Oh do beware someone who comes before you and claims to be the voice of reason. Mark Lynas does exactly that in this morning’s Guardian and it doesn’t wash. His argument is barely an argument at all, more like a sort of faux man-in-the-street flimflam. Beware.
The problem with the Climate Change debate, Lynas says, is that it has fallen into the hands of extremists. On one side we have the deniers and on the other the “lefties”; the latter “dystopian” and “miserabilist”, and the former really only reacting to the Left which has made use of climate science in its struggle against capitalism.
Lynas, by contrast, he wants us to believe, is a moderate, his position dictated by reason and not at all by ideology. He is no climate change denier, it’s a grave threat he assures us, but responding to it “does not mean rolling back capitalism, suspending the free market or stopping economic growth.”
It’s important to know that in recent years Lynas has made a name for himself as a high profile supporter of nuclear power and GMOs. He is a strident critic of the Green Movement, a convert to neo-liberalism and the benefits of corporate capitalism. So that’s what’s going on here in the pages of The Guardian.
What Lynas wants you to believe is that his position is the position of informed science not ideology. He doesn’t back this up in any way, it is assertion, the flimflam. It is clear from the text that he reserves his contempt chiefly for Leftists and for Greens, and his favoured solutions are those preferred in every case by the powerful.
Neo-environmentalism presents the vision of a brave new world powered by next generation nuclear and fed by GMOs, all, surprise surprise, controlled by the corporate rulers of the world. Lynas accuses the Left of being “miserabilist” but would deliver us all into the hands of Monsanto et al., into a bright green corporate fascism.
I would rather that the seas rise.
As to his position, he makes no attempt to explain how we got to where we are today. For all of the faults of the Left, the questionable tactics and historic failures of Socialists and Greens, at least Leftists have endeavoured to understand historical processes so that they might better frame alternatives and shape solutions.
What Lynas, trained as a historian apparently, and the other neo-environmentalists do, is propose that we have more, much more, of the system that has already brought us to the very edge of catastrophe. He shows no understanding of capitalism or of the origins of environmental and social crises; he does not address the argument that says that in order to live differently with the Earth we must live differently with one another.
It’s a weak article; it’s a rant. It shows a remarkable lack of education and understanding, not to mention self-awareness. It is a cup full of bile. Nothing but vulgar ideology.
See the Guardian article here.
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1Dave Darby March 12th, 2015
I agree Paul. He sees that climate change is caused by human activity (which is something, I suppose), but then he says that the answer is more corporate capitalism, which means more human activity – so he thinks the solution is more of what caused the problem. Yes, it’s like setting fire to your house to keep warm.
When did Lynas become a corporate whore, or has he always been that way?
2Dave Darby March 12th, 2015
But, having thought about it, I’m not sure that it’s a split between left and right, at all. I’ve had conversations and online debates with people who call themselves right-wing, but they’re no fan of corporations. Traditional right-wing values are independence, freedom, personal responsibility – and I don’t think there’s anything wrong with those values. A lot of intelligent people on the right (usually the libertarian right) see that corporate power threatens their freedom and agency – they just don’t want the solution to include giving more power to the state – and I kind of see their point. The 20th century was pretty disastrous in that respect.
3pdjennings2014 March 12th, 2015
Hi Dave, I agree about the state. I don’t think it’s crucial to see the important divide as the one between left and right, it’s just that Lynas identifies the Left as his target very clearly in this piece. In a strange way it’s like a piece from the Cold War, and it’s interesting that his chief target, Naomi Klein comes from a Communist Party family background.
4pdjennings2014 March 12th, 2015
5Dave Darby March 13th, 2015
That’s a very interesting article. It only shows that Lynas was targeted by the biotech industry to be one of their ambassadors, but it doesn’t prove that he was recruited. It certainly sounds as though he was, but he denies it, so I suppose it comes down to whether we believe him or not.
He’s totally wrong in equating anti-GM with anti-science though. I’m actually very pro-science, but GM is not about ending hunger, it’s about making corporations richer. Using technology to increase yields always costs more, and has a bigger environmental impact. The lowest impact, and the kind of farming that employs the most people, and provides a barrier against hunger (because they can produce their own food) is small-scale organic food production for local markets. But corporations don’t want this kind of agriculture – they can’t control it or make money from it.
People often don’t realise that small-scale agriculture produces more food per acre than large monoculture farming – http://www.monbiot.com/2008/06/10/small-is-bountiful/
6Elisabeth Winkler March 13th, 2015
The pro-GM lobby – including Mark Lynas – likes to position those who question the safety of GM food as “anti-science.”
Yet it is the advocates of GM food who have ignored scientific evidence.
According to the author, US attorney, Steven Druker:
“Contrary to the pronouncements of its proponents, the massive enterprise to reconfigure the genetic core of the world’s food supply is not based on sound science but on the systematic subversion of science – and it would collapse if subjected to an open airing of the facts.”
Druker’s recently published book, Altered Genes, Twisted Truth, exposes how the US government and leading scientific institutions have misrepresented scientific research that casts doubt on the safety of GM food.
7gary April 21st, 2015
So often we play the High School-My school blame game in order to pursue our own agenda. One needs to start from the grass roots up small is better and simple too. I purpose legislation to have a recycling plan in place before any patent on an invention is let. We need to just plain think about all effects of a new product before it hits the market. Test run the product before mass producing. Would this be so hard to do?