British FT Positive Review for Two Climate Skeptic Books

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Guest essay by Eric Worrall

The British Financial Times, like most British mainstream media, normally takes a radical green pro climate action stance. So it is a pleasant change to see the FT arguing against accepting every wild climate claim at face value.

Are cooler heads needed on climate change?

Two controversial authors take aim at the scare stories — and puncture a few myths on the way.

Jonathan Ford YESTERDAY

There was a time not long ago when one of the visual metaphors of choice for our planet’s sombre future was a sad looking polar bear standing on a fast-diminishing ice floe. As carbon emissions belched into the atmosphere, rising temperatures were devouring the bears’ icy habitat and threatening their starvation.

Yet there was something wrong with this picture. There was no real evidence that polar bear numbers were collapsing. According to estimates compiled by the Polar Bear Specialist Group, part of the International Union for the Conservation of Nature, bear numbers have actually been going up — from roughly 15,000 in 1970 to about 26,500 today.

It’s a fallacy explored by Bjorn Lomborg in his book, False Alarm. The main threat to polar bears was not changing climate, he claims, but (now curbed) wild hunting. “If we want to protect [polar bears], rather than dramatically reducing carbon dioxide emissions to try to tweak temperatures over many decades with a clearly uncertain impact . . . our first step should be to stop shooting them,” he writes.

Lomborg’s is one of two books that set out to challenge what one might call “climate miserabilism”. The other is Apocalypse Never by Michael Shellenberger, an American environmentalist turned pro-nuclear campaigner. They explore the way in which climate policy is increasingly shaped by emotive, alarmist and sometimes misleading messages.

Many will take issue with some of the detailed arguments. Is the Paris agreement really as expensive as Lomborg says? Are extreme weather events really the phantoms that both authors claim? 

But these books provide a corrective to many of the green assumptions that dominate the media. And if they make the world a little more questioning of the next polar bear story, that is no bad thing.

Read more:

The books covered by the FT review are False Alarm by Bjorn Lomborg and Apocalypse Never by Michael Shellenberger.

I don’t want to get too excited. Even The Guardian occasionally publishes stories which contradict their usual green narratives. But just maybe FT is starting to notice that some of their audience is getting fed up with reading a constant stream of tired green negativity, day after day.

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High Treason
September 18, 2020 10:07 pm

Even mainstream media eventually have to see that the sky is not falling.
Even mainstream media eventually have to see that the Emperor is wearing no clothes.
Even mainstream media eventually have to see that the boy has cried wolf once too often.
There is a limit to how much bovine excrement they know we can swallow.

Peter Charles
Reply to  High Treason
September 19, 2020 1:59 am

They know the sky is not falling, they know the emperor has no clothes, they know the boy is crying wolf. They CHOOSE to maintain the illusion. Whether for political, economic or other reasons we do not know, nor will they ever admit, although if the Thames begins to regularly freeze in winter they might start to turn on the prophets of doom while telling us they were sounding the alarm against them all along.

D Cage
Reply to  High Treason
September 19, 2020 10:21 pm

i am not so sure about the bovine excrement bit given the lockdown here in the UK has resulted is more “green “actions than anti virus ones. I don’t know about in the US but has there been a proper publicly available study on the use of air circulated through UVC lit ducting as it works well on bacteria and all known viruses so far. Given it is air borne we still appear to be using circulating air systems on just about all transport and most offices with no attempt whatever to clean it before filling the room and vehicles with it. One for all and all for one seems to be the philosophy. Filters are only as effective as the people changing them was well demonstrated on a military NBC display here.
At first I ridiculed the conspiracy theorists idea that the WHO turned a blind eye to the problem of corona specifically to use it as a fire drill for climate change action under UN pressure and instead focused on climate change as the greatest world threat but is appearing less ridiculous by the day.

September 18, 2020 10:37 pm

Even Goebbels knew that you could only fool some of the people all of the time. The FT may be begining to see that some of the people are not being fooled and that it needs to have some attention paid to other groups for the sake of financial balance.

Rick C PE
Reply to  nicholas tesdorf
September 19, 2020 7:30 am

“Even Goebbels knew that you could only fool some of the people all of the time.”
Perhaps, but in democratic countries it’s only necessary to fool just over half the voters all of the time. A goal which the left seems to have reached in far too many places.

