Energy & Environment

Witch doctors shake medicine sticks, warn of climate apocalypse to come

Witch doctors shake medicine sticks, warn of climate apocalypse to come

The release of the “climate change impact report” by the U.N.’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change certainly shed an interesting light on the decline fortunes of the Church of Global Warming.  The response has been widespread disdain, given that all of the Church’s projections and computer models have been utterly wrong for nearly two decades.  Everyone can see the game being played here: ramp up the hype as the data fizzles.

One of the climate report’s authors, Professor Richard Tol of Sussex University in England, actually withdrew from the team because he thought succeeding drafts were becoming too alarmist.  He also made interesting points about how humans are more adaptable than some climate scientists assume, and how the possible benefits of modest climate change (whether man-made or not) are undersold by doomsday theorists.  From a Reuters report:

Tol said the IPCC emphasized the risks of climate change far more than the opportunities to adapt. A Reuters count shows the final draft has 139 mentions of “risk” and 8 of “opportunity”.

Tol said farmers, for instance, could grow new crops if the climate in their region became hotter, wetter or drier. “They will adapt. Farmers are not stupid,” he said.

He said the report played down possible economic benefits of low levels of warming. Less cold winters may mean fewer deaths among the elderly, and crops may grow better in some regions.

“It is pretty damn obvious that there are positive impacts of climate change, even though we are not always allowed to talk about them,” he said. But he said temperatures were set to rise to levels this century that would be damaging overall.

But most of the U.N. panel sang a unified song of doom, without pausing to explain why anyone should take them seriously, after none of their previous predictions came to pass.  The New York Times tells us what to expect when “The Day After Tomorrow” arrives, to quote the title of one of those scaremongering B.S. productions “climate experts” tend to applaud for “raising awareness,” even though they know it’s all a load of Hollywood crap.

The report by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, a United Nations group that periodically summarizes climate science, concluded that ice caps are melting, sea ice in the Arctic is collapsing, water supplies are coming under stress, heat waves and heavy rains are intensifying, coral reefs are dying, and fish and many other creatures are migrating toward the poles or in some cases going extinct.

The oceans are rising at a pace that threatens coastal communities and are becoming more acidic as they absorb some of the carbon dioxide given off by cars and power plants, which is killing some creatures or stunting their growth, the report found.

Organic matter frozen in Arctic soils since before civilization began is now melting, allowing it to decay into greenhouse gases that will cause further warming, the scientists said.

And the worst is yet to come, the scientists said in the second of three reports that are expected to carry considerable weight next year as nations try to agree on a new global climate treaty. In particular, the report emphasized that the world’s food supply is at considerable risk — a threat that could have serious consequences for the poorest nations.

“Nobody on this planet is going to be untouched by the impacts of climate change,” Rajendra K. Pachauri, chairman of the intergovernmental panel, said at a news conference here on Monday.

And you can trust Rajendra Pachauri, because in 2007 he fell hook, line, and sinker for a bogus report about disappearing Himalayan glaciers that the IPCC later had to retract in embarrassment.  He’s also been known to misrepresent independent reviews of IPCC reports, “joke” about shooting climate-change skeptics into outer space, and wished they would kill themselves by washing their faces with asbestos.

But for the Church of Global Warming, every day is Day One.  Their tattered credibility is not an issue, because you’re supposed to forget the mountain of things they’ve been wrong about and take the latest apocalyptic warnings as gospel, even as they struggle to come up with a plausible explanation for the 17-year “pause” in global warming.  Is it raining where you are right now?  Global warming.  Is it dry?  Global warming.  Hot?  Cold?  Too many hurricanes?  Not enough hurricanes?  You know how this works.

The Angry Sky Gods will surely destroy us all, scream the witch doctors… unless of course they don’t, because maybe they can’t.  The IPCC really hedged its bets this time around, as the New York Times illustrates:

The report attempts to project how the effects will alter human society in coming decades. While the impact of global warming may actually be outweighed by factors like economic or technological change, the report found, the disruptions are nonetheless likely to be profound.

Oh.  So it all might be “outweighed” by factors as vague as “economic or technological change.”  When ten years passes and all their warnings are once again proved false, that will be their escape clause: We could not have anticipated the astounding economic and technological changes that invalidated our previous warnings of doom.  But don’t you dare think you can ignore Warnings of Doom, 2024 edition! 

They’re even blaming climate change for wars and urban poverty, two horribles we may reliably assume will still be around for the witch doctors to point at ten or twenty years hence:

“Throughout the 21st century, climate-change impacts are projected to slow down economic growth, make poverty reduction more difficult, further erode food security, and prolong existing and create new poverty traps, the latter particularly in urban areas and emerging hotspots of hunger,” the report declared.

The report also cites the possibility of violent conflict over land or other resources, to which climate change might contribute indirectly “by exacerbating well-established drivers of these conflicts such as poverty and economic shocks.”

Breaking news: Vladimir Putin annexes Crimea… top scientists cite climate change as a major factor.  Better get an electric car before he grabs Poland!

