The push is on ahead of the upcoming UN Climate Summit to be held next week in New York. Although the most senior world leaders, Donald Trump and Xi Jinping, will not attend, the UN claims that 100 heads of state will.
The official Climate Summit is proceeded by the Youth Summit to be attended by autistic rock star Greta Thunberg, yachted in from Europe at great expense to avoid burning fossil fuels in aeroplanes. Unlike the leader of the Medieval Children’s Crusade, who was not taken seriously by world leaders, then the Pope and king of France, Thunberg has met the pontiff and is feted by government and social media leaders.
The New York Youth Summit takes place alongside a weeklong global climate strike, ostensibly led by children, planned for the week Friday.
The on-going push for climate change action is centred on reductions in carbon dioxide emissions from fossil fuels, though there are other featured issues. One of these involves chastising right-wing Brazil, often with phoney photos, for converting Amazon forests to farmland (left-wing Peru, which makes the right climate concern noises, gets a free pass). In addition, there are the kooky issues involving conversions to vegetarianism.
The agenda for dramatic and urgent action on climate change – the so-called “climate emergency” – is totally divorced from the evidence.
Temperatures, the bottom line, have failed to show the increases that all but one of the 32 climate models assembled by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change have forecast. The only “outlying” model, which accurately projected the actual trend, is from Institute of Numerical Mathematics of the Russian Academy of Sciences. That model differs from all others in following the theoretical perspective of Richard Lindzen and not incorporating a feedback from water vapour amplifying the direct effect of greenhouse gases on temperatures.
The Russian model and Lindzen’s peerless atmospheric physics should be a red light warning against further harmful economic actions, chief among which are the subsidies and regulations that replace fossil fuel electricity generation with high cost, unreliable renewable energy.
But, contrary to this, there is mass delusion whereby every event is interpreted as confirmation of the embedded views that are held by opinion leaders, who are overwhelmingly alarmist. Thus:
- bushfires in Australia are deemed unprecedented but are at no more extensive than normal
- suiciding walruses filmed by David Attenborough were attributed to global warming but were shown to have many historical precedents
- Hurricanes are designated as an outcome of climate change but are in fact showing no trends
- Droughts bring enhanced claims for action but they come and go as they always have
- Sea level increases that are no greater than the century-long trend (contra Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Miami’s problems stem from building too close to the tidal peaks).
In Australia, the ABC is leading the doomster media outlet and gives extensive coverage to hysterical commentary. Thus on the ABC’s wesbite, Tim Flannery asks “How should Australia’s parents deal with those who labour so joyously to create a world in which a large portion of humanity will perish?” Flannery has offered a great many failed forecasts, but his pessimistic views are in accord with those of the national broadcaster and appear to resonate with large bodies of people.
With the incredible media and political hype, it is still surprising that after 40 years of data that has failed to provide evidence of dangerous, human-induced climate change, climate alarmism remains ascendant. A poll of 30,000 people in 28 countries finds respondents overwhelmingly think climate change is taking place. In half of the countries the climate change was mainly attributed to human activity and in no country did more than 15 per cent of respondents think human activity had no role.
Indeed, US polls (I know, I know) show Democrat hopefuls Biden, Sanders, Buttigieg, Warren and Harris beating Trump by 4-15 points in spite of them lining up behind 100 per cent renewables policies which would destroy the very low electricity supplies in the US. Unlike in other western countries where fossil fuels and nuclear are penalised, such measures are weaker in most American regions and these continue to enjoy low prices, an outcome is the US having sucked in investment from Europe, Australia and other high-cost locations.
The US Democrat hopefuls’ performance is all the more remarkable since they also promote other radical policies like massive wage hikes and free health care including for open-bordered immigrants.
Jonathan Haidt’s studies have sought to determine what causes people to fall on one side or the other of the left-right debate (actually he sees three sides with libertarians usually associated with conservatives but siding with liberals/progressives on some issues).
He has some fascinating insights, among which are, “Once people join a political team they get ensnared in its moral matrix. They see confirmation of their grand narrative everywhere and it is difficult – perhaps impossible – to convince them that they are wrong if you argue from outside of their matrix.” This would appear to be the case with climate change issues.
His advice is to combat opponents’ views by professing to use their own moral compass. For the most part, pretending to acknowledge serious adverse outcomes of climate change and claiming that enough is being done has been the approach of Australian Coalition politicians. Senator James Paterson is a good example of this.
The approach may well be good tactics but accepting the agendas of opponents usually leads to a Danegeld situation whereby concessions lead to ever increased demands which become difficult to fully reject. Fundamental left-wing changes have taken place where politicians have clothed themselves in innocuous policies within the existing framework and then shifted (Robert Mugabe, Hugo Chavez). But for the most part, radical change has taken place only once political movers take on their opponents head-on. This is true both of the right/libertarians (Margaret Thatcher, Ronald Reagan, Trump) and the left (Clem Attlee, Gough Whitlam), as well as authoritarians like the Ayatollah Khomeini.
Unfortunately, the fundamental change brought about by persuasive, even messianic leadership, usually only takes place after the regime they replaced was perceived to have failed dramatically. Such dramatic failure might occur in Australia if electricity disruptions become extensive but this remains unlikely and a “boiling frog” relative decline is, accordingly, more likely.
Alan Moran is with Regulation Economics. His latest book is Climate Change: Treaties and Policies in the Trump Era.
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