Climate litigation: big oil must fight on the science or die

By Christopher Monckton of Brenchley

  • This will be a long posting. You have been warned.

The news that the Ninth Circus in California has decided that global warming is a State rather than a federal matter highlights a costly and now potentially ruinous strategic failure on the part of big oil.

Two loony-Left cities brought a case in the District Court for Northern California alleging that the oil corporations were causing a nuisance by engaging in their trade – a lawful and necessary trade at State as well as Federal law – of extracting, processing, distributing and selling petroleum products.

The oil corporations made the strategic mistake of opting to defend the case purely on procedural grounds. They made practically no attempt to argue the case on the substantive ground of the scientific truth that global warming is not a global emergency, even though the judge at first instance had specifically held a brief-me-on-the-science session to give them the opportunity to do so.

In effect, they cravenly caved in to the climate extremists on the science. Now that they have been defeated on their foolishly-chosen procedural grounds, they will urgently have to rethink their defense against the rising tide of vexatious litigation by Leftward-inclined climate busybodies worldwide. If they cannot find the courage and determination confront the green blob on the science, they will be driven out of business. The world will be a poorer, slower, sicker place without them.

Two interesting precedents will show how successful is the approach of meeting extremist lobby groups head-on when it comes to the science. For whatever one may think about our dandruff-shouldered, cobweb-infested, custard-faced judges, the courts are the perfect forum in which to pin down the untutored fanatics and cross-examine them until their tissue of fancies and fabrications shrivels and crumbles away.

By the very nature of that disciplined and generally even-handed forum, both sides must be fully and fairly heard, and each can cross-examine the other. There is virtually no other forum where such a debate between the skeptics and the cultists can take place. For the latter, having lost just about every face-to-face debate that has been held on the climate question, go to elaborate lengths to avoid debate with the former. They know their shoddy case cannot withstand examination.

Since climate lobbyists routinely compare big oil’s approach to global warming with big tobacco’s approach to lung cancer, the first precedent concerns tobacco. Unlike the tenuous link between rising CO2 concentration and catastrophic global warming that is not occurring, the link between smoking and lung cancer is well established. Sir Richard Doll’s epidemiological research study on doctors who smoked found that they were 26 times more likely to die of lung cancer than doctors who did not. Not 26% more likely, but 26 times more likely. Now, that’s a result.

However, the link between passive smoking (breathing air polluted with other people’s cigarette smoke) and lung cancer is every bit as tenuous as that between CO2 and catastrophe. In 1993 the EPA issued a finding to the effect that passive smoking causes cancer, falsely describing secondhand smoke as “a Class A carcinogen”.

Big tobacco did not cravenly retreat on the science, as big oil has been doing. They got their act together. Before the late District Judge William Lindsay Osteen, they sued the EPA in the North Carolina Federal District Court.

The late Judge William Lindsay Osteen, EPA’s nemesis

The case took five years, because they fought the EPA not only on legal procedure but also on the pseudo-scientific substance of its ruling, and the EPA wriggled and ducked and dived and dithered and delayed.

EPA largely won on the procedural grounds, just as the climate extremists have done in the California global-warming case. The tobacco corporations had argued that EPA had imaginatively extended the construction of the Radon Research Act, whose primary purpose was to find out how accumulation of radon gas inside poorly-ventilated homes was dangerous to health.

EPA, said big oil, had ingeniously construed the Act as permitting it to investigate all sources of indoor air pollution and to issue risk assessments evaluating the effects of all such sources – implicitly including secondhand smoke – on human health.

On this point, Judge Osteen agreed with the EPA. For the Act says, at §402(4)(a): “The [EPA] shall establish a research program with respect to radon gas and indoor air quality. Such program shall be designed to (1) gather data and information on all aspects of indoor air quality in order to contribute to the understanding of health problems associated with the existence of air pollutants in the indoor environment; … (3) assess appropriate Federal Government actions to mitigate the environmental and health risks associated with indoor air quality problems.”

Furthermore, at §402(4)(b), the Act says: “The research program required under this section shall include (1) research and development concerning the identification, characterization and monitoring of the sources and levels of indoor air pollution … (2) research relating to the effects of indoor air pollution and radon on human health; … (6) the dissemination of information to assure the public availability of the findings of the activities under this section.”

EPA was, therefore, explicitly empowered by Congress to conduct risk assessments on secondhand smoke indoors, such as that which it had published in 1992. Big tobacco lost the procedural argument, just as big oil has lost it in California.

EPA is 50 years old this year. Will America survive another 50 years of it?

So to the science. Judge Osteen’s judgment should be read by the lawyers acting for every oil corporation. It is a ringing, stinging, 100-page, root-and-branch condemnation of the EPA’s pseudo-science.

If anyone doubts the competence of the courts to decide upon disputed questions of science – a doubt frequently and nervously expressed by climate lobbyists desperate to avoid thorough judicial scrutiny of their preposterous position on global warming – that doubt is dispelled by Judge Osteen’s masterly consideration of the substantive scientific merits of EPA’s case.

The burden of the oil corporations’ response was that EPA’s biological-plausibility analysis was flawed because it had disregarded evidence that directly-inhaled and indirect tobacco smoke are dissimilar; it had failed to identify the criteria it had used in evaluating each type of smoke; and it had disregarded evidence that even directly-inhaled smoke has an exposure threshold below which it has no adverse effect.

Note in passing that EPA, in its ruthless ambition to expand its empire of regulatory terror, very frequently disregards the question of exposure thresholds. It had previously made precisely this elementary scientific mistake in considering the influence of pollution from small particulate matter in the air, and separately from nuclear radiation. In both these instances, there is a considerable body of evidence that exposure to lowish concentrations is harmless and even beneficial.

Similar considerations apply in the climate debate. What is the ideal global mean surface temperature? Climate “science” has been extremely careful not to ask, let alone answer, that question. The fact that it has not asked the question demonstrates that its stance is at root political, not scientific. The fact that it has not answered the question shows that it has no basis for its contention that warmer weather worldwide will be anything other than beneficial.

This is one of many parallels between the tobacco case and the substantive case that the oil corporations would handsomely win if they would only disregard their lawyers and listen to the scientists who will be all too willing to assist them.

For the essence of the global warming hysteria is that trifling increases in global temperature – increases that are well within natural variability and have been repeatedly demonstrated to be net-beneficial – will somehow cause net harm.

Right off the bat, the judge demonstrated a competence in assessing scientific questions outwith his own field that makes his judgment a paradigm of administrative law. When I give tutorials on this highly specialist but fascinating domain of jurisprudence, I recommend that my students should read this judgment in full and savour the deadpan ruthlessness with which the EPA’s pseudo-scientific case is hooked, stunned and skinned, filleted, sliced and fried.

The judge reached the following conclusions:

“EPA relied upon similarities between mainstream smoke and environmental tobacco smoke to conclude that it is biologically plausible that environmental tobacco smoke causes cancer. EPA terms this theory its “a priori hypothesis” in justifying [its] methodology. [Its] methodology allowed EPA to demonstrate a statistically significant association between exposure to environmental tobacco smoke and lung cancer … [Its] analysis rests on the validity of the biological plausibility theory. It is circular for EPA to now argue the epidemiology studies support the Agency’s a priori theory. Without the theory, the studies would likely have done no such thing.”

In short, EPA was guilty of the ancient Aristotelian logical fallacy of argumentum ad petitionem principii, or affirmation of the consequent.Again the parallel with climate “science” is visible, for climatologists tell the models there will be strong CO2-driven warming; sure enough, the models tell the climatologists the same; and the climatologists cite the outputs of the models as purported justification for the article of faith that they had built into the models in the first place. Judges, unlike most scientists, are versed in formal logic. That is yet another reason why the notion of catastrophic anthropogenic global warming would not withstand gimlet-eyed judicial scrutiny.

The judge found that in different chapters of the risk assessment the EPA had used different and sometimes mutually incompatible risk-assessment criteria, so that –

“the court is faced with the ugly possibility that EPA adopted a methodology for each chapter, without explanation, based on the outcome sought in that chapter. This possibility is most potent where EPA rejected similarities between mainstream smoke and environmental tobacco smoke to avoid a ‘cigarette-equivalents’ analysis in determining carcinogenicity of exposure to [the later]. Use of cigarette-equivalents analysis might have led to a conclusion that environmental tobacco smoke is not a class A carcinogen. It is striking that mainstream smoke and environmental tobacco smoke were [treated as] similar only where such a conclusion promoted finding environmental tobacco smoke a carcinogen …”

The judge continued:

“The court finds one review particularly relevant – a review conducted within EPA on the environmental tobacco smoke risk assessment. EPA’s risk criteria office, a group of EPA risk assessment experts, concluded that EPA failed to reasonably explain how all relevant data on environmental tobacco smoke, evaluated according to EPA’s … causality criteria, can support a Group A1 classification.”

Next, the judge found it “disturbing” that the EPA had cherry-picked the peer-reviewed studies on second-hand smoke that it had used for its meta-analysis. [And where have we seen that before?] The judge cited a leading case to the effect that it is the EPA’s “actual reasoning that … must prove reasonable, not the post hoc rationalization devised during litigation.”

The judge then found that –

“… in conducting a risk assessment under the [Radon Control] Act, EPA deliberately refused to assess information on all aspects of indoor air quality … EPA steps outside the court’s analysis when information becomes incidental to conducting a risk assessment.” In short, to hell with the data. The EPA’s aprioristic attitude here is identical to that of climate “science”.

The judge went on to cite one of EPA’s own assessors, who had criticized EPA’s switching “in midstream” from 95% to 90% confidence intervals:

“The use of 90% confidence intervals, instead of the conventionally used 95% confidence intervals, is to be discouraged. It looks like an attempt to achieve statistical significance for a result that would not otherwise achieve significance.” This, too, is a trick that is repeatedly used in climate “science”.

Here, then, is a further point relevant to the climate debate. Best scientific practice – such as the procedure followed in prospective., randomized, double-blind clinical trials – is to state the statistical and other criteria for success or failure in advance, and to get an appropriate review board to agree those criteria before the trial is conducted. That is what “prospective” means. EPA did not follow this practice. Climate “science” generally does not follow it either.

