Climate Change (Again!)
I am moved to post again on this hoary topic not because it is in the news – but because it is not! For sure, the usual suspects carry on as if the science were ‘settled’. The serious scientists, eg Tim Ball and Richard Lindzen can be found on YouTube with totally convincing arguments as to why the ‘bedwetters’ have no case.
I am still bewildered about the way the battle lines are drawn. With few exceptions, the sceptics are right-leaning or libertarian in outlook, whereas the ‘true believers’ are passionate in their conviction that there is scarcely any arena in which government should not ‘do good’ whenever and wherever it can.
The left has little interest in cost/benefit analysis. They are primarily concerned about feeling good about themselves. One of the reasons Margaret Thatcher was such a breath of radical fresh air was that she brought a housewife’s perspective to Westminster politics. She had an instinct for affordability. It is astonishing that Gordon Brown, brought up in a Scottish manse, was so profligate with taxpayers’ cash.
I shall briefly rehearse the reasons I have for opposing the climate alarmists. This is not an exhaustive list. I am not going into the technical reasons – I am not technical myself. Nevertheless, I am certain that my list is comprehensive enough to persuade any open-minded person to be sceptical of the alarmist position.
· Climate changes. It always has and always will. These eight words are commonplace among the sceptics – almost embarrassingly so.
We are (and it is universally agreed) in an interglacial period in Earth’s History, thanks be to God. We are emerging from the Little Ice Age of the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries – lucky us! Australia’s Bob Carter demonstrates conclusively that there is absolutely nothing out of the ordinary about our current situation. The Roman Period was warmer than what we are going through, likewise the Medieval Warm Period. The CO2 content of the atmosphere has been both higher and lower than it is at present. In any case, it is clearly the fact that, insofar as there is any correlation between CO2 and temperature, higher temperatures precede high levels of carbon dioxide. Al Gore’s graphs made this plain. QED – already.
· The link between carbon dioxide and warm temperatures is extremely contentious (see above). CO2 is undoubtedly a ‘greenhouse’ gas. But nobody denies that water vapour accounts for 95% of the greenhouse effect. There are billions of tons of it in the atmosphere, which is what you would expect of a planet about 70% of whose surface is covered in water constantly warmed by the Sun. There is no doubt that we have substantially increased the CO2 in the atmosphere. But, and it is a very big ‘but’, most of the increase in temperature over the last century or so occurred before the massive increase in consumption of ‘fossil fuels’ after WWII. I put quotes around ‘fossil fuels’ because there is some evidence that hydrocarbons (which are detectable in comets) do not exist as a result of the decomposition of pre-historic plants and animals.
· Is all warming a bad thing? Maybe we have contributed marginally to warming of the planet. The ‘urban heat island effect’ is well attested. The panic mongers told us in the 70s that we were headed for global cooling. Deny it if you can: human beings tend to do better in warm climes than in the fridge. Many more people die as a result of bitterly cold temperatures than in warm periods or warm regions. Do we go to Greenland or the Bahamas for our holidays? The much maligned Middle Ages (slandered as the ‘dark ages’) were the period in which we built hundreds of glorious cathedrals.
During this period the monasteries flourished; they advanced technology, medicine, education and philanthropy to a degree never seen before. The Middle Ages were warm. Food production was cheaper and more efficient. I like warm.
· Are the proposed solutions likely to have their desired effect? Is shutting down our industrial society a smart move? Is denying the third world the benefits of development just? The most optimistic alarmists make extravagant claims about cuts in CO2. By their own lights, savage cuts to CO2 emissions will have next to no effect on temperature. Imagine yourself on a panel. An audience member asks you this: If we (accepting the UN’s assertions, predictions etc) enact swingeing legislation, how soon and by how many degrees will global temperatures return to what you imagine is the ideal? Puleez.
Bjorn Lomborg, a professional statistician and sometime environmentalist, calculates that on the basis of IPCC figures warming will be delayed (by the end of the century) by about 37 hours, if we implement the suicidal policies recommended by the alarmists.
· Finally, some non-technical facts: CO2 constitutes 0.04% of the Earth’s atmosphere and human beings are responsible for 3% of it. Termites and volcanoes and a plethora of other sources make up the other 97%. The alarmists don’t shout these figures from the rooftops. Of course not. They make the alarmists’ case simply incredible. Without CO2 plants would not be able to photosynthesise. Without CO2 we would be in big trouble.