Journalism / Uncategorized

The Conversation’s Fact-Free Claim That Rich Countries Are To Blame For Idai

 

Even by Con standards, this fact-free article by ‘climate justice’ academics, Michael Mikulewicz and Tahseen Jafry, at Glasgow University, is outrageously bad. The title alone is enough to make you blanche:

Cyclone Idai: rich countries are to blame for disasters like this – here’s how they can make amends

Presumably, the making amends for causing poor black people in southern Africa to suffer a CO2-induced super storm equates to ‘climate justice’ in the addled brains of these left wing progressive academics.

In an attempt to explain the logic of their bold title claim, they say:

It is inevitable that people will connect Idai and climate change. It is always tricky to establish a direct causal link, but thanks to the evidence provided by a number of reports from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), including this most recent one from October 2018, we know that climate change is bound to increase the intensity and frequency of storms like Idai. At the very least, this crisis is a harbinger of what is coming.

Their second reference is IPCC SR15. Here is what SR15 says about tropical cyclones:

Numerous studies leading up to and after AR5 have reported a decreasing trend in the global number of tropical cyclones and/or the globally accumulated cyclonic energy (Emanuel, 2005; Elsner et al., 2008; Knutson et al., 2010; Holland and Bruyère, 2014; Klotzbach and Landsea, 2015; Walsh et al., 2016). A theoretical physical basis for such a decrease to occur under global warming was recently provided by Kang and Elsner (2015). However, using a relatively short (20 year) and relatively homogeneous remotely sensed record, Klotzbach (2006) reported no significant trends in global cyclonic activity, consistent with more recent findings of Holland and Bruyère (2014). Such contradictions, in combination with the fact that the almost four-decade-long period of remotely sensed observations remains relatively short to distinguish anthropogenically induced trends from decadal and multi-decadal variability, implies that there is only low confidence regarding changes in global tropical cyclone numbers under global warming over the last four decades.

Moreover, studies that have used more homogeneous records, but were consequently limited to rather short periods of 20 to 25 years, have reported no statistically significant trends or decreases in the global number of these systems (Kamahori et al., 2006; Klotzbach and Landsea, 2015). Likewise, CMIP5 model simulations of the historical period have not produced anthropogenically induced trends in very intense tropical cyclones (Bender et al., 2010; Knutson et al., 2010, 2013; Camargo, 2013; Christensen et al., 2013), consistent with the findings of Klotzbach and Landsea (2015). There is consequently low confidence in the conclusion that the number of very intense cyclones is increasing globally. General circulation model (GCM) projections of the changing attributes of tropical cyclones under high levels of greenhouse gas forcing (3°C to 4°C of global warming) consistently indicate decreases in the global number of tropical cyclones (Knutson et al., 2010, 2015; Sugi and Yoshimura, 2012; Christensen et al., 2013; Yoshida et al., 2017).

That is about as opposite as you can get to the authors’s fact-free claim that the intensity and frequency of  tropical cyclones is bound to increase with climate change. The first irony is that it is sourced from the very reference they cite to supposedly justify their assertions about tropical cyclones and about Idai in particular. The second irony is that at the end of their article, the Con prints this:

Help combat alt-facts and fake news and donate to independent journalism.

My head just exploded. If this is the Red Team in action, the press Blue Team set up under President Trump won’t have to overwork themselves. Turn up at 9am. Share a coffee. Have a good laugh. Rattle off an article or two to Fox News, the WaPo, etc., leave just after 10 or 11.

I’ve left a comment:

In an attempt to justify the very bold claim of the title of this article, that rich countries are directly responsible for this disaster, the authors say:

“It is inevitable that people will connect Idai and climate change. It is always tricky to establish a direct causal link, but thanks to the evidence provided by a number of reports from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), including this most recent one from October 2018, we know that climate change is bound to increase the intensity and frequency of storms like Idai. At the very least, this crisis is a harbinger of what is coming.”

Going to the second IPCC reference (SR15), this is what they say:

“Moreover, studies that have used more homogeneous records, but were consequently limited to rather short periods of 20 to 25 years, have reported no statistically significant trends or decreases in the global number of these systems (Kamahori et al., 2006; Klotzbach and Landsea, 2015). Likewise, CMIP5 model simulations of the historical period have not produced anthropogenically induced trends in very intense tropical cyclones (Bender et al., 2010; Knutson et al., 2010, 2013; Camargo, 2013; Christensen et al., 2013), consistent with the findings of Klotzbach and Landsea (2015). There is consequently low confidence in the conclusion that the number of very intense cyclones is increasing globally. General circulation model (GCM) projections of the changing attributes of tropical cyclones under high levels of greenhouse gas forcing (3°C to 4°C of global warming) consistently indicate decreases in the global number of tropical cyclones (Knutson et al., 2010, 2015; Sugi and Yoshimura, 2012; Christensen et al., 2013; Yoshida et al., 2017).”

So, contrary to the authors’ assertion that climate change will increase the intensity and frequency of tropical cyclones, that rich western nations are responsible for this particular disaster, there is actually no empirical evidence of such an increase in the reliable observational record, nor do GCMs predict such an increase – according to the reference which the authors cite to supposedly justify their claims.

So why are the authors making claims that they cannot substantiate and why is the Conversation publishing an article on climate change and extreme weather whose claims appear to demonstrably false? When trying to make the case for climate action and ‘climate justice’, it is always best to stick to the facts, not make bold claims which actually are in direct contradiction to the facts.

 

66 thoughts on “The Conversation’s Fact-Free Claim That Rich Countries Are To Blame For Idai

  1. Here on the US President Trump, the devil/Hitler/Putin’s lover, is if we listen to the TDS community, busy causing floods, and hurricanes, etc.
    It is no big stretch for the Climate Cult to assign a tropical cyclone to wealthy countries.
    They are at least as deranged as our TDS sufferers.

