Published in the March 2007
issue of the Canadian
Nuclear Society Bulletin, Vol.28, No.1.
An Unbearable Greenness of Being
by Jeremy Whitlock
"That was 2007: the year that Climate Change became a religion."
I'm sitting in a darkened cell. A secure room somewhere, I don't know where. I was led here behind a blindfold.
The man across from me is old and weary: I can tell this just listening to his voice.
"It was in 2007 that 'climate change deniers' became the label for those who dared to question the climate change theory."
The man leans forward in the dark.
"Anthropogenic climate change, that is. As everyone agreed soon enough, climate does indeed change…"
He chuckles hoarsely, then leans back and tightens a sweater around his neck. It's cold in this room. It's cold everywhere.
"In 2007 the environment became Canadians' number one concern. The government, the opposition, politicians of every stripe started heavy petting with the environmentalists. Not the real environmentalists, of course; they were busy solving real problems.
"The Greens... the intellectually bankrupt, politically rich. They thrived like fungus."
Again he leans forward. There is no anger in his voice, only sorrow.
"They shut down the science. By 2007 the journals were already censoring the 'deniers'. Papers rejected, funding declined, projects cancelled. They shut it all down."
"An Inconvenient Truth", I mutter, aware of the irony.
He nods slowly. My eyes can now make out clouds of condensation when he breathes.
"Very few questioned the self-contradiction of the 'Scientific Consensus': truth determined by political compromise. In fact it was embraced. Expediency, mediocrity, misunderstanding: all veiled behind the shibboleth of the 'Precautionary Principle'.
"While real pollution abatement languished, billionaires offered prizes for innovative ways to suck carbon dioxide out of the atmosphere. Imagine that: an indispensable agricultural nutrient.
"It was like a clarion call to the Green army, waiting years to crawl out from under every rock. Their leaders prostituted themselves on every talk show and university campus. The most exalted entered towns like messiahs, riding mules of ignorance and treading on the palm fronds of real science.
"It wasn't long before climate change 'deniers' were rounded up. Nobody appeared to notice that these were largely the atmospheric scientists, the paleoclimatologists, the astrophysicists: those that lived and breathed planetary dynamics their whole careers. The ones that knew of climate change over the millennia: of ice ages and warm periods. The ones that paid due respect to solar cycles and cosmic interaction.
"And even as the cosmic connection was then being pinned down, heretics giving it any credence were stoned in the street. It was said that Satan manufactured the correlation between solar magnetic activity and mean temperature."
I shift uneasily. He becomes more animated.
"It snowballed, and all of science was soon quenched. Anything politically incorrect at first, but soon free thought itself was frowned upon. We began to stagnate intellectually as a species.
"The Climate Change Inquisition gathered steam under the United Nations, rolling through several countries. No government stood in its way. No punishment was too severe for the skeptics."
He leans back, breathing uneasily as if recalling unsettling memories. Finally I see him shrug.
"After a couple of decades, as you probably know, evidence for planetary cooling became embarrassingly obvious. Five years of crop failure in central Europe, glacial advance, closure of the Northwest Passage and the ceding back to Canada of all now-useless Arctic waters."
He pulls the sweater even closer.
"The Second Little Ice Age had, quite clearly, begun. And with it, the Second Dark Age."
He muffles a dry cough as I stand and pace the dark room.
I know the rest of the story. The Disillusionment. The backlash towards not just environmentalists, but all manifestations of leadership, vision, control. Science was long cast out, and now the New Ideology was known to be a farce. Nothing remained. Tribal structures filled the void. Institutions were smashed. Real scientists, subsisting for years in safe houses writing Java script for pop websites, were now reduced to a hunter-gatherer desperation like the rest.
I thank him but he's now curled up in the fetal position somewhere in the shadows. I leave and enter the cold. All signs are that it's going to get a lot colder.