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January 16th 2017 print

Peter Smith

Of Hot Goblins and Hobgoblins

Even if you subscribe to the careerist encyclicals of warmism's priesthood, only rank gullibility or the pointed blindness favoured by professional politicians could prompt the conclusion that the answer is solar and wind. They aren't -- unless the real goal is to pauper growth and prosperity

goblin III feel in my innards that climate alarm is a scam. I felt the same about bird flu and other exotic infectious diseases that have in recent years been regularly held up as threatening our species; though I admit that the HIV- inspired ‘grim reaper’ ads unnerved me at the time.

I can’t recall being persuaded by the Club of Rome alarmists of the early 1970s. British writer and publisher Tom Stacey (in a preface to Bob Carter’s 2010 book Climate: The Counter Consensus) commented on his firm publishing Blueprint for Survival in 1972. Population and resource-depletion Armageddon was predicted to occur before 2000. It was backed, he says, by “38 of Britain’s most honoured scientists, economists and environmentalists, including 18 professors, two Nobel laureates, and seven Fellows of The Royal Society.” I can find no record of these fine fellows being mocked and derided by their colleagues for their alarmist predictions.

One of the doomsday predictions was that “hydrocarbon fuel resources would [by 2000] be well exhausted.” Now that would have fixed anthropogenic global warming (AGW), would it not? But then global cooling was soon to come to the fore in the middle 1970s as a threat to humanity. It’s enough to give any grounded scientist ice age IIexperiencing this chain of authoritative predictions a bout of cognitive dissonance.

American writer H. L. Menken provided his own perspective on scares in 1918.

“Civilization, in fact, grows more and more maudlin and hysterical; especially under democracy it tends to degenerate into a mere combat of crazes; the whole aim of practical politics is to keep the populace alarmed (and hence clamorous to be led to safety) by menacing it with an endless series of hobgoblins, most of them imaginary.”

One hundred years’ later nothing has changed. Antibiotic-resistant germs and a life-giving gas are out to get us; as potentially are AI robots and aliens, if Stephen Hawking and other scientific luminaries are to be believed.

But hold on, AGW might be a real threat. My brain, as distinct from my innards, tells me that I don’t know. To me there is no fault in logic in explaining that burning fossil fuels produces CO2 and, in turn, water vapour; which, unless abated, results in catastrophic AGW. It is a science question of which I have no expertise. My concern, however, is that this particular piece of science seems tenuous to me as a layman (as I will come to) and is in process of subverting economic progress by undermining the production of cheap and reliable energy and, to boot, with no noticeable effect in reducing concentrations of CO2 in the atmosphere.

I am told that the science is settled; apparently this is because there is a consensus among “climate scientists”. I have four problems. First, ‘settled science’ offends my working assumption that all scientific conclusions are forever up for challenge. Second, it is patently anti-scientific, and ignores scientific progress and the overturning of past consensuses, to accept a one-to-one correspondence between the truth and any prevailing consensus. Third, the currently prevailing consensus has important breaches, with numbers of well-credentialed maverick climate scientists taking a different view. Fourth, as I noted above, this piece of science is intrinsically tenuous.

I say it is tenuous because it is wholly based on modelling. To state the obvious, controlled experiments cannot be performed with the global climate. Therefore, my uneducated guess is that the vast preponderance of scientific inquiry bears not at all on the central issue of AGW but on a host of derivative issues; e.g., how GW affects the frequency and intensity of storms or how reduced ocean alkalinity, as a result of increases in CO2, affects particular sea life. None of this research establishes a link between CO2 and GW. It may live off that supposed linkage, but it neither adds to nor detracts from the modelling on which the linkage is based.

It is worth labouring the point. There is no in-principle contention about GW. Leaving aside suggestions by some that the data might have been massaged upwards, everyone agrees that some material warming has occurred since the end of the little ice age. Equally, everyone agrees that industrialisation has led to additions to CO2 in the atmosphere. The contention is about the extent to which additions to CO2 have caused GW. Quite simply there is no way of establishing the existence and strength of such a causal relationship other than by modelling, and that is intrinsically dodgy.

