Wednesday, 28 August 2013

“Concern should drive us into action, not into a depression.”

Lord Monckton must be having a boring holiday.  He must have finished the latest Dan Brown and the J K Rowling thing published anonymously (though he can't tell Anthony Watts that because he doesn't like pseudonymns). So he is filling his endless days on the beach, swathed in factor 50, with his laptop and typing random drivel as it enters his cerebellum.

And today's offering introduces us to another bunch of people you might want to cross the street to avoid, the World Federation Of Scientists, a group so important that they don't have a Wikipedia page.  Now that's important.  Even I have an entry (all right, I'll admit that it isn't actually me, but it is as accurate as claiming to be a member of the House of Lords when you have been told, by the House of Lords itself, that you are not).

Anyway, the WFS are an organisation, rather like International Rescue (not the David Milliband one), to save the planet. But we can all relax just a little bit more because an organisation that counted the 3rd Viscount of Brenchley amongst its speakers in 2012 has decided to reassure us that the planet is safe.  Global warming is not an emergency.

In fact, no less a personage than Vaclav Klaus said in 2012:
“Current as well as realistically foreseeable global warming, and especially Man’s contribution to it, is not a planetary emergency which should bother us. … My reading both of the available data and of conflicting scientific arguments and theories allows me to argue that it is not global warming caused by human activity that is threatening us.” [this quote is from WUWT so I don't have a clue what is hidden by the ...]
 Not sure I'd treat this man as a reliable witness on this matter but there you go.  I don't hang around with this crowd.

Since I can't find anything other than Monckton's screed at WUWT about the 2013 meeting, I can only comment on the 2012 meeting's program.  It is not your usual conference of scientists.  Unlike Tamsin Edwards, there is a lot of advocacy going on.  And some of the usual suspects are hanging around:

Professor Christopher Essex
Department of Applied Mathematics, University of Western Ontario, Canada

The Baron Lawson of Blaby, Lord Nigel Lawson
House of Lords, Former Chancellor of the Exchequer, UK
Rational Climate Economics 
Nigel Lawson, in pinstripe suit, listens attentively to Lord Monckton's speech
The Viscount Monckton of Brenchley
Director, Monckton Enterprises Ltd., UK
 And I am sure there is more.

Anyway, it's not all about climate change.  Oh, no.  WFS is concerned with all sorts of things, like transmissible spongiform encephalopathy (that's mad cow disease to the rest of us).  Well, BSE hasn't gone away but it isn't the threat it once promised it might be.  Still, someone has to sit on a committee at a fairly unimportant organisation to pontificate on it.  Much better is the committee formed to study meteorite strikes - now we know they can cause damage and one day will be a real emergency. 
Christopher Essex (from DesmogBlog)

The climatology panel is interesting: Christopher Essex.  And, er, that's it.  The thing is currently being revised.  And this year Essex reassures us that global warming is not an emergency.  So that's one less thing for him to do: chair a committee of which he seems to be the only member.

Monckton relates that:
Professor Essex pointed out that history had shown illegitimate political movements inventing false emergencies to bypass democratic constraints on their quest for absolute power.
Note this is not a direct quote so we can't be sure this is exactly what he said but it is interesting that there seems to be a strange use of words here.  If the aim of Essex's committee is to decide on the impact of climate change, then what's the "historical" statement got to do with it?  Oh, I forgot.  The art of climate change denial is not about the science but about the politics.  Shame Monckton didn't give us an example or two to judge for ourselves what is meant but if he wasn't thinking of Kristallnacht then I'll be shocked.

A direct quote suggests that the intellect that is Chris Essex hadn't quite thought through what he said:
“Human societies have lived and thriven under every conceivable climate, and modern technology makes adaptation to changing weather conditions entirely routine.” 
Every "conceivable climate"?  Really.  I can conceive of one which has a much higher concentration of sulphur dioxide in the atmosphere, producing acidic rain of pH 1.  I don't think humans have lived more than the odd day through that.  And certainly not over a large area with prolonged effects on plants and their habitats.  Now if he had said probably climates then I would perhaps concede the point but he didn't, so I can take things to extremes.  So how about a climate where the temperature never goes above -20C ever.  That one might take some technological adaptation to overcome.  And, of course, there is that magic word "weather".  Try telling those affected by floods, or the dead from heatwaves and cold snaps that it is entirely routine.  Or tornadoes or hurricanes or any of the other extreme weathers you can think of.  Adaptation is possible in some cases, but even then they don't always work. 

Typically, falsehoods get repeated:
On behalf of the climate monitoring panel, Professor Essex also spoke up for scientists who have been bullied, threatened or even dismissed for having dared to question the Party Line on climate. He said: “Our greatest concern at present is that the intellectual climate for scientific investigation of these matters has become so hostile and politicized that the necessary research and debate cannot freely take place.
“Political constraints take the form of declaring the underlying science to be settled when it clearly is not; defunding or denigrating research that is perceived to threaten the case for renewable energy; or the use of odious pejoratives like “denialist” to describe dissent from officially-sanctioned views on climate science.”
I think we can conclude, on the basis of what Monckton tells us that climate change is not an emergency if that's what your ideology says.  That the great and good of the WFS can't see when someone is a serial miscreant (or did he mean that Dr Salby is a martyr for not bothering to teach classes, ignoring his employer's instructions and doing some distinctly dodgy things with grant money - yes, funding).

But of course the whole meeting wasn't about uncovering truths, it was about revelations of ideologies.  If it wasn't then Essex would have said different things.

To finish, Lord Monckton: here's some holiday reading you might want to do before your EasyJet takes you back to Stansted...

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