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Becoming “lukewarm” about Global Warming

5 November 2011 221 views 5 Comments

Thanks to my friend and FTI colleague Sanjeev Sabhlok for this excerpt. It comes from a speech by Matt Radley that Sanjeev has posted in full (emphasis added).

…. Now before you all rush for the exits, and I know it is traditional to walk out on speakers who do not toe the line on climate at the RSA – I saw it happen to Bjorn Lomborg last year when he gave the Prince Philip lecture – let me be quite clear. I am not a “denier”.

I fully accept that carbon dioxide is a greenhouse gas, the climate has been warming and that man is very likely to be at least partly responsible. When a study was published recently saying that 98% of scientists “believe” in global warming, I looked at the questions they had been asked and realized I was in the 98%, too, by that definition, though I never use the word “believe” about myself.

Likewise the recent study from Berkeley, which concluded that the land surface of the continents has indeed been warming at about the rate people thought, changed nothing. So what’s the problem? The problem is that you can accept all the basic tenets of greenhouse physics and still conclude that the threat of a dangerously large warming is so improbable as to be negligible, while the threat of real harm from climate-mitigation policies is already so high as to be worrying, that the cure is proving far worse than the disease is ever likely to be.

Or as I put it once, we may be putting a tourniquet round our necks to stop a nosebleed. I also think the climate debate is a massive distraction from much more urgent environmental problems like invasive species and overfishing…..So to say there is a consensus about some global warming is true; to say there is a consensus about dangerous global warming is false.

…earlier this year, a tenacious British mathematician named Nic Lewis started looking into the question of sensitivity and found that the only wholly empirical estimate of sensitivity cited by the IPCC had been put through an illegitimate statistical procedure which effectively fattened its tail on the upward end – it hugely increased the apparent probability of high warming at the expense of low warming.  When this is corrected, the theoretical probability of warming greater than 2.3C is very low indeed. Like all the other errors in the IPCC report, including the infamous suggestion that all Himalayan glaciers would be gone by 2035 rather than 2350, this mistake exaggerates the potential warming.

It is beyond coincidence that all these errors should be in the same direction. The source for the Himalayan glacier mistake was a non-peer reviewed WWF report and it occurred in a chapter, two of whose coordinating lead authors and a review editor were on WWF’s climate witness scientific advisory panel. Remember too that the glacier error was pointed out by reviewers, who were ignored, and that Rajendra Pachauri, the head of the IPCC, dismissed the objectors as practitioners of “voodoo science”.

Journalists are fond of saying that the IPCC report is based solely on the peer-reviewed literature. …That’s a voodoo claim. The glacier claim was not peer reviewed; nor was the alteration to the sensitivity function Lewis spotted. The journalist Donna Laframboise got volunteers all over the world to help her count the times the IPCC used non-peer reviewed literature. Her conclusion is that: “Of the 18,531 references in the 2007 Climate Bible we found 5,587 – a full 30% – to be non peer-reviewed.” Yet even to say things like this is to commit heresy. To stand up and say, within a university or within the BBC, that you do not think global warming is dangerous gets you the sort of reaction that standing up in the Vatican and saying you don’t think God is good would get.

Does it matter? …
Well here’s why it matters. The alarmists have been handed power over our lives; the heretics have not.

Read it in full. I mean it. And please consider sharing. There is also a pdf version available here (1.9M download). In the words of Matt Radley, the more I read about global warming, the more “lukewarm” I become about it.

Related Posts: On Nano, global warming, India and China and from my other blog: Help, I’m feeling cold…Al Gore’s Inconvenient Un-Truth(s) and Why do I feel a chill when people talk of global warming? (from 2007)

Image Courtesy: The Rational Optimist

5 Comments »

  • 1. Sanjeev Sabhlok said:

    Thanks, Shantanu. Just a quick one. I guess I’m not saying that the earth has not warmed since the mid-1800s. So there’s global warming.

    I’m also not saying that there is no climate change.

    So there is BOTH global warming and climate change.

    What I’ve determined after extensive reading and review is that man has contributed only a very little to this particular episode of climate change (noting that the climate NEVER remains the same). And indeed, a little warming is a beneficial thing.

    More details at: http://sabhlokcity.com/2010/04/the-great-boon-of-co2/ and numerous other blog posts under the “climate change” tag.

    The most important thing to note is that the effect of CO2 is logrithmic, with the GREATEST effects at lower densities. Therefore MOST of the CO2 warming effects have already occurred. Each additional CO2 emission adds very little to the warming.

    In brief, let’s be alert but not alarmed. Let’s keep investigating, and examine not just the potential downside risks but the upside risks. Let’s not rush to action without being totally sure about all the facts.

  • 2. K P Ganesh said:

    The earth is warming for sure, thanks to slow tilt of Earth’s axis, with more land mass getting exposed to the sun. The tilt in earth’s axis was noticed as recently as during the Japanese earthquake & tsunami (a full 25cm tilt, that too. http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/article-1365821/Japan-earthquake-tsunami-Earths-day-length-shortened-axis-tilted-25cm.html)

  • 3. rajeev reddy said:

    Rivers of ice: Vanishing glaciers

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-south-asia-15216875

  • 4. Kishan said:

    During my hunt for a site for a steel project in the early 1990′s, I studied the rainfall data available in govt offices for a few sites in Orissa and MP (now Chhattisgarh). The data indicated a definite trend downwards.And we all know from our experience that while winters all over the plains in India at least are becoming less and less severe, and summers are getting hotter.
    As for the future nobody can predict for sure.But what if the warnings turn out to be true?

  • 5. Col Yogeshwar Dayal said:

    Dear Shantanu,
    A good article to read, just like crying a wolf….every day ! So
    long as this subject is in the domain of the collective responsibility be assured that there can be no solution forthcoming for it because there is a very big economic cartel behind the creation of this monster as well as its continued maintenance. Tackling environmental polution needs a proper substitution of a non polluting alternative source of energy in place of the present system, which has certain inherent risks to those who intend to develop such an alternatives, since this work threatens a big cartel of the “Oil and Petroleum Industry” thus those whose selfish interests are hurt will go any length to destroy this kind of work or the one who initiates this kind of work. All the Govt.s who are controlling their population through the petroleum mechanism will never ever favour it. There is Col. (Dr.) Thomas E Bearden retired from the US Army, he also has done some work in this field but he is still facing a tough resistance there from his (US) Govt also. No one encourages such work just it goes against their selfish interests.Does any one ever try to encourage or place his faith and trust in the people, who could solve the problem of killing this demon for ever ? or tries to declare any worth while incentive and financial assurance to those individuals who may contribute their knowledge for it ? The answer obviously always comes “No”. Thus very slowly this wolf has to come and we all will have to get engulfed into
    it. However, by any chance if there is some one individually or in a group of the people who intend to tackle this gigantic problem by giving economic assurance, please do let me know.

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