Category Archives: Climate

Items about the way the climate changing. Or isn’t.

Tips for Tots

childrenI doubt whether many children read these pages. But if they did, I would like them to get hold of a few home truths which might stop them worrying about climate change:

  • It did get a bit warmer in the first half of the 20th century, and again a bit warmer again in the last part of the 20th But this century, there has been little if any global warming, apart from the 2016 El Niño, which was nothing to do with carbon dioxide. We are not seeing runaway global warming, and there is no emergency.
  • If the predictions of the alarmists had proved true, it would have got much warmer by now, but it has not. And so the theories of these alarmists have turned out to be mistaken. Their models are clearly wrong. Which means that their ongoing predictions are also complete crap.
  • Likewise, if the predictions of the alarmists had proved true, the Arctic would have melted by now and Manhattan would be underwater. These things have simply not happened; the predicted rise in sea levels has not happened.
  • It was quite a bit warmer than today in the Medieval warming period. That can have had nothing to do with man-made emissions of carbon dioxide. And it was a time when mankind did really rather well.
  • It was even warmer than that at the time of the ancient Romans. Again, no significant man-made emissions of carbon dioxide then, and again it was time when mankind flourished.
  • It is true that carbon dioxide levels have gone up in the last 50 years, from about 300 ppm to about 400 ppm. These are still tiny amounts, and far, far less than carbon dioxide levels have been in the past. The only detectable effect has been the trees and crops around the world have grown better, since trees and plants need carbon dioxide. That additional greening up is a good thing.
  • Nobody has died from climate change, nor have there been any climate change refugees. On the contrary, the migration pattern we have seen has been the same migration of rich people for decades now, moving from colder climates to warmer climates. Because warmer climates are more pleasant and more healthy.
  • Conversely, millions of people are now dying around the world as a result of climate change activism. In particular, poor people – particularly an Africa and the Indian subcontinent – are dying for lack of affordable electricity. Pressure from the environmentalists on institutions like the World Bank means that it is more difficult now for poor regions to obtain affordable electricity from traditional power stations. That means they have to cook indoors using dung and other highly polluting fuels. If the likes of Extinction Rebellion were to get their way, the wealthy would be fine, but unnecessary poverty and death of the poorer and weaker would soar even higher.
  • Pollution, including pollution from coal-fired power stations and diesel vehicles in cities, can be a real problem, and that is a problem that should be addressed. But it is a problem that has nothing to do with global warming. And carbon dioxide is not, by any stretch of the imagination, a pollutant.
  • Climate change is an imperfectly understood science. It is much more likely that, in a highly complex system, the sun is the main driver rather than carbon dioxide levels. But what we do know is that the Earth repeatedly experiences ice ages which last about 10 times as long as the interglacial periods, and that we are now pretty much at the end of the usual interglacial period (about 10,000 years on average). If it were possible to delay or even prevent the onset of the next ice age by massive man-made global warming, that would be a fantastic achievement, which would save billions of lives. But the greenhouse effect of carbon dioxide is tiny – not nearly enough to produce the warming that we would need.
  • Real scientists:
    • test their hypotheses against actuality, and if their hypotheses don’t work, they junk them, and try to work out something else;
    • publicly share their data;
    • welcome criticism, and are willing to engage in debate as to whether their hypotheses hold water;
    • root out and reject data which has been manipulated or cherry picked;
    • do not try to silence other scientists who disagree with them, but treat them with respect and listen to their arguments.
  • The current crop of climate scientists do none of these things. They are scientists in much the same way that Scientologists are scientists. Hardly anyone gets to be a climate scientist these days who is not already a climate change alarmist. And so asking what the majority of climate scientists think about global warming is like asking what the majority of Jesuit priests think about the virgin birth. Try it. Try asking a Jesuit priest about the possibility that Jesus’s mother Mary was lying about not having had a bonk. Really.
  • It is hardly surprising that governments around the world have been jumping on the climate change bandwagon. Government is the biggest business in the world. And climate change gives them a great opportunity to increase their income from taxation and increase their control over what ordinary people can or cannot do.
  • An overwhelming consensus in favour of a particular viewpoint is not evidence at all that that viewpoint is correct. When Galileo first spoke out, there was an overwhelming consensus that the sun went around the earth. Until a couple of hundred years ago, there was an overwhelming consensus among doctors that it was a good idea to take large quantities of blood out of people who are unwell. Even today, there is an overwhelming consensus in the Middle East in the infallibility of the teachings of the psychopathic warlord who hated Jews. Remember that the vast majority of consensus has no independently formed intelligence at all, but is merely moving with the crowd. Much more intelligent is to tune in to the observations of smart people who are looking at the data, making their own analyses.
  • There’s no great harm in some of the gestures that are made in the name of global warming, but remember that they are not cost free:
    • Electric vehicles are fine for cities (not so good for long journeys). But bear in mind that their construction means that they cause considerable ecological damage;
    • wind turbines are fine, as long as the wind is blowing at the right speed. But bear in mind that they cause considerable health risks to people living nearby, create huge carbon dioxide emissions to build, are a big headache to dispose of at the end of their short lives and are very damaging to birdlife;
    • solar panels on the roof are fine, particularly in places (such as where I live, in South Australia) where there are frequent power cuts. But bear in mind that they do not produce electricity at night, and to store their daytime electricity for night use requires massive batteries which are very expensive and bad for the environment;
    • disapprove of nuclear power if you like. But bear in mind that it is the cleanest and safest generation system around today, and that the Fukushima incident (nuclear power plant swamped by a tsunami) cost zero lives in terms of radiation exposure, but the Japanese response (closing down its other nuclear power plants) has caused thousands of disadvantage Japanese people to die (they could not cope with the doubling of electricity prices in their homes).
  • If, like little Greta Thunberg, you have been radicalised by watching the likes of David Attenborough’s TV programmes about nature and the like, remember that:
    • David Attenborough did not write those scripts. He was just paid to read the voiceovers. He was not hired because he is bright – he was hired because he has a lovely soothing voice;
    • Polar bears are not endangered. Their numbers have multiplied in recent years;
    • When they show you pictures of those huge towers on traditional power stations, the clouds above them are not pollution, but merely water vapour. Just ordinary, harmless clouds;
    • When they show you videos of hurricanes and other extreme weather events, they are showing you exceptions, not the rule. The number of extreme weather events has been falling, as the world’s climate gets more benign. And the number of people killed by extreme weather events is these days a small fraction of what it was 100 years ago.