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  2. Ron, I can’t quite decide whether the withdrawal from sale of Peterson’s book because of a totally unrelated mass shooting is a symptom of the ongoing grossly disproportionate extreme left wing delusional, mass hysterical, irrational response to this tragic multiple murder or whether it is a deliberate attempt to censor an individual whose widely read and popular works are anathema to progressive liberals. Christchurch then is just a convenient excuse and 50 dead innocent people are just useful in the propaganda war. When all the virtue-signalling mass mourning is over and done with, they can concentrate their efforts on creating fake links between popular anti-establishment culture and mass murdering crackpots (of the infidel kind).

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  3. Interested to learn that real fascism (in the form of Mein Kampf) is perfectly acceptable for sale by that NZ bookstore chain, but Peterson’s book is not. Is the world sane?

    Liked by 2 people

  4. The article has only received five comments so far, and no-one has yet tried to counter Jaime’s argument. Lack of interest among the Conversation commentariat is possibly because of what the authors didn’t say. They didn’t conclude that the way forward is to ban CO2 emissions in the next few years. They did insist on the true and obvious reasons for the extent of the disaster: people living in wooden shacks, with primitive infrastructure, and lacking sophisticated communications to spread warnings and organise rescue services.

    The authors are a research fellow and a professor in a university Centre for Climate Justice. We’ve met other climate justice worriers at the Conversation who see justice in terms of stringing up climate deniers. These authors seem more interested in justice for the poor than in adjusting the climate. Maybe they’ll be amenable to Jaime’s reasoning.

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  5. Alas Geoff, poverty and poor housing and infrastructure were problems to be addressed in addition to minimising the rise in temperatures caused by emissions, according to the authors. Absurdly, they blame the UK for causing a disproportionately large part of the climate change that has happened so far:

    The UK caused a disproportionately large part of climate change. Now it ought to show leadership by pioneering a new approach to development that has inequality at the top of the agenda.

    Maybe disproportionate in comparison to Mozambique but not disproportionate compared to other major emitters, not in terms of per capita emissions or (obviously) total emissions. It’s the usual Brit bashing exercise on account of our past heinous crimes of Empire and probably of having the audacity to start the industrial revolution which ended up raising half the globe OUT of abject poverty. If these climate justice worriers were really concerned about addressing inequality they would go after the major banks and financial institutions and the international development organisations which have actually made things worse for the world’s poor rather than better.

    I wonder if this pair voted Remain or Leave? Because what they do sensibly say is:

    Besides the high-profile attempts to reduce global emissions, countries such as the UK should be offering support to poorer countries with everything from building flood defences to supporting social services to transferring technology. They should be forgiving national debt, redistributing wealth or at least giving them preferential trade deals to help them adapt to climate change themselves.

    Perhaps the authors would like to explain how we are supposed to help Africans help themselves by giving them preferential trade deals when we are stuck in the EU’s customs union which actively discriminates against free trade with poorer nations in Africa? If our rotten government and treacherous Europhile Parliament had given us Brexit, not actively tried (and likely succeeded) in preventing Brexit, we would soon be in a position to give Africa the helping hand it needs.

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  6. ‘It is inevitable that people will connect Idai and climate change. It is always tricky to establish a direct causal link but….’ Not to worry, contradictions can be disregarded, welcomed even, in view of the importance of the agenda, our UN Susstainability Agenda 21 for globalist New World Order.

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  7. I haven’t seen anyone blame the Mosul ferry disaster on climate change yet but it can’t be long. That the ferry sank because it was overloaded and its operators had ignored a warning about water being released from Mosul Dam won’t matter to climactivists. Heavy rain (in the rainy season) preceded a tragedy, therefore climate change killed a hundred people. And if you disagree with them, you’ll be a racist, fascist climate-denier.

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  8. Well, the South African “Black First, Land First” political movement jumped straight in and blamed Idai on ‘white privilege”. No real surprise, the BLF blames EVERYTHING on whites: the weather, traffic jams, ESKOM blackouts…

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  9. A BBC video report of Cyclone Idai says it is the strongest winds Mozambique has had in the last ten years. The extent of devatastion of Idai appears to be due to a powerful cylone, possibly coinciding with other characteristics such as high rainfall, occurring at a particularly vulnerable point. In this Idai appears to share common characteristics with Hurricane Katrina in 2005 where the Levees failed.

    But BBCs Matt McGrath tries to make the climate connection,
    https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-47638588

    While Cyclone Idai is the seventh such major storm of the Indian Ocean season – more than double the average for this time of year – the long-term trend does not support the idea that these type of events are now more frequent.

    The interesting thing for the area is that the frequency of tropical cyclones has decreased ever so slightly over the last 70 years,” said Dr Jennifer Fitchett from the University of the Witwatersrand in South Africa who has studied the question.

    Instead, we are getting a much higher frequency of high-intensity storms.

    Climate change is also changing a number of factors in the background that are contributing to making the impact of these storms worse.

    There is absolutely no doubt that when there is a tropical cyclone like this, then because of climate change the rainfall intensities are higher,” said Dr Friederike Otto, from the University of Oxford, who has carried a number of studies looking at the influence of warming on specific events.

    And also because of sea-level rise, the resulting flooding is more intense than it would be without human-induced climate change.

    The evidence of less cyclones, but a claim more high-intensity ones looks like a rejection of objective evidence in favour of sensationalist reporting. The desperation is indicated by mentioning sea level rise, which has risen by a few centimetres in the 50 years. Although centered on the coastal town of Beira, Mozambique, the vast areas impacted also include parts of the land-locked countries of Zimbabwe and Malawi.

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  10. Singling out one person might be unfair. Climate alarmism is a consensus enterprise, which gives primacy over mantras, rather than validation of empirical evidence of the natural world. However, the false attribution of sea level rise is by Dr Friederike Otto. One profile I found states:-

    Friederike (Fredi) is the Acting Director of the Environmental Change institute and an Associate Professor in the Global Climate Science Programme where she leads several projects understanding the impacts of man-made climate change on natural and social systems with a particular focus on Africa and India.
    Her main research interest is on extreme weather events (droughts, heat waves, extreme precipitation), improving and developing methodologies to answer the question ‘whether and to what extent external climate drivers alter the likelihood of extreme weather’. She furthermore investigates the policy implication of this emerging scientific field.
    Fredi is co-investigator on the international project World Weather Attribution which aims to provide an assessment of the human-influence on extreme weather in the immediate aftermath of the event occurring.

