Donning a sweater and switching on a heater in Sydney in January? And twice! ‘If this ain’t the start of global cooling I don’t know what it is,’ I said to myself during the recent rains. Alas it is warm as I write. Back, presumably, to global warming and to dire warnings of our approaching demise.
But hold on, there is a problem. Human beings have pain-forgetting and immunological genes wrought by natural selection. Dire warnings have a short lifespan unless continually reinforced and augmented by even more dire warnings. Temperature records must be broken, and frequently.
This is why 2014, based on land and ocean measures, was described as the hottest year on record a year ago when it wasn’t? This is also why 2015 will likely be described as the hottest year on record when it also wasn’t?
The more accurate satellite (lower troposphere) temperature records — RSS and UAH — show that 2015 was the third-hottest year since satellite measurement began in 1979. It was hotter on average in 2010 and hotter still in 1998. This will get no airplay. Inconvenient facts must be suppressed lest they quieten alarm.
Yet if the agenda were not so alarmist the facts are sellable enough. It appears that the planet warmed significantly from around the mid 1970s to around 2000. My back-of-the-envelope calculation of the satellite data shows that the average temperature in the period 1998 to 2015 was about 0.25 degrees higher than the average temperature from 1979 to 1997. Moreover, even accounting for the possibility of data manipulation, it is probably reasonable to conclude that 1998, 2010 and 2015 were the three hottest years since land and ocean-based record-keeping began — HadCRUT going back to1850 and GISTEMP going back to 1880.
Since around the period 1998 to 2000, temperatures have oscillated around a flat trend with no sign yet whether they will start systematically rising again or fall. Those who think they know don’t. Of course, temperatures will have a tendency to resume an upward path if the concentration of CO2 in the atmosphere, which will go on rising steeply rising, has the impact many (though not all) climate scientists believe it has.
In my (infrequent) better moments, I remain above the fray on the temperature. I have no idea what will happen nor do I know whether the effects of CO2 are as deleterious, or nearly as deleterious, as the conventional wisdom asserts. I do believe that penalising the use of efficient energy while wasting money on inefficient renewal energy is an inane way to tackle the perceived problem. But that’s life in an age when common sense among the political elite has largely evaporated.
We are now governed by halfwits who excel in self-promotion. If you doubt that consider the childlike reaction to the toothless, sans-commitment agreement on climate in Paris. There is plenty more evidence outside of the climate pantomime. Think, as examples, of the self-destructive policies and pronouncements on refugees, the one-sided nuclear agreement with the fanatical mullahs in Iran, and the woeful excuses made for Islam and those who practice acts of violence in its name. In this context, it becomes par for the course for PC nincompoop Henriette Reker , the Mayor of Cologne , to say that women should adopt a code of conduct, including keep strange men [read Middle Eastern men and North African Muslim migrants] at arm’s length, to avoid being sexually assaulted.
If by good fortune a half-sensible politician like Tony Abbott miraculously emerges, the powers that be combine and converge to do him in. After all, what is stopping the boats, strengthening national security and standing up for patriotism, eliminating injurious carbon and mining taxes, signing free trade agreements and rooting out thuggery and corruption in the trade union movement, when set against the crime of knighting Prince Philip? Never mind, what we have in exchange is a more agile and innovative nation builder. Surely you must have noticed.
You haven’t? It doesn’t matter. The opinion polls are all that counts. We obviously get the politicians we deserve. Maybe the evaporation of common sense has made deep inroads into the populace. Possibly that is why ugly wind turbines, making intermittent, inefficient, heavily subsidised power, have become an accepted part of the landscape. On the other hand, and I am purely speculating here, maybe it’s all part of a revival of paganism – replacing Christianity and atheism — within which wind turbines soaring into the sky, sacrificially slicing birds, are totems for Gaia.