Nature promotes frivolous lawsuits

By Andy May

A Dutch joke*:

“The Judge asks an attorney pleading his case: ‘Am I ever to hear the truth?’

The attorney responds: ‘No, my Lord, only the evidence.'”

It is safe to say that no evidence exists that man-made climate change has harmed anyone. Further man-made climate or climate change has never been observed or measured. Climate-related and extreme-weather-related deaths, whether natural or man-made, have declined 93% since their peak in the 1920s and 1930s. Extreme weather events have declined and their impact on humans has declined even faster. Deaths due to climate change (man-made or natural) reached their lowest point in recorded history in 2019.

Climate models, that purport to estimate our collective effect on climate, have an uncertainty of ±1.5°C or more, according to the latest IPCC report (IPCC, 2021). They place the range of the effect at 2°C to 5°C/2XCO2. The abbreviation “°C/2XCO2” means the warming due to doubling CO2. Three degrees of error is so large that the models clearly have little predictive value, and the range has not narrowed since the 1979 Charney Report (Charney, et al., 1979). Ross McKitrick and John Christy have shown that all models seriously overestimate middle troposphere warming in the critical tropic region (McKitrick & Christy, 2018). One would think that would be the end of the story.

Imagine my surprise when I see a book review in Nature that tells me a court in The Netherlands ordered Royal Dutch Shell to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions on May 26th by 45%, and to do so by 2030. The very next day, an Australian court found that the Minister of the Environment had a duty to protect Australian children from harm but declined to grant an injunction to halt the expansion of a supposedly threatening coal mine. The Minister did not contest the plaintiff’s case that there would be “foreseeable” future harm caused by greenhouse emissions from burning the extra coal. See the Court orders, page 148, for the details.

The article states that 1,850 climate change cases have been filed in courts around the world. Obviously, the alarmists are not happy with government legislatures’ and bureaucrat’s regulations and are trying to destroy the fossil fuel industry using judges as their weapon.

No harm has been suffered by anyone, a point made by the Australian judge, who wrote:

“In the circumstances, including that the harm in question is not imminent, I consider it is highly undesirable to pre-empt the Minister’s decision.” (Ruling, page 147)

The harm he refers to is the future modeled danger resulting from burning the coal to be mined. No one can tell us how much greenhouse gases affect the climate with adequate precision, even after thousands of scientists spent billions of dollars over 40 years trying. This is all well known. How the two judges ruled, and why, is illuminating. Paraphrasing Bergkamp slightly, we observe that the judges are assuming what should be proven (Bergkamp & Hanekamp, 2015).

The Netherlands

According to a Harvard Law School blog post, The case against Shell was brought by several NGOs (non-governmental organizations) and 17,000 individuals. The lead NGO was Milieudefensie. These plaintiffs allege Shell is obligated to “contribute to the prevention of dangerous climate change through [its] corporate policy.”

The court ruled that the NGOs had standing to sue because they related to the interests of current and future generations of Dutch residents. The individual plaintiffs were ruled inadmissible, as the class action lawsuits were thought to cover the necessary ground.

The court then ruled that Shell owed an “unwritten standard of care” under Dutch law to the residents. As a result, they were required to reduce the volume of CO2 emissions 45%, relative to 2019, by 2030. The ruling applied to the entire value chain, that is to all Shell suppliers as well. Since government-owned utilities are common, this ruling would affect government entities around the world, as well as private Shell suppliers. In the U.S. and some other countries, electricity, natural gas and water are sometimes supplied by cities and states. These suppliers sell to local Shell affiliates, creating a potential conflict. The court ruled Shell’s current plans for reducing emissions are inadequate.

Shell’s statement that “urgent action is needed” to reduce carbon emissions was not helpful. They must realize, as most intelligent people do, that no evidence exists that human greenhouse emissions cause harm, although there is abundant evidence that they are beneficial. Why cater to a lie? Currently Shell has said they will appeal, but the ruling is in effect until the appeal is decided.


The Australian judge, The Honorable Mordecai Bromberg, was slightly more reasonable and judicial than the Dutch judge. On May 27, 2021, the Federal Court of Australia ruled that the Minister of the Environment was obligated to protect Australian children. The plaintiffs wanted the judge to order the Minister (Sussan Ley) to deny a permit to extend a coal mine owned by Vickery Coal Ltd. The judge denied the injunction.

It seems possible this suit was of the “sue and settle” type. In these cases, the Ministry requests that someone sue them, so they are not forced to make a decision they don’t want to make. They ministry or department does not contest the lawsuit, causing them to lose. This forces the judge to make the uncomfortable decision for them. Then they just hold up their hands and say the judge made them do it. These suits became popular in the United States during the Obama administration. By colluding with outside groups and the courts, the Obama administration bypassed Congress, and enacted laws through regulations mandated by the courts. The EPA halted this practice during the Trump administration, but it has been reinstated under Biden.

