Heaven and Hell
Oct 23, 2015
Bishop Hill in Climate: Sceptics

A new book by Professor Ian Plimer is published today.


Summary: The recent papal Encyclical was on climate and the environment.  This book criticises the Encyclical and shows that we have never lived in better times, that cheap fossil fuel energy has and is continuing to bring hundreds of millions of people from peasant poverty to the middle class and that the alleged dangerous global warming is a myth.  

 I have great respect for the Pope’s sincere wishes to end pollution and poverty. We all share the same sentiments. The solution is to use cheap coal-fired electricity and not to demonise coal and other fossil fuels. The Industrial Revolution and the growth of East Asia and India shows that with cheap coal-fired electricity, people are brought out of poverty. It has happened to hundreds of millions of people over the last 20 years.

 Burning coal releases CO2. This is the gas of life. Plants are fertilised by CO2 and use less water and there has been a greening of the Earth with the slight increase of CO2 in the atmosphere. The food for all life on Earth has been demonised as a pollutant.  

 It has yet to be shown that CO2 drives global warming and all models of future climate based on CO2 have failed. Despite hysterical predictions based on models, planet Earth has not deteriorated due to an increase in CO2 in the atmosphere. Nature and humans add traces of a trace gas CO2 to the atmosphere.  

 The planet has not warmed for more than 18 years, models predicted a steady temperature increase over this time and a predicted hot spot over the equator does not exist. The models are not in accord with measured reality and are rejected. The science on climate change is far from settled, there is no consensus and there is no overwhelming evidence of human-induced global warming.  

 In the past when the Earth had a high atmospheric CO2, there was no tipping point, no run away global warming, no accelerated extinction and ecosystems thrived. When the past atmospheric CO2 content was up to 1,000 times higher than now, there were ice ages, no acid oceans, no correlation between temperature and atmospheric CO2 and no correlation between atmospheric CO2 and sea level.

This high atmospheric CO2 content was removed into sediments and life and eventually sequestered in sedimentary rocks. There has been no compelling case made for the reduction of CO2 emissions by humans, models of future climate have overestimated the projected rate of warning and have totally ignored the possibility of global cooling. Geology and history show us that global cooling kills people and destroys ecosystems.

 The Pope’s promotion of renewable energy shows that he was not well advised. The Pope has only listened to a small group of green left environmental activists and atheists, some who are in a warm embrace with communism. Wind, solar, wave and tidal forces do not have the energy density to keep modern society alive. Construction of wind and solar industrial complexes release more CO2 than they save and are inefficient, unreliable and need back up all day and all night from coal, gas, nuclear of hydro. In order to try to make renewable energy more competitive, governments have increased the costs of conventional electricity to the point where there is fuel poverty in Western countries and employment-generating businesses are closing down or moving. The Pope’s solution to perceived problems is agrarian socialism using wind and solar power.

 No Third World country trying to escape from poverty can afford renewable energy and it is only Western countries that use renewable energy because they are wealthy. Wealthy countries didn’t become wealthy overnight and centuries of the evolution of free trade, democracy, creativity, resource utilisation and property rights made wealth creation possible. Governments, collectives or international treaties did not create this wealth. Individuals created it. By denying poor countries access to fossil fuels, Pope Francis condemns them to permanent poverty with the associated disease, short longevity and unemployment.

 The Pope seems to have swallowed hook, line and sinker the new environmental religion that competes with Catholicism. The Encyclical is an anti-development, anti-market enthusiastic embrace of global green left environmental ideology and much of the Encyclical is a denunciation of free markets dressed up as religious instruction.

 Most Encyclicals are about hope whereas Laudato Si’ is actually a depressing doomsday view of the future without evidence, science and discussions about uncertainty. The Pope shows concerns for the poor yet only offers constraints that would make the poor poorer. There are no scientific references in the Encyclical even though much of it is about science and it attempts to use science

 Global living standards have improved, people are wealthier, fewer people live in abject poverty and more people have access to sanitation, clean water and electricity. There is still a lot to achieve. The toll from diseases has decreased, people live longer, fewer people are killed from extreme weather events and there has been no increase in economic damage from extreme weather events.

 All in all, the world is a better place. A slight increase in CO2 in the atmosphere had increased crop yields and has increased forest area and productivity. The net impact of a slight increase in atmospheric CO2 has been beneficial to the biosphere.

 The Third World and the developing countries desperately need to escape from poverty. The Pope’s concern for the world’s poor will amount to nothing unless they can have safe drinking water and affordable and reliable electricity for heating and cooking. No longer should the poor die from the smoke emitted by burning dung, leaves and twigs in huts.

 Only when Third World children can do homework at night using cheap coal-fired electricity can they escape from poverty. Abundant cheap electricity can be used to pump water and treat sewage. Separate reticulated water and waste water systems have saved more lives on Earth than any other invention.



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