Doomed Planet

The Flame Blame Game

Here is a question for an authority on etiquette, someone like that late arbiter of the beau monde Sheila Scotter, stately, poised, every social grace at her fingertips. What is the correct reaction when friends overseas bombard you with email links to rants in leftist newspapers blaming our recent bushfires on “global warming”? Reply with a courteous note of thanks for the enlightenment intended? Respond with reasoned argument? A waste of time; you  might as well argue with a flat-earther or a feminist. Write back and tell them to stop this nuisance since we have already had as much climate nonsense from our own media over the last few months to last a lifetime?

It is a dilemma, and one that gives every indication of continuing long after the fire season. The horrifying destruction has not only attracted a level of overseas attention far beyond any such disasters here in the past, more even than worse fires with much greater loss of life, but it has given the media and officialdom the opportunity to whip up public perception of danger on an epic scale, so that even hundreds of kilometres from the fires one encountered normally sane people acting as though they were in the war, getting round in face masks like Londoners staggering through the Blitz. Climate evangelists will not willingly let go of such an opportunity to spruik their message. We can expect lots more of the same.

One doesn’t wish to be cynical, but these fires have been a gift to the Marxist fantasists who manipulate the international climate conspiracy for their own ideological ends and the useful idiots who parrot their apocalyptic predictions in the media and elsewhere. So many of their earlier prophecies have not worked out according to the script, what with polar bears proliferating rather than on their way to extinction, metropolitan dams nicely filled instead of dry, typhoons diminishing in frequency – in short a dearth of disasters demonstrable as warming-related.

Then suddenly here was real disaster, in a time of drought, ergo a clear case of the climate getting its own back on us for our unremitting abuse of the planet, with spectacular untameable flames that the catastrophists could point to and say, “Look, this is what not reducing carbon emissions leads to. We told you so.” Normally the international media couldn’t care less about what happens in Australia – try finding any Australian news in the press in Italy or Canada – but the fires have changed all that, because Australia just happened to be the place where climate alarmists could at long last assert that here, made visible and immediate in the eyes of the world, was the terrifying result of ignoring their warnings. (They tried it with the Brazilian fires last year but for some reason without the same impact.) The media, ever cooperative with prophets of climate doom, went into overdrive to make sure that this time no one, anywhere, could possibly miss the message. Hence the emailed prognostications of further doom from friends abroad (with at times implied reproach for one’s own less than wholehearted acceptance of the alarmist thesis).

In Sheila’s unavoidable absence I decided that for the time being the best thing to do was nothing. Reasoned argument – especially the point that these fires burnt with unprecedented ferocity partly because of lunatic Green policies that prohibit traditional fire prevention practices, policies dreamt up by ignorant urban-dwellers – wouldn’t get me anywhere, even if I were a scientist and in possession of incontrovertible proof. It would be like arguing with a flat-earther, or a feminist. Besides, these are friendships of long standing that I don’t want to lose, and one has heard so much about friends rent asunder over Trump or Brexit. At the same time it can be chastening to have the degree to which your friends understand you revealed by the choice of article they send. One recommended a piece from the Guardian, a paper I would have thought he knew from immemorial discussions that I never willingly read because it is both unreliable and irredeemably sunk in prejudiced leftishness.

Another was pushing a piece from the New York Times, entitled, in the voice of sweet reason and moderation that publication is renowned for, “Australia is Committing Climate Suicide” (“As record fires rage, the country’s leaders seem intent on sending it to its doom”). It was difficult to judge which was the more feverish: the Guardian piece, a jeremiad against Australia’s alleged disproportionate numbers of “climate deniers” written by an “energy and climate science communicator” in Norway (it might as well have been by Greta’s father next door in Sweden, who apparently has been dictating her petulant little tweets) or the New York Times’s contribution, complete with snipe at Scott Morrison, composed a bit nearer the scene of its subject, in Tasmania, by Richard Flanagan, described as a novelist. His gripping style is evident from the start.

Australia today is ground zero (Ground Zero! Where nearly 3000 died!) for the climate catastrophe. Its glorious Great Barrier Reef is dying, its world-heritage rain forests are burning, its giant kelp forests have largely vanished, numerous towns have run out of water or are about to, and now the vast continent is burning on a scale never before seen.

