From Nigel Lawson at The National Review Online- A Wicked Orthodoxy.
So how is it that much of the Western world, and this country in particular, has succumbed to the self-harming collective madness that is climate-change orthodoxy? It is difficult to escape the conclusion that climate-change orthodoxy has in effect become a substitute religion, attended by all the intolerant zealotry that has so often marred religion in the past, and in some places still does so today.
Throughout the Western world, the two creeds that used to vie for popular support, Christianity and the atheistic belief system of Communism, are each clearly in decline. Yet people still feel the need both for the comfort and for the transcendent values that religion can provide. It is the quasi-religion of green alarmism and global salvationism, of which the climate-change dogma is the prime example, that has filled the vacuum, with reasoned questioning of its mantras regarded as little short of sacrilege.
The parallel goes deeper. As I mentioned earlier, throughout the ages the weather has been an important part of the religious narrative. In primitive societies it was customary for extreme-weather events to be explained as punishment from the gods for the sins of the people; and there is no shortage of this theme in the Bible, either — particularly, but not exclusively, in the Old Testament. The contemporary version of this is that, as a result of heedless industrialization within a framework of materialistic capitalism, we have directly (albeit not deliberately) perverted the weather, and will duly receive our comeuppance.
There is another aspect, too, that may account for the appeal of this so-called explanation. Throughout the ages, something deep in man’s psyche has made him receptive to apocalyptic warnings that the end of the world is nigh. And almost all of us, whether we like it or not, are imbued with feelings of guilt and a sense of sin. How much less uncomfortable it is, how much more convenient, to divert attention away from our individual sins and reasons to feel guilty, and to sublimate them in collective guilt and collective sin.
Why does this matter? It matters, and matters a great deal, on two quite separate grounds. The first is that it has gone a long way towards ushering in a new age of unreason. It is a cruel irony that, while it was science which, more than anything else, was able by its great achievements to establish the age of reason, it is all too many climate scientists and their hangers-on who have become the high priests of a new age of unreason.