A very rare exception was the NOAA State of the Climate report issued in 2008, which said that 15 years or more without global warming would demonstrate that the models were falsely exaggerating the amount of warming to be expected. By October 2015 there had been 18 years 9 months without global warming. Yet climate “science” continues to rely on these failed models.

Next, the judge turned to EPA’s decision to base its Group A classification on a hazard ratio of only 1.19 [i.e., that non-smokers’ negligible risk of contracting lung cancer was increased by a mere 19% if they repeatedly exposed themselves to other people’s tobacco smoke] –

“… without adequately explaining why the Agency had required every other Group A carcinogen to exhibit a much higher relative risk, or why it had recently found relative risks of 2.6 and 3.0 insufficient to classify other agents in Group A. All of the 15 chemicals or compounds previously classified by EPA as Group A carcinogens have higher relative risks than environmental tobacco smoke. Again, EPA’s own epidemiologist had told it: An association is generally considered weak if the odds ratio [the relative risk] is under 3.0 and particularly when it is under 2.0, as is the case in the relationship of environmental tobacco smoke and lung cancer.”

The EPA tried to wriggle out by saying that the diluted concentration of environmental tobacco smoke in the atmosphere accounts for the low strength of association (another argument we have heard from climate “science”). The judge gave it short shrift:

“The record and EPA’s explanations to the court make it clear that, using standard methodology, EPA could not produce statistically significant results with its selected studies. Analysis conducted with a 0.05 significance level and a 95% confidence interval included relative risks of 1. Accordingly, these results did not confirm EPA’s controversial a priori hypothesis. In order to confirm its hypothesis, EPA maintained its standard significance level but lowered the confidence interval to 90%. This allowed EPA to confirm its hypothesis by finding a relative risk of 1.19, albeit a very weak association. … EPA cannot show a statistically significant association between environmental tobacco smoke and lung cancer … This should have caused EPA to re-evaluate the inference options used in establishing its plausibility theory.”

The judge stated bluntly:

“Instead of disclosing information, the Agency withheld significant portions of its findings and reasoning in striving to confirm its a priori hypothesis.”

Michael Mann, other hokey-stick supporters et hoc genus omne, please note.

The secondhand smoke case, like the global warming case, is one in which the near-unanimous establishment opinion supports the official viewpoint. Yet in the tobacco case the judge was willing to disregard the official view and actually to hear each side presenting its case and cross-examining the other, and then to understand and consider the evidence, and then – mirabile dictum – to find against the official position. It. Can. Be. Done.

Carol Browner, then EPA administrator, at first tried to defy this crushing judgment by saying: “The important thing that people should understand is that secondhand smoking is a real health risk.”

Carol Browner found Judge Osteen’s decision uncongenial

On the evidence supplied by the EPA, though, the judge had found that the additional risk was negligible. The EPA had made the elementary mistake of forgetting that, since the risk of lung cancer in non-smokers is minuscule, the marginal increase in that risk in those inhaling secondhand smoke is also negligible. The judge quoted one of EPA’s own scientists to the effect that a hazard ratio of less than 2 should not be regarded as a secure basis for policy rulemaking, and that a hazard ratio less than 3 was iffy.  Contrast the EPA’s 1.19 with Sir Richard Doll’s 26. Since the Osteen judgment, it has become a whole lot harder for non-smokers with lung cancer to sue the tobacco corporations and win.

The second precedent that every oil corporation lawyer should study is one in which I was directly involved. It was the case brought by Stewart Dimmock, a British trucker, against the Department of Education for its decision in 2007 to buy 20,000 copies of Al Gore’s sci-fi comedy horror movie about global warming (at full retail price – well, it’s only taxpayers’ money, so They didn’t bother to negotiate a wholesale discount) and to distribute the fatuous propaganda movie to every school in England.

Trucker trounces Veep

Mr Dimmock had two children in school. He did not want them compulsorily exposed to Gore’s sub-Marxist drivel. The wealthy businessman funding the case telephoned me and asked how he should proceed. I told him that judicial review of the Government’s administrative decision to circulate the movie to schools was the right approach. I advised him to instruct his lawyers to lodge the case that day, for there is a three-month time-bar on judicial review cases, and very nearly three months had passed since the Education Department had announced its decision.

The next day the businessman – a quarry-owner – rang me back. His lawyers, he said, had refused to lodge the case on the ground that The Science Was Settled and that, therefore, there was no prospect of success. One suspects that this ignorant, defeatist attitude is widely shared among oil corporations’ lawyers, as well as among the Tillersons and suchlike faintheart executives who have carelessly and expensively sold the pass on the science of global-warming panic.

I advised the businessman to give the plainest possible instructions to his lawyers that they were to lodge the proceedings that very day and provide proof to him that they had done so. “But what if they refuse?” he asked. “Tell them you will invite the regulators to strike them off for failing to carry out their client’s lawful instructions. And when they have filed the case, fire them and never use them again for any purpose.”

The lawyers tried to refuse their client’s instructions and were told they would be struck off if they did. They duly filed the case – one hour before the three-month deadline expired – and were then duly and deservedly dismissed.

The new lawyers came to see me and said they were going to fight the case on procedural grounds, because there was no prospect of victory on the science. They proposed to found their case on a section added to the Education Acts by Margaret Thatcher that forbade politicization of schoolchildren’s education. The film concerned a political subject: therefore, their argument ran, it was unlawful.

I told the lawyers that approach would not work. I explained that I had done some of the preparatory work that would eventually lead to the insertion of that provision in the legislation. The new law was not intended to prevent all discussion of politics in schools: merely to prevent anything that smacked of political indoctrination.

I said: “You will need proper scientific testimony providing a well-referenced, point-by-point refutation of the numerous outright scientific falsehoods in the movie. You will then need to show that every one of the falsehoods either invents a problem where none exists or magnifies one that may exist. Thus, and only thus, can you demonstrate that Gore’s movie constitutes propaganda contrary to the Education Act.”

The lawyers thought they knew best. They went ahead without any scientific testimony – and lost. The judge refused even to give us a hearing, on the ground that we had offered no scientific testimony to counteract the near-unanimous consensus among published scientists.

On behalf of the lorry-driver, I advised the lawyers to write to the judge who had thrown out our case and ask him whether he had actually watched Gore’s movie before writing his judgment. They refused. “Those are your client’s instructions,” I said. Through gritted teeth, and with much muttering and whingeing and warning of dire cost consequences if Monckton was wrong, they complied. The judge did not reply.

The lorry-driver instructed the lawyers to write to the court asking for a new judge. “We can’t do that,” they said. “The only route available to us is appeal” (which would have earned them millions).

“Those are your client’s instructions,” I said. So, albeit with more weeping and gnashing of dentures, they sent to the court a letter drafted by me saying that the judge had refused to state whether he had seen the movie and had refused to give us the hearing to which we were entitled under Article 6 of the European Human Rights Convention. Therefore, we were entitled to a new judge, so that justice would not only be done but be seen to be done.

Within 24 hours, a new judge was appointed and the case was listed for hearing. The lawyers, who said that the appointment of a new judge after a case had been decided was quite without precedent, came back to me with their tails between their legs and asked for some scientific testimony. Within a week, I had supplied them with an 80-page, point-by-point refutation of Gore’s movie.

“But we can’t use this,” said the lawyers. “You see, you’re not a scientist. You have no qualifications. The court will not recognize you as an expert.” I get that a lot. Classics and journalism degrees. No piece of paper to certify that I, who have made a fortune out of mathematics (which is more than most mathematicians can say), have received appropriate Socialist training in doing sums. O how the hard Left are offended if anyone strays from his allocated métier.

Professors Bob Carter (left) and Richard Lindzen (right). This is what real experts look like.

So I contacted the two most eminent scientists I knew: Professor Richard Lindzen of MIT and the late Professor Robert Carter from Australia. Both these fine gentlemen agreed to sign the testimony I had drafted, with minimal changes to the text. The lawyers’ eyes were like saucers when they saw the resumes of the two professors. They agreed that the court would recognize the Professors as experts.

And the rest is history. The moment the Government received the scientific testimony, it folded and agreed to pay half a million dollars’ costs to the truck-driver, and to circulate the movie only if it was accompanied by 77 pages of corrective guidance.

Gore’s sci-fi comedy horror movie – gone for a Burton

Mr Justice Burton found that on nine points of fact the movie was defective. His judgment was epitomized by his finding on Gore’s claims of a 20 ft sea-level rise by the end of this century:

“The Armageddon scenario that he depicts is not based on any scientific view.”

And he accepted our argument that the odds against all nine errors falling by mere inadvertence on the side of suchlike egregious exaggeration were worse than 1 in 500. Therefore, the judge concluded that the intent behind the movie was political. He made a point of saying that, without the corrective guidance, he would unhesitatingly have banned the movie to protect our schoolchildren.

What, then, should be the oil corporations’ line of attack? First, they should demonstrate that in 1990 the giant climate models on which the entire case for alarm about worldwide warmer weather is unsoundly founded predicted about twice as much warming by now as has been observed.

At that time, IPCC effectively predicted medium-term warming of a third of a degree of warming every decade. The outturn has been a harmless sixth of a degree per decade:

The same models then predicted the long-term, equilibrium warming from doubled CO2, roughly equivalent to the warming we might cause by 2100, would be 3 degrees. They should have halved that prediction to 1.5 degrees per CO2 doubling or per century. Instead, they have increased it by a third to about 4 degrees. Otherwise, this fatuous scare would have collapsed.

Next, the oil corporations should show that climatologists have relentlessly and profitably exaggerated the damage caused by warmer weather. Sea level, after deducting the fictitious “glacial isostatic adjustment” (whatever else it is, it is not a real sea-level rise) and after allowing for regional isostatic displacement of the seabed, is rising everywhere at about 1.1 mm per year, equivalent to little more than four inches per century. If anything, it is rising more slowly than it has during most of the past 150 years.

Not even enough to cover m’ spats, Jeeves! Pass the glacial isostatic adjustment.

The Arctic ice that was supposed to be gone by 2013 is still there. There are seven times as many polar bears as 80 years ago. Hurricane activity has decreased. Ditto droughts. Ditto forest fires. Floods are much as they always were. Lives lost to extreme weather have plummeted. Ocean “acidification” is barely detectable, and is of so little concern to scientists that to this day no oceanwide system of pH measurement has been undertaken.

