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The Trouble with Climate Change

Politics / Climate Change May 28, 2014 - 11:23 AM GMT

By: Andrew_McKillop


“There is something odd about the global warming debate – or the climate change debate.....since global warming has for the time being come to a halt”. In a paper with the title “The Trouble with Climate Change” published by the Global Warming Policy Foundation of Benny Peiser, May 2014, the former UK Chancellor Lawson said that the Prince of Wales reports the 'Orthodoxists' of global warming are now in a stew and say “we are headless chickens”. Pan-fried or otherwise!

The data just isn't coming in like it should.

Lawson also said his own “sceptic stance” on the subject of global warming had been a shock to him. He said “I have never in my life experienced the extremes of personal hostility, vituperation and vilification which I – along with other dissenters of course – have received for my views on global warming and global warming policies”. He can of course play po-faced innocent, but his long-term ally and employer – Mrs Margaret Thatcher – was an early peddler of Global Warming Doom. In her day, she was “terribly worried” about the future of Antarctic penguins, but the thousands of young unemployeds her “economic revolution” caused in Britain were totally uninteresting - to her. She defiantly gurgled that they have “No Future”.  She was a hero of her time!

Later on, the media groped and swiveled to Arctic polar bears as their Icon Symbol of GW. They selected their ikon, still uber-obsessionally used today.

The keyword in the “debate” on the subject, or rather the slanging match,  is “dissent”. If you do not believe in GW you are a troublemaking dissenter. You have willfully opposed reason. For example, Lawson cites UK Energy and Climate Change minister, Ed Davey, who says that global warming dissenters are without exception ‘willfully ignorant’.

Not innocently ignorant like an average consumer of political pap voting for Ed Davey, and later regretting their bad choice!

The (Climate) Holocaust Denial
Chief among the chirpy chicks, or in his case a retirement age boiling fowl, Britain's Prince of Wales uses the term ‘climate change deniers’. He deliberately echoes the term ‘Holocaust deniers’.

The heir to the English throne and minister Ed Davey are senior public figures, and have made a point of attacking the most-dangerous “dissenters”, like Lawson. Further down the greasy pole, “deniers” are simply booted out of their jobs or excluded from employment. Other favored tactics of the Orthodoxists are to run 24/7 propaganda – called “views and opinions” - to agitate the public, soften them up, and peddle the most-extreme-possible junkscience about GW.

Unluckily for Lawson, who took his 'sceptic arguments' of a scientific nature to the UK House of Commons Science and Technology Committee, it joined the chorus of global warming orthodoxists. In a very certainly coordinated move, the day that Lawson spoke to the Committee, the BBC aired a well-organised deluge of complaints from Outraged Citizens saying how they lose sleep about penguins (they mean polar bears), the future of renewable energy in Britain, and the troubled future of our Burning Planet.

The BBC published Outraged Citizen one-liners such as “Lawson is a geriatric retired politician and not a climate scientist”. Not like Al Gore or Richard Branson, for example! Other non-scientist GW activists making a lot of noise include a retired Indian railway engineer, Rajendra Pachauri. From the scientific study of railways to climate doom was a Happy Leap for Mr Pachauri.

Alarmism and Propaganda
Lawson found out the simple fact that Global Warming is not a scientific issue. The “basic facts” are totally un-alarming. World sea levels, for example, are rising at about 0.7 millimetres per year which they have been doing for a long time. The issue is not climate change - but climate change alarmism - and the hugely damaging policies that are advocated and applied in some cases.

GW and climate “science” is now the domain of economists, historians, sociologists, psychologists - and above all politicians. The real issue is whether GW is a cause for alarm – and if so, what degree of alarm. The claim that GW is “the greatest threat facing Humanity” is simply mindboggling.

Without the greenhouse gas effect, this planet would have daily temperature variations easily able to rival those of the Moon, over 150 degrees celsius every day. With temperatures below -100 degC the night, we would see if the “climate correct” Low Carbon diesel saloon car would even start- let alone run down to the supermarket to buy the pan-fried chickens.

The planet would be so cold as to be uninhabitable. Lawson does not ask the question but why are we not allowed to hear simple facts like that? Why was Svante Arrhenius (arguably the real 'father of CO2 warming' ) so interested in the works of US astronomer Pierpoint Langley, an early investigator of why it is so cold on the Moon? Why doesn't the BBC tell us that?

