarian rule over the most powerful entities in the political world. On reflection, I still think that this is one of the strongest motives behind the sea change that brought the mass media behind the idea of potential doom caused by air pollution.

However, after recently viewing a provacative video documentary related to climate change, it suddenly hit me what quintessential motivation lies behind the great editorial shift. Look again at the choice: it's between a theory that lies somewhere in the realm of natural processes that are likely beyond our control, and the theory that places the blame squarely on human activity. So, if global warming is caused by human activity that generates greenhouse gases, then the solution lies in altering human behavior in a way that reduces the production of those gases and the resulting warming of the atmosphere. There is hope that, by exercise of human ingenuity and our beloved technology, humanity can avoid the catastrophe predicted by both scientists and prognosticators. In fact, there will be fortunues to be reaped as global societies make the colossal and painful shift from fossil-fuel based economies to some kind of 'small footprint' economies. But.... if, on the other hand, the underlying cause of planetary warming is not human-caused, rather is due to some as yet unknown, natural phenomenon, then it's a very different ball-game.

Under the natural cause scenario, there are two prime possibilities. The more innocuous one is that it's related to solar activity, and has occurred in past cycles. In that scenario, we know species will die out, probably an unknown portion of humanity will perish-- but we will survive as a race, and after a difficult period, history will resume. In the second scenario-- the one envisioned by numerous traditional, religious sources-- the world is heading for a catastrophic date with destiny, called by some 'the End of the World,' and by others 'the End of the Age.' There is a distinction in the phrases. Whereas the end of the age implies there will be a succeeding age along cyclical mythologies, the end of the world conveys the idea of the conclusion of this order of existence for humanity. (Any subsequent order of existence depends on one's particular eschatology or end-time theology.)

In either scenario, those who control the world's levers of power and wealth anticipate negative, mass behavior of the populations. If it became widely believed among the populace that global warming is merely a symptom of a doom expected to break within one's lifetime, then chaos might ensue. Perhaps not the destructive chaos of rioting and looting, but more likely the abandonment of the present mad chase for fame and fortune, defaulting on financial obligations, and general loss of interest in struggling in the economic world. After all, if the prospect of untimely death looms on the horizon, why work hard, why not party it up? Or, there will be others, the survivalists, who will also abandon the all-embracing structures of modern life and ensconce themselves in rural, and heavily fortified retreats, intending to ride out the coming disasters and pass on a brave, new world to their successors. In these cases, it is clear that those who control the world economic machinery in its current precarious state would stand to lose a great deal-- vast fortunes that depend on the continuance of the system, the compliance of the drones who place money in their banks, and buy their consumer products. If those common people give up the system, it will collapse, and doing so will bring down many uber-rich folks who think they own the world.

In the second scenario-- the End of the World-- people would have little incentive to continue the daily grind. Worse, some would lose their minds and become social liabilities, either quite disfunctional, or outright dangerous. Others would feel no restraint and behave as hedonists or criminals. A certain proportion would deny the new reality and just continue to live and work as they always have, pretending that all is normal. But their pathetic efforts would be futile in the face of widespread, cynical disengagement from the prescribed routines that would appear pointless to the dispairing majority. Again, the masters of the world would lose vast fortunes and influence.

So, what do the illuminated, gray eminences do? They decide to optimize their position in a bad situation and take a gamble that what's coming is the end of this age. They figure that using all their wealth and power, they will survive the coming catastrophe; and in the short time remaining, they will amass still further heaps of wealth to be stored away for barter and power in the expected 'after-time'. But, they have to keep the economic engine running, and for that, they have to convince the population that things are not out of control, the Earth's fate is amenable to human action, there is hope for the future, so keep on working, playing, and spending and saving. To provide the necessary rationale in the face of obvious, disastrous effects of global warming, the hidden manipulators invented, or at least promoted, the convenient theory of greenhouse gas emissions which are generated by human activity. If humans cause it, then by gosh, humans can prevent it... if they just keep beavering away and do as the scientist-priests tell them must be done. Meanwhile, as life goes on (for now), the rich get richer, and... you know the rest.

There you have it-- the underlying reason behind the media turn-around on the global warming debate. If you followed my logic to this conclusion, you will probably feel a tinge of, 'um, shall we say, unease. In fact, it has to strike any thinking onlooker as more than passing strange that in the face of ever-strident warnings from scientists, the response of most government officials is a bored yawn followed by the recitation of a stream of verbiage devoid of any solid indication of meaningful action. I refer to national governments everywhere; but the lacklustre response of the most prolific producers of hydro-carbon gas emissions-- the USA and China-- must trigger some kind of blinking light in our brains. Do you think they know something we aren't supposed to know? Regardless, the tenuous tenor of these times urges diligent monitoring of breaking news... and some serious spiritual reflection.

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