Friday, 2 November 2012

Warmer winters?

With EDF raising the price of gas and electricity by 11% as another winter approaches, it may be worth a brief look at those warmer winters we were so confidently promised. Is there a risk we won't get them? Surely not.

In many ways, climate change is a global political attempt to skew our perceptions of risk. From this angle, it isn’t so surprising that climate propaganda is both state-sponsored and scientifically unreliable. There are many precedents for state-sponsored skewing of our perception of risk, from passive smoking to alcohol to drug addiction and crime.

Yet a simple risk assessment is one way to look at climate propaganda, rather than delving too deeply into the science, which is worth doing, but only accessible to a technically proficient audience. So how should we assess climate risks?

Because the behaviour of our climate is so uncertain, the risks are ironically, very easy to assess, at least in broad outline. To begin with, I think it’s worth saying that we cannot put numbers against climate risks because climate uncertainties are too great, in spite of what we are often told. The big climate lie is buried here:-


It can hardly be stressed too strongly just how uncertain the reality behind climate propaganda really is. What do we mean by uncertainty? Well climate science is inherently uncertain – even global temperatures are uncertain, but to my mind it’s worth beginning with climate theories.

We don’t know which is the best climate theory.

That’ll do as a start if we’re looking at uncertainty. Charlatans and their useful idiots talk about CO2 while genuine scientists will admit that we don’t actually know which is the best climate theory. The CO2 theory was just a guess which became entangled with the ambitions of powerful global bureaucrats.

So why the confident predictions?

Ask away until you are blue in the face – there is no rational answer. Theories based on solar activity moderated by ocean currents seem to be a good bet, but with lots of caveats and uncertainty still to be resolved.

The CO2 theory is largely discredited and probably only worth pursuing by a small number of researchers in case CO2 does have some measurable impact. So far the consensus seems to be that it may have some impact but not much. Possibly not even measurable.

So back to risk.

Firstly – likelihood. How likely is it that the global climate will warm or cool over the next few decades? With no significant global temperature rise so far this century, we are probably justified in assessing the risk of future warming and cooling as equal. Nobody knows what the climate will do even next year, so the state of our knowledge may be represented by the toss of a coin.

There is of course the possibility that it will neither cool nor warm for years to come, but I’ll ignore this possibility, if only because climate change does seem to be cyclical. However, it remains a possibility.

Secondly – impact. The outcome of a few degrees warming has been grossly overstated, largely by wildly exaggerated claims about sea levels and storm and hurricane frequency. On the whole, moderate warming would be beneficial for global agriculture and energy costs. This is a matter of common sense and historical experience – not just science.

Cooling on the other hand, would lead to crop failures, lower levels of agricultural output, more deaths among the vulnerable and higher energy costs. Another common sense conclusion.

So a rational climate strategy based on risk would ignore warming and have us prepared for at least moderate cooling. The cheapest actions we might take if sanity ever returns are obvious.

Remove all climate-related subsidies and tax breaks based on warming.
Repeal all climate laws and regulations based on warming.
Grant fracking licences.

Insulating homes and conserving energy are worthwhile and it’s a pity such measures became entangled with lunatic climate propaganda. Subsidies and tax breaks for erratic and unreliable energy sources such as wind and solar are not worthwhile. These technologies may be worth a limited amount of further research, but that’s it.

Climate propagandists are not only pushing scientifically absurd policies, but policies which do not even address climate risks in a rational way. We may not see global cooling, but it’s a risk to which we should pay far more attention than warming.


Demetrius said...

Yesterday, the earthquake listings were unusually nasty, may be just the way it goes but might something be about to blow?

James Higham said...

Crops are under threat anyway, artificially.

A K Haart said...

Demetrius - yes, we are not paying enough attention to the serious stuff.

James - in all kinds of ways.