I have just been reading a Reuter’s report from India, about the suffering endured by poor, honest, hard-working climate scientists, as they seek to warn a careless world of looming climate disaster, only to be attacked, threatened and vilified by the “climate deniers”. My heart bleeds.
Leave aside for a moment the fact that “climate deniers” do not exist - or if they do, I’ve yet to meet one. It is a self-evident fact that the earth’s climate has changed, often rapidly and substantially, over geological time. It is well-known that we have had a series of warm and cool cycles over the last two thousand years. We have all seen the paintings of Ice Fairs on the frozen Thames in the seventeenth century, when oxen were roasted on great fires on the ice. Anyone who denies the clear fact that the climate changes is either ignorant or mad.
There is of course a legitimate debate to be had about why the climate changes. Until recent years, everyone understood that climate was multifactorial, and it was clear that the primary drivers were solar activity and astronomical cycles. It is only in recent years that the good and the great have decided we were wrong, and that the only significant cause of climate change is atmospheric CO2 (which is merely a trace gas in the atmosphere, and is not even the most significant greenhouse gas - which is water vapour). They seem to have lost sight of the fact that there is almost zero correlation over time between atmospheric CO2 levels and temperature, or that over geological time CO2 levels have sometimes been well over ten times higher than today. Or that the highest concentrations of atmospheric CO2 occurred during a major Ice Age.
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Two lines from the Reuters report caught my eye. The first was from Michael Mann: “The attacks against climate science represent the most highly coordinated, heavily financed, attack against science that we have ever witnessed”. Michael Mann was, of course, the progenitor of the infamous “Hockey Stick” graph, one of the most discredited artefacts in the history of science. He is the man who resisted scrutiny of his data and his methods, and fought tooth and nail against releasing details of his work, which might have enabled others to check it. He was the man who (in effect) relied on a few rather atypical trees in California to construct climate scenarios that defied reason. He was the man who grafted together two wholly unrelated data series to support his case, because neither series alone supported his hypothesis. But he failed to make it clear that he had done so. He was also a close associate of those splendid guys at the University of East Anglia, those of the e-mails scandal, who worked so hard to “hide the decline” in late twentieth century data. Then he seems hurt when people challenge his findings.
But “heavily financed”? Reuters mention a Greenpeace report released last month, saying that “ExxonMobil gave nearly $9 million to entities linked to the climate denialist camp between 2005 and 2008”. Wow. $9 million. How does that compare to the literally Billions of dollars that have been poured into the Warmist cause? The research funding for people like Michael Mann, and the UEA’s CRU, from governments and foundations and institutions? The vast market created in trading carbon credits, which is being fraudulently used and abused to generate profits on the back of imaginary trades in a virtual commodity, and which is siphoning off vast sums from developed countries to Russia and China and India and developing countries through the UN’s “Clean Development Mechanism”? What about the millions that Al Gore has personally made through his espousal of the Warmist cause?
Look at the companies (including major oil companies) who are profiting from green hysteria, whether through emissions trading schemes, or by becoming rent seekers in heavily-subsidised green energy programmes. In the UK alone climate mitigation measures put in place by this Labour government (which pray heaven will be gone between my typing these words and publishing the piece) will cost tens of billions of pounds. Look at the businesses and scientists and researchers whose jobs depend on Warmism. Look at the environmental journalists, like the odious Geoffrey Lean at the Daily Telegraph, who depend on Warmism for their pay-cheque - never mind the Climate Change Managers and Global Warming Awareness Officers on every local council, that you pay for through your council tax, and the DEFRA advertising campaigns, and the massive propaganda programmes designed to terrify the children in our schools.
The truth is that climate alarmism has become the most expensive, and the most wasteful, project in the history of the world. It is junk economics built on junk science. It amounts to no more than hot air, yet it looks set to beggar our grandchildren.