This short post with lots of embedded tweets starts with a quiz. Don’t cheat by reading further down before answering, at least in your head.
What are the six key anniversaries, four with rather pleasing round numbers attached this year, that we have been in the process of remembering or at least perhaps vaguely noting in the ten days starting from last Friday?
In reverse chronological order of the events they memorialise:
1) 10 years ago – easy starter for ten
2) 30 years ago
3) 30 years ago – the day before event 2, but on another continent
4) 62 years ago – the same day as event 1, if properly dated
5) 81 years ago – the same day and country as event 2
6) 100 years ago.
To start with the most obvious, 4 is my birthday on Sunday. No flowers please.
I was strangely moved this morning by someone making the point that today is the 100th anniversary of the first Remembrance Day, exactly a year after the Armistice at the end of the Great War had been signed, poignantly, at the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month. This was their first chance to remember and to grieve. Dear Lord.
So you could say that 6 should have been 101 years ago but, as with all history, my choices are to make a point. Even just very briefly.
2 is, of course, the fall of the Berlin Wall and 5 is Kristallnacht, the dark night of the same day 51 years earlier. Not a round number anniversary but it seemed relevant to where we are right now.
And 3 is Margaret Thatcher’s speech on global warming to the UN on 8th November 1989. That’s what the rest of this post is about. Well, not so much the content of the speech (though feel free in comments) as what one keen-to-be-green Conservative tried to make of it on Friday and how I and a couple of other people stuck our oars in.
At your peril, it often seems. Before I paste in lots of URLs of tweets, with a tiny bit of commentary, here’s a recommendation if you’re using either Chrome or Firefox as your browser and you tend to get confused with long branching threads on Twitter: download the extension called Treeverse and give it a try. I first saw it mentioned during a massive tangled web of controversy about climate policy the other day and made a note to take a look. I only did so yesterday on the following (much smaller) ball of wax but, despite it missing at least one branch I’m aware of, for reasons unknown, I’ve already found it a very useful visualisation to find my way around the recent tweet past.
Where was I? Here, on Friday:
I was at once tempted to chip in about Thatcher’s later change of heart. Perhaps foolishly, I did so after someone had mentioned the ozone layer problem (was it really a problem? – answers or at least opinions in comments please) then made their tweet invisible to me, I think by going private. But you can still see Oliver Cooper’s response and my opening gambit under the 280 character limit:
I felt my first sentence was blindingly obvious but someone of course challenged me to quantify exactly what I meant. I chose not to get involved with that. I already knew I wanted to focus on Lindzen and modern evidence for low sensitivity. Tell me how you think I did.
It wasn’t really c10 years ago, it was June 2013 and I haven’t yet listened back to exactly what the great man said that night. So loads of possible hostages to fortune there. And I haven’t corrected the date on Twitter either. Because then I met Steve. It was just the start of a beautiful relationship. Well, kind of.
I’d considered pointing to Paul’s recent post on the Met Office CMIP6 GCM 5.4K sensitivity nonsense but then I thought let’s just use Gavin’s at least semi-honest doubts. I’m pleased with that decision in retrospect.
I’d ignored Mr Milesworthy’s earlier use of ‘evidence’ but this time went for that and the use of GCMs generally. (Was 0.01% right for paleo Mr Lewis? It was pretty off the cuff.)
Now Steve wanted me to accept the RealClimate derision of Lindzen because of the Iris Theory. Rightly or wrongly, because I wanted to focus on sensitivity, I was willing to throw dear Iris under the bus. Hypothetically. And not to overreact to really silly terms used for the MIT emeritus.
I have to confess that I then got a bit ruder, even as I pointed to one of the politest people I’ve ever had the privilege to meet. I do recommend Nic’s video.
The Einstein analogy I’m sure Dr Lindzen himself would consider far-fetched but I enjoyed it.
Andrew Montford then chipped in with supportive comments.
That last tweet was with the thread’s original Tory in mind – though realistically I felt there was a pretty good chance by now he’d muted us. Still, dangerous levels of sensitivity should really have been ruled out by now. Would that have policy implications by any chance?
Those first love affairs never really die. You can follow today’s action with Steve under this branch. I learned about the relevance of the 2015 Judith Curry congressional testimony from the guy. At least I think I did. I haven’t checked.
A last word from Delingpole
I thought this was very powerful in the Oz edition of the Spectator on how much we know about history before we experience it:
If you’d asked me at the time of Climategate whether I’d still be writing about this stuff ten years hence I would have said: ‘No! God, no! The caravan will have moved on by then.’ But it hasn’t, has it? Instead it has accumulated more baggage, more freeloaders. In fact, by some bizarre inversion of logic, the less and less credible the evidence for the great global warming scare, the bigger and noisier and more powerful the Climate Industrial Complex has grown.
Oh for the big picture. Or indeed any picture at all that makes sense.