DATA DERELICTION & DOOM-SWITCH ESCHATOLOGY

“We have a vested interest in creating panic, because then, money will flow to climate science.” ­

―John R. Christy, climatologist, 1991 recipient of the NASA medal for exceptional scientific achievement and a lead researcher for the IPCC in 2001.

On the 6th of October, 2018, the UN backed ENGO, Inter-governmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) published a report entitled, Global Warming of 1.5 °C, a “special report on the impacts of global warming of 1.5 °C above pre-industrial levels and related global greenhouse gas emission pathways, in the context of strengthening the global response to the threat of climate change, sustainable development, and efforts to eradicate poverty.” The paper, which built upon the work of the group’s AR5, set off a media firestorm which saw journalists publishing the most fantastical doomsaying imaginable; many called for the overthrow of capitalism and industrialism as the only way to “save the planet” and “eradicate poverty” (which, I guess they think is inextricably linked with climate), one manifestation of which was a online call: “Communism or extinction!” Such a call would more accurately be formulated: Starvation, then extinction.” Eric Holthaus of Grist wrote, “civilization is at stake if we don’t act now.” David Wallace-Wells of Intelligencer wrote that the UN’s cries of “climate genocide” (echoing Tony de Brum) weren’t nearly doomful enough, and went on to proclaim, “-the new report’s worst-case scenario is, actually, a best case. In fact, it is a beyond-best-case scenario. What has been called a genocidal level of warming is already our inevitable future. The question is how much worse than that it will get.” And on and on it went, becoming increasingly more shrill and urgent. Even a cursory reading of such eschatological whinging reveals the deep-seated belief that climate change ceases to be gradual if enough people declare it so; as if there were some great doom-switch which, if flipped, would stop the motor of the world, thus raising the seas and summoning forth an endless bout of tornadoes to revenge themselves upon the filthy meat puppets which dare plunder Gaia’s pristine ambit.

The sky was falling, again, for the first time ever1. Good news for people who love bad news.

However, there was a problem with the IPCC report and, by extension, all the caterwauling, a problem which went largely unreported by the mainstream scientific institutions and media establishments; the primary data-set for the 2018 IPCC report was the HadCRUT42 – a compilation of temperature information across many areas of earth from 1850 to the present – yet HadCRUT4 had never been independently audited, which is rather like sending your book to an editor who doesn’t bother to check for grammatical errors and instead merely takes your word that there aren’t any. This carelessness is not, however, a once-off, but rather, a trend. In 2013, the IPCC admitted that for its fifth climate assessment report, no audit of HadCRUT4, nor any associated data-set (!), had taken place. The reason this is important to note as pertains to the most recent study is that if a given data-set is not audited, its inaccuracies and uncertainties will not be appropriately checked and thus, not accounted for; further, the IPCC is highly esteemed, and, as a consequence, has considerable influence on governmental policy-making decisions. So the obvious question then is, if the IPCC did not check HadCRUT4, who has? The answer is John D. McLean, who, for his PhD thesis, conducted the first (and presently only) audit of the HadCRUT4 dataset (and those which formed its basis); what he found was that the data was riddled with inconsistencies. On page six of the report Mr. McLean writes:

“-outliers were discovered in the data, even in the 30 year period 1961 to 1990 over which long-term average temperatures are calculated and sometimes in the long period over which standard deviations are calculated. Their presence in these periods firstly widens the range of acceptable values (ie. includes the inclusion of other outliers) and secondly distorts the crucial long-term average temperatures.”

The lack of attention paid to the inconsistencies of HadCRUT4 is not, however, the only problem contained within the IPCC’s latest report. In a October 10th 2018 piece for the Wall Street Journal (WSJ), Bjorn Lomborg wrote of UN climate policy,

Limiting temperatures to 2.7 degrees Fahrenheit above preindustrial levels, as the U.N.’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change urges, is economically and practically impossible — as Mr. [William] Nordhaus’s work shows. The IPCC report significantly underestimates the costs of getting to zero emissions. Fossil fuels provide cheap, efficient power, whereas green energy remains mostly uncompetitive. Switching to more expensive, less efficient technology slows development. In poor nations that means fewer people lifted out of poverty. In rich ones it means the most vulnerable are hit by higher energy bills.”

