A dual interview with two climate change sceptics from The Netherlands, film maker Marijn Poels and publicist Marcel Crok. Taken from a June 2017 article in Algemeen Dagblad (mainstream media newspaper) and translated into English.
Climate change is a religion
Dutch film maker Marijn Poels considers himself a ‘left-winger’ who cares deeply about the environment. His world view was upended when he delved into the lives of farmers in Eastern Germany. Pressured by European legislation they are placing heavily subsidized windmills on their lands. ‘Harvesting’ energy is far more lucrative than growing food.
Poels’ recent (2017) documentary is an hour-and-a-half search for the truth surrounding the assumption that mankind will have to let go of fossil fuels to halt the warming of Earth. It shows the film maker’s growing astonishment when he visits respected experts like 93 year-old mathematician and physicist Freeman Dyson and finds out that there is more to the story. “Climate hysteria is mainly a hype among politicians and lobbyists,” according to Poels. “There is no real consensus among scientists.”
Dyson, but also Piers Corbyn (brother of Labour Party leader Jeremy) – who is predicting a new Ice Age – says that the models being used to make climate predictions are faulty: the results do not match reality. The last three decades were colder than predicted by the models. And, as Poels wonders, “What does Dyson, an unpartisan ‘éminence grise’, have to lose?”
The documentary could be the starting point of a profound debate about climate change, about Donald Trump’s withdrawal from the Paris accord (which Poels believes is the right thing to do) and about ‘green’ multinationals like Greenpeace, which tap into large amounts of funding based on the climate hype. But instead, Berlin resident Poels, is walking into walls. “I have made dozens of movies about social themes and human rights in developing countries and I have won international awards. But now one festival after another cancels on me.”
What is happening? Poels: “As long as I’m preaching to the choir, I am welcome. But now that my message is more critical, suddenly nobody is willing to take a chance on me. The organizers of these festivals and science journalists are saying that my film was beautifully made, but that its contents are causing too much confusion. Especially now that ‘populism’ is already putting pressure on climate change. One Dutch journalist went as far as calling my film ‘irresponsible’.”
Poels could have seen it coming. Out of 52 climate alarmists he approached, only 2 were willing to speak to him. One scientist from Potsdam [Germany] sent him a rejection letter, accompanied by a manual for journalists on ‘how to deal with climate sceptics’. Poels, astonished: “Climate change is a veritable religion. This experience has opened my eyes. I am still left-wing, but I now realize that my own left-wing world has actual taboos. And that people can get very aggressive when you challenge their ideas about the truth.”
Climate publicist Marcel Crok is running into similar problems. After repeatedly questioning the influence of Co2 on global warming, he saw his number of commissions drying up. “Editors are rejecting my articles, while there is no one in The Netherlands who knows more about climate than I do.” While climate alarmists are claiming that 97% of scientists agree that mankind causes global warming, Crok maintains that the question is still open.
“I am a rational, pragmatic man of the beta / hard sciences. I know all the details about this dossier and can debate representatives of the Dutch meteorological institute (KNMI) on equal terms. But since I started questioning man’s influence on climate change I can barely make a living anymore. All the while the evidence offered in those thousands of reports, claiming that there is a consensus that climate change is going to be a huge problem, is waver thin.”
Saving the world
How is this possible? “The climate debate is fully ideologically driven,” Crok says. Politics, think Al Gore, has influenced the debate and de facto taken it hostage: “Saving the world sounds good.” And now climate change is making people fortunes. ‘Going green’ is a billion dollar industry.
Donald Trump has attacked the biggest symbol of this international movement, the Paris Accord, Crok explains. “That is why the response is so emotional. Even though the effects of ‘Paris’ are minute – a 0.05% reduction of warming by the year 2100, and its implementation costs billions. And mind you, the US has already reduced its Co2 emission by 15% over the past years, and not because of Obama’s policies, but by using shale gas.”
Crok acknowledges that Co2 is a factor in global warming. “But far less than some would have us believe. I am expecting a lot less warming than predicted by the IPCC models. There is no trend in extreme weather like tornadoes, flooding or drought. The IPCC acknowledges that too, but they are not very vocal about it, because it is way too positive. On the other hand: the positive effects of Co2, like the Earth getting greener, and the ground becoming more fertile, which means better harvests – that’s the side of the story that is never told.”
In 50 to 100 years time mankind will look back in amazement at this alarmist period, Crok expects. “Slowly, we are already beginning to see that there is a story behind the official story. But it will get really interesting when thorium breaks through as a form of alternative energy for nuclear power plants. That is the real future. How will sustainability organizations and multinational fundraisers – as I call them – like Greenpeace respond to that?
Marijn Poels landed on the subject for his documentary during visits to his parents-in-law in a rural area in in former East Germany. In his movie, funded out of his own pocket, he does not only address the generous subsidies to ‘energy farmers’, but also the darker side of Germany’s rigorous climate policies (‘Energiewende’). German citizens will have to deliver billions in subsidies for ‘sustainable’ energy: a total of 520 billion between 2000 and 2025. As a consequence, hundreds of thousands of households are unable to pay their energy bills now. ‘Energiearmut’ (Energy shortage) they call it. Poels: “I’ve seen people celebrating Christmas to candle light because they cannot afford electricity. Surely, that’s not the intention?”
Nevertheless, the German government is sticking with their radical shift to sustainable energy. Marcel Crok: “Germans feel permanently guilty over the Second World War, and they desperately want to not be a bother to anybody else. They’re thinking: our industry is polluting the rest of the world, and we should stop that. But that’s utopia.”
Anyone who strays from that utopic pack, has a big chance of becoming a target. Crok: “Getting by has become a struggle.” But some have it worse: recently in the US, the house of a climate sceptic was shot at. “The first case of violence at a climate sceptic,” Crok says. “That’s what can happen to someone who gets in the way of Utopia.”