There’s Much Going On, That Government’s Are Covering Up! We Have the Right To Know!

#NOAAgate latest – gag order by Obama on NOAA staff

It’s too late for me to check this news from geoengineering in detail, but it looks like #NOAAgate is just the tip of the iceberg with growing discontent in various agency staff, which has got to end up in a leak somewhere by a real scientist fed up with the Climate Extremists who seem to run these agencies under Obama:

The power structure is beginning to panic as the public wakes up to the criminal climate engineering insanity. The growing police state is completely out of control and becoming unimaginably blatant with their actions. In recent weeks Washington has placed “gag orders” on the following agency employees, “The National Weather Service”, the “National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration”, and the “US Department of Commerce”. This is a massive red flag that should trigger alarm bells everywhere.

Bill Hopkins, the executive vice president for the National Weather Service employees organization (NWSEO) said this:

“As a taxpayer, I find it highly disturbing that a government agency continues to push gag orders to hide how they operate. This is the work of the American government, owned by the American public, and should be open to the American public.”

Jeff Ruch, the executive director “PEER” (Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility) said this about the “gag orders”.

“The National Weather Service is about the last place where national security-style secrecy rules need to be enforced,” Ruch noted that the broad scope of the gag orders put much of what goes on inside the agency under wraps.  “Everyone is free to talk about the weather except for the people working inside the National Weather Service. Go figure.”

Some time ago I personally spoke to an NOAA scientist that said “we all know it is going on (climate engineering) but we are afraid to speak out, we have no first amendment protection”. The new “gag order” is a further muzzling of the NWS and NOAA. It is likely there are many in the National Weather Service and NOAA that have had enough of lying about what is really going on in our skies.

Government-Induced Climaphobia Based on Faulty, Inaccurate Computer Climate Models.



Written by Dr Tim Ball, Climatologist on 28 Sep 2015

Nearly every single climate model prediction, projection or whatever else they want to call them has been wrong. Weather forecasts beyond 72 hours typically deteriorate into their error bands. The UK Met Office summer forecast was wrong again. broken computer

I have lost track of the number of times they were wrong. Apparently, the British Broadcasting Corporation had enough as they stopped using their services. They are not just marginally wrong. Invariably, the weather is the inverse of their forecast.Short, medium, and long-term climate forecasts are wrong more than 50 percent of the time so that a correct one is a no better than a random event.

Global and or regional forecasts are often equally incorrect. If there were a climate model that made even 60 percent accurate forecasts, everybody would use it. Since there is no single accurate climate model forecast, the IPCC resorts to averaging out their model forecasts as if, somehow, the errors would cancel each other out and the average of forecasts would be representative.

Short term climate forecasts no better than the Old Farmers Almanac

Climate models and their forecasts have been unmitigated failures that would cause an automatic cessation in any other enterprise. Unless, of course, it was another government funded, fiasco. Daily weather forecasts are improved from when modern forecasting began in World War I. However, even short term climate forecasts appear no better than the Old Farmers Almanac, which appeared in 1792, using moon, sun, and other astronomical and terrestrial indicators.

I have written and often spoken about the key role of the models in creating and perpetuating the catastrophic AGW mythology. People were shocked by the leaked emails from the Climatic Research Unit (CRU), but most don’t know that the actual instructions to “hide the decline” in the tree ring portion of the hockey stick graph were in the computer code. It is one reason that people translate the Garbage In, Garbage Out (GIGO) acronym as Gospel in, Gospel Out when speaking of climate models.

I am tired of the continued pretense that climate models can produce accurate forecasts in a chaotic system. Sadly, the pretense occurs on both sides of the scientific debate. The reality is the models don’t work and can’t work for many reasons, including the most fundamental; lack of data, lack of knowledge of major mechanisms, lack of knowledge of basic physical processes, lack of ability to represent physical mechanisms like turbulence in mathematical form, and lack of computer capacity.

Bob Tisdale summarized the problems in his 2013 book Climate Models Fail. It is time to stop wasting time and money and put people and computers to more important uses.The only thing that keeps people working on the models is government funding, either at weather offices or in academia. Without this funding computer modelers would not dominate the study of climate.

Without the funding, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change could not exist. Many of the people involved in climate modeling were not familiar with or had no training in climatology or climate science. They were graduates of computer modeling programs looking for a challenging opportunity with large amounts of funding available and access to large computers.

The atmosphere and later the oceans fit the bill. Now they put the two together to continue the fiasco. Unfortunately, it is all at massive expense to society. Those expenses include the computers and the modeling time but worse the cost of applying the failed results to global energy and environmental issues.

Let’s stop pretending and wasting money and time. Remove that funding and nobody would spend private money to work on climate forecast models.

I used to argue that there was some small value in playing with climate models in a laboratory, with only a scientific responsibility for the accuracy, feasibility, and applicability. It is clear they do not fulfill those responsibilities. Now I realize that position was wrong. When model results are used as the sole basis for government policy, there is no value.

It is a massive cost and detriment to society, which is what the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) was specifically designed to do.The IPCC has one small value. It illustrates all the problems identified in the previous comments. Laboratory-generated climate models are manipulated outside of even basic scientific rigor in government weather offices or academia, and then become the basis of public policy through the Summary for Policymakers (SPM).

Another value of the IPCC Physical Science Basis Reports is they provide a detailed listing of why models can’t and don’t work. Too bad few read or understand them. If they did, they would realize the limitations are such that they preclude any chance of success. Just a partial examination illustrates the point.


The IPCC people knew of the data limitations from the start, but it didn’t stop them building models.In 1993, Stephen Schneider, a primary player in the anthropogenic global warming hypothesis and the use of models went beyond doubt to certainty when he said,“Uncertainty about important feedback mechanisms is one reason why the ultimate goal of climate modeling – forecasting reliably the future of key variables such as temperature and rainfall patterns – is not realizable.”A February 3, 1999, US National Research Council Report said,“Deficiencies in the accuracy, quality and continuity of the records place serious limitations on the confidence that can be placed in the research results.”

To which Kevin Trenberth responded,

“It’s very clear we do not have a climate observing system….This may come as a shock to many people who assume that we do know adequately what’s going on with the climate, but we don’t.”

Two Directors of the CRU, Tom Wigley, and Phil Jones said,“Many of the uncertainties surrounding the causes of climate change will never be resolved because the necessary data are lacking.”

70% of the world is oceans and there are virtually no stations

The Poles are critical in the dynamics of driving the atmosphere and creating climate yet there are virtually no stations in 15 million km2 of the Arctic Ocean or for the 14 million km2 of Antarctica. Approximately 85% of the surface has no weather data.

The IPCC acknowledge the limitations by claiming a single station data are representative of conditions within a 1200km radius. Is that a valid assumption? I don’t think it is.

But it isn’t just lack of data at the surface. Actually, it is not data for the surface, but for a range of altitudes above the surface between 1.25 to 2 m and as researchers from Geiger (Climate Near the Ground) on show this is markedly different from actual surface temperatures as measured at the few microclimate stations that exist.

Arguably US surface stations are best, but Anthony Watts diligent study shows that only 7.9 percent of them accurate to less than 1°C. (Figure 1) To put that in perspective, in the 2001 IPCC Report Jones claimed a 0.6°C increase over 120 years was beyond a natural increase. That also underscores the fact that most of the instrumental record temperatures were measured to 0.5°C.

tball fig 1

Other basic data, including precipitation, barometric pressure, wind speed, and direction are worse than the temperature data. For example, in Africa there are only 1152 weather watch stations, which are one-eighth the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) recommended minimum density.

As I noted in an earlier paper, lack of data for all phases of water alone guarantees the failure of IPCC projections.The models attempt to simulate a three-dimensional atmosphere, but there is virtually no data above the surface.

The modelers think we are foolish enough to believe the argument that more layers in the model will solve the problem, but it doesn’t matter if you have no data.

Major Mechanisms

During my career as a climatologist, several mechanisms of weather and climate were either discovered or measured, supposedly with sufficient accuracy for application in a model. These include, El Nino/La Nina (ENSO), the Pacific Decadal Oscillation (PDO), the Atlantic Multidecadal Oscillation (AMO), the Antarctic Oscillation (AAO), the North Atlantic Oscillation (NAO), Dansgaard-Oeschger Oscillation (D-O), Madden-Julian Oscillation (MJO), Indian Ocean Dipole (IOD), among others.

Milankovitch Effect not included in IPCC models

Despite this, we are still unclear about the mechanisms associated with the Hadley Cell and the Inter-tropical Convergence Zone (ITCZ), which are essentially the entire tropical climate mechanisms. The Milankovitch Effect remains controversial and is not included in IPCC models.

The Cosmic Theory appears to provide an answer to the relationship between sunspots, global temperature, and precipitation but is similarly ignored by the IPCC.

They do not deal with the Monsoon mechanism well as they note,“In short, most AOGCMs do not simulate the spatial or intra-seasonal variation of monsoon precipitation accurately.”There is very limited knowledge of the major oceanic circulations at the surface and in the depths. There are virtually no measures of the volumes of heat transferred or how they change over time, including measures of geothermal heat.

Physical Mechanisms

The IPCC acknowledge that,“In climate research and modeling, we should recognize that we are dealing with a coupled non-linear chaotic system, and therefore that the long-term prediction of future climate states is not possible.”

That comment is sufficient to argue for cessation of the waste of time and money. Add the second and related problem identified by Essex and McKitrick in Taken By Storm and it is confirmed.

Climate research is anything but a routine application of classical theories like fluid mechanics, even though some may be tempted to think it is. It has to be regarded in the “exotic’ category of scientific problems in part because we are trying to look for scientifically meaningful structure that no one can see or has ever seen, and may not even exist.“In this regard it is crucial to bear in mind that there is no experimental set up for global climate, so all we really have are those first principles.