    If the real desire is to look at making rational policy decisions to ameliorate the impact of emerging extreme weather events, then it is necessary properly assess both the types and the magnitude of those impacts. Otherwise resources will be wasted on projects that do not address the issues. That includes only accepting claims made about an emerging impact when they are properly verified by the evidence.

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  11. It must be a great frustration that expert opinion (and the IPCC) fails to support claims of worsening hurricanes and cyclones. These would be so tailor-made as evidence of CAGW. Having to carry such cognitive dissonance in one’s brain 24/7 must be so weary-some.
    People like Paul Homewood must also get sick to death of repeatedly having to refut stupid comments, whilst at the same time knowing it’s almost in vain, the lie having already sped around the globe.

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  12. “Climate Justice” actually sounds a lot more like “Climate Imperialism”, if not “Climate Tyranny”.

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  13. Pingback: Bogus linking of Cyclone Idai Mozambique to climate change | ManicBeancounter

  14. In terms of increasing numbers of cylones, Matt McGrath’s article does at least make claims about severe cyclones in Mozambique, rather than quotes any global data such as quoting an IPCC Report. Those are from a Dr Jennifer Fitchett, who also has an article on Cyclone Idai at the Conversation.

    Claims of more severe cyclones are from Fitchett and Grab 2014 “A 66‐year tropical cyclone record for south‐east Africa: temporal trends in a global context”.
    (Try saying the reference names out loud)

    Table 1 details the recorded cyclones in Madagascar and Mozambique. I have listed the deaths from these events.

    In Mozambique there was a War of Independence covering 1964-1974 and, following Independence, a Civil War 1977-1992. During this period I therefore find it unsurprising that there is a lack of data.

    Another “anomaly” I have found in McGrath’s report. A BBC update report on Sunday 24th states

    The new figure puts the overall death toll at about 700 people across Mozambique, Zimbabwe and Malawi.
    …..
    The storm has killed at least 259 people in Zimbabwe, while in Malawi 56 people died when heavy rains hit ahead of the cyclone.

    How would sea level rise of a few centimeters have impacted on the severity of flooding in land-locked Zimbabwe and Malawi? Both are at least 100 miles from the sea. Even a few meters of sea level rise would make no difference.
    For more details, with links, see Bogus linking of Cyclone Idai Mozambique to climate change

    Liked by 1 person

  15. Ryan Maue, an expert in tropical cyclones, has updated the graph he posted in his major 2011 study. Here it is:

    Note that there is very little trend in the frequency of major hurricanes since 1980, a lot of interannual variability and a huge spike in 2016. Hmmm, can’t think what happened 2014-2016 which might have resulted in a dramatic increase in major tropical cyclones globally! There was a definite decrease in frequency of all hurricanes after 1980.

    The accumulated cyclone energy since 1970 is even more revealing. The global trend is dominated by the northern hemisphere, which is in turn dominated by Atlantic hurricanes. There is a marked increase in ACE from 1970 until the mid 1990’s, whereafter activity tails off. It’s highly likely this is linked to the AMO, not climate change (TM). Note that there has been a decreasing trend of ACE in the southern hemisphere, which doesn’t sit too well with claims that Idai is due to climate change.

    Paul Homewood has an excellent literature review which rebuts the claims made by alarmists that climate change has caused an increase in the frequency and/or intensity of major hurricanes. There’s just no real evidence for it.

    https://www.thegwpf.org/content/uploads/2019/01/Homewood-Hurricanes.pdf

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  16. Mozambique was sixteen years the theatre of a communist-nationalist civil war which kept the country in deep poverty and prevented building of infrastructure.
    Poverty is the root cause of the damage and casualties.

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  17. Manic, Friederike Otto is quoted as saying:

    “There is absolutely no doubt that when there is a tropical cyclone like this, then because of climate change the rainfall intensities are higher,” said Dr Friederike Otto, from the University of Oxford, who has carried a number of studies looking at the influence of warming on specific events.

    Paul Homewood (see ref. above) says this:

    The purpose of this paper is to evaluate trends in the frequency and strength of tropical cyclones. However it is worth a quick look at rainfall from hurricanes. It is generally accepted that models project a tendency for hurricane rainfall to increase with greenhouse warming. However, Walsh et al. concluded that there have not yet been any detected global trends in hurricane rainfall rates. High rainfall rates often occur because of slow-moving weather systems, as with Hurricane Harvey last year. Changet al. looked at this phenomenon with regard to hurricane systems affecting Taiwan, and could not find a mechanism that would attribute this trend to anthropogenic climate change.

    Oh dear, it looks like Otto is confusing model projections with empirical evidence again.

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  18. But, as one climate scientist advises us that there’s “no doubt” that rainfall intensities (not just in tropical cyclones) have got, and will get higher, the world’s first eco-Pope reminds us that it’s “inevitable” there will be global water shortages because of man-made global warming:

    https://climatechangedispatch.com/pope-water-shortage-climate-change/?fbclid=IwAR2DbubS6wQRXrHwnglTwiZJz7TrNPRndivw2SW5SmI8qihWNo6a5r56C5A

    Yup, it’s absolutely certain that climate change will result in a dramatic increase of contradictory claims re. inevitable trends in extreme weather.

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  19. Living on the South Downs, I am very pleased that because of Global Warming, we have not suffered another devastating storm to match the one of 15/16th October 1987

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  20. Interesting that the ‘rebuttals’ I’ve read (Mitchell Lennard) quote
    paragraphs from studies which are obviously based on projections
    (and ‘medium confidence’ ones at that).

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  21. Dr Fitchett appears to have been returned to the loving embrace of the consensus. Here she was as a student, slaying alarmist myths about tropical cyclones getting worse:

    https://phys.org/news/2014-02-scientists-debunk-climate-myths.html

    But here is a prominent sentence from a recent paper ( https://www.sajs.co.za/article/view/4426 ), creating a new myth:

    “These records indicate that the first tropical cyclone in the South Indian Ocean to intensify to CAT5 status did so in 1994”

    Read it and vomit.