The court ruling contains examples of deceptive statements the Judge mentions (pages 8-9):

  1. The plaintiffs allege that rising temperatures, due to climate change, will cause increases in bushfires, extreme weather, drought, and other climate induced natural disasters.
  2. The plaintiffs allege that the relationship between increased human emissions of CO2 and increased temperatures is linear.
  3. The plaintiffs allege that continuing human emissions will result in Earth system” changes that will lead to “tipping cascades” that will “propel” the planet into 4°C of warming and it will become a dangerous “Hothouse Earth.”
  4. The plaintiffs proclaim that the best outcome is warming of 2°C above preindustrial (Little Ice Age) conditions.

These four dubious points, and many more were not contested by the Ministry. Item 1 is pseudoscientific nonsense, claiming all extreme weather is proof of man-made climate change is akin to a Marxist claiming all news events prove Karl Marx was correct, or Freud claiming every patient proves he was correct (Popper, 1962, p. 35). Item 2 appears to be from a paper by H. Damon Matthews, and others, which claims that global temperatures are linear with the quantity of human emissions (Matthews, Gillett, Stott, & Zickfeld, 2009). Comparing the observations to the temperature result produces 5% to 95% error bars so large as to make the conclusions suspect. Matthew’s conclusions are mostly based on models.

Regarding items 3 and 4, it is interesting that, while Professor William Steffen, the main witness for the plaintiffs, believes that four degrees of warming above the levels of the Little Ice Age—excuse me—the preindustrial period, will cause the Earth to become a dangerous hothouse. He even believes the risk is significant at 2°C of warming (Steffen, et al., 2018). Steffen mostly relies upon the IPCC 1.5-degree report in his testimony (IPCC, 2018). Four degrees of global warming would bring Earth’s surface to an average of about 18.5°C, which is a little less than the average Phanerozoic surface temperature, according to Scott Wing and Brian Huber of the Smithsonian Institution, as shown in Figure 1.

Figure 1. Smithsonian Phanerozoic (540 million years ago to today) temperature reconstruction by Scott Wing and Brian Huber. After: Smithsonian.

The Smithsonian record plots geologically inferred temperatures from the rock and fossil record. Wing and Huber rely a lot on temperature sensitive isotopes in their reconstruction. Christopher Scotese has also reconstructed Phanerozoic temperatures, his reconstruction is like Figure 1 but has less extreme high and low temperatures. Scotese’s reconstruction uses diagnostic rock types to identify large year-around glaciers in ancient polar regions. When year-around glaciers exist on either pole, the Earth is in Icehouse conditions, like today. Equatorial temperatures vary much less than polar temperatures, so by estimating polar conditions from the geological record, the equator-to-pole gradient and global average temperature can be estimated.

Scotese is also collaborating with Wing and Huber on their reconstruction. Both reconstructions are very low resolution (~10 million years or more between most points) and show an average Phanerozoic temperature of about 20°C, over 5°C warmer than today. According to Scotese’s work, hothouse conditions start at a global average temperature of 24°C (75°F), almost 10°C (18°F) warmer than today. Judge Bromberg explicitly refers to four degrees of warming as “hothouse Earth” on page 19 of his judgement, far less warming than Scotese requires.

It is difficult to be concerned about the IPCC and Professor Steffen’s projected four degrees of warming, when that will not even raise global temperatures to their average for the past 540 million years. Life thrived during the Paleocene-Eocene Thermal Maximum labeled in Figure 1, when global average temperatures exceeded 80°F (26°C). Plant and animal diversity increased, and the Great Mammalian Dispersal event occurred. This was when mammals spread widely and primates evolved (McInerney & Wing, 2011).

William Nordhaus received the Nobel Prize in Economics in 2018 for his work on the economics of climate change (The Nobel Prize, 2018). In his Nobel Lecture he questions the idea that humans should try to reduce GHG emissions enough to keep temperatures below two degrees above the Little Ice Age or the preindustrial period. Doing so, he calculates, will cost $30 trillion more than is saved. To limit warming to 1.5 degrees would cost $50 trillion. The total world GDP in 2020 was only $85 trillion. His optimum economic path is to allow four degrees of global warming (Nordhaus, 2018). Thus, Steffan’s claims are easily contested, but the Ministry did nothing.