Tombstone Gabby
Reply to  nicholas tesdorf
September 19, 2020 4:54 pm

P T Barnum: “You can fool some of the people some of the time, and that’s enough”

Reply to  Tombstone Gabby
September 19, 2020 6:26 pm

Ahh, so happy to live in a Republic😀

Bryan A
September 18, 2020 10:39 pm

Interestingly the issue of weather extremes increasing and Hurricanes gaining strength might be undergoing a slight of hand in the measurements.
The last one, Sally, was being repeatedly reported as a Cat2 storm as it approached Alabama
This was the first paragraph in the WAPO article

Hurricane Sally made landfall in the predawn hours Wednesday as a strengthening Category 2 storm with sustained winds of 105 mph.

I was watching the storms progression on the GOES satellite website.
The first striking thing I noticed as it approached shore was the disorganization of the central core…the eye vanished. (Curious…How many Cat2 storms have no eye?)
The next thing I noted was the ground level wind speeds weren’t being measured at 100+ MPH at any site I could locate. Even the EARTHdotNULSCHOOLdotNET website showed surface winds barely at Cat1 speeds. I had to adjust the altitude to the 700mb level (10,000′) before wind speeds approached Cat2 status.

Reply to  Bryan A
September 19, 2020 7:02 am

I did not observe the same thing that you observed. I observed the reporting on Sally to be the first accurate reporting by NOAA, of a hurricane in the last four years. Recorded winds in eyewall stations were very close to the 105mph level. The eye was clearly visible when half on shore on local radar. The storm serge was reasonably accurate.
Contrast this with hurricane Laura two weeks before. Sally was roughly the same order of magnitude storm as hurricane Laura. Actual recorded winds were similar. The sustained winds in Laura were lower but peak gusts were slightly higher than Sally.

The recorded winds in Laura were an order of magnitude lower in destruction than maximum sustained winds reported by aircraft/Doppler radar. Storm surges were lower than predicted.
In all actuality, Sally was a worse storm because of the slow forward movement and excessive rainfall yet the media was far less hyped than Laura because of accurate data coming out of NOAA.

I have thought for a long time that NOAA’s exaggerated storm figures were going to eventually result in high death counts. People get use to thinking that they were clobbered by a CAT 4 storm that was actually a CAT2 storm and along will come a CAT4/ 5 Andrew type storm that intensifies fast and close to shore and people will not evacuate figuring they have been through it before.

I am sitting here wondering what changed at NOAA between Laura and Sally. Laura was the usual over hyped exaggerated storm and Sally was not. I think the highest winds were reported at FMOA1. I don’t think the media ever realized there was a change. I have seen nothing and wondering if the accurate reporting was a fluke.

Reply to  Pierre
September 19, 2020 9:53 am

I’m with you on wind speed inflation. I’m suspecting that somewhere down the line the agencies have changed methodology interpreting radiosonde data at altitude to ground level. I’ve been going to NOAA buoy data and haven’t seen speeds anywhere near the advertised.

The Tyndall AFB buoy was perfectly placed for max wind (Micheal) never got near the advertised wind speeds; though may have caused cat5 damage.

Also agree that storm category inflation will eventually cause people to overestimate their safety. Cry wolf

Matthew Sykes
September 18, 2020 11:11 pm

I met someone at a party last night who takes Attenboroughs doom-porn stories seriously. She was almost ranting, as I quietly tried to reassure she with some simple facts that what we are experiencing is well within normal variation for the planet.

She wouldnt listen though. But the she is very left wing…..

Reply to  Matthew Sykes
September 19, 2020 12:13 am

The Great Extinction myth is challenged, accidentally, by the work of palaeontologist Donald Prothero back in 1999, before climate change became the Big Thing. He studied the megafauna of North America over 50 million years and his interest was mainly the lack of evidence for adaptive evolution. But he also writes:

In a 1999 paper, I argued that for the four biggest independently documented periods of climatic change in the past 50 million years, the mammals either do not respond at all, or show much less speciation and extinction than they do at times when there is no evidence of climatic change.

I’ve not seen this interesting finding used in a climate change context, but it would be worth asking David Attenborough, with his great interest in fossils, what makes 2020 so much more deadly already than the far greater climate changes of the past.