Next, the oil corporations should insist that not only the imagined harms but also the real benefits from more CO2 in the air should be considered by the court. CO2 fertilization has increased the total green biomass on Earth – the net primary productivity of plants – by 15-30% in recent decades. Crop yields are well up and can be expected to continue to rise thanks to more CO2 in the air. Deserts are receding because more CO2 allows plants to survive with fewer water-losing stomata on the undersides of their leaves.

What is more, the oil corporations will not find it in the least difficult to convince a fair-minded court that the benefits of oil production in affordable personal transportation and in a wide range of useful oil-based products far outweigh any properly-assessed net welfare loss from somewhat warmer weather worldwide.

Next, they should put forward some of the scientific reasons why the models are wrong. High climate sensitivity in models is derived near-exclusively from a large overestimate of the water-vapor feedback (all other feedbacks self-cancel in IPCC’s understanding).

But the doubling of the tropical surface warming rate in the mid-troposphere that the models predicted is not occurring, not least because, contrary to models’ predictions, there is less, not more, water vapor at that crucial altitude, which is why every one of a hundred models examined by John Christy and Roy Spencer have greatly over-predicted mid-troposphere warming.


Related to that error there is climatology’s erroneous definition of feedback, which leads it to imagine, in effect, that the unit feedback response to greenhouse-gas enrichment exceeds the unit feedback response to the fact that the Sun is shining by an altogether untenable 2 orders of magnitude. Without that exaggeration, equilibrium sensitivity is a harmless 1.5 degrees, not 4 degrees.

The oil corporations should also calculate (and if they don’t know how to do this I shall do it for them, for my paper of 2011 on the subject is still, to this day, the only peer-reviewed paper that actually works it out) the unit welfare loss per ppmv of reducing CO2 concentration, and compare it with the negligible welfare gain.

The bottom line, which is robustly demonstrable, is that the cost of mitigation, discounted to present value, exceeds that of adaptation by 2 orders of magnitude. CO2 mitigation strategies that are inexpensive enough to be affordable will be ineffective; strategies that are expensive enough to be effective will be unaffordable.

In administrative law, arguments such as this are strictly relevant: for on these figures compulsorily “investing” taxpayers’ money in global-warming mitigation is unlawful on grounds of its egregious irrationality.

Finally, the oil corporations should point out that most of the world’s highest-emitting nations are exempt from the Paris climate agreement and that, therefore, proceeding against the oil corporations in one of the few countries that are not exempt and which, if Mr Trump wins his second term, will within days become exempt, is pointless.

As the tobacco corporations discovered in the secondhand-smoke case, and as we discovered in the Al Gore case, the courts are an ideal forum for pinning down the far-out Left fanatics and their gruesome billionaire paymasters.

None of their usual propaganda methods work in court. They cannot avoid debate as they usually do, for they can be cross-examined. They cannot no-platform the skeptics. Attempting to ridicule skeptics with personal attacks on their reputations is not allowed. They cannot exaggerate or make stuff up, as they usually do, for cross-examination will expose the falsehoods and contradictions in their case.

The fanatics will lose, and lose big. But first, the oil corporations must recover the backbone to stop playing futile procedural pat-a-cake in court and rediscover the wits and the guts to meet their mortal enemies in hand-to-hand combat on the one, the only battlefield that will ensure the victory of the free market over the totalitarian extremists who loathe and fear the liberty and prosperity, the Christianity and democracy that are the hallmarks of the West – the battlefield that is science itself.

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June 8, 2020 10:13 pm

Maybe big oil should just pull out of selling products in the California market altogether?

Reply to  Jeff
June 9, 2020 8:19 am

That would just result in government takeover of the industry, something leftists are keen to do. It’s been think-tanked aleeady.

Reply to  DMacKenzie
June 9, 2020 9:30 am

“That would just result in government takeover of the industry” What? How could they enter into a business they effectively eliminated by calling it a hazardous product? That wouldn’t fly with the people or the courts.

Johnny Cuyana
Reply to  markl
June 10, 2020 4:27 am

markl, any such scenario is possible if you keep in view the motivation of these anti-liberty fascist-socialist-communist-wannabe govt types … and the self-serving nanny-state officials and countless bureaucrats which occupy the positions of power within; that is, the cabal which wants to run every aspect of our lives.

For the sake of THE GOOD OF THE PEOPLE, so they would say, such methods, such as themselves running the entire petroleum industry — and, most likely, very poorly — would all be for the better, and, in their warped minds, it could then be rationalized totally.

In this case, where, hypothetically, they would have shut down the petroleum industry — and that means, particularly, shutting down all of the local service outlets — I could see, very easily, how they could justify such actions by explaining that such is a mere transitionary policy — to elevate the immediate and massive misery of the masses while transitioning to some sort of plug-in electrical outlet stations; where, of course, any such new outlets would be entirely govt-controlled, if not outright owned.

However, because of their total inability of implementing business-like efficiencies [read: theirs would entail, based on massive corruption and crony profiteering, massive waste and fraud], such a transition will NEVER BE COMPLETE — at least not for decades or longer — and any such shortfalls would be blamed on any number of “anti-social” forces and entities … and this cabal would just keep on chugging along — as long as the general population remains largely ignorant, duped and brainwashed [read: maintain well the govt indoctrination centers, that is, the govt public school system] — and they will go on “help” us even more as they go to their next “dragon” to slay.

Easy-peasy. On a regular basis, as we now live and breathe, such violations and destructions — for the sake of “doing good”, so they say — of private enterprise’s provisions of basic living services to humanity are committed around the world by such anti-liberty monsters. Really, when looking at reality, at such cases, not much imagination is necessary.

Koen van Dijk
Reply to  DMacKenzie
June 10, 2020 3:06 am

Venezuela had the same plan. Not despite having one of the largest oil reserves in existance, they have to import their petroleum products from iran.

Reply to  Jeff
June 9, 2020 10:53 am

Fully agree the whole issue is is in the oil companies hands. Just shut down supplying any oil or gas to California along with all oil and petrochemical production, see how long California survives. It will be dead in days.

Reply to  Keith
June 12, 2020 9:27 am

Hard to do considering how much oil and natural gas California produces and how much it then refines.

June 8, 2020 10:32 pm

Global warming is an oil industry driven operation.

Al Gore is/was owned by Occidental Petroleum. Margaret Thatcher who funded modern UK climate science almost from scratch (Hadley Centre, CRU, put Sir John Houghton in charge of the IPCC) was married to an oil executive, Rajendra K. Pachauriwas a director of the Indian oil corporation.

Enron created the American wind industry and declared ‘the Kyoto agreement, if implemented, would “do more to promote Enron’s business than almost any other regulatory initiative’. Exxon accepted global warming 15 or so years ago and still maintains it has the solution, replacing natural gas from which it has made a huge amount of profit in addition to carbon trading.

The large green NGOs are funded by big oil money.

Naomi Klein

‘“Large parts of the movement aren’t actually fighting those interests – they have merged with them,” she writes, pointing to green groups that have accepted fossil-fuel industry donations or partnerships and invited industry executives on to their boards.

As Monckton says it should be easy for the oil industry to sweep aside the puny lies of the greens and climate ‘science’ in court. It’s win, win win all the way for big oil

Jack Black
Reply to  Eric McCue
June 9, 2020 4:28 am

Yes Eric you are right there, and this is an absolute “Tour de Force” dismantling of the hokum political agenda of the nilhist socioeconomics behind the alarmist case against the life giving rare atmospheric gas CO2.

Now it ought to be also applied against British Government plans to “eliminate CO2 emissions entirely” by 2050, and the banning of ALL sales of new and secondhand Petrol and Diesel vehicles by 2035, and the introduction of deadly 10% Ethanol added fuels from 2021 in Britain. The latter would see irreparable damage to over a million vehicles, including valuable Historic and Vintage in Britain alone.

Of course another tragedy us that perfectly good food crops are being squandered in producing this Ethanol, which is a totally unnecessary additive, and only put in to fuels in Britain by political edict of the doomed European Union, of which Britain is No Longer a Member since 31st January 2020 !!!

So why are Britons still intent upon permanently damaging their economy and heritage by following those EU dictate of the Brussels Bureaucracy then? PM Boris Johnston ought to be employing Lord Monckton !

Joel Snider
Reply to  Eric McCue
June 9, 2020 12:20 pm

Not to mention that appeasement NEVER works.

Mickey Reno
Reply to  Joel Snider
June 10, 2020 5:35 am

And let’s not forget that the “fossil fuel” industry is not a monolithic whole. It is a series of separate interests, each serving it’s own individual goals.

For example, the natural gas industry was very wrong and short sighted, imo, to have sided with environmentalists on the CO2 = pollution issue in order to gain a short lived competitive advantage over the coal industry. Now, when faced with the same exact pressure groups that torment the coal industry, which has been economically profitable for having engaged in the extremely productive mining and burning of coal in service to human thriving, for several hundred years, they would be well served by having a partner now in claiming a righteous scientific position that CO2 is NOT equivalent to pollution. But instead they have an aggrieved and hostile political enemy.

Likewise, Margaret Thatcher did wrong by cynically attacking the use of coal, and using other CAGW arguments of radical environmentalists in order to bust the power of coal-miners unions in Great Britain. Later, after she succeeded, her reputation as a fighter for the conservative position, for the idea that human thriving is enhanced by fossil fuels was damaged, (not totally or irrevocably, IMO) by that sophistry, from which she had to retreat until her dying breath.

There is a Murphy’s Law extension which posits: Never do anything you wouldn’t be caught dead doing. Various facets of the fossil fuel industry do great harm when they opportunistically jump into bed with the CO2=pollution forces to promote a narrow, short-lived competitive advantage. So stop doing that! Instead, pull together and argue for the good that your companies are doing for people, everywhere. Argue for the modern technological regime and the huge reductions in death from drought, floods, fire and famine because of fossil fuels. Make the doomsayers prove that less driving eliminates hurricanes. Make them show how they would replace a stable electric grid with an economically competitive equivalent. They can’t. Make them prove that the new CO2 levels are NOT beneficial using the same tools they use to claim harm. They can’t. Make them prove how the GOOD of the modern transportation industry should be sacrificed based on horrible, flawed, highly-political and propagandist “science” and pseudo-science.

