Amazingly two sceptical articles appeared in Sunday Times 24 September 2017
Rod Liddle. The Sunday Times September 24, 2017
CLIMATE BELIEVERS WONT GO COOL ON WARMING, THEY’VE AN INDUSTRY TO SUPPORT
If you find a spare moment this weekend, check out the online biography of Professor Michael Grubb. He is a busy and hitherto (one would hope) important man:
- Professor of climate change policy at University College London.
- Editor-in-chief of something called Climate Policy – hurry, hurry while stocks last.
- Adviser to the energy regulator Ofgem.
- Member of the government’s climate change committee.
- Adviser to the Germans on something to do with climate and to the European parliament’s exciting “progressive economy initiative”.
And ‘more, much more besides.
It’s a wonder Mikey even has time to step outside and see how the weather is looking, so feted has he been on account of his unquestionable knowledge about what is happening to our climate. Unquestionable, because climate change is a “settled science”, and those who question its reality or impact are “deniers”, like those who would deny the Holocaust ever happened.
Early one morning last week, as the dawn chorus began in what has been a colder September than usual, Mikey was roused from his slumbers by his wife, holding the report he’s just written, shrieking in his ear: “Professor Grubb, Professor Grubb, you have to know this: your entire life is a lie. Ha ha hal. All a terrible lie!”
OK, I cannot be entirely certain this happened. I don’t even know if Grubb has a wife. But it should have happened, even if it didn’t.
Last week we learnt from a study co-authored by Grubb in the impeccable and neutral source Nature Geoscience that we have all been taken for a costly ride by the climate change people. The Earth is not heating up anything like they all told us it was. For years they had been telling us we will very soon burn to a crisp, accompanied by the howling of polar bears. Grubb himself suggested in 2015 that we would need to abandon democracy to address the rapid and calamitous rise in the Earth’s temperature. Politicians were dragooned to the cause. Billions were spent in this country alone, subsidising useless wind farms and taxing ordinary people on their energy bills.
People who opposed these strictures – the deniers were called antediluvian and climate change activists demanded that those who challenged their views should not even be allowed to express their opinions.
Only they had the truth. Except, it wasn’t the truth.
So what went wrong? Take a look at Prof Grubb’s CV and you might get an inkling. Science is supposed to be neutral, but it is never so when co-opted for political reasons.
Call it “settled” and it becomes a kind of anti-science, an article of faith deeply resistant to investigation.
Call a university department “climate change” and you immediately sign up to it as-an indisputable fact.
And suddenly a huge and lucrative industry is born, with panels and intergovernmental committees, transnational policy initiatives, world summits and swingeing taxes on the poorest. And the climate change proponents are required to hype up the rhetoric, to provide politicians with suitably scary predictions.
Even after last week’s revelations in Nature Geoscience, the mentalist wing of the climate change lobby was still shrieking – in The Guardian, natch. It will all lead to “the collapse of civilisation”, one daffy woman reported, while a bloke called john “said those who disagreed with him were “elderly white male climate – deniers”.
Ah. John, I am white, male and getting elderly. I don’t deny the climate. I can see it, doing its stuff, outside my window.
And as a layman I would guess that we have probably contributed to the warming of the planet. How much? I don’t know – and nor do you, for that matter. You haven’t a clue. It’s just an article of faith.
And, as Karl Popper might tell you, that ain’t science.
Science is supposed to be neutral. It never is when co-opted for political reasons
Nigel Hawkes The Sunday Times September 24, 2017
WE’RE NOT AS DOOMED AS WE WERE LED TO THINK
Climate scientists have admitted their estimates of global warming were wrong. So can we all chill out now? Not quite.
As egg-on-face moments go, it was a double-yolker. Last week a group of climate scientists published a paper that admitted the estimates of global warming used for years to torture the world’s conscience and justify massive spending on non-carbon energy Sources were, er, wrong.
Being wrong is not a criminal offence, especially in science, where in the long run almost everything turns out to be wrong, but the global warmers have adopted such a high-and-mighty tone to anyone who questions them that for sceptics this was pure joy.
The world may still be doomed, but it is not quite as doomed as the climatologists have repeatedly told us.
The admission was overdue acknowledgment of something that has been obvious for years. Despite the climate models predicting rapidly rising temperatures, between 1998 and 2013 temperatures barely rose at all. This was a pause, not a change in the underlying trend, the scientists and the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change insisted. Global warming was still going on, even when it wasn’t.
The pause hadn’t been predicted by the computer models, but admitting that wasn’t really an option. Anxiety needed to be ramped up in order to achieve international agreement on cutting carbon emissions. That was achieved ~ at the cost of browbeating doubters and the Paris agreement struck in 2016 committed signatories to limit warming to 2°C above pre-industrial levels.
It couldn’t actually be done, the scientists said. To keep warming below 1.5°C, total emissions from 2015 onwards could not amount to more than 70 ~ gigatonnes of carbon – seven years’ worth at current emission rates.
Last week’s paper in Nature Geoscience recalculates that as 200 gigatonnes, or 240 gigatonnes if great efforts are also made to reduce other global warming gases such as nitrous oxide and methane.
So instead of seven years, we’ve got 20, or maybe 24. The task has gone from impossible to very difficult, said one of the paper’s authors, Joeri Rogelj.
Another author, Myles Allan of Oxford, told The Times: “We haven’t seen that rapid acceleration in warming after 2000 that we see in the models. We haven’t seen that in the observations.”
Allan’s defence of the models, however, was peculiar. He said that they had been assembled a decade ago, so it wasn’t surprising they had all deviated from reality. Yet these are the very same models used to make predictions for 50 or 100 years ahead which have saddled taxpayers with huge costs to pay -for alternative energy sources. Anybody who doubted their predictive power was labelled an unscientific dolt, a “climate denier” fit to be listed with the Flat Earthers.
As long as there have been computer models, there have been inaccurate forecasts. In the early 1970s the Club of Rome published The Limits to Growth, an extrapolation of population, pollution and resource depletion that concluded that the world was heading for imminent catastrophe. It sold more than 16m copies. I keep one on my shelves to remind me of the folly of Malthusian predictions.
Today the world is richer, cleaner and better fed than it was in 1972, while the club of Rome is forgotten. It still exits headquartered in Winterthur Switzerland, which must be nice.
The global-warming models are far more sophisticated than the Limits to Growth model, but that isn’t entirely a good thing, there is a paradox- in modelling: the more sophisticated the models become, the greater the uncertainty of the effects they predict.
As more parameters are added to the models – the rate at which ice falls through clouds, for example – the more uncertainties are added.
To reach its conclusions in the new paper, the team used actual temperatures today, which are 0.3°C lower than the models said they would be. That provides more headroom for carbon emissions before the 1.5°C target is reached. While the models’ error may seem small, it has big implications for future policy.
For one thing, it makes President Donald Trump’s rejection of the Paris agreement far less worrying. The US emits about 1.5 gigatonnes of carbon a year. Supposing Trump serves only a single term and in that time America reduces mitigation efforts, the effect is going to be insignificant when compared with the 200 gigatonnes the team estimates the world can afford to emit.
However, what the climate-change campaigners fear is that the acknowledgment of error will take the pressure off. Two of them, Lord Stern and Lord Krebs, wrote to The Times to try to head this off.
They argue that the errors do not mean that climate change isn’t happening. There were always uncertainties about its pace and magnitude, Krebs says – though you might not have thought so from the language often used and the efforts to deny airtime to those with doubts, such as Lord Lawson, the former chancellor.
Warming resumed in 2014. The climate warmers aren’t wrong, though a touch more humility would be appreciated.