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Catastrophe avoided

Matt Ridley has an excellent article in the Financial Post, looking at the IPCC's greenhouse gas concentration pathways. He finds that some of them are a trifle odd and that it's rather hard to produce predictions of catastrophe from them:

...even if you pile crazy assumption upon crazy assumption till you have an edifice of vanishingly small probability, you cannot even manage to make climate change cause minor damage in the time of our grandchildren, let alone catastrophe. That’s not me saying this – it’s the IPCC itself.

This video, of Matt speaking in Canada is also well worth a look.


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Reader Comments (8)

The rational optimist makes much sense as usual. I just came across this recent quote from the sceptical environmentalist which seems apposite:

"We live in a world where one in six deaths are caused by easily curable infectious diseases; one in eight deaths stem from air pollution, mostly from cooking indoors with dung and twigs; and billions of people live in abject poverty, with no electricity and little food. We ought never to have entertained the notion that the world’s greatest challenge could be to reduce temperature rises in our generation by a fraction of a degree."


Jun 20, 2014 at 8:21 AM | Registered Commenterlapogus

Thank you, Lapogus. That quote has to be one of the most profound comments on the whole of this lamentable farrago.

Jun 20, 2014 at 11:24 AM | Registered CommenterRadical Rodent

This is very important. Lindzen has recently noted (in his EIKE presentation I think) something to the effect that no where does one find catastrophe in the GCMs. The climate alarm campaigners add it in. Perhaps less often than they used to. (Even Monbiot has, after all, had an epiphany to the effect that scaring people is not good enough to fool them into taking him and his like as seriously as they fervently believe they deserve to be taken.) There is a fault line here that offers hope for a speedier clearing up of the economic and psychological burdens imposed on so many by the earlier success of the scaremongers and their hotheaded catastrophes, and their Schneiderian Scenarios, and their 'coal trains of death'. A great many people owe their jobs to the veritable tidal wave of money that this success produced thanks to gullible, or in some cases, cynically-opportunistic, politicians and UN/NGO linked movers and shakers. Some of these surfers seem to be distancing themselves from catastrophe-speak, perhaps settling for 'bad', or even 'maybe bad' and suchlike instead.

Now we have this analysis by Ridley of the 'pathways' (aka 'scenarios') recently presented by the IPCC apparatus for our edification, and in which he has found precious little to be alarmed about. They need a concatenation of unlikely events to get to some meat to throw to the scaremongers. Rotten meat. Rotten scaremongers. Rotten business.

But the faultline, if indeed the analogy makes sense, may help expose the worst of the campaigners and get more and more of their beneficiaries speaking against them. Josh saw all this months ago:

This is another great contribution from Matt Ridley. He deploys his words with as much flair as Josh deploys his pictures. Three cheers for them both.

Jun 20, 2014 at 1:39 PM | Registered CommenterJohn Shade

This reported comment from Lindzen in his EIKE talk is what I was imperfectly recalling in my second sentence:

“That said, it should be recognized that the basis for a climate that is highly sensitive to added greenhouse gasses is solely the computer models. The relation of this sensitivity to catastrophe, moreover, does not even emerge from the models, but rather from the fervid imagination of climate activists.”

See the first comment here:

The talk is also on YouTube: (see the foot of the slide at 2m 35s for the quoted words).

Jun 20, 2014 at 2:08 PM | Registered CommenterJohn Shade

John - yes this is important. I missed Linzden's EIKE presentation so thanks for the link, I will watch it later. I did see Linzden's (with Donna & Nic) evidence to Yeo's parliamentary committee, and recall he did make much the same point early on in the proceedings, but it went straight over the head of Yeo and the rest of the committee members.

Jun 20, 2014 at 6:05 PM | Registered Commenterlapogus

Christopher Monckton.

Jun 20, 2014 at 11:43 PM | Unregistered Commenterclipe

I've been noticing this for 30 years now - the longer the CAGW debate goes on, the smaller the catastrophe, and the more hysterical the rhetoric of the alarmists.

It doesn't make any difference to how seriously the politicos take it, though. Soon, we'll be expected to give up our cars and turn off the electricity at 8 o'clock every night to prevent a very slight lengthening of the growing season...

Jun 21, 2014 at 12:39 AM | Unregistered CommenterUncle Gus

Not sure if it's from the RCP8.5 or if Ridley conjured it up on his own but the sentence "poverty would be history" strikes me as even more absurd than "Manhattan will be under 20' of seawater".

Jun 21, 2014 at 6:22 PM | Unregistered Commenterharkin

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