Wednesday, 10 February 2010

We Only Have Fourteen Hours to Save the Earth

One simply knows that the global warming theory really is in a state of terminal crisis when even the Guardian, yes, the Guardian starts to raise doubts. The paper ran a series of articles last week, some of them very good, raising a number of pertinent questions.

On Saturday Simon Hoggart, himself an AGW sceptic, highlighted the very thing that concerns me most. It’s simply this: if the science is so convincing why are the warmists becoming increasingly hysterical when faced with rational questions and objections? Why does someone like Ed Miliband, the Secretary for the Environment, need to launch his own campaign of personal invective simply because there are people who take a contrary view to the accepted orthodoxy?

Orthodoxy, that’s the key word, don’t you agree? Global warming has become a new religion, as Hoggart suggested. It’s part of that pessimism that has accompanied our species almost since the beginning of time, codified in religions like Christianity. There are precious few now who believe in Doomsday, in the Second Coming and the Last Judgement. So, no more ‘the end is nigh: repent!’ Instead we have ‘global warming is happening: repent!'

Dismal Gordon Brown, with little Miliband in tow, went to Copenhagen last year along with Super Obama, urging the message of repentance on the world. But they come from a Christian tradition, a tradition of pessimism and guilt. The Chinese do not and therefore had not the least intention of repenting, no matter how many hallelujahs were shouted at them. If we were back in Europe of the late Middle Ages the Chinese delegates would be facing a charge of heresy, with the cleansing fires beyond, a literal warming after the Auto de Fe.

We deniers, and I am most assuredly a denier, not a sceptic, have been placed on the same moral and intellectual level as those who would question the Holocaust. It does not matter; for the more people like Millipede shout and scream, the more bogus ‘science’ is produced, the deeper my conviction becomes. And the deniers, sceptics and doubters are growing by the day, as we know from a recent opinion survey.

The wonderful thing is that it was ordinary people, bloggers by the dozen, the global warming guerrillas, as Matt Ridley describes them in the Spectator, who exposed the greatest intellectual and political fraud of the modern age. The internet has become in this regard a true democracy, a little like the demos of ancient Greece. In pre-internet days the orthodoxy would have been swallowed whole, peddled by the BBC and sycophantic journalists; peddled by ‘scientists’ on fat research grants. Contrary voices would have been lost in the wilderness, confined to obscure journals, only ever read by a tiny minority.

I remember seeing Flash Gordon when I was little in which Dale Arden turns to the hero, saying, “Flash, I love you! But we only have fourteen hours to save the earth” It obviously stuck in the back of my mind, because it immediately leapt out when I heard the warmists say, in their alarmist and hysterical fashion, that there were only fifty days to save the world! Yes, they are ludicrous. I think this is what will kill them in the end – laughter. :-))


  1. I saw this blog on MyT earlier in the day Ana. Not wishing (or currently registered) to post there, it was the inspiration for a post on my own blog, AGW having been a pet subject for quite a while. Yep, I'm a warmist, shock horror.

    Do you not accept the reality of the greenhouse gas effect? Or do you have, if you'll forgive my saying, a Goldilocks view of the GG effect, believing the Earth's current temperature is about right, not too hot, not too cold, and that nothing that man does, like burning fossil fuels, can alter it?

  2. Colin, I would never argue science with you for the simple reason that you are so much more qualified than I. But this issue is not about science – it’s about politics. I think there has been so much manipulation of data for political reasons. Do you know Ibsen’s play Enemy of the People? If so you will remember the hostility the doctor was faced with when it tried to point out a simple truth, a truth his community did not want to hear. Did you read the comments also on my T? I do not deny that the climate is changing; it has changed repeatedly throughout history. What I do question, and will continue to question, is the extent to which we as a species are responsible. As always the key question is Cui bono? More taxes, more government, more restrictions on liberty, more fat research grants. Look for the politics, Colin, always look for the politics. :-)

  3. It's funny you should mention Ibsen's "Enemy of the People", Ana. I was thinking about it just the other day, when deciding what to accept and what to reject from my 'pre-moderation' inbox. There is now real palpable anger at anyone who dares to espouse the scientifc case for AGW - they are seen part of the wicked conspiracy. On MyT I was accused by he I call Goebbels of having taken a bribe to adopt a warmist line!