As stated in the beginning of the post, there is no evidence that anyone has been harmed by human greenhouse gas emissions. There is also no evidence that human greenhouse emissions have or will cause dangerous changes to our climate. I’m not a lawyer, but normally someone must have suffered some harm and must provide evidence that the person or group they are suing caused the harm for a lawsuit to be accepted in court.

Australia’s Bromberg alludes to this principle when he writes about two example cases where preventative injunctions were granted by a judge:

“Neither case involved an apprehended breach of a duty of care and in each case, harm had already been occasioned at the time the injunction was granted.” (Court orders, page 147).

The Judge ruled that the Australian Ministry should take the safety of the children into account when ruling on the coal mine extension project. This is OK, but the troubling thing about the trial was the Ministry did not contest any of the speculative testimony from Professor Steffen. The Ministry probably did not contest them because they wanted to lose, but when that happens this sort of nonsense gets imbedded in the judicial record and can be used again.

In the Dutch case, Shell clearly did not want to lose the lawsuit. So, why say urgent action is needed? Shell is not only obligated to obey the court’s order, but also has a fiduciary obligation to their shareholders, employees, and partners. The court order requires Shell to take money and resources from these latter groups and spend it on reducing GHG emissions. This is not something they can do for long. The result may cause the company to move from The Netherlands to another country and shut down all Dutch facilities.

There has been a dangerous trend in politically correct statements about the dangers of man-made climate change coming from oil and gas companies in recent years. This seems suicidal. Why ignore the facts and not contest perfectly contestable assertions? Everything Professor Steffen and the IPCC have said about the dangers of man-made climate change, even if not demonstrably untrue, are very vulnerable to attack. Every time a company does not contest this nonsense the collective court database grows.

Climate change activists have initiated these 1,850 lawsuits because they are losing the scientific and public debates on man-made climate change. A majority of the global population do not think climate change is a serious threat according to a recent Gallup poll. According to Rasmussen, fewer than a third of Americans agree with President Biden’s assertion that global warming is America’s greatest threat.

They are also losing in legislatures and government executive branches, firm regulations and taxes on carbon inevitably fail to pass. Finally, their “intergovernmental” Paris, Kyoto and Rio de Janeiro UNFCCC agreements have all failed to make a difference (Nordhaus, 2018, pp. 459-461). The IPCC have issued six major IPCC reports, uncounted other reports, and yet the uncertainty in their estimate of the impact of CO2 on climate is still three degrees. Billions of dollars wasted, and we still don’t have a clue as to the impact of CO2 on climate. They need to do the hard scientific work to uncover solid evidence that CO2 matters and stop wasting all our time and money in court.

Science and the Courts

Bergkamp does not believe that scientific debates should be adjudicated, I agree. The courts are not the place to decide which of the various scientific climate change hypotheses are correct. The scientific community will decide when a theory is proposed that is so conclusive and so reproducible that no one questions it. A “consensus” is not enough, in science the acceptance must be universal.

Climate science has become political and the side with the least scientific evidence has dragged the debate into court to force the skeptics to defend themselves, even though they hold the traditional position that nature controls Earth’s climate. Even if the alarmists lose, as Michael Mann did or as Mathew Pawa and colleagues did in their bid to sue Exxon-Mobil, they can damage the defendant’s public reputation and force them to pay significant legal costs.

The suit by Mathew Pawa, Naomi Oreskes, the Union of Concerned Scientists, and Tom Steyer’s NextGen is too complicated to explain here, but the court’s findings of fact can be downloaded as well as ExxonMobil’s submission. A summary of the humiliation of ExxonMobil’s tormentors can be seen here.

The key difference between the ExxonMobil case and the Shell case is that ExxonMobil fought back and won. Scientifically, the climate change alarmist’s case is extraordinarily weak. But, since Shell and the Australian Minister did not challenge them, the weak case becomes stronger and can be cited in future cases. Always fight back, the repercussions can be devastating if you don’t. Witness the Shell-Milieudefensie case discussed above or the U.S. Supreme Court CO2 endangerment decision in 2009.

Bergkamp has written:

“The veil of human rights cannot conceal the climate movement’s agenda to set democracy aside. The rule of law, not of lawyers, must be restored, and the ECtHR [European Court of Human Rights] needs to become an apolitical, law-abiding arbitrator of real human rights disputes, instead of a judge of policy disputes dressed up as human rights issues.” (Bergkamp & Brouwer, 2021)

When courts, and lawyers, step beyond interpreting the law and begin to make it, they enter dangerous territory. Concluding that a fact is a fact because a consensus voted for it is absurd. A consensus of opinions is not a fact, it is a political consensus. A scientific fact is established by an experiment that can be repeated or by making repeated quantitative predictions that come true (Popper, 1962).

