Rex Murphy and Conrad Black on the new faith and climate radicals.
As this edition of the Post hits the stands, the great Conclave of Catastrophists in Paris will have concluded. The last goose will gladly have surrendered its swollen liver — foie gras does not come without exertion — to the last epicure environmentalist. We have been told that the French did not stint on lending all the arts of its fabled cuisine to assist the Great Deliberators. State dinners took on something of the largesse and abundance last recorded by Gibbon in his descriptions of the Emperor Heliogabalus, who is reputed to have served u- p the tongues of humming birds, peacock brains and mice sautéed in honey, to the jaded appetites of his decadent court.
The reference here to far earlier times is not accidental o-r flip. Just as in the early cen turies of Christianity, when the patristic Fathers struggled with various heresies and sought to stabilize the dogmas of the then-nascent Faith, held their great Councils to parse t-he finer points of esoteric doc trine, the Parisian analog gave itself over to even more subtle r-uminations: whether, for ex ample, it was best to “commit” t- o ensuring the planet’s tem perature doesn’t rise more than 1.5 degrees by the year 2100, or whether it was best merely to hold the thermometer to a more expansive two degrees.
How much mental energy must have been expanded over that winsome 0.5 degrees, 80 years down the road? The subtleties involved, the logical intricacies deployed, would have outpaced Aquinas and sent poor Augustine to bed early with a migraine. However, the modern monks of the High Church of Global Warming have resources that the early philosophers and theologians could not even dream of — they have computer models that dance in the direction wished of them.
A- nd when what they deli ciously refer to as the “settled science” does not serve their needs, they have always about them the ancient texts of Earth in the Balance by Reverend Al G-ore, or the early press releas es of the Duns Scotus of Global Warming, Cardinal Emeritus George Monbiot.
And where the scholiasts of old, wrestling with imperfect transcriptions and dubious translations of Holy Scripture had only prayer to guide them on the knotty questions of global warming — such as how many polar bears can dance on the edge of an ice floe — the priests of Climatology can always consult the Oracles of Greenpeace and the Sierra Club; or when in d-eeper need — say on the rela tionship between the decline of the coral reefs and bovine f- latulence — refer to the obi ter dicta of Bishops Tutu or Suzuki, on which matters such authorities speak with a Truth beside which that of Scripture is a mere contrail.
N-ot having been in Paris my self, I cannot speak of how they marked the end of their torm-ented consultations, wheth er they wafted a few puffs of invisible carbon dioxide over the steeple of the Eiffel Tower, o-r burnt a few outdated phys ics texts to mark the beginning of the new era their meeting signified. But they surely could n-ot have ended without point i-ng to the example — the evi dence-based example I should stress — of what happens when governments take the Dogma of New Green seriously.
The experience of Ontario, as underscored by the very timely report of its auditor general — released as the great Throng was chewing over these very questions — had to have b-een an inspiration and a com fort. For Ontario provides, as it w-ere, a case-study of what hap pens to reason and policy when a government truly gives itself over to the new Meditations. Ontario as all the world knows went Green with fervour, with former premier Dalton McG-uinty and his successor, Pre mier Kathleen Wynne, fancying themselves something of the Copernicus and Tycho Brahe of the New Green Learning. And was it not learned from the auditor general that their great dive into a solar and wind p-owered future has cost the in nocent citizens of Ontario a mere $37 billion more than it should have, which could give r-ise to another, extra $133 bil lion by 2032?
If one wishes to learn the t- rue value of what a commit m-ent to the New Learning ac tually involved, then Ontario i-s both laboratory and experi ment. By what fraction of a d- egree did the world’s tem perature actually lower itself — was it 0.01 per cent, 0.001 per cent or any fractional mite in between? — for that $37 billion?
Could it even be — Heresy of Heresies — that maybe the global temperature moved not
The modern monks have resources the early theologians could not even dream of — they have computer models that dance in the direction wished of them
at all, or — Good Gore, save us — went upwards? We cannot know, for it is the nature of this subject that substantive answers are never possible nor welcome.
When dealing with the “airy subtleties” of the new Faith, we must settle for ignorance, but as long as it is for the Great Cause, as long as 50,000 can jet to Paris, Rio or Bei-jing an nually, who cares that we have no certainty? As long as the faith holds, there is no call for certainties.
S- ave the one more import ant than all the rest: the idea t-hat the vastly imperfect gov ernments of this world, who b-etween them cannot guaran tee anything six months out, c- an speak with serene confi d- ence on the Whole Atmos phere of our Great Dynamic Planet nearly 100 years from now?
I do not wish to end on a cynical turn here. There has b-een on undeniable improve ment wrought from this great Conclave. St. Leonardo di Caprio, patron spirit of The Yachts of the Monaco Basin, learned for the first time this week that there is such a thing as a chinook. So we now know that there is a least one fact in that well- photographed head of his, and that probably makes it superior to many of those other heads that met so urgently in Paris.