Clexit calls for withdrawal from climate treaties, rejects the conclusions of 97% of climate science experts and 95% of economics experts.
By Dana Nuccitelli
August 9, 2016
Brexit support and climate denial have many similarities. Many Brexit Leave campaign leaders also deny the dangers of human-caused climate change. Older generations were more likely to vote for the UK to leave the EU and are more likely to oppose taking action on climate change; younger generations disagree, and will be forced to live with the consequences of those decisions. On both issues there’s also a dangerous strain of anti-intellectualism, in which campaigners mock experts and dismiss their evidence and conclusions.
With Brexit, the Leave campaign won the vote, and the UK economy is already feeling the consequences. As Graham Readfearn reported, a new group called “Clexit” (Climate Exit) has formed in an effort to similarly withdraw countries from the successful international climate treaty forged last year in Paris. As the group describes itself:
"Brexit was Britain’s answer to the growing over-reach of EU bureaucracies. Clexit is our answer to the push for global control through climate hysteria."
Clexit leaders are heavily involved in tobacco and fossil fuel-funded organizations, in what’s become known as “the web of denial.” The group’s president is Christopher Monckton, whose extensive misunderstanding of basic climate science was revealed in a thorough debunking by John Abraham, and whoinsists that President Obama was born in Kenya, among his many controversial and conspiratorial public statements. Its vice president is Marc Morano, who began his career working for Rush Limbaugh and is essentially the real-life version of the character Nick Naylor from the film Thank You for Smoking. Its secretary is Viv Forbes, who has been involved with coal industry for over 40 years and is associated with many fossil fuel-funded groups.
With feedback from the rest of the group’s members, Forbes prepared Clexit’s summary statement, which is full of myths and misinformation about economics, energy, laws, and climate science. It includes this expression of compassionate concern over the plight of low-lying island nations that are being engulfed by rising seas:
"Some of the biggest supporters of the Paris accord are small oceanic nations seeking welfare through handouts to save them from baseless predictions of rising sea levels, even though actual changes in sea levels are tiny and not unusual.
The fact is that sea level rise in Tuvalu has been effectively zero since accurate measurements commenced in 1993, on tide gauges set up by the Australian government."
This purported fact is actually a fiction: the tide gauge data show the rate of sea level rise in Tuvalu since 1993 is 4.3 mm per year, which is faster than the global average of 3.4 mm per year. And Tuvalu is only one among the many small island nations facing the loss of their homelands at the hands of global warming-caused sea level rise.
However, when it comes to energy use, Clexit’s compassion for developing countries becomes even clearer yet:
"For developing countries, the Paris Treaty would deny them the benefits of reliable low-cost hydrocarbon energy, compelling them to rely on biomass heating and costly weather-dependent and unreliable power supplies, thus prolonging and increasing their dependency on international handouts. They will soon resent being told to remain forever in an energy-deprived wind/solar/wood/bicycle economy."
The problem with energy from burning fossil fuels is that it’s only “low-cost” if we ignore the tremendous costs of the damages its carbon pollution causes via climate change. Poorer countries are particularly vulnerable to those costs, both because they lack the wealth and resources to adapt to them, and because they tend to be located in already-hot geographic regions near the equator.
There’s a reason why 95% of expert economists agree that we should cut carbon pollution. Of course, the Clexiters deny that carbon dioxide is a pollutant:
"Carbon dioxide is NOT a dangerous pollutant – it is a natural, non-toxic and beneficial gas which feeds all life on earth."
However, this was long ago decided in the courts. In 2007, the US Supreme Court ruled that the State of Massachusetts had legal standing to sue the EPA for its refusal to regulate greenhouse gases, specifically because Massachusetts showed that it was being harmed by global warming via sea level rise encroaching on its shores. In that case, the Supreme Court ruled that carbon dioxide is a pollutant.
In response to the Supreme Court decision, the EPA issued an endangerment finding concluding that, based on the available scientific evidence, carbon dioxide endangers public health and welfare, and must therefore be regulated as a pollutant.
The Clexiters deny that vast body of scientific evidence. In addition to sea level rise, their summary statement denies the major role of carbon dioxide in the Earth’s greenhouse effect, that current global temperatures are hotter than they’ve been in over 2,000 years, the dangers of ongoing climate change, that most climate scientists were predicting global warming in the 1970s, and so on.
It’s perhaps unsurprising that the Clexit group denies basic climate science, since the only climate scientist on their committee is Ole Humlum, who has done some very shoddy research on fossil fuels and carbon pollution. The group effectively asks that we all reject the conclusions of 97% of climate science experts and 95% of economics experts, in favor of the myths and misinformation propagated by their fake experts. Perhaps, as top Leave campaigner Michael Gove said:
"people in this country have had enough of experts.."
Gove also pushed to remove climate change from school curriculums, before backing down.
Fortunately, given the high level of global concern about climate change, Clexit faces a much tougher road to success than Brexit, because a Clexit victory would be a disaster for the rest of us.
Article Link To The Guardian: