Flat White

Climate Change: the wolf that isn’t there

22 May 2022

8:20 PM

22 May 2022

8:20 PM

The amount of carbon dioxide emitted by human activity into the Earth’s atmosphere is about the equivalent of a grain of rice in a sack.

3 per cent of 0.04 per cent of the atmosphere is made up of carbon dioxide.

Were this uncontested fact widely known, would children still cry in fear of the dreaded Climate Change monster? Would this little inconvenient fact have driven different policies with different election outcomes?

You get up, get dressed, go to work (or school). Things look and feel the same as every previous day. You are only reminded to fear man-made global warming by a pesky poster, a trite TV ad, or a how-to-vote card handed out by volunteers for climate-heavy election candidates. (I got three mini harangues on climate as I went to vote last weekend.)


Constant re-enforcement is the only way to keep populations fearful of the imminent dangers of man-made ‘Climate Change’. They have to increase the volume of hysteria because the population is experiencing no such dangerous change in their observed experience.

It is a situation where we are constantly told it’s happening, but nothing is happening. Activists and agitated politicians seeking our vote are stuck in the groove of Climate Change, with every policy announcement clinging to it like a mantra to ward off the evil spirits that threaten the orthodoxy.

While school children, teenage activists, and their immature older selves insist that something be done, there is not much more that can be done in a policy framework that has been ratcheted to the max with Net Zero by the entire political class. This is why the Climate Change believers are stuck in Groundhog Day, repeating the frightening scenarios, urging action NOW!, and writing new placards.

Like the boy crying wolf which nobody sees, his yells get louder and louder but the wolf isn’t there…

The invisibility of carbon dioxide, the invisibility of the bushfire emergency that climate alarmists are alleging, the invisibility of change in the climate on a day-to-day level, is taken by warmists as proof of inaction – and as proof of no need for action by the rest of us. The conflict is intense – but pointless.

Falling into this volcanic miasma are the policy-makers. They have not fared well.

One of the most important and useful essays on this subject is an op-ed by Dr Judith Curry writing for a Madrid paper coinciding with COP25, the December 2019 UN Climate Change Conference in Madrid. Here is a selection of points this respected scientist made:

  • For the past three decades, the climate policy ‘cart’ has been way out in front of the scientific ‘horse’. The 1992 Climate Change treaty was signed by 190 countries before the balance of scientific evidence suggested even a discernible observed human influence on global climate. The 1997 Kyoto Protocol was implemented before we had any confidence that most of the recent warming was caused by humans. There has been tremendous political pressure on the scientists to present findings that would support these treaties, which has resulted in a drive to manufacture a scientific consensus on the dangers of man-made Climate Change.
  • Fossil fuel emissions as the climate ‘control knob’ is a simple and seductive idea. We have no idea how natural climate variability (solar, volcanoes, ocean circulations) will play out in the 21st century, and whether or not natural variability will dominate over man-made warming.
  • We don’t have a good understanding of how warming will influence extreme weather events. Land use and exploitation by humans is a far bigger issue than Climate Change for species extinction and ecosystem health. Local sea level rise has many causes and is dominated by sinking from land use in many of the most vulnerable locations.
  • We have been told that the science of Climate Change is ‘settled’. However, in climate science there has been a tension between the drive towards a scientific ‘consensus’ to support policy-making, versus exploratory research that pushes forward the knowledge frontier. Climate science is characterised by a rapidly evolving knowledge base and disagreement among experts. Predictions of 21st century Climate Change are characterised by deep uncertainty.
  • We have been told that Climate Change is an ‘existential crisis.’ However, based upon our current assessment of the science, the climate threat is not an existential one, even in its most alarming hypothetical incarnations. However, the perception of man-made Climate Change as a near-term apocalypse has narrowed the policy options that we’re willing to consider.
  • There is disagreement among experts regarding whether a rapid acceleration away from fossil fuels is the appropriate policy response. In any event, rapidly reducing emissions from fossil fuels and ameliorating the adverse impacts of extreme weather events in the near term increasingly looks like magical thinking.
  • The extreme rhetoric of the Extinction Rebellion and other activists is making political agreement on Climate Change policies more difficult. Exaggerating the dangers beyond credibility makes it difficult to take Climate Change seriously.
  • The monomaniacal focus on the elimination of fossil fuel emissions distracts our attention from the primary causes of many of our problems and effective solutions. Common sense strategies to reduce vulnerability to extreme weather events, improve environmental quality, develop better energy technologies, improve agricultural and land use practices, and better manage water resources can pave the way for a more prosperous and secure future. Each of these solutions is ‘no regrets’ – supporting Climate Change mitigation while improving human wellbeing. These strategies avoid the political gridlock surrounding the current policies and avoid costly policies that will have minimal near-term impacts on the climate. And finally, these strategies don’t require agreement about the risks of uncontrolled greenhouse gas emissions.

Had the mainstream media served its consumers with the uncontested facts about man-made carbon dioxide emissions, we could well have been saved from the scare campaigns and the destructive energy policies. And regrettable election results last Saturday.

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