This doesn’t mean the climate change “debate” will stop, the news media will cease reporting weather as a dire threat, or that the true believers will no longer be obsessed by it. However, the ultimate arbiter, climate itself, has made clear its decision by ceasing to warm for over 18 years. Despite the ongoing use of fossil fuels, a proclaimed 95% certainty of 97% of scientists and the high-powered projections of the world’s most advanced climate models, the climate has refused to pay the slightest heed.
Contrary to all the confidence and predictions of alleged experts, storms are no more intense nor frequent, while droughts, floods and sea levels have declined to confirm alarmists’ barely concealed hopes of disasters. The simple fact is that the alleged experts and their high-powered models were wrong. The climate has ceased to warm and, with little or no greenhouse warming, the entire theory of Catastrophic Anthropogenic Global Warming (CAGW), aka Climate Change (CC), aka Global Warming, aka Extreme Weather, is left with no basis.
The debate over CC has been unique in the history of science in that its proponents have largely abandoned the primacy of evidence and openly declared methodology in favour of self-proclaimed authority backed by their own confidential methods and models. It is also unique in that the alarmists refuse to directly address their arguments, prefering to ignore, censor and personally denigrate them. In a few instances in the early part of the public debate, the proponents attempted direct debate with their critics but came away looking decidedly second-best and they soon refused any further direct discussion. With no convincing answers to the uncertainties and conflicting evidence raised by their opponents they simply chose to ignore them, declare the science “settled” and anoint themselves as the only experts. All who disagreed agree were deemed to be fools, knaves and/or in the pay and pocket of Big Energy.
With a naive and compliant news media steeped in the same politically correct, left wing academic indoctrination as the researchers, the latter enjoyed a near monopoly on favourable news coverage. Self-serving publicity releases were regurgitated undigested beneath the by-lines of environmental “reporters”, who eagerly reduced themselves to unquestioning stenographers.
Yet even as the alarmists’ received kid-glove treatment in the mainstream media, the Internet has been a very different story. Not only did the climate alarmists have no advantage online, the thinking public was increasingly looking to the Web as their primary source for news. This digital realm was outside any particular control or influence, open to the airing of opposing argument and evidence. It was also a forum for the exposure of malpractice, regularly producing exposes which would shatter the façade of scientific expertise and propriety the alarmists had erected around themselves. Think here of how Wattsupwiththat demolished the charlatan Michael Mann and his infamous hockey stick, and the Climategate emails revealed the lengths professional warmists are prepared to go in order to silence sceptics, not least by debasing the conventions of the peer-review process.
In retreat, climate alarmists are now trying to deny the lack of warming while fiddling the temperature record in an effort to “prove” it is continuing. Their ever-more imaginative explanations — the heat is hiding at the bottom of the ocean; trade winds are skewing sea-temperature readings — increasingly smack of desperation. Making matters worse for the alarmists, there is increasing evidence that the global climate has not only ceased to warm but may actually be starting to cool. Severe, often record-breaking winter weather demands more and more undeclared “adjustments” to the temperature record are being exposed. Overwhelmingly these serve to reduce past temperatures and increase more recent ones without which the lack of warming would be more obvious.
When such changes to the record have been discovered and questioned the response has been to waffle about “homogenization” and “world’s best practice” or to suggest such corrections are needed because, say, the Japanese bombed Darwin, a weather was moved and, therefore, the coastal city’s temperature record must be reconstructed by drawing on numbers from Daly waters, far inland. These explanations, however, are inevitably long on hypothetical context and galling deficient in specific explanations for their justification.
More broadly a similar pattern of response has also been made in various other instances wherein malpractice in climate science has been exposed. At first the problem is denied, then it is dismissed as being of no importance and, finally, the attempt is made to justify it as excusable error. In the more egregious instances, when the scandal is no longer in the news, the miscreant may then be given some prestigious award, thus certifying the unimportance of any misdeeds. To any thinking observer, all this, when combined with a noticeable lack of any disavowal by colleagues, can only confirm the corruption now systemic in climate science.
