You might have gotten into science for the love of knowledge, but then you got a taste of the power.
You no longer see yourself as a geeky scientist poring over data in a musty lab. You are dictating government policy and changing the face of industry around the world. Your research is raising taxes and shutting down industries around the world. Thanks to you the landscape is increasingly dotted with windmills.
You have discovered that if you tell everyone that it’s scientific fact they line up to follow your lead.
You didn’t get into science to change the world, but once you feel the power coursing up your spine you are not going to give it up without a fight.
You don’t even have to be a scientist. One disgruntled former presidential candidate, Al Gore, discovered that he could amass a fortune and could influence government policy around the world… merely by selling the idea of global warming.
And you thought that he was just another “crazed sex poodle.”
One suspects that many global warmists are playing Faust by ginning up climate hysteria. One has the right to be skeptical of their prophecies.
Keep in mind, predictions about what the climate will look like a century from now are not science. They are prophecy. To be more charitable they are hypotheses.
The last time a respected international organization offered its predictions for the earth’s climate was 2007. Then, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) issued an alarmist report that was taken by many to be settled science.
The IPCC was sponsored by the United Nations and for many people that gave it credibility. For me, not so much.
Since then, many scientists have studied these questions. If Al Gore and his ilk really cared about science, they would not have found comfort in the results. Matt Ridley explained in the Wall Street Journal:
Since the last IPCC report in 2007, much has changed. It is now more than 15 years since global average temperature rose significantly. Indeed, the IPCC chairman Rajendra Pachauri has conceded that the "pause" already may have lasted for 17 years, depending on which data set you look at. A recent study in Nature Climate Change by Francis Zwiers and colleagues of the University of Victoria, British Columbia, found that models have overestimated warming by 100% over the past 20 years.
Take a deep breath. The models have “overestimate warming by 100%....” How bad does it have to get before you start to doubt the “settled science” that is being used to change our world.
Two weeks from now the same IPCC will issue a new report in which it will admit that its 2007 predictions were wrong. It exaggerated the effect that carbon emissions would have on the environment.
Ridley has seen an early summary of the report. He explained:
The big news is that, for the first time since these reports started coming out in 1990, the new one dials back the alarm. It states that the temperature rise we can expect as a result of man-made emissions of carbon dioxide is lower than the IPPC thought in 2007.
Admittedly, the change is small, and because of changing definitions, it is not easy to compare the two reports, but retreat it is. It is significant because it points to the very real possibility that, over the next several generations, the overall effect of climate change will be positive for humankind and the planet.
Specifically, the draft report says that "equilibrium climate sensitivity" (ECS)—eventual warming induced by a doubling of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, which takes hundreds of years to occur—is "extremely likely" to be above 1 degree Celsius (1.8 degrees Fahrenheit), "likely" to be above 1.5 degrees Celsius (2.4 degrees Fahrenheit) and "very likely" to be below 6 degrees Celsius (10.8 Fahrenheit). In 2007, the IPPC said it was "likely" to be above 2 degrees Celsius and "very likely" to be above 1.5 degrees, with no upper limit. Since "extremely" and "very" have specific and different statistical meanings here, comparison is difficult.
A more immediately relevant measure of likely warming has also come down: "transient climate response" (TCR)—the actual temperature change expected from a doubling of carbon dioxide about 70 years from now, without the delayed effects that come in the next century. The new report will say that this change is "likely" to be 1 to 2.5 degrees Celsius and "extremely unlikely" to be greater than 3 degrees. This again is lower than when last estimated in 2007 ("very likely" warming of 1 to 3 degrees Celsius, based on models, or 1 to 3.5 degrees, based on observational studies).
Most experts believe that warming of less than 2 degrees Celsius from preindustrial levels will result in no net economic and ecological damage. Therefore, the new report is effectively saying (based on the middle of the range of the IPCC's emissions scenarios) that there is a better than 50-50 chance that by 2083, the benefits of climate change will still outweigh the harm.
Worse yet, for the climate change hysterics, it turns out that moderate levels of global warming can be beneficial:
Warming of up to 1.2 degrees Celsius over the next 70 years (0.8 degrees have already occurred), most of which is predicted to happen in cold areas in winter and at night, would extend the range of farming further north, improve crop yields, slightly increase rainfall (especially in arid areas), enhance forest growth and cut winter deaths (which far exceed summer deaths in most places). Increased carbon dioxide levels also have caused and will continue to cause an increase in the growth rates of crops and the greening of the Earth—because plants grow faster and need less water when carbon dioxide concentrations are higher.
For another, extensive report on the IPCC study, here’s a link to an article in your and my favorite tabloid, the Daily Mail.