Sceptic, Denier, Or Evangelistic Believer…It Doesn’t Matter

Monday, 6 July 2020
Melbourne, Australia
By Greg Canavan

On Friday, Woody published a great story and interview with James Allen on alternative energy. There is a ‘megatrend’ towards clean energy, James argued.

As Woody mentioned on a few occasions, the aim of the essay was to alert you to this growing — and potentially huge — investment opportunity. It wasn’t about discussing the questionable politics of it.

But it’s kind of the elephant in the room, isn’t it?

I mean, climate change is such an emotionally charged topic; you want to get to the truth of it before you start backing an investment trend that relies on that truth, right?

Well, yes and no.

The thing is, THE truth isn’t as important as the ‘truth’ that people believe in.

Truth, I used to think, was an absolute.

Now I know it is in the eye of the beholder.

Nowhere is that more the case than when it comes to climate change.

If you’re a sceptic, you’re accused of ‘denying the science’, rather than being considered an independent thinker.

What if you’re an independent thinker, who happens to be an environmental scientist?


Coincidentally, this week saw the release of Mike Shellenberger’s new book, Apocalypse Never: Why Environmental Alarmism Hurts Us All.

On Thursday, The Australian published a ‘letter’ from Mr Shellenberger, obviously as publicity for the new book. It worked a treat.

It began:

On behalf of environmentalists everywhere, I would like to formally apologise for the climate scare we created over the past 30 years. Climate change is happening. It’s just not the end of the world. It’s not even our most serious environmental problem. 

I may seem like a strange person to be saying all of this. I have been a climate activist for 20 years and an environmentalist for 30.

But as an energy expert asked by the US congress to provide ­objective testimony, and invited by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change to serve as a reviewer of its next assessment report, I feel an obligation to apologise for how badly we environmentalists have misled the public.

Apparently the ‘letter’ was originally published in Forbes, but after howls of protest from those whose narrative the letter didn’t promote, it was taken down.

This is why I’m a climate sceptic.

Why should a calm, rational letter, promoting a book written by a specialist in his field, be torn up (as it were) for daring to question the climate orthodoxy?

Doesn’t the science speak for itself?

Peter Ridd is another example. After a long academic career, Ridd was sacked as Professor of Physics at James Cook University in Townsville. His crime? Speaking out against the accepted wisdom that climate change was killing the Great Barrier Reef.

Ridd said:

There’s some absolute rubbish being spoken about the reef and people’s livelihoods are being put in jeopardy. If nobody will stand up, then this is just going to go on and on and on. It has to be stopped.

Ridd sued for unfair dismissal and won, however the University is appealing the decision.

These are just two prominent examples. But when those who question the climate change religion are sacked or shouted down, you have to wonder what the real agenda is.

And when a 16-year-old school girl is given every platform possible to proclaim a climate emergency, you really have to wonder what the agenda is.

‘They’ don’t allow a child to garner international attention and publicity unless the message is an approved one.

So if you think she’s just some Swedish force of nature, bending the will of the world’s elites, well, sorry, but I have this really cool bridge to sell you. 

This is why I’m a sceptic.

And in this instance, scepticism is crucial. That’s because you have a hard-core group who insist we’re in a climate emergency, and we have to radically transform our energy infrastructure before it’s too late to avert disaster.

The truth is, if we radically transform our energy sources we will bankrupt ourselves and have far greater issues to worry about than climate change.

The thing is, a nation’s wealth and well-being is built on energy. Low energy costs underwrite this wealth.

As more and more money goes towards renewables, Australia’s energy cost base increases.

Have you looked at your energy bill recently? Are you wondering why ‘free’ wind and solar aren’t delivering cheap energy?

Because they can’t. Not yet, anyway.

The issue of climate change has destroyed politicians and energy politics in this country for more than a decade.

Investment has gone into renewables at the expense of more reliable energy sources and we are paying a higher price for it.

But that doesn’t mean we won’t continue to invest in and develop economically viable forms of clean energy.

Which brings me back to the start of the essay.

The ‘truth’ of climate change might be in the eye of the beholder, but the reality of it is that there is an undeniable force of goodwill, brainpower, and capital looking to power the global economy with more sustainable forms of energy.

It doesn’t have to be a new form of energy either. For example, I stumbled upon Mike Shellenberger a few years ago because of his advocacy of nuclear energy.

You’d think this zero emissions power source, capable of providing base load energy, would be a darling of the climate change movement. But it’s not. Nuclear power is more shunned than ever.

Just another reason to be sceptical of the climate change narrative.

Point being, there are a range of energy sources that have the potential to provide cleaner power in the decades ahead.

So this is not about seeking out ‘renewable energy’ investments. It’s a far bigger and broader project, looking into the undeniable trend of the world (or the West, at least) moving their economies to a cleaner source of energy.

Whether you’re a sceptic, denier, or evangelistic believer, it doesn’t really matter. This trend is happening. And we want to find the investment opportunities in it.