*I first read the joke at the top of the post in an interesting article on the Dutch “Urgenda” case where a court ordered the Dutch government to beef up their fight against climate change. The article was by Dr. Lucas Bergkamp, a Dutch lawyer with Hunton and Williams, and Emeritus Professor of Environmental Liability Law at Erasmus University, Rotterdam.

Dr. Bergkamp has been very helpful in preparing this essay. (Bergkamp & Hanekamp, 2015).

Download the bibliography here.

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September 5, 2021 2:15 pm

HA. They should sue themselves for emitting lots of hot air. Or how about suing weather reporters who fake extreme weather conditions for more drama. Of course though, the public is catching on and faking extreme weather is now becoming a poopular art form …

September 5, 2021 2:22 pm

No, leftardism promotes frivolous lawsuits.

September 5, 2021 2:25 pm

If I was the CEO of DutchShell, I would just move all operations completely off shore and operate the company in a far more realistic environment.

M Courtney
Reply to  steve
September 5, 2021 2:58 pm

They may have their HQ in The Hague but they are listed on the FTSE.
They are not a Dutch Company. They are an Anglo-Dutch Company.

Clyde Spencer
Reply to  steve
September 5, 2021 5:13 pm

And they should refuse to sell to the Netherlands until such time as the judge’s decision is overturned. They could legitimately do so by claiming that they are attempting to comply with the judge’s decree, starting with the Dutch.

Reply to  Clyde Spencer
September 5, 2021 11:11 pm

Or else Shell could stop selling fuel and heating oil/gas each day when they have reached 55% of 2019 sales. Ie. a form of rationing which is the logical conclusion of activists demands.
That could upset some motorists and householders, especially in winter.

Peta of Newark
September 5, 2021 2:39 pm

Quote:”Three degrees of error is so large that the models clearly have little predictive value,

It dawned on me recently why, as far as I’ve ever seen. computer model outputs are presented, in the vernacular as : ‘Spaghetti Graphs

The ‘Dawnation‘ was; Zebra, or especially as Zebra occur, in large herds.

As I understand it, it is mutual camouflage, designed to dazzle/blind/confuse The Predator

THAT is what spaghetti graphs are, deliberately dazzling/blinding/confusing and of course, if anyone cannot understand them then they are dumber than a really dumb thing
They are actually a rendition of The Emperor as he might go about flogging Snake Oil.

Metinks we all know that but some proof would be nice,

Beyond my stats skills but, what would be educational would be to pick out the individual strands of spaghetti and analyse them.
I would bet Good Money to say that what you’ll find is a fairly simple rising trend (maybe a straight line or very flat quadratic) with a splattering of random numbers bolted onto it.
Maybe they would have another little trend of their own

anyone up to it…

Last edited 17 days ago by Peta of Newark
Dave Fair
Reply to  Peta of Newark
September 5, 2021 3:48 pm

The average annual temperature assumed in the models varies by 3 C. That is why they use anomalies in the published spaghetti outputs; none of them agree. They are not modeling the same physics. Its as if one modeling group asserted that water freezes at 3 C.

Tim Gorman
Reply to  Peta of Newark
September 5, 2021 4:05 pm

If you look closely at each of the model outputs as shown on the graphs after a few years into the future the model outputs are all linear, i.e. mx+b constructs. They have a constant slope as far as they go out. They show no impact of orbital cycles, ocean cycles, sun output cycles, etc. Nothing. And they purport to predict the future?

Reply to  Tim Gorman
September 6, 2021 2:53 am

And they purport to predict the future?

They can’t. What part of “inherently unpredictable” (i.e. chaotic) do they not understand?

Reply to  Peta of Newark
September 5, 2021 4:14 pm

Zebra stripes appears to have evolved as defense against pattern recognition of the tsetse fly that carries many diseases.

Reply to  Joel O'Bryan
September 6, 2021 6:40 am

Junk pseudo science.
They tested their hypothesis in England !! observing european horsefly, which would have no knowledge or adaptation to the markings of a zebra.

They also threw a “zebra coloured” jacket over the test horses to simulate a zebra, yeah, seriously.

Horsefly target the warmth and humidity of the target, not what colour they appear to the human eye. That is why they did not bite the fake zebra, apart from on the head. Pathetic.

This is so naive and ill-informed it should never have got published. But as we all know science screwed at this stage.

Last edited 16 days ago by Greg
Reply to  Greg
September 6, 2021 6:55 am

In fact,we saw no tabanid probe zebra skin during 5.3 hours total of direct zebra observation as opposed to 239 instances during 11.0 hours of observing horses.

Once in contact with the animal they did not bite. So this has nothing at all to do with stripes. Well done.

