At the gates of (climate) hell – Why it might be a good thing to take a step back.

This post has been filed under “politics” for a reason, because this blog does not dispute the following:

  1. That climate change is always happening, and the recent historical temperature record has shown significant warming
  2. That climate change has frequently been both rapid and severe, which by definition makes it catastrophic to species
  3. That feedback mechanisms, both positive and negative, work to accelerate or mitigate the scale and rate of change
  4. That humans are a climate feedback mechanism, and will have an impact on the state of climate equilibrium
  5. That CO2 is a Greenhouse Gas, and that anthropogenic CO2 is by definition anthropogenic climate change
  6. That it may yet come to pass that we, as a species, are proven to be responsible for causing catastrophic climate change

Where this blog heads of into wild and uncharted territory is in its present conviction that:

a) the IPCC has thus far failed to conclusively demonstrate that anthropogenic CO2 is principally responsible for what will be catastrophic climate change in the near future, or that the many claimed impacts which justify the title “catastrophe” are based on  solid and sound science.

b) the IPCC climate change models that underpin this conclusion have insufficient data for long term projections, do not properly account for feedback mechanisms and thus fail to produce accurate projections, and contain too many errors to produce truthful projections.

c) the political solutions to the problem as presented by the IPCC are both staggeringly expensive for human society, and highly inefficient as a method achieving a non-catastrophic outcome, and thus require a large amount of certainty in (a) and (b) before implementing (c) becomes a sensible idea.

To put this another way; the IPCC solution will cost 12.9% of global GDP by 2100 (the equivalent of €27 trillion a year), at a time when tens of millions die unnecessarily each year from disease and poor infrastructure, and two thirds of the worlds current population lives in abject poverty, so, if you have little faith in the diagnosis, of what value is the prognosis, especially when the same resources applied to a different remedy could achieve a much better outcome for humanity?

The problems identified above have been compounded by the fact that parts of the IPCC process are not conducted in an open and scientific manner, they require our faith that the ‘consensus’ is correct and when they do not receive that faith the only option is to attack, to vilify, and to demean. Any public utterance of scepticism is met by the accusation of sin; “but you don’t believe in climate change, do you!” This is the real poison of the consensus as advocated through politics and eco-preaching, it is removing the responsibility of critical analysis from people, and replacing it with xenophobic faith. The healthiest aspect of the whole ‘Gates’ saga is that climate scientists have been proven not to be peerless and disinterested Gods labouring ceaselessly for the salvation of humanity, they are just as venal and flawed as the rest of us, and that trust is something to be earned not given.

This is no longer science, it is politics.

True scepticism is not immovable as climate science is advancing every day in its understanding, and a thorough review of climate science may indeed reveal that climate change is both catastrophic and anthropogenic in nature, but even were this to be the case this blog would not be surprised if the solution deemed necessary looked very different from that which is proposed today. We are after all a species that is the triumph of evolution and adaptation, and the technology of the 21st century will always be the best solution to whatever the sins of the 20th century might prove to be.

The ‘Gates’ saga is no bad thing, at the very least we will have a vastly greater understanding of climate change; its primary mechanisms, its feedback mechanisms, its impacts, and by extension the political measures that will effectively ameliorate the real impact. At best we may discover that stunting world growth for the next century is unnecessary, at worst that climate change is both imminent and catastrophic…….. but not principally anthropogenic!

Thank God for the ‘Gates’.

Update – 04/04/2010

It would appear that even Germany is recovering from the mass hysteria of the ideologically motivated hair-shirt brigade, about time too, for it only gets in the way of public acceptance of the science.

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