By Christopher Monckton of Brenchley
Sociologists have invented one or two useful concepts. One is the “negative reference group” – a nonempty set of people to whose advice anyone with half a brain will listen most carefully because one can be sure it is right to do the diametric opposite.
Sir David King, the former government chief scientist, is Britain’s negative reference group on climate change. The unspeakable BBC, in its daily “let’s foment climate panic to shut down the West” slot, reported Monday that Sir David had said it was “appropriate to be scared about climate change”, had demanded that Britain should commit economic hara-kiri by forswearing all sins of emission by 2040 rather than the present target date of 2050, had blamed Hurricane Dorian on those sins, and had told us Nanny knows best: global warming is worserer than what the mere public ever thunk.
Britain’s bedwetter-in-chief wrote in the children’s comic Science in 2004: “In my view, climate change is the most serious problem that we are facing today – more serious even than the threat of terrorism.”
So serious, in fact, that a few years ago, when the unelected Kommissars who reign over the European tyranny-by-clerk commissioned research intended to show that global warming kills, the results showed precisely the opposite. Even if there were as much as 5.4 K global warming in the next 60 years, by 2080 (and there won’t be), there would be 94,000 more Europeans than if there were no warming at all. And what is more, the warmer it gets the more lives will be saved. Cold weather kills more people than hot weather.
Fig. 1. Net European lives saved at four predicted rates of global warming by 2100 (EU Commission).
Dr Benny Peiser of the Global Warming Policy Foundation wrote last year: “Cold-related deaths account for 20 times more deaths in the UK (61 per 100,000 per year) than heat-related mortality (3 per 100,000 per year). It is expected that the 2018 heatwave may cause 1,000 extra deaths, yet every winter there are between 20,000 and 30,000 excess deaths in the UK. With warmer winter temperatures that number will fall.”
Sir David, unaware of these mere facts, blethered on: “We predicted temperatures would rise, but we didn’t foresee these sorts of extreme events we’re getting so soon.” Let us fact-check that.
First, we shall establish to what extent all the hot air about global warming has made us repent of our sins of emission and thus reduce annual CO2 emissions even a little bit below the business-as-usual Scenario A in IPCC’s First Assessment Report in 1990.
Fig. 2. Four emissions scenarios (IPCC 1990, p. xxxiv). By 2017 global emissions (le Quéré et al. 2018) exceeded the business-as-usual prediction.
The answer is No. For all the screaming zombie schoolchildren propagandized by their teachers, for all the lavish, high-carbon-footprint international gabfests, for all the birds and bats sacrificed to windmills (14th-century technology to solve a 21st-century non-problem: Fig. 3) or fried by solar collectors (Solyndra fried chicken), emissions remain above IPCC’s business-as-usual prediction.
Fig. 3. The simple arithmetic that reveals how windmills’ fast-moving blade-tips kill birds.
In that case, surely global warming is above the original business-as-usual prediction? Erm, no:
Fig. 4. Observed warming in response to the estimated 2.3 W m–2 net anthropogenic forcing from 1850-2011 (lower scale: IPCC 2013, fig. SPM.5) scaled to the 3.45 W m–2 forcing for doubled CO2 in the Climate Model Intercomparison Project (CMIP5: upper scale: Andrews et al. 2012). CMIP5 midrange Charney sensitivity 3.35 K (red cursor) implies 2.4 K transient warming from 1850-2011, thrice the observed 0.75 K (HadCRUT4: green cursor) and 2.4 times the 1 K period equilibrium warming to be expected based on the 2.3 W m–2 net forcing and on the 0.6 W m–2 radiative imbalance to 2011 (Smith et al. 2015: orange cursor). Revised Charney sensitivity (M of B et al. 2019: pale green) matches observation and expectation.
Fig. 4, on its own, ought to have given the hapless King pause for thought. As Pat Frank has recently demonstrated in a paper reviewed by two of the world’s most eminent climate scientists, the models are incapable of telling us anything at all about how much global warming we may cause. The uncertainties, such as in how clouds will behave, make them valueless as predictors.
There has been a lot of screeching from the usual suspects about Pat’s paper from the “consensus”, which appears to imagine that the large uncertainties in the models must broadly self-cancel over time. In that event, why – 30 years after the models’ original prediction, which is still their prediction today – was that prediction so much greater than what has been observed?
Still more to the point, why was that prediction so much greater than what the “consensus’” own estimates of net anthropogenic radiative forcing and net radiative imbalance would lead them to expect?
Sir David went on to say he was worried about the loss of ice on land and sea. But are those losses really worserer than we ever thunk? The answer, of course, is No. At the United Nations’ climate conference in Bali in 2007, I listened to Al Gore tell us all the sea ice in the Arctic would be gone by the late summer of 2013. Yet here we are in the late summer of 2019 and the ice is still there.