Don’t cave on the trope of “increased efficiency” and job creation in retro-fitting homes. ALL homes and home improvements and commercial building need to be paid for, by willing buyers and tenants. Argue that those interests know their own needs better than some interlopers and ruinous policy-makers from Greenpeace or the Progressive movement.

Remember, the Progressives began with the Fabians trying to impose Collectivism without the Marxist revolution, by infiltrating and using government to incrementally gain power over human institutions, whose coat of arms was actually a wolf wearing a sheep’s skin, and whose first major skirmish using science was the now disgraced “science” of Eugenics and the destruction of people they judged as inferiors. Progressives are opportunistic liars, seeking to gain control over people’s freedoms, to trade, to associate, to form corporations, and to group up, politically. It’s time that freedom loving people once again go to the mattresses to protect our interests, our property, the property rights of others, from these baying wolves.

June 8, 2020 10:32 pm

“They made practically no attempt to argue the case on the substantive ground of the scientific truth that global warming is not a global emergency”

And no attempt to demand empirical evidence that the observed rise in atmosoheric CO2 is caused by fossil fuel emissions and that the rise can be attenuated by cutting back or eliminating the combustion of fossil fuels.

Don Vickers
June 8, 2020 10:46 pm

Wonderful points as usual M’Lord, but one point that must be looked at is that the states suing the oil companies also raise taxes from them and the end users of their product, making the states equally as complicit.

June 8, 2020 10:48 pm

Big oil deserves to lose big.
But we’ll all pay for their sins at the pump.
Party on at the Hamptons; cool-aid on tap . . .
Another excellent interesting essay from Lord M!

John K.
June 8, 2020 11:00 pm

Long, but wonderful. Very much worth the read.
Thank you.

June 8, 2020 11:17 pm

Bravo, Christopher, and not a word too long for your great post. I cannot fathom why the oil companies pla dead on this when the facts are staring them in the face. As a long standing liberal, always voting Democratic since my first for JFK, and including the odious Al Gore, I cannot comprehend how the climatology cultist have managed to insinuate their way into my party, perhaps in a way analogous to the Eva bgrlical take over of the Republican Party. Their goal is to destroy the oil companies. Why are these companies so blind?

Rainer Bensch
Reply to  Ronald G Havelock
June 9, 2020 6:40 am

They got infiltrated?

Reply to  Ronald G Havelock
June 9, 2020 8:32 am

I suspect that part of it may be the “bear” strategy.

IE, I don’t have to outrun the bear, I just have to outrun you.

Henning Nielsen
Reply to  Ronald G Havelock
June 13, 2020 2:24 pm

Ronald; the oil companies are not blind, but they are companies. Which means that they will not necessarily have truth and good science as their top priority. As long as they make money, why should they care about a bit of self-abasement and playing along with the alarmists? They know perfectly well that their products are vital for the economy, symbolic defeats and propaganda showcases will not worry them at all.

Geoff Sherrington
June 8, 2020 11:29 pm

Hi Christopher,
Yours is a well reasoned essay with which I agree.
It has long been incomprehensible to me why global fossil fuel corporations did not take such legal action years ago.
In the mid-1980s I had the backing of my resources employer to take a Federal Government minister for environment through the courts in Australia over a United Nations world heritage scheme to deprive us of legitimate assets with no compensation. We argued some points smilar to those you raise. We lost the case finally in a High Court that said it had all become too complicated.
However, the important point was that we charted a course made much clearer for any to follow. I am still waiting for the gutless big boys like Rio and BHP to do this. They took us over and halted our progress. To date, I fail to see any benefit from their failure to prosecute with vigour.
Geoff S

Phillip Bratby
June 8, 2020 11:44 pm

Well worth the read. The deep state swamp still needs a lot more draining.

Chris Hanley
June 8, 2020 11:58 pm

“… If they cannot find the courage and determination confront the green blob on the science, they [oil corporations] will be driven out of business …”.
Impossible, they know their product is irreplaceable now and for a long time to come.

Affirming the consequent is a fallacy of deduction confusing necessity and sufficiency (Wiki).
They do that by arguing that since increasing atmospheric CO2 concentration can lead to an increasing global average temperature, therefore an increasing GAT must be due solely to increasing CO2.
The IPCC’s clever circular argument, using a premiss to prove a conclusion and then using the conclusion to prove the premiss is well covered here:

Jack Black
Reply to  Chris Hanley
June 9, 2020 4:35 am

Of course this circular argument will only serve to foist them on their own petards, when as the climate cools in years to come, and soon; their own arguments will be for ed to come to the conclusion that more CO2 emissions will be required to “save the Planet” from catastrophic Global cooling, Ha!

June 9, 2020 12:02 am

This is all about the short term gain, the share price. They prefer to cower hoping that the share price will stay the same or rise if they virtue signal. However, the long term price is the extinction of the big oil. Shell and others pretend to invest in renewables to placate “investors” knowing full well that this leads nowhere and results in the destruction of company value. Cowardice on steroids

June 9, 2020 12:19 am

Convincing review.
When you were in Vancouver more than 10 years ago, I gave you a framed cartoon I had my cartoonist draw.
The caption was:
“The karma of geophysics will soon overwhelm the dogma of the religion of global warming.”
I think the quip is working out.

Reply to  Bob Hoye
June 13, 2020 3:14 pm

How good to hear from Bob Hoye! Karma will win in the end, but no thanks to the oil corporations, who have given in on “the science”.

Izaak Walton
June 9, 2020 12:24 am

Perhaps if the oil companies looked at the whole story regarding secondhand smoke they would come to
a different conclusion to the one suggested by Mr. Monckton. The decision mentioned in this article was
successfully appealed by the EPA, numerous other studies have shown a definite link between secondhand smoke and cancer and in 1999 the US Department of Justice filed racketeering charges against the tobacco companies for downplaying the dangers of second hand smoke. This charge was upheld by the court of appeal in 2009. All of which paints a very different picture from the one in this article.

Reply to  Izaak Walton
June 9, 2020 4:06 am

Bafflegab with multiple logical fallacies followed by izzy’s grand “all of which” conclusion proclamation.
No rebuttal.
No detail, just generic vague claims.
No science. No references.
Claims that a valid RICO charge proves EPA’s dismally pathetic science.

etc. etc. Just more izzy blathering.

Izaak Walton
Reply to  ATheoK
June 9, 2020 11:52 am

for the dangers of passive smoking look at (for example):
Diethelm PA, Rielle JC, McKee M (2005). “The whole truth and nothing but the truth? The research that Philip Morris did not want you to see”. Lancet. 366 (9479): 86–92.
Schick S, Glantz S (2005). “Philip Morris toxicological experiments with fresh sidestream smoke: more toxic than mainstream smoke”. Tobacco Control. 14 (6): 396–404.
Schick S, Glantz SA (2006). “Sidestream cigarette smoke toxicity increases with aging and exposure duration”. Tobacco Control. 15 (6): 424–9.
Schick SF, Glantz S (2007). “Concentrations of the carcinogen 4-(methylnitrosamino)-1-(3-pyridyl)-1-butanone in sidestream cigarette smoke increase after release into indoor air: results from unpublished tobacco industry research”. Cancer Epidemiol. Biomarkers Prev. 16 (8): 1547–53.

As for the RICO charges the point was that suggesting that oil companies follow a similar
strategy to tobacco companies as Mr. Monckton did bad advice. The tobacco companies lost
and lost big time when attacking the science.

Crispin in Waterloo
Reply to  Izaak Walton
June 10, 2020 10:56 pm


This can’t be true:

“Schick S, Glantz S (2005). “Philip Morris toxicological experiments with fresh sidestream smoke: more toxic than mainstream smoke”. Tobacco Control. 14 (6): 396–404.”

The EPA has it that all PM2.5 is equally toxic, which is where all the claimed deaths come from in the IHME exercise. It is known as the equitoxicity ruling. Along with their equally dubious Linear No Threshold assumption, (LNT) they conclude that all smoke from burning anything is equally toxic and that no matter how little you inhale, there is no lower limit that will have no negative effect.

If they admit things are not equally toxic someone will go after the LNT ideology and undo a great deal of air pollution legislation. PM2.5 is highly regulated, even though it is a diameter, (2.5 microns) not a substance. It seems applying strictly scientific standards at the EPA will bring about numerous changes. I think we can afford a higher standard of logic in all these cases.

Jack Black
Reply to  Izaak Walton
June 9, 2020 4:38 am

“Perhaps if”….. the rest is irrelevant, because they didn’t.

Krishna Gans
Reply to  Izaak Walton
June 9, 2020 6:31 am

There often was the argumentation, Fred Singer downplayed second hand smoke. That was never true, he was absoloutely against second hand smoking.
The tobacco industry only asked to Singer to prove, if the study against secondhand smoke is based on science. The study wasn’t scientific. What doesn’t say, second hand smoke is without danger.

That’s the way Fred told me the story and I also found somwhere in the web.

Reply to  Izaak Walton
June 9, 2020 8:34 am

The so called studies show linkages that are so weak that only the willfully ignorant believe in them.

June 9, 2020 12:37 am

The Oil companies won their case on the facts for the Oakland case, based on Federal common law
There is a similar one For San Francisco council. However what people forget is a 3rd case involving City of Baltimore.
Anyway the reason why the 9 the Circuit overturned the case on appeal – not on the facts but the law , as they do when they don’t have any facts to rebut the Oil companies case- was followed by the Appeal Court for the 3rd Circuit.
Remember there isn’t state legislation involved here but state common law which is unwritten, not all that different to state common law . In US state and federal coomon law will be intertwined.

June 9, 2020 12:51 am

Thank you Lord Monckton – a fine piece of scholarship.

I published the following in 2013 – like your conclusions, true then and true now.

Regards, Allan MacRae

Good work as usual from Friends of Science, Ken.

Regarding alleged oil company collaboration in the Global Warming Scam:

I suggest that Shell and BP did collaborate in the CAGW scam from early days, and Exxon did not.

It appears that Exxon later caved in due to green propaganda and intense market pressure, especially in Europe.

Many of the members of Friends of Science are retired oil company scientists.

