What is a ‘Climate Change Denier’? We have frequently noted in these pages that the environmental movement has a number of extremist elements that are anti-civilization in their outlook and have a very mean authoritarian streak. Among other things we have frequently cited the fact that many from the authoritarian Left have drifted into this (and other) movements after their sugar daddy in Moscow expired with the fall of the Soviet Union. However, this extremism is now increasingly going mainstream. After the earth’s climate has stopped warming for 18 years running (plus one month) in spite of atmospheric CO2 rising by one third over the same period, many apparently think the best course would be to shut up critics by force.
Let us first define the people who are on the receiving end of the derogatory ‘denier’ term (it is derogatory because it reminds of the term ‘holocaust denier’ and it is clear that this is the reason it was picked). None of them ‘deny’ that the climate is changing. It would be a foolish thing to assert, given that the climate has always changed and always will. The scientists who try to debunk climate alarmism are simply not alarmist.
The vast bulk of them concedes that human activity likely has some influence on the planet’s climate, but they believe that there is no certainty about the size of this influence, and whether CO2 (which the alarmists have declared to be the main ‘climate forcing’ agent) really has all that much to do with it. The paleoclimate record clearly suggests that this is not the case, as CO2 increases in the atmosphere have always followed warming periods with a considerable lag and not led them in a single instance. Moreover, the historical climate record – almost regardless of how far back one looks – shows that the earth’s climate has frequently been far warmer than today, long before anyone thought of burning fossil fuels.
In short, the skeptical argument boils down to: we do not know enough to indict human activity. Much of what we observe could simply be natural variation. Therefore, we should think twice before we take actions that threaten to destroy economic growth and ultimately industrial civilization. By now a powerful record of evidence is backing the skeptics up. Alarmists have invented 52 different excuses over just the past half year or so as to why their ‘predictive computer models’ have failed to predict the ‘pause’ – or why, indeed, they have failed to predict anything at all (the latest, and probably funniest excuse yet, is that they ‘could have predicted it if they had a time machine and could go back into the past’).
Again, it is important to remember here: not a single alarmist prediction made since the late 1970s has come true – not one. However, alarmism sells: it sells newspapers, it is loved by the political class, as it justifies ever greater government interference in the economy, and it is therefore the source of a huge gravy train of scientific grants. Many scientists try to be as alarmist as possible for this very reason: it keeps the grant money flowing. When they think no-one’s looking, they admit to each other what a ‘travesty’ it all is (their words, from the ‘Climategate’ e-mails).
This post was published at Acting-Man on October 4, 2014.