Currently the recent US/China agreement is being touted as an important breakthrough in the battle against climate change. In reality it amounts to a non-binding agreement to do nothing different before 2030. Until then China is free to continue increasing emissions while the US agrees to continue to reducing its own in line with the reductions already achieved and further anticipated through the ongoing switch from coal and oil to natural gas. For China this agreement affords cost-free relief from diplomatic pressure over their increasing emissions. On the US side it provides President Obama the excuse of diplomatic obligations to invoke his executive authority to implement various measures unlikely to receive approval from a Republican-controlled Congress. As ratification by the Congress would be required for any binding climate agreement and such approval is likely to be lengthy or never, the blank cheque for the exercise of executive authority may remain useful for some time.
The reality is that the threat of catastrophic climate change has almost certainly been vastly exaggerated. At pre-industrial levels of CO2 the back-radiated IR energy in the absorption bands of this gas was virtually all absorbed within a few tens of metres of the surface. More CO2 only concentrates the initial absorption a bit closer to the surface but the mixing at that level still quickly distributes the heat energy through a much larger volume of the lower troposphere while, at the same time, also increasing transport of heat away from the surface by enhancing evaporation, which in turn can be expected to increase cloud cover. How much actual warming may result is highly problematic. Empirical evidence is now indicating that any such warming is probably much less than has been estimated by the alarmists — probably so little as to be over-ridden by other natural variables. The only significant effect attributable with any confidence to increased CO2 thus far has been a marked greening of arid regions and an increase in agricultural yields.
With or without any agreement or government initiatives, economics, technological developments and demographic changes will in due course inevitably reduce the demand for fossil fuels and replace them with other and cleaner sources of energy. Thorium- and fusion-reactor developments are showing increasing promise of providing effectively unlimited cheap and clean energy within a few decades. For domestic use, solar voltaic technology is beginning to become competitive with mains electricity, with further gains in cost effectiveness near certain in the near future. Major advances in storage technology are also well underway and expected to become commercially available within a few years. Better cheaper solar technology to power homes and vehicles is likely to drive the beginning of mass uptake within a decade. This will be impelled by cost effectiveness, with subsidies unnecessary. Indeed, such support risks doing more harm than good if it diverts development and uptake from the best and most efficient technologies emerging from a complex, rapidly changing and impossible-to-predict scientific frontier.
An argument is often made that the climate-change threat must be real because a conspiracy involving an overwhelming majority of the world’s scientists is simply not credible. This is disingenuous in that the climate threat, as exemplified by the IPCC’s scare machine, is far from representing a scientific consensus, even a majority. Global scientific opinion on this matter is highly mixed with the alarmist position concentrated in Europe and the Anglosphere. Even here thousands of dissenters exist, including many highly qualified and respected researchers with very relevant expertise.
The core alarmist proponents only comprise a few dozen, mostly third-rate, academics whose scientific reputations are minimal outside of climate alarmism. They co-opted the niche, little known interdisciplinary field of climatology, proclaimed themselves to be the world authorities, declared a global crisis, received lavish funding to research it and gained global attention. They have been aided and abetted by sundry fellow travellers who see advantage for various other agendas. A conspiracy does not require secret planning. It can be implemented just as easily with a wink and a nod when the aims and methods are apparent to all the participants. It is time to recognise the climate scam for what it is: a conspiracy to defraud on a monumental scale.
Although climate itself is presenting its irrefutable opposing argument, failed prophets never willingly concede defeat until their mouths are stopped with the dust of reality. In this instance gob-stopping reality seems likely to take the form of severe winter weather leading to a widespread collapse of electrical power in an overloaded grid suffering from the underinvestment, malinvestment, restraints and neglect. All these stem from years of misguided climate policies. Until the crunch comes, the rent-seekers and their useful idiots in the press will rant and rage without pause, their livelihoods and careers hanging on their ability to perpetuate the hoax they foisted on the rest of us.
As so often, Shakespeare said it best: “A tale, told by an idiot, full of sound and fury, signifying nothing.”
A marine biologist, Walter Starck has spent much of his career studying coral reef and marine fishery ecosystems