Perhaps Al Gore, while preparing for his speech this week at the Smith School World Forum on Enterprise and the Environment in Oxford, England, laid down on the lawn of his multimillion dollar Nashville mansion, gazed at the cloud formations above, and thought that one of them looked remarkably like Hitler.
Because in Oxford, Gore said that, when it comes to global warming, politicians should follow the lead of Winston Churchill, ‘who aroused this nation in heroic fashion to save civilisation in World War Two’.
This is not the first time that Gore has evoked the spirit of Churchill and the threat of Hitler to describe world leaders’ apparent apathy in the face of climate change. In his acceptance speech for the 2007 Nobel Peace Prize, he said: ‘[D]espite a growing number of honourable exceptions, too many of the world’s leaders are still best described in the words Winston Churchill applied to those who ignored Adolf Hitler’s threat: “They go on in strange paradox, decided only to be undecided, resolved to be irresolute, adamant for drift, solid for fluidity, all powerful to be impotent.”’
As for his Oxford speech, it is not surprising that Gore’s insistence that world leaders DO SOMETHING about global warming and fight CO2 emissions as if they were bombs falling out of Luftwaffe aircraft became the headline grabber. ‘We have everything we need except political will’, said Gore, ‘but’ – as he has quipped many times before – ‘political will is a renewable resource’. (Gore sure knows how to recycle jokes. Another of his favourites is to introduce himself as follows: ‘Hi, my name is Al Gore. I was the next president of the United States.’)
In his Oxford speech, Gore also talked of the importance of entrepreneurs showing leadership in the fight against global warming and the steps that can be taken to ensure global energy efficiency. He told of how some countries have started constructing zero-carbon buildings, and warned of the dangers of deforestation, industrial emissions, soil carbon and more.
Still, nothing beats a not-so-subtle hint at the N-word to ram home an alarmist message about impending global climate chaos. In fact, though some environmentalists have argued that Gore’s shrillness in Oxford might have been counterproductive, the Nazi comparison is the green movement’s trump card.
Environmentalists constantly conjure up Holocaust imagery – on the one hand to stress that climate change is a simplistic moral issue, and on the other hand to shut down debate on the matter. We all know the Holocaust happened, we all know it was wrong, we all know who were the villains and who were the victims. Well, replace the Jews with flora and fauna, the Nazis with Big Business, and racist revisionists with ‘climate change sceptics’ and, voilà, you have a ready-made morality tale which will demonstrate the urgency of tackling global warming and the outrageousness of ever questioning the environmentalist agenda.
This twisted reasoning can even lead experienced scientists to compare coal-fuelled electricity generation to the systematic extermination of Jews by the Nazis. The NASA climate scientist, James E Hansen, once said: ‘If we cannot stop the building of more coal-fired power plants, those coal trains will be death trains – no less gruesome than if they were boxcars headed to crematoria, loaded with uncountable irreplaceable species.’ Think of that next time you leave your television on standby – you might be implicit in killing off Jews, or some other ‘species’, just like the SS officers in charge of the mass transportations to the Nazi concentration camps.
If you question the severity of the climate threat, or argue that how humanity should handle it is up for debate, you are likely to be called a ‘climate change denier’. One green went so far as to advocate Nuremberg-style war crimes trials for those who question anthropogenic climate change. Another commentator wrote: ‘I would like to say we’re at a point where global warming is impossible to deny. Let’s just say that global warming deniers are now on a par with Holocaust deniers, though one denies the past and the other denies the present and future.’
So, contesting the irrefutable evidence that six million Jews were murdered by the Nazis is put on a par with questioning events that have not even happened yet. To demand that policies which affect our everyday lives should be put up for critical inquiry and debate is likened to falsifying history.
In his Oxford speech, Gore admitted that it is difficult to persuade the public that the threat from climate change is as urgent as the threat from Hitler was in the 1930s. Yes, that’s because the majority of sensible people can tell the difference between the manageable challenges posed by changes to the environment and the global havoc wreaked by the Second World War, the rise of fascism, and the Nazis’ attempt to annihilate the Jews.
Nathalie Rothschild is commissioning editor of spiked.