Climatists’ Last Stand?

The Cambridge Climate Lecture Series 2017 kicks off tomorrow, 23 February 2017 at 19:30 with Baroness Bryony Worthington talking about “Climate Change – a race between Physics and Politics.”


Update 24th February 23017:

Here is a video of Baroness Worthington’s lecture. I’ve started transcribing it in the comments

Further lectures in the series are:

2 March 2017: Anthony Hobley, CEO Carbon Tracker Initiative: “2°C Roadmap based on Financial Analysis”

9 March 2017: Professor Kevin Anderson: Deputy Dir. Tyndall Centre for Climate Change: “Paris, climate and surrealism: how numbers reveal an alternate reality”

and16 March 2017: All speakers accompanied by special guest Lord Martin Rees and chaired by Oliver Morton

Sir Martin Rees, Astrologer Royal and ex-head of the Royal Society, explains the thinking behind the series at ClimateNewsNetwork:

It’s very important to get outside our academic bubble, because those who work in academia are in touch with experts among climate scientists, and they are getting very concerned,” says Rees.

We need to ensure that this concern is widely disseminated. Academics themselves cannot determine national policies. We have to make sure these issues are discussed and debated widely, and especially among young people. That’s because, although the short-term effects have already affected some regions, what we worry most about is what will happen in the second half of the century and even after that, when we may cross tipping points and see irreversible changes in the global climate.”

He says it is key to start a political discourse followed by action on global warming at a time when Brexit and other issues are hogging the limelight.

Hopefully the public will help us debate this, firm up our ideas and interact with the political process,” Rees says, “because for politicians the urgent issues tend to be higher on the list and you have to work hard to get them to think about an issue that affects people in 50 years or more.

You have to convince them it is important – indeed, essential – to pay an insurance premium now if we are to remove a potential very serious risk to people in the second half of the century.

We should not listen to the siren voices that say we can avoid doing very much now because there will be advanced technology in 50 years’ time and everyone will be richer … we have to make a start…”

Sir Martin, who gives the human race a 50% probability of surviving into the next century, seems to believe that you can stop bad things from happening by paying an insurance premium. If he doesn’t understand how insurance works, what chance is there of understanding the climate? His calls to “ensure that this concern is widely disseminated” and to “start a political discourse followed by action on global warming” and his hope that “the public will help us debate this” suggest he’s either just dusted off an old speech from the nineties or has been hiding in a time capsule on Mars for the past twenty years.

Eric Worrall at WUWT suggested this series represents “a last stand by the climate community.” We’ll see.

You can watch the lectures free on-line at I’m looking forward to Kevin Anderson on “Paris, climate and surrealism.” Will he come dressed as Salvador Dali accompanied by a polar bear on fire? I do hope so.


  1. “Sir Martin, who gives the human race a 50% probability of surviving into the next century”

    Oh dear!

    It’s ‘worse than we thought™’!

    At least this lunatic reckoned some of us might make it to 2100.

    Antarctica is likely to be the world’s only habitable continent by the end of this century if global warming remains unchecked, the Government’s chief scientist, Professor Sir David King, said last week.


  2. But on the bright side for these poor little climatists, there’s another bandwagon, ready and waiting, onto which they can easily and virtually seamlessly climb. It’s the IPBES (Intergovernmental Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services). And it comes with its very own variants of alarmist must-act-now because doom ‘n gloom and its very own “bible” known as TEEB (The Economics of Ecosystems and Biodiversity). The motto of TEEB’s primary mover and shaker, Pavan Sukhdev: “we cannot manage what we do not measure”.

    Not surprisingly, Lord Stern had his fingers in the formative pies. See: UNEP now pushing nature onto business balance sheets for all the mind-numbingly familiar (recycled) details.

    Furthermore, US election results aside … If they were more perceptive, the climateers might have seen the writing on the death-spiral wall if they’d taken the trouble to look into the much vaunted “Sustainable Development Goals”. There are 17 goals (with 169 “objectives”) – only three of which actually mention “climate change”.

    Needless to say the word-salad & pretty-graph hockey-stick-like opportunities that “Sustainable Development” present seem positively endless. I have very little doubt that the climateers will feel right at home in this new, improved UNEP-generated send-money-now-while-we-carry-on-alarming environment;-)

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Ah but can you model “Sustainable Development Goals”? If so, fine; if not, then we humans will need to be parametrized.


  4. “UNEP-generated send-money-now-while-we-carry-on-alarming environment”.

