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BARRY BRILL: A Climate Crisis? Let's Ask an Expert


“In my opinion, there is no real climate crisis.”


This carefully-considered public statement was made in May 2023 by Dr John Clauser, recipient of the 2022 Nobel Prize in physics [1]. Physics is, of course, at the heart of climate science – and Dr Clauser has special expertise in the way cloud feedbacks are processed in global climate models (GCMs).


How can we reconcile Dr Clauser's scientific view with the fact that our media are banging on every day about a climate crisis – while politician John Kerry and the UN’s Sr Guterres are saying “the oceans are boiling”.


The new Nobel Laureate faces up squarely to this conundrum:


“The popular narrative about climate change reflects a dangerous corruption of science that threatens the world’s economy and the well-being of billions of people. Misguided climate science has metastasized into massive shock-journalistic pseudoscience.


In turn, the pseudoscience has become a scapegoat for a wide variety of other unrelated ills. It has been promoted and extended by similarly misguided business marketing agents, politicians, journalists, government agencies, and environmentalists.”


A recent illustration of the “shock-journalistic pseudoscience” denounced by Clauser is the studied under-reporting of Hunga Tonga - Hunga Ha’apai (HTHH) – the world’s most explosive volcano since Krakatoa in 1883 – which injected some 150 million tonnes of seawater into the stratosphere. The global precipitation and warming caused by this event has overshadowed any suspected anthropogenic contribution in 2022-23 and will likely continue to do so for at least five more years.


John Clauser is only the latest in a long line of internationally-acclaimed scientists who have denounced climate alarmism as being politics rather than science. For example, Nobel Prize-winner Ivar Giaever (1973) has repeatedly professed skepticism of the DAGW assertion, calling it a "new religion”. Freeman Dyson, winner of the 2000 Templeton Prize and frequently called “the heir of Einstein” always insisted that "global warming is grossly exaggerated as a problem”.


Over 1600 have signed the Clintel Climate Declaration that “There is no Climate Emergency”. There are countless others. The Academic Advisory Board of the Global Warming Policy Foundation names many more.


The UN Scientists


The scientific method calls for perpetual scepticism, and consensus is often described as the death of science. But, in the very early days of political focus on AGW, Governments demanded that the world’s small cadre of climate scientists must confer and debate until some sort of consensus was eventually reached.


1988 saw the establishment of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) under the joint aegis of the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) and the World Meteorological Organisation (WMO) – which issued its Assessment Report in 1991. The following year, the UNFCCC made the IPCC permanent as its official science adviser.


During and after the Second Assessment Report, issued in 1994, a large number of the IPCC scientists resigned – leaving a residue of those who were most concerned about the threat of DAGW – with the consequence that the AR3 in 2001 was much more highly politicised. The procedures since adopted have ensured that the handful of remaining physicists (WG1) are now overwhelmed by social scientists, bureaucrats and political appointees.


The IPCC is funded by virtually every country and remains the official science adviser to the UNFCCC and all governments. In practice, it is near-impossible for any government Minister to contradict any firm scientific consensus that appears in the WG1 full report.


Quite properly, the IPCC’s 6AR (2021) does not address the question whether the Earth faces a climate “crisis” or “emergency” – or whether AGW will become ‘dangerous’– as these words are political rather than scientific. However, it does take a very clear position that:


GMST has increased at the (very gradual) average rate of 0.13°C/decade over the last 50 years and might well continue at the same average rate through the rest of the 21st century.


AGW has not yet and will not in future out-pace the immeasurable capacity of humans and ecosystems to adapt to such change. Global food production continues to increase.


there has been no observed increase in global extreme weather events, including storms, floods, heavy precipitation, cyclones, landslides, tornadoes, hailstorms, or droughts.


no increases in global extreme weather events are predicted to occur through the rest of the 21st century. All that is likely to happen is that many 20th century heat records will be broken eventually in the temperate zones.


‘tipping points’ (such as the weakening of the Gulf Stream/AMOC, or release of methane from permafrost or clathrates) are highly unlikely[2]. AGW is not ‘irreversible’.


From these findings it is abundantly clear that there is no climate crisis, either current or expected. The claim that the oceans are boiling is just a lie.


The 3 Professors : Overview


Three of the most eminent and distinguished climate scientists in USA – who have held prestigious chairs at MIT, Princeton and CalTech respectively[3] – came together in 2017 to produce their own consensus “Overview” of the key findings of UN Scientists in AR6.


The amicus curiae brief of Dr. Richard Lindzen, Dr. William Happer and Dr. Steven Koonin was prepared in response to a request by a US Judge for a tutorial on climate change and climate science. Their brief is a highly authoritative summary of what is known and unknown in climate science as the consequence of nearly 30 years of focussed research.


The authors offer four conclusions from their analysis of AR5:


1. The climate is always changing; changes like those of the past half-century are common in the geologic record, driven by powerful natural phenomena


2. Human influences on the climate are a small (1%) perturbation to natural energy flows


3. It is not possible to tell how much of the modest recent warming can be ascribed to human influences


4. There have been no detrimental changes observed in the most salient climate variables, and today’s projections of future changes are highly uncertain


The CO2 Coalition has extracted a number of additional highly interesting findings of this now famous brief. The 3 Professors leave no doubt whatever that there is not now, and will not be, a climate crisis.


More Good than Harm


All observations and modelling agree that a little AGW brings more benefits than threats. The single biggest factor is the “greening of the Earth” by the additional atmospheric carbon dioxide (plant food). This is huge, as NASA reports:


The greening of the land during the first fifteen years in the 21st century represented an additional heat dissipation (2.97×1021 J) from the surface equivalent to five times the total energy produced and used by humans in 2015 (5.71×1020 J). This greening-induced cooling effect was twenty-five times stronger than the warming effect caused by tropical deforestation.


