Nobody Expects the Cimate Inquisition

by | Aug 8, 2007

‘Sustainable’ blogging (geddit?) is a bit difficult when even the green news-makers have jetted off to catch some sun… This isn’t climate change, it’s silly season, and there’s not much news around.

We have reported before how the environmentalist’s view of the future shares something with the Taliban. Now we bring you… calls for a climate inquisition. Jamais Casico, futurologist and founder of isn’t the first to call for trials for global warming ‘denialists’. Gristmill’s David Roberts can claim that honour. But that doesn’t make Casico’s comments any less shocking.

Speaking/fantasising about the possibility of a second event such as Hurricane Katrina to hit the USA, regardless of whether or not global warming is the cause (and it seems, regardless of whether or not humans caused it), Casico writes on his blog,

For the global warming denial industry, congressional hearings will be the least of their worries. In a post-Katrina II America, aware that some of the largest companies and the most influential think tanks worked hard to make sure that attempts to mitigate climate disruption were stopped, the perpetrators of this crime may face far greater trials. It couldn’t happen to a more deserving bunch. 

The ‘crime’, it seems is not that corporates and individuals are responsible for the material act of releasing CO2 into the atmosphere, but that daring to voice their opinion influences people to continue to consume, which causes CO2 to be emitted. Casico can charge ‘the deniers’ with nothing more than thought crime. Casico cannot comprehend that anyone might have a reasonable objection to either climate science or political orthodoxies, and so speculates as to what is driving ‘denial’:

The companies and think tanks involved in the denialist effort come across not as defenders of their beliefs and industry, but as people willing to say and do anything to protect the accumulation of short-term profits, the future (and the world) be damned. 

Aside from the sinister fantasy of lynch mobs rounding up his political enemies, which Casico seems to be indulging in, what this commentary reveals is another case of the escalation of rhetoric against ‘sceptics and deniers’ that is designed to close down debate and claim the moral high ground. This time, not by making equivalents of sceptics and holocaust deniers, but by equally hollow appeals to victimhood on behalf of people who don’t even exist yet, whose lives have been ruined by something that hasn’t happened yet.

If a dark, nasty future didn’t exist, Jamais Casico would have to invent it – which is precisely what he’s doing. It is only by fantasising about the future that Casico can find people guilty in the present. And for all the complaints about corporates gambling with the future, he has carved himself quite a profitable niche with his bleak visions. Yet this contemporary Nostradamus has a lmited imagination; all he can think of is reasons to avoid the future, not ways of making it better.

1 Comment

  1. Anonymous

    NOBODY Expects The Climate Inquisition!

    Complete text of Monty Python’s classic “Climate Inquisition” sketch:

    “In the early years of the 21st century, to combat the rising tide of free-market prosperity, the Kyoto Treaty gave Climate Cardinal Algore leave to move without let or hindrance throughout the land, in a reign of demagoguery, intimidation, and fraud, and to make a stupid film that every child was forced to watch. _This_ was the Climate Inquisition…”

    man: Trouble in lib’ral media.

    woman: Oh? What kind of trouble?

    man: ‘Lantic ‘urr’cane for’cast down again, & glaciers found melted in ’22; ‘ottest year on record were 1934… man-made warmin’ is ‘oax.

    woman: Pardon?

    man: ‘Lantic ‘urr’cane for’cast down again, & glaciers found melted in ’22; ‘ottest year on record were 1934… man-made warmin’ is ‘oax.

    woman [confused]: I don’t understand what you’re saying.

    man: [slightly irritatedly and with exaggeratedly clear accent] The forecast for Atlantic hurricanes has been lowered again, glaciers were reported to be melting in 1922, and the hottest year on record wasn’t 1998, it was 1934. Man-made global warming is a hoax.

    woman: Well what on earth does that mean?

    man: *I* don’t know – Mr. Limbaugh just told me to come in here and say there was trouble in the liberal media, that’s all. I didn’t expect a kind of Climate Inquisition.


    [The door flies open and Climate Cardinal Algore enters, flanked by Climate Cardinal Heidi Cullen and Climate Cardinal Fang]

    Cardinal Algore: NOBODY expects the Climate Inquisition! Our chief weapon is surprise. Surprise and fear… fear and surprise… Our two weapons are fear and surprise…and ruthless efficiency…. Our *three* weapons are fear, surprise, and ruthless efficiency, intimidation, suppression of evidence, scientific misconduct… and an almost fanatical devotion to Socialism…. …no… *Amongst* our weapons…. Amongst our weaponry…are such elements as fear, surprise….

    I’ll come in again.

    man: I didn’t expect a kind of Climate Inquisition.


    [The cardinals burst in]

    Cardinal Algore: NOBODY expects the Climate Inquisition! Amongst our weaponry are such diverse elements as: fear, surprise, ruthless efficiency, intimidation, suppression of evidence, scientific misconduct, an almost fanatical devotion to Socialism, and nice red uniforms – Oh damn!

    Algore: [To Cardinal Cullen] I can’t say it – you’ll have to say it.

    Cullen: What?

    Cardinal Algore: You’ll have to say the bit about ‘Our chief weapons are …’

    Cullen: I couldn’t do that…

    [Cardinal Algore bundles the cardinals outside again]

    man: I didn’t expect a kind of Climate Inquisition.