When you grow up, and depending on where you grow up. you might be inclined to blame your parents for being such soft-headed woke hippies. Especially if you look across at places that did not go woke, did not go broke and are much Continue reading

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A Dangerous Taste for Failure

The Last JudgmentOne of the jolly things about 2020 is that it is a date that has, in the past, repeatedly been picked as the date by which all sorts of terrible things are supposed to have happened, mostly as a result of global warming, but also as a result of other things that the flopsies don’t like. Here is a brief selection:[1]

The Washington Post 1990: “Carbon dioxide is the gas most responsible for predictions that Earth will warm on average by about 3 degrees Fahrenheit by the year 2020… The United States, because it occupies a large continent in higher latitudes, could warm by as much as 6 degrees Fahrenheit.

All that didn’t happen. It’s more like 1°F.

The New York Times 1989, quoting William Stevens: “untapped pools of domestic oil are finite and dwindling… by the year 2020 there would not be enough domestic oil left ‘to keep me interested.”

Ha ha. The United States is presently swimming in oil, not least because of highly successful fracking.

The Lancet 1997: ‘Millions will die’ unless climate policies change. The report went on to say that 8 million people would die by 2020.

Well, of course, nobody has died from climate change .  Unless  you count, Continue reading

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cat in microwave 2It will have escaped no one’s notice that the recent fires in Australia have been particularly widespread this year. Unhappily, a couple of dozen people have been killed, and although this number is much smaller than the many who have been killed by the anomalously cold weather in India, Pakistan and Afghanistan during the same period, it is a couple of dozen too many.

The fires are of course useful fuel for climate alarmists, who want to push the narrative that there is some sort of emergency whereby carbon dioxide emissions will cause us all to fry sometime soon. Thus, Greta Thunberg wrote in a tweet on 22nd December:

Not even catastrophes like these seem to bring any political action. How is this possible? Because we still fail to make the connection between the climate crisis and increased extreme weather events and nature disasters like the #AustraliaFires That’s what has to change. Now.

Likewise, Tim Flanney, a man with a formidable reputation for getting things wrong, says that it is “immoral not to connect the dots” in this way.

The evidence, however, is unremittingly against this analysis. New South Wales, where the fires first took a grip, has had a hot spell, for sure, but not exceptionally so Continue reading

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Predictions for 2030


NostradamusIt is New Year’s Day, 2020. The newspapers are replete with remarks about the way the last decade went. Few are unwise enough to make predictions about the way the coming decade will unfold. But hey ho. Someone has to do it.

Looking back at predictions that other people have made in the past, a couple of themes emerge. The first is that predictions of impending catastrophe almost always turn out to be groundless. There is obviously something about the human psyche which is attracted, in some way, to notions of terrible times ahead. And so if you are straining in your seats waiting for awful predictions, take a step backwards.

Secondly, even when predictions are more or less right, they tend to overestimate rates of change. By and large, things happen in the world pretty slowly, and probably rather more slowly than they did century or so ago.

Trying to keep these thoughts in mind, here is my brief time capsule, to be opened in 10 years’ time. It would be hopeless to expect that they will all be right.


Global warming

My guess is that there will be Continue reading

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Climate change – what happened to the Isle of Oxney?

old_mapWhen I was a child, my maternal grandmother retired to Littlestone, on the Kent coast. The nearest town was New Romney, which used to be a thriving port not so very long ago. I recall seeing the metal rings that the ships used to tie up to on the harbour wall.

