Bob Musil for The Huffington Post:
Don't believe in conspiracies? Sure. But what about the still thriving literature about the Trilateral Commission, the Bilderbergers, Bohemian Grove, Skull and Bones, and the shelves full of assassination theories?
So. Maybe we should be open to a simple idea. Maybe all the renewed hoopla about global climate change being caused by humans and our thirst for fossil fuels that has followed the latest report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Global Climate Change (IPCC) is really the product of a few biased, left-wing scientists and Al Gore. Maybe it is a conspiracy carried out inside Priuses and passive solar houses to take over the world. But, Houston, we have a problem. The conspiracy to dupe the public and policy makers and screw the oil, gas and coal companies has to be pretty vast. Take that bastion of leftist pronouncements, the Vatican.
Pope John Paul II and Pope Benedict XVI both weighed in, starting in 1990, that global climate change is real, caused by humans, and that we should take action to slow and stop it. Of course the increasingly populist Pope Francis has been taken in, but how about this recommendation? "All nations must focus on a rapid transition to renewable energy sources and other strategies to reduce CO2 emissions." Michael Mann and those pesky Nobel Peace Prize-winning scientists? No. The radicals urging we shut down the fossil fuel industry are from the Pontifical Academy of Sciences in a 2011 scientific report for the Vatican! There are also over 100 Roman Catholic agencies, including nasty folks like Catholic Relief Services, Catholic Charities, and the Association of Catholic Colleges and Universities, who have formed a Catholic Climate Covenant that has people signing a St. Francis Pledge to take action to prevent global warming.
OK, OK! But what about really conservative Christians like the Southern Baptists? Aren't they opposed to Gore and the mad scientists? (We know that mainline Protestants, Jews, and other religions will go along with any liberal cause, so they don't count, even if the National Council of Churches, representing some 55,000,000 Americans, has been actively working on climate change for decades). Sorry. The Southern Baptists saw the light a few years ago and now have the Southern Baptist Declaration on the Environment and Climate Change. It affirms the science behind global warming and calls for action.
Well, what about really tough conservative political leaders? No wimps, please! OK. The Iron Lady Margaret Thatcher, Prime Minister of Great Britain, came out against human-caused global warming as early as the 1980s as soon as she was briefed by top scientists. Her Tory Environment Minister, John Gummer, is still at it. And so is the conservative-led government of England. Why this British conservative tradition of concern with human-caused climate change? Thatcher was trained in chemistry and believed in science. Her friend, Ronald Reagan, believed in stories.
The conspiracy to convince the easily led that we need individual, local, national and international rules and regulations to move away from fossil fuels is even bigger than you know. It includes over 670 U.S. college presidents who are publicly committed to move their campuses to carbon free zones with green curricula and projects; over 1000 U.S. mayors committed to do the same with their cities, major labor unions, and major corporations, 45 of whom banded together to lobby for President Obama's cap and trade bill. Yeah, Yeah. But what about real Americans?
Surely our square-jawed, steely-eyed generals and admirals to whom we entrust our nation's defense don't buy the snake oil of climate change. Wrong again. The vast climate conspiracy extends to the Armed Forces! There is a navy "Green Fleet," Air Force biofuels, and green projects to cut carbon emissions at places like Fort Benning which now sports hybrid and electric vehicles, solar roof panels, LED lights, and much more to reduce the military's carbon boot print.
Egad! Who's left who doesn't "believe" in the well-documented causes of recent, accelerating global climate change and its awful spate of droughts, fires, floods, and super storms? The IPCC Report just released was written by hundreds of the top climate scientists in the world who had to bring along their governments. They reviewed thousands of peer reviewed articles and have convinced the Chinese, the Russians, and just about everybody in the world to agree. This global conspiracy is so vast that it only leaves out a few people and entities we could name. Oil companies like Exxon/Mobil, coal companies like the Southern Company and Peabody Coal, railroads that haul coal, like CSX, a couple of think tanks, like the Cato Institute, that get major funds from the Koch brothers with vast holdings in fossil fuels, and a handful of ideological politicians who don't like any government action at all.
I'm open to the idea and trying to hang on to the notion that scientists and religious leaders, labor, business, colleges, mayors, the military, most of the governments of the world, and some of my best friends, are part of a vast, global conspiracy to push global warming theories and squash society. But it just gets harder and harder to believe that all those folks are wrong and are simply out to fool me.
This article originally appeared on The Huffington Post.
Bob Musil is Senior Fellow at American University's Center for Congressional and Presidential Studies.
Image credit: BBC News