    Forgive my saying, but scientists - and that would include retired ones - cannot "look for the poltics' when forming their judgement, but they may well "look for the politics" if having arrived at the "wrong" answer they subsequently get a rough ride. One imagines that anyone espousing Darwinism in the 19th century would have been given a similar rough ride if working in, say, a traditional profession, or dealing with conservatives, churchgoers etc...

  4. Like Ana the science is well over my head, but the politics of it all just irks me. So these are just some impressions I get.

    'The West' has moved most points of production east to save costs, and then try to charge them the privilege for doing so with the imposition of some sort of international green tax. If western countries want environmentally friendly products the government should re-establish a manufacturing industry in the UK with that aim in my mind rather than trying to stifle the growth of others. The west is just trying to keep the current order of things.

    And do green taxes even work? It won't force companies to change their practises, it'll just make pollution a privilege if you can pay for it. Giving tax cuts to companies investing in new technologies would make more sense. An insentive rather than a punishment. But it's a massive revenue source for governments and businesses who support it (cynically imo) trade on it. The public being drawn to support the corperations who are seen to care, and quite happy to pay the extra costs (as green taxes no doubt are paid for through the consumer).

    Some Christians take the view that without religion there wouldn't be any morals, and without being God-fearing people will have no problem committing rape and murder etc. I get the impression some think that without man-made global warming people wouldn't need a reason to be environmentally friendly, and so the politics of scare-mongering is important for the eco-warriors, and puritanical control freaks who tend to be drawn to positions of power. It'd be nice if they could promote cleaner standards of living without a mass global coercion..... or need for world government even.

    For me it's just an excuse for the state to intefere, with a condescending raison d'etre that they're forced to as a result of many peoples innate stupidity (them always the exception). Another excuse to infringe on personal liberty.

  5. I'm quite prepared to believe that global warming is happening and that our activities might be making a contribution to it. Whether or not that will lead to the disasters being forecast is another question. But what is beyond question is that many of the gestures being made,particularly by politicians (of all parties) are generating more heat than thermal insulation.

    There is currently a plan to construct a gigantic wind farm on open mountain near where I live. Not in my (or anyone's) back yard. But to do this they will have to dig up lots of peat (it's currently more or less a roadless area) and thereby release carbon into the atmosphere. They also want to take over some Forestry Commission land for access (so less trees). I can't imagine that the energy investment in developing that site - and spoiling a rare wild habitat in the process - will be recouped for many years to come, if ever. But politicians will be able to tick green boxes. The development company will make money on what would - without subsidy - not have been an economically viable project. And tons of steel, concrete and tarmac will have poured into a wild empty landscape probably increasing water run-off into the rivers - including the Severn -which source there and are liable to flooding downstream.

    If Global Warming is the problem that it is being claimed it is, then they'll have to do better than this to convince me that they have a solution to it.

  6. It’s interesting how different our perspectives are on this, Colin. It seems to me that all of the big battalions are on your side of the argument; governments, funding institutions and the academic establishment as a whole, a powerful coalition of forces. It’s just that on this issue My T is the wrong forum, for the simple reason that there are people- as you are obviously all too aware- who shoot first and never ask questions later. :-))

    What I find alarming is the conduct of the scientific community, shouting down ‘heretics’ and behaving in the fashion of those in the University of East Anglia, wholly disreputable to the point of being thuggish. Now the inquiry into the matter-to be held in secret- has already lost one member who clearly had made up his mind in advance. Do I trust the rest? No, I don’t. Just imagine, Colin, if Galileo and Newton had behaved in the clubbish and hysterical fashion of so many modern scientists. Remember what I wrote about Lysenko Science? If scientists do not do politics, well, they should. It’s often not the data that’s important; it’s the use that’s made of it.

