Last week’s meeting of 700+ scientists, policymakers, and concerned citizens in Chicago to discuss the science and economics of global warming at the Fourth International Conference on Climate Change was a huge success as measured by the intent of its sponsors: to establish once and for all that the climate realist position is increasingly the accepted conclusion among thinking people in the three categories noted above. That position is this: manmade global warming is not a crisis.
Yes, all parties at the conference pretty much agreed that there was a good deal of warming in the 1980s and 1990s, and that the trend stopped and reversed in the current decade. Global temperatures have been falling in recent years, even though the weather stations and other data chosen to represent the official temperature records are in fact skewed to show higher and more-rising temperatures than are actually occurring.
The predictions of a steady, horrifying increase in temperatures have proven false, which should have been a great embarrassment to the climate alarmists who made the claims and set them as the basis for their extravagant power grabs such as emissions limits and cap and trade.
Yet the embarrassment has not been forthcoming from those proven to be wrong, because they are shameless.
One speaker at the conference, whom I was privileged to see, was James Delingpole, a non-scientist and a writer (a novelist, even!), who wowed the crowd with great common sense and a powerful insight into what’s really been behind the global warming scare all along. As Delingpole wrote in the Spectator after conference:
[T]he Anthropogenic Global Warming scare is not about science and never was. As Climategate proved (but as some of us suspected long before), AGW is the invention of a cabal of activists, all working towards more or less the same ecofascist agenda: Mother Gaia is suffering; it’s mostly our fault; the only way to atone for our sins is to destroy Western industrial civilisation and shackle ourselves with a form of One World government run by ‘experts’ and bureaucrats over whom we have no democratic control. It is a battle against a tyranny every bit as great as we faced in the second world war or the Cold War. All what’s different about this enemy is that instead of jackboots it wears long hair, a warm, caring smile and drives a VW Combi with an ‘Atomkraft Nein Danke’ sticker.
That’s something we climate realists have known all along and had been trying in vain to convince people of for some years: that global warming never was about saving the planet but always just a pretext for progressive elitists to take ever-greater control over your life and mine.
In fact, Delingpole notes, even if global warming were to occur, it would be a good thing. Warm periods have tended to coincide with human thriving, and cold periods are associated with war, famine, and economic stagnation. And the sad fact is that we are far more likely to be heading toward uncomfortable cold than comfortable warmth, Delingpole notes:
[W]hile there has been no global warming since 1998, the general view among those who really know is that we could now be entering a lengthy period — 20 or 30 years (most of the rest of your and my life buggered) — of global cooling.
All the auguries are there. The Pacific Decadal Oscillation (PDO), which works in roughly 30-year cycles, has now begun its cooling phase (such as we last had in the chilly years between the mid-1940s and the mid-1970s). We’re about to enter a La Niña phase in the El Niño/Southern Oscillation, which means at the very least we’re due for a winter every bit as harsh as the most recent one. Worse still, low sunspot activity suggests we might be entering a solar minimum period, such as the Maunder Minimum (1645 to 1715) when those ice fairs were held on the Thames, or the Dalton Minimum (1790 to 1830) which gave us both Napoleon’s frozen retreat from Moscow and the terrible ‘Year Without a Summer’ (1816). Periods of cooling such as this are much more greatly to be feared, of course, than periods of warming — which historically have coincided with abundance, relative peacefulness, economic growth and cultural flourishing.
Or, if you want to be really depressed, there’s always the possibility that we’re on the brink of another ice age. Warm ‘interglacial’ periods such as the one we’re in now last about 10,000 years. And we’re already past the 10,000th year.
And it isn’t hysterical alarmists saying this stuff. Climate realists don’t really do hysterical alarmism.
Delingpole is right: the attendees at the conference were remarkably good-natured and cheerful, and the discussion was strong on real science and economics and without any interesting infighting.
As was noted more than once at the conference, organizer James Taylor of The Heartland Institute invited countless well-known global warming alarmists to attend, and only two chose to do so. And none of the prominent ones deigned to step forward for a real discussion of the science and economic facts behind the matter.
That’s been the attitude of the alarmists from the start: to claim “the science is settled” and insist that we all pay no attention to the repulsively obese ex-vice president behind the curtain and move on to changing our lifestyles to suit their vile fancies regarding the limits that should be placed on the energy and other resource consumption of ordinary people—while alarmists such as Al Gore notoriously live in a manner King Midas would have been ashamed to contemplate.
The fact is, the big money—including the corporate money, despite hysterical claims to the contrary—is all on the alarmist side. Climate change realists are continually being pushed out of jobs and their scientific papers rejected simply because they dare to question the phony consensus of big-government elitists. As Delingpole notes:
It’s no wonder that the bit of my speech that got the biggest laugh was when I asked: ‘How many of you here are in the pay of Big Oil?’ No hands were raised. ‘And how many of you would like to be in the pay of Big Oil?’ Up shot 150 arms. ‘Guess we picked the wrong side of the debate to be on,’ I said, hardly needing to explain that companies like Shell and BP pump far, far more money into eco-nonsense like carbon trading and green posturing than they do into sceptical science.
That’s the problem with being an Evil Climate Change Denier. The tide is turning in our favour. History will vindicate us. But until then the only perks of the job are the joy of one another’s company and the smug satisfaction of knowing that one day we’ll be able to look at the wreckage of disasters like cap and trade, David Cameron’s wind farms and the IPCC’s junk science predictions and say: ‘I told you so.’
There is one thing and one thing only behind the global warming scare, and it is not science. It is greed for power. The truth is slowly coming out, however, and as Delingpole says, the alarmists will ultimately be pushed back.
In the meantime, however, we are in great danger of instituting a catastrophically enormous waste of money and human toil by enacting cap and trade and other such outrages. Being right would be meager solace under those circumstances.
Note: the author is employed by the main sponsor of the conference, The Heartland Institute. That, however, does not influence his opinion in the slightest, because the science does that for him.
Also note: Tomorrow in this space I will publish my report on the conference presentations.