Big Picture News, Informed Analysis

Canadian journalist Donna Laframboise. Former National Post & Toronto Star columnist, past vice president of the Canadian Civil Liberties Association.

Jordan Peterson: Climate Change Won’t Unite Us

Concern about global warming is dead last amongst 16 priorities.

Canadian psychology professor and best-selling author Jordan Peterson was a guest of the Cambridge Union earlier this month. The Union describes itself as “the oldest debating society in the world, and the largest student society” at Cambridge University.

The video of the hour-long event appears at the top of this page. For 20 minutes, Peterson responded to a series of questions posed by an onstage interviewer. Afterward, he took questions from the audience.

A shorter clip, six-and-a-half minutes in length, has been posted by the UK-based Global Warming Policy Foundation (GWPF). It shows Peterson responding to a student who references the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s latest gloomy report.

The student wonders whether the fight against climate change might be the magic bullet that unites humanity, helping us to transcend our political differences. A lovely idea, but at odds with reality.

In 2013 the United Nations began running an online poll/survey. People from all over the world have been invited to think about their priorities. Which six issues, out of a list of 16, matter most?

Climate change appears on this list. But people care most about education, health care, and jobs. Out of 16 possible priorities, climate change has been relegated to the cellar, to the absolute bottom of the list. This was true in June 2013, when less than 1 million people had voted. It was true in March 2014 when 1.5 million had voted. And it remains true today, with 9.7 million votes cast.

Nevertheless, the Cambridge student asked an honest question, and Peterson’s response was likewise honest. In fact, his six minute answer is a mini tour de force. He endorses the work of Bjorn Lomborg, whom he calls a “real genius.” He emphatically rejects the idea that the climate cause has the power to unite us. And he encourages all of us to move beyond “low resolution thinking that gets us absolutely nowhere.”

Near the end of his answer he challenges the students directly. Are you prepared to stop “having heat,” using electricity, driving cars, taking trains, or using your iPhones?

“You’re not going to do any of that,” he declares. “And no wonder,” he adds. It’s obvious to him, as it should be to most grown-ups, that such non-solutions would cripple our daily lives yet achieve nothing, big-picture.

Curiously, the mainstream media has shown little interest in reporting what Jordan Peterson said to the Cambridge Union – about climate change or anything else.


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