"It doesn't matter how beautiful your theory is, it doesn't matter how smart you are. If it doesn't agree with experiment, it's wrong." Richard P. Feynman
Monday, November 5, 2012
Global warming religion falters.
Maurice Newman must have had an unenviable job as a conservative chairman of the ABC which was once a proud Australian broadcasting icon and which has since degenerated into a rats-nest of left wing commentators and fellow travelers. Maurice had complained at the time about the bias of the organisation but was unable to comment further in his position. Now he writes of the rise and impending demise of the global warming religion.
It was a compelling message. Convert and enjoy everlasting life in the hereafter. The advantage the missionaries had was that the religion they taught had no hypotheses that could be tested. Death - "the undiscovered country from whose bourn no traveller returns" - meant that the afterlife could be neither proved nor disproved. Faith was the only thing needed.
Climate science is a bit like that - push the rewards and the catastrophes far enough into the future, and have faith that the prophecies will come true. However, unlike heaven, which we may reach at any time, climate prophecies need to be distant enough to make them hard to challenge yet sufficiently close to generate urgent action.
So when in 1969 Paul Ehrlich claimed because of global cooling it was an even-money bet whether England would survive until the year 2000, he could not immediately be proven wrong. After all, this was a cooling period.
Unfortunately for him, England is still inhabited and his predictions are still remembered. Ehrlich is now a warmist. Like a good stock analyst, when the company doesn't perform as you thought, better to change the recommendation from a sell to a buy, than admit you were wrong.
When Mother Nature decided in 1980 to change gears from cooler to warmer, a new global warming religion was born, replete with its own church (the UN), a papacy, (the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change), and a global warming priesthood masquerading as climate scientists. Selfish humans in rich, polluting countries were blamed for the warming and had to pay for past trespasses by providing material compensation to poor nations as penance. Cutting greenhouse gas emissions became the new holy grail. With a warm wind at their backs, these fundamentalists collected hundreds of billions of dollars from naive governments that adopted their faith on behalf of billions of people. No crusader was ever so effective.
The message was stark. If the non-believers didn't convert immediately, our children and grandchildren would face a hell on earth. The priesthood excommunicated and humiliated sceptics and deniers. Alternative views were not tolerated and, where possible, were suppressed. Did someone mention the dark ages?
Because the new arrangements would distort capital allocations, disciples wrote economic texts showing how inefficient, productivity-sapping and costly green industries would actually boost economic activity and employment.
Unfortunately, the cost of saving the planet would fall disproportionately on the poor. This wealth transfer to the rich was unavoidable and, if the poor or the infirm died of cold or heat because they could not afford airconditioning, they would simply be martyrs to the cause. In any case, who could they appeal to? All political parties had signed up to the new religion.
But, self-deluded by the warming period and their confirmatory bias, the priesthood was overtaken by hubris and made increasingly extravagant claims. We were advised that Armageddon was now even closer at hand.
Regrettably for the global warming religion, its predictions have started to appear shaky, and the converts, many of whom have lost their jobs and much of their wealth, are losing faith. Worse, heretic scientists have been giving the lie to many of the prophecies described in the IPCC bible. They could not be silenced.
Of course, the IPCC texts can be interpreted in different ways and sceptics have obviously chosen the wrong interpretation.
When atmospheric temperatures on which we had relied failed to comply with the prophecies, the waverers were instructed to look at ocean temperatures and rising sea levels.
So far, so good. However, the British arm of the climate establishment silently released an encyclical that revealed no discernible rise in aggregate global temperatures from the beginning of 1997 until August this year.
This communique was unearthed by the heretic newspaper, the Daily Mail, which pointed out that this period was of about the same duration as when temperatures rose between 1980 to 1996.
Of course, the religious high priests were quick to play down the significance of this pause. Phil Jones of the Climategate denomination claimed it was to be expected and, he insisted, 15 or 16 years is not a significant period.
Yet in 2009 he said that a "no upward trend has to continue for a total of 15 years before we get worried". But that was then and this is now and he is not about to lose his religion simply because the evidence doesn't support the text.
And, of course, there are always extenuating circumstances. El Nino and La Nina are there when you need them, to be forgotten when temperatures are warming or remembered if they are cooling. And, we've had a record Arctic melt. But better not mention the storm that NASA concedes broke the ice up and drove it south, or the record Antarctic ice gain.
Rather we must listen to Australia's Climate Change Commission novitiates who, against the evidence, have delivered a parable linking Superstorm Sandy to global warming.
At least the media disciples are keeping the faith by emphasising what supports the gospel and, where possible, omitting that which doesn't. New, corroborative revelations enjoy widespread publicity. If the same findings are later retracted for lack of scientific rigour, they are simply allowed to disappear without comment.
Yet despite all, believers in man-made global warming are declining. It will require an extraordinary crusade presaging even direr climate consequences for defying the warmist faith, before defectors even contemplate rejoining the religion. If that fails it may be time to burn sceptics at the stake. But then that would increase CO2 emissions. A dilemma, to be sure.