I know a little about macroeconomic models. Macroeconomic modelling is fraught with difficulties. The divergent ways individual agents respond to stimuli and to each other’s responses makes aggregation questionable, yet without aggregation economic modelling is impractical. Whatever predictions they throw out are unreliable. None has ever presciently predicted a deep recession. I suggest that climate models are equally flawed, as the IPCC models have shown in materially over-predicting temperature rises.

All predictive models of complex systems depend on sorting out and scoring the direction of the effect each included variable has on others. All must evaluate and encompass feedback mechanisms among the included variables. All assume that parameters remain the same or in lockstep with other variables. All are sensitive to changed assumptions and to the quality of empirical data. And, by definition, unknown variables are not included. This black-box process has only a loose connection to science.

Would several teams of statisticians and climatologists totally independent of each other and knowing nothing about the history of this issue build climate models giving proximately identical results and predictions? I seriously doubt it. People out there in Layman’s Land should take a sceptical pill. There is no conclusive science behind AGW; there are imperfect (related) models of a highly complex and dynamic system. This doesn’t mean that advocates of AGW are wrong. But the results they claim are written on a flimsy piece of papyrus not on stone.

Finally, whatever you think of AGW only political blindness to hard evidence would convince you that solar and/or wind is the answer. They are unreliable sources of base-load power; and, in part because of that, too expensive. All that effort, all that money, all that pain delivered to our industries in the West, and CO2 goes on rising; as it is destined to do far into the future, as those in the developing world build reliable power stations based around cheap fossil fuels. Below is the latest graph of CO2 parts per million in the atmosphere. There is no sign of abatement. Feel-good failure follows when symbolism takes the place of practicality.

smith graf

Peter Smith, a frequent Quadrant Online contributor, is the author of Bad Economics

Comments [34]

  1. Bill Martin says:

    Another worthy effort Peter, at crying in the wilderness. There is nothing left to be said on the subject that hasn’t already been said over and over again, making any attempt to “convince” the deluded of the error of their ways a heroic endeavour. It will take decades for reality to dispel delusion as was the case with all the other alarmist scenarios cited in this article. What makes this hysteria particularly dangerous is its potential to catastrophically damage much of what was achieved by humanity over the past century.

    While one might be inclined to be tolerant toward the genuinely delude, the condemnation of those supporting the alarmism of CAGW merely to further their personal interest could not ever be excessive. They are, literally, the scum of the world.

    • ianl says:

      > “What makes this hysteria particularly dangerous is its potential to catastrophically damage much of what was achieved by humanity over the past century”

      Way past “potential” now. Third world economies have been thugged by green NGO’s, even the World bank, to prevent them using coal-fired power stations. First world economies are stooping lower and lower under the load of desperately expensive, desperately unreliable, destructive incursions into the power grids. The “scientific method” has been corrupted beyond repair by deliberate misrepresentation to a gullible, undereducated public.

      The Rennaisance is successfully reversed. Apocalypse indeed …

  2. en passant says:

    Peter,
    The fake pseudo-’climate science’ has about as much validity to be called a science as alchemy, horoscopes (yet millions read them) and gambling systems at roulette.

    Models are not science, but are a useful tool even in the hard science disciplines where the parameters can be set with some reliability. This cannot apply in statistical ‘sciences’ based only on models or probabilities. It has rained on 7% of Melbourne Cup races, so tell me, will it rain in 2017? I won a bet on the MC weather when I took the odds that it would NOT rain, basing my risk on the biased fact that we were in a drought. It could have been the year the drought broke, so if I had bet every year for 10 years, then on the year it rained I would have lost all my ‘winnings’ – and more.

    There is nothing unusual about what is happening to the weather or the climate, except that the increase in CO2 is immensely beneficial, as would be an extra couple of degrees Centigrade.
    The extra CO2 is feeding additional plant growth, so the Earth is a self-regulating system as the greening determined by satellite measurements show. Unfortunately at the current rate of CO2 improvement it will take about 800 – 1,000 years to reach the optimum level of CO2 as plants will increase their offtake.
    Life & speciation flourishes in warm climates as the Carboniferous Age demonstrated. Unfortunately, we are unlikely to see that happy day of a 2C increase as global cooling is a more likely probability.

