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Douglas Murray: The climate extremists will never be satisfied

The Daily Telegraph

No policy, not matter how damaging to ordinary life, will ever be enough to appease the cult of St Greta

I don’t know how you chose to celebrate “Earth Day” on Thursday. But in London the protesters from Extinction Rebellion (XR) decided to mark it by shattering windows at Canary Wharf. The group of women specifically targeted the headquarters of HSBC, a bank who XR accuse of being linked to that dread fossil fuel industry that keeps our lights on.

There were some fine sights and moments. One participant, Susan Reid, a 62-year old grandmother, was quoted saying, “I shouldn’t be having to do this.” Personally I have always tried to hold it as a general rule of thumb that if you ever find yourself on a weekday morning using a hammer and chisel to try to break windows in a public space and catch yourself thinking, “I shouldn’t be having to do this,” then the likelihood is that you don’t.

But that is the problem with the diehards of the climate cult. For them it is not possible to examine evidence, weigh up the options and come to any reasonable conclusions. It is not even possible to doubt the efficacy of the cult’s crazier actions even as you are taking part in them. For such true believers the whole thing is already clear: we are all going to die, very soon and if we aren’t going to die very soon then our children and grandchildren will, and so we have to do whatever is needed right now to save them from the flames. Our ancestors in the Middle Ages may have been confused by some of the specific language of the climate cult but they would have understood the theology very well.Advertisement : 16 sec

The problem with XR and their ilk is that they not only tolerate no compromise or contrary opinion: they actually resent the suggestion that there is any such thing. As Earth Day came around like some ancient and widely-recognised event, governments across the globe used the opportunity to make promises that are almost certainly impossible for them to fulfil. All were meant to impress the green fundamentalists.

For example, US President Joe Biden promised that he would ramp up his government’s commitment to cutting greenhouse gas emissions. He used Earth Day to announce that the US would aim to cut emissions by 50-52 per cent by 2030. President Biden will be 86 by then, and in any event will be out of any position where he will be held responsible should the US not manage to make this target. But the happy promise was left for his successors to clean up.

Other world leaders made similar promises. Canada’s Justin Trudeau pledged that he would fulfil a new emissions reduction target of 40-45 per cent below 2005 levels by 2030. A surprising array of other world leaders made similar stands. President Bolsonaro of Brazil promised that Brazil would go carbon neutral by 2050 (by which time he will be 95). And President Putin jumped on the same train by saying that Russia would “approach with complete responsibility” its obligations to fight climate change. You can almost hear the smile.

In any case you would have thought that any political movement that had managed to unite Biden, Putin, Trudeau and Bolsonaro might bank its success and get down to work. But the climate extremists do not operate like that. They hector and they smash and they chisel and they blockade and when world leaders give them almost everything that they want, they tell the same world leaders that they are callous vermin.

The leader of the children’s crusade of our time, Greta Thunberg, demonstrated this nicely on Earth Day. As the leaders of the world’s major powers queued up to promise to cripple their economies by an implausibly early date, St Greta released her own statement. With typical grace she blasted all world politicians for “ignoring” what she and her friends call “the climate crisis”. Had you or I helped to ensure that President Putin and President Biden were doing our bidding then we might sit back for an afternoon, pour ourselves a cool drink and consider things as going broadly in the right direction.

But the climate extremists never can do that. They can never take a moment off just as they can never take a step back. Because they believe that they, and only they, have access to the truth. And those who would bow to them ought to keep this in mind.

Anybody who tries to appease the green gods will find the same pattern at work. HSBC might divest from a certain proportion of their fossil fuel related holdings, only to be told that it is not good enough until the figure is zero. They will then be criticised for having shares in technology companies and the same dance will go on.

So it is with governments. 2050 is not good enough as a target. Promise to do the implausible by 2030 and you will be told that you are not trying hard enough either. Unless you promise to do what the climate alarmists demand of you this very instant and damn the consequences then you can expect Greta and the rest of them to berate you roundly. The more moderate elements will merely demand that you start wrecking your economy immediately. The more extreme will be at your windows ineptly thwacking away with hammers and chisels.

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