Would it matter if all the sea ice in the Arctic melted for as much as three months every summer? No, it wouldn’t. The ice-albedo feedback would be negligible. A little math will help Sir David.
Earth’s surface area is 511 million km2. Minimum Arctic sea ice area is 4 million km2, or 0.8% of the Earth’s surface. Ice albedo is 0.66 (Pierrehumbert 2011). Assuming ocean-water albedo of 0.06 if all the Arctic ice were to melt for the late-summer quarter, global mean albedo, now 0.3, would become 0.3 – 0.008(0.66 – 0.06), or 0.295. However, high-Arctic insolation is only one-quarter of mean terrestrial insolation, requiring division by 4; summer ice loss endures for at most 3 months, or half the Arctic daylight period, requiring division by 2; and the Arctic has 75% cloud cover, requiring a further division by 4. Thus, Eq. (E1) gives the revised global mean present-day albedo α2 assuming total Arctic ice-melt in the late-summer quarter, which proves to be vanishingly different from today’s albedo. For total solar irradiance S = 1363.5 W m–2 and the Stefan-Boltzmann constant σ, the difference ΔR0 in current emission temperature (Eq. E2), and thus in surface temperature ΔT0 given the near-linear lapse rate, is as follows –
This first-order analysis indicates that, even if the entire Arctic icecap were to melt for three months every summer, very little change in surface albedo feedback would arise. Therefore, even if that feedback were nonlinear, it is and, in foreseeable modern conditions, must remain too small to be significant. This conclusion is consistent with the findings of two recent evaluations of snow-cover feedbacks in current climate models: Rosenblum & Eisenman (2017) and Connolly et al. (2019). So the polar bears – so menaced with extinction that there are seven times as many of them today as there were 80 years ago – will do just fine.
And what about the land ice? Sir David is scared about that, too. But, again, the position is a lot less serious than we had originally been told. In 2007 IPCC, based on a single report by an activist journalist, said that all the ice in the Himalayas would be gone by 2035. Yet, according to Professor M.I. Bhat of the Indian Geological Survey, the pattern of advance and recession of glaciers is much as it has been in the 200 years since the British Raj first began keeping records.
Fig. 5. Ice-cream cone: the snows of Kilimanjaro.
Al Gore, in his mawkish sci-fi comedy horror movie, said much of the Fürtwängler glacier on the summit of Mount Kilimanjaro had vanished because of global warming. The true cause, however, turned out to be drying of the air in the region attributable to imprudent postcolonial deforestation. Moral: bring back the British Empire.
Sir David was the genius who advised the British Socialist government of Tony Bliar that he should cut the fuel tax on diesel because diesel-burning engines emit less of the satanic gas than gasoline-burners. Bliar did as he was told, for your average Socialist politician knows little or no science and is instinctually deferential to anyone with pebble spectacles, a nicotine-stained beard and a chemical-stained lab-coat with leaky Biros sticking out of the breast pocket.
However, the diesel combustion cycle, as any competent physical chemist could have told the inept King (who presumably got his professorship in that subject by collecting enough box-tops), is prone to emit far more particulate pollution per hundred million passenger kilometers traveled than gasoline. HM Government had to reverse his insane policy some years back. Yet it was only in April this year that King admitted he had been wrong.
He is also wrong about global warming, but don’t hold your breath for an admission anytime soon. Sir David is supporting a court case to compel ministers to destroy the British economy completely by 2050 – not that the classe politique in Britain needs any instruction from the courts in how to do that.
Finally, King opined that by the time we know whether Hurricane Dorian (which he attributes to global warming) and other natural disasters are conclusively attributable to the “climate emergency”, it may be too late. Yes, indeed: we shall find out, to our horror, just as the Kommissars did, that far fewer people will die climate-related deaths as the planet gently warms:
Fig. 6. Climate-related deaths have fallen for a century (OFDA/CRED international disaster database, www.emdat.be, averaged over 1920-29, 1930-39, …, 2010-2017: graph by Bjørn Lomborg).
The financial cost of extreme weather is also falling:
Fig. 7. Worldwide weather-related losses as % global GDP (Pielke Jr., 30 July 2018).
And why do so-called “scientists” like the over-politicized King never tell us the advantages of having more CO2 in the air? Here, for instance, is Craig Idso’s list of what would happen to the yield of dozens of staple crops if we were able to double the atmospheric concentration of the satanic gas:
Fig. 8. Increases in crop yield in response to doubled CO2 (Dr Craig Idso).
A modest proposal: scientists should be subjected to the same law as the rest of us. If they profiteer by telling us an exaggerated version of only one side of the story, lock them up for fraud.