    Climate Disruption? Extreme Weather events? Nothing to see here – and I take no [statistical] comfort in their current decrease of extreme weather as this is just another random statistical blip. Can you imagine the delight of the numpties if there was an equally random increase?

    You could have noted that this cult of the simple folk has actually nothing to do with reality, or facts, or weather, or climate, but everything to do with totalitarian power that will allow the deliberate de-industrialisation and depopulation of the majority of people as from the ashes a new society will arise? Where have you heard that false vision before?
    I would cut the electricity connector to SA so we can use them as we would a Petri dish culture of the consequences of this (ig)Noble Corruption. Build a wall first or the SA refugees will swamp us.

    Let me prove to you that the CAGW crowd have no idea what they [scientifically] want, but will destroy civilisation to achieve their ‘aims’ through their fake climate tool. I will also preempt the inevitable entry of the ‘MacDougall’ by asking ANY true believer to answer two simple questions:
    1. What is the IDEAL average global temperature that will be of greatest benefit to the world? and
    2. What is the IDEAL average concentration of CO2 in ppm, and why?

    If the minions cannot tell us the answer to those questions, then forget facts as the climate con is a political question, not a scientific one.

    En Passant
    Sceptical Scientific Contrarian
    Climate Change Denier, 7th Dan Black Belt

    Seek the Truth,
    No matter what you would prefer to believe.
    Leave beliefs and cults to the simple folk.

  3. Ian MacDougall says:


    Even if you subscribe to the careerist encyclicals of warmism’s priesthood, only rank gullibility or the pointed blindness favoured by professional politicians could prompt the conclusion that the answer is solar and wind. They aren’t — unless the real goal is to pauper growth and prosperity. …

    To fossil-carbon shills and their hangers-on (who seem to be in oversupply here at the otherwise excellent QO) renewables are to be opposed, ridiculed and deplored at every opportunity. That, presumably, is because of their threat to the fossil-carbon industries, particularly in the Australian context, coal.

    The threat they pose is not one of instant annihilation, as in say, a nuclear war. Rather it is one of gradually eroding fossil-carbon’s profitability: ironically nowhere more so than in coal-blessed and sun-blessed Australia.

    If there is a substitute for coal, even for only part of the 24-hour cycle, then we should grab it; because coal-as-fuel is such a waste of a valuable resource. (It is much better used as a feedstock for the chemical, plastics and road-tar industries.) We can only assume that the coal deposits we have are all we are ever going to have here on Earth; so rather than burning them as fast as possible, all the while heaping abuse and derision in the direction of renewables, the coal industry and its supporters should be out there cheering renewables on.

    The reality is that the solar electricity industry (ie photovoltaic or PV) is presently in a phase of rapid breakthrough in energy storage, driven in large part by present off-grid users like primary producers. PV driven bore pumps have largely taken over from the iconic Aussie windmill for pumping of artesian and sub-artesian water. And every set of solar panels sold means less money for the coal industry, greater R&D money for the solar panel makers and installers, and less than would be otherwise spent on fossil-carbon generated electricity. (Read all about it at the link below.)

    The rural industries have primed the pump of renewableS, solar in particular. From that base, they are spreading to the cities, in the process thwarting all efforts by ‘conservative’ coal-shill politicians like Tony (“the future is coal”) Abbott to stifle them. The more renewables eat into the coal markets, the more the cost of coal-fired electricity will be driven up: in turn inducing more people to install solar and wind driven home generating systems: a classic positive feedback loop.

