These Folks Aren’t Climate Denialists–They’re Worse

I recently read one of those blog posts you come across these days–the kind that is so ridiculous, so insane, you assume–usually correctly–that it’s another urban legend. But this one bothered me, so I investigated, and found confirmation in the very reputable Guardian.

Like many countries, Nigeria has already begun to see the effects of climate change. So the wealthy are building a new, privatized city that will be insulated from the effects of  the rising waters.

It’s a sight to behold. Just off Lagos, Nigeria’s coast, an artificial island is emerging from the sea. A foundation, built of sand dredged from the ocean floor, stretches over ten kilometres. Promotional videos depict what is to come: a city of soaring buildings, housing for 250,000 people, and a central boulevard to match Paris’ Champs-Élysées and New York’s Fifth Avenue. Privately constructed, it will also be privately administered and supplied with electricity, water, mass transit, sewage and security. It is the “future Hong Kong of Africa,” anticipates Nigeria’s World Bank director.

Welcome to Eko Atlantic, a city whose “whole purpose”, its developers say, is to “arrest the ocean’s encroachment.”

And who will occupy this new, privatized fortress against the elements? Certainly not the millions of poor Nigerians who will be left to fend for themselves–quite literally abandoned to the elements.

Those behind the project – a pair of politically connected Lebanese brothers who run a financial empire called the Chagoury Group, and a slew of African and international banks – give a picture of who will be catered to. Gilbert Chaougry was a close advisor to the notorious Nigerian dictatorship of the mid 1990s, helping the ultra-corrupt general Sani Abacha as he looted billions from public coffers. Abacha killed hundreds of demonstrators and executed environmentalist Ken Saro-Wiwa, who rose to fame protesting the despoiling of the country by Shell and other multinational oil corporations. Thus it’s fitting for whom the first 15-story office tower in Eko Atlantic is being built: a British oil and gas trading company. The city proposing to head off environmental devastation will be populated by those most responsible for it in the first place.

Evidently, once it is no longer possible to deny the reality of climate change, the self-identified “makers” of the world–in the US that would be folks like the members of ALEC, the managers and owners of energy companies, and of course the infamous Kochs and their ilk–will simply secede from the earth they’ve polluted.

Welcome to our dystopian future.


  1. “Pollution” actually reduces the Earth’s temperature by blocking rays from the sun. We have much, much cleaner air over our cities than we did in the 1970s, which less pollution has probably has warmed those cities a bit by allowing for more direct sunlight.

    It is CO2 (not pollution) specifically that is said to absorb and trap heat. But CO2 (unlike pollution) is naturally occurring in the environment and historically has not considered to be a pollutant, though there has been a somewhat successful effort by the alarmists to reclassify CO2 as a pollutant when it is produced by man. Though how you separate out the 3% of the CO2 in the environment caused by man from the 97% naturally occurring, I’m not sure.

  2. Although ostensibly about climate change, I think this story is more about separating the wealthy from the rest of humanity. It reminds me of a movie I saw last year titled “Elysium” (a place of happiness). The idea was that in the future, the wealthiest (1%?) of the world’s population would force the building of a gigantic space wheel called Elysium, complete with luxurious housing, gardens, robotic servants, the best food and medical care, schools, etc. The 1% would live on this artificial moon and control the rest of the (earthbound) population, who would produce what would be required to maintain Elysium, but be denied opportunity to create or consume the niceties enjoyed by the 1%. The plot, of course, revolved around the penetration of Elysium by a factory worker made ill by radioactivity and the breaking of control by Elysium’s inhabitants.

    Here off the coast of Nigeria, we have a smaller scale prototype of Elysium. I now think that movie isn’t as far-fetched as I thought at the time!

  3. Whether the IPCC report is unquestionable gospel, whether it’s open for discussion, or whether it’s a feel good invention, I haven’t a clue. I’m doing my part with my residential geo-thermal heating and cooling units, but beyond that… I’m inclined to lean toward George Carlin’s 1992 ‘take’ on our saving the environment or halting climate change. Take a few minutes and watch.

  4. These are separate but related issues: 1) Are you taking the responsibility that you can take for environmental issues? 2) Is the climate changing, and are humans contributing to it? The answer to the first one addresses my values and to what degree it’s important for me to take responsibility, hopefully irrespective of the answer to the second question. (You do the right thing because it’s the right thing to do.) The answer to the second one is also important because it not only looks at the broader issue, it also addresses whether there are more issues at stake if I don’t correctly answer the first question. If you are involved with addressing the first question, irrespective of the answer to the second question, that is excellent. If you assiduously deny human responsibility in the second, and use that answer as license to ignore responsibility, and simply focus on the your valuing reckless greed, AND everyone does that, we are all in trouble. The IPCC report is not just a report. It is a meta-analysis of a broad range of studies across 13 areas, so if anyone is questioning seriously the answer to the second question, the data are there.

    George Carlin is right on, of course. The earth is prepared to go on without us. It came within 2,000 people of eliminating all of us before, and it just may succeed next time. And that may include our children or grandchildren.

  5. “Though how you separate out the 3% of the CO2 in the environment caused by man from the 97% naturally occurring, I’m not sure.” Isn’t it closer to 4%? Either way, it’s 4% of natural releases, ANNUALLY ( Wish I could get that kinda rate on my savings account…). So the actual amount of CO2 from human activity in the atmosphere is much higher than 4% at this point.

  6. Per Wikipedia; “…Carbon dioxide is an important greenhouse gas; burning of carbon-based fuels since the industrial revolution has rapidly increased the concentration, leading to global warming. ”

    Considering when the industrial revolution began and its expansion over decades must be considered when voicing concerns over CO2. Climate change has been occuring since the beginning of time; but we must also consider the on-going destruction of our environment that has gone on for decades as “man” continues seeking the easiest, fastest, cheapest route to personal comfort and pleasure. The tons of plastics in all forms, which are not biodegradable, we toss into our trashcans daily are harming the environment which in turn effects the air we breathe and the ground water which works its way into our wells and drinking water. The pollution we humans cause will eventually do us in; not in our generation but the generations of our children, grandchildren, great-grandchildren, and on and on.

    As for citing movies as an example of earth’s future, I suggest; “Soylent Green”.

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