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  22. This is what happens when you get bad science promoted as fact by ignorant ‘climate justice’ academics. Ignorant racist simpletons who see an opportunity to mug the West for a few billion claim their misfortune at the hands of Mother Nature is not nature, but the evil white man’s doing.

    BLF president Andile Mngxitama charged in a statement that the cyclone, which hit Mozambique, Zimbabwe, and Malawi, was “not a natural disaster but a direct consequence of the white, Western system of ecological assault for profits”.

    “Black First Land First (BLF) holds that the destroyers of the ecological balance, through greenhouse gas emissions, must pay for the catastrophe that is caused by their gluttonous cultures and civilization of death.

    “The multitudes that died as a result of the cyclone are not victims of a natural disaster. This is mass murder which could be prevented if the West abandoned its ways,” Mngxitama stated.

    He goes on to say:

    “It’s no longer speculation – even the white man’s own science corroborates what we blacks know: Africa is paying a heavy price for the actions of the white world. The West pollutes and the West must pay.”

    Look, it’s simple, Mr Unpronouncable. You can’t have it both ways. If everything the white man touches turns to shit, then it also follows that the white man’s (and woman’s, let’s not forget, unless you’re sexist as well as racist) science is shit, therefore wrong, so I’m afraid you can’t go claiming that Idai was the white man’s fault based on white man’s science corroborating what you already magically ‘know’ – presumably by talking to the Medicine Man, throwing some old bones or going into a voodoo trance, or whatever. Anyway, I’m sure you’ll take up the Pope’s and the EU’s generous offer, come to Europe as a poor climate refugee, claim benefits, get a house, get a car, live just like the white man you despise and still blame him and his selfish lifestyle for creating colonialist mass-murdering cyclones.

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  23. It is inevitable that people [like us] will connect Idai and climate change.

    Fixed…

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  24. More Conversation, this time from Rebecca Willis, Researcher in Environmental Policy and Politics, Lancaster University.

    https://theconversation.com/britain-has-its-first-new-deep-coal-mine-in-decades-a-result-of-pretending-climate-change-isnt-political-114028

    Rebecca Willis receives funding from the Economic and Social Research Council. She is affiliated with Green Alliance and the New Economics Foundation.

    “The UK is widely seen as a climate leader. Its Climate Change Act, which passed into law ten years ago, is the envy of the world. [really?]. It has targets for carbon reduction enshrined in law, and recently, the government hinted that it would adopt a target of zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050 (the current target is an 80% reduction). Four years ago, the government, with cross-party support, announced it would phase out coal-fired power generation by 2025.

    And yet, at a planning committee meeting in the northern English county of Cumbria, where I live, local councillors have voted unanimously to approve a new deep coal mine, Britain’s first in three decades.”

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  25. Dennis, thanks, it’s good to see another political article being given a hard time in the comments.

    It seems that neither the author nor a professor at the same university cares about jobs in this depressed region of the country. The professor even says the region would be better off without the jobs. I couldn’t resist commenting on that.

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  26. Dennis & Paul, I’ve already mentioned the coal mine at Bishop Hill unthreaded (I noticed because I live in Cumbria – you wouldn’t notice from the BBC website unless you dig don through layers of pages of local news). It’s to be found here on the BBC if you search hard enough:

    https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-cumbria-47629731

    The bit that got my goat was this:

    “Dr Henry Adams, of South Lakes Action on Climate Change, said the scheme would “totally undermine” Cumbria’s chances of hitting emission targets.”

    As I commented at Bishop Hill, it must be deeply satisfying from the perspective of a comfortable middle-class existence to try to save the world [sic] by actively campaigning against jobs in an area of high unemployment.

    Needless to say, Dr Adams appears to be a high-profile Green Party campaigner with links to the University of East Anglia (apologies Alan Kendall).

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  27. Mark. I totally fail to understand why you feel the necessity to apologize to me for mentioning that Dr Adams has links to UEA. I have a historical connection with UEA, but nothing whatsoever that is current. As far as I can establish, he did an Ecology degree, a degree jointly taught by Environmental Science and by Biology ecologists. During my time at UEA I came across quite a few tree-hugging ecology students who were quite weird. Perhaps Dr Adams was amongst their ranks.

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  28. Alan, I still feel an affection for places where I used to work. If people constantly attacked any of those places, I suppose I might feel a bit upset about it. I’m glad that you don’t take attacks on the UEA personally. I would certainly never include you among the ranks of “tree-hugging ecology students who were quite weird” or others of that lk!

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  29. Meanwhile, in other news, 650 headless chickens ‘took control’ of Brexit from a lame duck flogging a dead horse and the result was as expected. 🙂

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  30. Can we have a Brexit update for those not as close to ground zero? Is it going through or stuck in permanent extra time?

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  31. Dave, the DUP have stated categorically that they cannot support May’s ‘deal’ (aka Surrender Treaty), a few die-hard Brexiteer Tory MPs are still refusing to support it, so it looks like it simply cannot pass. Tomorrow is the last day that May can try to get her deal through the Commons, so if she fails, the deadline for Article 50 is April 12th. If the Remainers in Parliament cannot agree on a strategy to keep us tied to the EU, then we Leave on that date. However, the Maybot is programmed only to get her ‘deal’ passed by Parliament, so she will keep at it until her logic circuits fry or her Duracells run out. She’ll still be trying even if, by some miracle, we have left the EU! In 20 years’ time, there will be a crazy old woman in the Houses of Parliament going around wild-eyed, muttering something about ‘muh deal’. Half of the people there won’t have a clue who the mad old biddy is.

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  32. March 29th, 2019, the day we should have left the EU and should have been celebrating our freedom, is the day that May’s turd Withdrawal Agreement is finally flushed. That’s worthy of celebration. About time May was flushed along with it. That would be worthy of even more celebration. The MSM are predicting chaos. Better that than perpetual servitude and humiliation. Bring it on. The Brexit Revolution starts now. Whatever happens, the people will have to be given another say on the mess that politicians have created and it will not be pretty.