Of course, Richard’s efforts to foment panic (the Barrier Reef is quite healthy, according to the federal environment minister; the towns hadn’t run out of water and didn’t, and anyway that’s a cyclical drought problem, far from new, and so on) are wasted if you don’t buy the climate-caused-the-fires spiel. And it’s astonishing that any reasonable individual can, given the climate alarmists’ record of inaccuracy. Look around you. Are the waves at the beach any higher? Is the water creeping further up the sand any more than you might expect from natural erosion (or receding, come to that, since erosion can work both ways)? Is it really hotter, with higher temperatures for longer, than you remember? Are storms worse, rain more rare?

Climate soothsayers do not publicise their errors of prediction, and the mainstream media, loyally, declines to hold them to account, so we tend to forget just how wrong they can be. As a reminder, here’s a vintage piece unearthed by British journalist Daniel Hannan from – once again – the Guardian, which clearly has a venerable tradition of climate hyperbole, since this example was published in 1999. The writer, one Jamie Wilson, these days the Guardian’s head of international news, warned his readers that if they didn’t get their climate act together

Spain will be ridden with malaria, the eastern Mediterranean will be as hot as the Sahara desert, flash floods will swamp parts of the American coastline and there will be almost no snow in the Alps.

This is the doomsday scenario painted in a new report on the effects of global warming on 10 of the planet’s most popular tourist destinations in the next century. 

The study, commissioned by the World Wild Fund for Nature, found that profitable tourist destinations could be turned into “holiday horror stories”. 

Horror stories indeed, but fiction. Just so much sound and fury; tales told by idiots, signifying nothing. The “new report” referred to, called Climate change and its impacts on tourism, was the work of – who else? – dodgy scientists at the University of East Anglia’s climatic research unit, already at it ten years before they were caught out skewing the data to make climate change more scary to the public.

Jamie gives the impression of lingering long and lovingly over his catalogue of catastrophe:

Winter tourism will be affected in the Alps and other European skiing destinations from the impact of less snowfall and shorter skiing seasons. 

Safari holidays in east and southern Africa may also be affected as droughts and changes in temperature alter the distribution of wildlife.

And just when is this curse to come upon the world? Surprise, surprise, this year.

By 2020, visitors to the Costa del Sol could risk contracting malaria as global warming brings more frequent heatwaves, making the country a suitable habitat for malaria-bearing mosquitoes, while increases in summer temperatures to more than 40C (104F) could make parts of Turkey and Greece no-go areas in July and August.

A few enquiries elicit the reassurance that the Costa del Sol is still tolerably malaria-free, the eastern Mediterranean is still receiving vast numbers of tourists and skiing resorts in Europe this (northern) winter are crowded as usual with everywhere else either doing fine or looking forward to a bumper season.

The East Anglia data-tinkerers even spared a pre-bushfires thought for Australia.

The report says that a decline in cloud cover over Australia will increase exposure to the sun’s harmful rays, increasing the risk of sunburn and skin cancer. 

It can’t increase exposure to the rays if you don’t go out in them. Anyway, whatever happened to hats and slip, slop, slap?

This prompts the thought that possibly, to return to a point of etiquette, Miss Scotter might not have approved of the practice of appearing in public semi-naked except for smearings of creams and lotions, any more than she would sanction today’s habit of disfiguring oneself like a savage with tattoos. But as an exercise in tact I hope she would give her imprimatur to the answer I have devised to my original question: by all means send your links and attachments, but put them aside for a decade or so first to see whether events will have borne them out.

8 comments
  • IainC

    For those of you new to the Climate Armageddon Caper, here are a few translations of phrases you are sure to read in the next few days, from their equivalent in everyday English. Substitute “fire” for “flood” to translate the same phrases used up until 2 weeks ago.
    Rain – Code Red precipitation event
    Heavy rain – unprecedented localised catastrophic precipitation
    Heavy rain that goes on for more than 30 minutes – dangerous tipping-point flood
    Flood (one) – unprecedented record-breaking floods (plural)
    Flood (if it’s actually larger than the last one a few years’ ago) – climate change-derived disaster unprecedented since records began
    Any flood since 2001 – since records began
    Any well-documented flood from before 2001 – before records began
    Flooding in an unusual area – not flooded for millions of years

    Things I have learnt from recent events.
    1. Never let a good crisis go to waste.
    2. Never let the facts get in the way of exploiting a good crisis.
    3. A picture is worth a thousand words, so don’t worry if your pictures are fake, your opponents can’t write fast enough to catch up.
    4. If you want to propagate fake data, do it fast, loud and often – preferably with pictures (see 3).
    5. A photo of a distressed koala is worth more than a hundred scientific studies saying the opposite.

