From Gerard Baker’s op-ed in the Wall Street Journal “St. Greta Spreads the Climate Gospel: A movement that believes in sin, penance and salvation doesn’t sound very scientific“:
The High Church of Environmentalism has acquired many of the characteristics of its ecclesiastical predecessor. An apocalyptic eschatology warns that we will all be consumed by fire if we don’t follow the ordained rules. The notion that it is our sinful nature that has brought us to mortal peril—from the Original Sin of a carbon-unleashing industrial revolution to daily transgressions with plastic bottles and long-haul flights—is as central to its message as it was to the Catholic Church’s. But repentance is near. A gospel of redemption emphasizes that salvation lies in reducing our carbon footprint, with reusable shopping bags and bike-sharing. The secular authorities preach the virtues of abstinence. Meatless Fridays are no longer just for Lenten observance.
Still, there is something about this near-religious fervor among the climate change activists—a growing fanaticism—that recalls some of the more troubling traits of extreme religious cults. Its status now as almost universally accepted doctrine risks precluding necessary debates about practicalities and policies. If human extinction is really only decades away, as some activists claim, the implications are millenarian.
The case for man-made climate change is highly compelling, but the more apocalyptic the rhetoric, the less likely it is that good decisions will be made. Talk of extinction forces us to ignore the balance between economic growth and both the causes of and potential remedies for climate peril. There is an often ignored virtuous irony in our planet’s destructive progress. While carbon-heavy growth is damaging the planet, it is also producing the technological prowess to address the damage.