The Climate Catastrophism Cult

The prophets of doom and gloom insist the end is coming and that we must fight to save the planet. Join the movement for salvation.

It’s supposed to be based on science and data, yet whenever data that contradicts the end-of-world claims appear, which is often, the prophets take on an us-versus-them approach, often portraying skeptics as infidels or even criminals.

So not surprisingly to many observers, a large part of the global warming movement is seen to have long since departed from the realms of science, evolved and moved into a cult-like realm. Has climate catastrophism become a cult?

When one goes down the list of signs that identify a cult in the list below, the similarities are striking.

Definition of a cult

According to Merriam Webster’s dictionary:
1:  formal religious veneration: worship
2:  a system of religious beliefs and ritual; also: its body of adherents
3:  a religion regarded as unorthodox or spurious; also: its body of adherents
4a: system for the cure of disease based on dogma set forth by its promulgator (health cult)
5a : great devotion to a person, idea, object, movement, or work (as a film or book); especially : such devotion regarded as a literary or intellectual fad b: the object of such devotion c : a usually small group of people characterized by such devotion.

How do we know if a movement is a cult?

Some cults are benign, while others are dangerous and can lead to tragedy. If many of the following apply, then it’s a sure that we are dealing with a cult-like organization (from and other sources):

1. The movement is over-zealous – and regards its belief system, ideology and practices as Truth.
2. The group is elitist, claiming a superior status and purpose (e.g., to be on a mission to save humanity).
3. The group often prophesies the end of the world.
4. The group promises salvation.
5. Dissent is not tolerated and is even punished.
6. The leadership dictates how members should think, act, and feel. Leaders prescribe how they live, whether to have children, etc
7. The group instructs its members not to read information that is critical of the group.
8. The group has a confrontational “us-versus-them” mentality that leads to conflict.
9. The leaders do not view themselves as accountable to authorities, even advocating civil disobedience for the higher cause.
10. The group teaches that the ends justify whatever means it deems necessary. This may lead members to participate in illegal activities.
11. Mind-altering practices, such as the repeated use of propaganda and denunciation sessions are used to suppress doubts. Character assassination is a sure sign of a cult.
12. The group requires members to radically alter the personal activities they had before joining the group.
13. The group is active in bringing in new members.
14. The group is out to make money.

Dangerous cults are totalitarian and do not tolerate any criticism. Dangerous cults not only dictate what members believe, but also how members live. How often have we heard the climate catastrophism cult tell us what we should eat and drink, how to be mobile, what lights to use and how many children we should have? Cults are the antithesis of individual freedom.

Double standards

According to Apologetics Index, a destructive cult often has double standards. Members are expected to be obedient, while the cult leaders have their own special rules. A destructive cult has only two basic purposes: recruiting new members and making money. Destructive cults claim to be for the social good, but in reality the cult’s real goal is to increase prestige and often the wealth of the leader. In the Climate Catastrophism Cult, we see how leaders are getting wealthier and wealthier, while followers are asked to give up more and more.

A destructive cult claims that it is innovative, progressive and that it offers a new and better way that will cure the world’s ills. But, according to Apologetics Index, “These claims are empty and are only used to recruit members who are then surreptitiously subjected to mind control to inhibit their ability to examine the actual validity of the claims of the leader and the cult.”

Who is susceptible?

A cult needs followers. The more followers it has, the more powerful it becomes. One of the main traits that people who are susceptible to joining a cult have is a sense and desire for idealism. Those prone to joining a cult often display:
1. A desire to belong.
2. A desire for spiritual meaning.
3. The inability to say no or to express criticism.
4. Impaired capacity to question what one is told.
5. A need for quick and absolute answers.
6. Cultural disillusionment (alienation, dissatisfaction with the status quo.
7. Low self-esteem and a general lack of self-confidence.
8. to be naive.

Many followers tend to be young, disenchanted, frustrated, lonely and lacking a perspective for the future. Anyone that is going through a stressful period of transition in life is more susceptible to join a cult. It’s no wonder that older, retired people tend to be more skeptical of climate catastrophe. So, is global warming catastrophism a cult? It’s hard to find a movement that better fits the definition.

