|16. Aligned aims. There are those whose political aims will be furthered by action against climate change, including in areas that have nothing at all to do with climate change. Action on climate change has been linked to equality, for example, because it is alleged that the poor will suffer most from its consequences.|
|17. National rent seeking. Undeveloped countries think that hyping up climate change will lead to guilt-ridden but wealthy Western countries sending them sacks of money, for example small island states pretending that sea level rise is going to wipe them off the globe. (When coral growth can keep up with the present rate of rise, and much more.) (Guinea sent 500 delegates to COP 23 in Bonn, Germany, presumably in order to lobby for climate cash.)|
|18. Dreams of utopia. [Related to 1 and 11.] There is a belief in some that action on climate change will usher in a new era of wealth, health, mild weather, and no international strife. In fact it will have no effect on such things, unless it makes them worse.|
|19. Hamster wheel of hype. Stories in the media about climate change have given rise to the absurd phenomenon of “climate grief.” This has led to stories in the media about those suffering from “climate grief,” leading to yet more “climate grief.” (I’m putting that in air quotes to show how ludicrous it is, but plenty of the blame goes on the media.)|
|20. Social credit. There is a payoff, whether to personal wellbeing or social standing, in virtue signalling. Thus people pay lip service to climate change, even if they know nothing about it. We have clueless celebrities flying across the Atlantic to attend climate marches, and “brown ricers” buying electric cars (usually as a second car) because it makes them feel that they are doing something (when in reality their actions are inconsequential). No doubt it impresses their friends at dinner parties.|
|21. Articles of faith. It has become difficult for people in the public eye to do anything other than agree with climate change and the need for radical and destructive action to battle it, so they therefore bracket their comments with the necessary lip service. No MPs voted against the UK declaring a climate emergency. Fewer than ten voted against the 2009 Climate Change Act.|
|22. The silence of the sceptics. (Related to 21.) There are few sceptical voices, even though they often have very good points. Various fora have banned sceptics altogether, including the BBC, which thinks there is “no need to have a ‘denier’ on for balance.” My impression is that panellists on current affairs shows often rein themselves in, fearing that if they say what they really think they will not be invited to attend again. (There is a real threat of no-platforming opposing voices, but only weak arguments need protection, strong ones do not.)|
|23. Blacklisting. Certain alarmist gangs have tried to blacklist scientists who they consider to have unacceptable opinions, with some success. Needless to say, this is about as anti-science as it is possible to get, other than sending those with opposing voices to the gulag like Lysenko did. For a particularly bitter example, see Pielke (2020).|
|24. Hidden costs. The public are so far only dimly aware of how much the plans for Net Zero carbon dioxide emissions are going to cost them in wealth and freedom and possibly health. That politicians are not upfront about these means that they know very well that there will be increased opposition the more the public know. The public in Western countries will prefer a measured approach to the radical “Net Zero” once they discover what the latter plan is going to mean for them.|
|25. Unprecedented use of the term unprecedented. A cheap way to dial up the alarm is to declare floods etc “unprecedented” with not much evidence that they were in fact unprecedented and if they were, that this was caused by climate change. Humans have short memories, and flood defences upstream have the unfortunate consequence of worsening things downstream, for example.|
|26. Searching in the wrong woods. Scientists often search for reasons that events were caused or worsened by climate change. This is not how science is supposed to work, because it is obvious that when scientists search for effects, they usually find them. If you diligently search the wrong woods, you will sometimes find what you are looking for; if you never search the “right” woods, you will never find the countering evidence. (cf. 8.)|
|27. The time is now. Every generation believes it is the most important. Critical moments in history are always imminent, as are environmental catastrophes. Looking back, historians will see this time as no more remarkable than any other.|
|28. Hypocrisy. I will believe that you believe there is a crisis when you start acting as if there is. These words apply to politicians, film stars, pop idols, scientists, charity and UN personnel. For any of these sanctimonious folk to fly anywhere means you can ignore their blandishments. Every Council of Parties (COP; UN climate meetings), where 20,000 delegates fly in to hobnob, is ample evidence that hypocrisy is rife, and that cutting back on CO2 is for the little people like us.|