You can take all the measurements you want today, fill terabytes of disk space if you want, but that does not serve as an experimental apparatus. Engineering apparatus can be controlled, and those running them can make measurements of known variables over a range of controlled physically relevant conditions.

In contrast, we have only today’s climate to sample directly, provided we are clever enough to even know how to average middle realm data in a physically meaningful way to represent climate. In short, global climate is not treatable by any conventional means.”

Computer capacity

Modelers claim computers are getting better, and all they need are bigger, faster computers. It can’t make any difference, but they continue to waste money. In 2012, Cray introduced the promotionally named Gaea supercomputer (Figure 2).

It has a 1.1 petaflops capacity. FLOPS means Floating-Point Operations per Second, and peta is 1016 (or a thousand) million floating-point operations per second. Jagadish Shukla says the challenge is“We must be able to run climate models at the same resolution as weather prediction models, which may have horizontal resolutions of 3-5 km within the next 5 years. This will require computers with peak capability of about 100 petaflops.”Regardless of the computer capacity it is meaningless without data for the model.

tball fig 2

Failed Forecasts, (Predictions, Projections)

Figure 3 shows the IPCC failed forecast. They call them projections, but the public believes they are forecasts. Either way, they are consistently wrong. Notice the labels added to Hayden’s graph taken from the Summary for Policymakers. As the error range increase in the actual data the Summary claims it is improving. One of the computer models used for the IPCC forecast belongs to Environment Canada. Their forecasts are the worst of all of those averaged results used by the IPCC (Figure 4).

tball fig 3

tball fig 4

The Canadian disaster is not surprising as their one-year forecast assessment indicates. They make a one –year forecast and provide a map indicating the percentage of accuracy against the average for the period 1981-2010 (Figure 5).

tball fig 5

The Canadian average accuracy percentage is shown in the bottom left as 41.5 percent. That is the best they can achieve after some thirty years of developing the models. Other countries results are no better.

In a New Scientist report Tim Palmer, a leading climate modeller at the European Centre for Medium-Range Weather Forecasts in Reading England said:“I don’t want to undermine the IPCC, but the forecasts, especially for regional climate change, are immensely uncertain.”

The Cost – “The sum expended must be well over $100 billion”

Joanne Nova has done most research on the cost of climate research to the US government.“In total, over the last 20 years, by the end of fiscal year 2009, the US government will have poured in $32 billion for climate research—and another $36 billion for development of climate-related technologies.

These are actual dollars, obtained from government reports, and not adjusted for inflation. It does not include funding from other governments. The real total can only grow.”There is no doubt that number grew, and the world total is likely double the US amount as this commentator claims.“

However, at least I can add a reliable half-billion pounds to Joanne Nova’s $79 billion – plus we know already that the EU Framework 7 programme includes €1.9 billion on direct climate change research. Framework 6 runs to €769 million. If we take all the Annex 1 countries, the sum expended must be well over $100 billion.”These are just the computer modeling costs.

The economic and social costs are much higher and virtually impossible to calculate.

As Paul Driessen explains“As with its polar counterparts, 90% of the titanic climate funding iceberg is invisible to most citizens, businessmen and politicians.”It’s no wonder Larry Bell can say,“The U.S. Government Accounting Office (GAO) can’t figure out what benefits taxpayers are getting from the many billions of dollars spent each year on policies that are purportedly aimed at addressing climate change.”

If it is impossible for a supposedly sophisticated agency like US GAO to determine the costs, then there is no hope for a global assessment. There is little doubt the direct cost is measured in trillions of dollars. That does not include the lost opportunities for development and lives continuing in poverty.

All this because of the falsified results from completely failed computer model prediction, projections or whatever they want to call them.It is time to stop the insanity, which in climate science is the repetition of creating computer models that don’t and can’t work? I think so.“Those who have knowledge don’t predict. Those who do predict don’t have knowledge.” Tzu, Lao (6th Century BC)

See Dr Ball’s website

Dr Tim F Ball:

B.A., (Honours), Gold Medal Winner, University of Winnipeg, 1970

M.A., University of Manitoba, 1971

Ph.D. (Doctor of Science), Queen Mary College, University of London (England), 1982Career

1996 to Now – Environmentalist, Public Speaker, Consultant, Author, columnist.

1988-96 Professor, University of Winnipeg

1984-88 Associate Professor, University of Winnipeg

1982-84 Assistant Professor, University of Winnipeg

1977-78 Acting Dean of Students

1972-82 Lecturer, Department of Geography, University of Winnipeg

1971-72 Instructor, Geography Department, University of Winnipeg

Dr Ball has authored more than 80 significant publications.

See list here:

Pope Has Overstepped His Authority….He’s Pushing the Global Warming Agenda!

SPECIAL REPORT The VATICAN ADVISORS: An Unholy Alliance with the UN Global Warming Agenda September 2015 In the preparation and promotion of its widely touted encyclical, Laudato Si: On Care for Our Common Home, the Vatican relied on advisors who can only be described as the most extreme elements in the global warming debate. These climate advisors are so far out of the mainstream they even make some of their fellow climate activists cringe. Many of these advisors oppose individual freedom and market economics and stand against traditional family values. The Vatican and Pope Francis did not allow dissent or alternative perspectives to be heard during the creation and promotion of the encyclical. The Vatican only listened to activist voices within the climate movement. Even more startling, many of the Vatican’s key climate advisors have promoted policies directly at odds with Catholic doctrine and beliefs. The proceedings of the Vatican climate workshop included activists like Naomi Oreskes, Peter Wadhams, Hans Joachim Schellnhuber, and UN advisor Jeffrey Sachs. Pope Francis’ advisors, and the UN climate agenda he is aligning himself with, are strong supporters of development restrictions, contraceptives, population control, and abortion. Despite these strange bedfellows, the encyclical is clear in condemning abortion, contraception, and population control. There has been nothing short of an “Unholy Alliance” between the Vatican and promoters of man-made climate fear. The Vatican advisors can only be described as a brew of anti-capitalist, pro-population control advocates who allow no dissent and are way out of the mainstream of even the global warming establishment. Here are profiles of some of the key radical voices with whom the Vatican has associated itself. UN Advisor Jeffrey Sachs Jeffrey Sachs, a special advisor to UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, participated in a 2014 Vatican workshop on sustainability as well as in the Vatican summit on climate that took place in April 2015. Sachs was reportedly the author of the Pontifical statement, Climate Change and the Common Good: A Statement of the Problem and the Demand for Transformative Solutions, issued on April 29, 2015. Sachs, who is also the director of The Earth Institute, believes climate skeptics are responsible for the deaths of people due to alleged man-made, global warming driven, extreme storms. Sachs tweeted on November 10, 2014, that “Climate liars like Rupert Murdoch & the Koch Brothers have more & more blood on their hands as climate disasters claim lives across the world.” Sachs is such a devoted salesman for UN “solutions” to global warming that he declared: “We’ve got six months to save the world or we’re all doomed.” Many of Sachs’ views are at odds with Catholic teachings. Catholic activist Liz Yore detailed Sachs’ view on overpopulation. “At a 2007 international lecture, Sachs claimed that ‘we are bursting at the seams.’ The focus of Sachs’ overpopulation mantra is primarily the continent of Africa. He argues that if only poor African countries would just lower their fertility rate, the world and Africa would thrive economically. This fear mongering is nothing new. Sachs is standing on the shoulders of Paul Ehrlich, architect of the ‘sky is falling’ deception perpetrated in his 1968 book, The Population Bomb.” Yore concluded: It is “incomprehensible that the Vatican would be duped into thinking that the United Nations and its Millennium and Sustainable Development goals share common solutions for the world’s problems. The Catholic Church welcomes children as a gift from God. The UN Secretary General and Jeffrey Sachs want to limit children.” 2 3 In 2009, Sachs addressed the annual conference of the Party of European Socialists. He described the “profound honor” of addressing the far-Left Party of European Socialists and said they were heirs and leaders of the most successful economic and political system in the world — Social Democracy. Social equity, environmental sustainability, and fiscal redistribution are the successful elements in managing a just society, Sachs maintained. This is, he argues, in marked contrast to the U.S., whose taxes are too low and where the poor are ignored. In 2009, in advance of the Copenhagen UN climate meeting, Sachs called for a carbon levy, claiming that millions were suffering because of drought caused by Western-induced climate change. Sachs has advocated for a carbon tax and a financial transactions tax, a global health fund, a global education fund, and a global climate fund. Sachs’ Earth Institute at Columbia has included members of an external advisory board such as George Soros and Rajendra Pachauri (former UN IPCC chairman). Soros has funded Sachs via his Open Society Institute. German climate adviser Hans Joachim Schellnhuber Hans Joachim Schellnhuber, who has called for the “creation of a CO2 budget for every person on the planet,” was appointed a member of the Pontifical Academy of Sciences in June 2015 and was one of the four presenters of Pope Francis’ new encyclical on the environment. Schellnhuber was also a key player at the Vatican climate presentation in 2014. Schellnhuber is an atheist who believes in “Gaia, but not in God.” In 2015, Schellnhuber boasted about having climate skeptics excluded from participating in drafting the Pope’s climate encyclical. The April 2015 Vatican climate summit in Rome banned a skeptical French scientist from attending because the organizers reportedly “did not want to hear an off note” during the summit. Schellnhuber is a scientific activist who is mocked even by his fellow warmist colleagues. See: Warmist Ray Bradley trashes prominent warmist Hans Joachim Schellnhuber for “spouting bullsh*t”; Phil Jones says “We all agree on that.” At a meeting in Japan in 2004, Scientist Tom Wigley found prominent EU warmist Schellnhuber to be “a bit of a laughing stock among these people.” Schellnhuber has also declared human society needs to be managed by an elite group of “wise men.” He referred to this idea as his “master plan” for the “great transformation” of global society. Schellnhuber’s views on population also are at odds with Catholic teachings. Echoing the claims of overpopulation guru Paul Ehrlich, he has claimed that when the Earth reaches nine billion people, which is projected to occur soon, “the Earth will explode” due to resource depletion. Schellnhuber also berates those who disagree with him, calling his critics “vicious liars” and mocking Americans as “climate illiterate” for being skeptics. 4 Naomi Oreskes Climate historian Naomi Oreskes has been actively involved in helping produce the Papal encyclical. Oreskes wrote the introduction to Pope Francis’ book version of the encyclical. See: Papal Encyclical book w/ introduction by Naomi Oreskes. Oreskes is perhaps best known for her calls for placing restrictions on the freedom of speech of global warming skeptics. Oreskes believes climate skeptics who dissent from the UN/Gore climate alarmist point of view should be prosecuted as mobsters for their tobacco lobbyist style tactics. See: Merchants of Smear: Prosecute Skeptics Like Gangsters?! Warmist Naomi Oreskes likes the idea of having climate ‘deniers’ prosecuted under the RICO act (Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act). Critics of Oreskes fired back that it is Oreskes herself – not the skeptics — who uses the tactics of the tobacco lobby. As a researcher, Oreskes’ body of work has not fared well among her peers. She has been criticized by warmist and skeptical scientists alike. See: Statistician from the U. of Mass Amherst performs very polite savaging of claims of Naomi Oreskes. Warmist scientist Tom Wigley wrote that Oreskes’ work is “useless”. Wigley wrote: “Analyses like these by people who don’t know the field are useless. A good example is Naomi Oreskes’ work.” 5 Warmist scientist William M. Connolley slammed Oreskes for “silly” and “shoddy” work. Connolley, a former UN IPCC scientist, wrote that he “eventually concluded that Oreskes was hopelessly wrong.” He explained that a highprofile Oreskes “paper seems to have been written around pre-arranged conclusions…it is unlikely that anyone outside the incestuous field of climate history scholarship will notice or care.” Others have been equally as uncharitable in describing Oreskes’ research. See: Warmist Naomi Oreskes taken down — “consistently misrepresents the meaning of statistical significance and confidence intervals” – “Oreskes, the historian, gets the history wrong” Oreskes has been undeterred, continually ratcheting up climate alarmism to the point of silliness. See: Forget Polar Bears, cats & dogs to die! Warmist Naomi Oreskes prophesizes the climate deaths of puppies and kittens – Oreskes: “The loss of pet cats and dogs garnered particular attention among wealthy Westerners, but what was anomalous in 2023 soon became the new normal.” Sadly, Pope Francis is allowing Oreskes, who equates climate change to a “Nazi atomic bomb,” to write the introduction to the book form of his encyclical. Prof. Peter Wadhams Another key advisor to Pope Francis is Cambridge University Professor Peter Wadhams. Wadhams is a scientist and activist whose views are so extreme that even many of his fellow global warming advocates distance themselves from him. In 2014, NASA’s lead global warming scientist Dr. Gavin Schmidt ridiculed Wadhams for “using graphs with ridiculous projections with no basis in physics.” Wadhams’s fellow warmist colleagues have also piled on and ridiculed him, claiming Wadhams “uses anecdotal…very, very poor data; not credible plots…no physics behind his extrapolations.” One of his colleagues even chided: “Hasn’t Wadhams already predicted four of the last zero ice-free summers?” 6 Wadhams was at the center of international controversy in 2015, when he suggested three global warming scientists were assassinated by the oil industry. These claims were wholly unsubstantiated. See: Cambridge professor Peter Wadhams insists three scientists have been assassinated. Wadhams later tried to claim his comments about the deaths were “completely off the record.” Other colleagues have also criticized Wadhams. See: German Scientists: Former IPCC Author Peter Wadhams Showing Pattern Of Irrationality …”Extremely Far-Fringe Corner” Pope Francis has also reached out to climate activist and anti-capitalist crusader Naomi Klein. See: Pope Francis recruits ‘ferocious critic’ of capitalism — Naomi Klein — in climate battle Klein was brought into the Vatican climate process by one of the Pope’s key aides, Cardinal Peter Turkson, to lead a high-level conference. Klein, described by the Washington Post as a “secular” feminist, is a “ferocious critic” of 21st century capitalism. Klein believes: “To fight climate change we must fight capitalism.” Klein explained: “There is still time to avoid catastrophic warming but not within the rules of capitalism as they are currently constructed.” Klein is author of the book, This Changes Everything: Capitalism vs. The Climate. She has declared that “Capitalism is irreconcilable with a livable climate.” She also noted: “Dealing with the climate crisis will require a completely different economic system.” Klein’s anti-capitalist advocacy clearly places her science as subservient to her politics. During the panel discussion at an event at the People’s Climate March, Klein was asked: “Even if climate change issue did not exist, you would be calling for same structural changes?” Klein responded: “Yeah.” Naomi Klein 7 8 1875 Eye Street NW 5th Floor Washington, DC 20006 Greenpeace co-founder Dr. Patrick Moore criticized Pope Francis for sounding like Naomi Klein. Klein has also claimed that “It’s Clear” Climate Change Is Making Racism Worse.

