Green Tyranny: Exposing the Totalitarian Roots of the Climate Industrial Complex. Rupert Darwall.
Encounter Book, 2017. 334 pages.
The subtitle of Rupert Darwall’s book about "the totalitarian roots of the climate-industrial complex" seems designed to appeal to readers who are already skeptical about current climate change and environmentalist policies. While his book definitely proves the thesis implicit in its title, it is far more than a handbook for “skeptics.” Green Tyranny is a must-read for every person who cherishes freedom and who wants to know how environmentalism could become so powerful that, in some countries, it seems like a new state religion.
The author intended this book to complement his earlier work, The Age of Global Warming, which was critical of policies and initiatives aimed at fighting climate change. In Green Tyranny, he wanted to focus on continental Europe in general, and Sweden and Germany, in particular.
In the preface, we learn how Darwall sees Germany:
German culture harbors an irrational, nihilistic reaction against industrialization, evident before and during the Nazi era. It disappeared after Hitler’s defeat and only bubbled up again in the terrorism and anti-nuclear protests of the 1970s and the formation of the Green Party in 1980.
As a German, I must rate his judgment of my nation quite accurate.
By choosing Sweden as an example, he picked the ideal showcase of a Western country where the government significantly managed to shape public opinion about environmentalism over the decades. But even more interesting is the role of Sweden’s politicians especially during the 1960s and 1970s, who were critical in setting up various UN organizations that lead, among others, to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC).
Darwall presents a wealth of details to explain how a powerful Green/Left network managed to occupy key political positions in Europe and the U.S. and to establish (or gain control of) institutions that give them unquestioned authority over the subject. Learning about this development, it is particularly frustrating to read how these institutions were often created by financing from very wealthy donors.
He also explains how the onslaught on freedom happens openly (if unnoticed by the media and general public) by highlighting a crisis of global proportions – such as man-made climate change – which requires solutions that “normal democracies” aren’t able to provide. They must be settled by a council of experts, which acts outside the democratic process.
It is surprising to read that over time almost all political parties did their share in promoting the Green interventionist agenda. If not the entire party, then some senior politician would do so, even in a conservative or classic liberal (libertarian) party. For instance, he writes: “The use of NGOs as shock troops to overwhelm business opposition to environmental protection had been envisaged by a top German government bureaucrat, Günter Hartkopf, in a 1986 address to his civil servant colleagues.” It is crucial to know that Hartkopf was a member of the Free Democratic Party (FDP), Germany’s classical liberal party.