    Weren’t they remaking the Carry On films? The next one could be “Carry on Alarming”…

    Leonardo di Caprio and Emma Thompson would have to take the leading roles, I assume.

    Liked by 2 people

  5. With Trump’s team now in office – Trump is not going to let some festering Obama climate scandal blow up years into his presidency where he gets the blame – so the ferrets are now down the rabbit hole and it can only be a matter of time before one of them bolts.

    It really is the daftest time possible for anyone to be putting out climate propaganda when it’s only a matter of time before the climatists at NASA and NOAA get taken down.


  6. So the Tyndall Centre now believes that it is necessary to unlock the subconscious mind to understand climate change or is that climate alarmist? Whichever, it seems important that the experts are starting to acknowledge the role of the irrational in their work


  7. I scarce can doubt that future generations, who will I hope be long past tolerating the formulaic alarmism Hilary Ostrov draws our attention to at 6:45, will chuckle and be bemused by what we have been enduring for decades around carbon dioxide.

    It may be too early to hope for a circus ringmaster to introduce these talks, and for criers in the nearby streets with such as ‘Roll-up, roll-up. See the Panickers! The Doomsters! They don’t take showers! They never fly! Watch them graze the land like herbivores! Listen to their soundbites! Marvel at their intellectual leaps and gaps! Thrill to the strains of doom imminent and doom dire!’. And so on.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Mark Hodgson. Perhaps the Carry On films but also Asimov’s I Robot, revamped
    1) A climate science robot may not injure the climate or, through inaction, allow the climate to change by more than 1.5oC.
    2) A climate science robot must obey the orders given it by the IPPC except where such orders would conflict with the First Law.
    3) A climate science robot must protect its own income stream and prestige as long as such protections do not conflict with the First or Second Laws. Third law is very weak and commonly ignored.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. It’s very important to get outside our academic bubble …

    … by holding a Lecture Series.

    He doesn’t have any idea how deep he is in the bubble, does he?


  10. Always living in bubbles,
    Climate bubbles in the air,
    We preach so high,
    Nearly reach the sky,
    Then like our grants,
    They fade and die.
    The pause is always hiding,
    We’ve looked everywhere,
    Always living in bubbles,
    Climate bubbles, do I care?


  11. Baroness Bryony’s talk is now available at

    It’s looking promising. Here is a short extract:

    …so we do have to act prudentially on this planet, which is our only home. And that is quite a weight of responsibility for us as a species. We’re facing something of an evolutionary bottleneck, and there are people in the audience who are far better placed than me to talk about these topics but it is a great weight of responsibility on our generation to act.

    So we inadvertently kick-started this race at the start of the anthropocene era which many place at the middle of the last decade, sorry, at the middle of the last century. This is when we began making fundamental changes to the global atmosphere in earnest, increasing exponentially the rate at which we’re burning fossil fuels and undertaking extensive land use change.

    So we’ve been rapidly stoking the engines of global climatic change ever since and now the risks and impacts arising from that global experiment are increasingly evident. And it’s not surprising. The Law of the Conservation of Energy tells us that in a closed system – and the earth’s atmosphere is a closed system essentially thanks to gravity and our magnetic field – it means that energy is neither created nor destroyed so that essentially we’re busy creating a far more energetic climate for ourselves than we’ve been used to. And so physics in a sense is off and running. The problem is we don’t know quite how fast it’s running, and we don’t ultimùately know where the endpoint will be from this race, though our ability to model the future does give us some indications.


  12. I got the impression that if you talked to her one to one and outlined all the issues with the science and the solutions she’d agree with you but at the end reaffirm her basic warmist dogma. It was like listening to someone agree with you that the person they’re dating/living with/married to is horrible but ‘I love them’. Warmists have gone through denial and anger and have arrived at bargaining. Only depression and acceptance left.


  13. An interesting sequence of thoughts:

    “The problem is we don’t know quite how fast it’s running, and we don’t ultimately know where the endpoint will be from this race, though our ability to model the future does give us some indications”

    So we don’t know how fast it’s running , nor the endpoint but we can still model it. Does anyone else find that funny?

    “we began making fundamental changes to the global atmosphere in earnest, increasing exponentially the rate at which we’re burning fossil fuels and undertaking extensive land use change”

    So our neolithic ancestors had no impact on the world when they began to settle in cities and farm rather than operating as hunter-gatherers? Land use only started to change midway through the 20thc? Is this really what she believes?