Climate Change Diktat
We know that over millennia, the temperature of the Earth has varied a great deal - long before the arrival of fossil fuels. Only concerning the past 1200 years, the so-called Medieval Warm Period made it possible for Europeans to start migrating to North America. During the Little Ice Age that followed the Warm Period, which the IPCC laughably pretends “only concerned Europe”, rivers like the Thames, Spree and Seine frequently froze over, enabling Winter Ice Fairs to be held for weeks on end.

Alarm about climate change of this planet is of course “a natural fear” because it is always teetering on a temperature knife-edge. Any change in either direction would be a major disaster. The fact that non-alarmist but real data shows that global and regional average temperature change is random, occurs in fits and starts with no clear trend when it concerns century-long rates, can feed that alarm – simply because there is no clear easily-identified single cause.

So carbon was the fall guy. The problem is that carbon fuels have been utterly basic to economic progress. China now uses one-half of the world total coal burn. How could it produce those plastic shoes and furniture, as well as machine tools, cellphones, PCs and myriads of other industrial products without cheap coal energy?  India likewise. Fossil fuels supply about 87% of world total energy.

My own study for Australia's FINSIA published in 2009 suggested that firstly capping world total carbon fuels consumption at present levels, then substituting 25% of that with low-carbon and zero-carbon alternatives would require about 12 trillion US dollars of new non-fossil energy investment over 25 years. Eliminating carbon fuels entirely would take well over 100 years to achieve.

Is this at all conceivable when the “carbon = global warming” theory is in no way certain, in no way scientific?

Questioning the Questionable
As the noted climate scientist Professor Judith Curry, chair of the School of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences at the Georgia Institute of Technology recently observed in written testimony to the US Senate: “Anthropogenic global warming is a proposed theory whose basic mechanism is well understood, but whose magnitude is highly uncertain. The growing evidence that climate models are too sensitive to CO2 has implications for the attribution of late-20th-century warming and projections of 21st-century climate”.

GW Orthodoxy has recently been forced to “migrate” to a new theory of abyssal water stocking or storing “missing heat” which (of course) will surge out of the ocean depths later on. One problem is most scientists reckon that it will take thousands of years for this ‘missing heat’ to be released to the surface. The mechanism is at best hypothetical but the IPCC of Rejendra Pachauri soldiers along. Its latest Assessment Report  for example claims that  “the world-wide burden of human ill-health from climate change is relatively small compared with effects of other stressors (but) is not well quantified” – implying anything you want to read into such statements.

Whether it is ebola and dengue fevers, malaria, or even TB there could or might be a GW Doom handle! The IPCC hopes.

Tropical diseases could or might “migrate north”. Large increases in vector-borne
diseases might occur if insect populations (and other vectors) can migrate north.
Stunningly, the IPCC feigns complete ignorance of what really causes health crises and epidemics in the South – poverty. Its only interest is to alarm deciders in the rich world of the North with the threat of “new designer diseases” at home.

The GW Orthodoxy betrays its near-total ignorance of the real world by implying, or very nearly saying that “we are in thrall to the multinational oil and energy companies”, which by a superb irony have often supported and funded the IPCC since its beginnings in 1988. If we extend Big Energy to include nuclear power, the atomic lobby has been rooting for GW since 1988, but without fossil energy and for sure and certain, poverty will never be eliminated in what was called the Third World or the South.

We can repeat that China consumes one-half of the world's total coal burn, today.  Ask the Chinese if coal energy was useful and necessary to them.

The weak-kneed attempts by the IPCC to talk its way around this simple fact
notably focus its claim that GW is “harming world food production”. It implies that the low income developing country's poverty trap will become even worse. The UN FAO however has copiously detailed scientific reports on the effects of rising CO2 levels on major food crop plant growth, yields and annual output, which are far and away from being “all negative”. The FAO also has plenty of data on the costs and tradeoffs of converting food-growing land to biofuels plantations in developing countries. Interestingly enough, it is ocean biomass (phytoplankton and zooplankton) which likely stands to gain the most from “CO2 enrichment”, possibly preventing the blind extinction of several major fish species through greedy human overfishing.

Scientific Standards and Rational Measures
Scientists are human beings and they need funding. They can be frustrated that political activists turn their results into propaganda. They can be in a position of not daring to speak out for fear of losing their jobs and funding.