We Must Fight Back Against Government-Induced Climaphobia! Our lives depend upon it…

OP/Ed: The climate scare’s ‘useful idiots’

Industry leaders must stop feeding the fires that are burning down their homes

By Tom Harris

A useful idiot is someone who supports one side of a philosophical debate while unaware of the overarching agenda driving the ideology they promote.

The term was used during the Cold War to describe communist sympathizers in the West. They were accused of viewing themselves as standing for benign socialism and allies of the Soviet Union, when they were actually scorned by the Soviets who used them as tools to help weaken democratic nations.

Climate activists undoubtedly regard many industry leaders as useful idiots on the climate front. Although seriously threatened by the global warming movement, most energy and manufacturing organizations try to appease campaigners by using biased and misleading language that unwittingly supports climate alarmism, destroys jobs, and impairs the well-being of millions.

Here are some examples.

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce, the world’s largest business federation, sensibly opposes the Obama administration’s Clean Power Plan (CPP). Yet the Chamber inadvertently promotes it on its website, asserting, “We support efforts to reduce greenhouse gas [GHG] emissions through a comprehensive legislative solution that does not harm the economy, recogniz[ing] that the problem is international in scope…”

The Chamber cites findings by Cato Institute climate experts Chip Knappenberger and Patrick J. Michaels that the new EPA rule would result in “an estimated 0.018 degrees Centigrade reduction by the year 2100.” The Chamber correctly concludes, “it’s essentially undetectable.”

So why would it advocate “a comprehensive legislative solution” to GHG emissions? The CPP will have no discernible impact on climate and yet, according to Chamber President and CEO Thomas J. Donohue, will “impose tens of billions in annual compliance costs, and reduce our nation’s global competitiveness.” That means any carbon dioxide (CO2) reduction plan that might have significant climatic impact would almost certainly destroy the U.S. economy. A “solution that does not harm the economy” undoubtedly does not exist.

The Chamber’s contention that the “the problem is international in scope” is true only if climate change is being driven by humanity’s GHG emissions. If it isn’t—and the Chamber should do nothing to promote the idea that it is—then climate change is obviously a regional problem, and each region should adapt to whatever is happening in their area, independent of global trends.

Similarly, the 35,000-member United Mine Workers of America (UMWA) officially opposes the CPP but unintentionally supports it in the points they suggest mine workers bring up in their own letters to newspapers and government representatives. For example, the union suggests workers write, “No one can deny that greenhouse gas emissions represent a problem that needs to be addressed.”

The reports of the Nongovernmental International Panel on Climate Change demonstrate that thousands of climate experts dispute the idea that CO2 emissions are a serious problem. UMWA executives are not qualified to judge these scientists wrong, and it clearly sabotages their members’ interests to do so.

Duke Energy, the largest electric power company in the United States, says on its website that it is “committed to finding new ways to confront one of our industry’s biggest challenges – global climate change.” While regulations to restrict CO2 emissions present serious challenges to the industry, trends in an imaginary “global” climate have no impact on the sector.

Yet Lynn Good, Duke’s President and CEO, promised to work with state officials to keep moving toward “a lower carbon future” and said in her April 15 open letter to stakeholders that the company is “advocating for climate change policies that reduce emissions.”

While all corporations must follow applicable government regulations, they are under no obligation to encourage them. Considering that a significant fraction of the power Duke generates comes from natural gas and coal, both significant CO2 sources, it makes no sense for the company to urge tighter CO2 controls. While coal is the primary target of the EPA right now, gas will undoubtedly come under increasing attack as the new rules eliminate coal power.

Arch Coal, one of the world’s largest coal producers and marketers, also has clear reasons to fear the consequences of the global warming scare. Yet in its August 3 press release Senior Vice President of Strategy and Public Policy Deck Slone said, “To truly address the threat of climate change, these [developing] countries will need low-cost, low-carbon mitigation tools for fossil fuels.” Talk about shooting yourself in the foot.

While these groups have obviously decided that it is not in their interests to contest the official excuse for the CPP—the supposed threat of CO2 emissions—it is a serious strategic mistake for them to promote it. Effective leaders know that you can never satisfy those whose ultimate agenda includes eliminating you.

Industry must stop acting as useful idiots who feed the fires burning down their homes.

Tom Harris is executive director of the Ottawa, Canada-based International Climate Science Coalition.

– See more at:

Climate Alarmism as an Excuse for Useless Wind Turbines….

STT’s Take on the ‘Global Warming’ Story



Now and again, STT gets a comment that seeks to pin us down as “anti-wind”, “climate deniers”. Here’s one from Enough Already:

I agree with your specific arguments against wind turbines, but even hosting AGW-denial articles puts me off. It perpetuates stereotypes of dumb bogans when we need all possible intelligence on this side!

I consider the wind turbine industry as greedy environmentalism armed with slick propaganda. You can’t effectively fight articulate propaganda with conspiracy theories like AGW-denial. We anti-wind folk need to stick to science.

