Its probably Noam Chomsky's fault. I was reading one of his books earlier in the day that I viewed a showing of "Deep Green" at the Olympia Film Society. You see several years ago good ol' Noam helped me to understand Western Imperialism. The developing World is a basically a big colony to Western nations who continue to exploit their resources and politically oppress their citizens.
So When I watched this documentary and saw film Maker Matt Briggs constantly praising China on its environmental record and interviewing, rich White Capitalist after rich White capitalist including Neo con and PNAC member, and former CIA director Jim Woolsey, I became a bit skeptical.
Well, I'm actually skeptical by nature, its hard for me to view any type of media as anything other than propaganda. To me its all propaganda, weather left wing or right wing, everyone has a point of view and an agenda and everyone tends to skew the facts in favor of their argument.
So I started seeing some red flags.
First of all, it smacks of a Fire and Brimstone Evangelical Sermon.
We see Briggs walking around picking mushrooms, and noticing that the trees are dying,Why? He must get to the bottom of this mystery!so He read an enormous stack of books over three years and concludes basically that We are all dirty rotten sinners, in this case though the sin is not fornication and boozing, but greed and laziness. So we all need to take Briggs example and lead a life of hard work(gardening)austerity and self sacrifice (plus do a really expensive seeming overhaul of our homes) and fly right from here on out, otherwise....It will be literally Fire and Brimstone falling from the Sky, Hell on Earth. Armageddon.
Basically Fear Mongering. I am am skeptical of anyone trying to use fear tactics to get me on board with their agenda, especially and agenda such as this, which I happen to be behind 80% already anyway. Simply, because I think, recycling, eating locally grown organic food, conserving forests are simply good ideas that will create more beauty and harmony in the World. I don't need scare tactics to bully me into supporting these things. I am an anarchist. Anarchist aren't fond of getting beaten with Sticks (or whips as a European Politician Brigg's interviews advocates) Carrots are all you need with me. And what is the difference here between Briggs and a Pentecostal Preacher? In this case instead of Biblical Dogma, we have scientists. A New secular Priesthood? For all intents and purposes we have to take what they say on faith or "from authority", because the science is really complicated.
The proof is in the enormous Stack of Formidable looking books Briggs had to read. The implicit message is that he read them so we don't have to. He knows what he's talking about. Its a Given, Global Warming is here, it will soon destroy the Earth, that is a Fact. So no reason to mention specifics. Instead show cartoons.
The rest of the movie is about How (repressive)Governments and Large Corporations can (profitably) solve our ecological problems and also what we can do to our homes personally, if we are...basically... white and upper middle class.
There was a Q and A section at the end. I raised my two main objections, the first one being that I have been hearing that Sea Levels are going to rise and swallow our Coastal cities any day now....for over ten years.
He addresed that by basically saying that I am ignorant, which, could possibly be true, in this case. He wasn't totally rude about it but said he didn't have time to go into the science plus its all incontrovertible fact anyhow, that human caused global warning will soon violently destroy life on Earth if we don't drastically reduce our Carbon Emissions immediately. But He mentioned a fact I find interesting. that 97% of climate scientists are in agreement about Global Warming.
I find it interesting, because that would make it a type of orthodox belief. I am skeptical not of science, but Academic scientists, because they are human like anyone else, and they make up a type of elite opinion priesthood and also over the last 40 years or so they have been bought by big multinational corporations, that fund nearly all their research programs in academia, specifically in the sector of US military contractors.
So all that says to me is that they are saying what the US Military Industrial Complex is paying them to say, which is what their job is, which is why they bought them.
So why does the Establishment i,e. Western Dominated Global Capitalism want to promote an agenda of stopping Carbon emissions in the supposed interest of preventing "Climate Change?"
That formed the second part of my objection. My Theory is that its to prevent the Third World from developing by becoming Industrialized.
He totally balked at that, didn't address it until I pressed him on it. He then played lip service too it by saying he wished he had time to put it in the movie but couldn't because of space constraints but said there were lots of programs related to green development that help women.
It turns out that though, this is a nuanced position I had of being a Left Wing Climate Change Skeptic, one which no other audience member seemed to share, I am not alone in this. This is actually a position I share with at least some leaders in the developing world:
Saving the planet: imperialism in a green garb?
More from Deepak Lal quoted in the article:
Spiking the Road to Copenhagen
A study of the costs to the Indian poor of curbing carbon emissions has estimated that, over a 30-year time horizon, with a 10 per cent annual emission restriction the number of poor increases by 21 per cent, even in the short run, and by nearly 50 per cent for a 30 per cent annual emission reduction (Murthy, Panda, Parikh: ‘CO2 emission reduction strategies and economic development of India’, Margin, 2007). Those development economists and sundry celebrities, who on the one hand, want to see the end of world poverty and on the other, to curb Third World carbon emissions, should be ashamed of themselves for advocating the latter path which will make the former goal impossible to achieve.
It makes sense to me, that is a Green Agenda I can really see Imperialist elements in the Pentagon, CIA and the "Project for the New American Century" a la Jim Woolsey getting behind.
BTW, after the Q and A section, I told Briggs, for the most part I support the things he advocates like eating locally grown food, recycling, preserving forests and so forth, and that my main beef with the film is that its hard for me to see Former CIA directors being quoted without having a visceral reaction. Briggs told me he included Woolsey because he is a Republican and wanted to include an equal number of Republicans and Democrats. Woolsey is actually a Democrat, even though He was chosen to be a member of McCain's cabninet.
As far as Briggs goes, he seems like a nice enough guy, reminds me of Mr. Spock from Star Trek. He seems like the type of brainy guy, that has near super human self discipline, would never over eat, or waste money or do anything frivolous or what he felt to be illogical.
For what its worth, I don't believe him to be in cahoots with the CIA or the Pentagon. I think its most likely that like most people that spent a lot of time in Academia, he believes pretty much everything he reads from anyone he considers an authoritative academic expert. And they are all apparently in near lockstep on this climate change thing.