So, down in Cancún, the sun plays on the beautiful beaches, on the old Mayan ruins, on the Mexican resorts. And, yes, it played — oh so brightly, their great shining moment — on the delegates at this winter’s meeting on global warming. Or, technically, at the CMP 6 to the Kyoto Protocol, combined with COP 16 to the UNFCCC. This was a UN operation, after all, and if it had a name anyone could understand, then, well, anyone might have something to say about it. Which we can’t be having, this late in the day.
Christiana Figueres was there, the executive secretary of the whole shebang, to call the delegates to order on November 29, and how could they not put down their drinks — the ones with the little umbrellas sprouting up in them, the ones you get in sun-drenched bars — to applaud her? She is, you’ll recall, the figure on whom the “Hero of the Planet” award was bestowed in 2001.
Hero of the Planet? Hero of the Planet? Without irony, without self-consciousness, without even any shame. Look, perhaps the claim of impending catastrophe from human-caused global warming is accurate. You wouldn’t know it from the mini-ice age this winter, but maybe we’ve been given only a temporary respite. And yet, the first sign that someone is lying, the first reason for suspicion, arrives when ordinary language starts to go south. As in the mandated vocabulary shift from global warming to climate change — by which we found ourselves confronted with non-falsifiable calamity: the temperature goes up, the temperature goes down, but the cause is always catastrophic climate change.
And the solution is always dismantling Western civilisation.
Who was surprised when, in her opening statement, Figueres invoked an ancient Mayan jaguar moon goddess? Admittedly, the divine Ixchel has no actual followers left, and, besides, the Mayan pantheon was an unpleasant one (step-sided pyramids, as Terry Pratchett once observed, always bringing out the worst in a god). But Figueres’s point was that Ixchel isn’t Western. She isn’t us, and thus she confirms us in our warm, fuzzy feeling of belonging to a sinning civilisation.
As Marxism did. As the bohemians did. As the hippies did. As the campaign against nuclear power plants did. As every left-leaning campaign of the last 150 years has done. The morphology and the teleology — the shape and the goal — are always the same.
I’ll abandon my scepticism the day climate change ceases to have the origins and solutions of every other progressive cause, the day it seems more than merely another vehicle for world government, social control and Western self-flagellation.
Actually, I’d also like to see a data dump that doesn’t reveal scientific fraud at quite the level of East Anglia’s Climate Research Unit. And the movement’s celebrity supporters behaving as though they believed what they say, the contrails of their private jets no longer stretching off toward sunny Cancún. And all the dishonest language about it somehow eliminated.
A ban on invocations of Mayan jaguar goddesses seems a likely place to start.