CO2 is well understood as the main source of radiative forcing; it moderates the more powerful water vapor that cycles in and out. The Earth would be mostly frozen without that “trace gas,” CO2, but most denial arguments dumb that down by saying there’s just not enough CO2 to matter (sip a glass of water with “just” 400 ppm of cyanide and see how it goes). Denying AGW is like denying the whole CO2 greenhouse effect.

While Enough Already doesn’t appear to level that charge fairly and squarely against STT, his or her comment is worthy of dissection and defence on our part.

Dear Enough Already,

We apologise if some of those who appear on our pages with views contrary to your own concerning “AGW”, as you put it, offend your sensibilities.

We agree that “intelligence” is a useful weapon in any public or political discourse; hence our own particular choice of language. For example we do not claim to be “anti-wind folk”; nor do we accept such a tag.

The guff about STT (or any other repository of common sense, for that matter) being “anti-wind” is … well … just plain silly.



STT loves a summer breeze just as much as the next family sweating on the beach – we’re partial to a ‘winter-stormy’ when jumping into the surf for a little ‘board action’ – and we’re pretty fond of the howl of wind, mixed with heavy rain drumming on an iron roof in June. And sailing just wouldn’t be the same without a little puff of the stuff, to fill the jib.

No, it’s the nonsense that is wind power that’s the target for STT – for obvious reasons:

There’s Only One Problem with Claims that Wind Power ‘Kills Coal’: and that’s the Wind

Language matters.

As George Orwell – a bloke who knew a thing or two about the way words are employed by the powerful and corrupt – put it:

If thought corrupts language, language can also corrupt thought. A bad usage can spread by tradition and imitation even among people who should and do know better.

The use of words and phrases such as “anti-wind”, “denier”, “denial”, “belief” and “believer” have no place in science, politics or economics. The latest hysterical abuse of our mother tongue is the phrase “climate denier”.

No one at STT, well actually no one anywhere, denies that there is such a thing as the “climate”.

That word, by definition, incorporates within it the concept of “change”; for if the climate had not changed over the 4.6 billion years that our Earth has been lapping around the Sun, it would have probably remained a solid frozen lump of ice; and we would not be here arguing the toss about a few degrees, one way or the other.

ice age earth


The nonsense peddled by climate hysterics is premised on some ‘Goldilocks fantasy’ that, at some point in the recent past (we can’t quite pin down when) the climate was “just right”. Ever since, apparently, we’ve been lurching towards a man-made climate catastrophe. STT grew up in the 1970s and was terrorised in school with forecasts of a looming ice age. 20 years on and the reign of terror was reversed: global incineration was next on the menu.

While we note your use of the term AGW, we understand that to incorporate “global warming” as an irrefutable fact. It is, however, a theory with which there is only one problem: and that’s the evidence. Even the most hysterical have been forced to accept the fact that global surface temperatures have not budged for 18 years, despite human generated CO2 emissions increasing at a rollicking rate: generally referred to as “the pause”. The last piece STT read on the topic takes us back to our childhood with warnings about, wait for it, another looming ice age:

And it’s the lack of evidence for global warming that appears to have shifted the terminology to “climate change”: a tautology if ever there was one.

Of course, the climate “changes” – change is endogenous to the model. Whether that change is significant or “dangerous”, as the most strident hysterics would have us believe, is yet to be seen. Humans have tolerated severe ice ages and, somehow, miraculously managed to survive. If the planet warms, as we’ve been lately warned, STT is pretty confident we will survive that too: it’s called “adaptation” – a feature of humanity, oft referred to as “ingenuity”.

However, in the main, we leave the topic of global warming or climate change (whichever is your poison) to others.

STT takes the position that man-made emissions of CO2 may increase atmospheric temperatures. But we don’t concede that wind power has made – or is even capable of making – one jot of difference to CO2 emissions in the electricity sector; principally because it is NOT – and will never be – an ‘alternative’ to conventional generation systems, which are always and everywhere available on demand:

South Australia – Australia’s ‘Wind Power Capital’ – Pays the Highest Power Prices in the World and Wonders Why it’s an Economic Basket Case

Let’s assume, as we do, that man-made CO2 emissions in the electricity sector are a problem. Then the only presently available solution is nuclear power; unless, of course, you’re prepared to live in Stone Age darkness.

Our attack is directed at a meaningless power source; that is insanely expensive, and utterly pointless, on every level. For those on both sides of the argument (including “AGW deniers” as you refer to them) that foolishly connect industrial wind turbines with global warming (or climate change) they, in effect, box themselves into a logical corner.

On the one hand, if the AGW hysterics are wrong (and icebergs start turning up in Port Phillip Bay), then, applying their (by then failed) man-made CO2/warming argument, we should scrap every last (planet cooling) wind turbine and start burning coal and gas as fast as humanly possible to warm the joint up, in order to prevent the ‘big freeze’.

chris turney stuck in ice


On the other hand, if the AGW “deniers” are wrong, temperatures start to rise, and Australia looks set to become a boiling desert devoid of all life forms (save card-carrying “Greens”, of course), then the hysterics will claim absolute licence (if not high moral imperative) to carpet this, and every other country, in an endless sea of giant industrial wind turbines. Having pinned their arguments against wind power on the basis that CO2 caused AGW is a furphy, the “deniers” would be forced to logically concede their opponents’ case; and, with it, to also concede the need for a completely wind powered electricity system.

Hence, STT seeks to completely disconnect claims for and against global warming, and wind power generation.

As wind power can only ever be delivered (if at all) at crazy, random intervals it will never amount to a meaningful power source and will always require 100% of its capacity to be backed up 100% of the time with fossil fuel generation sources; in Australia, principally coal-fired plant. As a result, wind power generation will never “displace”, let alone “replace” fossil fuel generation sources.

Contrary to the anti-fossil fuel squad’s ranting, there isn’t a ‘choice’ between wind power and fossil fuel power generation: there’s a ‘choice’ between wind power (with fossil fuel powered back-up equal to 100% of its capacity) and relying on wind power alone. If you’re ready to ‘pick’ the latter, expect to be sitting freezing (or boiling) in the dark more than 60% of the time.

Wind power isn’t a ‘system’, it’s ‘chaos’ – the pictures tell the story: this is the ‘output’ from every wind farm connected to the Eastern Grid (based in NSW, VIC, TAS & SA – and with a combined installed capacity of 3,669MW) during May.

May 2015 National

Consider a country where its electricity supply was exclusively based on wind power generation; a place where businesses would attempt to run around the vagaries of the wind; where houses would be well-stocked with candles and their occupants left to keep food cold with kero-fridges or iceboxes – and those homes otherwise run on wood, sticks or dung, used for cooking or heating. Sounds like fun, doesn’t it?

As soon as that country had the chance (due to the availability of technology and/or as a process of economic development) it would build a system based on power generation sources available “on-demand” (ie coal, gas, hydro, nuclear, geo-thermal).

Its people would then be able to enjoy around the clock illumination; factories could run to the clock, and not the weather; homes would be heated and cooled according their occupants’ needs, making life safer and more comfortable (no-one need be frozen to death or expire from the heat because the wind stopped blowing); economic development and prosperity would follow, as night follows day.

Placed in the practical context of the needs of a functioning society, wind power can be seen as the patent nonsense that it clearly is. If a country didn’t have a conventional power system (as we have), it would build one, anyway.

Once people grasp that fact, the rest of the wind industry’s ‘case’ falls away.

Talk about “wind farms being in the right place” just sounds silly; ergo, with arguments about distances from homes; separation from bird nesting sites or migration routes etc, etc.

All of these other considerations – while legitimate – simply jump to the periphery and dilute the strength of the key argument.

Keep hitting our political betters with the pointlessness of wind power as a generation source and the rest falls away.

What reasonable decision maker would back policies that favour something that has no economic benefit? Moreover, as the central claim that wind power reduces CO2 emissions in the electricity is a complete falsehood, the justification for the hundreds of $billions in subsidies directed to wind power looks like pure lunacy, at best; or graft and corruption (aka ‘crony’ capitalism), at worst.

What the wind industry hates most are facts.

STT dishes them up on a daily basis. The facts outlined above – and which we’ve detailed many times before – are unassailable.

Wind power is a fraud, pure and simple.

Australia has just locked in a $45 billion electricity tax which will be directed as subsidies to wind power outfits to generate power which has NO commercial value.

Were that same amount to be applied to building state-of-the-art nuclear power plants, Australia would enjoy cheap, dependable power for a century to come. Moreover, anyone concerned about AGW, as you clearly are, should be pleased as Punch knowing that the power being generated will not add a single gram of the CO2 gas to the atmosphere. And, who knows? Maybe, just maybe, the Earth’s climate will remain constant – forevermore fixed in a “just right” Goldilocks state.


Realistic View Of Government-induced Climaphobia, & the Unintended Consequences”.

