A recent exchange with Ruth Davidson MSP, Leader of Scottish Conservatives.
My recent post A critique of Ruth Davidson took issue with comments made by Ms Davidson in a recent newspaper article but was first and foremost a critique of the climate and energy policies of the wider establishment. It identified four particularly glaring policy problems which the establishment inexplicably refuses to face up to and because of this “head in the sand” behaviour concluded that the fairy‑tale of the Emperor’s new clothes is the perfect analogy for the establishment’s blinkered, reality-denying approach to “climate change”. These glaring policy problems are:
- The fact that the renewables technologies chosen to supposedly “tackle climate change” are hopelessly ineffectual.
- The fact that these ineffectual renewables are ruinously expensive.
- The fact that the Paris Climate Agreement is hopelessly ineffectual and unworkable.
- The fact that the UN IPCC’s climate science is seriously flawed.
I emailed the post to Ruth Davidson (Leader of the Scottish Conservatives) and her senior parliamentary colleagues under the subject title The climate change Emperor’s new clothes. Unfortunately her reply was very unsatisfactory as it conceded almost nothing on these four glaring climate change policy problems. For this reason and on grounds of public interest I have posted her email reply online along with my updated commentary, which once again is directed primarily at the wider establishment. Here it is (email addresses deleted).
From: Davidson R (Ruth), MSP Thu 26/04/2018 13:51
To: Douglas S Brodie
Dear Mr Brodie,
RE: The climate change Emperor’s new clothes
Thank you for your email following my recent piece in the Scotsman regarding the importance of Conservatives in tackling climate change.
I recognise that some areas of climate change science need further research, but I do believe that man-made climate change is among a number of serious global challenges we face.
Regardless of one’s views on climate change, decarbonising the UK’s energy supplies will reduce the exposure of our energy prices to movements in international fossil fuel prices.
Scottish Conservatives strongly support a broad and balanced mix of energy sources encompassing wave, tidal, solar, off shore wind and clean coal technologies, together with appropriately sited onshore wind and a continued commitment to nuclear power.
This stands in contrast to the SNP’s obsession with wind power and its refusal to support energy generation from nuclear or non-conventional gas extraction on political grounds.
I welcome that the UK Government is now focusing on helping low-cost, low-carbon technologies stand on their own two feet, rather than encourage dependence on public subsidies, which ultimately drive bills up for consumers across the country.
The future must be about ensuring a comprehensive energy mix which keeps the lights on at a cost that is not prohibitive to families across the country.
Thank you, once again, for taking the time to write to me.
Ruth Davidson Leader of the Scottish Conservatives
MSP for Edinburgh Central. Scottish Parliament
Edinburgh. EH99 1SP
The above reply from Ruth Davidson is very disappointing as it concedes almost nothing on the four glaring policy problems listed in the original critique. Without repeating all the arguments of the original (read it here), the following observations can be made on each problem:
- Ruth Davidson and the Scottish Conservatives are still committed to technically ineffectual renewables like wind (intrusive onshore as well as expensive offshore) and solar (which gives very poor energy return on energy invested especially in a cloudy, high latitude country like Scotland). No acknowledgement was given that these intermittent renewables have to be 100% duplicated by conventional power stations to provide balancing and to take over completely when there is no wind or no sun, nor of the fact that the higher grid priority given to these intermittent renewables erodes the market share of essential conventional power stations to render them commercially unviable, as happened with the prematurely retired Longannet power station and many others. Renewables parasitically undermine the conventional power stations which are essential for their own operation and following these policies would lead us into an energy supply cul‑de‑sac, just as the Westminster Conservatives are currently doing at UK level. The claim that renewables mitigate against rising fossil fuel market prices is disingenuous as many studies have shown that wind power yields only minor net system-wide CO2 emissions savings (only 2.8% according to this study) and therefore only minor savings in fossil fuels. No response was given on their “aspiration” to supply at least 50% of Scottish energy from renewables by 2030 (similar to Labour’s 60% policy, debunked here). I don’t have breakdown figures for Scotland but how on earth could 50% be achieved given that UK wind and solar together supplied just 2.9% of final UK energy consumption in 2016? Do the simple maths – it’s not rocket science. And don’t forget that Scotland is already dependent on England for backup electricity when the wind doesn’t blow.
