Orwellian Global Warming Dreams

In Climate Change, Energy, Environment, History, People, Politics by James Wanliss1 Comment

In March a group of Democratic attorneys general formed “AG’s United for Clean Power.”

It sounds nice enough, doesn’t it? New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman, standing beside a grinning Al Gore, announced that the gang was going after any energy providers and distributors who may have committed thought crimes such as questioning the human cause of the 0.8oC global warming since 1880.

MIT atmospheric scientist Richard Lindzen said the appropriate response to this tiny warming is to shrug and say, “So what?” It is a tiny fraction of the daily temperature change in most places, and a smaller fraction of the seasonal temperature change. But at the AGs’ meeting Al Gore called it a “climate crisis.”

The state AGs are in lockstep with federal Attorney General Loretta Lynch, who recently said she is considering legal actions against “climate change deniers” (a nonexistent species, since no one denies that climate changes).

You may wonder how this could be possible in the United States, where freedom of speech is guaranteed in the Constitution.

Imagine a society in which one is under near-ubiquitous surveillance. Such a vision is remarkably close to the reality of 21st century America, if the words of Supreme Court Justice Steven Breyer are to be believed. In statements regarding a recent case he said, “If you win this case, then there is nothing to prevent the police or the government from monitoring 24 hours a day the public movement of every citizen of the United States.”

We’re already under a voluntary microscope with tools like Facebook. Small wonder that politicians desire a similar bonanza. With total data coverage, attorneys general will find it easy to harm those who are not in total support of correct political priorities. Justice Breyer thought such a possibility resembled, too closely for comfort, the dystopian society George Orwell wrote of in his novel 1984.

In more than this we resemble Orwell’s Oceania, which had its own form of twisted English called Newspeak. Newspeak was carefully devised to meet the ideological needs of Ingsoc, or English Socialism. It made it difficult, nearly impossible, for the common prole to have incorrect ideas. Newspeak, as a mode of expression, acted to develop correct mental habits and make all other thoughts inconceivable.

“It was intended,” wrote Orwell, “that when Newspeak had been adopted once and for all and Oldspeak forgotten, a heretical thought, that is, a thought diverging from the principles of Ingsoc, should be literally unthinkable, at least so far as thought is dependent on words.”

This brings me to global warming. The term occurs frequently in Al Gore’s 1992 book, Earth in the Balance (I stopped counting at 81 times). But when Mr. Gore stood beside the attorneys general there was not even a nostalgic reference to global warming. It has passed out of the memory tubes governed by Newspeak.

The problem with global warming is its precision. The words global and warming have precise and well-understood meanings. Global refers to an all-encompassing entity, in this case geographically specified—the planet Earth. Earth is a medium-sized planet located in space approximately 1.5×1011 m from its closest star. And Earth is warmer, on average, now than it was in the past—well, the late 14th through early 19th centuries, anyway. (It’s also cooler now, on average, than it was in the Holocene Climate Optimum, and probably also the Minoan Warm Period, the Roman Warm Period, and the Medieval Warm Period, but polite conversation doesn’t encompass such inconvenient truths.)

This is hardly groundbreaking. Our planet has had many periods of warming and cooling.

The AGs insist the direct cause of escalating temperatures is rising atmospheric concentration of CO2—the gas of life—driven by the European and American economic boom post World War II. They warn that warming will become catastrophic unless emissions are stopped.

But the modest warming has stopped while emissions have skyrocketed. This is opposite to the warming computer models predicted. There has been no warming trend from 1997 to the present. (The short-term warming of the first few months of 2016 is due to an unusually, but not unprecedentedly, strong El Niño in the south Pacific and does not constitute a trend.)

Today those who question the idea of a runaway global warming caused by human CO2 emissions are called deniers. What precisely the deniers deny is never quite specified. That is the point in Newspeak. It is sufficient to wrap words related to rationality and objectivity in the single word denier. Greater precision would be dangerous.

It is the flat line of no warming for almost 20 years that also makes “global warming” unacceptable. It is too precise.

