Climate sceptics, feast your eyes on two brilliant and appropriately passionate articles in best-selling UK tabloids this morning:
- Now that’s an inconvenient truth: Report shows the world isn’t as warm as the green doom-mongers warned. So will energy bills come down? Fat chance in the Daily Mail by Labour MP Graham Stringer
- How scientists got their global warming sums wrong — and created a £1TRILLION-a-year green industry that bullied experts who dared to question the figures in The Sun by James Delingpole
If you were to push me I’d say that Stringer’s is slightly better, because of the way it ends. More of that shortly. For now, I’d like to acknowledge The Independent yesterday as the inspiration behind my own title. Their headline, on the very same paper by Myles Allen and co in Nature Geoscience, was:
I had a gentle mock of that wording yesterday:
Sceptic David Davies was rather more forthright:
No “may be” about it for the MP. Matt Ridley likewise felt no need for equivocation in drawing attention to the original report in The Times the day before:
As for me, though, I want to suggest the whole game may be changed. Depending on two countervailing forces.
The glass may be half full
Far be it from me to pretend to be the judge of the very interesting debate on CliScep recently between two titans of our own blogspace, Paul ‘crazy optimist’ Matthews and Geoff ‘slough of despond’ Chambers. Except to say that Paul was right and Geoff was wrong.
I was going to do a post a couple of weeks ago called The Hooray Henrys of Hurricane Harvey in which the aforementioned gentle mockery would again have been deployed against the silly billys of kneejerk alarmism. But the glass half full was strongly present for me throughout that time (and indeed in the last minute, unpredicted changes-for-the-better to Irma). Not least because the New York Times now has a brilliant, articulate climate sceptic to explain the true situation. Bret Stephens’ Hurricanes, Climate and the Capitalist Offset on 31st August is good by any measure but what makes it so significant is where it was posted and who therefore will have read it. Of course there would have been much dreck on the subject in nearby pages. But the sheer good sense and mastery of key stats from Stephens makes the NYT glass well over half full from where I’m reading.
Lubos Motl had the day before written this
Nevertheless, the hurricane has invited some dishonest and deluded people who are obsessed with lies about science and the political abuse of science. Thankfully, probably because the embarrassing (for them) absence of hurricanes in the U.S. since 2005, there were not too many folks like that …
My thoughts exactly. Since my own blog post on the last day of 2011, four numbers that tell a story, published partly with software practitioners in mind, I’ve seen deaths from extreme weather events as one of the strongest lines of evidence for non-alarmism. Although this time there were obligatory run-outs from the likes of a tired-and-not-very-scary-sounding Mann in the Guardian my overall sense was that excellent efforts from sceptics (eg Nelson & Darwall, Ridley, Spencer, O’Neill), in long form and tweet form, were shaping the narrative more than before.
Then came the reality of models-running-too-hot finally making it into Nature Geoscience and thus The Times, Indie, Sun, Mail and all. And, as our own Ben Pile pointed out yesterday, at least one UK journalist giving a prominent climate scientist a hard time in a radio interview:
No, not the BBC. Not yet.
Vested interests may be hard to shift
Graham Stringer nails this. And these three paragraphs really hit home as to why it should matter to anyone concerned with social justice (real-world version):
The triumph of the environmentalists has had an enormous and costly impact on our daily lives. Successive governments have brought in green taxes, hiked fuel duties and pushed up energy bills.
The real price is paid not by the eco justice warriors wallowing in their phoney moral superiority, but by people like those in my Blackley and Broughton constituency, who struggle to meet their household running costs.
An extra £100 a year on electricity and gas might not be much to a BBC presenter, but it is a heck of a sum for someone who lives in the Harpurhey ward of Blackley, which was named in 2013 as the most deprived neighbourhood in England.
Dr Stringer ends:
This week’s scientific report should mark a return to environmental sanity in place of the current dangerous green fundamentalism.
But given my own experience, I wouldn’t bet on it.
What is it about this pessimism that made me more hopeful on completing it than at any time during the very exciting last two days? But then paradox has been a crucial part of the AGW scare from the beginning.