Elite green billionaire funders are mobilising their forces to promote the idea that climate ‘reparations’ must be paid by the countries that were first to industrialise. Ahead of today’s opening of the latest COP in the United Arab Emirates, the Guardian claimed new analysis had revealed that the U.K. was responsible for almost twice as much “global heating” as previously thought when its colonial history was taken into account. This “first of its kind” analysis by Carbon Brief claims to offer “thought-provoking fresh perspectives on climate justice”.
The reparations shake-down is a collectivist invention that flies in the face of the astonishing benefits that continue to flow to humanity from industrialisation. Harnessing fuel from natural hydrocarbons has gradually released millions, and then billions, of people from a lifetime of back-breaking manual labour. The improvements in the standards of living and overall quality of life would have been unimaginable to previous generations. On an unprecedented scale, humans freed from a life of toil have widened scientific and intellectual life leading to major advances in medicine, clean water, human comfort and longer life spans. As humans conditions started to ease, it often led to a dramatic flowering of intellectual enlightenment and wider democratic freedoms.
Many would argue that, far from coughing up reparations, the countries that led the way in this leap of human progress should be thanked for their pioneering work in improving the human lot on Earth. Seen in this light, the extremist Net Zero and ‘Just Stop Oil’ movements are a decadent return to primitivism, and little more than uneducated fantasies about nature and the human condition.
The science backing the idea of climate reparations is the usual modelled nonsense-on-stilts. As with most green and collectivist Net Zero projects, there is no widespread democratic support behind the idea of giving away billions of pounds for ‘climate justice’, even if such a concept could be defined. As always, in seeking to understand such campaigns, we first look at the money backing the unworkable idea. The Guardian is supported by billionaire cash, most notably $20 million provided by the Gates Foundation. Carbon Brief exists mainly due to the funding it receives from the European Climate Foundation, an umbrella green activist group that is backed by wealthy ‘philanthropists’ such as Bloomberg, Hewlett and Extinction Rebellion-funder Sir Christopher Hohn.
In the cosy cabal of climate catastrophism, the same names and links occur with circular regularity. Covering Climate Now (CC Now) is backed by the Guardian, funded by green foundation money and feeds ready-to-publish climate disaster material to over 500 media outlets. This year, Damian Carrington was awarded a CC Now ‘Journalist of the Year’ award for an “extraordinary” body of work. The “planet is on fire” said Kyle Pope, chair of the CC Now judging panel, and this year’s winners exemplified the best in public-spirited journalism. Quelle surprise, Damian Carrington is also the Environment Editor of the Guardian and wrote the latest climate reparations story.
The Guardian and Carbon Brief story relies heavily on a recent paper written by a number of academics working out of known green activist units in the University of East Anglia and the Potsdam Institute. It attempts to measure the impossible, namely the global ‘heating’ caused by past colonial activities from countries such as Britain, France and the Netherlands. It is riddled with ‘estimates’, then computations based on estimates, all run up on the ubiquitous climate models. It assumes that human-caused carbon dioxide drives the climate thermostat, causing 1.1°C of warming since the Little Ice Age eased a couple of hundred years ago. It attributes ‘heating’ to any industrialisation that occurred in colonial times, even if, as in the case of the nationwide railway system built in India, the benefit has long accrued to the former colony.
Writing in the Guardian, Dr. Simon Evans of Carbon Brief notes that former colonial countries are tied to a responsibility to “support the climate response in less developed countries”. This argument might have wider appeal if it could be shown that a changing climate had led to more extreme weather events. In fact there is no evidence of this, with little change reported in the incidence and severity of many natural disasters. In fact during the last 100 years, humans have used the wealth created by exploiting hydrocarbons to protect themselves against natural disasters and death rates have plunged by over 90%. Western advocates for reparations often cite the example of Tuvalu, a group of Pacific island said to be about to disappear beneath rising sea levels – a story somewhat spoilt by research that revealed recent land growth in these particular locations.
At the heart of the climate reparations grift is the “loss and damage” fund agreed at last year’s COP meeting. Why was this agreed? Science writer Roger Pielke Jnr. notes that one reason rich countries were happy to sign the framework is because “arguments over loss and damage can go on for years, for decades, before any money changes hands”. He notes the role played by “contested science”, a matter not helped by the different interpretations of climate change held within different bodies of the United Nations. “So, the narrow definition of climate change, which has bureaucratic and political reasons, makes loss and damage compensation subject to contested science, and in the real world it places it out of reach”.
Chris Morrison is the Daily Sceptic’s Environment Editor.