Changing to terms such as Al Gore’s “climate crisis” has the conscious purpose of subtly changing the meaning, by cutting out most of the associations that would otherwise cling to the more precise term.

Climate crisis and climate change are terms that can be uttered almost without taking thought, whereas global warming is a phrase over which one is obliged to linger at least momentarily. So linger a while before the attorneys general make it a thought crime to hold a different opinion.

This article was published on Townhall.

James Wanliss, Ph.D., is Professor of Physics at Presbyterian College, Clinton, SC. He is a Senior Fellow and Contributing Writer for The Cornwall Alliance for the Stewardship of Creation, and author of Resisting the Green Dragon: Dominion, Not Death. He has published over 50 peer-reviewed physics articles, has held the NSF CAREER award, and does research in space science and nonlinear dynamical systems under grants from NASA and NSF. He regularly blogs at www.wanliss.com.


  1. eric.smith@yahoo.com'

    Both of the concepts of “global warming” and “climate change” seem intentionally created to cause conflicts and disagreements among groups of people.

    We know that one of the chief strategies of power mongers and crowd manipulators is that of “divide and conquer”…In other words, intentionally set up situations and frame issues in such a manner that the common people become strongly divided amongst each other, and at odds with each other.

    The most effective way to do this is to get them divided into two opposing camps. This phenomenon is seen clearly in contemporary American politics: e.g., “Left vs Right”, “Liberals vs Conservatives”, “Democrats vs Republicans”, etc. (Unlike France, for example, where there are numerous leading political parties, with a variety of differing viewpoints, which the public can choose from, and whose candidates have reasonable chances of winning elections).

    Here in our culture, we see the public often divided into two opposing camps on issues. In such a state, they are occupied antagonizing and opposing each other…while the power mongers remain quietly behind the scene and ultimately in charge of the major affairs of the state. The end result is that the interests of the corporate powers (e.g., profits and power) are served while the interests of the general public (e.g., health, well-being, clean air, clean water, etc) are neglected, sublimated, and subverted.

    Back to the topic of global warming/climate change. From the point of view of the powerful petroleum industry, either one of these concepts serve as a preferable way for the public to conceptualize the topic of environmental pollution.

    For starters, the concepts of global warming and climate change are both things that the average person cannot easily verify himself/herself with their own senses and their personal experience.

    Rather, these are phenomena that we need to rely on the scientists and “experts” to tell us either do, or do not, exist.

    This is the perfect setting for the public to become divided on an issue…as well as to have their thoughts and their conversations diverted away from the actual, truly important issue, of environmental pollution/toxification.

    One side of the public aligns with the group of scientists that’s telling us global warming/climate change is true and is being caused by man.

    Another side of the public aligns with the group of scientists that’s telling us global warming/climate change is not true, or is true but is not being caused by man.

    Here’s what I propose. Whenever you’re tempted to use the phrase “global warming”, or “climate change”, instead, replace them with the term “global pollution” or “global

    Environmental pollution and toxification are often phenomena that we can see and experience directly, ourselves. We don’t need the experts/scientists to confirm this for us.

    I can look out my window in LA, Tokyo, Beijing, etc and actually see the pollution filling the sky myself.

    This is a direct effect of our “dirty energy” sources, that I can verify exist with my own senses.

    Other forms of global toxicification that I can verify with my own senses include the chemical run-off that I can taste in my tap water, the pesticide residue that I can taste in my store-bought produce, the plastic shopping bags that I can see blowing around the countryside, etc.

    The producers of “dirty energy” (the petroleum industry) do not want you to think of the environmental problems that they/we are creating as “toxification” (which is what it actually is, and which you can verify with your own senses, and therefore which is much harder to deny).

    Rather, they would prefer you to think of the problem as “climate change” (a pleasant sounding term), which is an easy topic for people to become divided over and to argue with each other about. (The same kind of division and arguing among people occurs with “global warming”.) And of course, conveniently for the power mongers, there are groups of scientists on both sides of the issue, who will fervently tell you their data is convincing and conclusive.

    You pick which side of the argument you’re on, and you thereby perpetuate the futility and the societal divisiveness, by siding with the group of scientists whose data you trust the most.

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