Epistles, too dippy

homer.jpg From the wilder shores of crankdom (mainly the “dissenting voices” side of Climate “Debate” Daily ), I offer a few choice selections of current thinking on the sceptic front to brighten (or dampen) your weekend. From the perceptive political analysis of Swindler Martin Durkin to the verbosity of a “potty peer”, all agree on one thing: global warming has stopped…

If you’d like to explore the roots of environmentalism and follow in the footsteps of Vincent Gray, then this interview with Swindle producer Martin Durkin will prove enlightening:

Romanticism is in essence anti-Capitalist. Not in the sense of traditional Marxism. The Marxists wanted to go forwards not backwards. They wanted to build bigger factories than the capitalists, not folksy medieval craft workshops. No. Romanticism was a kind of reactionary anti-capitalism. And it was the ideology and aesthetic worldview of those people who lost most, or gained least from capitalism. I think it’s the same today. In Europe, the toffs (Prince Charles and his gang) are green because they have lost their position in society. The intellectuals – teachers, lecturers, scientists are green because they don’t have the status they used to. (Not long ago, a professor would have been someone important, had a big house, maids etc). These days, plumbers make more money.

Too true. About plumbers, at least.

It’s not easy to explain this properly in a few lines, but this I think is the real basis for all those anti-modern green prejudices.

It’s not easy to explain because… (an exercise for the reader, I think). Of course, he can’t leave out the cooling:

We only started pumping out CO2 properly in the postwar boom, but what did temperatures do? In the postwar period they fell, till about the mid-70s. Then they went up again (just like they did at the beginning of the 20th Century, and then for the past ten years they’ve more or less flat-lined, decreasing slightly. Where is the evidence that humans are changing the climate? This is nothing but prejudice. It is not serious science.

For serious science, we have to turn to Bob “Balanced Middle” Carter, who returns with a lengthy essay in Aussie journal Quadrant, helpfully titled The Futile Quest for Climate Control. He prefaces his piece with this:

My reference files categorise climate change into more than 100 sub-discipline areas of relevant knowledge. Like most other climate scientists, I possess deep expertise in at most two or three of these sub-disciplines. […] It is therefore a brave scientist who essays an expert public opinion on the global warming issue, that bravery being always but one step from foolhardiness.

Luckily Bob is both brave and foolhardy, because he then delivers himself (at length) of an opinion on global warming, including the compulsory cooling meme:

There is no evidence that late-twentieth-century rates of temperature increase were unusually rapid or reached an unnaturally high peak; no human-caused greenhouse signal has been measured or identified despite the expenditure since 1990 of many billions of dollars searching for it; and global temperature, which peaked within the current natural cycle in 1998, has been declining since 2002 despite continuing increases in carbon dioxide emission.

Of course Bob is also expert enough to dismiss climate models in their entirety, the IPCC process, environmentalists, politicians and the media. Thanks, Bob, for adding nothing to the sum of human wisdom.

Another NZ CSC luminary, bewhiskered botanist David Bellamy, is given a chance by the Daily Express to whinge about being ignored by the BBC:

I am a scientist and I have to follow the directions of science but when I see that the truth is being covered up I have to voice my opinions. According to official data, in every year since 1998 world temperatures have been getting colder, and in 2002 Arctic ice actually increased. Why, then, do we not hear about that?

It seems we hear little else from the climate cranks, David…

The sad fact is that since I said I didn’t believe human beings caused global warming I’ve not been allowed to make a TV programme. […] There’s no proof, it’s just projections and if you look at the models people such as Gore use, you can see they cherry pick the ones that support their beliefs. To date, the way the so-called Greens and the BBC, the Royal Society and even our political parties have handled this smacks of McCarthyism at its worst.

Repeat after me: “I am not now, nor have I ever been sceptical of the reality of global warming.” Say that ten times before tea every day for a year and the BBC will welcome you back, the Royal Society will give you a medal, and Al Gore will do your ironing.

Meanwhile, in deepest Wellington, indefatigable crank Vincent Gray has been updating another of his seminal papers, The IPCC: Spinning the climate (PDF). He can’t resist having a piece of the cooling action:

Since there has been no “global warming” for the past 8 years, and we are currently shivering from the cold in New Zealand, and elsewhere, perhaps that day will come soon. (p15)

It’s turgid stuff, I’m afraid, but there are some moments of humour:

I began with a belief in scientific ethics, that scientists would answer queries honestly, that scientific argument would take place purely on the basis of facts, logic and established scientific and mathematical principles.

Right from the beginning, I have had difficulty with this procedure.

We noticed, Vincent, we noticed.