References:   From Book: Take Back Your Life: Recovering from Cults and Abusive Relationships

86 thoughts on “The Climate Catastrophism Cult”

  1. AGW alarmism is not a normal cult in that there are no formal rules, tokens or signs of membership. Beards, sandals or reading the Guardian don’t count as formal signs.

  2. Pierre… Better be careful there. This entire post could be written to be directed at climate denial. This article basically illuminates nothing.

    1. Climate sceptics don’t believe in the AGW religion cult. Not joining a cult does not make one a cultist. The sceptics range from non-catastrophic warmists to lukewarmers – to coolists. We are open to different opinions and debate. We are not the ones who are saying its all settled and want to shut it down and impose a new world order.

      1. I beg to differ. I believe the skeptic side exhibits cult behavior by blindly accepting anything that rejects AGW. This is a matter of the pot calling the kettle black.

        As I’ve repeatedly stated, provided with clear evidence I think almost everyone who currently accepts AGW would gladly change their position. No one wants AGW to be true.

        What I see on the skeptic side is an almost blind devotion to anything that they believe might reject AGW.

        1. You’re right. We’re in the non-catastrophe cult. The one with a bunch of optimists in it who aren’t hysterical over a few molecules of CO2. The ones who worship the continuation of the world and life, freedom and prosperity. We’re that terrible dangerous cult of optimistism, open debate and non-belief in the end of the world in the year 2060, and thinking for yourself. Beware of this dangerous cult!

          Someone save us and deliver us back to wonderful world of catastrophe, doom and gloom, pessimism, closed debate, centrally planned living and long queues to buy butter and flour!

          1. The problem here is that the broad empirical evidence supports AGW. The only thing we’re doing here is accepting the scientific consensus.

          2. This whole line of logic is absurd. You could apply exactly the same logic to evolution and say that is a cult.

        2. Well I beg to differ. I believe the Warmist side exhibits cult behavior by blindly accepting anything that accepts AGW.

          When was the last time YOU rejected a report / paper that accepted AGW?? Give it a rest!

          1. Often, if it isn’t based on data – I reject it. Same goes for warmist claims. BTW I’m disappointed you’ve been avoiding the palm oil story.

  3. Pierre,

    Check this out:

    I pretty much stay away from people like these but I think this may be an actual CAGW cult.

    They are in my city and have a vegan restaurant and a friend of mine went there (she is vegetarian) and she brought me back a flyer from the restaurant and it was pretty hilarious – phony pictures of polar bears stranded on itty bitty icebergs – you know the drill.

    1. So, essentially you’re dipping your brush in one extreme case to paint a broad picture of one side of the political spectrum.

      What if I do the same by ascribing to everyone right of center as being like nazi skin-heads? Would that be fair?

      1. You make it sound like a fringe view.
        “I have read no clearer exposition of the interconnectivity of life. Nor have I come across a more reasoned explanation for our selfishness. If you read it, and I exhort you to read it, you will see that there is no other solution but the wholesale deconstruction of industrial society.”–Jon Hughes, Fourth World Review

        “Keith Farnish has it right: time has practically run out, and the ‘system’ is the problem”–Professor James Hansen, Columbia University

        James Hansen is a respectable honest mainstream consensus climate scientist, isn’t he?

        1. You’re intentionally ignoring the later response that Hansen made regarding Farnish’s book. Do a little more research.

          1. You mean, he later found out that he endorsed a book that cannibalizes the sales of “Storms Of Our Grandchildren”? Sorry, i didn’t know that! One for Hansen.

      2. Rob,

        I stumbled upon this group purely by chance. I’m not trying to make any kind of point. It is just interesting to me that there is actually a cult-mentality attracted to AGW apropos this post. There is a real socio/religious aspect that is being actively exploited.

    2. Thanks,
      this is the sort of thing I’m talking about. Gore and Redford are living lavish lives while we are told to sacrifice and submit.

        1. Thanks for reminding me. I almost forgot – they’re promising us salvation from climate catastrophe and a new paradise. I can’t wait!

        2. Pierre… What “they” are saying is we need to address this problem. No one is sugar coating it into something it’s not.