Editorial by Tom Harris
July 8, 2015
‘Marching with the enemy’
Imagine pro-tobacco groups wanted to participate in fund raising marches for cancer research. ‘We want to help defeat cancer too,’ the tobacco advocates announce.
Anti-cancer campaigners would never march in solidarity with tobacco promoters. They know that if smoking increased, cancer rates would undoubtedly rise as well. Marching arm in arm with those working against one’s interests is irrational.
This logic does not seem to have occurred to the groups concerned with social justice and wildlife protection who participated in the July 5 “March for Jobs, Justice, and the Climate” in Toronto. They were, in effect, marching with the enemy, groups such as  and Citizens’ Climate Lobby which unwittingly encourage outcomes that are harming the poor and disadvantaged, biodiversity, and endangered species.
For example, by promoting the idea that carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions must be reduced to prevent dangerous climate change, climate mitigation activists support the expanded use of biofuels. This is resulting in 6.5% of the world’s grain being diverted to fuel instead of food, causing food price spikes that are a disaster for the world’s most vulnerable people.
The growing demand for biofuels is also creating serious problems for indigenous land owners in developing countries. In a February 2015 open letter to the European Parliament endorsed by 197 civil society organisations from Asia, Africa, and Latin America, it was asserted:
“The destruction of forests and fertile agricultural land to make way for oil palm plantations is jeopardising the food sovereignty and cultural integrity of entire communities who depend on the land as their source of food and livelihoods.”
Replacing virgin forests with monoculture plantations to provide palm oil for biodiesel greatly reduces biodiversity over vast regions.
In another attempt to reduce CO2 emissions, hundreds of thousands of industrial wind turbines (IWT) are being constructed worldwide. For example, the Ontario government is erecting 6,736 IWTs across the province, the most recent as tall as a 61 story building.
Only 4% of the province’s power came from wind energy in 2013 and 1% from solar, yet together they accounted for 20% of the commodity cost paid by Ontarians. Despite massive government subsidies for wind power, electricity rates in Ontario have soared, mostly affecting the poor and seniors on fixed incomes.
IWTs kill millions of birds and bats across the world. Ontario’s situation has drawn the attention of the Spain-based group, Save the Eagles International, which, on May 23, issued the news release “Migrating golden eagles to be slaughtered in Ontario.” They showed that some of the turbines planned for Ontario are being placed directly in the path of migrating golden eagles, which are already an endangered species.
The consequences for people living near IWTs can be severe as well. Besides a significant loss in property value, health concerns abound.
A particularly tragic example is occurring in the West Lincoln and surrounding regions of Southern Ontario.  There, despite the objections of local residents, wind developers have received approval to install at least seventy-seven 3 Megawatt IWTs, each up to 609 ft. tall, the largest such machines in North America.
One resident, Shellie Correia of Wellandport has a particular reason to be concerned.
Her 12 year old son Joey has been diagnosed with Sensory Processing Disorder and it is crucial that he live in an environment free from excessive noise. But as a result of Ontario’s Green Energy Act, the primary focus of which is climate change mitigation, an IWT will be sited only 550 metres from their home.
Correia explained in her January 2015 presentation before the government’s Environmental Review Tribunal, “On top of the incessant, cyclical noise, there is light flicker, and infrasound. This is not something that my son will be able to tolerate.”
But the approvals go ahead anyways. As Correia told the Tribunal, “No one was able to help, because of the Green Energy Act.”
The drive to reduce CO2 emissions makes it difficult for developing countries to finance the construction of vitally-needed hydrocarbon-fueled power plants. For example, in 2010 South Africa secured a $3.9 billion loan to build the Medupi coal-fired power station only because developing country representatives on the World Bank board voted for approval. The U.S. and four European nation members abstained from approval because of their concerns about climate change. They apparently wanted South Africans to use wind and solar power instead, sources too expensive for widespread use even in wealthy nations.
Finally, because of the belief that humans control climate, only 6% of the one billion dollars spent every day across the world on climate finance goes to helping vulnerable people cope with climate change today. The rest is spent trying to stop phenomena that might someday happen.  This is immoral, effectively valuing the lives of people yet to be born more than those in need today.
In all of these cases, climate mitigation takes precedence over the needs of the present. Groups such as Ontario Coalition Against Poverty, Oxfam Canada, and Great Lakes Commons, all of which participated in Sunday’s event, must distance themselves from climate activists, not march with them.
Tom Harris is Executive Director of the Ottawa-based International Climate Science Coalition.

The Wind Scam is Much More Financially Detrimental, Than the Windpushers Claimed.


The cost of wind energy is significantly more expensive than its advocates pretend, a new US study has found.

If you believe this chart produced by the US Energy Information Administration (EIA), then onshore wind is one of the cheapest forms of power – more competitive than nuclear, coal or hydro, and a lot more than solar.


But when you take into account the true costs of wind, it’s around 48 per cent more expensive than the industry’s official estimates – according to new research conducted by Utah State University.

“In this study, we refer to the ‘true cost’ of wind as the price tag consumers and society as a whole pay both to purchase wind-generated electricity and to subsidize the wind energy industry through taxes and government debt,” said Ryan Yonk Ph.D., one of the report’s authors and a founder of Strata Policy. “After examining all of these cost factors and carefully reviewing existing cost estimates, we were able to better understand how much higher the cost is for Americans.”

The peer-reviewed report accounted for the following factors:

  • The federal Production Tax Credit (PTC), a crucial subsidy for wind producers, has distorted the energy market by artificially lowering the cost of expensive technologies and directing taxpayer money to the wind industry.
  • States have enacted Renewable Portfolio Standards (RPS) that require utilities to purchase electricity produced from renewable sources, which drives up the cost of electricity for consumers.
  • Because wind resources are often located far from existing transmission lines, expanding the grid is expensive, and the costs are passed on to taxpayers and consumers.
  • Conventional generators must be kept on call as backup to meet demand when wind is unable to do so, driving up the cost of electricity for consumers.

“Innovation is a wonderful thing and renewable energy is no exception. Wind power has experienced tremendous growth since the 1990’s, but it has largely been a response to generous federal subsidies,” Yonk stated.

Among the factors wind advocates fail to acknowledge, the report shows, is the “opportunity cost” of the massive subsidies which taxpayers are forced to provide in order to persuade producers to indulge in this otherwise grotesquely inefficient and largely pointless form of power generation.

In the US this amounts to an annual $5 billion per year in Production Tax Credits (PTC). Here is money that could have been spent on education, healthcare, defence or, indeed, which could have been left in the pockets of taxpayers to spend as they prefer.

Instead it has been squandered on bribing rent-seeking crony-capitalists to carpet the landscape with bat-chomping, bird-slicing eco-crucifixes to produce energy so intermittent that it is often unavailable when needed most (on very hot or very cold days when demand for air-conditioning or heating is high) and only too available on other occasions when a glut means that wind producers actually have to pay utilities to accept their unwanted energy. This phenomenon, known as “negative pricing”, is worthwhile to wind producers because they only get their subsidy credits when they are producing power (whether it is needed or not). But clearly not worthwhile to the people who end up footing the bill: ie taxpayers.

Hence the observation of serial wind energy “investor” Warren Buffett, who says: “We get a tax credit if we build a lot of wind farms. That’s the only reason to build them. They don’t make sense without the tax credit.”

But even this report may underestimate the real costs of wind energy. It doesn’t account for the damage caused to the health of people unfortunate enough to live near wind turbines, as acknowledged officially for the first time in this report produced for the Australian government.

Nor does it account for the environmental blight caused to the landscape – far greater, asChristopher Booker has reported, than that created by the greenies’ bete noire fracking.

When Professor David MacKay stepped down as chief scientific adviser to the Department of Energy and Climate Change (Decc) last year, he produced a report comparing the environmental impact of a fracking site to that of wind farms. Over 25 years, he calculated, a single “shale gas pad” covering five acres, with a drilling rig 85ft high (only needed for less than a year), would produce as much energy as 87 giant wind turbines, covering 5.6 square miles and visible up to 20 miles away. Yet, to the greenies, the first of these, capable of producing energy whenever needed, without a penny of subsidy, is anathema; while the second, producing electricity very unreliably in return for millions of pounds in subsidies, fills them with rapture.

Nor yet does it factor in the epic destruction of avian fauna caused by these supposedly eco-friendly devices. According to Oxford University ecologist Clive Hambler:

Every year in Spain alone — according to research by the conservation group SEO/Birdlife — between 6 and 18 million birds and bats are killed by wind farms. They kill roughly twice as many bats as birds. This breaks down as approximately 110–330 birds per turbine per year and 200–670 bats per year. And these figures may be conservative if you compare them to statistics published in December 2002 by the California Energy Commission: ‘In a summary of avian impacts at wind turbines by Benner et al (1993) bird deaths per turbine per year were as high as 309 in Germany and 895 in Sweden.’

Because wind farms tend to be built on uplands, where there are good thermals, they kill a disproportionate number of raptors. In Australia, the Tasmanian wedge-tailed eagle is threatened with global extinction by wind farms. In north America, wind farms are killing tens of thousands of raptors including golden eagles and America’s national bird, the bald eagle. In Spain, the Egyptian vulture is threatened, as too is the Griffon vulture — 400 of which were killed in one year at Navarra alone. Norwegian wind farms kill over ten white-tailed eagles per year and the population of Smøla has been severely impacted by turbines built against the opposition of ornithologists.

Nor are many other avian species safe. In North America, for example, proposed wind farms on the Great Lakes would kill large numbers of migratory songbirds. In the Atlantic, seabirds such as the Manx Shearwater are threatened. Offshore wind farms are just as bad as onshore ones, posing a growing threat to seabirds and migratory birds, and reducing habitat availability for marine birds (such as common scoter and eider ducks).

In Britain, Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne has belatedly acknowledged the problem – which his Prime Minister’s “greenest government ever” helped create – by promising to rein in green energy subsidies.

The cost of subsidising new wind farms is spiralling out of control, government sources have privately warned.

Officials admitted that so-called “green” energy schemes will require a staggering £9 billion a year in subsidies – paid for by customers – by 2020. This is £1.5 billion more than the maximum limit the coalition had originally planned.

The mounting costs will mean every household in the country is forced to pay an estimated £170 a year by the end of the decade to support the renewable electricity schemes that were promoted by the coalition.

But given the damage that has already done to the British landscape by wind turbines it may well be a case of shutting the stable door after the horse has bolted. Especially when you consider that this man has already made £100 million out of the scam and that there are no mechanisms to get any of that wasted money back.

How Climate Alarmism Hurts All of Us! Stop Government-Induced “Climaphobia!”

The Public is Losing Faith in Science, Due to Bias, and Government Interference!