David S
September 5, 2021 2:39 pm

In my opinion the coal, oil and gas producers should just shut it all off in the middle of winter. That will stop most transportation, home heating and water heating and about 60% of electricity production in the US. About 1 month of that should convince the American people to jail the warmers and restart the use of all those fuels.

Reply to  David S
September 5, 2021 5:08 pm

Democrat Prosecutors would love to charge oil and gas executives with a thousand counts of negligent homicide. The tort bar would see many many billions of dollars in civil litigation.
When the energy crisis gets serious enough that the pols worry about re-election, as it has in California, the gas -fired electricity generation permits magically start appearing.

Clyde Spencer
Reply to  David S
September 5, 2021 5:15 pm

Start with the Dutch!

AGW is Not Science
Reply to  David S
September 5, 2021 7:05 pm

I think this needs to be done equitably; you should have to show an “indoctrination record” in the form of your voting by parties.

Everyone voting Republican or Libertarian can buy and use all the fossil fuels and electricity they want; everyone voting Democrat or “Green Party” gets cut off. Let the idiots who vote for this mass stupidity bear the consequences!

John Garrett
September 5, 2021 2:44 pm

As a shareholder, I am appalled and disgusted by the failure of the craven managers of BP, Total and Royal Dutch Shell to vigorously oppose the extortionists and promoters of pseudoscience whose sole intent is to destroy their businesses.

The managers of ExxonMobil and Chevron are now dangerously close to following the footsteps of their European counterparts.

Reply to  John Garrett
September 5, 2021 7:18 pm

Total is already Total Energy – not Total Petroleum. These oil companies want to survive so if the pols want them to sell other stuff…whatever it takes….of course they better try to cover all bets.

September 5, 2021 3:04 pm

Judge Mordy Bromberg took one too many stiff-arm tackles to his head in his Australian Rules football playing days.

He is a rusted-on socialist who had previously stood for election as a member of the Australian Labor Party.

He ruled against Toyota being able to negotiate directly with its workforce rather than through the union bosses when the viability of Toyota’s Australian manufacturing operations was at its tipping point.

This was the last straw for Toyota, who then shut up shop in Oz, costing thousands of jobs directly and indirectly.

Mordy Bromberg is the idiot’s useful idiot.

Rud Istvan
September 5, 2021 3:40 pm

Easy Shell answer to the Dutch ruling. Just stop selling them any fossil fuels. Period. Gotta start on that unenforceable except there order somewhere, why not there? Gonna get real cold this winter. Kinda makes the point.

Reply to  Rud Istvan
September 5, 2021 5:38 pm

I would rather live without courts than without cars and electricity.

September 5, 2021 3:46 pm

Everyone is dancing around the truth behind AGW. The truth is we can’t prove AGW and the alarmists are counting on the precautionary principle to make their case and scaremongering for popular support while AGW opponents are counting on the you’ll burn the village to save it defense because their voice of reason, science, is being stifled. Unfortunately the alarmists have media support and the village will have to start burning to gain popular support.

September 5, 2021 4:07 pm

Here in the US, the Biden Administration has weaponized the CDC. At least initially, the courts gave deference to “public health crisis” fiats. For example we saw how it took the Supreme Court to roll back many Liberal judges rubber stamping COVID fiats by the District courts’ allowances on restrictions of church services by various state governors.

This weaponization of one of the Federal Governments’ Public Health arms is an attempt to use a proclaimed “public health crisis” as a justification for an authoritarian Executive Branch fiat, that is to make law where Congress and/or the Constitution has not allowed it.

These fiats are in the form of CDC Public Health Directives and Guidance that then the politcally-aligned social media companies can also employ for censorship of dissent on their platforms.

We saw this Use the CDC and a public health crisis declaration strategy in ample use with COVID-19 pandemic. The CDC recommended states and private businesses enact Mask mandates, vaccine mandates, to recommendations to Governors to shut down churches, schools and businesses. Even unconstitutional taking of property has occurred via the Eviction Moratorium issued by the CDC last year, that then Joe Biden unconstitutionally tried to extend last month. This moratorium by fiat denied the property owners the right to evicts non-paying tenants, simply by declaring a public health emergency that people must stay in their homes or apartment to avoid COVID virus spread.

All of this is, and has been done, mostly by executive fiats. Eviction moratoriums and travel passports (show me your papers) are the things that Progressives authoritarians have wet dreams over. These are the things that the Democrats can’t get through Congress or certainly not a Constitutional Amendment.

Now we see the writing on the wall of where the Biden Admin and Democrats are going with this new found tool – the weaponization of the CDC via public health crisis declarations. This will also allow the Biden Admin to push social media platforms to censorship of posts and comments, just as they did with COVID medical advice from doctors and other experts that contradicted the CDC.