    “We’re facing something of an evolutionary bottleneck”

    Whatever does this mean? I would argue that the bottleneck formed when homo sapiens became the only human species but that was rather earlier than Bryony’s time horizon.

    I can see why the surrealists have been invoked. This is thought but it is not rational.

    Liked by 2 people

  14. Man in a barrel.
    Most of it reads like opening lecture talk, to settle the audience down, nor to to be taken entirely at face value.
    I would have recast your last short paragraph as –
    “I can see why the surrealists have been invoked. This is thought, but not as we know it”.


  15. Alan, perhaps I was being unduly attentive to the good Baroness but I have attended many of these events and bitter experience tells me that when the introduction is full of bizarre non sequiturs, question-begging and dubious metaphors, the other speakers are going to have to work very hard to retain my interest. But as an introduction to surrealist climate science, on the other hand, it might prove to be right on the money.

    Liked by 1 person

  16. Thanks for the video, Geoff. Looked at the slightly goofy shambles at the start, and the questions at the end. No time for any more just now, maybe Monday. But what a strong sense of peeking into a bubble. Not a very high-powered one in terms of intellects and information, but a bubble presumably of some importance nevertheless. This is the woman who toiled night and day to wordcraft the Climate Change Act that has caused so much harm since, and has more to do yet since no sign of repeal seems in sight. I find myself wishing she was a bit more impressive. Slightly odd thought maybe, except she is on the winning side and if one is going to lose a fight, it would have been consoling to have lost to someone less feeble.


  17. What harm has the CCA done?

    1. Put the UK economy at a disadvantage to its competitors;

    2. Spawned a very expensive, blinkered and damaging Climate Change Committee, many of whose leading lights make a lot of money out of their role in companies milking climate change propaganda, much of which emanates from said Climate Change Committee;

    3. Increased energy prices, damaging energy-intensive industries and plunging millions into fuel poverty;

    4. Led to the redistribution of wealth, mostly from the poor to the rich;

    5. Encouraged the blighting of our beautiful visual environment with hordes of wind turbines and solar panels, in many cases ripping up peat bogs, filling them with massive concrete foundations, and arguably in some cases increasing CO2 emissions in the process;

    6. Led to such abominations as the Northern Ireland RHI scandal and Drax burning imported wood pellets, all of which have increased CO2 emissions and cost the taxpayer and end-energy users a fortune.

    If I could be bothered to put my brain further into gear so early in the morning no doubt I could come up with a lot more, but that should be enough to be going on with.

    What good has the CCA done?

    Liked by 1 person

  18. Just to add to Mark Hodgson’s list: the Climate Change Act has taken decision making on energy policy out of the hands of elected government (or rational capitalists, if that’s your cup of tea) and put it into the care of the crazed Lord Deben. Just how mad the man is I discussed at length here
    and at


  19. Geoff, your second linked 2013 blogpost discussed Jay Griffiths and her globe-trotting, ayahuasca-fuelled primitivism. I’ve been waiting for an excuse to mention one of the two main organisers of several recent road- and terminal-blocking protests at Heathrow, a Quaker who, in March last year, flew to Costa Rica to take ayahuasca and iboga while her hosts, two American ex-junkies, played the didgeridoo, Tibetan singing bowl and other indigenous instruments (and who, in 2015, urged her chums to fly to the Andes to take a course in sustainability, permaculture, leadership and indigenous collaboration taught by Britons and Americans) but if you think that would be too far off-topic then I won’t.

    Liked by 1 person

  20. Geoff in the comments @ 24 Feb 17 at 12:21 pm quotes Baroness Worthington

    …so we do have to act prudentially on this planet, which is our only home. And that is quite a weight of responsibility for us as a species.

    Like so many of the climate alarmists, she speaks as if for the whole human race. That is for 7500 million people living in nearly 200 countries. If it were the case that a group of competent experts wanted to reduce global greenhouse gas emissions by at least 90% within a few decades then the outreach would be to convince those countries where most of those people reside, and where all the net 40-50% emissions increase since 1990 have occurred. That is in what used to be called the “third world” where 80% of the people live. Instead they say keep in repeating the mantra that Britain (or other developed countries) must take a lead on climate change. Problem is these developing countries are not following. So if they are serious, the alarmists need to come up with country-by-country proposals to meet the global targets. Having done cost allocations for years I could (anonymously, and for appropriate fees), help out with an equitable apportionment of targets. I am sure the UN would provide the appropriate persons to present these targets to country leaders, who would in turn pass the necessary legislation with hardly a murmur. Britain lead the way, with the Miliband brothers and Baroness Bryony Worthington providing the model to follow. Here is elder brother David introducing the White Paper in 2007.