Matthew C. Neisbet wrote of the issue in a 2018 paper for the open-access journal Wiley,

“For several decades, philanthropists in the United States have played a behind-the-scenes role in framing climate change as a social problem. These foundations have defined climate change primarily as a pollution problem solvable by enacting a price on carbon and by shifting markets in the direction of renewable energy technologies and energy efficiency practices. Funding has favored ‘insider’ groups that push for policy action by way of negotiation, coalition building, and compromise, rather than ‘outsider’ groups that specialize in grassroots organizing. Philanthropists have also placed less priority on funding for other low-carbon energy sources such as nuclear power, carbon capture and storage, or natural gas…”

Given that groups like the IPCC, Greenpeace, The Sierra Club and many, many more, push strenuously for so-called green renewables to replace all other major existing energy sources, it is pertinent to interrogate the effects of such a plan and to instigate a cost-benefit analysis of “non-green” energy sources and “green” energy sources. What is strange is that this cost-benefit analysis has already been done, time and time again. Germany is a excellent example of the insufficiency of totalizing green energy policies. Conceptualized in 2002 and instantiated in legislation as of 2010, Germany’s Energiewende (energy transition) program sought to totally transform the country by initiating a phase-out of all existing “non-renewables” namely nuclear first and then coal, concomitant with the installation of solar and wind farms. The experiment was a disaster. In 2017, Professor Fritz Vahrenholt remarked of the Energiewende project,

“The [German] government driven by the fear on climate change now thinks to close the CO2 emitting hard coal and lignite and also part of the gas-fired power station[s] within the next decades. And they think you can manage it by substituting this power by renewable energies. But the problem is that renewable energy is an intermittent source.”

Under the Energiewende every household in Germany was forced to pay 300 euros per year (400 USD) to subsidize wind and solar. Further, if Germany ever decides to shift back to coal and nuclear, then it will need to invest a massive amount of funding and man-power in removing the previously installed solar panels and wind turbines. Also, instead of lowering German emissions, the “renewables” increased emission output.

The insufficiency of so-called green renewables, namely solar panels and wind turbines, is due to two principal features: unreliability and land consumption. Given the inability to control for weather variables (wind and clouds) – to say nothing of the sun – it is presently impossible to fully control the inputs of solar and wind systems; hence, no matter how efficient they become, they will never be reliable until methods arise to gain sufficient control over the weather itself, yet, at this point, better energy alternatives, far beyond our present best options, will likely have been devised, thus, rendering the whole project superfluous. Even further, the conceptual framework of the IPCC is mistaken in almost every regard; in terms of climate, they propose a minimization of impact, rather than a maximization (anathema under the prevailing ethos due to the preconception that all impact is intrinsically bad), which, thus necessitates the minimization of climate resilience. Rather than taking as their starting point, as their guiding standard, climate safety (which has been steadily increasing), they (like most greens) take instead as their starting point the pristine sacrality of nature, undisturbed. However, all human action effects nature, effects climate (though less than some other worldly phenomenon, such as volcanoes). Hence, as regards the realm of all human action the IPCC – and by extension, the UN – is primarily negatory, concerned more with constraint and prohibition than constructive, positive action.

Sources

  1. AEA. (2015)Tom Friedman Confused by Germany’s Green Energy Failure. American Energy Alliance.
  2. David Wallace-Wells. (2017) This Isn’t ‘the New Normal’ for Climate Change — That Will Be Worse.
  3. Eric Holthaus. (2018) U.N. climate report shows civilization is at stake if we don’t act now.
  4. James Hansen et al. (2013) Prevented Mortality and Greenhouse Gas Emissions from Historical and Projected Nuclear Power.
  5. McLean, John D. (2017) An audit of uncertainties in the HadCRUT4 temperature anomaly dataset plus the investigation of three other contemporary climate issues. PhD thesis, James Cook University.
  6. IPCC. (2018) Global Warming of 1.5 °C.
  7. Matthew C. Nisbet. (2018) Strategic philanthropy in the post‐Cap‐and‐Trade years: Reviewing U.S. climate and energy foundation funding.
  8. Tallbloke. (2018) IPCC SR15 Report lacks cost/benefit analysis of ‘Goldilocks thinking’.
1Though climate catastrophists such as Holthaus and Wallace-Wells like to say that such grim scenarios of environmental doom are unprecedented and that they must be acted upon directly based upon climate models that do not predict climate, many scientists and intellectual luminaries of the 1970s said precisely the same thing, only about global cooling.

2The HadCRUT4, just like the associated HadSST3 and CRUTEM4 data-sets, is a grid-based aggregation, comprised of 5 latitude x 5 longitude cells, north to south and east to west, totaling 2592 cells on land, sea and coast with all temperature anomalies calculated via the formula, T(anom) = T(s) – T(base); where (s) is the specific temperature and (base) is the reference temperature.

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