David Suzuki, Earth Martyr
Things haven’t gone well for David Suzuki recently. Suzuki is the long-time host of CBC Television’s popular The Nature of Things, leader of the Canadian environmental movement, and founder of a deep-pocketed philanthropic organization called the David Suzuki Foundation (which raises money by, among other things, warning children at Christmas that unless their parents donate, Santa’s workshop will sink into a melting North Pole). In 2011, he was named by a Reader’s Digest poll the “most trusted” Canadian. Lately, however, Suzuki has found himself on the defensive, reduced to ad hominen attacks in an attempt to camouflage what critics have been saying for years: that he has inadequate knowledge of the climate science about which he has spent many years pontificating and from which he has made a sizable personal profit.
Observers of Suzuki’s career have been crying foul for some time. David Solway has written numerous articles and a book, Global Warning, wittily exposing Suzuki’s record of faulty prediction and messianic failure. In a 2012 article for FrontPage Magazine, for example, he highlighted Suzuki’s dubious financial backers (which include corporations that invest in China), recent allegations of under-reporting of foreign funding, and engagement in political advocacy inconsistent with tax-free charitable status -- conduct that, when brought to light in 2012, led Suzuki to step down as head of the foundation that still bears his star-quality name.
Sun News host Ezra Levant has produced a series of news shows lambasting Suzuki’s manifest hypocrisy. Typical of Levant’s attack strategy was a recent Toronto Sun newspaper piece called “The Two Suzukis,” in which Levant repeatedly counterpointed the public figure Suzuki has created -- the “Saint Suzuki” who lectures Canadians on limiting their environmental footprint by reducing consumption (see here, for example) -- with the “Secret Suzuki” few people know, the multi-millionaire capitalist who owns various energy-guzzling large properties, jets around to fundraising and media appearances, and demands lavish fees ($30,000 on average) for speaking engagements. This aging counterculture activist who once compared human beings to maggots and who spoke to encourage a particularly pointless “Occupy Vancouver” group in 2011 turns out to be -- well, a comfortable member of the 1%.
But matters got a lot worse for Suzuki recently. On a jaunt to Australia to discuss his major subject -- climate change and the need for drastic measures to combat it -- Suzuki engaged in some uncharacteristically unscripted discussion, with disastrous results. Normally he is careful to vet questions from his audiences, and one can see why. In front of a group that failed to be awed by Suzuki’s demigod status, Suzuki floundered and looked foolish. In response to a question about the documented absence of climate warming over the past fifteen years -- the major question any climate authority must be prepared to answer -- Suzuki resorted to the typical strategies of radical environmentalism: flat-out fabrication (“… the warming continues!”) and counterattack claiming that data debunking the warming hypothesis comes from tainted sources (“… there may be a climate skeptic down in Huntsville, Alabama …”). The problem, however, was that the data being cited actually came from the major data-gathering stations relied upon by the UN’s own International Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), which anyone who had devoted a decade to preventing “catastrophic warming” should have known. In other questioning, Suzuki was similarly off-balance and outrageous, reiterating his claim, for example, that climate-skeptic politicians should face criminal sanctions. The Australian debacle was a startling revelation that the environmentalist guru does not understand the basic elements of the science upon which he has made his reputation.