I am also an old oil man, but although I admire Friends of Science, I am not a member.

I strongly oppose CAGW alarmism and green energy fraud because it is irrational, immoral and destructive to humanity AND the environment.

It is truly regrettable, and even reprehensible that energy companies have capitulated to global warming hysteria and are sponsoring the very people that seek their destruction.

We wrote this in 2002 and have been proven correct to date:

Published by APEGA in the PEGG, reprinted by other professional journals, The Globe and Mail and La Presse,
by Sallie Baliunas, Tim Patterson and Allan MacRae, November 2002

On global warming:

“Climate science does not support the theory of catastrophic human-made global warming – the alleged warming crisis does not exist.”

On green energy:

“The ultimate agenda of pro-Kyoto advocates is to eliminate fossil fuels, but this would result in a catastrophic shortfall in global energy supply – the wasteful, inefficient energy solutions proposed by Kyoto advocates simply cannot replace fossil fuels.”

If the large energy companies want to regain the moral high ground, they should adopt these two statements as their policies on climate and energy.

Failure to do so will perpetuate the status quo – where the big energy companies, who did not originate the global warming scam but acquiesced to it, will unfairly receive most to the blame when it unravels.

And unravel it will, as natural global cooling resumes in the near future, and Excess Winter Mortality figures tragically climb in certain countries – a strong probability, in my opinion.

June 9, 2020 4:07 am

Plus 10,000+ to both Lord Monckton and Allan!

Reply to  ATheoK
June 9, 2020 7:35 am

Thank you Theo for your kind words.

I have little respect for today’s senior executives and directors of the oil industry, who have capitulated to the global warming scam and try to keep their heads down, desperately hoping someone else will do their job of properly representing their companies, shareholders and employees.

The last Calgary Chief Executive I recall who had the intellect and courage to fight the global warming scam was Jim Buckee of Talisman.

Buckee had a doctorate in astrophysics and a prodigious intellect. After one Annual General Meeting, I watched Buckee walk to the back of the hall to meet with reporters. They were huddled in a tight pack for safety, openly fearful of asking the first question. Buckee was a gentleman, but when challenged with falsehoods about climate-and-energy, could easily slice and dice his questioner – and everyone knew it.

Calgary used to have many old-time oilmen who would make deals on a handshake and stick to them – men who were tough but fair and a pleasure to work with. I arrived a bit late, but had the privilege of working with some of them. Most are gone now, some retired, and more gone to their greater reward. They were tough, strong, courageous – a better form of humanity – and I miss them.

Don B
June 9, 2020 10:56 am

The oil executives should be reminded of Winston Churchill’s comment:

“An appeaser is one who feeds a crocodile, hoping it will eat him last.”

The crocodiles are going to eat the gutless oil companies.

Jack Black
June 9, 2020 4:47 am

… advocates, the chief of which is of course the vested interest shill son Oliver, of the vested interest ancient academic, Sir Crispin Tickell; the man who deliberately mis-advised the Late Margaret Thatcher into setting up the despised Hadley boondoggle, in an effort to support Britain’s emerging Nuclear Power industry at the time. An industry sold off to foreign interests, by the successive Labour Governments of the UK in the early years of the 21st Century.

Carl Friis-Hansen
June 9, 2020 12:53 am

What a wonderful essay, thanks Monckton.

I have problems with the head line, it should be corrected to:

Climate litigation: big Green must fight on the science or die

Monckton, you highlighted a very basic issue:

In both these instances, there is a considerable body of evidence that exposure to lowish concentrations is harmless and even beneficial.

As an analogy: Water is a very dangerous liquid, it often causes drowning, but it has also proven to be very beneficial.

Reply to  Carl Friis-Hansen
June 9, 2020 2:08 am

Not quite. I believe the LNT, Linear No Threshold error is implied.
Destroying the Linear No-threshold Basis for Radiation Regulation
From the article :
Faced with overwhelming evidence against the validity of the LNT, we are now hearing the ultimate “cop-out”: “Well, we know that the LNT is not true, but it remains a good basis for radiation protection because it’s conservative.” In the first place, known bad science is not a good basis for anything, including radiation regulation. In the second place, the LNT is not “conservative.” It is downright hazardous. Forced evacuations in Fukushima have caused some 1600 premature deaths; forced evacuees from Chernobyl have a higher death rate than the “babooshkas” who returned to the area despite government policy against it.

Reply to  bonbon
June 9, 2020 4:14 am

It is extreme ‘Preemptive theory’ pushed well beyond reason.
“If one life is saved, then this is a valid intention”

All without considering all sides of the situation, including the beneficial ones.

It is not “conservative”, it is tyrannically draconian.

Reply to  ATheoK
June 9, 2020 8:38 am

Like all such regulation, it assumes that there is no cost to such regulation.

Increased wealth saves lives. That has been proven time and again.
The cost of such regulations makes us poorer, which in the end costs lives. Usually many more lives than even the most optimistic interpretation of the regulation could ever hope to save.

Reply to  ATheoK
June 9, 2020 10:26 am

The letter posted to New Zealand last week just came back with a sticker – ‘Service Temporarily Suspended’. This is how far regulations to ‘protect’ their people can go. They really want to live like hobbits.

Flight Level
June 9, 2020 1:13 am

The situation is comparable to outlaw death by killing all undertakers.
Then, as stench & diseases fill the air, go in full reverse and turn that industry in state priority.

Anyone with a sane mind realizes what a fuel-less world would be. That’s why they try , by each and every means, to gather indirect profits.

Oil companies might as well, in a hypothetical orchestrated response, sabotage their equipment and start the stopwatch.

However this is not an option. Profitable marketing is located between 2 two asymptotic trends.

Sell an infinite quantity at zero unit price or sell a zero quantity at infinite unit price. In both cases.

Which in the case of oil, a captive necessity, leaves a vast operation comfort zone as whatever the situation, end consumers pay the consequences.

How mathematically stable and durable are those extreme limits? A very good discussion point on which I would like to hear from competent persons.

Something Evil
June 9, 2020 1:30 am

Boggles the mind, this does.

Who in their right mind, and who isn’t a shameless shill, urges another industry to be more like big tobacco?!

Yeah, sure. Be more like the industry whose own internal data showed how dangerous their business is, who fought tooth and nail to keep selling cigs to kids in developed countries and advertised addictive and damaging substances in cartoons, and who still fights to be able to do that in developing regions with poor health protections.

The industry that spins nonsense legal threats and brings frivolous lawsuits against countries who can’t afford the litigation. Who lies at every turn, to this day.

Be more like big tobacco, oil industry. You might just manage to convince developed nations that the guillotine wasn’t that bad an idea after all.

Reply to  Something Evil
June 9, 2020 8:40 am

There are times when the chosen label says more about the author of a post, than the post does.
Yes, you are definitely “Something Evil”.

SE demonstrates that he/she/it is just another clueless twit who actually believes that second hand smoke must be as bad as directly inhaled smoke.
Heck with the evidence. It must be true because that’s what he has been indoctrinated to believe.

BTW, since tobacco companies are evil, everything they say is a lie and the opposite must be the truth.

Reply to  Something Evil
June 9, 2020 8:57 am

Boggles the mind, this does.

Something else boggles the mind as well.

“Who in their right mind, and who isn’t a shameless shill,” urges another to abandon his argument on the basis of logical fallacy?

The conspicuously anonymous and precisely self-described “Something Evil,” that’s who.

Your logical fallacy’s are (at least):

argumentum ad hominem and argumentum ad passiones


June 9, 2020 1:41 am

The tobacco cases are important because it was they that resulted in massive payouts, billions, even, to legal firms as they took their cut of the very rich pie that resulted from these cases. And ever since others have been looking for another such ‘unbelievable’ payday and ‘big oil’ with its cash offers them this chance. Hence, why these cases will never go away no matter how many they lose for in reality the effort and money they put in is very small indeed the vast riches they can make if they only win one . So they are happy to represent any state , city , NGO etc in the hope some court is going to hand it to the.
While cities who have got serious finical issues , often due to their own actions, also look to these cases to ‘help them out’
The give away is none of them are calling for ‘evil fossil fuel ‘ to be banned nor even buying its sale even in their own cities , which they would do if its the ‘evil’ they claim . Indeed you can well imagine how they would react if those same oil companies refused to sell their products in these cities .

In short the whole thing is a ‘shake-down ‘ for those looking to get lots of easy-money.

Reply to  knr
June 9, 2020 8:42 am

For the most part, the lawyers aren’t putting in any of their own money. The money that is being lost when they lose these cases is the clients money. Tax money from the various cities and states.

D. Cohen
June 9, 2020 1:47 am

I think an important aspect of the problem is given as an aside in your essay:

“The lorry-driver instructed the lawyers to write to the court asking for a new judge. “We can’t do that,” they said. “The only route available to us is appeal” (which would have earned them millions).”

If losing in court time and again ensures that your lawyers will make more money in the long run, what do you think will happen? As a plus, they have a decent chance of avoiding personal bullying and abuse by always being on the losing side, receiving an absolute minimum of publicity.

June 9, 2020 2:00 am

Big Oil lawyers are likely exactly the very same as for the Big Auto – to see Big Auto hatch odes to CO2, Lithium, and curse that devil, Diesel, would make Shakespeare shudder.

Big Pharma’s lawyers are quite different – any science that dents their chemical view is ruthlessly vilified. Dr. Montagnier and Virology come to mind, Thalidomide also.

Steve Case
June 9, 2020 2:29 am

“… the real benefits from more CO2 in the air should be considered by the court. CO2 fertilization …”

Carbon dioxide is way more than mere fertilization, it is the basic feed stock of life on earth. The photosynthetic equation of, carbon dioxide plus water and sunlight yields simple sugar, means that every carbon atom in every life form on Earth was once carbon dioxide in the atmosphere.

Jack Black
Reply to  Steve Case
June 9, 2020 4:57 am

Exactly so, and the real danger is that ultimately almost all CO2 will be locked away for millions of years in sedimentary rocks, until it is eventually subducted into the Earths mantle where some will be released via volcanic activity, and other means such as abiotic mineral hydrocarbons etc. This is an ongoing process, and CO2 is released in ever decreasing amounts, and reductions in CO2 already responsible for evolution of latter types of food cereals that are more efficient in capturing the tiny amounts now resident in earth’s atmosphere. Every living plant and animal, including us Humans are indeed Carbon Based Lifeforms, but psuedo-liberal nihilists are too stupid and ignorant to realise these facts.