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  33. On April Fool’s Day, they had one job – to screw Brexit once and for all and get us to Remain in the EU. They couldn’t even manage that. How very apt. Nick Boles, arch Tory Remainer, immediately spat his dummy out and resigned the whip when his Common Market 2.0 motion was rejected. How very Remoanerish. Nasty democracy made him cry.

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  34. Two days later and it would have coincided with the sinking of the Titanic. If we Leave without a deal that day, we will have narrowly avoided being shackled to the EU’s sinking ship.

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  35. I’ve only just spotted that Christopher Booker wrote his final column for the Sunday Telegraph this weekend, as he is gravely ill. His friend and co-author of many years Richard North gets you past the paywall to read Christopher’s final piece. The comments, including from Richard’s wife Mary, are also very moving. He is going to be missed.

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  36. Farewell Christopher Booker. The voice of unrelenting common sense, especially on climate change and an outspoken critic of EU federalism. Alas though, I think, in the end, he could not bring himself to believe that Britain could thrive outside the EU and all its institutions; thus he bought heavily into Project Fear and railed against the “catastrophe” of a ‘no deal’ Brexit, a so called ‘hard’ Brexit which is, in fact what 17.4 million people voted for. It remains to be seen if the purveyors of doom and gloom will be proved right if we exit the EU without a deal. It remains to be seen whether indeed they will even get the chance to be proved right (or wrong, as the case may be). As things stand, May is absolutely determined to ensure that we do not leave without signing up to her truly rotten ‘prison’ deal.

    https://www.telegraph.co.uk/politics/2019/03/03/knew-brexit-would-shambles-never-could-have-predicted-mess/

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  37. If you aren’t prepared to walk away from a negotiation, you’ve thrown your biggest bargaining chip away, and that’s exactly what the UK did. The terrible irony is that they specifically voted no deal off the table because the EU didn’t like it. Are there any backbones left in UK politics anymore?

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  38. Dave, two junior ministers have quit over May’s decision to seek the help of a Marxist IRA sympathiser to try and get her treasonous surrender treaty = fake Brexit through the Commons, in preference to pivoting to no deal preparations. If 14 cabinet ministers who were supposedly in favour of switching to no deal during the 8 hour cabinet meeting now resign in protest at being ignored, I will believe that not all British politicians are inveterate invertebrates.

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  39. JAIME
    I’m a latecomer to this story, so correct me if I’m wrong, but it seems that after two years of Brexiters and Remainer-but-Do-the-People’s-Willers failing to find a way to leave, the True Remainers have just whisked a law through parliament in six hours ordering the government to stay in the EU until they’re told they can leave. This will apparently be confirmed by the Lords tomorrow, despite a government three-line do-what-you-like-we’re-not-bothered whip. Which only leaves the Queen refusing her assent to preserve democracy. Perhaps her son, currently in Cuba, can give her a helpful hint how the people of a small country can resist a Great Power whose shackles they’ve just thrown off? Otherwise, why don’t we just find a railway carriage somewhere in the European countryside where we can sign an unconditional surrender? Then let the resistance begin. ‘Ello ‘Ello?

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  40. Geoff, I spent two years on Twitter warning that May was not merely incompetent, that she was a traitor. Current events confirm this.Twatter eventually kicked me off. Brexit is in fact now a sideshow. The real story is that our governing elite are intent on destroying the country they govern and have been for quite some time. They will likely succeed now because of the gross incompetence of those who had the chance to avert this catastrophe but didn’t, because they couldn’t override their ridiculous notions of ‘loyalty’ to the party leader, forgetting that their first loyalty should be to the country they serve, and they failed to see May for what she really is – an enemy of the state. Unless a miracle happens and the EU kicks us out, or we exit without a deal ‘by accident’, the UK is finished as an independent, sovereign, free nation and democracy will be replaced by dictatorship via unelected foreign officials.

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  41. Recall that in the 90s the governing oligarchs decided on a “third way”.
    Allegedly all of the social spending but “allowing” for money and industry.
    This was all the rage in the West.
    Now we have an open coup in the UK and US, a bureaucratic big brother running the EU, and an oligarchy of big tech suppressing and censoring at a rapidly more confident pace.
    The brave French freedom fighters are being crushed quietly and the climate psychos are hijacking more and more.
    Not sure how this ends up but I see few bright outcomes.

    Liked by 1 person

  42. Geoff:

    The best tribute we can pay to him is to read his essay on Global Warming Group Think, reflect on it, and in a small way try to continue his work.

    Funnily enough, I was having quite a major sort-out earlier today and came across a few dead-tree versions of the GWPF print run on groupthink. It was after Booker’s presentation of that at the House of Lords, courtesy of Lawson, Donoughue and co, that I headed down to the pub, walking with Peter Lilley, discussing the relationship between Brexit and how we might pull back from UK climate madness, and ended up chatting to Josh and James D, as well as others, over a pint or three. (Only a pint in my case, being a disappointingly timid imbiber of alcohol all these years.) All those chats have stayed with me since. I must get out more.

    I was struck recently that James, in his Spectator column, had been reading Booker’s The Neophiliacs from 1969 and praising the guy’s prescience. My hunch now is that he knew about the older author’s precarious health situation and wanted to pay tribute. But he did try to put a positive spin on it all at the end – casting himself (Dellers) as the optimist against Booker’s pessimism. He didn’t convince me though!

    My own favourite of Booker’s works is The Seven Basic Plots, in which tragedy, of course, looms large, though not forgetting comedy (used in the older or stricter sense). Which applies best to Theresa May’s Premiership, and the current plotting of many others, I’ll leave for now. I don’t find many of the current descriptions very compelling. I thought the Tory MPs going for May was a major blunder at the time – caused not a little by the hard Brexiteers being over-enamoured of Leadsom. But I don’t see May as a traitor. I prefer Hannan’s use of That Hideous Strength as a guide to the EU. Nobody would have found the way out easy – a point Richard North is at pains to make as people return to EEA/EFTA without in his mind having the requisite understanding to fashion a proper parting of the ways.