    Sorry, but the Australian future does not look at all like coal.

    https://www.climatecouncil.org.au/batterystoragereport2015?gclid=CjwKEAiA2OzDBRCdqIyIqYaaqQoSJABeJZdiPVza5CM00gf34tne_Oh5gqjMUjrFRE2UpgSW2zKGuhoCYgfw_wcB

    • whitelaughter says:

      Ian, agree that the obsession with defying GW is a blight on Quadrant, but the obvious choice to replace coal was hydro – safe, cheap, clean, with multiple other advantages(flood, fire, drought – is there anything dams can’t fix?)
      Which is why back in the 70s and 80s Australian states were building dams like crazy…only to be blocked by a misuse of the foreign affairs power by a Labor govt determined to protect their coal mining seats.
      But neither they, nor the coal mining companies, are in the least bit concerned by the new ‘renewable’ energy sources. Why not? They certainly haven’t withdrawn their opposition to hydro, so it isn’t a change of attitude?

      Maybe they are convinced that these new forms of renewable won’t work, so can be ignored? If you are right, and they are wrong – expect them to oppose solar the moment it becomes viable.

    • Anthony Cox says:

      People who advocate and profit from renewables should be prosecuted; renewables have crippled electricity grids and economies here and everywhere they have been introduced, all justified on the lie of alarmism.

      Renewables do not work; they have an EROEI < 1; their electricity output as measured by the real measures of capacity factor and reliability point are 20% and < 10% respectively; they lack energy density and are incompatible with all grid frequencies; renewables are inherently, ineluctably limited by Betz's Law and the Shockley–Queisser limit. Renewables are the cruelist part of that cruel hoax, alarmism.

      Ultra Supercritical technology allows coal to deliver much higher output with no contaminants. And while it is true coal is an essential ingredient in everything from steel to plastics to a range of essential chemicals it is still the best energy source until the corrupt pollies allow 4th gen nuclear and thorium to come on stream.

    • Nezysquared says:

      To renewable energy shills and their hangers-on (who seem to be in oversupply here at the otherwise excellent QO comments section) coal is to be opposed, ridiculed and deplored at every opportunity. That, presumably, is because of its threat to the solar and wind “renewable energy” industries. http://www.theaustralian.com.au/business/mining-energy/coalition-backs-100bn-growth-plan-for-coal-industry/news-story/26f82ba81dc12f0754ef723e0eb0d74b

      The threat it poses is not one of instant annihilation, as in say, a nuclear war. Rather it is one of gradually eroding renewable subsidies: ironically nowhere more so than in politically correct and sun-blessed Australia.

      I could go on but it becomes rather pointless discussing anything with someone who attempts to,speak things into existence. Go on Ian, chuck another response in with a link to some guardian article or climate council “report”. Eventually you may also get tired with the “potentials” and “coulds”. Perhaps if you tried living off the grid in the midst of a tassie winter you might just warm to coal.

      • Ian MacDougall says:

        Anthony Cox and Nezysquared:

        I hate to have to be the one who tells you both this, but renewables: wind, solar radiation, geothermal, and the gravitational potential energy of water in high dams are in essentially endless supply. The world’s coal reserves, much of which are in the US and Australia, are running down and will last about another 20-200 years (if burned without hindrance from AGW considerations.) Looks like those trying to live off the grid through Tassie winters have most of their future behind them.
        Well, energy future anyway, though I agree that thorium power holds promise. But “Go on Ian, chuck another response in with a link to some guardian article or climate council ‘report’” is almost too ludicrous for words. The assumption behind it is that only approved ‘conservative’ sites and sources have any truth in what they say.
        This line of thinking becomes a dog chasing its tail all the way to the horizon.

        https://www.greentechmedia.com/articles/read/Peak-Coal-Will-the-US-Run-Out-of-Coal-in-200-Years-Or-20-Years

        • Nezysquared says:

          Oh dear. It continues…..

          • en passant says:

            Anthony,
            Brilliant answer, but on’t look for any sensible reply.

            Last time I looked at the World Energy Report we had more than 500 years of coal, 200 years of gas and about 150 years of oil. It’s a worry … That’s without more exploration and with current technologies.

            Ian MacD & Whitelaughter,
            I note that you both overlooked answering the questions of where you lemmings are taking us. Poverty, loss of sovereignty and subservience, I suspect.