June 9, 2020 2:35 am

Big Oil balances profits to be made in carbon credit trading with losses incurred due to ‘green’ pressure. So far it has viewed the profits to be made far outweigh the costs of putting up with green initiatives. I don’t think they have reached any sort of tipping point as yet.
As a body they are just about the biggest supporters of green initiatives. Some lefty politicians ignore this and try to gain virtue signalling points by attacking them, but in the grand scale of things they are annoying gnats.

June 9, 2020 2:56 am

Monckton is usually to windy for me with his long posts. However this one is his best and i read the whole thing. I agreed with him wholeheartedly. Its time for these oil companies to start manning up and fight the science propanda we a fed on a daily basid

June 9, 2020 3:00 am

“No piece of paper to certify that I, who have made a fortune out of mathematics (which is more than most mathematicians can say), have received appropriate Socialist training in doing sums. O how the hard Left are offended if anyone strays from his allocated métier.”

With due respect, M’Lud, as Alice asked, which subjects?
“Reeling and Writhing of course, to begin with,’ the Mock Turtle replied, ‘and the different branches of arithmetic-ambition, distraction, uglification, and derision.”

I was never a fan of “doing sums”!

As usual, hilarious, and a call to arms!

June 9, 2020 3:24 am

Perhaps there is a lack of motivation. The oil companies, as a group, have a captive market. There is no economic substitute for their product. If they all have to pay extra taxes or damages or whatever, then they all have to raise their prices, and as the oil company profit is to an extent proportional to the bowser price, they win, whatever.

Second hand cigarette smoke, if not dangerous, is highly irritating, even to other smokers.

Reply to  peterg
June 9, 2020 8:44 am

There are a lot of things that I find to be highly irritating.
Can I go to court to get all of them banned?

Reply to  peterg
June 9, 2020 10:19 am

Why, if second hand smoke is the problem, does BC Ferries say on every voyage “….. this includes the use of E-cigarettes”?

June 9, 2020 4:00 am

There are plenty of Little Oil companies who will fill the gaps when / if hypocritical Big Oil outfits go to the wall or just do other things apart from finding and selling fuel.
But it would be wonderful if B O did actually man up on this occasion as you suggest they should.

Nick Graves
June 9, 2020 4:08 am

Long yes, but also a very interesting read nonetheless.

Thank you, Christopher!

I believe that we do need a properly-conducted ‘test case’ WRT AGW. It ought to prove very entertaining.

Jack Black
Reply to  Nick Graves
June 9, 2020 5:21 am

Of course in Britain, at any rate, it is entirely within the remit of the DPP to prosecute any and all claims of so called “AGW”, Carbon Trading, and suchlike fantasies; under the provisions of the UK Fraud Act 2006. Such prosecutions however depend upon Citizens making complaints to Police, in person at a Police Station in England or Wales. Then it necessitates a Senior Police Officer to forward such complaint to the Director of Public Prosecutions, and for them to bring the case to a duely constituted Court of Law.

There are culpable breaches of Section 2, and others, of The UK Fraud Act 2006; in that persons made a gain for themselves, or another; or caused a loss to another, or exposed another to a risk of a loss; by deliberately giving information which they knew to be false, or might reasonably be suspected to be false. A gain can be defined not only as moneys, but also as an advantage or position, and can mean keeping what one already has, as well as gaining something additional. A gain or loss can mean sums of money, position, reputation, or any thing whether tangible, or intangible, by any means whether by speech, print, or by electronic data, howsoever distributed or held. There are swingeing penalties, including up to 12 years imprisonment per instance of offence, and or substantial fines, recovery of assets under the UJk Proceeds of Crime Act, etc.

June 9, 2020 4:23 am

Industrial use of “procedural” arguments in major court cases have been disastrous over the last few decades.

Too many lawyers believe that their best chances are in procedural arguments. Apparently, having to learn the science frightens them to the point of hysteria.
i.e. the cheap tawdry lawyer tricks that get so many career criminals off easy, fail when expanded to procedural arguments in national interest major court cases.

Joe Born
June 9, 2020 5:07 am

While I share the frustration at the oil companies’ failing to contest the science, and while I would welcome a change of course, I would also caution against taking too much optimism from anecdotes like those in the head post.

Yes, courts sometimes deal swimmingly with technical matters; I’ve seen an arts-major judge quickly grasp the finer points of brushless-DC-motor drive circuitry, for example. But I’ve also seen a whole panel of technically trained administrative judges base its decision on a complete misapplication of freshman physics that had never been briefed or argued.

So, although I’d love to see the oil companies really contest the science—and the Happer-Koonin-Lindzen brief provided to Judge Alsup would be a good foundation—it’s important to recognize that litigation is a crap shoot and that to reach a conclusion out of step with the relentlessly reinforced popular consensus requires a particularly analytical and independent-minded trier of fact.

Ian Coleman
June 9, 2020 5:11 am

Okay. Lord Monckton, you are my hero. You should be the hero of all citizens who champion rational argument from observed fact. I realize this seems like excessive flattery, but it’s not. It’s just an accurate statement of your capacities and virtues.

What you run into again and again with both anti-smoking activists and climate change activists is that they love the word “risk,” but refuse to admit that there can ever be such a thing as negligible risk. It only makes sense that breathing other people’s exhaled smoke is a health hazard so, on a basic level, there is a risk that your health is being harmed should you sit in a bar for two hours where other people are smoking. It’s just that the risk is incalculably small. Never mind. No risk, no matter how small, can be tolerated, given the nature of lung cancer. That’s the logic, and it works with most people.

People don’t understand probability. I have seen people buy ten lottery tickets rather than just one, because they believe that, by buying ten, they have vastly increased the probability (which, in practical terms, is zero) that they will win the lottery. In fact the sellers of lottery tickets rely on people like that to sell more tickets. Lotteries are a perfect example of how the intelligent prey on the stupid.

The climate change narrative actually does make rough sense. We’re polluting the atmosphere, which does cause the Earth’s temperature to warm. If it warms too much, large areas of the Earth will become uninhabitable. That’s actually a plausible story, until you ask, what is the risk that that could happen? Doesn’t matter. The catastrophe that is possible is so great that there is no acceptable level of calculable risk. That kind of thinking is absurd, but it’s also very hard to reason people out of it.

And of course, climate change alarmists rely heavily on intimidating people with their scientific credentials. So: The climate is so simple that you can predict the whole of it decades into the future if you know the value of one variable, the atmospheric concentration of carbon dioxide, but the climate is so complex that only highly trained people can have any authority to describe it. Kind of contradiction there, I’d say.

David Suzuki (our leading Canadian climate alarmist), when confronted in Australia with the simple fact that global warming has been decoupled from carbon dioxide emissions, blithely mooted the point by saying that climate scientists say that carbon dioxide emissions are warming the climate to dangerous degrees, and he trusts the scientists. As in, if you don’t, you’re saying that you understand the nature of the climate better than the credentialed professionals who do. Which is obviously folly on your part, so sit down, shut up and obey. The reason Dr. Suzuki uses that argument is because he has found that it works with most people.

Jack Black
Reply to  Ian Coleman
June 9, 2020 6:59 am

I have every sympathy with Kanuks and their struggle against vested interests of David Suzuki.

it’s well worth reviewing this exposé of Suzuki and others, by Dr. Tim Ball, published at WUWT last year !

Jack Black
Reply to  Jack Black
June 9, 2020 7:13 am

Every Canadian should see this article about the late George Washington Hunt, who by chance was invited to the inaugural UNCED meeting attended by the Baron Rothschild and others. Shocked by the agenda he heard promoted, he dedicated the rest o his life to exploring the vested interests, and financial tie-ups between High Finance and “Environmentalism”. The whole World ought to honour the researches and work of George Washington Hunt, may The Good Lord rest his Soul !

Jack Black
Reply to  Jack Black
June 9, 2020 8:57 am

This is well worth hearing, and I’d certainly add Dr. Ball to my list of accredited scientific experts in any court case. Dr. Ball is one of very few people with a pre-global-panic degree in actual meteorological climate science. His discourse with greenie May is a delight to behold !

Dr. Tim Ball vs Elizabeth May (audio only)
heard on C-Fax Radio in March 2005

Jack Black
Reply to  Jack Black
June 9, 2020 9:28 am

Charles, please can you edit/fix my bad YouTube embed in above comment and delete this request, thank you.

Jim Gorman
June 9, 2020 5:21 am

Heck, I would simply plead guilty with the provision that the judge issue an order to immediately cease and desist the public nuisance. I would point out that this will save untold millions of taxpayer dollars in prosecution and achieve the removal of the nuisance. Then that same day close every fuel station and natural gas pipeline in the city, county, or state that is a party to the suit.

I suspect that within a week there will be new laws defining fossil fuels to NO LONGER be public nuisances.

Carlo, Monte
Reply to  Jim Gorman
June 9, 2020 7:13 am

Perhaps, or perhaps not; currently the answer to rioting insane leftists destroying society is to remove the arm of the law restraining such behavior. Cutting off fuel supplies could be just another tactic used to hasten The Revolution they so religiously devote themselves toward.

June 9, 2020 5:27 am

Monckton is a gem in a field of rocks. Good health to him for many years to come.

Tom in Florida
June 9, 2020 5:40 am

Knowing the record of the 9th being overturned by the Supreme Court, perhaps the oil companies are simply holding off all their bullets until then. They were never going to win in the 9th no matter how much real evidence was introduced. Not tipping their hand early would give the opposing side little time to mount a counter argument.

4 Eyes
June 9, 2020 6:33 am

Almost too late I think. I said years ago here that it should be settled in the courts. I said that because judges and even lawyers follow logic even if they are not qualified in the particular matter that they are adjudicating. I learnt that fact, for a fact it is, when i had to explain to a QC all the ins and outs of the procedure and the equipment used to test gas wells and then the mathematics of analysing all the transient flow and pressure data. The legal brain cottoned on. Engineering science and not legal technicalities won that case. Years ago here at WUWT some commenters said science should not be settled in the courts – what a free kick that was to the alarmists, who refused to debate. Now that every man and his dog has decided to appease the alarmist lobby I feel the horse has bolted. If the fossil fuel companies want a future at all, they must get all the data, inconsistencies and failed predictions in front of a seriously empowered court ASAP. Every oil company CEO who has relied on his own internal environmentalists and adopted a poorly written climate change policy has not got a leg to stand on in court – it will be used against them. The sceptics case must be led by somone who has consistently argued that CAGW, the C being the main issue, is not worth worrying about.