    Climate change comedy that warms the heart in “The Heretic”

    “Description: A leading female scientist is questioned over her stance on climate change. Black comedy written by Richard Bean, with James Fleet and Juliet Stevenson. Directed by Jeremy Herrin.”

    The Heretic by Richard bean at the Royal court theatre in London.

  5. Dana, I’m only spurring people to think about the radical elements of the global warming movement. It could be that you think there aren’t any, but others certainly perceive it differently. Already RC not tolerating any dissent at their site tells you something, especially in view that the science is far from settled.

    1. Actually, RC allows quite a lot of debate. You just have to rise to a certain standard of science for them. If you trot out haggard old arguments that don’t hold water they appropriately delete it.

      1. That’s horses hit, they don’t print a thing I say, these “scientists” posting on that gossip column don’t know the difference between entropy and toothpaste.

        The sad thing is, they’re supported by the US Government no less

      2. After thinking further on this, there are no words to describe how ludicrous your post is about RC; it’s just completely laughable. You must live in a bubble.

        Let’s guess: Gavin deleted all the time stamps to save disc space……

        1. Sounds to me like you’ve been smacked down for posting scientifically unsupportable comments. You need to do a little more research (actually, a LOT more) before posting on RC.

          Them’s the rules.

          1. Stop kidding yourself. McIntyre, Lucia, Condon and a host other competent people have been unfairly slapped down by RC – because they challenged the AGW dogma. RC was in fact set up to counter the sceptics, and to shore up the HS, which indeed later became scientifically unsupportable.
            I could apply the same principle to you, claiming you’re posting scientifically unsupported comments.
            Here I let everybody give their opnion, but when I get the feeling someone is saying you don’t have the right to speak, then I don’t exclude the option of giving him/her a good dose of their own medicine, and start deleting their comments. I’ve done it before.
            So if anyone takes on the attitude that others aren’t good enough to comment, then he’ll find himself out the door real fast. One thing I don’t tolerate are bigots, arrogant twerps and haughty elites who think they know it all better. When I hear snobby comments, as the one you’ve posted saying people aren’t good enough for RC, then my finger moves to the trap door button. So back off from the arrogance.

      3. Rob,
        your article “Meet the Denominator” contains an image, where I would think it might violate copyright. That image is used as a cover-image for a computer game that was published by BANDAI NAMCO 2004.

        You better check before using that image.


        1. I would assume the Terminator image was under license to them in the first place, so they would not be the ones to complain. But you should look up the definition of “fair use” with regard to copyright protection. I don’t think there should be an issue. (I’ve dealt with many trademark and copyright issues in the past so I’m pretty familiar with this.)

  6. “What if I do the same by ascribing to everyone right of center as being like nazi skin-heads? Would that be fair?”

    It doesn’t appear you know what a Nazi is.

  7. “Strawman, Pierre. No one is saying sacrifice and submit.”

    Really? You honestly can say that with a straight face? Amazing.

    1. Of course nobody in his world will have to sacrifice. Salvation is theirs! The wise leaders promised it. How dare you doubt that?

    1. I like this Jimbo. It shows that it has totally drifted from science. I’m happy the field of medicine has not gone down that path.

  8. Wow, does that list articulate the problem nicely.

    So, Rob, how long do you think it will it be before Greenpiece conscripts a few borderline retarded as suicide bombers to blow up a coal project somewhere?

  9. This article does not discuss how difficult it can be to deprogram cult followers.

    Once the (weak minded) have made the cult’s ideals their life’s purpose, they’ll die before they’ll die before substituting common sense for their religious practices

  10. I get so *angry* with these global warming people, I take it out on other people, that’s probably not the best reaction, although “polite” responses to their harangue mean nothing. I am left frustrated and exasperated.

    One would think that global warmers would get a clue from the cult leaders like Gore. I don’t care about his “hypocrisy,” as far as I am concerned, his actions show he doesn’t believe a word he says, as well he shouldn’t. No one in their right mind would believe the doomsday AGW stuff.

    But if he obviously doesn’t believe it, why should anybody else?

