Climate dumb and dumber
Tim Montgomerie has some things to get off his chest on the arrival of Barack Obama in the UK in today’s cover article for The Spectator:
Nobody could describe Donald Trump as lacking in self-confidence, but the billionaire egomaniac is emotional jelly compared with King Barack. Even before he won the Nobel peace prize, Obama was telling America that his elevation to the presidency would be remembered as ‘the moment when the rise of the oceans began to slow’. He doesn’t have Mr Trump’s gold-plated helicopter, private jet, penthouse and yacht. But when it comes to self-reverence and sheer hauteur there is no one to beat him.
Someone who believes his political personality can reverse global warming will have no doubts about his ability to persuade the British people to stay in the European Union.
Sea level is known to have been rising steadily for 20,000 years, since the Last Glacial Maximum. To choose it in 2009 as the metric by which the healing power of the new US President should be measured, with a mere eight years to work his wonders, was, I aver, achingly dumb.
Cut to Judy Curry’s blog nine days ago. She’s delighted that her very own scientific society, the American Geophysical Union, has opted not to refuse further grants and donations from ExxonMobil. Under considerable pressure to take the other, more damning point of view. The catalyst for so much angry activism? A donation of $35,000 last year. Exxon’s turnover in 2015 was $259 billion. The estimated annual size of the ‘global climate change industry’ is $1.5 trillion.
So based on the AGU number the oil giant may not be trying very hard. And if it’s really been part of a 25-year-plus plot to sow doubt in the public mind about self-evident truths of climate, the conspiracy has to be viewed as a colossal failure. $1.5 trillion a year’s worth and counting. And, while we’re at it, the charge that extreme libertarians are at the heart of diabolical opposition to the angels of climate light also needs to face the $1.5tn. If you think this number may be a tad much, given current uncertainties in climate science, including societal impacts, guess what? You’re another right-wing libertarian loser. Let’s make it $3 trillion a year and fast.
My word for what we’re being asked to believe in both cases is ‘moronic’. Not that all those selling such pap are morons. Some are much worse than that. Orwell’s torturer demanding that 2 plus 2 makes 5 doesn’t care about the truth of the assertion, just the humiliation and brokenness of the prisoner. Not what we’d really want our idealistic young people to be imitating.
Words of glimmers of hope
As I was considering re-entry into the world of climate blogging at the end of last month two phrases from popular culture hit me hard within a 24-hour period. It’s taken a while to decode what’s what with these but I think I may now be able to say something vaguely useful.
Steven Spielberg’s film Bridge of Spies is easily my favourite since The Lives of Others around ten years ago. That romantic East German connection. Near the start of the film alleged Russian spy Rudolf Abel meets his US lawyer for the first time, who we’ll call Tom Hanks. Hanks explains that everyone else apart from him wants to see Abel sent to the electric chair. His new client takes all this in calmly, leading to a major motif for the film being introduced:
Hanks: You don’t seem alarmed.
Abel: Would it help?
Strangely enough this isn’t repeated here with climate alarmists in view but despondent sceptics. Clive James has the number of the other lot’s fear of death skewing things for themselves and humanity. I can’t improve on that. Of course if some of our opponents could achieve Abel’s supreme rationality in the face of highly adverse circumstances (as they see it) all the better. But the more I’ve thought about it it’s the despair of sceptics that the communist antihero is helping me with.
Because behind the moronic we meet every day in climate is something ruthless and inhumane, despite all its pretensions. Something winning to the tune of $1.5 trillion a year yet determined to make illegal even the faintest vestiges of dissent.
Yet Abel’s attitude is the right one. It doesn’t help to be alarmed.
As well as watching one film courtesy of Amazon I was reading their Kindle version of “The Fully Authorised History of I’m Sorry I Haven’t a Clue”. Indian giant Tata feeling the need to give up on the Port Talbot steelworks was the big (and tragic) news of the day. I got to the page introducing Humphrey Lyttelton, in a bio panel, like major Oxbridge comic figures like Cleese, Brooke-Taylor and co before him:
There’s Humph’s political baptism while working at Port Talbot steelworks, making the privileged Eton boy a lifelong ‘romantic socialist’. Then the Second World War butts in …
I’d read that before about Humph but forgotten it was at Port Talbot that his political affections were formed. Stunned, I felt the crying and ongoing need for compassion.
The Left has largely bought into the moronic in climate. But compassion – not least for those without electricity, as well as those losing their livelihoods at a plant in Wales that uses the same amount of power per day as the city of Bristol – is surely a crucial ingredient for restoring climate good sense.
And for realising what’s more important than climate. The story behind my current pinned tweet had such an impact partly because the young Yazidi boy reminded me of my son at that age. He has two sisters who I’m glad to say are thriving with all the blessings of the West. But, whatever some foreign policy leaders say, in their moronic way, this one photo screams that climate isn’t the most important thing. Not even close.
Your referenced news article mockingly refers to President Obama as King Barack; however, I believe that this is an understatement. Most certainly, Obama has completely ignored the Constitution, Congress and the Supreme Court, and he has imposed his will via Executive Orders with impunity, and one might easily compare his presidency to a monarchy. However, the statement: “This was the moment when the rise of the oceans began to slow,…” exposes a sinister subconscious process. I have not seen a transcript published of Obama’s speech with Cameron, but if it was anything like the majority of his other speeches, the most commonly used word in his speeches is the personal pronoun ‘I’. Often it is predicated as ‘I am’. Obama’s statement referring to ‘slowing the rise of the seas’ is akin to the Biblical account of ‘Moses and the parting of the seas’. Remember, it was during the Exodus when Moses encountered Yahweh – ‘I am’ or ‘I am who I am’. IMO, Obama subconsciously compares himself to Yahweh; i.e., he is a megalomaniac. Don’t view this man as moronic. A stupid chap can be dangerous, but the latter pales in comparison to a megalomaniac.
