The disinformation around this year’s climate negotiations got off to a stupid start, got slightly funny and gross there for a minute, and then just gross as a TERF called climate reporters biased. But not to worry, it’s still getting stupider, and more offensive!
On the stupid front, a member of the new denial PR pop-up CAR26 that we warned about last week tweeted on Monday that she was “chased” out of COP26, and had to do an interview while “hiding in the disabled loos.” But it turns out no one chased her out of COP26, she was just asked to leave a private meeting room at a side event, presumably because it was about to be used for, you know, a meeting.
“Anti-climate actors rely on a reactionary dynamic with ‘mainstream’ institutions, media, or experts,” Institute for Strategic Dialogue (ISD) disinformation expert Jennie King told DeSmog, “and cultivate their brand, especially on social media, around being ‘cancelled’ or outcast by perceived elites.”
This dynamic is absolutely unmistakable across the deniersphere, to the extent that it even entices people who try to distance themselves from it, like “honest broker” author Roger Pielke Jr. While he’s long attempted to portray himself as sitting squarely within the consensus, and expresses support for a carbon tax, he’s also done plenty of work that’s immediately used by the sorts of people who cry persecution when they lock themselves in a bathroom, like alleging that Democrats have corrupted climate science.
And deniers return the favor by supporting him, for example with a new 20-page report published by GWPF detailing how, due to persecution, his university office is tiny and filled with boxes from his shuttered projects. Based on an interview with Donna LaFramboise, who’s past works have centered on smearing the IPCC, it’s built on the idea that the tenured professor who once complained about being silenced in the Wall Street Journal has been, as King described of the bathroom-dweller, “‘cancelled’ or outcast by perceived elites.”
(On Tuesday, a COP26 event honored the lives of the 1,000+ environmental activists murdered since the Paris Agreement in 2015, a third of whom were from indigenous communities. But everyone should really feel very sorry for Pielke, because his office is very small and doesn’t even have any windows!)
While most may not be moved by such a harrowing tale of being told you’re wrong, refusing to admit it, and facing consequences for your toxic actions, one person who did praise Pielke yesterday was Michael Shellenberger. Also on the anti-elitist kick, Shellenberger tweeted a link to his new substack post a couple dozen times as well, so we took the bait and gave “Why Wokeism Is A Religion” a read. And surprisingly, we were glad we did!
Because for years now, Shellenberger has slowly been evolving beyond his brand as the liberal presenting hard truths in the name of a stronger and more successful progressive movement, and despite naming his post-Breakthrough spin-off “Environmental Progress,” he is moving fully into the reactionary, alt-right space. This undoubtedly confirms it.
Shellenberger’s new “taxonomy” of the “woke religion” is a project with fellow anti-woke-ist Peter Boghossian, who recently quit Portland State University after getting blowback for writing fake academic papers and in an apparent preemptive self-cancellation, as announced on the substack of fellow preemptive self-canceller Bari Weiss.
Similar to the TERFs and trans disinfo we talked about last Thursday, this “woke religion taxonomy” links racism, climate change, trans people, crime, mental illness, and drug and homelessness issues by suggesting each has an “original sin” (history) committed by “guilty devils,” (white capitalists, mostly) perpetuated by “myths” (sociology) and impacting “sacred victims” (actual victims of racism) who “the elect” (((elite))) protect with “supernatural beliefs” (facts) and by outlawing “taboo facts” (alternative facts) and “taboo speech” (hate speech), and can only be improved through “purifying rituals” (reducing emissions, being respectful of people's identities by using their pronouns) and by embracing “purifying speech” of words and phrases as outlandish as “Black,” “Renewables,” and “Trans women are women.”
Seriously, those are the actual examples!
Somehow, though, that’s not even the most disgusting content coming from a supposed ally of climate action yesterday. While the Republican plan to export natural gas as a climate cure would lead to a catastrophic 3.1°C of warming, apparently even that is too much climate action for so-called skeptical environmentalist Bjorn Lomborg.
In this week's Wall Street Journal column, Lomborg argues that a "reasonable alternative" to the COP26 talks is to allow for 3.5°C (6.3°F) of warming. But just the difference between 1.5°C and 2·°C of warming is significant, with upward of 1 billion additional people who would be at risk of dying from extreme heat if they spend a summer day outside at 2°C (and half the world population is at risk at 4°C). Allowing fossil fuels to pollute us to to 3.5°C would put at least 275 million people’s homes under water, including entire island nations (and Louisiana communities) that will be submerged by sea level rise after just 2°C of warming, literally committing cultural genocide.
Experts were quick to debunk Lomborg's claims, for example pointing out that if you look at the updated version of the study he cites to justify that genocide, it now matches the Paris goals.
While the antics of obvious anti-climate activists hiding in bathrooms may be an entertaining distraction, it seems these days the real danger is coming from those “honest brokers” pretending to offer “reasonable” advice.