Once upon a time, the meetings of the World Economic Forum in Davos were gatherings of free-market economists and entrepreneurs. Not any more. Predatory corporatism and pietistic étatisme have moved in and captured the Davos event. Their dismal handmaiden, the Thermageddon cult, was not slow to follow.
This year’s WEF annual “insight report” on global risks bizarrely rates “climate change” and “extreme weather events” as two of the three global threats with the greatest combined impact and likelihood (Fig. 1).
Figure 1: As the “climate crisis” fades to a record low, the imagined threats from “climate change” and “extreme weather” have soared to a record high (top right) among the profiteers of doom in Davos.
As climate science becomes frozen in record Antarctic ice, as The Pause grows ever longer, and as the IPCC (another international bunch of crooks for which the racketeer-influenced criminal organization that is modern Switzerland provides a jurisdiction-free safe haven) slashes its near-term predictions of global warming to a record low, the Thermageddon cult has silently captured the World Economic Forum.
Remarkably, the date of the capture is highly visible (Fig. 2). Before 2011, environmental “threats” did not figure among the WEF’s top five global risks by impact (top) and likelihood (bottom). From 2011 onward, the green panels marking supposed environmental “risks” startlingly proliferate.
Figure 2. The WEF’s top five global risks by impact (top) and by likelihood (bottom) have been dominated by imagined environmental catastrophes (green panels) since 2011. Diagram based on the WEF’s 2014 Global Risks report.
Yet there was no particular reason for alarm about our effect on the climate in 2011. What had happened? Perhaps the usual suspects, having failed in their big push for a total shutdown of the West at Copenhagen in 2009, looked around for new international bodies to capture and eventually lit upon the politically-naïve World Economic Forum.
I use the word “naïve” advisedly. For the Davos risk report, even by the low standards set by climate-change bed-wetters everywhere, is an exceptionally hysterical and overblown document. The WEF has gone full stupid.
Its pompous global-risks report says: “Environmental risks also feature prominently in this year’s list, appearing as three of the top 10 global risks of greatest concern.
“Water crises, for instance, rank as the third highest concern. This illustrates a continued and growing awareness of the global water crisis as a result of mismanagement and increased competition for already scarce water resources from economic activity and population growth. Coupled with extreme weather events such as floods and droughts, which appears sixth on the list, the potential impacts are real and happening today.
“Climate change, ranked fifth on the list, is the key driver of such uncertain and changing weather patterns, causing an increased frequency of extreme weather events such as floods and droughts.”
Now, the IPCC’s Fifth Assessment Report makes it quite plain that one cannot yet attribute any extreme-weather event to “global warming”. It specifically states that there is no discernible additional risk of cyclones, storms, droughts, and floods. And analyses such as Dr. Ryan Maue’s Accumulated Cyclone Energy Index confirm this. Yet the report wails, “Typhoon Haiyan took a heavy toll on the Philippines, even as global leaders debated climate change in Warsaw in November 2013.”
It moans on: “Climate change features among the five most likely and most impactful risks. Among other environmental risks, extreme weather events are considered the second most likely, and water crises also appear high on the list.”
And the solution? “This suggests a pressing need for better public information about the potential consequences of environmental threats, given that collective action will need to be based on common understanding.”
Here we go again. The Davos Thermageddonites blame the continuing failure of the West to shut itself down on insufficient propaganda to convince the public that global warming that has not happened caused extreme weather that has.
The fashionable nonsense continues with a whine about third-world countries being most at risk: “Drought and flood could increasingly ravage the economies of poorer countries, locking them more deeply into cycles of poverty.”
The report winds itself up into the usual mannered frenzy with a panel luridly entitled “An Emerging Spectrum of Catastrophic Risks: Existential Threats”, contributed by the “Global Agenda Council on Catastrophic Risks”, of which more in a moment
“Climate change”, says the Global Armageddon Commissariat, “could tip into a self-reinforcing, runaway phase of rising temperatures.”
Er, no, it can’t. I’m not sure that even the holy books of IPeCaC have ever suggested that runaway temperature feedback is even a possibility. In any event, elementary considerations in the mathematics of feedback amplification make runaway feedback an impossibility.
Figure 3 shows the plot of the IPCC’s 2007 estimates of climate sensitivity at CO2 doubling: y axis) against loop gain γ (x axis). The IPCC’s 3.26 [2.0, 4.5] K interval of estimated sensitivities is marked, showing its implicit loop gain values 0.64 [0.42, 0.74].