    [The Climate Cardinals enter]

    Cullen: Er…. Nobody…um….

    Algore: Expects…

    Cullen: Expects… Nobody expects the…um…the Climate…um…

    Algore: Inquisition.

    Cullen: I know, I know! Nobody expects the Climate Inquisition. In fact, those who do expect –

    Algore: Our chief weapons are…

    Cullen: Our chief weapons are…um…er…

    Algore: Surprise…

    Cullen: Surprise and —

    Algore: Okay, stop. Stop. Stop there – stop there. Stop. Phew! Ah! … our chief weapons are surprise…blah blah blah. Cardinal, read the charges.

    Fang: You are hereby charged that you did on diverse dates commit heresy against the Holy Church of Global Warming. ‘My old man said follow the–‘

    Cullen: That’s enough. Now, how do you plead?

    woman: We’re innocent.

    Algore: Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha!


    Cullen: We’ll soon change your mind about that!


    Algore: Fear, surprise, and a most ruthless– [controls himself with a supreme effort] Ooooh! Now, Cardinal — the rack!

    [Cullen produces a plastic-coated dish-drying rack. Algore looks at it and clenches his teeth in an effort not to lose control. He hums heavily to cover his anger]

    Algore: You….Right! Tie her down.

    [Fang and Cullen make a pathetic attempt to tie her on to the drying rack]

    Algore:Right! How do you plead?

    woman: Innocent.

    Algore: Ha! Right! Cardinal, give the rack [oh dear] give the rack a turn.

    [Cullen stands their awkwardly and shrugs her shoulders]

    Cullen: I….

    Algore: [gritting his teeth] I *know*, I know you can’t. I didn’t want to say anything. I just wanted to try and ignore your crass mistake.

    Cullen: I…

    Algore: It makes it all seem so stupid.

    Cullen: Shall I…?

    Algore: No, just pretend for God’s sake. Ha! Ha! Ha!

    [Cullen turns an imaginary handle on the side of the dish-rack]

    [Cut to them torturing a dear old lady]


    Dear Old Lady: “This is Uncle Ted in front of the house.” (she hands over the photo and the young lady tears it up) “This is Uncle Ted at the back of the house.” (she hands over the photo and the young lady tears it up) “And this is Uncle Ted at the side of the house.” (she hands over the photo and the young lady tears it up) “This is Uncle Ted, back again at the front of the house, but you can see the side of the house.” (she hands over the photo and the young lady tears it up) “And this is Uncle Ted even nearer the side of the house, but you can still see the front.” (she hands over the photo and the young lady tears it up) “This is the back of the house, with Uncle Ted coming round the side to the front.” (she hands over the photo and the young lady tears it up) “And this is the Climate Inquisition hiding behind the wood shed.” (Friend takes it with the first sign of real interest.)

    Young Lady: Oh! I didn’t expect the Climate Inquisition.


    [The door flies open and Climate Cardinals Algore, Cullen and Fang enter.]

    Algore: NOBODY expects the Climate Inquisition!

    [Cut to film: moving over Brengel drawing of tortures; epic film music.]


    [Torchlit dungeon. We hear clanging footsteps. The footsteps stop and keys jangle. The great door creaks open and Cardinal Algore walks in and looks ’round approvingly. Fang and Cullen enter behind pushing in the dear old lady. They chain her to the wall.]

    Algore: Now, old woman — you are accused of climate heresy on three counts — climate heresy by thought, climate heresy by word, climate heresy by deed, and climate heresy by action — *four* counts. Do you confess?

    Old Lady: I don’t understand what I’m accused of.

    Algore: Ha! Then we’ll make you understand! Cullen! Fetch…THE CUSHIONS!


    [Cullen holds out two ordinary modern household cushions]

    Cullen: Here they are, lord.

    Algore: Now, old lady — you have one last chance. Confess the heinous sin of heresy, reject the works of the ungodly — *two* last chances. And you shall be free — *three* last chances. You have three last chances, the nature of which I have divulged in my previous utterance.

    Old Lady: I don’t know what you’re talking about.

    Algore: Right! If that’s the way you want it — Cardinal! Poke her with the soft cushions!

    [Cullen carries out this rather pathetic torture]

    Algore: Confess! Confess! Confess!

    Cullen: It doesn’t seem to be hurting her, lord.

    Algore: Have you got all the stuffing up one end?

    Cullen: Yes,


    Algore [angrily hurling away the cushions]: Hm! She is made of harder stuff! Cardinal Fang! Fetch…THE COMFY CHAIR!


    [Zoom into Fang’s horrified face]

    Fang [terrified]: The…Comfy Chair?

    [Cullen pushes in a comfy chair — a really plush one]

    Algore: So you think you are strong because you can survive the soft cushions. Well, we shall see. Cullen! Put her in the Comfy Chair!

    [They roughly push her into the Comfy Chair]

    Algore [with a cruel leer]: Now — you will stay in the Comfy Chair until lunch time, with only a cup of coffee at eleven. [aside, to Cullen] Is that really all it is?

    Cullen: Yes, lord.

    Algore: I see. I suppose we make it worse by shouting a lot, do we? Confess, woman. Confess! Confess! Confess! Confess

    Cullen: I confess!

    Algore: Not you!


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