            Try answering the questions that would establish your credibility. They were:

            “I will also preempt the inevitable entry of the ‘MacDougall’ by asking ANY true believer to answer two simple questions:
            1. What is the IDEAL average global temperature that will be of greatest benefit to the world? and
            2. What is the IDEAL average concentration of CO2 in ppm, and why?

            If the CAGW & Renewable minions cannot tell us the answer to those questions, then forget facts as the climate con is a political question, not a scientific one.”

            However, Ian has given us a great piece of news I was unaware of: ‘renewables’ (aka ‘faerie dust’) are now at the point of competing with hydrocarbons on a level playing field. Great! Next Ian will prove the point an let the Sun shine in by clamouring for the removal of all overt and covert subsidies.

            Then again … maybe he won’t.

          • ianl says:

            Well, yes … but fake news is just so easy to do and such great fun. The Green Blob has demonstrated this for decades now.

        • Jody says:

          I respect your concern about the environment and the uncertain future it poses. I would say, however, that there are massive coal reserves in South Africa and they will certainly sell coal if Australia is not able to do so. But, that’s a side issue. On AGW and ‘climate change’ altogether; it’s the inconsistency of the ‘news’ and the politicization of the issue which has created armies of skeptics. Just a decade ago we were told the dams and rivers would run dry and on the basis of this hyper expensive de-sal plants were used, which now remain idle. Now I read today that we can expect much more heavy rain and ‘rain events’ (that always intrigues me, that expression) because of climate change. Ian, they just can’t have it both ways. Conflicting information, in the absence of a feasible narrative arc, creates uncertainty and cynicism in the people. Consistency is the key.

          • ianl says:

            > “Conflicting information, in the absence of a feasible narrative arc, creates uncertainty and cynicism in the people”

            Eventually, fake news destroys the trust of even the most gullible, as you say. It does take quite a while, though. One of the most interesting aspects to the recent US election campaign was the emergence (acknowledgement ?) of the trend of deliberately lying to the pollsters. This says to me that the use of polls as MSM propaganda pieces is now seen clearly – lying to them deals with that quite effectively.

            Having said that, I agree with Alan Moran’s op-ed today:

            http://catallaxyfiles.com/2017/01/17/trump-and-australian-political-dithering-over-energy-costs/

            Ive been looking carefully for over 6 months now at the use of a home genset. Technically, one needs to be quite careful, but it seems like a prudent move.

    • Matt says:

      Yes, it is a good point that coal has uses other than making electricity. There are many ways of making electricity but not so many for making steel and cement.
      But all of these discussions miss a very important and immutable point. Can the earth sustain an infinitely growing population and infinitely growing level of material consumption? Presuming we are living in the real world and not some science fiction fantasyland, then the key question is whether the inevitable transition to zero growth is controlled or uncontrolled. Will humanity make a controlled transition to zero growth or will it just bumble along until it gets mugged by reality in some shape or form?

  4. Bwana Neusi says:

    The most poignant point of this article is that H. L. Menken in his 1918 observation that “Civilization, in fact, grows more and more maudlin and hysterical; especially under democracy…” and a century later it is an even greater truism than then.
    Not only have we been fed a diet of scares and impending disasters, but our society has become addicted to the extent that we have withdrawals unless we can continue to feed the habit.
    Trumpism is just such a classic example and combined with Putin’s inevitable catastrophic annihilation of our cosy world will feed the void left by a waning AGW.
    Then for additional torment, we have Islam and the cognitive dissonance that ensues as we wrestle with “They really are good guys …. but are they?”

  5. Bushranger71 says:

    Granted that solar power is a valued advance in multiple small ways, such as for bore pumps in remote areas. But the undeniable fact is power bills are beginning to soar exponentially Australia-wide.

    How dumb is this when the most modern coal-fired power stations in service in NSW are 96 percent efficient and all particulate matter is captured?

    Allowing takeover of power generation by private enterprise was a bad move by Australian Governments, also the creation of intermediate marketing entities on the pretext that competition would create lower pricing for consumers.