The Climate Wars’ Damage to Science

The great thing about science is that it’s self-correcting. The good drives out the bad, because experiments get replicated and hypotheses tested — or so I used to think. Now, thanks largely to climate science, I see bad ideas can persist for decades, and surrounded by myrmidons of furious defenders they become intolerant dogmas

cc the factsFor much of my life I have been a science writer. That means I eavesdrop on what’s going on in laboratories so I can tell interesting stories. It’s analogous to the way art critics write about art, but with a difference: we “science critics” rarely criticise. If we think a scientific paper is dumb, we just ignore it. There’s too much good stuff coming out of science to waste time knocking the bad stuff.

Sure, we occasionally take a swipe at pseudoscience—homeopathy, astrology, claims that genetically modified food causes cancer, and so on. But the great thing about science is that it’s self-correcting. The good drives out the bad, because experiments get replicated and hypotheses put to the test. So a really bad idea cannot survive long in science.

Or so I used to think. Now, thanks largely to climate science, I have changed my mind. It turns out bad ideas can persist in science for decades, and surrounded by myrmidons of furious defenders they can turn into intolerant dogmas.

This should have been obvious to me. Lysenkoism, a pseudo-biological theory that plants (and people) could be trained to change their heritable natures, helped starve millions and yet persisted for decades in the Soviet Union, reaching its zenith under Nikita Khrushchev. The theory that dietary fat causes obesity and heart disease, based on a couple of terrible studies in the 1950s, became unchallenged orthodoxy and is only now fading slowly.

What these two ideas have in common is that they had political support, which enabled them to monopolise debate. Scientists are just as prone as anybody else to “confirmation bias”, the tendency we all have to seek evidence that supports our favoured hypothesis and dismiss evidence that contradicts it—as if we were counsel for the defence. It’s tosh that scientists always try to disprove their own theories, as they sometimes claim, and nor should they. But they do try to disprove each other’s. Science has always been decentralised, so Professor Smith challenges Professor Jones’s claims, and that’s what keeps science honest.

What went wrong with Lysenko and dietary fat was that in each case a monopoly was established. Lysenko’s opponents were imprisoned or killed. Nina Teicholz’s book The Big Fat Surprise shows in devastating detail how opponents of Ancel Keys’s dietary fat hypothesis were starved of grants and frozen out of the debate by an intolerant consensus backed by vested interests, echoed and amplified by a docile press.

Cheerleaders for alarm

This is precisely what has happened with the climate debate and it is at risk of damaging the whole reputation of science. The “bad idea” in this case is not that climate changes, nor that human beings influence climate change; but that the impending change is sufficiently dangerous to require urgent policy responses. In the 1970s, when global temperatures were cooling, some scientists could not resist the lure of press attention by arguing that a new ice age was imminent. Others called this nonsense and the World Meteorological Organisation rightly refused to endorse the alarm. That’s science working as it should. In the 1980s, as temperatures began to rise again, some of the same scientists dusted off the greenhouse effect and began to argue that runaway warming was now likely.

At first, the science establishment reacted sceptically and a diversity of views was aired. It’s hard to recall now just how much you were allowed to question the claims in those days. As Bernie Lewin reminds us in one chapter of a fascinating new book of essays called Climate Change: The Facts(hereafter The Facts), as late as 1995 when the second assessment report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) came out with its last-minute additional claim of a “discernible human influence” on climate, Nature magazine warned scientists against overheating the debate.

Since then, however, inch by inch, the huge green pressure groups have grown fat on a diet of constant but ever-changing alarm about the future. That these alarms—over population growth, pesticides, rain forests, acid rain, ozone holes, sperm counts, genetically modified crops—have often proved wildly exaggerated does not matter: the organisations that did the most exaggeration trousered the most money. In the case of climate, the alarm is always in the distant future, so can never be debunked.

These huge green multinationals, with budgets in the hundreds of millions of dollars, have now systematically infiltrated science, as well as industry and media, with the result that many high-profile climate scientists and the journalists who cover them have become one-sided cheerleaders for alarm, while a hit squad of increasingly vicious bloggers polices the debate to ensure that anybody who steps out of line is punished. They insist on stamping out all mention of the heresy that climate change might not be lethally dangerous.

Today’s climate science, as Ian Plimer points out in his chapter in The Facts, is based on a “pre-ordained conclusion, huge bodies of evidence are ignored and analytical procedures are treated as evidence”. Funds are not available to investigate alternative theories. Those who express even the mildest doubts about dangerous climate change are ostracised, accused of being in the pay of fossil-fuel interests or starved of funds; those who take money from green pressure groups and make wildly exaggerated statements are showered with rewards and treated by the media as neutral.

Look what happened to a butterfly ecologist named Camille Parmesan when she published a paper on “Climate and Species Range” that blamed climate change for threatening the Edith checkerspot butterfly with extinction in California by driving its range northward. The paper was cited more than 500 times, she was invited to speak at the White House and she was asked to contribute to the IPCC’s third assessment report.

Unfortunately, a distinguished ecologist called Jim Steele found fault with her conclusion: there had been more local extinctions in the southern part of the butterfly’s range due to urban development than in the north, so only the statistical averages moved north, not the butterflies. There was no correlated local change in temperature anyway, and the butterflies have since recovered throughout their range. When Steele asked Parmesan for her data, she refused. Parmesan’s paper continues to be cited as evidence of climate change. Steele meanwhile is derided as a “denier”. No wonder a highly sceptical ecologist I know is very reluctant to break cover.

Jim Hansen, recently retired as head of the Goddard Institute of Space Studies at NASA, won over a million dollars in lucrative green prizes, regularly joined protests against coal plants and got himself arrested while at the same time he was in charge of adjusting and homogenising one of the supposedly objective data sets on global surface temperature. How would he be likely to react if told of evidence that climate change is not such a big problem?

Michael Oppenheimer, of Princeton University, who frequently testifies before Congress in favour of urgent action on climate change, was the Environmental Defense Fund’s senior scientist for nineteen years and continues to advise it. The EDF has assets of $209 million and since 2008 has had over $540 million from charitable foundations, plus $2.8 million in federal grants. In that time it has spent $11.3 million on lobbying, and has fifty-five people on thirty-two federal advisory committees. How likely is it that they or Oppenheimer would turn around and say global warming is not likely to be dangerous?

Why is it acceptable, asks the blogger Donna Laframboise, for the IPCC to “put a man who has spent his career cashing cheques from both the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) and Greenpeace in charge of its latest chapter on the world’s oceans?” She’s referring to the University of Queensland’s Ove Hoegh-Guldberg.

These scientists and their guardians of the flame repeatedly insist that there are only two ways of thinking about climate change—that it’s real, man-made and dangerous (the right way), or that it’s not happening (the wrong way). But this is a false dichotomy. There is a third possibility: that it’s real, partly man-made and not dangerous. This is the “lukewarmer” school, and I am happy to put myself in this category. Lukewarmers do not think dangerous climate change is impossible; but they think it is unlikely.

I find that very few people even know of this. Most ordinary people who do not follow climate debates assume that either it’s not happening or it’s dangerous. This suits those with vested interests in renewable energy, since it implies that the only way you would be against their boondoggles is if you “didn’t believe” in climate change.

What consensus about the future?

Sceptics such as Plimer often complain that “consensus” has no place in science. Strictly they are right, but I think it is a red herring. I happily agree that you can have some degree of scientific consensus about the past and the present. The earth is a sphere; evolution is true; carbon dioxide is a greenhouse gas. The IPCC claims in its most recent report that it is “95 per cent” sure that “more than half” of the (gentle) warming “since 1950” is man-made. I’ll drink to that, though it’s a pretty vague claim. But you really cannot have much of a consensus about the future. Scientists are terrible at making forecasts—indeed as Dan Gardner documents in his book Future Babble they are often worse than laymen. And the climate is a chaotic system with multiple influences of which human emissions are just one, which makes prediction even harder.

The IPCC actually admits the possibility of lukewarming within its consensus, because it gives a range of possible future temperatures: it thinks the world will be between about 1.5 and four degrees warmer on average by the end of the century. That’s a huge range, from marginally beneficial to terrifyingly harmful, so it is hardly a consensus of danger, and if you look at the “probability density functions” of climate sensitivity, they always cluster towards the lower end.

What is more, in the small print describing the assumptions of the “representative concentration pathways”, it admits that the top of the range will only be reached if sensitivity to carbon dioxide is high (which is doubtful); if world population growth re-accelerates (which is unlikely); if carbon dioxide absorption by the oceans slows down (which is improbable); and if the world economy goes in a very odd direction, giving up gas but increasing coal use tenfold (which is implausible).

But the commentators ignore all these caveats and babble on about warming of “up to” four degrees (or even more), then castigate as a “denier” anybody who says, as I do, the lower end of the scale looks much more likely given the actual data. This is a deliberate tactic. Following what the psychologist Philip Tetlock called the “psychology of taboo”, there has been a systematic and thorough campaign to rule out the middle ground as heretical: not just wrong, but mistaken, immoral and beyond the pale. That’s what the word denier with its deliberate connotations of Holocaust denial is intended to do. For reasons I do not fully understand, journalists have been shamefully happy to go along with this fundamentally religious project.

Politicians love this polarising because it means they can attack a straw man. It’s what they are good at. “Doubt has been eliminated,” said Gro Harlem Brundtland, former Prime Minister of Norway and UN Special Representative on Climate Change, in a speech in 2007: “It is irresponsible, reckless and deeply immoral to question the seriousness of the situation. The time for diagnosis is over. Now it is time to act.” John Kerry says we have no time for a meeting of the flat-earth society. Barack Obama says that 97 per cent of scientists agree that climate change is “real, man-made and dangerous”. That’s just a lie (or a very ignorant remark): as I point out above, there is no consensus that it’s dangerous.