Reply to  Matthew Sykes
September 19, 2020 12:33 am

Left and right have nothing to do with climate change…

and I think that the second lowest Arctic sea ice minimum, record temps and fires in Siberia, the heatwave and fires on Us West Coast and the many other extreme climate events of 2020 show a move towards an extreme of normal variation for the planet.

Reply to  griff
September 19, 2020 1:54 am

Tell us Griff, what’s the physical causal mechanism that means a couple of degrees of temperature increase causes fires? Why doesn’t everything go on fire in summer when we come out of winter?

Reply to  ThinkingScientist
September 19, 2020 7:23 am

Maybe its the drying. It takes a while for everything to melt and then to dry. So by the end of Summer you have dry fuel and the normal lightning strikes lead to fires. A few degrees could cause more drying during the Summer. This also may explain why everything doesn’t go on fire as soon as Winter is over.

Pat Frank
Reply to  ThinkingScientist
September 19, 2020 10:00 am

Warmer worlds have typically been wetter worlds. Higher temps mean more evaporation and more rain.

There’s no reason to think that the modern warming will lead to drying, except if you believe climate models. And climate models are predictively worthless.

Reply to  griff
September 19, 2020 1:58 am

I thought it was ‘us’ that was supposed to be in ‘denial’!

If you want to see a dramatic change in the Arctic try comparing a 1922 atlas to 1946, 1922 is similar to today, 1946 – the Arctic basin is almost full of solid ice all year.

And why ignore Antarctica if sea ice is important? Sea ice there is way above last year and right at the top of the historic interdecile range.

The promotion of climate change alarmism was invented as a strategy for, and is being used as a strategy for, imposing extreme left ideology on the world regardless of, and bypassing, democracy.

If that doesn’t alarm you, it should.

Reply to  MrGrimNasty
September 19, 2020 7:55 am

“If that doesn’t alarm you, it should.”

Of course it doesn’t alarm him..

Griff is part of it..

A far-left wing marxist totalitarian climate COLLABORATOR

Reply to  griff
September 19, 2020 2:13 am

The climate is changing. The climate has always changed. We’re currently warming out of the Little Ice Age. The various warm periods during the Holocene have always been better for humans and the environment in general. Things grow better when it’s warmer. The extra carbon dioxide we’re seeing in the atmosphere is greening the planet.

The left has misappropriated the term ‘climate change’ and ignores the points I just listed. So, real climate change, which is happening, has nothing to do with left and right. ‘Climate change’ as used by the left has everything to do with left and right.

Independent George
Reply to  griff
September 19, 2020 4:12 am

Bullshit. I’m not sure you’re being willingly obtuse or just lying. Leftists use the global warming scam to virtue signal off. It is a finger on the same wretched hand of leftism.

Reply to  Independent George
September 19, 2020 5:25 am

Griffiepoo is both obtuse and mendacious.

Still waiting for him to answer my question of Polar Bears and their survival in warm eras.

Bryan A
Reply to  griff
September 19, 2020 7:47 am

Ah yes, the signs of an Idiot commenting on the signs of summer and conflating them with a much feared hypothesis

Reply to  griff
September 19, 2020 7:51 am

“Left and right have nothing to do with climate change…”

More BS from griff.

The fantasy of human CO2 induce “climate change” has been front and center in the far-left agenda for decades.

DENIAL of facts seems to be all you have left.

And no , the current level of Arctic sea ice is FAR above the average of the last 10,000 years.

You KNOW that , so stop your deliberate LIES.

Only a completely moronic climate change denier takes the recovery from the extreme high of the late 1970s as their period of reference.

Record cold temperatures, you mean?

Siberian warm may was very localised WEATHER event

Fire intensity caused by lack of forest management.

There is NO EVIDENCE of any increase in extreme WEATHER

… and there is NO EVIDENCE that human CO2 has caused that normal weather variability.

Robert Austin
Reply to  griff
September 19, 2020 8:36 am

In our modern world with instantaneous communication, we are apprised of “extreme” weather events almost daily of events occurring somewhere in the world. It is statistically unlikely that there would be nothing eventful happening weather-wise somewhere on earth any given time. Griff is the classic “Texas sharpshooter”. Griff shoots at the side of the barn and then proceeds to paint the bullseye to take in the greatest number of hits.

Reply to  griff
September 19, 2020 10:57 am

None of those things that have your panties in a knot are in anyway unusual. You make them seem so by ignoring any history that doesn’t support your religious convictions.

