By Christopher Monckton of Brenchley, reporting from Erice, Sicily
ERICE, SICILY – It’s official. The scare is over. The World Federation of Scientists, at its annual seminars on planetary emergencies, has been advised by its own climate monitoring panel that global warming is no longer a planetary emergency.
The President of the Italian Senate, Judge Pietro Grasso, who was the judge in Sicily’s first maxiprocesso, a class-action prosecution of dozens of Mafiosi who were sent to prison for a total of 2600 years, gave the magistral lecture at the opening plenary session of the seminars, which ended this week.
Both Judge Grasso and the President of the Federation, Professor Antonino Zichichi, said that care should be taken to examine carefully the basis for concern about CO2 emissions as well as the relevance and cost-effectiveness of proposed mitigation measures.
Last year’s magistral lecture to the Federation was by Professor Vaclav Klaus, then president of the Czech Republic, whose talk was entitled The manmade contribution to global warming is not a planetary emergency.
President Klaus had said: “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 year Dr. Christopher Essex, Professor of Applied Mathematics at the University of Western Ontario and chairman of the Federation’s permanent monitoring panel on climate, gave the Federation’s closing plenary session his panel’s confirmation that “Climate change in itself is not a planetary emergency.”
Left to right: Christopher Essex, Pietro Grasso, Vaclav Klaus, and Antonino Zichichi.
Professor Essex pointed out that history had shown illegitimate political movements inventing false emergencies to bypass democratic constraints on their quest for absolute power.
The Earth’s climate, he said, is a dynamic and continually-changing system. “Human societies have lived and thriven under every conceivable climate, and modern technology makes adaptation to changing weather conditions entirely routine.”
The increasing fraction of CO2 in the air could be expected to result in some warming, but it had been accepted that “the benefits of food production and the relief of starvation overwhelm concerns about the potential climate changes induced by land-surface modification.” He said the panel thought it essential to ask whether similar reasoning applied to global fossil-energy production.
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.”
Professors Bob Carter and Murry Salby, who had questioned the severity of Man’s influence on the climate, were both ejected by their universities this year.
Professor Essex called for “free and open debate on all aspects of climate science, even where hypotheses are put forward for examination that openly contradict the official positions of political entities.”
He said the panel found persuasive indications that climate models systematically understated natural climate variability and significantly exaggerated the impact of CO2 emissions. Accordingly, past, present and proposed policy measures could be shown not to provide net benefits to society regardless of the rate at which the planet might warm. Limited resources would be better devoted to more pressing issues.
UPDATE: The WFS is revising their website on the subject, see below:
According to the Wayback Machine, this is how it used to read:
Summary of the Emergency
The safety and well-being of human populations are threatened by the variability and change in both the climate and the composition of Earth’s atmosphere. Research into these trends is being significantly influenced by a number of factors:
- What was once a relatively easy and low-cost task of obtaining data for studying and predicting these changes, is now becoming expensive, complicated and threatening as data are copyrighted and offered on a ‘for sale’ basis by international co-ordinating bodies.
- Global monitoring of trends requires inter-comparability and continuity of key observations, combined with the recovery of historical information. Unfortunately, observation systems for gathering climatic data are becoming increasingly costly and difficult to maintain. Furthermore, some of the standard systems upon which climate research depends (e.g. the international upper-air sounding system) are being eroded.
- The quality of the information provided to the lay public, industry and governments is critical to the public perception of this issue and the scientists studying it. This, in turn, affects the allocation of limited resources for research and, ultimately, to public well-being. Unfortunately, the quality and reliability of the information is highly variable and is sometimes distorted. Scientists need to do a better job of communicating such information to present an accurate and timely perspective on the significance of their research and its accomplishments.
Priorities in dealing with the Emergency
The priorities in dealing with the emergency are:
- To encourage and support free access to data on climate change
- To monitor the monitoring of the global environment
- To stimulate the education of the public with regard to the causes and effects of climate change.
- The increasing vulnerability of human society to the effects of climate change (e.g. More and more people living on flood plains and in areas threatened by tropical cyclones).
- Climatic extremes (e.g. droughts) to determine the extent of change and variability.
- Ways in which vulnerability to climatic disasters can be reduced (e.g. forecasting drought in order to avoid famine).
- Improved methods of forecasting variability and change (e.g. improved models for predicting El Niño) and the responsible issue of forecast products.
- The adequacy of climate-observing networks in light of the present and continuing deterioration of the current systems.
- Possible human influences on climate and on atmospheric composition and chemistry (e.g. increased greenhouse gases and tropospheric ozone).
- The possible effects of natural episodic influences on the climate (e.g. volcanic activity).
- The effects of the commercialisation of national meteorological services on data and information services, observation networks and prediction research.
Ross McKitrick writes in comments:
I dislike it when a committee of larger groups like the AGU or the AMS express their personal views on a complex subject like global warming and claim to speak for the entire membership, and I would be no more fond of it when it happens at the WFS. However, that is not what happened here. The Erice Seminar on Planetary Emergencies covers a wide range of topics, such as nuclear power, infectious diseases, terrorism, etc. People are invited based on their involvement in one specific area. They participate in topic panels, as well as the general plenary sessions. One of the plenaries is devoted to reports from the topic panels (called Permanent Monitoring Panels), and Chris gave the summary for the climate panel. However, while he discussed what his summary would say and asked for input ahead of time, he did not presume to speak for the WFS, or even for the climate group, since everyone at such a meeting is capable of speaking for him or herself, and indeed is encouraged to do so. His comments were well-received and I suspect many in the room agreed with all of them, but it’s not correct to say that the WFS took a position.
[Note: Steve McIntyre writes in an email to me that he endorses this comment from Ross:
Monckton wanted the conference to make an official statement but it didn't. Monckton's post led many WUWT readers to conclude that the WFS had taken an "official" position, but this is not correct and unfair to WFS members who do not agree.
Dr. Christopher Essex, chairman, Monitoring Panel on Climate,
World Federation of Scientists, also writes:
I support Ross's comment as a valid clarification.