By Christopher Monckton of Brenchley
May 25, 2013, JunkScience.com
So far, the climate sceptics are right, the cry-babies wrong.
For the latter, Martin Wolf (Financial Times, May 15) writes that the greenhouse effect is real (yes, but how much warming does our enhancing it cause?); CO2 concentration may have passed 400 micro-atmospheres (not yet it hasn’t) for the first time in 4.5 million years (trees are loving it); it was 3-4 Cº warmer then than now (so CO2 isn’t the driver today); by 2100 CO2 may hit 800 μatm (maybe 600, but so what?); feedbacks amplify warming (perhaps not); temperatures have not risen recently (not for 18-23 years), and are “far higher” than 100 years ago (just 0.7 Cº higher, yet from 1695-1745, before the industrial revolution, warming was six times faster); and it is cheaper to amass debts than risk 100 years’ warming (as I’ll show, it isn’t).
Mr. Wolf says we lack the moral fibre to Save The Planet. Yet the real reasons for not betting the taxpayer’s farm on Thermageddon are pragmatic, not immoral. The world has not warmed as predicted; there is little reason to suppose it will; and, even if it did, mitigating warming today would cost 10-100 times more than adapting to any adverse consequences the day after tomorrow.
Computer models cannot even tell us how much warming should have happened by now. A revealing graph from the forthcoming Fifth Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, for which I am an Expert Reviewer, shows models have exaggerated global warming four times in four.
Since 1990, real-world measured temperatures, shown in black, have bumped along the bottom of the models’ colourful predictions.
The Fifth Assessment Report will do no better. It relies upon 34 models running four radiative-forcing scenarios. Yet its predictions, made last year but backcast to 2005, cannot even correctly “predict” past temperature change.
The imagined (and imaginary) “consensus” (in red above) remains wrong. Models predict warming equivalent to 2.3[1.1, 3.6] Cº/century from 2005 to 2050. Yet since January 2005 the world has not warmed at all. No dataset shows less than 17 years without warming. The RSS satellites show no warming statistically distinguishable from zero for 23 years.
Besides, consensus is no part of the scientific method, as its Iraqi founder, Alhazen, bluntly stated 1000 years ago. A millennium before that, Aristotle had condemned argument from headcount as one of the commonest logical fallacies of our race.
There can be no consensus about the chaotic climate’s evolution. Reliable, long-term forecasting is not available by any method, as Edward Lorenz explained 50 years ago in the landmark paper, Deterministic non-periodic flow, that founded chaos theory.
What are the models missing? Obsessed with radiation from greenhouse forcings and questionable feedbacks, they ignore or poorly parameterize many important climate processes and undervalue the net cooling effect not only of non-radiative transports such as evaporation and tropical afternoon convection but also of recent events:
- the “parasol effect” of growth in emerging nations’ unfiltered particulate aerosols;
- the decline in solar activity since 1960;
- the cooling effect of the recent double-dip la Niña;
- the recent fall in the ratio of el Niño to la Niña oscillations;
- the el Niño temperature spike of 1998, which artificially depresses linear trends starting from 1995-1998;
- the current 30-year “cooling” phase of the Pacific Decadal oscillation; and
- the natural variability that has given us many long periods without warming in the past 150 years.
The sceptics’ killer argument is economic. Over ten years Australia’s carbon tax, a typical mitigation measure, may abate 5% of Australia’s CO2 emissions, or 0.06% of global emissions, cutting CO2 concentration from a business-as-usual 410 μatm to 409.988 μatm and reducing global temperature by 1/20,000 Cº.
That 1/20,000 Cº is 1/1000 of the measurement uncertainty in the data. Even if the tax succeeded, we could not measure that it had.
The cost of mitigating just 1 Cº of this century’s predicted 3 Cº warming via worldwide carbon taxes, emissions trading, windmills and suchlike fooleries (for all are as cost-ineffective as Australia’s tax) would be $3.2 quadrillion.
Just to cut the 1/6 Cº warming predicted for the current decade would cost the world $540 trillion, or $77,000 for every man, woman and child on Earth, or 80% of ten years’ global GDP. Yet the Stern report of 2006 costs letting 3 Cº warming happen this century at just 1.5% of GDP.
Even if the world warms by 3 Cº this century (it won’t), and even if the cost of letting 3 Cº happen were as much as 1.5% of GDP (it isn’t), it costs 50 times more to act today than to adapt later.
The cost-ineffectiveness of probably-needless climate mitigation, not indifference to our grandchildren’s fate, is why governments are rightly ignoring the cry-babies crying Wolf.