The next two things next in this weaponization of the CDC:

  1. CDC issues studies, studies initiated with politcally-motivated, foregone conclusions about gun ownership and violence related to guns. With a “gun ownership as a Public Health Crisis” declaration from the CDC, Biden and possibly Blue states governors will try to use this to ban their hated ARs and magazines over 10 rounds, seizure of lawfully owned NFA items (silencers, short barreled rifles/shotguns, and automatic weapons) via a public Health mandates and other executive branch fiats.
  2. Climate change will be declared a Public Health Crisis by the CDC. The Biden Admin may attempt to unilaterally impose fossil fuel-related carbon taxes by fiat to help manage the “climate change Public Health Crisis”. Other actions the Biden Admin could attempt forcing utilities across the US adhere to Obama’s failed Clean Power Plan rules to bring about Paris Agreement INDCs. Also keep in mind, the Democrats are desperate to find more tax revenue to spend now that it seems their big tax hikes on the billionaires is going nowhere in Congress. So a carbon tax and executive fiat to unilaterally increase the federal gas tax at the pumps may happen under a public health crisis declaration.

Conclusion: This weaponization of the CDC with declarations of a Public Health Emergencies is going to be pushed as far as the Leftists in charge of the Biden Admin can take it, and the climate scam will certainly be high on that To Do list. This public health strategy approach can then form the basis of censorship and suppression of dissent on social media platforms.

Last edited 17 days ago by joelobryan
Clyde Spencer
Reply to  Joel O'Bryan
September 6, 2021 9:24 am
Len Werner
September 5, 2021 4:22 pm

If it makes no rational sense that Shell didn’t effectively fight their case, maybe the assumption that they wanted to win is wrong. Could it be that analogous to the Australian minister, but for different reasons, they deliberately structured their defense to lose?

Law is not my field outside of some mining law; could anyone with a legal background provide speculation as to what might be the end-game of what is really going on here?

I have often had good insight into the ‘what the heck is going on’ by abandoning my scientist’s logic in evaluating seemingly irrational decisions, but this entire Climate Change progression is a puzzling one.

Perhaps it is just too far a stretch for me to understand why someone would be alarmed about the planet’s warming a bit from current conditions because of my being familiar with all that went into producing the time-temperature graph of ‘Figure 1’ and what it is saying. I admit to being totally baffled that anyone can look at that graph and still say ‘climate on this planet shouldn’t change, and if it is it must be our fault, and it must be stopped’. It is just not scientifically, or in any way humanly, rational–and for so many reasons.

(I must be getting old. So many people are starting to look so stupid.)

Reply to  Len Werner
September 5, 2021 5:05 pm

Multiple recent court cases were fought on procedural grounds where the defendants twisted aggressively to avoid proving the plaintiffs wrong.

  • a) Talcum powder is equivalent to asbestos and causes cancer.
  • b) Herbicide dlycophosphate (Roundup) causes cancer.

Now add to that the Shell case in Dutch courts.

All of these cases could have been won if the defendants forced the plaintiffs to prove their claims.

Clyde Spencer
Reply to  Len Werner
September 5, 2021 5:20 pm

Maybe your 2nd assessment is correct.

Len Werner
Reply to  Clyde Spencer
September 5, 2021 6:24 pm

Well Clyde–then as Dave Middleton often alludes to with an image–none of us can fix that. But it still baffles me looking at Figure 1, what anyone thinks is the precedent that the time-temperature curve would/should now flat-line at 15C just because humans that like it that way are here.

As far as what life likes–when the average temperature was 20-25C the dominant life forms weighed 20 tons, not the 20 stone of today; thick coal beds were forming. There’s just got to be a message in that–for anyone rational.

To follow on what Theo said above–now there is a subject in which I have some expertise having lived in an asbestos mining town for several years in the early 70’s. Chrysotile is nothing more than a polymorph of Serpentine. Serpentine has been carved–generating dust–for thousands of years, breathed in by carvers for those thousand of years–with no related claims of cancer. How can one polymorph of a magnesium aluminosylicate be carcinogenic and another one not?

A small size range of chrysotile fibers can enter lungs and impale on alveolar surfaces, but the body encases them in protein (because they’re a vibrating physical irritant) and nothing happens for some 15 years until the serpentine polymorph breaks down; then mesothelioma can start in some people. The indication to me is that the chrysotile fiber may provide the site for an infectious agent, to which the patient is vulnerable, to begin the cancerous growth, but that something else is actually causing the cancer. All research has been focussed on demonizing the chrysotile and what is the actual cancerous agent (a virus?) may well have been missed.

