Lawrence Solomon: Fantasies about global warming and other delusions will fare poorly in 2015

(January 9, 2014) 2015 will see more ethnic groups within today’s cobbled-together countries successfully assert their autonomy, with the greatest changes occurring in the Middle East.

This article, by Lawrence Solomon, first appeared in the National Post

My prediction: Big things based on lies, delusions and naiveté will fare poorly in 2015, continuing a trend of recent years that’s harrowing for the big-thing believers but welcome for most.

The global warming enterprise provides one example. Since 2008, I have been predicting that the warmists, whose cause at root is based on faith and sustained by deceit, will fail to make the case that carbon represents a danger to the planet. Although the elites have mostly bought the deceits — all ultimately resting on jigged computer models — the masses mostly have not, as seen in public opinion polls throughout the world. The public’s rejection of the global warming orthodoxy then led politicians to slash subsidies to renewables and to scrap plans for carbon taxes. Political parties that high-handedly ignored the public by pushing global warming measures, such as Canada’s Liberal Party in 2008 and Australia’s Labour government in 2013, went down to crushing defeats.

In 2015, I predict, the cause of global warming will continue to lose ground, even if, as expected, Pope Francis outs himself as a convert to the Church of Global Warming. Temperatures will again fail to behave as projected by the computer models, the public will again yawn at the faithful’s threats of the coming apocalypse and politicians will again pay lip service to global warming while kissing renewables subsidies goodbye.

As renewables lose momentum in 2015, fossil fuels will gain it. It can’t really be otherwise. If the glut we now see in oil and gas continues, the low prices that result will spur consumption. A rise in prices, on the other hand, would only further spur shale gas and oil development. Up or down, I predict, the environmental lobby loses the energy war, even if — should President Obama veto the Keystone XL Pipeline — it wins some battles.

Obama’s refusal would nevertheless be a hollow victory for environmentalists — Alberta oil will flow, Keystone or not. More significantly, environmentalism will increasingly seem a hollow pursuit by the generation about to inherit this earth: Today’s youth, having been force-fed an unrelenting diet of hype and fear, will have trouble stomaching more. Polls show youth’s appetite for things environmental has been waning. Look for this trend to continue.

The environmental mush that youth are rejecting originates largely from the mainstream media, which also dishes out pap when covering other politically correct issues. Herein lies much of the explanation for the collapse of the media’s authority — and thus of its audience. Among the cable news networks, CNN in 2014 logged the lowest audience in its history. Hard-left MSNBC got hit especially hard, with a 17% decline in prime time audience following a 29% decline in 2013. These ratings catastrophes contrast with those of Fox News, the only politically incorrect media outlet on global warming, on President Obama and on most other sensitive subjects. Fox — which scored the largest audience in cable news for 13 straight years now — bucked the disappearing-audience trend by increasing the size of its lucrative prime time audience in 2014, by scoring the 14 most popular shows, and by attracting more viewers than CNN and MSNBC combined.

For 2015, I predict that Fox will again increase its audience on the strength of its straight-up reporting. Fox’s coverage of the Paris attack on the offices of Charlie Hebdo, whose cartoons of the Prophet Mohammed led to the slaughter by Islamist terrorists, provides one example of Fox’s journalistic integrity. Unlike many, perhaps most, major U.S. media outlets, Fox didn’t flinch from showing its audience the cartoons, even running a slide show on its website. In 2006, Fox was one of the few media outlets to air the Danish cartoons, and in 2007 it aired them again in a TV special.

Fox, along with every other major North American media outlet, does fall down in one major area of news reporting: It is not fair and balanced in coverage of the controversy over vaccine safety. Although prominent scientists dispute the public health authorities’ position on mass vaccinations, the mainstream media — which treats the safety of vaccines as a taboo subject — enforces a near-total blackout of dissenting views. I predict this taboo will persist in 2015, but that it will also fail to achieve its objective. Despite hearing only one side of the safety controversy — or perhaps because of it — many in the public will defy government health authorities and refuse to vaccinate their children, increasingly so.

This defiance will occur overwhelming among the well educated, urban demographic, and it will ironically serve the public health authorities. I predict that outbreaks of disease will continue to occur among highly vaccinated populations, giving the lie to the “herd immunity” theory advanced by the public health authorities, but also giving the health authorities a fig leaf — they will blame the outbreaks on the defiers.

One of the biggest things to happen over the last century involves one of the biggest delusions — that ethnic nations, being retrograde, are best controlled by larger political entities, whether multi-nation states or international bodies. Yet it is the multi-national structures that have collapsed.

The Ottoman, the Habsburg and the Russian empires all fell early last century, along with the League of Nations, followed by the collapse of the Soviet Empire and the unwinding of multi-ethnic or multi-nation states such as those in Czechoslovakia and Yugoslavia. The unwinding continues in Europe with the steady weakening of the European Union and the euro, and with Ukraine’s loss of Crimea; and with the increasing irrelevance of the United Nations.

I predict that 2015 will see more ethnic groups within today’s cobbled-together countries successfully assert their autonomy, with the greatest changes occurring in the Middle East, where we are seeing a de facto split up of Libya, Yemen, Iraq and Syria. With one exception, every country in the Middle East will be diminished politically, along with the region as a whole, because the shale oil and gas revolutions in the West have cost them their one source of influence — the ability to play the oil card.

The one exception is Israel, whose stature in the world — the media’s portrayal to the contrary — continues to grow and grow. Israel, in fact, has become an indispensable trading partner due to its high technology prowess, not least in the military field where its drones, Iron Dome, guided missile systems and other battle-tested wares are peerless. As one example, despite boycott threats over the Gaza War, Israeli exports to the UK increased 40 percent in 2014, setting a new record. In another, India, the world’s largest arms buyer, is negotiating a free trade agreement with Israel, which is increasingly meeting its military needs. In still another, China may soon edge out the U.S. in being the largest funder of joint ventures in Israel’s burgeoning high-tech industries. Israel’s indispensability has also broken the once solid anti-Israel Third World voting block at the UN, where two African countries recently sided with Israel to stop a Palestinian bid for statehood.

All told, I predict, free markets and free ideas and free people will prosper in 2015. This time next year, I’ll report back to you on how well these predictions held up.

Lawrence Solomon is executive director of Energy Probe, a Toronto-based environmental group. Email:

About Lawrence Solomon

Lawrence Solomon is one of Canada's leading environmentalists. His book, The Conserver Solution (Doubleday) popularized the Conserver Society concept in the late 1970s and became the manual for those interested in incorporating environmental factors into economic life. An advisor to President Jimmy Carter's Task Force on the Global Environment (the Global 2000 Report) in the late 1970's, he has since been at the forefront of movements to reform foreign aid, stop nuclear power expansion and adopt toll roads. Mr. Solomon is a founder and managing director of Energy Probe Research Foundation and the executive director of its Energy Probe and Urban Renaissance Institute divisions. He has been a columnist for The Globe and Mail, a contributor to the Wall Street Journal, the editor and publisher of the award-winning The Next City magazine, and the author or co-author of seven books, most recently The Deniers, a #1 environmental best-seller in both Canada and the U.S. .
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