But there are many other benefits. Reduced annual deaths of humans and most other species, longer growing seasons, fewer frosts, lower energy bills, high-latitude and high-elevation crop fertility, greater ease of movement, improved recreation, etc. Almost everybody likes summer better than winter. Scientists have long called the period of highest prevailing temperatures since the last ice age “the climatic optimum”.


For two decades, there has been endless economic debate regarding the temperature point at which the net benefits of AGW would be maximised, before turning malign.


Professor Richard Tol published The Economic Effects of Climate Change (2009) which summarised the 14 published studies up to that time. His graph (Fig 1, p 35) shows that an additional 2.2°C of warming post-2009 (ie about 3.1°C since 1870) will continue to bring incremental welfare benefits. Tol comments that the measured net impact is “in sharp contrast to the urgency of the public debate and the proposed expenditure on greenhouse gas emission reduction.”


Estimates of cost-benefit or the ‘social cost of carbon’ are made by integrated assessment models (IAMs) which link GCMs to complex economic models that simulate energy systems, land-use change, agriculture, infrastructure, conflict, governance, technology, education, and health. The four major IAMs used by the US government are nicknamed ‘DICE’, ‘RICE’, ‘PAGE’ and ‘FUND’. Complex modelling of the economic impacts of climate change was instigated by Yale Professor William Nordhaus 30 years ago and he has dominated this discipline ever since – building both the DICE and RICE IAMs and publishing widely. In 2018, Nordhaus was awarded the Nobel Memorial Prize in Economic Sciences.


In his Nobel acceptance speech Nordhaus reminded the audience of his continuing (and controversial) view that the cost-benefit optimum AGW is reached at 3°C. (since 1870).


The Nordhaus current IAM (DICE-2016R3), along with many others, show there are continuing net benefits in allowing GMST to gradually rise to the 2100 increase of 2.7°C that the UN is now citing as its worst case.


Why would anybody believe a politician/journalist when she claims (without evidence) to know more about future threats from AGW than does this highly-acclaimed Nobel-awarded expert? How irrational would that be?


Climatism


Head of the Geography Department at the University of Cambridge, and longtime climate researcher, Professor Mike Hulme, has just published a new book about what he calls the ideology of climatism.


In Climate Change Isn’t Everything : Liberating Climate Politics from Alarmism”, Hulme worries that ideas about climate change might have become more dangerous that the physical phenomenon itself, and describes how climate change mitigation has come to dominate all societal challenges.


Amazon’s blurb includes:


“… climatism has taken hold in recent years, becoming so pervasive and embedded in public life that it is increasingly hard to resist it without being written off as a climate denier. This dangerously myopic view reduces the condition of the world to the fate of global temperature .. to the detriment of tackling serious issues as varied as poverty, liberty, biodiversity loss, inequality and international diplomacy.”


Hulme prescribes 5 ‘antidotes’ and perhaps the most important of these is getting rid of ‘deadline-ism’ – ie the endless media campaigns for constant urgency and panic.


A book review by Dr Volker Hahn appears here.


Hulme introduced climatism in his 2009 book, Why We Disagree About Climate Change, which explained that climate change is not really about physics but is instead an amalgam of science, economics, faith, psychology, communication, sociology, politics and development.


This book, rated as one of the four most important of 2009, argues that climate change, rather than being a problem to be solved, is an idea which reveals different individual and collective beliefs, values and attitudes about ways of living in the world.


“It shows that the disputes are not just (or even mainly) about the science, which is in any case hugely uncertain. Rather they are deeply rooted in all aspects of the human condition”.


Summary


A 2022 Nobel Prizewinner in Physics has assured us that “there is no real climate crisis”. Many other internationally-acclaimed scientists take a similar view.


Nobelist physicist Clauser refers to “a dangerous corruption of science”, asserting that "climate science has metastasized into massive shock-journalistic pseudoscience….which has become a scapegoat for a wide variety of other unrelated ills.”


The UN Scientists (WG1) say AGW is reversible, and will not out-pace our capacity to adapt. The worst case for the entire 21st century is only 1.6°C of warming. There are no worrisome ‘tipping points’, and food production is healthily increasing.


The UN Scientists also say that official weather records show no increase in global extreme weather events, including storms, floods, heavy precipitation, cyclones, landslides, tornadoes, hailstorms, or droughts. AND that no such increases are expected in future.


The “3 Professors : Overview” analyses AR5 as saying that human perturbation of global energy flows is small (1%); that current warming is historically normal; and nobody knows how much of the observed warming is human-caused.


Leading experts, including the 2018 Nobel Prizewinner in Economics, attest that AGW will do more good that harm, even at the level of the UN’s 2100 worst case.


An authoritative Cambridge intellectual has written two sombre books warning against ‘climatism’ – demonstrating that climate change is not really about science at all, but is about competing worldviews and is deeply rooted in the human condition

[1] Dr. Clauser received the Nobel Prize, along with two others, for his work on “quantum entanglement”. It has been said that this research “will surely go down as one of the most incredible intellectual achievements in the history of science.

[2]Tipping points are much less probable than the commencement of the next glaciation or ‘ice age’, which is inevitable and already overdue.

[3]Each of the 3 has published over 200 research papers; and written extensively on climate science, especially atmospheric physics. All were members of JASON and two have been White House science advisers (to Obama and Trump respectively).



Barry Brill OBE JP LL.M(Hons) M.ComLaw is a former MP and Minister of Energy, Petrocorp director, and chair of the Gas Council, Power NZ, ESANZ, and EMCO. He is presently the Chairman of the New Zealand Climate Science Coalition.

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