    Anyway, Booker is, from my limited experience, one heck of a nice guy. That’s a quote from Clive James, who once said it of David Frost (despite all the disparagements, which he acknowledged). I didn’t know until yesterday that Booker had been friends with Frost in their Cambridge days, leading to their writing together for TW3. Did both James and Peter Cook go to my own college, Pembroke, around that time? My memory for such details fades. But Booker has by all accounts remained a nice guy, despite taking a course so different from others on so many issues, not least climate alarmism. There’s a lot to be said for it.

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  43. Richard,

    “But I don’t see May as a traitor”.

    Martin Howe, QC, writing in the Telegraph today:

    “From the EU’s perspective, it is hard to see why they would ever give up the backstop Protocol if we are foolish enough to agree to it becoming binding. It will act as a permanent dog-leash with which the EU can restrain the UK’s international trade policy and competitiveness, sitting behind any trade agreement we do with the EU.

    This illustrates the fact that the real poison in the deal which Theresa May has negotiated with the EU is the legally binding WA and its backstop Protocol with no unilateral exit clause. For inexplicable reasons, she seems determined to persist in inflicting this unprecedented treaty on the United Kingdom, regardless of the form of the future relationship with the EU.”

    [my bold]

    I can’t see any plausible or logical explanation for May’s utter determination to bully and blackmail MPs into voting for her WA and her outrageous abuse of constitutional precedent in order to assist her government in that enterprise, other than that she is in fact not working in the best interests of the UK, but in the interests of the EU, particularly Germany. Ergo she is a traitor. Ergo she is guilty of treason. I’m open to alternative explanations as to why she ‘negotiated’ such an horrendous deal in the first place and why now she is so utterly determined to ensure the UK signs up to it.

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  44. Jaime: I don’t want to argue about it. Well, not much 🙂

    This was said of another would-be leader, whom the prophet Samuel thought looked the part:

    Look not on his countenance, or on the height of his stature; because I have refused him: for the LORD sees not as man sees; for man looks on the outward appearance, but the LORD looks on the heart.

    Without a fully verified ability to see the heart of our PM I’m prepared to put at least some of our current predicament down to other factors, not least the Hideous Strength of what we are trying to escape. And I’m heartened by the interest shown by many normally unengaged UK people in our politics and mysterious unwritten constitution right now.

    Janice Turner and James Kirkup are two journalists I’ve come to admire greatly in the past months because of their courage in challenging the many and grievous issues raised by extreme transgender activism and its stealth takeover of key parts of our governance, law enforcement, courts, prisons, social work and sports. (And that’s the short list.) Both voted Remain but are I think worth listening to. For example, I’m pretty much with James here on freedom of movement:

    Not a big compliment to our current leader from me there – and I’ve felt this way from July 2016. But you probably deeply disagree with James and me on free movement. Perhaps you’re closer to Mrs May on that. Perish the thought. For not all Leavers are the same, nothing like. And not all Remainers. Take Janice Turner in the Times today, in Let arrogant Remain ultras have their vote:

    The very words “People’s Vote” make me want to riot in Waitrose. The breezy arrogance of implying the People didn’t Vote last time; the twee, self-righteous Prosecco Drinkers Against Beastliness placards, the phoney equivalence between loving Europe and things European with membership of the EU.

    At a party the day after the referendum, I had a stand-up row with a politician who subsequently became a leading People’s Vote campaigner. Before Article 50 was even triggered, let alone negotiations begun or a deal struck, he angrily demanded a re-run. For Remain ultras, it was never about a “confirmatory ballot”, a democratic bonus ball of “taking the decision back to the people”. Such sophistry and spin. It was always, always, about reversing a loathed result.

    I voted Remain. People’s Vote marchers are among my dearest friends but they are not, and will never be, my people. Brexit has flung 65 per cent of the population, according to research by BritainThinks, to two opposing poles. Far more than party politics, Brexit is about gut not head. So the minority in the centre, what I call “Brexit non-binary”, including many Remain Londoners from Leave towns like me, have endured three years of roiling, upset guts.

    It has been hard hearing our communities caricatured as duped and bigoted. (“I’m glad my constituents aren’t as stupid as yours,” said a Remain area Labour MP to another with a Leave seat.) But even worse is glib talk the referendum can just be shelved, an embarrassment not to be mentioned again, and no one will care. (No one who matters that is.) Fears that revocation will fuel the far right are dismissed as fear-mongering or pandering to neo-fascists. Disquiet about future voter apathy is met with a shrug.

    I’ve watched appalled as politicians on the left used every power at their disposal to stymie compromise, vote down feasible deals, dice with the economic calamity of no-deal, until all escape routes are blocked and a second vote can be the only outcome. They are as intransigent and reckless as the ERG they revile. Yet they justify the prolonged uncertainty crippling businesses, the miserable anxiety of voters, the crash-testing of our democracy until every gram of respect for its process and faith in its public servants is trashed, because they are the good guys. They have moral licence, a higher purpose. They’d burn Britain down to get that second vote.

    Turner goes on argue, reluctantly, that we are going to need another referendum but with all possible options on the ballot:

    But the ballot should also contain every option the EU would allow: Mrs May’s deal, a customs union, Norway etc. And voters should not just have a first choice but a second and third, with the least popular options eliminated and votes redistributed. A sort of Indicative People’s Vote.

    Too complicated for the electorate? Not after three years of mass education in constitutional law and international treaty-making, as intense as any university degree. It will be expensive and contentious. But the only way of ending our crude, screaming era is by assembling a granular picture of what the country actually wants.

    I don’t agree with the Times columnist on that last bit but I’m glad to see someone in her shoes grapple with how complex a second referendum would have to be, to be remotely fair.

    For the moment I’m with Attorney General Geoffrey Cox in his comments to Laura Kuenssberg on Wednesday. I’m sure Cox too is being painted as a traitor by many. But that talk is cheap and for me shallow. I prefer to take Cox at his word that leaving the EU – and very soon – is absolutely his top priority. He has a far more intimate knowledge of the negotiations, who and what we are up against, and the legal possibilities than I do. Perhaps even a customs alignment (let’s call it) tacked on to the political declaration after talks with Labour would be worth stomaching, as he says. You are free, and I assume likely, to disagree. But that’s the point. There isn’t one Leave point of view. We are going to have to do some real politics. Our elected representatives are reported to be close to nervous breakdown at the prospect. All good.