    Jimmy, I’m in complete agreement. What more needs to be said?

    Yes, indeed, Greg; thanks.

  7. "Now the inquiry into the matter-to be held in secret- has already lost one member who clearly had made up his mind in advance."

    It's Dr. Philip Campbell - the Editor-in-Chief of Nature journal who's stepped down, Ana. Unfortunately, he'd already given a view on the leaked emails to the Chinese press - saying he felt the emails did not point necessarily to wrongdoing. It remains to be seen whether he was right there or not. Hopefully the inquiries will be able to get to the truth.

    But is it not a good thing that he's stepped down? Does that not scotch any idea of a new conspiracy to whitewash the UEA researchers? Unless, that is, you think he was deliberately and cynically chosen in the first place for having "soft" views, and had only resigned through having his objectivity called into question.

    I'd find it hard to believe that a Nature Editor was part of a warmist conspiracy. What's in it for him, or his journal? Nature's reputation depends on it being seen as fearlessly independent and neutral on all issues, especially the highly controversial ones.

    I too am minded to think that the emails prove nothing, but that does not make me partisan. Now they are in the public domain, an impartial enquiry is necessary to determine if data have indeed been doctored. I also think the police should be brought in to determine who leaked private emails. The AGW camp may not be whiter than white, but their sins of omission or commision are as nothing compared with those of the powerful interests now lined up against them, for whom money is no object - and who are determined to kill Kyoto, Cop 15, and any kind of green taxes - by fair means or foul, increasingly the latter. With them the gloves are off, and the knuckledusters on.

  8. Because he was fond out, Colin? He joined this inquiry, supposedly an objective, dare I say, scientific search for the truth, already having judged the issues. Why is it being held in in camera? It does not inspire a lot of confidence. The truth, yes; what an elusive concept that is sometimes. But, we shall see.

  9. Campbell's explanation, which seems a reasonable one to me, is that he's been quoted on what he said in the immediate aftermath of the initial media reports of the contents of the leaked emails. That would have been before he was invited to sit on a committee of inquiry, or indeed, any talk about inquiries.

    He was surely doing what million of others were doing at the time - deciding if the emails were just macho shop talk, or were evidence of something more sinister.

    Given that climate researchers have been harried and denigrated for 10 years or more - look at the abominable treatment handed out to Michael Mann over the 'hockey stick' - I was not in the least bit surprised to hear the UEA folk betraying a siege mentality that could be mistaken for a conspiracy to doctor or suppress data.

    It's my gut feeling that future history books will tell a very different story about "Climategate" from the one we are reading here. There will be scant reference to data-doctoring. In its place will be a stark reminder of how the new century began with a return of what is beginning to look increasingly like a book-burning mentality... That comment is not addressed to you personally, needless to say, Ana. It's the MO of the AGW-denialists who sing from the same orchestrated hymn sheet that now bothers me. It puts one in mind of the bully-boy tactics adopted by the NRA-backed gun lobby - and clearly emanates from the same part of the world, with additional backers in Russia, Saudi Arabia and other nations with big stakes in fossil fuels, and preserving "business as usual".

  10. Yes, Colin, but given the harm that this story has done to the whole AGW theory one would have thought that the inquiry should have been above all suspicion of posible bias. Nothing, so far as I am concerned excuses the conduct and the thiggish language used by the East Anglia people. Scientists should not have a 'siege mentality', no matter how much pressure they are under.

    Above all, Colin, I'm an empiricist, not an idealogue. I draw conclusions on the basis of experience, raw information and perception. AGW was being sold not as science but as religion, as a new faith; alternative arguments are treated as heresy.

