Declining social mood dooms the authoritarian climate change agenda

Rising social mood is as much the enemy of freedom as declining social mood. It depends entirely on what systems are in place because during rising social mood, the herd impulse is towards unity and cooperation. A push for global authoritarian government, in order to prevent catastrophic man-made global warming, was running at full speed at the turn of the century, but now seems destined for the ash bin of history as the greatest hoax in world history.

I want to focus on social mood, but here's a brief summary of where I stand on climate science. Climate science is mainly based on predictive computer models. Climate is extremely complex, as are financial markets, and the climate models have proven to be no more accurate than the complex financial models that imploded in 2008. Furthermore, astrophysicists and other established hard science fields have been critical. Other climate scientists, including Richard Lindzen of MIT, and in countries such as Russia, have been consistently critical. More importantly, researchers focused on the Sun have been calling for a cooling period, the exact opposite of the "consensus" climate science (most recently I covered this in Another Little Ice Age on the way?). Finally, I am suspicious of the motives of government funded scientists who come up with government solutions to a problem that only their models predict. In sum, I'm a total skeptic on global warming. I'm open to the idea that man can affect the climate (man certainly affects local temperature by building cities, which are heat islands), but at this point I don't see convincing evidence and I believe the astrophysicists have the better argument today—solar output appears headed for a decline and the result will be much cooler temperatures.

Putting all of that aside, climate change is also interesting from a social mood perspective. The Kyoto Treaty and other climate change policies were bolder than the European Union and the euro. Continental cooperation between historically linked cultures is quite a challenge, but the EU managed to come together at the peak in social mood and issue a new common currency. This was sold in part with the idea of unity, a coming together in peace and harmony, in addition to supposed economic benefits. How much more difficult the challenge for climate change policies that require global cooperation and promise economic costs? Still, the agenda may have been pushed through right around the time of the euro launch had Al Gore become president, although the odds of that would have still been under 50%. It's very likely the U.S. Senate, which has the power to ratify treaties, would have changed Kyoto enough that it would have died anyway. Important Democrat senators, key to passage, live in coal and oil producing states and they were always opposed to Kyoto.

Declining social mood didn't help the Kyoto Treaty, but climate change/anthropogenic global warming (AGW) still held sway. Climate change skeptics were compared to Holocaust deniers. The "consensus" was constantly invoked as proof of AGW and unbelievers were derided as idiots or in bed with the oil & gas industry. Simple agnosticism was enough to land one in hot water. Politically, European nations, Australia, New Zealand, California and other passed climate change legislation based on the idea. The global treaty was dead, but climate change believers were racking up political and economic victories.

A curious thing then happened when social mood declined more rapidly. In a 2010 post, Social mood turns on the greens, I covered how the once cherished green movement was seeing its ideas attacked one by one. In that post, the topic was how wind power, a favorite of greens, was itself damaging the local climate. This came a year after the Climategate scandal: Climategate: the final nail in the coffin of 'Anthropogenic Global Warming'?. James Delingpole was wrong in declaring it the nail in the coffin, but it was a sign that hammering nails into AGW's coffin was no longer a quick ticket to public ridicule.
But to judge by the way – despite the best efforts of the MSM not to report on it – the CRU scandal is spreading like wildfire across the internet, this shabby story represents a blow to the AGW lobby's credibility from which it is never likely to recover
The Climategate scandal exposed how scientists were covering up data that refuted the AGW theory, but it took a disgruntled insider to make the information public.

Today, climate change is taking serious blows. The news of China and the U.S. opposing European carbon taxes is also driven by social mood, but more of the protectionist nature. The real action is in the media, where scientific studies that really do put the final nails in climate change's coffin are coming fast and furiously. The Little Ice Age news came out last month in right-leaning U.K. press. Now, the news is coming out of the most left-wing of news sources. First, the Guardian:

The Himalayas and nearby peaks have lost no ice in past 10 years, study shows
The discovery has stunned scientists, who had believed that around 50bn tonnes of meltwater were being shed each year and not being replaced by new snowfall.

The study is the first to survey all the world's icecaps and glaciers and was made possible by the use of satellite data. Overall, the contribution of melting ice outside the two largest caps – Greenland and Antarctica – is much less then previously estimated, with the lack of ice loss in the Himalayas and the other high peaks of Asia responsible for most of the discrepancy.

Bristol University glaciologist Prof Jonathan Bamber, who was not part of the research team, said: "The very unexpected result was the negligible mass loss from high mountain Asia, which is not significantly different from zero."
This debate remains intensely political due to the insertion of politics into science and the Guardian article says this doesn't disprove AGW.

Der Spiegel takes a more political tone with: 'I Feel Duped on Climate Change'. This article is also left-wing in the overall tone, but it is much more of a "fighting withdrawal." The interview is with outgoing German electric utility executive Fritz Vahrenholt, who argues that to protect the development of alternative energy, the truth about the science must be told.
SPIEGEL: Why are you taking on the role of the climate rebel with such passion? Where does this rage come from?

Vahrenholt: For years, I disseminated the hypotheses of the IPCC, and I feel duped. Renewable energy is near and dear to me, and I've been fighting for its expansion for more than 30 years. My concern is that if citizens discover that the people who warn of a climate disaster are only telling half the truth, they will no longer be prepared to pay higher electricity costs for wind and solar (energy). Then the conversion of our energy supply will lack the necessary acceptance.

SPIEGEL: If we take your book to its logical conclusion, it will be unnecessary to reduce CO2 emissions at all.

Vahrenholt: No. Even a temperature increase of only one degree would be a noticeable change. But I am indeed saying that climate change is manageable because the cooling effects of the sun and the ocean currents give us enough time to prepare. In any case, it will be easy for us in Germany to adjust.

SPIEGEL: So, is it a mistake to concentrate exclusively on the reduction of carbon dioxide?

Vahrenholt: Yes. In addition to carbon dioxide, we also have black soot, for example. It creates 55 percent of the warming effect of CO2, but it could be filtered out with little effort within a few years, especially in emerging and developing countries. And, in doing so, we would achieve huge benefits for human health.

SPIEGEL: Would the expansion of wind energy have proceeded as quickly without concerns over the climate?

Vahrenholt: It was a driving force. But it was mainly engineering skills that brought wind energy to a profitable level. Again, I want us to continue stressing renewable energy, which we have to make competitive. I just think that we should proceed sensibly: Wind power and biomass are fine in Germany, but no solar panels, please! They're better off in Africa and southern Europe. It's crazy to install 50 percent of worldwide solar panels in "Solar Country Germany" for fear of the supposed climate disaster and to spend €8 billion ($10.4 billion) a year on it!
Here where it stands: climate change alarmists are spreading bad science. Some on the alternative energy side of the argument realize that they're in bed with people spreading falsehoods. When the public learns that AGW amounted to the greatest hoax in the history of the world, they will be angry and alternative energy will suffer collateral damage. Socionomics says that this is a very valid concern and there will be a lot of trouble ahead for those who were pushing the idea of man-made catastrophe.

On the topic of alternative energy, my argument from the 2010 post remains the same.
I don't expect the debate between oil, natural gas and coal, versus solar, wind and biofuels, to end. Instead, the terms of the debate will shift as people focus on costs over benefits.
Who is the big winner in all of this? Besides the truth: China, India and coal.

No comments:

Post a Comment