    1. What I get from Gore these days is that he’s putting his money where his mouth is. If green technologies fail. If the whole global warming thing is a hoax and the planet cools (as so many here seem to believe) then he’s going to be a penniless man. On the other hand, if he (and we) are right, he’s putting himself in a position where he will make a lot of money. What’s wrong with that?

      1. ” … he’s going to be a penniless man.”

        A shame. Well, maybe we can support a few bake sales or maybe a charity car wash for him to help him pay his bills and maybe his alimony.

        I hope she doesn’t take him to the cleaners for all the aggravation he’s caused her.

  11. “Actually, RC allows quite a lot of debate. You just have to rise to a certain standard of science for them. If you trot out haggard old arguments that don’t hold water they appropriately delete it.”

    So now you’re the propaganda minister for RC?

    Jimbo, here’s a new project for you :)

  12. A commenter here said global warming advocates aren’t asking people to give up anything. I guess he has not heard them say, “our lifestyles are not sustainable,” countless times. US president Obama has chastised Americans for using more than their share of the atmosphere, saying other countries were not going to accept that. Another example is carbon tax (already in effect in much of the US and to a greater degree in other countries). Certain money, what people have earned in exchange for their time and effort, we are now told is to be taken to help others recover from climate crime committed by Americans. This is giving up something. We are told this is just the beginning, that billions are needed to flow from Americans and others in yearly taxes to the UN, World Bank and/or others to help some nations recover from climate crimes. Again, those telling us or forcing us to live with less (in hidden or overt taxes, or making it impossible to engage in business due to excessive regulation, or constant lawsuits from ‘environmental’ lawyers) are making hundreds of millions of dollars in various avenues of the ‘climate’ industry. When we have no food because the government says we have to make ethanol instead, isn’t giving up food, or having to go hungry “something”? Organized crime has already made millions in Europe’s hopelessly corrupt carbon trading system. Don’t you think the stolen millions were ‘given up’ by taxpayer to create the CO2 market?

    1. “Organized crime has already made millions in Europe’s hopelessly corrupt carbon trading system. Don’t you think the stolen millions were ‘given up’ by taxpayer to create the CO2 market?”

      Millions? It has been BILLIONS!

    2. You guys just don’t get it do you?

      Our lifestyles are NOT sustainable. That’s just a fact. That doesn’t mean go back to living in caves. It means we need to find solutions to the problem. We need to find ways to make buildings more efficient. Make transportation clean.

      What you guys are doing is saying don’t change. We are saying make things better.

      1. Rob, Rob, Rob, (sigh)
        “What you guys are doing is saying don’t change. We are saying make things better.”
        Wrong in both cases. Things will change. The choice is: do we force change against economic principles, or do we use economic principles to naturally guide change. If we go against economic principles (with subsidies paid with taxes, for instance) we may not wind up in caves, but wattle and daub huts are a possibility. If we let the marketplace take care of the problem, scarcity and the resulting price rise will shift us to alternative energy with little or no impact on lifestyles.

        1. But Ed, you can obviously see where the dominant market powers lay with regards to energy issues. The largest companies on the planet have a vested interest in the science of climate change being wrong. The longer they delay action the more money they keep in their pockets. That is NOT in the best interest of everyone else.

          I have to say as well, who’s version of economics are you talking about? The version that has dominated the past few decades is not serving us too well. It’s serving a very few extremely well while everyone else has to bite the bullet.

          All of you guys seem to forget that it was the Bush I admin who first instituted a cap and trade program as a market based solution to manage an ecological problem.

      2. Governments telling people and companies what to do is terribly inefficient, Rob. If your target is efficiency, then the governments need to get out of the way, and not in the way. Free markets have produced the cleanest living, while state controlled markets have horrendous environmental records. China is good example, with market deregulation. Sure it is going through a dirty phase now, but as she becomes more prosperous, she will be able to afford to clean up.

        1. No, Pierre… Mixed economies have done this. The libertarian version of markets (Chicago school) is what’s killing us now.

        2. You think China has market deregulation? Remember they are still a centrally control government. Do you know how they are cleaning up? Government officials just go in and shut down older dirty coal-fired plants. No recourse. If you own that planet too bad. The government just goes in and turns off the switch. I don’t know how you get “deregulation” out of that.