And finally, while we’re on the subject of epistles too dippy to take seriously, I have to draw attention to the latest effort of that good Lord, Christopher Monckton. Shortly before the US election, he wrote an open letter to John McCain, exhorting him to ignore global warming. It redefines prolixity – here’s his catechism of denial:

Here, then, are ten propositions, with each of which you appear to agree, each of which is actually false. All of these propositions must be proven true before any action is taken to tamper with the climate, still less the fatal, self-inflicted wounds that you would invite your nation to make to her economy:

1. “The scientists, politicians, and media behind ‘global warming’ are honest”: They are not;

2. “The debate is over and all credible climate scientists are agreed”: They are not;

3. “Temperature today has risen exceptionally fast, above natural variability”: It has not;

4. “Changes in solar activity do not much impact today’s global warming”: They do;

5. “Greenhouse-gas increases are the main reason why it is getting warmer”: They are not;

6. “The fingerprint of anthropogenic greenhouse warming is clearly present”: It is absent;

7. “Computer models are accurate enough to predict the climate reliably”: They cannot be;

8. “Global warming is to blame for present and future climate disasters”: It is not;

9. “Mitigating climate change will be cost-effective”: It will not;

10. “Taking precautions, just in case, would be the responsible course”: It would not be.

The conclusion is priceless:

Not for a single moment longer must you allow yourself to be distracted by the murderous foolishness of the climate alarmists. If the United States does not stand firm against cruel, pseudo-scientific nonsense of the sort that is already killing millions through purposeless starvation, then who will stand firm? Not Britain, alas, nor Europe, for we are closed countries now, administered by closed minds.

Only your “athletic democracy” can save us now – save us from the follies of policy that will merely inconvenience the prosperous but is already killing the poor. Therefore, Sir, I end this letter with the words of your poet Longfellow, addressed by Winston Churchill to your great wartime President in that darkest hour before the new dawn of freedom:

Sail on, o ship of State;

Sail on, o Union strong and great:

Humanity, with all its fears,

With all the hopes of future years,

Is hanging, breathless, on thy fate.


[Title reference]

9 thoughts on “Epistles, too dippy”

  1. I think the core of Durkin’s argument about human nature is correct, evolution has given us instincts so those at the top of the ladder fight for things to stay that way, and those who see themselves as being at the bottom argue for some sort of new order that will elevate themselves – and have no trouble constructing a rational for such a change.
    All of which has nothing to do with the physics of climate change, in fact the triumph of the scientific process is reducing the influence of such self-serving rationalisation.

  2. On the other hand, humanity could not have progressed to its current level of knowledge without building durable social structures, and adopting mechanisms for ensuring that they endure. Competition has to be balanced by cooperation: where the balance lies at any given time is of course open to debate.

    For more on Durkin and his agenda, try this 1997 Monbiot article, and the Wikipedia entries for Living Marxism and Spiked online. It’s a tangled web, the modern anti-Green movement…

  3. I can just imagine John McCain, in the dying throes of his exhausting and exhausted campaign, fielding Monckton’s letter. Probably still hasn’t read it…. He’s missing out on a high-camp masterpiece.

  4. What was the purpose of this post? If it was purely to provide ad hominem attacks then you certainly succeeded. If it was to discredit what they say then it didn’t. Maybe I just didn’t notice your counter arguments.

    Why anyone would label Dr David Bellamy a crank is beyond me but I guess if you can’t argue the science go after the messenger.

    But you do give him some sage advice.

    Repeat after me: “I am not now, nor have I ever been sceptical of the reality of global warming.” Say that ten times before tea every day for a year and the BBC will welcome you back, the Royal Society will give you a medal, and Al Gore will do your ironing.

    Yes Dave you don’t need to bother reasoning about climate change just believe!

  5. You are not noted for any rational argument but merely ad hominem attacks on those you disagree with. Your book, which I have been attempting to read, present no significant arguments in support of your case but merely suppositions of what you think might happen if your beliefs are true. They are not, as time will show.

  6. Your book, which I have been attempting to read, present no significant arguments in support of your case but merely suppositions of what you think might happen if your beliefs are true.

    …thus skipping lightly over the fact that the first half of the book is a concise summary of science’s understanding of the climate system.

    As rejections of rationality go, Roger, that’s pretty comprehensive.

  7. You are flogging a dead horse Gareth. Events in Europe have overtaken you. AGW is a dead duck.

    “THIS year, 1,500 people a day will lose their jobs and many will be forced to eat their own arms and legs to stay alive.

    Others will realise that their house is worth less than a bucket of coal and therefore set fire to it just to keep warm.

    However, the fact is that millions will not lose their jobs. And for them, 2009 could well be the best year in the whole of human history.

    Partly, this is because you will still have money in your pocket and that money is going to go a damn sight further than it did last year.

    You’ll be able to buy a house for what a car used to cost and a car for the 2008 price of an apple.

    What’s more, shopkeepers will be so desperate for your business they will offer you a night with their prettiest checkout girl if you even look like you might buy a Kit Kat.

    2009 … 1,500 people a day will lose their jobs

    Mostly, though, 2009 will be a great year because, as the recession bites ever bigger chunks out of the economy, banks fold and town centres fill with dead dogs, we’ll all stop worrying about things that really don’t matter.

    When the country was rich, the people in power had nothing much to do except feel guilty about all the money that was pouring in.

    So, to make themselves feel better, they invented a problem with the climate and said no new roads could be built in case a family of snails got squashed.”

    [edited: GR]

  8. Roger, I’ve asked you before not to just cut and paste whole articles. Please post a link to the original and an excerpt.

    In this case, the nonsense you post comes from that well-known political and economic analyst Jeremy Clarkson, who may know something about cars, but precious little about anything else.

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