Possibly in another 10 years, perhaps less, today’s climate science establishment
will rather likely fall apart, and be accused of betraying science itself. Science will revert to the situation it was in during Galileo's time of the Enlightenment, when it achieved the breakthroughs which have benefited us all  - by rejecting the diktat of authority which at that time mainly meant the authority of the church.

Science was sceptic not conformist. That is a scientific tradition.

The IPCC now says, in black and white that “Estimates for the aggregate economic impact of climate change are relatively small. . . relative to the impacts of other drivers”. This could be called the beginnings of honesty!

Scientists have however and to date kept well away from assessing the unequivocally adverse economic impacts of decarbonisation policy. There is no scientific analysis of what impacts are implied by continuing with this policy, compared with the likely economic impacts of GW. The IPCC's latest report treats this subject – in its own evasive way – under the heading of ‘Impacts, Adaptation and Vulnerability’. Nowhere is “adaptation” singled out and offered as the most rational, time tested, and best strategy.

Nowhere does the IPCC say that extreme, or even panic-driven measures including flood defences for major cities, emergency servicing capabilities for major buildings in cities, sea defences, wind defences, drought-contingency measures, ecological restoration and other very high priced, often impossible,  non-adaptive panic response measures may be completely unnecessary. The IPCC will not admit this panic response may not be necessary – and can be costed and compared with the potential economic threat of GW.

The “political establishment” in developed countries for reasons that are far from scientific – political expediency – has continued with the absurd but always implicit, never stated claim that Low Carbon energy can entirely prevent global warming and climate change. It can even prevent bad weather! It can prevent something that is increasingly likely to never happen!

The same applies to all the other possible adverse consequences of global
warming. What will happen if, in the next 15 years there is a marked decrease in global average temperatures, say 0.75 degC, mirroring the same increase through 1980-2000 ? We can suggest this will cause “policy panic” in the western world. No contingency plan exists for this. Massively developed, and in some cases funded and ongoing “climate change mitigation” measures are in operation, today. How can they be unwound?

The (Asinine) Thirst for Catastrophe
The IPCC and other Global Warming Orthodoxists actually say that emerging estimates and forecasts “come close to excluding the possibility of catastrophic outcomes”, which is a highly tortured phrase – implying we have to expect catastrophe. That outcome still exists – in the mind of GW Orthodoxy.

The UK's Lord Stern, notably, states in black and white that “unless (we) assume that (we) may be heading for a CO2-induced planetary catastrophe....a policy of
decarbonisation cannot possibly make sense”.

Obviously this has nothing to do with science and plenty to do with theology, philosophy or politics. Doom-seeking of the asinine sort is in any case a well-worn Monster in the Cupboard for western politics, society and culture, so Lord Stern can give it a whirl and get paid. We however do not have to take any notice. Stern can go back to peddling his other “pet theories” to amuse his political paymasters and befuddle the public. He is surely able to do that!

What we are asked to believe is that a catastrophic outcome which might threaten the continuation of human life on this planet cannot be ruled out however unlikely
it may be. We can add the threat of asteroid impacts and supernova Gamma Ray Bursts, or even a black hole outbreak from the centre of our Galaxy – why not?

But to move on from that to saying it is “incumbent on us” to do what we can, regardless of the cost to prevent this “diluted threat”, is close to madness. The so-called precautionary principle, wantonly exaggerated in the case of Global Warming is a monster of our times - and is the real crisis.

By Andrew McKillop


Former chief policy analyst, Division A Policy, DG XVII Energy, European Commission. Andrew McKillop Biographic Highlights

Co-author 'The Doomsday Machine', Palgrave Macmillan USA, 2012

Andrew McKillop has more than 30 years experience in the energy, economic and finance domains. Trained at London UK’s University College, he has had specially long experience of energy policy, project administration and the development and financing of alternate energy. This included his role of in-house Expert on Policy and Programming at the DG XVII-Energy of the European Commission, Director of Information of the OAPEC technology transfer subsidiary, AREC and researcher for UN agencies including the ILO.

© 2014 Copyright Andrew McKillop - All Rights Reserved Disclaimer: The above is a matter of opinion provided for general information purposes only and is not intended as investment advice. Information and analysis above are derived from sources and utilising methods believed to be reliable, but we cannot accept responsibility for any losses you may incur as a result of this analysis. Individuals should consult with their personal financial advisor.

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