          1. What “skeptics” invariably miss is that from an economic standpoint, we should be putting a price on carbon emissions. Almost every economist agrees about this – even the ones who think the economic impacts of climate change will be relatively small (i.e. Nordhaus). I recently wrote on the subject:


            Carbon emissions are an economic externality. They do damage to the environment which is not accounted for in their price. It’s the same reason that governments put a price on sulfur dioxide emissions decades ago.

            Once you put a price on carbon emissions, you also have a new revenue stream. You can choose to return it to the public through other tax cuts (British Columbia is doing this successfully), or invest some of the money in green tech R&D, or whatever the voters want to do. But it takes care of that economic externality, and does so at a very low price to the average consumer.

            It won’t send us back to living in caves – quite the opposite, it will encourage more development of new alternative low-carbon technologies.

  13. Hi Rob,

    you wrote: “This whole line of logic is absurd. You could apply exactly the same logic to evolution and say that is a cult.”

    I think there is a crucial and almost embarassingly simple difference between the theory of evolution and the theory of AGW:

    Evolution successfully explains the empirically observable PAST.

    AGW, in contrast, at least as of 2011, is a theory consisting mostly of predictions about the FUTURE.

    I know this is quite an oversimplification, but I still regard this as a fundamental difference.

    Another important distinction: The COMPLETE theory of evolution can be directly observed working in all its glory in a small petri dish in a laboratory.

    Regarding AGW, all you can do in a laboratory is to observe small and ISOLATED puzzle pieces that are just tiny parts of the overall AGW theory.

    No sane scientist will dispute the easily measurable absorption spectrum of CO2. But to claim that you can predict the consequences of a change in atmospheric CO2 concentration onto one of the most complex integrated systems known to man must be considered extremely speculative at best.

    Biology and medicine are replete with examples of how surprising and/or counterintuitive the effects of ‘simple’ parameter changes can be on the complex integrated systems known as organisms.

    I guess we’re all being essentially scientific here. The difference seems to be that the sceptics just have a more critical ‘theory acceptance threshold’.

    Best regards,


    1. “You could apply exactly the same logic to evolution and say that is a cult.”

      You could, but it would not hold any water. The two are completely different. AGW cult says we have to radically change our lives or else face catastrophe. But I don’t see the evolution theororists demanding we live differently, or else we’ll face catastrophe.
      Some factions of AGW are clearly attempting to bully us into living radically another way. In doing so, the radical leaders like Gore, Hansen, carbon traders, etc would all profit handsomely from it (by profit I mean power, prestige, money, etc.).

    2. Absolutely wrong. The science of climate change is every bit as solid as the theory of evolution at this point.

      Evolution speaks equally to the past and the future. The science of climate change relies every bit as much on the past as does evolution.

        1. We wouldn’t call off research into evolution. Why would we call it off for climate change. And at this point there are a ton of uncertainties that need to be better understood.

          1. I think you guys got a very good lesson from Science of Doom over the past couple of days about the science. THAT guy knows his stuff. That is the level of understanding that determines the certainties (and uncertainties) of climate science.

            What is settled is that we know that the planet is warming and we know we are the cause. What we don’t fully know is climate sensitivity. We know it’s higher than 1.5C. We know it’s likely lower than 4.5C and is likely close to 3C.

            We know the cause is man-made CO2. We know it’s going to be a very bad thing if we don’t find ways to reduce our output of CO2. These are the facts that are as solid as evolution.

          2. He THINKS he knows his stuff. I don’t trust that level of certainty. And I’ll save you time, yes, even in myself. Call me Diogenes.

          3. I don’t recall Science of Doom saying the science is settled. Is that what he said? Or is that you claiming it?

          4. Here we go with the ‘science is settled’ nonsense again.

            The science is settled that the planet is warming and humans are causing it. There is a very, very small probability that this is wrong. That doesn’t mean every aspect of climate science is settled. There’s still a fairly wide range of possible climate sensitivity values, due to uncertainties in aerosols and the cloud feedback, for example.