Not any more.

And what about the Isle of Oxney, just up the road? That is completely gone.

The ravages of climate change? Swamped by rising sea level?

Just the Continue reading

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Backing the Enemy

zionYou would not need to be a political genius, or even particularly cynical, to note that the current impeachment proposals against President Trump are driven by Democrats, not Republicans, for very good reason.

The impeachment proceedings have no prospect whatsoever of removing Trump as president of the United States. Like him or loathe him, he has a majority in the Senate, and so there is really no prospect at all of the majority in the Senate, let alone a two thirds majority in the Senate voting against him, as would be necessary for any impeachment. Conversely, the impeachment process does have the effect of focusing on the narrative: Trump wants Joe Biden investigated for corruption. Unhappily, you might say, it does not much matter whether or not Joe Biden is corrupt. The constant repetition of the narrative, on the other hand, will fix into the American psyche yet more firmly the notion that Joe Biden is corrupt. And so it is hardly surprising that that narrative is very welcome to Joe Biden’s competitors for the Democratic nomination. They are whipping that bandwagon along.

There’s nothing new, of course, about political forces pulling their weight behind political moves, including support for well-meaning but naïve opponents, for political purposes. The USSR did it for decades.

An interesting question is whether Saudi Arabia, and the other major stakeholders in the oil business, are behind Extinction Rebellion. It is interesting that, until Andrew Neil’s interview of Zion Lights, the BBC had suppressed any meaningful questions about the climate change lobby’s gender, or the scientific facts behind their campaign. And yet here we have the BBC airing Andrew Neil’s somewhat gentle but nevertheless devastating interview of extension rebellions spokesperson. She was made to look like a complete idiot. Which is not wholly surprising. Since Continue reading

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Brexit & Global Warming: Gnostics v Faithful

GnosticIt has been remarked that there is some commonality between those who advocate for British independence from the EU (Brexit) and those who are sceptical about climate change alarmism.[1] The point might equally be put the other way around: that the more likely someone is to believe in the UK’s continued partipation in the EU project, the more likely that person is to believe in impending disaster resulting from anthropogenic global warming.

What is the link between these concepts? It is an interesting question, and the answer is by no means obvious. Certainly, it is the case that a number of the sharpest minds in Britain today (Matt Ridley[2], Nigel Lawson[3], Jacob Rees-Mogg[4] and Daniel Hannan[5] to name a few) – let us call them the Gnostics – are in favour of Brexit, and are also sceptical about the beliefs of the climate change lobby. But then again, there are also Continue reading

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Scared, or Scary?

cat in microwave 2What little Greta Thunberg had to say to the UN’s, is like her other utterances, complete tosh. Children are not being murdered by greedy industrialists. There are no entire ecosystems which are collapsing. We are not experiencing any mass extinction.

But here’s a question. Is she genuinely scared witless? Or is she a manipulative little vixen?

It might be a mixture of the two, of course. But it is hard not to believe that there might be a fair bit of the latter. Not all manipulative children suffer from Aspergers Syndrome, but it appears to be well documented that children suffering from Aspergers are particularly likely to indulge in manipulative behaviour. As noted by Continue reading

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Recent thoughts


Cigar4For various reasons, I have not posted so much recently. But I have a couple of moments now, and here are some recent thoughts:


We at the beginning g of September now, towards the end of the rainier winter on the Fleurieu Peninsula, but neither my rainwater tanks nor my dam (“Loch Phenelry”) are yet full.

If my croquet lawn is to flourish over the summer, I need some more rain.

Hong Kong

Ever since the British government handed back (unnecessarily, in my view) Hong Kong to the Chinese, Hong Kong was doomed. Without any pleasure in saying so at all, I fear the protesters have no real prospect of succeeding. Hong Kong used to be a colony of the British, but was free, in that the government did pretty much what the people wished for, even though there were no elections. Now and for the foreseeable future, it is a colony of the Chinese, and not free: now the government does what the Chinese want.

Forbidden Fruit

For many people, that which is forbidden is all the more delicious.

For me, as for many other people, the best fruit is knowledge. There is a delight in Continue reading

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How Hot Are We? Ice with That?


Readers of these pages will know that I am somewhat sceptical of the claim that we are hurtling towards mass extinction because of global warming. But it looks like the UK government is moving towards a position where flying around the world will be severely curtailed, if not outright banned, as they demand a state of “zero net emissions”. So I thought I might just review where we are.

Here is the graph of the Annual Global Mean Temperature Anomaly Over Land & Sea – 1880 to Present. As you can see, there was cooling from around 1880 to 1910, then warming from 1910 to 1940, then nothing much either way from 1940 until around 1970, then warming until around 2000, since when there has been nothing much (maybe some slight warming). You can make your own minds up about whether the warming from 1970 to 2000 (a period when CO2 levels went way up) is that much more drastic than the warming from 1910 to 1940 (when they did not).



View vary, or course about Continue reading

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