Environmental activists should stop talking about global warming because no one cares. Instead they should talk about stuff that tugs at the heart strings, like cancer, kids with asthma, and “25,000 people dying every day from pollution.”
This is what Arnold Schwarzenegger told a meeting at the UN’s climate conference in Bonn, Germany.
He said: “People do not focus as much on 2 degrees energy increases in temperatures or increases in sea levels rising.”
Schwarzenegger thinks calling attention to concrete issues, like “so many people having problems with cancer and kids with asthma,” is a better approach.
And in propaganda terms, he is absolutely right. In fact, Arnie displays such an excellent understanding of the black arts here, he could almost be channelling his most infamous former compatriot, Adolf Hitler.
In Mein Kampf – which Arnie’s old Nazi dad must surely have encouraged him to read, when the young future Terminator wasn’t too busy pumping iron or frolicking around the Alpine meadows, herding goats, yodelling Edelweiss and playing with his enormous Alpenhorn – Hitler stresses the importance of the große Lüge: the Big Lie.
“Don’t waste time on the little lies,” Hitler advised [I paraphrase loosely]. “Instead, tell a whopper so huge that nobody would ever imagine you could have had the audacity to make it up.”
Schwarzenegger’s “25,000 people dying every day from pollution” would have done the Fuhrer proud!
In superficial terms it contains the tiniest grain of truth.
It’s an inflated version of a claim by the World Health Organization that 7 million people a year are killed by air pollution.
Even if this is accurate – remember the WHO’s reports are exercises in hysteria-generation by left-leaning activists – what’s inexcusably mendacious is Arnie’s gloss.
There is no conceivable way in which all these deaths can be pinned on climate change. Quite the opposite, in fact. The vast majority of these deaths are the result of green energy policies being pushed by Arnie and his fellow members of the Climate Industrial Complex.
As Skeptical Environmentalist Bjørn Lomborg explains here, the majority of those millions of (alleged) deaths are caused by indoor pollution. This indoor pollution comes not from fossil fuels but from “renewable” biomass, such as dung, agricultural waste or wood.
It’s emotive, but it’s wrong to say that 19,000 people are killed by fossil fuels every day. About 11,000 of these people are killed by burning renewable energy – wood and cow dung mainly – inside their own homes.
No, worse than “emotive”, Bjørn. It’s an outrageous lie.
If you’re going to pin 25,000 deaths a day on pollution connected to “climate change” then either you stand up and explain the connection and how the policies you’re advocating are going to deal with the problem. Or, alternatively, you shut your big, fat, Austrian-American gob.
In Arnie’s case I’d suggest the latter. All he’s doing when he repeatedly promulgates this lie is reminding us just how threadbare and dishonest and scientifically fraudulent the climate alarmists’ case actually is.
Most of those pollution deaths Arnie wants us to feel bad about are in Third World countries in Africa and Asia.
The people in those poor countries would dearly love to have reliable electric energy such as we enjoy in the West (except in places like South Australia, victim of yet another green experiment gone wrong). But instead of helping them get it, virtually the entire apparatus of the global aid system – the UN, the EU, the World Bank, the aid agencies, individual donor states – is pushing them instead to adopt unreliable, environmentally damaging and prohibitively expensive renewable energy, such as wind and solar.
Consider, for example, the ongoing scandal of the World Bank. This was originally established after the war as a kind of super, multilateral aid agency which lent liquidity to developing nations but which was captured in the 90s by the Green Blob and now puts “sustainability” before industrial development. If you’re a developing nation and you want to build a fossil fuel power station it won’t help you: only renewable projects get funding.
I wrote about it here:
There are 1.2 billion people without access to electricity and 2.7 billion without modern cooking facilities. Household air pollution from solid fuels is estimated to have killed 3.5 million people in 2010. The cost of blackouts and brownouts in sub-Saharan Africa is, in some cases, in excess of 5 per cent of GDP. Unlike developed nations, these countries do not need their consciences salved by bat-chomping bird-slicing eco-crucifixes. They need energy that works.
According to the UN’s figures, the cost of universal energy access is just $50 billion a year. But that’s if it comes from fossil fuel. If you insist on using renewables, the bill is at least ten times greater. Not only are renewables more materials-intensive — a kilo of steel in a gas turbine ends up producing 1,000 times more energy than it does in a wind turbine — but they require a massively more complex and expensive grid system, which developing nations can ill afford.
This is what is both so galling and so utterly inexcusable about Arnie’s moral posturing.
He goes on stage at a UN climate event and milks the applause he gets for being an apparent savior of the environment. He invokes these 25,000 deaths per day as if it is something that troubles him deeply. But then he calls for a health warning on the very thing most likely to stop most of these people dying:
“Wouldn’t it be great now if they could… make the same pact with the rest of the world to go and say, ‘Let’s label another thing that is killing you – which is fossil fuels,’” he said to applause on the sidelines of U.N. climate talks in Bonn.Schwarzenegger suggested telling customers at petrol stations that “what you pump into your tank may kill you”, and plastering oil tankers driving along highways with messages that their contents are dangerous to health.