From Science Matters
By Ron Clutz
Joe Oliver wrote at Financial Post We are in the grip of climate-change catastrophism. Excerpts in italics with my bolds.
The climate-change movement is a powerful cultural entity. It does not affirm or negate the reality of its core narrative, which is for science to decide. Culture does, however, explain the power and prevalence of the narrative, the political and societal responses to it and the apparent willingness of many people to incur immense cost to avert a supposed existential threat, without proof of either its existence or our ability to alter its impact. In a new book available from the Global Warming Policy Foundation, The Grip of Culture: the Social Psychology of Climate Change Catastrophism, Andy A. West, who works for the Philosophy Foundation in London, provides an academic analysis of the phenomenon. Its lessons have particular relevance to Canada’s climate obsession.
As we know, the overarching climate narrative is that human GHG emissions have created a climate emergency that calls for urgent and extraordinary action, without which the consequences for humanity will be catastrophic. In many ways, its cultural characteristics parallel religions and ideological movements, starting with an unshakable foundational belief impervious to contradictory evidence, and extending to incessant incantations from politicians, mainstream media, thought leaders and environmentalists.
The faithful are reassured by groupthink, while apostates or sinful skeptics,
i.e. “deniers,” are vilified, penalized and ostracized.
Environment and Climate Change Minister Steven Guilbeault’s veiled threat to charge Premier Scott Moe of Saskatchewan criminally if he violates federal coal regulations evokes Thomas of Torquemada, Grand Inquisitor of the Spanish Inquisition — though so far absent the burnings at the stake. The movement has its high priests and priestesses — Al Gore, Justin Trudeau, Greta Thunberg, King Charles and Mark Carney, none a scientist — who convey certainty to the multitudes.
Core principles and a multitude of subsidiary tenets are validated by exaggerated interpretations of scientific studies, as well as anecdotal evidence and conveniently chosen statistics that reinforce the sacred text. For example, the end of the Little Ice Age is invariably the starting point for calculating a global temperature increase — which is like a government calculating its effects on economic growth by starting at the trough of the last recession. Confirmation bias is provided by influencers, including uniquely unqualified Hollywood stars, who propagate the doctrine of the faith. Fear is employed as a powerful motivator and is inculcated from childhood. Apocalyptic doom is preordained for collective disobedience and salvation promised for devotees and repentants who comply with onerous strictures, many of which have no practical utility.
The instinctive response from climate alarmists to public hesitancy is that “the science is settled,” the facts are overwhelming and the need so urgent they can’t waste time quibbling with ignorant or malevolent naysayers who in any case are probably racist, misogynist, far-right conspiracists.
Climate alarmists have a fundamental problem, however, which may help explain their stridency. The complexity of climate science is not settled, as Steve E. Koonin, a physicist and former undersecretary for science in Barack Obama’s Department of Energy, explained in his 2021 book, Unsettled. Other prominent scientists agree, although they are a distinct minority.
Nor is climate apocalypse supported by the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), even though its conclusions go farther than the scientific studies on which it allegedly relies. Proffered evidence is based on models that have consistently run hot. Yet the conventional consensus is to accept at face value the predictions of people who have been consistently and spectacularly wrong and who, if they were around in the 1970’s, were more than likely to have issued dire warnings about an impending ice age, like Paul Ehrlich and Kenneth Watt, as well as newspapers and journals like Time, Science Digest, The New York Times and Newsweek.
Barring a miraculous technological innovation, there is
virtually no chance of reaching global net zero by 2050.
Two-thirds of GHG emissions come from poorer countries that are deliberately increasing their use of fossil fuels, while the developed economies, including Canada, have consistently failed to reach the targets they have set themselves. And it takes centuries for excess carbon dioxide to disappear from the atmosphere, so any partial reduction in anthropogenic emissions would only slow their increase, not prevent it or eliminate them. Nevertheless, McKinsey says $275 trillion may be spent on the doomed gesture, disproportionately hurting the least advantaged and weakening the West in what may actually be an existential struggle with an expansionist communist China.
Andy West writes that culture can be a great unifier of societies and even civilizations. But because it is not based on reason, it can also be extraordinarily destructive: witness the calamities perpetrated by communism and fascism. So it is uncertain where climate catastrophism may lead or what negative feedback could potentially provoke a counter-reaction. Last year’s European energy crisis did undermine support for it, even if green activists claimed it proved we need more of the renewable energy that had in fact made the continent more vulnerable to higher prices and inadequate supply.
Zeitgeists do change. When people have to choose between food and heat and when the poorest countries are deprived of the affordable energy they desperately need to raise themselves up, then practicality and guilt may eventually change people’s beliefs. That they haven’t yet done so demonstrates the power of culture in the face of logic, morality, self-interest and the facts.
Retraction of Paper Saying There is No Climate Emergency Illustrates How Dependent Climate Activists Are on Scaremongering by Chris Morris at Daily Sceptic.
The recent cancellation of Alimonti et al shows clearly that catastrophising bad weather events and attributing them to a collapse of the climate is now the main weapon deployed to scare populations into embracing the Net Zero agenda. Of course, reference is still made to global warming, but most recent rises seem to owe more to frequent upward retrospective adjustments of temperature, rather than any significant natural boost. Perhaps we should not be surprised by this turn of events. In a short essay titled ‘The New Apocalypticism’, the science writer Roger Pielke Jr. noted: “For the secular millenarian, extreme events – floods, hurricanes, fires – are more than mere portents, they are evidence of our sins of the past and provide opportunities for redemption in the future, if only we listen, accept and change.”
The climate is collapsing all around us, shout the headlines – they require we ignore the data, the historical record, even common sense. When all is said and done, the Earth is not actually boiling! Well Professor Gianluca Alimonti and three other Italian scientists didn’t ignore the past data, much of it in fact from the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, and they found little change in extreme weather events. They published a paper concluding that there was certainly not enough to justify the declaration of a ‘climate emergency’.
A year later, the publisher Springer Nature bowed to the demands of a group of activist scientists and journalists led by the Guardian and Agence France-Presse and retracted the non-conforming paper. An addendum was proposed and sent to four reviewers for comment. Three reviewers argued for publication. The fourth stated that typical readers were not climate experts and “editors should seriously consider the implications of the possible publication of this addendum”.
We own climate science, boasted UN communications flak Melissa Fleming at a recent World Economic Forum disinformation seminar, and we partner with Google to keep our version at the top of the search list. What a great service these climate experts provide in telling us what to think and see as we unsophisticated rubes struggle towards the path of true enlightenment!
For the distinguished climatologist Dr. Judith Curry, the Alimonti affair is “why I no longer publish in peer-reviewed papers”. She described the behaviour of the journal editors as “reprehensible” in retracting a widely read climate paper just because it contained “politically inconvenient conclusions”. She is right of course – the Alimonti affair is another shocking scientific scandal that casts further doubt on the climate science peer-review process.
But then, Dr. Curry is merely a scientist in all this
–she doesn’t own the science.