Figure 3. Climate sensitivity at CO2 doubling (y axis) against feedback loop gains γ = λ0f on the interval [–1, 3] (x axis), where λ0 is the Planck sensitivity parameter 0.31 K W–1 m2 and f is the sum in W m–2 K–1 of all unamplified temperature feedbacks. The interval of climate sensitivities given in IPCC (2007) is shown as a red-bounded region; a more physically realistic interval, consistent with Lindzen & Choi (2009, 2011) is bounded in green. In electronic circuitry, the singularity at γ = +1 has a physical meaning: in the climate, it has none. In the climate, therefore, the feedback-amplification equation requires a damping term that is absent in the models.
Process engineers designing electronic circuits intended not to oscillate adopt a maximum value γ = 0.1 for the loop gain (and usually an order of magnitude below this). Thus, in a stable circuit, everything to the right of the blue line is designed out.
For the past 750 million years, the climate has behaved as a stable circuit. The temperature-feedback loop gain cannot much have exceeded +0.1, for throughout that time, according to Scotese (1999) (and see Zachos, 2005), global mean surface temperature has varied by only 8 K, or 3%, either side of the long-run mean.
In the past 420,000 years the near-constancy of global temperature has been still more impressive (Fig. 4). Absolute global temperature reconstructed from the Vostok ice cores fluctuated by less than 3 K, or 1%, either side of the mean.
Figure 4. Global temperature reconstruction over the past 420,000 years derived from δ18O anomalies in air trapped in ice strata at Vostok station, Antarctica. To render the anomalies global, the values of the reconstructed anomalies (y axis) have been divided by the customary factor 2 to allow for polar amplification. Diagram based on Petit et al. (1999). Note that all four previous interglacial warm periods, at intervals of 80,000-125,000 years, were at least as warm as the current warm period. Data source: Petit et al. (1999).
Indeed, the feedback-amplification may be the wrong equation altogether. For in an electronic circuitry the striking singularity at γ = +1 describes a physical reality. At that point, the voltage – which had been striving to reach positive inifinity – flicks from the positive to the negative rail. In the climate, however, no such transition is possible. Temperature feedbacks that have been as strongly net-positive as the IPCC fancifully imagines they are cannot suddenly drive global temperature down rather than up. Besides, there is such a thing as negative voltage, but there is no such thing as negative temperature.
In short, a damping term is necessary to permit the Bode feedback-amplification equation to be applied to the climate at all. But any value sufficient to keep the loop gain well shy of the singularity would limit climate sensitivity to the interval marked “Probable” in green on Fig. 3, implying little more than 1 K global warming per CO2 doubling. There is, therefore, no climate problem: and, even if there were, the runaway feedback eagerly imagined by the WEF cannot exist, does not exist, and has shown not the slightest sign of having existed in the past 750 million years.
The WEF rants on to blame the war in Syria on global warming: “For example, while there is no doubt a number of reasons caused the devastating civil war, recent research is unearthing the hidden role that climate change, extreme weather events and a water crisis also played in Syria. Between 2006 and 2011, up to 60% of Syria’s land experienced one of the worst long-term droughts in modern history. Together with the mismanagement of water resources, this drought led to total crop failure for 75% of farmers, forcing their migration and increasing tensions in urban cities that were already experiencing economic insecurity and instability.”
That passage nicely illustrates the problem posed by the lack of anything that our ancestors from the late Middle Ages to the Second World War would have recognized as an education on the part of the “world leaders” who flatter themselves by attending the Davos junket.
For if every drought is blamed on global warming, and every flood is blamed on global warming, and every heatwave is blamed on global warming, and every circumpolar-vortex cold snap is blamed on global warming, two conclusions follow. First, that global warming has been relentlessly increasing for 4567 million years, entirely accounting for every climatic event that has ever occurred, is now occurring, or will ever occur. Yet if global warming has been increasing for that long, how can we tell whether the small warming that ceased 17 years 4 months ago was anything much to do with us?
Secondly, if every change in the weather is held to be our fault, how can the hypothesis that manmade warming is a problem be falsified? A hypothesis that cannot be falsified is little more than a curiosity. It is not science, and no policy action may legitimately be taken on the basis of unless and until it is first modified to make it testable and is then tested and not disproven.
At least the Davos dirge admits, albeit in a roundabout way, that its take on climate science goes beyond even that of the generally extremist IPCC: “The risk multiplier that climate change presents to water shortages, biodiversity loss, ocean damage and deforestation also creates a complex ‘heterarchy’, rather than a simple hierarchy, of environmental risks, often with non-linear patterns of change and self-fuelling feedback mechanisms. This heterarchy is not contained within IPCC models, but could encompass the greatest economic risk of all from climate change.” Runaway feedbacks again.