    You are right about history, it will decide in time who was right and who was wrong. Believe me, if my instincts are proved to be wrong I will freely admit my fault. :-)

  11. Colin, that links not working. I've had a busy weekend, so I'm a bit behind with the news. I did, however, manage to catch a story about Jones saying that global warming stopped five years ago, though I don't have all the details. I also heard that another member of the 'independent' inquiry has resigned or is resigning. It's turning into a farce.

  12. Sorry about that, Ana. My html is a bit rusty. You could try C&Ping this into your address bar.I shall leave you and others to draw their own conclusions re this man's integrity.

  13. Yes, Colin, that works! The whole business gets worse, don't you think? The science has been corrupted by politics, big politics and little politics, as well as incompetence.

  14. Ana, great article. NOW, I don't know much, I'm not some great scientist or anything but the 'Warmist', if I'm right, believe that the planet will continue to heat until we all burn up or something along those lines. I just have a question to ask. If it all gets hotter and hotter - wouldn't there be an increase of volcanic activity as the tectonic plates heat and rupture, and in turn would this not bring on an ice-age? I think the Earth has been around for a few more years than we have been here. So it seems to me that it can still take care of itself. Personally I think they are feeding us a lot of guff. But like I said, I'm not a scientist, or a 'politician'.

  15. With regards to BBC coverage, this post might be worth a look.

    And on an unrelated note, the top post here.

  16. Thanks, Duke. :-)

    Yes, I would have thought volcanic activity would have increased too, but like you I am no scientist. Perhaps Colin (sciencebod) can answer this.

    The climate has changed through history, sometimes warm, other times cold. The argument is to what extent does human behaviour influence this process, if at all? A lot of the contemporary data on this issue would seem to me to have been corrupted by issues going beyond detached scientific research

    That's great, Jimmy, thanks. I'll check those out.

  17. Hey: this thread has suddenly acquired a new lease of life with its latest visitors. I envy you your ability to attract comments, Ana, but then I envy you for a lot of things...

    Re Duke's point: Venus is a bad case of runaway global wraming, but the greenhouse gas there is sulphuric acid fumes. CO2 poses less of a threat. The reasons are myriad. For a start there's a rough rule of thumb that was discovered by Arrhenius at the start of the 20th century, proving, theoretically at any rate, that the global warming is not a linear function of CO2 concentration. It's a semi-logarithmic response, which means that the graph of the warming effect flattens off with each doubling of CO2. We are already approaching the near-plateau part of the graph. Rising methane may be more of a threat, since we still have a way to go before we reach the plateau. Against that is the fact that there are natural mechanisms that remove excess methane.

    The main risk now comes from knock-on effects aka positive feedback loops - a degree or two rise in temperature causing more Arctic ice to melt, an since less sunlight is reflected by sea than white ice, greater heat absorbed, and then fresh water run iff into the oceans altering salinity, and with it ocean currents like the Gulf Stream etc. That could paradoxically cause cooling in Britain, but extreme temperatures elsewhere.

    It's a big, big subject, and I've only a smattering of it so far. But the little I do know makes me concerned - very concerned. Not alarmist - just concerned - and increasingly irritated by the antics of ever-more rampant denialist lobby that is now attempting to demolish even the most basic science. I blogged on that just yesterday. Self-promotion alert!

    Throwing out the GE (greenhouse effect) baby with AGW bath water

  18. Thanks, Colin; I really appreciate your input. There is so much politics bound up in this now that I begin to wonder if we will ever get to the simple truth. I have to rush now but I'll come and read your piece this evening.

  19. I appreciate your courage Anastasia!
    I've had doubts similar to yours for a long while, especially due to the extreme claims constantly being made. It is indeed a religion! What I do know is that from an aeroplane, humans look smaller than ants, and cities look like big ant hills. And I wonder, can these tiny creatures with their little ant hills really make such a difference to this huge atmosphere?
    I have learnt never to talk of this topic in public, because the proponents become self-righteous, angry and very very aggressive (and condescending), if one merely shows an ounce of doubt.

  20. OC, I never lack courage when it comes to flying in the face of fashion and orthodoxy. :-)