Rest be assured, if Britain opts to stay in the EU, it will be because Obama willed it. And don’t forget for a minute that it was Obama who decreed: “Today, there is no greater threat to our planet than climate change.” To him, this is not a joke.
The name of Humphrey Lyttleton won’t mean much to anyone outside the UK, (or anyone under retirement age inside) though Louis Armstrong once described him as “that cat in England who swings his ass off”. I knew he was a wartime Grenadier Guards Officer, cartoonist, jazz trumpeter and purveyor of outrageously vulgar jokes on BBC radio right up to his death at the age of 86, but not that he once worked at Port Talbot, which is a major steel works which is threatened with closure, having been milked of its valuable carbon credits by its foreign owners.
There’s not much to link him to our main concerns here, except the fact that its difficult to imagine any sentient person of his generation, which knew the real dangers and challenges of war and the political and social upheaval that followed, taking seriously anything as fantastical and pathetically trivial as computer model-based warnings of doom delivered by a consensus of film stars and media-obsessed politicians.
A sample of the kind of lunacy that Humph and his colleagues churned out every week on BBC radio was the joint limerick, where one participant proposed a first line which the others had to complete. This one might easily be adapted for the use of climate scientists.
Humphrey Lyttelton: “If you’re studying Natural Science…”
Willie Rushton: “I suggest that you wear this appliance…”
Graeme Garden: “You strap it on thus…”
Tim Brooke-Taylor: “Then hop on a bus…”
Barry Cryer: “And you’re sure to get plenty of clients.”
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Thank you for the thoughtful post. That the climate alarmists should feel threatened by $35,000 on a bit of positive PR from an “evil” oil company shows how empty their beliefs actually are. If the use of climate modelling was a great advance in understanding real world climate then in the last quarter century there would have been great advances in refinement of the models. After all, not only has there been tens of billions of dollars invested in research in that time, but using Moore’s Law (computing power doubling every 18 months) computing power should have increased by over 65000 times in the period. Yet in the key matrix of the models – the estimate of the long term average temperature increase to a doubling of CO2 equivalent – has not been refined in that time. Indeed, that the confidence range has not been refined since 1979.
Both the increase in computing power (which makes deriving results from complex models much quicker and many times less costly) along with the huge imbalance in funding between maintaining climate alarmism against climate scepticism demonstrates the failure of climate alarmism. To use an analogy of the criminal courts, it is quite straightforward to demonstrate an accused person is guilty when the evidence is overwhelming, despite the fervent denials to the contrary. But, where the evidence is lacking, or even that the weight of evidence points against the accused being guilty, the prosecution has to go a long way to secure a conviction. In that case, a conviction would only be achieved by “perverting the course of justice”.
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Yes, those numbers are remarkable and really expose the idiocy of the anti-Exxon campaign.
And lots more to think about here (eg “Would it help?”, “ruthless and inhumane”).
Thanks for the feedback on my first, imperfect effort on this brilliant blog!
Dave L: I still say that what Obama said was dumb. If you are saying he’s much worse than that then I allowed for that possibility, for him and others, in the final paragraph of the first section. Exactly how good or bad he’s been for the US was not my concern here. The example of climate ‘science’ being yanked out of context in a moronic way was.
Geoff: Thanks for the background on Lyttelton. His most successful number in the UK charts went on to infuence Paul McCartney and Lady Madonna, so it is said.
Manic: Agreed 🙂
Paul: I’ll be coming back to the ridiculousless of the numbers in other posts. This was just one example. But look at how much time the AGU bigwigs felt they had to spend just on this $35k. The haters need to be challenged.
Much to think about in this post. This bit in particular resonated:
It is hard not to sense something sinister in all the machinations that have brought us to this sorry pass around climate and our CO2 emissions. I try to resist it, but it is tempting. So much avoidable suffering and destruction has already been caused by this, and by earlier waves of eco-alarmism such as the DDT + Carson + Ruckelshaus scandal. Perhaps we merely have an evolved propensity to take very seriously any sufficiently emotive cry of alarm, and in some cases get so agitated that we sweep aside all compassion in our urgent rush to respond? But some people seem to thrive on morbid alarmism, or at the very least do not hesitate to take advantage of it for financial or political advantage, or possibly even some kind of warped ego-boost.
The transformation of a gentle, beneficial warming trend associated at least in part with rising CO2 levels, into a tale of horror and despair is quite a remarkable event, and seems well worthy of deep research.
John: for me the sinister is part of the picture but not the whole. Seeing the moronic for what it is, without reacting to it into another kind of extreme, as Donald Trump and his followers seem to me to have done, is the practical skill here. As in many other areas Thomas Sowell is a good example on that. He wrote a while back that the last thing the US needed was two glib egomaniacs in a row! But Trump is *our* glib egomaniac, in that he rejects conventional wisdom on climate. I’d have the compassion and wit of Humphrey Lyttelton any day. 🙂
I’m sorry I haven’t a clue what you’re talking about 😉
My favourite Humphrey Littleton quote was about an interview he gave. The young man said ‘I hear that you’re an orthinologist.’ to which Humph said he should have replied ‘not so much an orthinoogist as a word botcher.’