            The problem is that most the “skeptics” (present company included) argue the settled science instead of the uncertain aspects. Guys like Lindzen and Spencer are smarter – they know the uncertainties and focus on those. But you guys actually disagree with the few climate scientist “skeptics” by arguing the settled science.

        2. It’s every single bit as solid as all the bullying and intimidation and ridicule can make it.

          One might wonder why it needs it.

          1. If you ever want a lesson in “jiu-jitsu condescension” try getting into a “contrarian” discussion with somebody like Kev Trenberth.

            I have. Holy Cow, he makes the average “mister know-it-all” look positively modest

  14. Good article, it does seem like a cult, the problem with climate change and the extremist warmist argument, apart from the fact it is wrong. It reminds me of a car which won’t start, instead of checking to see if there is any petrol in the car, they think they need to change the whole engine and replace every part. Once they have done this and the car still won’t start, having spent a fortune changing this and changing that, they might finally realise, all they needed was a little bit of fuel.

    The real problem is not the climate, it is the fact we are using up all our finite resources at an alarming rate. Without finding viable replacements, instead of looking backwards and feeling guilty for industry, we need to look forwards, and find free energy, namely fission. Wind farms and the like are not going to cut it when the oil runs out. We need to change our attitudes towards exponential growth, and realise it is unjustifiable. I think many people who believe in AGW, really just want this to happen, but picking a nag to win the Derby is not good sense.

    1. Thanks for this link. Very few issues bother me more than this one. It is truly literally about pouring money down a hole in the ground. It’s a ritual with zero benefits.

      1. Interesting quote from the Spiegel article:
        “Ein CCS-Gesetz scheiterte Ende vergangenen Jahres am Widerstand Schleswig-Holsteins. Die Bundesregierung muss trotzdem handeln: Eine EU-Richtlinie verlangt, dass alle EU-Staaten bis zum Juni 2011 ein CCS-Gesetz verabschieden.”

        “A CCS Law perished last year due to the resistance of Schleswig-Holstein (the northernmost province). The federal government must act nevertheless: A EU directive requires that all EU member states give themselves a CCS law until June 2011.”

        Ain’t the EU[SSR] marvelous! The Greens will rejoice, and they’re not even in government ATM!

        1. I have wondered (worried) about suffocating microbes that must be present at least 30 m into the earth, maybe more.

          The insanity of the rituals that accompany this fad leave me speechless

  15. O/T Interview with the ex-right hand of Assange. He says Wikileaks has all but collapsed. Important “technicians” have left and taken their hardware and software with them. No documents can be uploaded ATM.
    (Some people expressed hope that Wikileaks would provide more insight into Climategate-style shenanigans. Forget it. It’s a one-man show.)

  16. You and Rob are RC groupies. We get that.

    I can’t wait to here your excuses for Steig’s psychotic behavior :)

    1. I just read CA’s write up about Steig. Great entertainment – though it is sad to see someone lose it like that. I’m wondering if men in white suits will be coming.

  17. Rob, I’m disappointed you’re avoiding the palm oil story. I thought you’d be excited about all that government-planned efficiency. This is what green policy and settled science leads to.

  18. Eco-Flagellation in the 21st Century:

    This enfeebling syndrome is alive in today’s radical environmentalism, a self-denying, life-denying substitute religion. It is a form of asceticism, calling upon us, the sinners, to sacrifice our freedom, our economies, our very way of life to appease Gaia’s expected wrath.

    As the Earth starts to cool in answer to natural solar rhythms, our modern Eco-flagellants will prove theirs was an ‘agenda in search of a crisis’ by proposing exactly the same solutions to the new perceived crisis of ‘global cooling’.

    No matter which direction the climate swings, our ‘modern life’ will be blamed by the Eco-flagellants. we can only hope the movement dies of it’s own accord, but somehow I doubt it.

  19. A bit more (FYI) on ‘CCS’ can be found here:

    The blog (and text) is in Swedish and one of superbly high and bona fide scientific class. The text – very informative! – can easily be translated into other languages by the ‘google translate’ feature.

    There is also a rather (very!) interesting reading on the High Level Climate Financing, here:

    Brgds from Sweden + have a nice weekend!

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