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  45. I do of course disagree strongly with most of what you say and quote above Richard. Any second referendum would be a betrayal of the result of the first referendum, unless there were two choices only on the ballot paper: Leave with Theresa May’s deal, or Leave without a deal. In that case, the second referendum would be a clarifying vote. We all know of course that this will not be the case.

    Putting May’s supposed treachery aside for the moment, let’s look at Geoffrey Cox, a Remainer. His last words on the WA were ‘The legal situation is unchanged’ – meaning, the very real possibility that the UK could be trapped ad infinitum in the NI backstop customs union arrangement. Taking his legal advice at his word, MPs voted down – quite rightly – May’s dreadful ‘deal’ for the third time. Now what do we find? Cox suddenly seems to be a convert to a customs union because he says we must ‘Leave’, meaning, we must sign up to May’s WA, diluted with a customs union to make it more palatable to Labour MPs – but of course, in direct contradiction to the Tory manifesto and in no conceivable manner an honouring of the 2016 vote to Leave. Now, you say:

    “For the moment I’m with Attorney General Geoffrey Cox in his comments to Laura Kuenssberg on Wednesday. I’m sure Cox too is being painted as a traitor by many. But that talk is cheap and for me shallow. I prefer to take Cox at his word that leaving the EU – and very soon – is absolutely his top priority. He has a far more intimate knowledge of the negotiations, who and what we are up against, and the legal possibilities than I do. Perhaps even a customs alignment (let’s call it) tacked on to the political declaration after talks with Labour would be worth stomaching, as he says. You are free, and I assume likely, to disagree.”

    I instinctively disagree of course. But let not my instinct be the challenge to your faith in Cox. Instead, ponder upon the words of Martin Howe, QC, who presumably also knows what he is talking about and whose intimate knowledge of the EU and the legal ramifications of current government proposals most likely rivals that of Cox.

    “The Attorney General Geoffrey Cox QC seems to have become something of an advocate for staying in a customs union with the EU, as a possible route for leaving the EU.

    In an interview with Laura Kuenssberg on 3 April 2019, Geoffrey Cox claimed that if, “in some considerable years time”, we wanted to leave that customs union then “there’s nothing to stop us removing ourselves from that arrangement, so we can’t look at these things as permanent straitjackets upon this country.”

    This is a very important claim, and it needs to be looked at very carefully before it can be accepted.

    A normal customs union treaty, like all trade treaties, would contain a notice clause – so we could leave a normal customs union agreement if we wanted to. But the problem is and remains the Withdrawal Agreement and its backstop Protocol which, as Geoffrey Cox rightly acknowledges, allows the EU to lock us in indefinitely.

    If the Prime Minister’s proposal were to strip the backstop Protocol out of the WA and replace it with a customs union agreement with a notice clause, then what Geoffrey Cox says would be true.

    However, it seems that that is not what the Prime Minister is proposing. She apparently wants to keep the legally binding WA and backstop Protocol, and add a commitment by the UK to enter into a long term customs union agreement on top of that.

    And why, in those circumstances, would the EU agree to include a normal notice clause in the customs union agreement? That would provide to the UK an escape route from the Irish backstop which would be blindingly obvious to the EU. So instead of a normal notice clause, they will insist on a clause which reinstates the backstop Protocol if the UK drops out of the Customs Union agreement. The EU will argue that this is necessary to protect the peace process, etc, etc, etc, if the UK ever decides to leave the Customs Union.”

    How could Cox not know this? If we assume that he does know this, then he is deliberately misleading the public and MPs. If he is deliberately misleading the public and MPs, one must presume that his intent is to get Parliament to sign up to the unaltered WA which he previously analysed as being a high legal risk, claiming now that we must ‘Leave’ at all costs. Why? We’ve had no clarifying statements from him, only this apparent attempt at public deception. Again, as with May, actions speak volumes. The hearts of all men and women may forever be concealed from public scrutiny, but the heart must, by necessity, reveal itself momentarily in the words and deeds of the bearer.

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  46. With respect, there are plenty of other sites within which one can batter each other’s Brexit position and expose your outrage. For me the situation is increasingly more that of a plague on all your parties. I, and I think an ever increasing larger proportion of the population, are now so heartedly sick of the whole matter. It’s become a farce; we and our political classes have become a laughing stock, seemingly incapable of doing anything meaningful, let alone constructive.
    Please, I beg you, reserve your efforts to combating climate outrages of which there are many.. The people who suffered from Idai, do not deserve to be swamped yet again, this time by Brexit dross.

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  47. Jaime, you quote Howe as saying:

    So instead of a normal notice clause, they will insist on a clause which reinstates the backstop Protocol if the UK drops out of the Customs Union agreement. The EU will argue that this is necessary to protect the peace process, etc, etc, etc, if the UK ever decides to leave the Customs Union.

    And then say yourself:

    How could Cox not know this?

    Well, because Howe doesn’t know it, because it lies in the future. So Cox lies not now.

    I think it looks very likely that the relationship between the UK and the EU will be fractious for a few years. But better for the problems to be ironed out while we are out. I certainly agree that the WA would be better with the backstop removed but we are where we are because the EU has taken the negotiating stance it has. We’ll have to sort it out later. That will as I say be fractious.

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  48. On Cox being a Remainer, did you see this on his website on 4th February 2016?

    Geoffrey Cox said: “After years and months of wrestling with my conscience, and with the competing arguments for and against our membership of the EU, the UK Government renegotiation proposals, which represent only very modest progress, have caused me to conclude that the case for leaving the EU is overwhelming.

    “We do not need to be afraid of resuming full control over the government of our country and it is clear that our partners are unwilling to make the necessary adjustments to tackle the fundamental and deeply entrenched problems of the European Union.”

    The name-calling in some quarters at the moment is a bit strong but it can help if it is accurate.