- Her comment on “helping low-cost, low-carbon technologies stand on their own two feet, rather than encourage dependence on public subsidies” is disingenuous or misinformed. Investment in renewable energy has actually been dropping off the proverbial cliff since government subsidies ended last year for onshore wind and solar power while, for example, the new Beatrice and Hornsea offshore wind farms have guaranteed strike prices of about three times the market price. Each giant Hornsea turbine will need more steel than a battleship yet will still have to be expensively duplicated by conventional power sources to take over when there is not enough wind. Her naïve hopes that more of the same policies will deliver reliable energy at a cost that is “not prohibitive” (some aspiration!) are pure pie in the sky. Before it is too late our politicians should learn from the disastrous experiences of green energy pioneer Germany, described in this interview of a German politician. It reveals that Germany is now paying about €30 billion a year in green taxes yet for several years has not managed to reduce its emissions at all and that the new German energy minister, Angela Merkel’s right-hand man, says that Germany will not be phasing out its coal power, will soon phase out its unaffordable, unsustainable renewables subsidies and that their so‑called “energy transition” is heading for failure. The scales are finally falling from the eyes of the ultra green Germans. Our politicians should also learn from this study which shows that the countries which go overboard the most on renewables like wind and solar end up with the highest electricity prices.
- She completely ducks the hopeless shortcomings and sheer unworkability of the Paris Agreement which mean that all our painful efforts to reduce our relatively tiny UK emissions, vanishingly small in the case of Scotland, are totally pointless and amount to nothing more than political grandstanding and virtue signalling, doubly strange when these supposedly “caring” policies hit the poor the most, at home and abroad. The assertion that our ruinous example will encourage other countries to follow suit is strictly for the birds. Our politicians are blind to the fact that global wind and solar supply a trivial share of global energy demand.
- The fourth problem (the fact that the UN IPCC’s climate science is seriously flawed) is the most important as it is the driver of all our pointless, self‑harming attempts to supposedly “tackle” alleged man‑made global warming. Strangely, this glaring problem is the one politicians seem most reluctant to explore or question because if only alleged man‑made global warming could be deemed a non‑problem, or even just a minor, non-urgent problem, it would let them “off the hook” of all their infeasible, ruinously expensive decarbonisation efforts and allow them to adopt a more realistic and much cheaper climate policy of adaption as and when necessary. Yet our politicians seem positively giddy to submit themselves (and the electorate) to the futile self-harm of their ineffectual attempts to decarbonise, evidently more concerned to stick up for the promoters of the climate change scare (fellow-politicians) than they are to look after the interests of their own hard-pressed constituents. If only our politicians were a bit more scientifically literate and a bit less gullible and politically correct they could see from easily accessible facts that there is no need to get in a panic over all the propaganda (mostly generated by other politicians and “follow the money” troughers) about alleged dangerous man‑made global warming. The following paragraphs give a simpler, more graphic explanation than the original critique.
In her recent Scotsman article Ruth Davidson claimed that the establishment’s climate science was “unequivocal”. However in her above email reply she makes a tentative admission that climate science is perhaps not fully settled and that more research is needed “in some areas” although she gave no elaboration. This is a hopelessly wishy-washy position and it shows that she and the Scottish Conservatives are either very poorly informed or they are deliberately turning a blind eye to the shockingly obvious serious flaws in the UN IPCC’s climate science, illustrated by this graph of actual global temperatures versus the UN IPCC’s grossly inflated, “off the scale” climate model predictions:
The above graph is from the expert testimony of a professor of climatology made to the US senate on the unsatisfactory state of UN IPCC climate science. If the Americans are questioning the basic flaws in this crucial driver of public policy it is surely high time that we did likewise. We need a comprehensive, unpartisan review of our unworkable climate and energy policies.
Ruth Davidson opines that man-made climate change – her way of referring to alleged man‑made global warming – is a “serious global challenge”. I use the word “alleged” to remind politicians that the UN IPCC’s theory of man‑made greenhouse gas (hereafter abbreviated as CO2) global warming has never been validated and is actually not far off being officially falsified by pesky actual observations. Hopefully the following will change her mind on this issue. It’s a real eye-opener, slightly nerdy yet very easy to understand!