The report maunders on: “Climate change could tip into a self-reinforcing, runaway phase of rising temperatures”. Runaway feedbacks for the third time. It ain’t gonna happen. Back to Process Engineering 101, boys!
But the Wild Extremists and Fanatics are not done yet. They go on to talk of climate change as threatening “to make the Earth increasingly uninhabitable”. Oh, pur-leaze! Some 90% of the world’s species of flora and fauna live in the tropics, where the last time I looked (on a recent visit to the avian paradise that is Colombia) the weather is somewhat warmer than at the poles, where around 1% of the world’s species live.
An elementary knowledge of high-school geography ought to have been enough to make the Davos dunderheads think twice before musing that the Earth would become “increasingly uninhabitable” as it warmed.
The “Global Agenda Council on Climate Change” contributes a second box to the report, this time entitled “Poor Countries Are Losing Ground in the Race to Adapt to a Changing Climate”
It says: “The year 2014 is likely to be crucial for addressing climate risks, a point made by United Nations (UN) climate chief Christiana Figueres at the Warsaw Climate Change Conference. Countries made only limited progress on issues such as emissions reduction, loss and damage compensation, and adaptation. Greater progress is urgently needed to create incentives and mechanisms to finance action against climate change while efforts are made to keep temperature rise below 2 degrees Celsius.”
There is no scientific basis for the notion that global temperature in 1750 was ideal and that anything more than 2 Celsius degrees above that temperature is less than ideal. What is the ideal global temperature interval, and on what scientific basis is that interval determined? The WEF fails to enlighten us on either question.
Who has captured the World Economic Forum? One clue lies in the membership of the “Global Agenda Council on Climate Change”, a title that sounds uncannily like one of the thousands of KGB-funded front groups furtively set up throughout the West by the Soviet Union as its sock-puppets to peddle disinformation in the bad old days.
The members of the Commissariat are Swiss Re (a reinsurance broker as notorious as Lloyds of London for exploiting non-existent global warming to talk up premiums); Notre Dame Global Adaptation Institute (taxpayer-funded me-too academic rent-seekers); Yvo De Boer, KPMG International Cooperative (he once ran the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change); Yara International (“sustainable agriculture”); Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection (taxpayer-funded); Carnegie Institution for Science (me-too); Christiana Figueres, United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (’nuff said); Connie Hedegaard, European Commission (’nuff said); Tokyo Institute of Technology (taxpayer-funded); HSBC Asia Pacific (me-too); Deutsche Bank (long-term global-warming fanatics); Aecom Technology Corporation (architects and builders “Dedicated To Making The World A Better Place”); Qatar Foundation (they hosted the 2012 UN climate summit at which I inadvertently represented Burma); Ministry of Water and Environmental Affairs, South Africa (taxpayer-funded); Federal Ministry of Germany for the Environment, Nature Conservation and Nuclear Safety (taxpayer-funded); Baker & McKenzie (“Global Corporate Sustainability” law firm); World Bank (unelected international racket profiteering from every fashionable scare); and Climate Group (the usual suspects, including New York State).
This rogues’ gallery is a revealing illustration of the convergence of large corporations and taxpayer-funded groups who have adopted an extremist stance on the climate question not because it is scientific but because it is fashionable.
Finally, Fig. 5 gives the list of the Top Ten Global Risks as imagined by the World Economic Forum.
Figure 5. The WEF’s Top Ten Global Risks. Its report says: “Climate change, ranked fifth on the list (see Box 1.4), is the key driver of such uncertain and changing weather patterns, causing an increased frequency of extreme weather events such as floods and droughts. It is important to consider the combined implications of these environmental risks on key development and security issues, such as food security, and political and social instability, ranked eighth and 10th respectively.”
It is difficult to decide whether the authors of this childishly extreme document genuinely believe the anti-scientific fantasies and fatuities they peddle or whether the global classe politique has at last realized that global warming is never going to occur at anything like the previously-predicted rate. If CO2 goes on rising and the temperature goes on not rising, everyone will know the governing class was wrong when it told us it was 95% confident it was right. So its best escape route is to bully scientifically-illiterate governments into vastly reducing global CO2 emissions and then to claim that the continuing failure of the world to warm is their noble achievement rather than what would have happened anyway.