So where’s the outrage from scientists at this presidential distortion? It’s worse than that, actually. The 97 per cent figure is derived from two pieces of pseudoscience that would have embarrassed a homeopath. The first was a poll that found that 97 per cent of just seventy-nine scientists thought climate change was man-made—not that it was dangerous. A more recent poll of 1854 members of the American Meteorological Society found the true number is 52 per cent.

The second source of the 97 per cent number was a survey of scientific papers, which has now been comprehensively demolished by Professor Richard Tol of Sussex University, who is probably the world’s leading climate economist. As the Australian blogger Joanne Nova summarised Tol’s findings, John Cook of the University of Queensland and his team used an unrepresentative sample, left out much useful data, used biased observers who disagreed with the authors of the papers they were classifying nearly two-thirds of the time, and collected and analysed the data in such a way as to allow the authors to adjust their preliminary conclusions as they went along, a scientific no-no if ever there was one. The data could not be replicated, and Cook himself threatened legal action to hide them. Yet neither the journal nor the university where Cook works has retracted the paper, and the scientific establishment refuses to stop citing it, let alone blow the whistle on it. Its conclusion is too useful.

This should be a huge scandal, not fodder for a tweet by the leader of the free world. Joanne Nova, incidentally, is an example of a new breed of science critic that the climate debate has spawned. With little backing, and facing ostracism for her heresy, this talented science journalist had abandoned any chance of a normal, lucrative career and systematically set out to expose the way the huge financial gravy train that is climate science has distorted the methods of science. In her chapter in The Facts, Nova points out that the entire trillion-dollar industry of climate change policy rests on a single hypothetical assumption, first advanced in 1896, for which to this day there is no evidence.

The assumption is that modest warming from carbon dioxide must be trebly amplified by extra water vapour—that as the air warms there will be an increase in absolute humidity providing “a positive feedback”. That assumption led to specific predictions that could be tested. And the tests come back negative again and again. The large positive feedback that can turn a mild warming into a dangerous one just is not there. There is no tropical troposphere hot-spot. Ice cores unambiguously show that temperature can fall while carbon dioxide stays high. Estimates of climate sensitivity, which should be high if positive feedbacks are strong, are instead getting lower and lower. Above all, the temperature has failed to rise as predicted by the models.

Scandal after scandal

The Cook paper is one of many scandals and blunders in climate science. There was the occasion in 2012 when the climate scientist Peter Gleick stole the identity of a member of the (sceptical) Heartland Institute’s board of directors, leaked confidential documents, and included also a “strategy memo” purporting to describe Heartland’s plans, which was a straight forgery. Gleick apologised but continues to be a respected climate scientist.

There was Stephan Lewandowsky, then at the University of Western Australia, who published a paper titled “NASA faked the moon landing therefore [climate] science is a hoax”, from which readers might have deduced, in the words of a Guardian headline, that “new research finds that sceptics also tend to support conspiracy theories such as the moon landing being faked”. Yet in fact in the survey for the paper, only ten respondents out of 1145 thought that the moon landing was a hoax, and seven of those did not think climate change was a hoax. A particular irony here is that two of the men who have actually been to the moon are vocal climate sceptics: Harrison Schmitt and Buzz Aldrin.

It took years of persistence before physicist Jonathan Jones and political scientist Ruth Dixon even managed to get into print (in March this year) a detailed and devastating critique of the Lewandowsky article’s methodological flaws and bizarre reasoning, with one journal allowing Lewandowsky himself to oppose the publication of their riposte. Lewandowsky published a later paper claiming that the reactions to his previous paper proved he was right, but it was so flawed it had to be retracted.

If these examples of odd scientific practice sound too obscure, try Rajendra Pachauri, chairman of the IPCC for thirteen years and often described as the “world’s top climate scientist”. He once dismissed as “voodoo science” an official report by India’s leading glaciologist, Vijay Raina, because it had challenged a bizarre claim in an IPCC report (citing a WWF report which cited an article in New Scientist), that the Himalayan glaciers would be gone by 2035. The claim originated with Syed Hasnain, who subsequently took a job at The Energy and Resources Institute (TERI), the Delhi-based company of which Dr Pachauri is director-general, and there his glacier claim enabled TERI to win a share of a three-million-euro grant from the European Union. No wonder Dr Pachauri might well not have wanted the 2035 claim challenged.

Yet Raina was right, it proved to be the IPCC’s most high-profile blunder, and Dr Pachauri had to withdraw both it and his “voodoo” remark. The scandal led to a highly critical report into the IPCC by several of the world’s top science academics, which recommended among other things that the IPCC chair stand down after one term. Dr Pachauri ignored this, kept his job, toured the world while urging others not to, and published a novel, with steamy scenes of seduction of an older man by young women. (He resigned this year following criminal allegations of sexual misconduct with a twenty-nine-year-old female employee, which he denies, and which are subject to police investigation.)

Yet the climate bloggers who constantly smear sceptics managed to avoid even reporting most of this. If you want to follow Dr Pachauri’s career you have to rely on a tireless but self-funded investigative journalist: the Canadian Donna Laframboise. In her chapter in The Facts, Laframboise details how Dr Pachauri has managed to get the world to describe him as a Nobel laureate, even though this is simply not true.

Notice, by the way, how many of these fearless free-thinkers prepared to tell emperors they are naked are women. Susan Crockford, a Canadian zoologist, has steadfastly exposed the myth-making that goes into polar bear alarmism, to the obvious discomfort of the doyens of that field. Jennifer Marohasy of Central Queensland University, by persistently asking why cooling trends recorded at Australian weather stations with no recorded moves were being altered to warming trends, has embarrassed the Bureau of Meteorology into a review of their procedures. Her chapter in The Factsunderlines the failure of computer models to predict rainfall.

But male sceptics have scored successes too. There was the case of the paper the IPCC relied upon to show that urban heat islands (the fact that cities are generally warmer than the surrounding countryside, so urbanisation causes local, but not global, warming) had not exaggerated recent warming. This paper turned out—as the sceptic Doug Keenan proved—to be based partly on non-existent data on forty-nine weather stations in China. When corrected, it emerged that the urban heat island effect actually accounted for 40 per cent of the warming in China.

There was the Scandinavian lake sediment core that was cited as evidence of sudden recent warming, when it was actually being used “upside down”—the opposite way the authors of the study thought it should be used: so if anything it showed cooling.

There was the graph showing unprecedented recent warming that turned out to depend on just one larch tree in the Yamal Peninsula in Siberia.

There was the southern hemisphere hockey-stick that had been created by the omission of inconvenient data series.

There was the infamous “hide the decline” incident when a tree-ring-derived graph had been truncated to disguise the fact that it seemed to show recent cooling.

And of course there was the mother of all scandals, the “hockey stick” itself: a graph that purported to show the warming of the last three decades of the twentieth century as unprecedented in a millennium, a graph that the IPCC was so thrilled with that it published it six times in its third assessment report and displayed it behind the IPCC chairman at his press conference. It was a graph that persuaded me to abandon my scepticism (until I found out about its flaws), because I thoughtNature magazine would never have published it without checking. And it is a graph that was systematically shown by Steven McIntyre and Ross McKitrick to be wholly misleading, as McKitrick recounts in glorious detail in his chapter in The Facts.

Its hockey-stick shape depended heavily on one set of data from bristlecone pine trees in the American south-west, enhanced by a statistical approach to over-emphasise some 200 times any hockey-stick shaped graph. Yet bristlecone tree-rings do not, according to those who collected the data, reflect temperature at all. What is more, the scientist behind the original paper, Michael Mann, had known all along that his data depended heavily on these inappropriate trees and a few other series, because when finally prevailed upon to release his data he accidentally included a file called “censored” that proved as much: he had tested the effect of removing the bristlecone pine series and one other, and found that the hockey-stick shape disappeared.

In March this year Dr Mann published a paper claiming the Gulf Stream was slowing down. This garnered headlines all across the world. Astonishingly, his evidence that the Gulf Stream is slowing down came not from the Gulf Stream, but from “proxies” which included—yes—bristlecone pine trees in Arizona, upside-down lake sediments in Scandinavia and larch trees in Siberia.

The democratisation of science

Any one of these scandals in, say, medicine might result in suspensions, inquiries or retractions. Yet the climate scientific establishment repeatedly reacts as if nothing is wrong. It calls out any errors on the lukewarming end, but ignores those on the exaggeration end. That complacency has shocked me, and done more than anything else to weaken my long-standing support for science as an institution. I repeat that I am not a full sceptic of climate change, let alone a “denier”. I think carbon-dioxide-induced warming during this century is likely, though I think it is unlikely to prove rapid and dangerous. So I don’t agree with those who say the warming is all natural, or all driven by the sun, or only an artefact of bad measurement, but nor do I think anything excuses bad scientific practice in support of the carbon dioxide theory, and every time one of these scandals erupts and the scientific establishment asks us to ignore it, I wonder if the extreme sceptics are not on to something. I feel genuinely betrayed by the profession that I have spent so much of my career championing.

There is, however, one good thing that has happened to science as a result of the climate debate: the democratisation of science by sceptic bloggers. It is no accident that sceptic sites keep winning the “Bloggies” awards. There is nothing quite like them for massive traffic, rich debate and genuinely open peer review. Following Steven McIntyre on tree rings, Anthony Watts or Paul Homewood on temperature records, Judith Curry on uncertainty, Willis Eschenbach on clouds or ice cores, or Andrew Montford on media coverage has been one of the delights of recent years for those interested in science. Papers that had passed formal peer review and been published in journals have nonetheless been torn apart in minutes on the blogs. There was the time Steven McIntyre found that an Antarctic temperature trend arose “entirely from the impact of splicing the two data sets together”. Or when Willis Eschenbach showed a published chart had “cut the modern end of the ice core carbon dioxide record short, right at the time when carbon dioxide started to rise again” about 8000 years ago, thus omitting the startling but inconvenient fact that carbon dioxide levels rose while temperatures fell over the following millennia.

