Depending on quite how you count, there were about 7 crusades from 1096 to 1254. They were all based on the same essentially potty notion of the Western Powers, that it would be a good idea to go and invade the Middle East. As dumb an idea then as it is now. There are few interesting things to note about the whole deal:
- It was driven by religious dogma. It was not OK at all to deny the conventional wisdom.
- The support for the Crusades spread across almost of all the European nations. Sure, they were being whipped along by the Pope. But it is remarkable that all of these nations, led by cynical, self-serving pragmatists, were on board.
- They kept on doing it for some 250 years. That is a long time to be doing something that did not work, and served no useful purpose.
Which brings me to COP21, the equally daft junket in Paris this week. There are some parallels with the older Crusades. The global warming/climate change scare is essentially neo-religious in nature. It still enjoys remarkable international support, whipped along by the Pope. And it is demonstrably dumb.
The main problems for the warmists can be simply stated:
- It is not, as they predicted, getting hotter, notwithstanding that carbon dioxide levels continue to rise. The line for the modelled predictions shows a lot of warming, but the actual temperatures from balloons and satellites (hard to fiddle those ones!) remain pretty much flat. In other words, the predictions of the warmists are plainly, old-fashioned wrong. Badly wrong (they were probably wrong because they got the feedback equation wrong. Probably. But what is for sure is that they were wrong). We are not, as they predicted, on a runaway catastrophic disaster course.
- This flat line means that it is relatively warm by the standards of recent decades. But still quite a bit cooler today than it was in the Medieval Warm Period, the Roman Period and the Minoan Period.
- There is no evidence that a bit of extra warmth is actually harmful. Far more people are killed by exceptional cold than exceptional warmth. Nothing unusual is happening to sea levels (atolls in the Pacific continue to slowly sink, as they always do, but that is nothing to do with climate change). Polar bear populations are growing (not that one should applaud that – they are horrid creatures). Some modest recent reduction in the Arctic ice cap is being matched by more and more ice at the Antarctic. And the periods in the past when it was warmer were periods when humans particularly thrived.
- The measures being taken have no useful impact. Electric cars are being fuelled largely by coal-fired power stations. Wind farms have proved to be massively inefficient (but are very good business for the Mafia, who run many of them in Europe – they seem to be better than most at bribing their way into ever greater subsidies).
- The alarmists have not only lost the intellectual battle, but also the popular one. Polls show that in, for example, the USA, and despite the continuing urgings of journalists, activists and politicians, the people at large just do not care about it any more as an issue.
So, for how much longer can the bandwagon roll on, with the politicians and activists screaming that this time is really is, absolutely, no question, our last possible change to turn the lights out and save the planet?
Probably quite a while. The whole thing is big business. There are said to be some 40,000 people at this event. Bizarrely, the fact that they are talking drivel seems to be neither here nor there.
It is, as they say, all about the business.
 See http://www.thegwpf.org/matt-ridley-the-climate-wars-and-the-damage-to-science/ for an excellent recent survey of the scientific scene.
 See http://wattsupwiththat.com/2011/03/28/gallups-public-opinion-on-global-warming-dead-last/ and http://www.bbc.com/news/science-environment-34900474 for a similar picture in other countries.