M Seward
Reply to  Matthew Sykes
September 19, 2020 3:31 am

The trouble with the left wingers is that the closer they fly towards reality their wings start to come loose and threaten to fall off and they just go into some sort of PTSD – shock whatever. I know of no cure but the palliative care of “I know, I know” seems to calm them until you can safely leave the room.

John Bell
Reply to  Matthew Sykes
September 19, 2020 5:58 am

Get her to admit she uses fossil fuels every day every day every day, she should live with and like the Amish.

Reply to  Matthew Sykes
September 19, 2020 6:38 am

Did she drive or ride her bike home?

Bryan A
Reply to  BobM
September 19, 2020 7:51 am

The synthetic rubber in bicycle tires (and car tires) comes from petrochemicals

September 19, 2020 12:34 am

A very interesting development. These two authors are on the Index for all climate alarm sites. If you can find someone even admitting that they have read either on Real Climate or Ars Technica or similar sites, you’ll find the usual woke denunciations immediately following.

They will not even have to say they agree with anything in them. Simply to admit to having read them makes anyone automatically a card-carrying member of the Anti-Party Clique aka climate deniers and will trigger denunciation as such, in addition probably to accusations of being paid by fossil fuel producers, heternormative, fascist sympathizer and covert racist.

So for the FT to publish what is basically a mildly favorable review of not one, but two such books, and in such tones, is really a marker of changing times.

Its a very interesting phenomenon, which I watch with increasing but puzzled interest, that a whole bunch of attitudes which have nothing logically in common are becoming associated. That is, its perfectly logically consistent to think some and not others. Yet in the social world they are associated, so that if we know one or two about an individual, we can predict the others.

Basically, the whole woke set of attitudes and beliefs. How have they come to form a set, and why on earth do they include beliefs about climate and energy?

September 19, 2020 2:07 am

The worm turns. Slowly, but it turns.

September 19, 2020 2:56 am

As you say, maybe FT is starting to notice that some of their audience is getting fed up with reading a constant stream of tired green negativity. Over the years, I got thoroughly fed up with a couple of MSM outlets and have voted with the £ in my pocket.

The BBC have a long-standing editorial position of excluding opposing views, so wherever it gets the chance, it pounds its audience with climate doom. Especially news, documentary and opinion. And it has a policy of excluding part of its audience – which means the BBC lacks any balance on this matter.

The good news is that the market hates a vacuum. I have turned to talkRADIO for a better (more balanced) standard of debate. It gives me the chance to at least hear some views that align with mine, and if those views are aired I also get to hear the counter arguments from people who have to rise to the contest (rather than being given a free reign to preach).

So I would recommend talkRADIO to anybody. There is plenty of recorded material from talkRADIO on YouTube.

Julia Hartley-Brewer broadcasts on weekday mornings and she’s a delight. On many occasions, some interviewee has launched into pure climate doom (often a representative of XR) and Julia just dismisses it with “there is no science to support that”.

Melvyn Dackombe
Reply to  Jordan
September 19, 2020 6:32 am

You are so right Jordon.
TalkRADIO is now a must for me each day.

September 19, 2020 3:26 am

The doomsters need to find a polar bear with coronavirus to keep the fear alive.

September 19, 2020 3:53 am

griff, your words “the second lowest” and “record” are very revealing. The obvious questions they raise are the “second lowest” since when and “record” since when? Since we started monitoring these things, that’s when. The idea that climate change started since we started monitoring these things is total and utter nonsense.

The simple fact is we have no reliable data before these things were monitored, which means the data we do have is miniscule on the timescale of climate change. All you’re doing is revealing confirmation bias for something you want to believe, which is very different from hard evidence.

Joe Public isn’t as stupid as many people like to believe and they can see these things even if the ‘experts’ can’t. Call it the wisdom of crowds if you like, or whatever you want but the more extreme the claims become the more absurd they appear.

Mike Lowe
Reply to  MarkW2
September 19, 2020 4:10 am

Perhaps we should call it “herd immunity”. I like the sound of that!

September 19, 2020 5:21 am

It’s like the hole in the ozone layer. These people believe that it wasn’t their before we found it. Mindboggling!

Robert Stevenson
September 19, 2020 5:35 am

As inferred by its pink colour the FT is a left wing rag. Aimlessly lashing out ever since we voted to leave the EU against its expressed wishes.