Jack Black
June 9, 2020 6:41 am

Of course all these bogus agendae are indeed breaches of The Law in Britain, because they are quite simply FRAUD, in my humble opinion, but judge for yourself.

In one of the most elegant pieces of legislation drawn up by the British Justice Department headed up by the Rt. Hon. Jack Straw MP, in the Labour Government in 2006, the mish-mash of ancient centuries old laws relating to various fraud and deception offences were amalgamated into a new clear Law which actually won awards for its plain English Language.

Any Citizen may complain to Police in England or Wales about ANY instance of Fraud, and the Police after investigation should report matters to the Director of Public Prosecutions. The DPP should then bring cases to Court. This requires only the will of the people to do it. The more prominent the individual, such as a Sitting MP, or Peer, or Local Worthy etc. The greater the chance of Police and DPP taking matters seriously. Ordinary Citizens are likely to be palmed off, and told to report matters via telephone to “Action Fraud”, where cases are merely recorded but rarely if ever actioned at all !

The Law :

So for instance; When Professor Stuart Haszeldine and his erstwhile colleague Fatosh Gozalpour, whilst acting at the time as official UK Government Consultants for the Dept of Energy, advising upon cheap sourcing of CO2 gas to use in Enhanced Oil Recovery (EOR) in The North Sea; they claimed publicly that this would be principally a scheme for so called “Carbon Capture and Storage” and to “save the Planet” from “Climate Change”, this was fraudulent disinformation. They wanted to have The Taxpayer, and Energy Consumer, pay for their Enhanced Oil Recovery Scheme (or Scam?).

A whole industry of boondoggles worth millions of pounds annually, at The University of Edinburgh, where Haszeldine was based, has expanded offering hokum degrees in a variety of bogus subjects to hapless students, being effectively defrauded of their moneys, in breach of the 2006 Act., and those “Graduates” then spread this utter tosh all around the World, to UNIPCC, Kyoto, Paris and beyond.

…. Very many other branches to this tree of balderdash and bogosity, including the rather aptly named “Grant Institute” at the new so called “University Bio-Quarter” at Little France Campus of The University of Edinburgh.

When will people actually challenge these boondoggles in the actual Law Courts? These shills have turned true Science research into a complete travesty and a farce !

June 9, 2020 6:54 am

Thank you. A great summary of the anthropogenic warming/changing scare, and a hopeful legal case for changes in regulations and laws.
As a retired utility engineer with accountabilities in customer side energy and demand use, the absolute economic and societal destruction caused by the wind/solar/biofuel..”solutions” is abhorrent, unjustified and tragic.
An enemy of free markets, low cost / robust / reliable energy sources , and the US (and developed nations) could create no better weapon….except “coronavirus shut-downs”!
The combination of “climate change” solutions and economy shut-downs is an absolute destroyer of
all that creates a healthful, safe, innovative, poverty-eliminating, nature preserving world.

Reply to  John
June 9, 2020 7:38 am

Very good comments John and Jack.

June 9, 2020 7:02 am

Thank you.

Let’s hope these cases can find a courtroom where facts matter.

HD Hoese
June 9, 2020 8:20 am

As to the “OA” papers there are plenty available to show the pH fallacy and the resiliency of the system. A recently posted paper here was on nutrient shortages.

Times must be changing, they cited an article about “acidified sea water” with an actual pH of 1.7. Had to check it out, maybe they lowered the pH scale when we weren’t looking. Thought that cyanobacteria made nitrogen which was bad, maybe needs iron injection.

Pat Frank
June 9, 2020 8:57 am

I’m acquainted with a lawyer who says he would litigate the science in EXXON Knew sorts of cases, and could win on it.

He said that he would cost an oil company a few million, but would save them billions.

He says the procedural defense is a failing strategy.

Reply to  Pat Frank
June 9, 2020 9:48 am

He says the procedural defense is a failing strategy.

Does he have a theory as to why an oil company like Exxon would deploy such a strategy?

Pat Frank
Reply to  sycomputing
June 9, 2020 11:30 am

I’ll ask, Sy

Pat Frank
Reply to  Pat Frank
June 9, 2020 9:53 pm

I’ve posted his reply, Sy, but apparently it got caught in the WUWT spam filter.

If it’s not here by tomorrow morning (10 June), I’ll comment in again.

Reply to  Pat Frank
June 10, 2020 6:27 am

That’s happened to me before. Don’t put too much effort into it, I was just curious.

Many thanks sir!

Pat Frank
Reply to  Pat Frank
June 10, 2020 8:42 pm

I’ve posted it twice now, and it’s not showing up, Sy.


Reply to  Pat Frank
June 12, 2020 3:30 am

No sweat, thanks Pat.

June 9, 2020 9:43 am

Trouble is the Board of Directors of these big companies are polluted with marxist/progressives w/little science-understanding like the major utility I worked for. One thing these marxist/progressives excel at is infiltrating organizations, companies, unions, NGOs, societies, political/community-action groups, etc, etc, etc.

D. J. Hawkins
Reply to  beng135
June 9, 2020 4:17 pm

I don’t know about that “hobbits” bit. As I recall, Bilbo was picking up his mail when Gandalf showed up.

D. J. Hawkins
Reply to  beng135
June 9, 2020 4:20 pm

That is not necessarily the full motive for BoD’s. The one thing business hates is uncertainty. It would rather pay a known sum, if not too onerous or if it can be passed on to the consumer, than risk a jury trial with a wildly crushing outcome. It can be a short-sighted strategy.

J Mac
June 9, 2020 9:43 am

Thank you for your well reasoned treatise!
From your deft quill to the oil company’s cognition, may it be so!: “… the oil corporations must recover the backbone to stop playing futile procedural pat-a-cake in court and rediscover the wits and the guts to meet their mortal enemies in hand-to-hand combat…

June 9, 2020 9:51 am

Well said CM. Oil kicking the can down the road has only made the litigants stronger. The fake buy in to renewable energy by the oil corporations got them nowhere, wasted money, and gave support to the very people who were trying to eliminate them. “Big oil” has the resources to bring the alarmists to their table, under their conditions, and with full transparency.

Nicholas Harding
June 9, 2020 10:36 am

Problem is that most US lawyers and judges believe in CO2 as the evil. I practiced environmental law for 40 years and I knew a handful of lawyers who did not believe in the evil of CO2. But if you were an ivy league undergrad you knew that CO2 was evil. Most expert witness geologists know better. But air quality experts as a group seemed to be believers. Should someone on the oil team understand that computer models and their authors have not been cross examined, then and only then will the fossil fuel companies begin to see the path to victory. When the authors don’t give up the code, the plaintiffs will not have any experts left to testify.

June 9, 2020 10:52 am

The amount of energy needed to increase the temperature of 1 cubic meter of dry air 1 degree is less than that required for the same amount of CO2. There is no mention of the capability of CO2 to cause warming via IR in the specific heat tables, Shomate equation, nor in the NIST data sheet. Further, thermodynamics says the energy required can be in any form.

Smart Rock
June 9, 2020 11:24 am

EPA, said big oil, had ingeniously construed the Act as permitting it to investigate all sources of indoor air pollution and to issue risk assessments evaluating the effects of all such sources – implicitly including secondhand smoke – on human health

The burden of the oil corporations’ response was that EPA’s biological-plausibility analysis was flawed because it had disregarded evidence that directly-inhaled and indirect tobacco smoke are dissimilar

One assumes that you meant “tobacco”.

Two small and basically inconsequential errors in a very long and informative post, for which I thank you most profusely, Lord M. And some pretty erudite comments too. I haven’t enjoyed a WUWT session so much in a while.

You should hire me as a proof reader, though.

However. I doubt if you could find a “big oil” company whose management had the guts to make a serious effort to fight a suit on the science. These days, it’s all about the share price; they’re all at the mercy of “the market”, so they virtue-signal by investing in “renewables” to show how responsive they are to “concerns”. It’s basically a strategy of appeasement. After all, that worked for Neville Chamberlain, didn’t it?

And with big oil investing in “renewables”, they are handing potential courtroom adversaries a potent weapon, e.g. “Will you explain to the court why, if you don’t accept the science of anthropogenic global warming, has your company invested $x million in wind and solar power? And why does your company’s annual report (offers to the court as Exhibit Z a lavishly produced, glossy document replete with photos of “sustainables” with smiling indigenous peasants in the foreground) speak of ‘transitioning to a low-carbon future’?”

We need an old-style swashbuckling capitalist at the helm of at least one big oil company to turn the tables on the greens. I’m really not holding my breath.

Jack Black
Reply to  Smart Rock
June 9, 2020 6:47 pm

@Smart Rock: I propose Michael J. Hennigan, recently appointed CEO of Marathon Petroleum, and head honcho in a number of subsidiary concerns, as the old-style capitalist you seek. Very recently attacked by the infamous Rhode Island Senator, Sheldon Whitehouse, and his Obama Puppet Pals on the House Oversight Committee, EP Committee etc. That’s good enough credentials for me.

I think he’d make a pretty good “swashbuckler”, and controlling majority of petroleum sales and distribution in the USA, in a strong position to challenge fatuous laws. I’m pretty sure he won’t be fooled by bogus arguments on the science, having a strong background in petroleum products management for over a decade.

June 9, 2020 12:14 pm

Great article.

I think there’s a couple of typos the should be fixed:

“EPA, said big oil, had ingeniously construed the Act as permitting it to investigate all sources of indoor air pollution and to issue risk assessments evaluating the effects of all such sources – implicitly including secondhand smoke – on human health.”
“The burden of the oil corporations’ response was that EPA’s biological-plausibility analysis was flawed because it had disregarded evidence that directly-inhaled and indirect tobacco smoke are dissimilar; it had failed to identify the criteria it had used in evaluating each type of smoke; and it had disregarded evidence that even directly-inhaled smoke has an exposure threshold below which it has no adverse effect.”