    The nation is about to be confronted with an inevitable crisis regarding power costs that is inexcusable considering our abundant resources and technical capacity concerning traditional power generation.

  6. Keith Kennelly says:

    Ian

    Really last year you asserted warming was causing cold and you claimed somehow the weather effects Very high in the atmosphere caused this.

    Mate you went all silent when you learned nearly all weather only occurs in less than a few thousand meters of the earth’s surface and was caused by convection.

    Now you’ve seemingly ignored the repudiation of your assertion and it’s consequences. Ie there is no warmists logic to back the extreme cold events.

    Now while that fundamentally challenges warmist dogma you don’t rethink your theories and you just carry on with believing the warmist crap.

    The inability to face reason and logic is a problem all you warmists share.

    • Jody says:

      Unlike yourself, I do not detect any malice in people like Ian who believe the science is settled. Surely they are concerned for the planet and its future, whether what they say is scientifically correct. There has always been a fraught relationship between science and the people. In the 17th century Pepys, in his famous Diaries, notes many of these issues.

      I’m a fence-sitter on this issue because I see people from the hard Left pushing this agenda for all it’s worth, along with other kinds of social engineering. I’m also inclined to listen to scientists because it is this body of professionals to whom we will look for a cure for cancer and Alzheimer’s Disease. What is lacking in this whole issue is leadership; some national leader who can stand up and say the things I’ve just said but who can steer a practicable and workable policy agenda which will help the climate and not destroy business profitability. In the absence of real leadership – in precisely that void – we get the shrill extremes of the spectrum.

  7. Keith Kennelly says:

    Jody

    Malice no of course not.

    Refusing to acknowledge error, logic and reason. Yes, so Mate I’ll ridicule that everyday.

    Trump is providing leadership. He says iclimate change is crap and a scam and has appointed people who will not only challenge the lies and the junk research but will also put an end to the funding of these.

    That’s leadership.

  8. ArthurB says:

    Re global warming: I think it is correct to say that the warmists believe, rather than know, that it is happening.

    Much scientific research relies on disproving negatives, by the use of what are known as null hypotheses. For example, if you are investigating a possible association between lung cancer and smoking, or between mesothelioma and the inhalation of asbestos fibres, the appropriate null hypothesis is that there is no association, and the aim of your research is to disprove the null hypothesis. Even if you succeed, you still need to establish a causal link.

    The warmists have inverted the usual process: they are demanding that the sceptics prove that there is no association of global warming with carbon dioxide levels.

    In the case of global warming, the warmists need to set up, and disprove, two null hypotheses. The first hypothesis is “global warming is not occurring.” I offer two contentions: (i) it is difficult to set up a null hypothesis, because I can’t see that there is a fixed reference point for global climate. In the recent (geological) past, there have been periods when much of Europe was covered with sheets of ice a mile thick, and at other times hippopotamuses frolicked in what is now Trafalgar Square (ii) even if the warmists could persuade us sceptics that the first null hypothesis is not supported by the evidence, they need to set up a second, that “the rise in global temperature is not anthropogenic,” and then a third, that “it is not caused by the increase in carbon dioxide levels due to the burning of fossil fuels,” and then disprove both. I doubt very much that you could ever disprove the second and third null hypotheses, because there are so many other factors which affect climate, such as sunspots, Milankovitch cycles, volcanic eruptions etc.

    Even though I am a sceptic, I feel it is unwise to continue pumping more and more carbon dioxide into the atmosphere. I also feel that since Australia produces a mere 1.5% of global emissions, anything we do will have zero effect. Also, we should pursue rational policies: the schemes which the governments of South Australia, Victoria and Queensland are implementing will have a negligible effect on the atmosphere, but will impose extra expense on the citizens of those states, and attract a bevy of rent-seekers and opportunists.

  9. Ian MacDougall says:

    Arthur:

    Even though I am a sceptic, I feel it is unwise to continue pumping more and more carbon dioxide into the atmosphere. I also feel that since Australia produces a mere 1.5% of global emissions, anything we do will have zero effect.