|29. What is newsworthy? When three people die in a flood, it makes the news. The 1000 dying of malaria every day and even more dying of TB do not, nor do the much more than 1000 per day who die in road traffic collisions.|
|30. Moral agency. As mentioned (3), climate change is neutral. As an experiment, ask a friend or colleague what effect climate change will have on diseases. Next, ask them what effect it will have on cute fluffy animals. Most people will answer that undesirable things will get worse with climate change, and desirable things will suffer. This is a logical fallacy that comes about because of emotion.|
|31. Looking in the back of the wrong hearse. We are killing one another by violence in far greater numbers than the worst plausible climate projections will ever do. Yet this is not declared an emergency nor are nationally-destructive plans made to counter it. More people die daily from TB than will ever die from climate change, yet a “war footing” is not proposed to deal with this.|
|32. The bliss of ignorance. It is an unfortunate feature of the human condition that wherever we look, whatever we find, we find danger. Some years ago the strength of the North Atlantic Deep Water (the return current from the familiar Gulf Stream) was measured for the second time. Its velocity was lower than the previous measurement, which had taken place decades before. The two numbers led to people saying “Aha!” and interpreting it as a sign of impending Ice Age conditions in Europe. (cf. 3.)|
|33. The dimmer switch. For much of the mainstream media, “climate change is a scientific fact” (BBC). Treating climate change as “real/false” means that absurd exaggerations get put into the “real” bucket, and any challenge about these exaggerations gets put in the “false” bucket. The question ought not to be whether the light is on or off, but how bright it is. It should not be forbidden to ask how serious climate change is, or whether the measures we are taking against it are worthwhile.|
|34. Prominent virtue, hidden sin. There is a tendency to laud minor virtuous acts that have no effect on climate change and brush unsustainable lifestyles under the carpet. Thus, celebrities arrive at climate rallies by helicopter or have a life that emits more carbon dioxide than an average hundred of their “subjects”, yet feel able to lecture them about cutting back.|
|35. Questionable motivation. To many it does not seem possible that sceptics really believe what they say. They must be paid to lie by oil companies etc.|
|36. It’s worse than we thought. Science papers are more likely to get coverage if they are “interesting”. In climate science, that inevitably means that a researcher has found out that things are “worse than we thought.” Where is the coverage of the “it’s better than we thought” stories? That question should trigger scepticism in the disinterested observer. (cf. 8)|
|37. Number 4 in the 3.20 at Haydock Park. If I make a prediction about which horse will win a race in a week’s time, my skill is easy to check. If I predict something about the climate in 30 or 80 years, I can say almost anything without fear of contradiction. If climate scientists want to have us believe them, they need to make predictions that can be tested (and these have to be about the alleged impacts of climate change).|
|38. Feeding the Fat Green Crocodile. Activist organisations do not soften their demands in response to concessions. Instead, their demands get stronger, and the warnings about inaction get louder, and the tactics get more extreme. The crocodile gets fatter; it also gets hungrier.|
|39. Morality and practicality. The alarmists are so convinced of the rightness of their cause that objections about the impracticality of their demands are brushed aside.|
|40. Label and destroy. Denier.|
Yes, many of these themes have been expanded upon in various Cliscep articles. Quite a task to make the link, though it would be great if you did so. In the meantime, it’s handy to see all these points in one place.
Do not throw away the envelope,JIT, it’s a handy reminder that upright humans
still carry within them the ape gene of self opportunism.
In your book this content was exceptional. Relocated to its new home it is outstanding. The amount of thought you have devoted to compiling this effort is also exceptional. It deserves greater recognition.
I still find it difficult to believe that the beliefs/understandings of many genuinely scientifically curious climate scientists can be accommodated within your list. Noticeable amongst them my late friend Kieth Briffa who I considered someone willing to question any part of climate change, even his own but who was adamant it was occurring. But then it is. It is the magnitude of the change that is debatable and whether we should, or even can, do anything about it.
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I refer you to #33, The dimmer switch. I was at pains in the introduction of Denierland to point out that my chief objection was the way the discussion, if there is one, has settled on binary positions when there is an infinite gap to bridge between them – and where the truth lies. The trick of the alarmist is to conflate scepticism with denial. (Some of us do deny. I think that is a misguided position.)