That sarcastic headline isn’t really much of an exaggeration.  Here’s a great example of how the witch doctors can grab any news headline and hammer it into the “climate change” template.  It’s not clear from the story whether this is in the IPCC report, or if it’s an editorial contribution from the New York Times:

Talk of adaptation to global warming was once avoided in some quarters, on the grounds that it would distract from the need to cut emissions. But the past few years have seen a shift in thinking, including research from scientists and economists who argue that both strategies must be pursued at once.

A striking example of the change occurred recently in the state of New York, where the Public Service Commission ordered Consolidated Edison, the electric utility serving New York City and some suburbs, to spend about $1 billion upgrading its system to prevent future damage from flooding and other weather disruptions.

The plan is a reaction to the blackouts caused by Hurricane Sandy. Con Ed will raise flood walls, bury some vital equipment and launch a study of whether emerging climate risks require even more changes. Other utilities in the state face similar requirements, and utility regulators across the United States are discussing whether to follow New York’s lead.

Hurricane Sandy had nothing to do with “climate change.”  Precautions against catastrophic damage from hurricanes, in the wake of a particularly damaging storm, are not some glowing example of how everyone bows and offers tribute to the Angry Sky Gods.

And in case you had any doubts about the real agenda behind the Church of Global Warming, a few paragraphs later we get a pitch for global wealth redistribution, because “the poorest people in the world, who have had virtually nothing to do with causing global warming, will be high on the list of victims as climactic disruptions intensify.”  They’ll need about $100 billion a year, taxed away from the people of the developed world, to make things square.  Evidently this demand was deemed a bit too provocative to remain in the executive summary presented to political leaders, but it’s still in the main report.

Writing at the Wall Street Journal, a few days before the IPCC report was released, Matt Ridley noted that for all the headline-grabbing predictions of planetary apocalypse, the new IPCC report is actually much more cautious than the last one… which included the above-mentioned prediction about vanishing Himalayan glaciers that Rajenda Pachauri defended, by screaming insults at doubters, right up until the IPCC admitted it was an error.

According to leaks, this time the full report is much more cautious and vague about worsening cyclones, changes in rainfall, climate-change refugees, and the overall cost of global warming.

It puts the overall cost at less than 2% of GDP for a 2.5 degrees Centigrade (or 4.5 degrees Fahrenheit) temperature increase during this century. This is vastly less than the much heralded prediction of Lord Stern, who said climate change would cost 5%-20% of world GDP in his influential 2006 report for the British government.

The forthcoming report apparently admits that climate change has extinguished no species so far and expresses “very little confidence” that it will do so. There is new emphasis that climate change is not the only environmental problem that matters and on adapting to it rather than preventing it. Yet the report still assumes 70% more warming by the last decades of this century than the best science now suggests. This is because of an overreliance on models rather than on data in the first section of the IPCC report—on physical science—that was published in September 2013.

Ridley went on to observe that the real debate in scientific circles was not between some infallible theocracy of climate change prophets and heretical anti-science “deniers,” but more like a question of interpretation between those who believe climate change both primarily man-made and catastrophic, versus those who think it’s largely a natural phenomenon (or as we used to call it, “weather”) and has either minimal negative effects, or even significant benefits.  Ridley’s conclusion is both reasonable and damning:

There remains a risk that the latest science is wrong and rapid warming will occur with disastrous consequences. And if renewable energy had proved by now to be cheap, clean and thrifty in its use of land, then we would be right to address that small risk of a large catastrophe by rushing to replace fossil fuels with first-generation wind, solar and bioenergy. But since these forms of energy have proved expensive, environmentally damaging and land-hungry, it appears that in our efforts to combat warming we may have been taking the economic equivalent of chemotherapy for a cold.

Almost every global environmental scare of the past half century proved exaggerated including the population “bomb,” pesticides, acid rain, the ozone hole, falling sperm counts, genetically engineered crops and killer bees. In every case, institutional scientists gained a lot of funding from the scare and then quietly converged on the view that the problem was much more moderate than the extreme voices had argued. Global warming is no different.

I would quibble in one respect: global warming is a bit different, because it’s a perfect storm of elitism, greed, and politics.  The early days might have been driven mostly by scientists looking to “sex up” their research grant proposals, but now the Ruling Class is fully on board, in love with the notion of a scientific theory that justifies limitless taxation and regulatory power.  The Ruling Class is very good at terrorizing citizens into compliance with its agenda.

“Read this report and you can’t deny the reality: unless we act dramatically and quickly, science tells us our climate and our way of life are literally in jeopardy,” thundered Secretary of State John Kerry.  In other words: don’t think, panic.  And if you insist on thinking, well, maybe it’s time you were packed off to a camp where “deniers” can be concentrated, until their minds are put right.  If you wonder what any of this hysteria has to do with either the scientific method or honest political debate, you’re not alone… no matter how hard the Church of Global Warming tries to convince you otherwise.

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