In both cases ‘oil’ in the first sentence should probably be ‘tobacco’.

Boff Doff
June 9, 2020 1:34 pm

Maybe someone can explain how a body that has the ability to forbid the sale and use of a product in its area but has not done so, and indeed profits from taxes levied upon the sale while not placing any restrictions upon use, can sue for damages related to it.
It is a strange place, this US and A! Where women can vote but horses cannot!

June 9, 2020 2:20 pm

Good argument; I believe one should use all the tools in the toolbox, including scientific fact and validity. Perhaps, as was commented on above, the defendants are waiting for a more receptive audience to use scientific arguments to defend themselves.

There must be something wrong with me; I did not think the post was too long.

Gary Pearse
June 9, 2020 6:54 pm

Christopher, I doubt you will get down this far in the comments, but the Covid lockdown so far is impossible to detect in the CO2 data. It occurred to me that possibly reducing the partial pressure of human CO2 emissions in the atmosphere might result in an increase in ocean outgassing to partly compensate for this reduced burden in the atmosphere. The outgassing is in response to warming since the LIA.

It is a complicated problem because solution of CO2 into the ocean is going to be greatest over cooler water and outgassing more over warmer areas. In the tropical belt, upwelling ,CO2-laden cold water would warm increasing outgassing during a la Niña. However the measurement of CO2 in the atmosphere would faithfully show the sum. Possibly the effect might show in the variation in atmospheric isotopes of C. No detectable change from the lockdown would be possibly a gamechanger on the issue.

Brian Pratt
June 9, 2020 6:58 pm

Another victim of the poorly informed judicial system seems to be talcum powder, not to mention *asbestos*.

June 9, 2020 10:36 pm

The value of the strategy proposed here could very much depend on the particular judge hearing the case. It has been many years since I paid attention to such things but I have watched cases, wherein the basic issue was the truth or untruth of certain explicit claims, and the judge declared (the term , if memory serves, is ‘take judicial notice’) that the court accepted one side as true and refused to allow any evidence from the other side.

In other cases involving the strict letter of the law, being heard before a jury, judges have declared that presenting to the jury the actual written law upon which the defendant’s case relies would confuse the jury members. The prosecutor will be so kind as to explain the issues to the jury in terms they can understand and nothing more on the matter of the law is to be heard.

Maybe a good defense attorney could overcome this, or maybe such a trial could be appealed and later receive a more fair hearing, but since the science is settled, as well as for any of a host of political and religious reasons, a trial judge could do the same via a vis any evidence involving history, data, or scientific theory.

Paul in uk
June 10, 2020 3:16 am

I’m not so sure about being able to directly show the science wrong, but I do feel the best way is to look at their methods or procedures, hopefully if these are inadequate (e.g. compared to best practice/requirements in other areas) this will act as a catalyst for the world to rethink and ask for them to have to work more like engineering. To my mind it’s not so much about proving them right or wrong or realising the benefits of CO2 or warmth, but instead getting everyone to re think why we believe climate science and appreciate the danger we could be in if it is wrong and we do not understand what is going on.

So rather than concentrate on specific cases I’d rather take an overview of climate science; e.g. ask for their procedures, evidence of audits etc: With engineering for example we recognise products that present potential danger, particularly in aviation and automotive and we have to learn the lessons from mistakes (e.g. aircrash investigations), the system learns the lessons and implements changes and requirements on the product development and validation process aimed at avoiding dangerous mistakes. If climate science has it wrong, despite claims of no downside, surely the outcome could be disastrous. If court cases like this go ahead will the tables be automatically turned if it turns out climate science had it wrong? So does climate science come under the same requirements as other important areas like engineering? If not then surely it must immediately do so or we should not use it’s claims in court, never mind the whole world investing its future in their recommendations.

Presumably we wouldn’t board a plane without confidence the system is learning from failures implementing procedures and doing checks. Are we holding climate science to similar requirements.

Sorry; about to repeat a comment I made under how science works, but it was the last comment so not sure anyone read it.

Why should we believe the data, analysis, conclusions if climate science was done with climate science methodology vs same question for engineering methodology?

Climate science answer? Peer review, consensus of a large number of experts, data and facts, numerous lines of evidence all pointing to same conclusion, logical explanation (in our view), no other explanation (in our view). Precautionary principle. Today’s vehicle reliability shows how good we are at getting science right.

Engineering answer? Lessons learned from failures (e.g. air crash investigations) leading to; procedures, independent audit, certifications, structured approaches like failure modes and effects analysis, concerns logs, many other groups with different perspectives and motivations checking our design, methods, product, covering our data (measurement systems etc), analysis, conclusions.

What does climate science do that engineering does to improve validation of its output if some people are claiming vehicle reliability as an indication how science is now so good at getting it right?

If done under engineering procedures would it be allowed to get away with not auditing its major measurement systems like the surface temperature network?

Have we done a proper analysis before putting faith in the precautionary principle? e.g. if it’s wrong doesn’t that mean we have failed to understand longrange weather/climate and there may be a very different change underway we fail to forecast with disastrous consequences, we have dangerously weakened our ability to survive that having taken wrong actions and wouldn’t reducing CO2 in that case have little impact on extinction?

Peer reviewed papers – What drives what work gets done and then included or not to ensure balance when forming conclusions from reviewing the peer reviewed literature in climate science?

Unlike an engineering project I don’t understand who is in charge in climate and how the system checks they’re doing the job properly.

Yes, we must understand past failures in science, but if we widen the scope and include engineering particularly the numerous air crash investigations I think there is a huge amount we can learn and many examples to illustrate why things go wrong we thought could not go wrong despite an apparent consensus of experts and why and how we must learn from those and why we treat engineering the way we do and if we don’t already why we should apply the same to climate science.

June 10, 2020 4:06 am

Wow. Just wow.

John Garrett
June 10, 2020 5:27 am

× 1,000,000

Thank you !!

As a long term shareholder of BP, RDS, TOT, XOM, CVX and others, I have repeatedly begged managements to abandon their current efforts of craven appeasement and directly confront the climate crackpots and zealots.

John Garrett
June 10, 2020 5:34 am

Letter to various managements:

Sirs and Mesdames,
I am a BP (RDS/XOM/CVX/TOT) shareholder of thirty years’ standing…

I am appalled and utterly disgusted by BP (RDS/XOM/CVX/TOT)’s craven pandering to the proselytizers and promoters of the conjectural pseudoscience of “Catastrophic/Dangerous Anthropogenic Global Warming.”

You must realize that you will never satisfy these zealots and crackpots by appeasement when their actual underlying objective is to destroy BP (RDS/XOM/CVX/TOT).

Grow a backbone. It’s long past time for you to start fighting back.

Roger Knights
June 10, 2020 6:41 pm

“By the very nature of that disciplined and generally even-handed forum, both sides must be fully and fairly heard, and each can cross-examine the other. There is virtually no other forum where such a debate between the skeptics and the cultists can take place. For the latter, having lost just about every face-to-face debate that has been held on the climate question, go to elaborate lengths to avoid debate with the former. They know their shoddy case cannot withstand examination.”

Here’s a brilliant idea for Big Oil. Fund debate-sponsoring institutions like the Oxford Union (and/or establish such institutions) to hold a series of annual climate-change debates. For instance, to hold twelve debates over the course of a week, one-third on attribution, one-third on impacts, and one-third on responses, paralleling the structure of the IPCC reports.

Some topics in each sector would be new each year, and some would be oldies about which new evidence, claims, and arguments had accumulated. Each year’s agenda would be set by a seven-member (say) Board of Respectables, with the assistance of a similar number of staffers, some working part-time while otherwise employed.

“Respectable” representatives of both “sides” in the debate would be consulted regularly. Both sides would need to agree on the choice of moderators (who would not be the same for all debates)—and/or, if a panel of “judges” is involved, each side would choose one, and the Board would choose a third.

Participating debaters would be given $100,000, to overcome the reluctance warmists supposedly feel about arguing for a position that’s already settled against the supposedly motivated reasoning of opponents. (This reluctance led to the demise of the Dutch-government-funded Climate Dialogue site.)

At a minimum these events would clear the air of the worst excesses of both sides (e.g., the recently disavowed unrepresentative “path” much alarmism has been based on). They would tend, over time, to clarify the points of agreement and disagreement and their relative importance. They would draw attention to areas where uncertainties exist and more research is needed. They would bring risk/reward thinking to the fore.

At a maximum, shoddy and deceptive claims and claimants would be exposed, and low-quality courses of action or inaction avoided.

Provided that a crew of unimpeachable Respectables could be recruited to oversee this endeavor, which should not be impossible, the sponsors would be spared 90% of the flak they’d draw from taking a skeptical position themselves, especially after a few rounds of well-conducted events. And they’d by spared 90% or more of the expense of becoming belligerently involved.

Twenty or thirty years ago it would have been far easier to set this in motion. But now the conventional wisdom is that the matter has been settled in the warmists’ favor and that only cranks dispute them. It will therefore take some bravery to volunteer to serve on the Board, or to back its mission, or to fund it.

But it could still be done. A grant of a mere $20 million would suffice to fund a debate-holding organization’s activities for 20 years, which should be sufficient. There must be a thousand foundations that could afford such a sum, and a thousand academic or professional organizations that could, collectively, do the same.

The funder should not have much if anything to do with that organization after funding it—especially not if it’s Big Oil!

At any rate, advocating the establishment of an institution to hold impartial structured debates on scientific matters of public interest is one that would or should evoke a generally favorable reaction. Opposing it would look bad to the public and to reasonable opinion leaders.

But many warmists would feel a need to do so, knowing the weaknesses of their case and the simplistic, propagandistic methods used to “sell” it. This would awkwardly position them: they’d then be confronted by the question, “What are you afraid of?” and by Tom Paine’s saying, “It is not truth, but error only, that shrinks from examination.”

Even if our side’s pro-debate advocacy gets blocked by the Consensus, we will have some compensation. We will have positioned ourselves to exact implacable justice on its members and supporters for their willful obstruction of the truth, in the aftermath of a non-warming world and a “wasted” global economy. A cold but enjoyable dish to anticipate.

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