Scientists don’t like this lèse majesté, of course. But it’s the citizen science that the internet has long promised. This is what eavesdropping on science should be like—following the twists and turns of each story, the ripostes and counter-ripostes, making up your own mind based on the evidence. And that is precisely what the non-sceptical side just does not get. Its bloggers are almost universally wearily condescending. They are behaving like sixteenth-century priests who do not think the Bible should be translated into English.

Renegade heretics in science itself are especially targeted. The BBC was subjected to torrents of abuse for even interviewing Bob Carter, a distinguished geologist and climate science expert who does not toe the alarmed line and who is one of the editors of Climate Change Reconsidered, a serious and comprehensive survey of the state of climate science organised by the Non-governmental Panel on Climate Change and ignored by the mainstream media.

Judith Curry of Georgia Tech moved from alarm to mild scepticism and has endured vitriolic criticism for it. She recently wrote:

There is enormous pressure for climate scientists to conform to the so-called consensus. This pressure comes not only from politicians, but from federal funding agencies, universities and professional societies, and scientists themselves who are green activists and advocates. Reinforcing this consensus are strong monetary, reputational, and authority interests. The closing of minds on the climate change issue is a tragedy for both science and society.

The distinguished Swedish meteorologist Lennart Bengtsson was so frightened for his own family and his health after he announced last year that he was joining the advisory board of the Global Warming Policy Foundation that he withdrew, saying, “It is a situation that reminds me about the time of McCarthy.”

The astrophysicist Willie Soon was falsely accused by a Greenpeace activist of failing to disclose conflicts of interest to an academic journal, an accusation widely repeated by mainstream media.

Clearing the middle ground

Much of this climate war parallels what has happened with Islamism, and it is the result of a similar deliberate policy of polarisation and silencing of debate. Labelling opponents “Islamophobes” or “deniers” is in the vast majority of cases equally inaccurate and equally intended to polarise. As Asra Nomani wrote in the Washington Post recently, a community of anti-blasphemy police arose out of a deliberate policy decision by the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation:

and began trying to control the debate on Islam. This wider corps throws the label of “Islamophobe” on pundits, journalists and others who dare to talk about extremist ideology in the religion … The insults may look similar to Internet trolling and vitriolic comments you can find on any blog or news site. But they’re more coordinated, frightening and persistent.

Compare that to what happened to Roger Pielke Jr, as recounted by James Delingpole in The Facts. Pielke is a professor of environmental studies at the University of Colorado and a hugely respected expert on disasters. He is no denier, thinking man-made global warming is real. But in his own area of expertise he is very clear that the rise in insurance losses is because the world is getting wealthier and we have more stuff to lose, not because more storms are happening. This is incontrovertibly true, and the IPCC agrees with him. But when he said this on Nate Silver’s FiveThirtyEight website he and Silver were savaged by commenters, led by one Rob Honeycutt. Crushed by the fury he had unleashed, Silver apologised and dropped Pielke as a contributor.

Rob Honeycutt and his allies knew what they were doing. Delingpole points out that Honeycutt (on a different website) urged people to “send in the troops to hammer down” anything moderate or sceptical, and to “grow the team of crushers”. Those of us who have been on the end of this sort of stuff know it is exactly like what the blasphemy police do with Islamophobia. We get falsely labelled “deniers” and attacked for heresy in often the most ad-hominem way.

Even more shocking has been the bullying lynch mob assembled this year by alarmists to prevent the University of Western Australia, erstwhile employers of the serially debunked conspiracy theorist Stephan Lewandowsky, giving a job to the economist Bjorn Lomborg. The grounds were that Lomborg is a “denier”. But he’s not. He does not challenge the science at all. He challenges on economic grounds some climate change policies, and the skewed priorities that lead to the ineffective spending of money on the wrong environmental solutions. His approach has been repeatedly vindicated over many years in many different topics, by many of the world’s leading economists. Yet there was barely a squeak of protest from the academic establishment at the way he was howled down and defamed for having the temerity to try to set up a research group at a university.

Well, internet trolls are roaming the woods in every subject, so what am I complaining about? The difference is that in the climate debate they have the tacit or explicit support of the scientific establishment. Venerable bodies like the Royal Society almost never criticise journalists for being excessively alarmist, only for being too lukewarm, and increasingly behave like pseudoscientists, explaining away inconvenient facts.

Making excuses for failed predictions

For example, scientists predicted a retreat of Antarctic sea ice but it has expanded instead, and nowadays they are claiming, like any astrologer, that this is because of warming after all. “Please,” says Mark Steyn in The Facts:

No tittering, it’s so puerile—every professor of climatology knows that the thickest ice ever is a clear sign of thin ice, because as the oceans warm, glaciers break off the Himalayas and are carried by the El Ninja down the Gore Stream past the Cape of Good Horn where they merge into the melting ice sheet, named after the awareness-raising rapper Ice Sheet …

Or consider this example, from the Royal Society’s recent booklet on climate change:

Does the recent slowdown of warming mean that climate change is no longer happening? No. Since the very warm surface temperatures of 1998 which followed the strong 1997-98 El Niño, the increase in average surface temperature has slowed relative to the previous decade of rapid temperature increases, with more of the excess heat being stored in the oceans.

You would never know from this that the “it’s hiding in the oceans” excuse is just one unproven hypothesis—and one that implies that natural variation exaggerated the warming in the 1990s, so reinforcing the lukewarm argument. Nor would you know (as Andrew Bolt recounts in his chapter inThe Facts) that the pause in global warming contradicts specific and explicit predictions such as this, from the UK Met Office: “by 2014 we’re predicting it will be 0.3 degrees warmer than in 2004”. Or that the length of the pause is now past the point where many scientists said it would disprove the hypothesis of rapid man-made warming. Dr Phil Jones, head of the Climatic Research Unit at the University of East Anglia, said in 2009: “Bottom line: the ‘no upward trend’ has to continue for a total of 15 years before we get worried.” It now has.

Excusing failed predictions is a staple of astrology; it’s the way pseudoscientists argue. In science, as Karl Popper long ago insisted, if you make predictions and they fail, you don’t just make excuses and insist you’re even more right than before. The Royal Society once used to promise “never to give their opinion, as a body, upon any subject”. Its very motto is “nullius in verba”: take nobody’s word for it. Now it puts out catechisms of what you must believe in. Surely, the handing down of dogmas is for churches, not science academies. Expertise, authority and leadership should count for nothing in science. The great Thomas Henry Huxley put it this way: “The improver of natural knowledge absolutely refuses to acknowledge authority, as such. For him, scepticism is the highest of duties; blind faith the one unpardonable sin.” Richard Feynman was even pithier: “Science is the belief in the ignorance of experts.”

The harm to science

I dread to think what harm this episode will have done to the reputation of science in general when the dust has settled. Science will need a reformation. Garth Paltridge is a distinguished Australian climate scientist, who, in The Facts, pens a wise paragraph that I fear will be the epitaph of climate science:

We have at least to consider the possibility that the scientific establishment behind the global warming issue has been drawn into the trap of seriously overstating the climate problem—or, what is much the same thing, of seriously understating the uncertainties associated with the climate problem—in its effort to promote the cause. It is a particularly nasty trap in the context of science, because it risks destroying, perhaps for centuries to come, the unique and hard-won reputation for honesty which is the basis for society’s respect for scientific endeavour.

And it’s not working anyway. Despite avalanches of money being spent on research to find evidence of rapid man-made warming, despite even more spent on propaganda and marketing and subsidising renewable energy, the public remains unconvinced. The most recent polling data from Gallup shows the number of Americans who worry “a great deal” about climate change is down slightly on thirty years ago, while the number who worry “not at all” has doubled from 12 per cent to 24 per cent—and now exceeds the number who worry “only a little” or “a fair amount”. All that fear-mongering has achieved less than nothing: if anything it has hardened scepticism.

None of this would matter if it was just scientific inquiry, though that rarely comes cheap in itself. The big difference is that these scientists who insist that we take their word for it, and who get cross if we don’t, are also asking us to make huge, expensive and risky changes to the world economy and to people’s livelihoods. They want us to spend a fortune getting emissions down as soon as possible. And they want us to do that even if it hurts poor people today, because, they say, their grandchildren (who, as Nigel Lawson points out, in The Facts, and their models assume, are going to be very wealthy) matter more.

Yet they are not prepared to debate the science behind their concern. That seems wrong to me.

Matt Ridley is an English science journalist whose books include The Rational Optimist: How Prosperity Evolves. A member of the House of Lords, he has a website at He declares an interest in coal through the leasing of land for mining.

We Have NO Right To Saddle Future Generations, Because of Our Government-Induced Climaphobia!

The Future Isn’t Ours to Dictate

It is not the business of today’s politicians to decide which energy sources will be used 85 years from now.


In 1930, horse-drawn wagons were still common. That year, the first traffic lights were installed in New York City, and the first East-West crossing of the Atlantic took place via airplane. Vaccines for illness such as diphtheria, tetanus, cholera, typhoid, and tuberculosis were yet to be discovered. This was a world without television, without computers, and in which telephones were definitely not portable.

How ridiculous would it have been for political leaders back in 1930 to decide how we, here in 2015, should live? In an era before large hydro electric dams and nuclear reactors, how sensible would it have been for US President Herbert Hoover, British PM Ramsay MacDonald, and German Chancellor Heinrich Brüning to decide what energy sources societies should rely on 85 years hence?

And yet, as Steven Goddard points out on his RealScience blog, the leaders of today’s G7 countries think it’s their job to make choices on behalf of future generations. They have now solemnly agreed to “phase out fossil fuel use by end of century.” What rot. What hubris.


Let us be serious. When Barack Obama, David Cameron, and Angela Merkel manage to balance their national budgets that’s a major accomplishment. The idea that younger generations, equipped with as-yet-undreamed-of technological marvels, will feel constrained by what was said at a press conference this week is plain bonkers.