    Perhaps, to be more accurate, you might have said “…anything we do will have 1.5% effect.” It is a bit of a fudge to say that 1.5% = 0.0%.
    As I recall, that equation was first proposed by John Howard, in the course of one of his more mathematical contributions to Australian politics.
    If we are responsible for 1.5% of the global problem highlighted by the mainstream science, then it is reasonable for observers and interested parties around the world to argue that we are likewise morally obliged to provide 1.5% of the global solution.
    There we are not talking peanuts.
    But I would also ask this: if you are a ‘sceptic’ on AGW, then why would you be against “pumping more and more carbon dioxide into the atmosphere”? If the CO2 has negligible climatic effect, why not concentrate, as other ‘sceptics’ do, on the fact that its concentration in the atmosphere has long been recognised by plant physiologists as the limiting factor on plant growth? Ergo, the more CO2 the better.

    • ArthurB says:

      Ian: thanks for replying to my post. I will do my best to answer your questions.

      I am not certain what is the current figure for Australia’s contribution to atmospheric CO2. The figure that I have seen is 1.5%, but I believe that the percentage is decreasing, because every year China’s output of power increases by about Australia’s total annual output.

      If we reduce our emissions, even by 20%, the effect on global CO2 will be negligible. Global CO2 can be stabilised, or decreased, only if the major emitters, such as China, make significant reductions, and I believe that China expects its emissions to keep increasing until at least 2030.

      If there was a binding and enforceable international agreement that all nations would reduce their emissions, I would be prepared to support Australia signing it. However, from what I read, the chances of such an agreement being reached (and enforced) are infinitesimal, so I guess we need to prepare ourselves to adjust to higher levels of atmospheric CO2.

      I have a friend, an engineer in our State-owned power generator, who tells me that power usage divides into about 10% domestic, 90% commercial. All those people who get a warm inner glow by installing solar panels are not decreasing our emissions by much, we should concentrate on persuading commercial users to become more efficient.

      A modest proposal: I would like an economist’s opinion on whether Australia, rather than spending vast amounts of money on solar and wind, would achieve more by paying Third World nations to replace ageing dirty power stations with modern high-tech coal powered stations.

      About your comment on “pumping more and more CO2 into the atmosphere”: the planet may be able to cope with 400 ppm, or 800, but the effect of really high levels, such as 5000 ppm, is unknowable. Since this is the only planet we have, I feel we should aim at curbing the increase in emissions.

      • Ian MacDougall says:

        “Since this is the only planet we have, I feel we should aim at curbing the increase in emissions.”
        Actually Arthur, we do have another planet, about the same size and mass as the Earth. It is called Venus.
        But it has an atmosphere made up almost entirely of CO2, with a pressure at the surface of around 100 atmospheres (from memory). And its surface is the hottest of all the planets in the Solar System: hotter even than Mercury’s – closest planet to the Sun.
        “Without greenhouse gases, Earth would be a frozen -18 degrees Celsius (0 degrees Fahrenheit). With too many greenhouse gases, Earth would be like Venus, where the greenhouse atmosphere keeps temperatures around 400 degrees Celsius (750 Fahrenheit).”
        http://earthobservatory.nasa.gov/Features/CarbonCycle/page5.php?src=share

  10. Keith Kennelly says:

    Jody

    Just to make a point about no malice in people likeI Ian.

    You are behaving like an elitist.

    Their way is to be nice to everyone and ignore the maliciousness of other elitists.

    We deplorables are sick and tired of being maligned by elitists , are rejecting the elitists hypocritical calls to be ‘nice’ and like the ‘deplorable in chief’ are challenging the lies, deceit and nastiness of the elites.

    Now tell me Jody, When have you ever called out people like Ian who have slandered people like me, who have as equally honestly held beliefs that the science is not settled, as ‘skeptics’ and that particularly nasty NAZI supporting innuendo ‘Denier’.

    Not once Jody. See how you have applied a different standard to us deplorables.

    I object very strongly to your hypocrisy in this instance and I expect an apology.