September 19, 2020 6:52 am

If co2 level really is a problem, then the problem needs to be solved in the most efficient way possible. Instead of subsidizing solar and wind, the smartest and most cost effective solution are nuclear and molten salt reactors. If any subsidies are given that is where they should go. As well technology seems to be improving in removing co2 from coal and gas plant emissions. That seems the more effective way to slow co2 rise. Note that all this assumes increasing co2 levels is a problem and we don’t really know with any certainty if it is a problem.

Reply to  Stevek
September 19, 2020 7:28 am

Since we don’t know if CO2 is a problem, maybe we should just remove the huge regulatory barriers to nuclear. It might be easier than removing the wasted subsidies to solar and wind.

Robert Stevenson
September 19, 2020 7:39 am

Well said Stevek. CO2 has never been a problem never will be a problem and the white cliffs of Dover are testament as to what happened to CO2 in the past. If anything there an acute shortage of CO2 for the synthesis of polysaccharides and for the carbonated drunks industry.

Tish Farrell
September 19, 2020 8:03 am

It may sound simplistic, but the fact we inhabit the outer skin of an incredibly hot ‘rock’ with extremely volatile tendencies might actually be worth more attention. But thank god for the FT: a glimpse of MSM perspective at last.

Climate believer
September 19, 2020 10:07 am

I’m afraid I don’t share such optimism about peoples ability to see through the climate haze. They may baulk at the freaks in XR, they may even be fed up with hearing about the climate, but the fundamental belief in CAGW is, I think, a very commonly held one.

If you’ve ever had conversations with people that involve the climate (you obviously have) and you start questioning certain tenets of the faith, you quickly see people’s opinion of you change as you transform into a heretic before their very eyes.

It’s really bad when you’re a WUWT reader and you start slinging around some seriously pertinent facts that start to prick their soundbite bubble.

Unfortunately it’s a lot easier for most people to write me off as a heretic nutter than to question their own beliefs that are being confirmed 24/7 on every channel, newspaper and website.

The battle for truth continues.

Mark Pawelek
September 19, 2020 1:33 pm

FT have the best journalists in the UK. They do old fashioned reporting because they have to. It’s an expensive paper and business people and financiers who read it insist on facts. They ain’t paying to be wokified.

They still have opinion pieces, but these are mostly restricted to opinion pages; just like all papers used to have many decades ago.

Parry Frank
September 19, 2020 6:33 pm

This is mostly tongue in cheek, but I believe there are some kernels of truth in the idea. Starting about 9 years ago I began to make a suggestion to people who made some statement to the effect that the global warming- now climate change, resulting from mankind’s activity and the resulting release of CO2, was going to cause irreversible catastrophes to occur. Their feeling was that it might be too late to avoid the dire consequences. I would tell them that if they truly believed that this was going to cause the death of billions of people and the extinction of countless species, then they need to do something about it. They should be willing to do something very difficult. They should work on an agenda that would force every state to alter their tax system so that they would raise the exact same amount of tax revenue as previously, but that it would all come from taxing fossil fuel use and imbedded CO2 in products and services. The Federal government would add a CO2 tax to imported goods. As we produced lower amounts of CO2 the tax rate would increase. That’s it. The combination of innovation, substitution, using less, having less will lead to the drastic reduction of CO2 emissions. If they believed that the world was ending, then they should be willing to take drastic action. True believers should be willing to force change. Not one person has thought that this was a good idea. “Nobody will allow that to happen..” That just makes me feel that they don’t actually believe that all of the utterly terrible scenarios they talk about. They just like to point fingers. What are they willing to actually do to save the world from their prophecies? Drive a Tesla??

Reply to  Parry Frank
September 19, 2020 7:45 pm

I’ve proposed this exact same solution to many AWG advocates. They don’t want to let go of the income tax. If this is so dire, nothing else matters. I don’t think they believe it themselves. As an aside, I do own a Tesla. But I don’t believe it helps with CO2, its just a lot of fun to drive.

Reply to  Parry Frank
September 20, 2020 2:38 am

Yes, I have thought for a long time, based on similar reasoning, that the activists do not believe in CAGW at all, but are simply using it to organize around.

They do not want action they should demand as being effective. They do want to do things which on their own account are totally useless.

And it has the great merit of allowing demands to be made which they know are impossible to meet. Again, great for organizing, not so good for effective action. But they do not want that.

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