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  49. My bad. Geoffrey Cox generally voted in favour of getting out of the EU, so on that basis alone, one cannot call him a Remainer. However, he was absent from two crucial votes on EU membership and UK withdrawal from EU membership, on 15th June and 14th September 2016, respectively. He seems to have missed three other important votes too. He voted against the supremacy of EU law in UK law in 2017. He seems to have changed his mind on this now as he advocates a permanent customs union and an inescapable backstop which would ensure the continuance of the supremacy of EU law over vast swathes of our internal affairs.

    https://www.theyworkforyou.com/mp/11541/geoffrey_cox/torridge_and_west_devon/divisions?policy=6761

    Anyway, we’ll leave it there because this is not a politics thread and it would be very easy to escalate this disagreement into very bad feeling indeed, which is not my intention. When one feels one’s country and one’s freedoms have been stolen from beneath one’s nose, democracy destroyed and what was looking like a very bright future intentionally blackened, it’s never a good idea to attempt to argue rationally with those who disagree or appear to be not that concerned.

    Liked by 1 person

  50. I largely agree with Alan. Climate change hasn’t got a big billing in Brexit, nor has Brexit got significant billing in social conflict over Climate Change, which was a major global phenomenon for very many years even before Brexit was a thing. Per Richard’s comment referencing Lilley, there’s cross-over via policy or potential policy changes etc, but at the moment no one appears to be envisaging much change on this front anyhow (which is in itself an on-topic area), and nor are the to’s and fro’s or pro’s and con’s of the Brexit course anything directly to do with such policies. If the site is to stay focused on that for which it is named, Brexit arguments are just a distraction, and there’s many other places to express the latter. Not to mention it would just be good not to have sweet and sour Brexit sauce on every meal. Just my reader vote 0: Doesn’t mean a lack of the widest ranging discussion, but not actually regarding a different topic.

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  51. The Conversation are at it again with another article on Idai. I’ve posted this comment:

    “Increases in the frequency and intensity of extreme weather events, such as Cyclone Idai, are increasingly viewed as a consequence of climate change. This is true globally, but particularly for areas like southern Africa.”

    You link to the SR15 SPM, which says nothing of the sort. In fact, if you were to read the actual report, it says:

    “Numerous studies leading up to and after AR5 have reported a decreasing trend in the global number of tropical cyclones and/or the globally accumulated cyclonic energy (Emanuel, 2005; Elsner et al., 2008; Knutson et al., 2010; Holland and Bruyère, 2014; Klotzbach and Landsea, 2015; Walsh et al., 2016). A theoretical physical basis for such a decrease to occur under global warming was recently provided by Kang and Elsner (2015). However, using a relatively short (20 year) and relatively homogeneous remotely sensed record, Klotzbach (2006) reported no significant trends in global cyclonic activity, consistent with more recent findings of Holland and Bruyère (2014). Such contradictions, in combination with the fact that the almost four-decade-long period of remotely sensed observations remains relatively short to distinguish anthropogenically induced trends from decadal and multi-decadal variability, implies that there is only low confidence regarding changes in global tropical cyclone numbers under global warming over the last four decades.

    Moreover, studies that have used more homogeneous records, but were consequently limited to rather short periods of 20 to 25 years, have reported no statistically significant trends or decreases in the global number of these systems (Kamahori et al., 2006; Klotzbach and Landsea, 2015). Likewise, CMIP5 model simulations of the historical period have not produced anthropogenically induced trends in very intense tropical cyclones (Bender et al., 2010; Knutson et al., 2010, 2013; Camargo, 2013; Christensen et al., 2013), consistent with the findings of Klotzbach and Landsea (2015). There is consequently low confidence in the conclusion that the number of very intense cyclones is increasing globally. General circulation model (GCM) projections of the changing attributes of tropical cyclones under high levels of greenhouse gas forcing (3°C to 4°C of global warming) consistently indicate decreases in the global number of tropical cyclones (Knutson et al., 2010, 2015; Sugi and Yoshimura, 2012; Christensen et al., 2013; Yoshida et al., 2017).”

    Elsewhere, the actual report says:

    “Decreases in tropical cyclone frequencies are projected under both 1.5°C and 2°C of global warming. The decreases in cyclone frequencies under 2°C of global warming are somewhat larger than under 1.5°C, but no further decreases are projected under 3°C. This suggests that 2°C of warming, at least in these downscaling simulations, represents a type of stabilization level in terms of tropical cyclone formation over the southwest Indian Ocean and landfall over southern Africa (Muthige et al., 2018). There is thus limited evidence that the global number of tropical cyclones will be lower under 2°C compared to 1.5°C of global warming, but with an increase in the number of very intense cyclones (low confidence)”.

    Why does the Conversation persist in its efforts to try to portray Idai as a direct consequence of anthropogenic climate change when the actual evidence for making that connection is so very weak?

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  52. “Why does the Conversation persist in its efforts to try to portray Idai as a direct consequence of anthropogenic climate change when the actual evidence for making that connection is so very weak?”

    Likely a miniature version of the big picture regarding the social phenomenon of CAGW. Mainstream / IPCC science is frequently cited to underwrite that which is weakly or not at all supported. Especially regarding high confidence / certainty in particular possibilities, and ultimately an (unsupported by IPCC) high certainty of imminent global catastrophe (absent dramatic action), which narrative is nevertheless propagated by so many (and so many high) authority sources. This is a critical feature. There’s a huge emotive conviction that the science does / must support all of these assertions. Indeed this itself is also part of the outer narrative. Yet there are many layers of projections / interpretations / PR and opinion that like Chinese whispers hugely distance actual reports from the end pronouncements. And even create some distancing within the reports themselves (e.g. between SPMs and Chapters per Caleb Rossiter’s observation). Folks possessing this level of emotive conviction don’t need to go back and check ultimate source, especially when ‘everyone’ (who matters) is saying it, and even where such occurs or is later brought to attention, bias will often interpret the inconsistencies as an over-caution of very conservative scientists (which view is often put out). As the mainstream science community itself almost never pushes back regarding this constant misrepresentation, the false narrative can continue to propagate relatively unhindered. Objection from non-mainstream sources can mentally be brushed aside as likely cherry-picking or worse from deniers, all of which can happen largely without dishonesty, rather strong passion and bias for what ‘must’ be true.

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