    • Ian MacDougall says:

      Keith:

      Now tell me Jody, When have you ever called out people like Ian who have slandered people like me, who have as equally honestly held beliefs that the science is not settled, as ‘skeptics’ and that particularly nasty NAZI supporting innuendo ‘Denier’.

      If you object to being called a ‘skeptic’ and a ‘denier’(ie of mainstream climatology), then what do you want to be called?

      • en passant says:

        IanMacD,
        Why call people names at all?

        Oh yes, I forgot, you are a troll and a bully and that is what trolls and bullies do. Like the ‘Rats of Tobruk’ and Clinton’s insult to Trump supporters (who are part of the new wave sweeping the climate con scammers, rent-seekers, alchemists and pseudo scientists into the dustbin of history) I revel in the title of deplorable denier as every intelligent reader recognises that this is the code for being a logical, sceptical, science-based realist.

        But you? Well you are a troll of no substance beating your little tin drum loudly to drown out real scientific facts and data. The proof is that you cannot answer the two simplest of questions:
        1. What is the ideal average global temperature we are aiming for? and
        2. What is the ideal concentration of CO2 and why?

        You have know idea what it is you are trying to achieve, but there is no time to lose and we must redouble our efforts to get there. Check to see if you have any Easter Island or Neanderthal DNA if you cannot enlighten us as to what the climate cult is trying to achieve.

        In a previous post your trolling qualities and intransigence to logic and decency were on display when you did manage to offend me by calling me a racist. When it was pointed out to you that I have been married to an Asian lady for 41 years and live in Asia you did not withdraw, but like all boors you simply continued on and repeated your defamation oblivious to reality, or any sort of civilised manners. This is the behaviour that makes you a troll.

        You know not what you seek, but you will blight this world with your presence to achieve it, because because seeking attention, even at the cost of being despised is all you have.

        What a miserable life it must be.

        En Passant
        Sceptical Scientific Contrarian
        Deplorable 7th Dan Black Belt
        Climate Change Denier,

        Seek the Truth,
        No matter what you would prefer to believe.
        Leave beliefs and cults to the simple folk (and trolls like Ian MacD).

  11. Keith Kennelly says:

    Ian

    I’m Someone who has an honest belief, based in knowledge of meteorology, ocean currents and weather, that climate warming is not mainstream and is merely a scam supported by pseudo science.

    I’m not a denier nor a skeptic. I’ve an open mind to real science, proven facts and the knowledge 600 years of observation and empirical evidence afford.

    I don’t rely on a mob or a chorus cheering me on or homogenising records or made up ‘research’. I seek truth and if evidence, fact and logic prove I’m wrong then I’ll adjust accordingly.

    As compared to you who spout all sorts of nonsense and then refuse to answer the logical questions that will show you the error of your nonsense assertions.

    Is your interpretation of this clear?

  12. Keith Kennelly says:

    See Jody. Still they call us skeptic and denier and you remain mute.

    • Ian MacDougall says:

      Keith:
      I suggest you have a look at http://history.aip.org/climate/co2.htm

      • en passant says:

        Keith,
        Good luck in getting a straight reply from the bent troll. The proof is that he cannot answer the two simplest of questions:
        1. What is the ideal average global temperature we are aiming for? and
        2. What is the ideal concentration of CO2 and why?

        He has no idea what it is his cult is trying to achieve, but there is no time to lose and we must redouble our efforts to get there.

        I will pay your next year’s Quadrant subscription if Ian MacDoughnut provides the two numbers I am asking for and an explanation of why (any justification no matter how bad, illogical or moronic is acceptable). I could also bet that you will have to pay the subscription yourself.

        Jody,
        Name five positive things that Trump will achieve, with no if’s or but’s. OK, make it three …

  13. Keith Kennelly says:

    It is a mere history and there is nothing new in it and nowhere does it prove the link of warming caused by man.

    The author of this is an historian and physicist. He sets out to show the history of climate ‘science’.

    Not much use at all.

    It certainly shows none of the conspiracies to which you cling.