Talc, and vermiculite, were demonized I suspect simply to generate a piggy-back fame for those who demonized them, and just because they were minerals, especially with talc related to ultramafics, like asbestos. That the claims in lawsuits were not effectively fought as you state seems to support my suspicions that they also never were the problem they were presented as being.

My experience comes from having an office for several years right beside the dryer exhaust at the Cassiar concentrator, which put out 6 tons of asbestos dust an hour, 24 hours a day. I still pass, 50 years later, medicals for Class 1 and pilot’s licenses every year. If asbestos was so dangerous–why am I still so healthy?

And BTW, I had plenty of talc dusted on my butt as an infant in the late 40’s too–and by my mother who lived to 92. Neither it nor chrysotile bothered me any, and of course I still have a nice sample of asbestos fibre on my rock-display shelf; been on display in my house ever since I collected it in the Cassiar pit. If it’s killing me–it’s sure taking its time.

Clyde Spencer
Reply to  Len Werner
September 5, 2021 8:25 pm

Back in the ’70s, when I was teaching, I was active with the Bay Area Mineralogists in California. We had a guest speaker from the US Geological Survey in Menlo Park. He remarked that because his PhD was in mineralogy, not medicine, he could not get published in medical journals. However, the MDs who were getting published in medical journals didn’t know the difference in chemistry or crystal systems of the various mineral species known by their collective industry name of “asbestos.”

Trying to summarize an hour-long talk (From 45 years ago!) he basically said that not all asbestiform minerals were of equal risk for causing lung cancer. He said that the inhabitants of the mining town Thetford (Quebec?) experienced so much dust from the mining and milling of chrysotile, that women had to shake it off before bringing clothes into the house after drying outside on lines. Yet, the rates of mesothelioma were not any higher than elsewhere in North America.

On the other hand, people living in a town in Australia, where crocidolite was mined during WWII for use in gas masks, 90% of the people living there for as little as 6 months came down with mesothelioma. Similarly, the women assembling gas masks and handling the woven-crocidolite filters, experienced high rates of mesothelioma.

Anecdotally, I have casually handled and played with chrysotile since before I was a teenager, and I have experienced no lung problems.

Len Werner
Reply to  Clyde Spencer
September 6, 2021 7:02 am

Yes, I remember having coffee in the Cassiar geology office while we discussed our bafflement at how there seemed to be no medical distinction between blue and green ‘asbestos’ despite them being different mineral species; it was the start of my philosophy that ‘the world runs on bullsh!t and lies’. Man, has that understanding served me well over the years.

Incidentally Thetford’s high-grade fibre was shorter than Cassiar’s cut-off grade; we used to gloat about that.

And if you have an interest–if you ever see jade with bright green flecks of uvarovite garnet in it–it most likely came from the Cassiar pit in the 70’s. As I was a farm-grown mechanically-inclined junior geologist at the time that the first boulders came down from the pit I was asked if I could learn to run the department’s Packsack diamond drill; I drilled the first core samples that were sent to China for appraisal. It actually started a small sub-industry for the mine, and as I recall the company contributed the funds from jade sales to community service accounts in the town.

Laws of Nature
September 5, 2021 4:31 pm

One thing to consider when discussing climate models is Ollila´s observations about IPCC carbon model using very incorrect time constants (and they are very different between various IPCC reports, settled science does not look like that)

“According to IPCC, the oceans can absorb about 55 % of the yearly CO2 emissions in the present climate but as soon as the fossil fuel emission rate starts to decrease, the ocean can not do it anymore! “

AGW is Not Science
Reply to  Laws of Nature
September 5, 2021 7:14 pm

Yes, but that is attacking but a small piece of the nonsense.

There isn’t a scrap of empirical evidence that atmospheric CO2 levels “drive” a damn thing, and there is plenty of empirical evidence to indicate that atmospheric CO2 levels drive absolutely nothing.

Richard Patton
September 5, 2021 4:39 pm

Figure 1 should be all that is needed to convince friends and neighbors that global warming is a scam. We are WAY below the mean of geologic history. 2deg C is the difference in temperature between my front yard and my back yard!

Clyde Spencer
September 5, 2021 5:10 pm

2. The plaintiffs allege that the relationship between increased human emissions of CO2 and increased temperatures is linear.

I’m not a lawyer; however, it seems eminently obvious to me that when a plaintiff makes a claim such as above, particularly since it is commonly accepted that there is a logarithmic relationship between temperature and CO2 concentrations, the plaintiff(s) should have an obligation to prove their claim beyond a reasonable doubt. If that is not the case, then the world might well resurrect the tribulations of Galileo simply by some some plaintiff claiming the the sun revolves around the world. What has happened to rationality?