The most relevant, uncorrupted, unvarnished global temperature data is given by the UAH satellite record which started in 1979:
According to the UN IPCC, man‑made atmospheric CO2 only started to affect the global climate from around 1950. However global temperatures actually fell over the period from the mid 1940s to the mid 1970s (despite exponentially rising atmospheric CO2) so apart from a few years in the late 1970s the above graph spans the entire era of alleged man‑made global warming. According to the UN IPCC’s computer climate models this alleged man‑made global warming should occur at a slow but steady rate of about 0.2ºC or more per decade.
Now for the sixty-four thousand dollar question: does the above graph of the last 39 years show any discernible trace of any such slow but steady man‑made global warming? A climate alarmist obsessively determined to believe in “climate change” would draw a simplistic end-to-end trend line and huff and puff that it is ridiculous to even ask such a question. However it doesn’t take rocket science to answer the question sensibly and the obvious answer staring us in the face is no, there is no discernible trace of any man‑made global warming. The red line rapid fluctuations between warming and cooling are entirely natural as they map onto the so-called ENSO Multivariate Index (explained below). Global warming of about 0.4ºC did occur during the 1980s and 90s, lifting the planet to a new thermal equilibrium which has more or less endured through ups and downs to the present time, but this was clearly due to the ratcheting effect of a series of strong, sunlight-fuelled, warming El Ninos, notably the 1994‑95 El Nino which was followed by a very weak cooling La Nina then the huge 1998 El Nino which was also followed by a weak La Nina. These ENSO events have been well documented for hundreds of years and have nothing to do with man‑made CO2. Note that the warming rate of the 1998 El Nino spike was about 0.8ºC in less than a year, about forty times the predicted rate of man‑made CO2 warming. The recent global warming which started around 2013 was due initially to the natural so-called Pacific Blob then to the huge and prolonged El Nino of 2014‑16 which has now cooled but which at the time provoked histrionic climate alarmists to bewail “the hottest years ever” as if it was all the fault of man-made CO2 emissions. Incidentally, it is a historical fact that global temperatures of the 1930s (the years of USA mid-west dust bowls) were originally recorded as being hotter than now before the propagandist establishment (exposed by Climategate email) used the surreptitious ploy of retrospectively adjusting them lower to make modern era global warming look worse, as shown by this simple graphic.
On a par with the gross simplifications and other subterfuges of the UN IPCC and its proponents, the above visual analysis may not be very scientific but hey, I’m just playing the role of the little boy in the fairy-tale staring incredulously at the stark naked Emperor. Can it in all honesty be denied? It means that despite all the political hysteria, we have never had any discernible man‑made global warming and therefore that the entire Western establishment (USA now excepted) has been taken in, like the Emperor’s people, by the politically-contrived myth of alleged dangerous man‑made global warming. Contrary to the UN IPCC’s intelligence-insulting pretence that man‑made greenhouse gases (GHG) are the main driver of climate, the obvious, mundane reality of global warming (and global cooling) is that it is overwhelmingly driven by natural solar and oceanic processes such as the El Nino Southern Oscillation (ENSO) which has a fairly random periodicity of just a few years and other oceanic effects such as the Atlantic Multidecadal Oscillation (AMO) which has a longer periodicity of around 60 years. The UN IPCC disregards these effects because its mandate is restricted to the study of “human‑induced” risks to the climate system (how many politicians know that?) although that doesn’t stop them from making the pretence of being the supreme authority on climate science in the round. The AMO was in its cold phase during the cooling period from the mid 1940s to the mid 1970s then warmed up to the present time and is now starting to turn cold again which should last for about the next 30 years. On top of that, solar studies indicate that the sun could be heading into a grand minimum which could usher in 50 years of global cooling. This solar effect is also disregarded by the UN IPCC.
The short term ENSO effect reflects the longer term AMO effect. It shows a preponderance of cooling La Ninas during the global cooling period from the mid 1940s to the mid 1970s then a preponderance of warming El Ninos during the 1980s and 90s then an approximate balance from the turn of the century to about 2014, the temperature flatlining period of the so-called “pause”. All of this is clearly shown in the ENSO Multivariate Index, red for El Nino and blue for La Nina:
While climate boffins argue amongst themselves about arcane technicalities like Equilibrium Climate Sensitivity, the simple analysis above cuts through all the fog to reach a consensus-busting conclusion that is very hard to dismiss. Who would bet against a preponderance of naturally cooling La Ninas over the next 30 years?
