Climate change could exacerbate terrorism, and a case could be made for that correlation. I am referring to a different matter though. When climate change was not commonly known, the strategy of those who were causing it was to keep silent over its existence. Today, climate change has become part of pop culture especially with the involvement of young and brave souls such as Greta Thunberg. The fighting strategy by the fossil fuel industry, therefore, has also transitioned to casting doubt about whodunit.
If we recall, there have been two myths about terrorism, especially after 9/11: one, that the Jihadists hate us because of our freedom, democracy, and justice; two, and that is relevant to the argument here, that there is no clear and agreed upon definition of terrorism. That is not true. Terrorism has been defined very clearly. The US army code defines terrorism as the unlawful use of force and violence to achieve objectives that are ideological and political in nature. When you apply that definition it becomes clear that the United States, Israel, India, and England are the leading terrorist states. Since that conclusion is not allowed, this bogus narrative is spun that it is so difficult to define terrorism.
The same playbook comes handy when it comes to climate change. About 97% scientists around the world have a resounding conclusion that climate change is human caused. The combustion of fossil fuel in cars, planes, electricity generation, and so forth are some of the leading causes behind the worsening climate. Some paid scientists and PR people have made up the tiny percentage of the denialists. The paid researchers publish papers in a manner which constitute the most fraudulent practices in academia. But that doesn’t matter because it serves the purpose of casting doubt. It helps them install this narrative that this is not a unanimous conclusion. That there is a debate and whether or not climate change is human caused is not settled. That while the earth may be warming, we cannot put our finger on what the real cause of that is. If the real cause is established based on truthful scientific evidence, the finger would point to the fossil fuel guys unmistakably. That unanimous conclusion is what the fossil industry is fighting against.
The fossil fuel industry vacillates between being a believer of science and at the same time its denialist, depending on which position suits its bottom line. It believes in the science of converting raw crude oil into usable form. It even believes as well as knows that the drilling and the combustion of oil create carbon dioxide otherwise they wouldn’t have paid scientists to keep quiet after they discovered this fact in the 1970s. But it doesn’t believe science when it tells them in no equivocal words that human caused carbon emissions are 416 ppm (parts per million), which is an unprecedented density. The industry asserts that climate change is not human made and that this is just a natural phenomenon. The way they see it; science is coming after their livelihood.
The honest Americans reminding their governments of their role in doing terrorism are labeled as self-hating Jews or self-hating Americans. The people who reminded the fossil fuel industry of their lion’s share in environmental degradation faced the same attacks. The hockey stick graph shown by Michael Mann and his co-researchers established one undeniable fact that the earth’s mean temperature remained consistent for a millennium until the last century or so when it bent upward like the blade of a hockey stick. While the hockey stick became a legendary go-to chart in the climatologist community worldwide, that didn’t shield Michael Mann from attracting smear campaigns from fossil fuel paid attack dogs.
The mindset has been the same, that it is not us who do bad things. Terrorism is what they do, not us. Climate change is occurring in nature, oil didn’t do it.
Published in The Express Tribune, June 20h, 2021.