September 5, 2021 5:13 pm

These plaintiffs allege Shell is obligated to “contribute to the prevention of dangerous climate change through [its] corporate policy”

Well they surely would be the ones in a position to do so if it wasn’t for CO2’s effect being so minuscule, at these atmospheric levels, to the point of being indistinguishable from zero. It would be great if humanity could stave off the inevitable plunge back into the abyss of the ice age proper.

….. hold on a sec, sorry, we’re talking bogus dangerous climate change, aren’t we? Oh well.

September 5, 2021 5:58 pm

… the models clearly have little predictive value …

Many people have observed that climate models are incompetent. In the 2021 Geschke Lecture, George Friedman weighs in on the subject at 58:24.

Friedman is a prominent foreign affairs analyst. He was asked weight he gave to climate change when evaluating the next technological challenge.

I don’t know. Climate change has become a religion.

I started my career as a military modeler. I modeled wars … mathematical modeling. I know a little bit about it but I don’t know enough about climate. There are so many variables in climate. Just the process of saying what is the world’s temperature … how do you take the world’s temperature? How do you track all those variables?

I’m not saying at all that climate change is not ??? or catastrophic. I’m just saying I don’t know, because when I look at the models that are presented, they don’t use a math that would be recognized in many cases. So, there are a lot of people out there on both sides that are charlatans. And the problem is that this is a very complicated issue and I’m always reminded of the population boom, because when I was in the 60s we were told we were going to run out of food by 1970 by the Club of Rome which was at that time like the Brookings Institute. So, it didn’t happen. It didn’t happen because they didn’t take into account a bunch of variables, such as people having fewer kids in urban society. So, birth rates had to decline. So it didn’t happen.

Here we have the question, could that have happened? Yes, but there were variables that no one knew of that intervened and changed it. Could those variables be there? Yes. There could also be variables that make it so much worse that I can’t go outside. I don’t know is the answer. And frankly I don’t trust anybody who says he does. But that’s because I’m cranky and old.

That pretty much sums it up. It should be nearly impossible for honest (competent) people to be certain about Catastrophic Anthropogenic Climate Change.

September 5, 2021 6:48 pm

Good news on the Sharma et al v.The Minister for the Environment ruling by Justice Mordecai Bromberg.
The Minister,Susan Ley has appealed the decision and an early hearing is anticipated.
The Sydney Morning Herald, that green-tinged journal, is outraged at the Minister’s appeal.
To quote Greta,”How dare she!”
The Minister is at short odds to win,even if a further appeal to the High Court is needed.
She will have heavy legal firepower behind her and Federal Government funding.

September 5, 2021 11:28 pm

No one can tell us how much greenhouse gases affect the climate with adequate precision.

Time then to employ an alternative analysis.
This work is by Ned Nikolov:
Demystifying the Atmospheric Greenhouse Effect: Toward a New Physical Paradigm in Climate Science

Last edited 17 days ago by Philip Mulholland
Iain Reid
September 5, 2021 11:52 pm

I’m sure my view would be deemed naive by legal experts but surely the onus is on the plaintiff to prove beyond all reasonable doubt that man made CO2 is the reason for current and future climate change. That, I think, is impossible so their case(s) should fail?

Eric Vieira
September 6, 2021 12:23 am

Why doesn’t Royal Dutch Schell decide to leave the Netherlands ? They could just transfer their headquarters elsewhere. I’m sure many countries would greet them with open arms.

September 6, 2021 6:28 am

Shell’s statement that “urgent action is needed” to reduce carbon emissions was not helpful.

Dumb-assed defense. Start by admitting you agree with the plaintiff.

“urgent action is needed”. Yes move you business HQ to a jurisdiction which is not going to tell you to go out of business.

IIRC, there was talk of London.

September 6, 2021 7:16 am

OMG, only 1 billion years to solve Al Gore’s Warming before the sun does it for us. It’ll be 10% brighter and we’re still al going to die:
Hope some morning humor helps.

September 6, 2021 9:01 am

From post:” …no evidence exists that human greenhouse emissions cause harm,…”.

There is no evidence that human greenhouse emissions cause warming either let alone harm.

michael hart
September 6, 2021 12:45 pm

appeasement” was the word used after the late 1930’s.

Unfortunately, supine business leaders seem to be as frequent as supine politicians these days when it comes to facing down the green-shirts.

Clyde Spencer
Reply to  michael hart
September 6, 2021 6:12 pm

The reason we applaud heroes is because they are so rare. Have you seen the movie starring Jet Li, called Hero? It exemplifies the character of a true hero, versus someone who is an inadvertent victim trying to do the right thing.

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