    Liked by 1 person

  21. And homo sapiens is only 1 species. Imagine what could happen if we got the currently identified 400,000 species of beetles to engage, or the 250 species of monkey


  22. Manicbeancounter, if i may beg to offer a slightly different perspective, one of the several misconceptions put out by the consensus brigade is that global warming is, well, global.

    The five top fuel consuming (and CO2 emitting, for those keeping score) countries are China, the U.S., India, Russia and China. They will consume about 60% of the world’s energy in 2040 (and account for a similar percentage of emissions. The second five countries account for about 10%, so it really is the top 5 countries that matter. It really falls to those five countries to take whatever action ends up being necessary.

    Less controversial is the idea that global warming’s impacts are also not global. They will be expressed regionally. Pity they can’t be more specific about that…


  23. THOMASWFULLER2 (27 Feb 17 at 11:18 pm)
    You need to include the European Union and make that a top six, since for purposes of climate negotiations Europe speaks with one voice (and Britain, Germany etc have no say.)
    This has important consequences. For example, the more Britain shows an example in cutting emissions (by closing down its industry and pricing heating out of the reach of the poor, so they die and stop wasting space) the more permitted emissions that leaves for Germany and Poland to go on burning coal.


  24. Tom,
    I think that you meant to include the EU, not China twice. From Climate Interactive’s C-Roads software the estimated split of RCP8.5 (non-policy, high-emissions growth scenario) of the five countries is 60.0% of the global total GHG emissions in 2040. That is 52GtCO2e of 87 forecast, compared with around 55 at the moment. The other 160 countries therefore are forecast to have 35GtCO2e of GHG emissions. For COP21 Paris the UNFCCC produced a graph that showed the difference between all the INDC policy proposals and the emissions pathways to achieve the 1.5C or 2C warming, assuming that a doubling of CO2 (or equivalent GHGs) produces 3C of warming.

    As you can see, global emissions in 2040 for 1.5C need to be around 20GtCO2e, and for 2C need to be about 30. Unless you can find a way for the big 5 to cut emissions by greater than 100%, policy needs to include the other 160 countries, where most of the world’s population live.
    Outside of the big 5 there are some countries that are signatories of 1992 Rio Declaration, most notably Japan, Turkey, Mexico, Canada and Australia. But over 80% of the world’s population live in the non-Annex countries. Late last year I split these down looking at the growth in emissions from 1990 to 2012.

    Of the big 5, only India is likely to have strong emissions growth post 2040. But in many developing parts of the world emissions will likely continue to grow steadily for decades.


  25. THOMAS FULLER @ 27 Feb 17 at 11:18 pm

    I largely agree with the final part of your comment

    Less controversial is the idea that global warming’s impacts are also not global. They will be expressed regionally. Pity they can’t be more specific about that…

    I look at costs. William Nordhaus famously postulated a quadratic cost function with respect to temperature, though currently he uses the power of 2.6. The 2006 Stern review probably used a quartic cost function. As a beancounter I like to know what makes up this global cost function. It should be the damage costs of projected events (e.g. extreme flooding, extreme droughts, hurricanes, rising sea levels, earthquakes etc. etc.), multiplied by frequency and likelihood of occurrence. But thoroughly quantifying the magnitude and likelihood of these risks means that adaptation strategies can be put into place. e.g. If sea level rise is greater than 5mm a year, for a few decades metre high walls for high tides might suffice. If droughts become more frequent, maybe having more globalized trade will suffice. I can still remember the 1970s when a poor English potato harvest meant the price of potatoes went through the roof. Now it is hardly a news item. Problem is, rigorous cost estimation (i.e. being more specific) might reveal that the alarmism is totally overblown.


  26. So far the costs of “climate change” (whatever that is this week) due to extraordinary weather related losses is amazingly close to $0.
    Now governments have learned how to blame failures in infrastructure maintenance, replacement and improvements on “climate change” and are so far getting away with it. I guess the reformers will be the ones who sell the upgrades and deferred maintenance of our infrastructure as “climate change resiliency” or some other bogus sales label. Meanwhile the “climate” is ignoring the consensus completely in a sort of self denial of global proportions.


  27. manic beancounter, listening to that video my impression is that it should be tagged for all history as a great example of how pathologically dangerous people can actually function at a high level by way of belief in utter poppycock.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.