  • Ian MacDougall

    Moreover, warnings from climatologists can be dismissed: they are just chasing after research grants. And one of them, Judith Curry, disagrees with the mainstream climatological and scientific opinion anyway. (She must be OK for research funding. For now.)
    The subtext is that nothing must be allowed to interfere with the mining of coal, its combustion in thermal power stations, and so its conversion to $$$$ in the accounts of those who have secured proprietary rights to it. And that there are no better longer-term uses for it. And we need to clamp down on the swing to renewables and all these rooftop solar panels. Tony Abbott had the right idea: subsidise coalar, but not solar.
    Just to make sure we are clear on that point.

  • rod.stuart

    CLIMATOLOGISTS??????????
    Is that what astrologists and other charlatans are called these days?

  • ianl

    The trollster, blazing with febrile ignorance and malice, is back.

    No empirical evidence, just ad hoc rhetoric from The Guardian and other juvenile journos. Nothing’s changed then.

    CO2 caused the IOD ? Check !! CO2 caused the drought ? Check !! CO2 caused the bush to light up and destroy lives and property ? Check !! CO2 is causing the current flash floods ? Check !! Oh, and it causes ENSO as well !! Hard, empirical evidence ? Not needed when we have undefined “consensus”. Never mind that many thousands of physicists, chemists, geologists, biologists, mathematicians, meteorologists dispute the undefined consensus – actual empirical data is not relevant.

    Amazing – increasing the atmospheric concentration of the magic gas by 1 molecule in 10,000 (ie. from 0.03% to 0.04%) causes such havoc to the interaction of the two great fluids, the atmosphere and the hydrosphere. I collapse in laughter, not awe.

  • Wyndham Dix

    There is an elephant in the room that dares not be mentioned by name but which explains most ills afflicting society today, including allegedly destructive capabilities of a trace atmospheric gas. A young and prescient Winston Churchill defined the elephant in words that nowhere today would gain a hearing.
    .
    It was given to him to discern these things, as it was also during the rise of Hitler and rearmament of Germany in the 1930s, his warnings either ignored or derided by appeasers and naysayers of the day.

  • Alice Thermopolis

    “Look, this is what not reducing carbon emissions leads to. We told you so.”

    BOM warns of potential for ‘life-threatening’ flash flooding from Coffs Harbour to Ulladulla as wet weather continues Saturday February 8, 2020 – 11:22 EDT

    The Bureau of Meteorology (BOM) has issued a severe weather warning for much of the east coast, with the potential for “life-threatening” flash flooding tonight in areas from Coffs Harbour to Ulladulla.

    Yesterday the heaviest falls were on the Central Coast, which recorded 200 millimetres in the 24 hours to 9 o’clock this morning.

    Sydney received 40-80 millimetres on average, with some suburbs receiving more than 100mm.

    Some outdoor events were cancelled due to extreme weather conditions, including Saturday’s Inner West Summer Fest at Enmore Park.

    Heavy rain and severe flooding also forced the cancellation of the Red Hot Summer Tour shows which were meant to take place on Saturday and Sunday on Cockatoo Island.

    Nasty global warming surely must be the cause of this EWE too, but MSM seems to have lapsed into silence. Did I miss yet another of its “carbon” (dioxide) attribution riff?

    They prayed for rain and they got it.. A compassionate divinity must be in charge after all, not wannabe climate fixers. Or is that Great Satan, natural variability, up to his old tricks?

  • Ian MacDougall

    ‘ianl’:
    “The trollster, blazing with febrile ignorance and malice, is back…. (etc, etc.)”
    Excuse me? Don’t you mean mainstream science?

  • lhackett01

    Before I get closed down completely, please read my newly revised paper, “Global Warming Misunderstood”. It is available for free at https://www.scribd.com/document/383385011/.
    We can act as intelligent beings or suffer the consequences of our blinkered folly.

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