Climate Smokescreen

Climate change science has become an expensive smokescreen

SIGNING off as “Mr FOIA”, the person who leaked the emails from East Anglia University that came to be known as “Climategate” and that drew a line in the snow at the Copenhagen Climate Summit recently released to a select few the password to the files containing 220,000 emails.

He didn’t expect the remaining emails to hold big surprises and observed, “Even if I have it all wrong and these scientists had a good reason to mislead us (instead of making a strong case with real data) I think disseminating the truth is still the safest bet by far.”

Indeed it is.

That so many scientists have found it necessary to mislead us on anthropogenic global warming is an admission of political intent and the absence of a strong scientific case.

Since the release of the original Climategate emails, more revelations have come to light to support this contention.

The Delinquent Teenager exposed how non-government organisations such as Greenpeace and WWF, captured the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. The book provides irrefutable evidence that what had once been accepted as the “gold standard” of climate science was nothing of the sort.

There was a second release of damaging Climategate emails and alarmist headlined research that had to be hastily withdrawn (without headlines) for want of rigour. There was another hockey stick that admitted groundless data and dire warnings of extreme weather events without evidence that a new normal had begun.

Despite this, the voices of alarm and authority have been unable to hide the reality that, statistically, there has been no increase in global temperatures since 1997, despite an 8.3 percent rise in atmospheric CO2. For those who want to cite warming in some records, all datasets agree there has been none since 2000. In fact since 2002 a slight cooling has been observed. Who knew? Well, not the warmist scientists.

Indeed, the ABC reported: “A study forecasts that global warming will set in with a vengeance after 2009, with at least half of the following five years expected to be hotter than 1998, which was the warmest year on record.” Wrong. Even recent claims of an “angry” Australian summer were not validated by satellite data.

Roy Spencer, from the University of Alabama, compared 73 warming predictions to actual data across 34 years. Ending in 2012, he found an extraordinary discrepancy between what the models predicted and the actual observations of satellites and balloons. The predictions were all strongly biased to the upside. As he commented, “I frankly don’t see how the IPCC can keep claiming that the models ‘are not inconsistent with the observations’. Any sane person can see otherwise.”

Scientists have long searched for a “hot spot” in the atmosphere. When it could not be found, some said it must be in the oceans. Yet, since the deployment in 2003 of 3000 Argo floats (the acme of ocean temperature measurement), researchers still haven’t found it.

While CO2 may be a greenhouse gas, it seems that natural forces dominate climate change, not mankind’s emissions. Henrik Svensmark’s theory of cosmoclimatology (the role of cosmic rays) may be right.

With such mounting evidence it is hard to remain agnostic. Yet, rather than undertake a thorough rethink of US climate change policy, President Barack Obama prefers to champion discredited research to justify more initiatives that will squander the US’s newly found natural gas competitiveness. He ignores the experience of Germany, the world’s emissions abatement champion.

Germans discovered wind power generates only 17 per cent of plated capacity and juggling intermittent wind and solar power through the grid causes costly supply interruptions that offset CO2 savings. To ensure reliability and having shunned further nuclear investment, Germany is now building coal and gas-fired power stations.

But even with the world’s second highest household electricity prices, it will probably miss its 2020 EU targets. Worse, German business is becoming less competitive despite alleged inadmissible subsidies for energy intensive industries. German corporations pay 2.2 times more for electricity than their US counterparts.

But it’s not easy to stop a trillion-dollar juggernaut with facts. Any supranational emission reduction scheme that enforces conformity, provides generous subsidies, centralises authority, reduces competition, entrenches privilege for bureaucrats and the political class, and offers taxpayer-funded trips for the faithful to exotic locations will be strongly defended while the visible hardships these policies inflict are casually dismissed.

This is the world of climate change. The science has become an expensive smokescreen behind which vested interests hide.

Sooner or later, though, the laws of economics, which are more certain than the laws of anthropogenic global warming, will prevail and determine the sustainability of these gestures. Once upon a time legislators could justify the need to enforce reductions in CO2 emissions. Today we know these policies are based on back-to-the-drawing-board science and we have firsthand knowledge of their growth-slowing, economy-distorting, job-destroying impact.

In the meantime, the UN is claiming damages for “climate injustice with a human rights dimension” inflicted by wicked Western “polluters” on poor developing countries.

It wants huge financial compensation. Legitimate or not, any such claim of injustice pales in comparison to the ongoing harm and callous indifference shown by wealthy governments towards their own people.

This, is the greatest moral challenge of our time.

Maurice Newman is a former chairman of the Australian Securities Exchange and the ABC.

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