Alexander Cockburn is a voice of reason on the left when it comes to climate change:
This turn to climate catastrophism is tied into the decline of the left, and the decline of the left’s optimistic vision of altering the economic nature of things through a political programme. The left has bought into environmental catastrophism because it thinks that if it can persuade the world that there is indeed a catastrophe, then somehow the emergency response will lead to positive developments in terms of social and environmental justice.
This is a fantasy. In truth, environmental catastrophism will, in fact it already has, play into the hands of sinister-as-always corporate interests. The nuclear industry is benefiting immeasurably from the current catastrophism. Last year, for example, the American nuclear regulatory commission speeded up its process of licensing; there is an imminent wave of nuclear plant building. Many in the nuclear industry see in the story about CO2 causing climate change an opportunity to recover from the adverse publicity of Chernobyl.
We might instinctively quibble with Cockburn’s assessment of nuclear power and corporate interests, not because those interests exist – they do – but because Chernobyl was an aberration, an aberration that Soviet (i.e. leftist) planning gave rise to. Corporate interests and yours and mine make the world go ’round. I’ll pass over the myth of Three Mile Island.
But Cockburn is right about how climate catastrophism is being used by special interests – corporate and environmental – to further their agendas. Perhaps climate change is the issue that will send him, like islamic terrorism and the left’s lukewarm response to l’affaire Salman Rushdie did Christopher Hitchens, running … from egalitarian utopianism, central planning, and leftist wishes fathering leftist lies.