I am entirely sure that many of our climate scientist friends have doubts. Then, the scientific reports do not make use of the terms that The Guardian favours. They even include unfavourable evidence at times, “giving fodder to sceptics.” But I do not see many of them denouncing the worst excesses of Guardian hyperbole. We can speculate why that might be.
But we end up circling back to where we started: yes, it’s happening. No, it will not result in substantial damage to human civilisation. If we sacrifice our civilisation on Gaia’s altar, we will suffer substantial damage, including from “weather.”
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Perhaps we should remember what the IPCC’s former economist Ottmar Edenhofer said as I feel it crystalizes some of the items in your list:-
“… But one must say clearly that we redistribute de facto the world’s wealth by climate policy … One has to free oneself from the illusion that international climate policy is environmental policy. This has almost nothing to do with environmental policy anymore.”
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John, I don’t subscribe to a view that the climate scare is a Trojan horse for a sinister scheme to install a government of billionaire oligarchs. But I do note in #16, Aligned aims that there are those whose plans – plans with nothing to do with climate change – benefit from the consequences of climate action. I used a fairly innocuous example, but clearly the Schwab destruction of the democracies would be a more nefarious one, if one believed that was his aim.
I had mentioned the view of an IPCC insider because it is to the IPCC and its (post-normal) “science” that many Western governments refer/defer when implementing and justifying their destructive climate and energy policies.
I had not meant to invoke Trojan horses or Schwabian political objectives (whether real or imagined) – the West’s climate/energy policies are damaging enough in themselves without the need for reinforcement by any other means!
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Does “climate grief” include the suffering of familys who now have a Victor Meldrew type old boy who loses the plot every time the words climate change, sturgeon, snp, ferry, boris, greta, cop and to top it all £334/mwh.
I think one of the best admonishments to my Victor persona was a couple from Manchester sitting in the sun on Clachtoll beach 27c saying (one of the most northerly beaches in Scotland) “climate change is great init”.
JamesS, I think your first comment relates to the phenomenon known as “climate fury” – exhibited by several sceptics in the presence of not just wrong, but abjectly stupid, reports on mainstream media.
You are right about the cost of power: running, with the wind, at 6 times “pre-crisis” levels.
Reason #41: Growing realization by the climate establishment that the threat of future warming has been cut in half over the past 5 years.
Judith Curry is a real climate scientist who is rational, pragmatic and tells it like it is. The whole post is worth reading but here are a few gems:
“The climate “catastrophe” isn’t what it used to be. Circa 2013 with publication of the IPCC AR5 Report, RCP8.5 was regarded as the business-as-usual emissions scenario, with expected warming of 4 to 5 oC by 2100. Now there is growing acceptance that RCP8.5 is implausible, and RCP4.5 is arguably the current business-as-usual emissions scenario. Only a few years ago, an emissions trajectory that followed RCP4.5 with 2 to 3C warming was regarded as climate policy success. As limiting warming to 2C seems to be in reach (now deemed to be the “threshold of catastrophe”),[i] the goal posts were moved in 2018 to reduce the warming target to 1.5C.”
“They implicitly acknowledge that climate models are running too hot and that you can pretty much get whatever value of climate sensitivity that you want from a climate model (this has been blindingly obvious to me and many others for over a decade). ”
“Once you include alternative scenarios of natural variability, temperature change by 2100 could easily be below 2C and even 1.5C. Recall that this warming is with reference to a baseline of 1850-1900; 1.1C warming has already occurred.”
“Apart from sea level rise, which is unambiguously associated with global warming, there is no prima facie reason that extreme weather events would worsen in a warming climate. Observational evidence, provided that you go back at least to 1900, shows that nearly all horrible, recent weather and climate disasters have precedents in the 20th century and hence “detection” is very challenging. Climate models are not fit-for-purpose to simulate extreme weather events, let alone to attribute them to human caused warming. We are then left with back-of-the-envelope simple thermodynamic calculations to infer worsening of extreme weather events, which ignores the overwhelmingly dominant role of atmospheric and oceanic circulations.”
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