The public’s obsession with climate change, a common feature during much of the 1980s and 1990s, has been waning rapidly.
The reason for growing climate fatigue is not so much a PR failure. After all, hundreds of millions are being spent each year around the world by thousands of NGOs, green energy lobbies and green government ministers.
It is rather that reality no longer corresponds with alarmist predictions that were issued just a few years ago.
The novelty of global warming and the habitual alarm have lost their original shock value. Most people have begun to take climate scares with a sizeable pinch of salt.
The climate campaign was founded on two fears: that global warming was an urgent threat that needed to be prevented imminently and at all costs; and second, that the world was running out of fossil fuels. Both assumptions turned out to be wrong.
The shale revolution means the world is swimming in abundant gas and oil. But by far the biggest problem facing the climate agenda is the global warming ‘pause’.
The average global surface temperature has not risen for 17 years, an inconvenient fact that no scientist had predicted.
If the warming standstill continues for much longer, climate scientists and models on which much of international climate policy is based will continue to haemorrhage credibility.
The climate campaign has become unpopular among voters who are hostile to green taxes and rising energy costs. Governments are seen to be unwilling to agree to drastic solutions that are detrimental to economic growth.
No communication skills can revive the success of bygone scaremongering as long as the actual climate does not conform to apocalyptic predictions made just a few years ago.