Flat White

Cooling on climate catastrophe

6 December 2018

1:39 PM

6 December 2018

1:39 PM

No, 97 per cent of scientists do not agree on climate change. In fact, as climate writer Andy West’s new paper explains on Climate Etc, they’ve been verballed. As he writes, there:

[I]s no merit in the claim “that catastrophic anthropogenic global warming is the mainstream scientific position”, i.e. mainstream science as represented by the IPCC AR5 working group chapters, does not support the concept of a high certainty (absent action) of imminent global catastrophe…

Within the public domain, there is a widespread narrative of certainty (absent deep emissions cuts) of near-term (decades) climate catastrophe. This narrative is not supported by mainstream science (no skeptical views required), and in the same manner as an endless sequence of historic cultural narratives, propagates via emotive engagement, not veracity.

Feelings, not facts, in other words. West explains:

The catastrophe narrative has emanated from many of the most powerful and influential figures in the West throughout the twenty-first century… leaders, ex-leaders and candidate leaders from eight Western nations (with the US, Germany, UK and France being economically four of seven and politically four of six top world powers), along with high ministers, high UN officials, the Pope and UK royalty, over about the last 15 years. The narrative is also framed in a most urgent and emotive manner, which hugely increases its re-transmission capability, is global in scope… and unequivocally attributes the imminent catastrophe from global warming to humans.

We also know it as propaganda – hugely successful propaganda:

Over decades, various forms via which the catastrophe narrative best propagates have become established via selection, and can be categorized. While covering a large range, these forms typically feature powerful emotive cocktails (mixed emotions invoked simultaneously) and great urgency, which are highly adapted to undermining objectivity. This narrative elephant in the room not only tramples upon the mainstream output of science, but all other attempts at objectivity, at a minimum invoking bias wherever it propagates, and at maximum a complete disconnect from domain realities.


West is framing in academic terms what most sceptical, well-informed people already know or sense and have been saying and writing for some time.

Ironically enough, as West writes, it is not the majority but

[A] minority of scientists, some very vocal, (who) believe that catastrophic scenarios are more realistic … about 50 climate scientists plus environmental and other scientists propagating catastrophe narrative in support of these views. This minority occupy the opposite fringe to sceptical science, typically ignoring the more balanced interpretations from their mainstream colleagues.

Illustration: “Weird Al” Yankovic/College Humor.

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