The above arguments are not new. Climate and energy realists have been making these arguments to politicians for more than a decade but we have been routinely fobbed off and ignored, as in Ruth Davidson’s reply above. The Western establishment has been living in a groupthink bubble of climate and energy fantasy and self-delusion for so long that they are blind to inconvenient, delusion-demolishing facts such as those spelled out above which are becoming more and more undeniable with each passing year. Our politicians don’t do due diligence and when presented with contrarian evidence they mentally let it wash right over them, like water off a duck’s back as Ruth Davidson has just demonstrated. It’s called cognitive dissonance. For the sake of the hard-pressed electorate they all need to wake up and smell the coffee before their nonsensical policies literally bring the economy to a grinding halt.
As for every other political party, the climate and energy policies of the Scottish Conservatives are a total muddle. When pressed, Ruth Davidson half-heartedly concedes that climate science is not “unequivocal” yet despite the contrary evidence, spelled out in simple pictures above, still insists that indiscernible man‑made global warming is a “serious global challenge”. She’s got her pet virtue signalling campaign and she’s sticking to it, come what may. Their climate change policy papers waffle on about “aspirations” and “transitioning” to a clearly unattainable “low-carbon economy”. Their plans for yet more ineffectual renewables would simply damage the economy further to no useful purpose. Brainwashed by the warmist propaganda of the politicised UN IPCC, they disregard the possibility that we will need a greater supply of cheap (as opposed to “not prohibitively” expensive), more reliable energy in future to cope with global cooling rather than global warming. The Westminster Conservatives are even worse as they are actively damaging the economy and energy infrastructure of the entire UK to no useful purpose and to no achievable end, analysed here. The Labour party is in cloud cuckoo land with their fantasy policy of supplying 60% of UK energy from zero-carbon or renewable sources by 2030, debunked here, and a leading energy analyst says the climate and energy policies of the LibDems would “crater the UK economy”. The SNP are in a league of their own having presided over Scottish fuel poverty reaching 39% of households and Scotland being reduced to dependency on backup electricity from England to keep the lights on when the wind doesn’t blow, a problem that will get much worse when the two Scottish nuclear power stations which they abhor finally close down due to old age with no planned replacements.
Ruth Davidson made a very big, anti-democratic mistake in affiliating with the climate fanatics of the Scottish SNP, LibDems and Greens and the climate propagandist WWF. She confuses the issue by conflating environmentalism with the charade of “tackling climate change”. If she has any sense she will back out of that “Climate Pledge” and hopefully, if she has been persuaded to see the light, repudiate her current stance on “climate change”, leaving the other parties out on an intellectually indefensible limb.
Like every other politician before her, Ruth Davidson has failed to provide a credible response and my assertion stands: the fairy-tale of the Emperor’s new clothes is the perfect analogy for the establishment’s blinkered, reality-denying approach to “climate change”. The electorate remains disenfranchised on this important issue as all our political parties (bar Ukip) are committed to the same ideological, infeasible, pointlessly self-harming policies but unfortunately we can’t vote them all out of office. All that climate realists can do is try to educate and if necessary shame our climate alarmist politicians out of their denial of reality, and maybe deny them our vote.
Hopefully Ruth Davidson and the Scottish Conservatives have learned from this exchange and have perhaps even been persuaded that the climate change Emperor is indeed stark naked. If so, it would be great if they could take that message to their Westminster colleagues and secure a UK‑wide change of policy, starting with the repeal of the Climate Change Act and its unattainable decarbonisation targets. This approach would have widespread voter support as most ordinary people nowadays are sceptical of the politically-contrived global warming scare, as Ruth Davidson may have noted from the online comments under her Scotsman article. It is the minority readers of papers like the climate-obsessed Guardian who make all the mindless noise about “climate change”.
The longer our politicians delay facing up to reality on alleged man‑made climate change the bigger the hole they will have dug for themselves. Hopefully once we are free from the control of the “green energy basket‑case“ EU we will adopt more rational policies.
Douglas S Brodie
Nairn, May 2018