The 17th October 2016 (Lord) Matt Ridley gave a brilliant lecture in the premises of the Royal Society, whose adage is “Nullius in Verba” ( which means “take nobody’s word for it”). The title was “Global Warming versus Global Greening”; actually the presentation went well above this subject and Matt Ridley spoke of many points related to climate change and the relevant policies and science.
Let me just resume what I think are the most poignant items of his presentation, that, even if it said nothing fundamentally new, is one of the best abstracts on the subject of climate change from a climate-realist or if you prefer climate-skeptic point of view. The pictures given below are slides shown in the presentation.
Actually these 4 arguments are the most solid ones to be used for not blindly following the main-stream scare and hysteria on climate change. I thing the most important point is the last one. If we look how the public funding of climate science is done today, the outcome of the research is predictable. As there is nearly no funding in studying the natural causes of climate change, you should expect that anthropogenic causes of CC fill nearly exclusively the papers. Dr. Roy Spencer from UAH resumed the situation very well:
2. Failed predictions of environmental doom
Our media are addicted to predictions of doom: they make for a good scare and sell well. That the history of these predictions is that of absolute failure seems no hindrance in using them again and again; I find it most astonishing that so-called “critical journalists” seem to have lost all ability to look back in times. Here the slide with the predictions made in the 1970’s which never materialized:
If these predictions made by well-known scientists (the Ehrlich’s for instance) and related by the most important media (as Newsweek) all fell foul, why do we hear the argument “yes, these predictions failed at the times they supposed to happen, but wait, they surely will come true anytime in the future…”. This is an argument as silly as “anytime in the future planet Earth will be hit by a major asteroid”.
3. Undeniable global greening by rising CO2 levels
Many research papers have been published in the last few years showing that the planet is greening in a spectacular way:
This picture from NASA of the increase in leaf area between 1972 and 2015 shows that almost all regions are greening, often by a big amount.
The statement is to be found in a letter published by Zaichun Zu and co-authors in “Nature Climate Change”. Why is this positive aspect continuously ignored by the green Zeitgeist? Does it come that “…these days there is a legion of well-paid climate spin-doctors whose job is to keep the climate debate binary…” as says Ridley ?
4. Failing of the climate models.
Much has been said about this point: the climate models assume too large feedbacks to CO2 induced warming, and so do not get the ongoing warming right. They mostly ignore that a warmer climate which increased evaporation has an effect on cloud cover, which is mostly cooling: a natural thermostat can be found in the best data of past climate. The Iris effect predicted by Lindzen and co-authors falls into that category.
5. Why should fossil fuels be banned?
Ridley cites author Alex Epstein who said that “fossil fuels don’t take a safe climate and make it dangerous, but the take a dangerous climate and make it safe”. Past history shows the undeniable helping hand of fossil fuels in elevating people out of poverty, even if some negative effects are taken into account. This does not mean that future usage should continue as in the past, but at least a sober appreciation of the pro’s and con’s should be mandatory before banning all carbon containing energy sources.
As all newer research show that the climate sensitivity of CO2 is rather low, Prof. Judith Curry said in a hearing that:
A second important lesson is that until today countries like Germany trying their most to decarbonize by massively pushing solar and wind energy have not achieved their goal; decarbonization of total energy consumption (not only electricity production!) seems much more difficult than assumed. A sober conclusion would be that when the technology is not yet ready, nothing is gained by pushing so-called “ambitious” (another politically-correct expression for “unattainable”) goals.
6. Ridley’s conclusion.
I think the best way to finish this blog is Ridley’s last sentence: “The skeptics with their shoe-string budgets, with very little public money and under constant assault are nonetheless winning the argument”.