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The Good News On Climate

February 23, 2021

By Paul Homewood



As I watch the snow blow past my window, it’s hard not to scoff at the idea of a ‘climate emergency’. However, I’m probably in a minority. The idea that we are currently experiencing a dangerous deterioration in our weather has been pushed so hard, and for so long, that the man in the Clapham Uber is now thoroughly convinced.

Those of us who have the time and inclination to look at the evidence for such claims, on the other hand, realise that they are largely overblown. The Global Warming Policy Foundation, where I work, has just published a review of the impacts of climate change and it’s a valuable antidote to the relentless alarmism pushed by some academics. The paper is written by Indur Goklany, an American whose involvement in the climate field goes back 30 years when he was involved in the first United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) review of the world’s climate. So he knows what he is talking about, and the story he tells is one of almost unmitigated good news. There is a great deal of evidence that mankind is able to take the effects of climate change in its stride.

Take extreme weather for example. For 30 years, everyone from the Met Office to Al Gore has been telling us that global warming is going to make things much worse. But as Goklany shows, it just hasn’t happened; three decades of shirt-tearing, tears and wailing on the subject have changed things barely at all. In most areas, this should mostly be uncontroversial: the IPCC said in 2013 that it has ‘low confidence’ that droughts and hurricanes have become worse globally, and the best it can say of extreme rainfall is that it thinks there have been more areas with increases than decreases. On heatwaves it goes further, saying that it has ‘medium confidence’ of a global increase. But while we shouldn’t shy away from discussions over how to tackle these issues, it is not the impending catastrophe that some might make it out to be.

Goklany’s report isn’t just about refuting the bald claim that extreme weather has become worse across the board. It also deals with the broader suggestion that worsening weather will adversely affect human welfare. As he shows, mortality from extreme weather events is almost a thing of the past, having fallen by 99 per cent over the last century. Similarly, mankind now seems much better equipped to deal with the impact of weather and climate. Once you have adjusted for rising population and growing wealth, records of weather damage show, if anything, a long-term decline too.

When you look at the broader impacts of climate change, it’s the same story. Take sea-level rise, for example. While it’s possible to argue about how fast it’s happening, and the relative merits of satellites and tide gauges for measuring the rate, Goklany points to a recent study that showed that siltation and reclamation are giving us new land around our coasts faster than any sea-level rise is removing it. In other words, we are taking sea-level rise in our stride — perhaps unsurprising since we have been building sea defences for the last 7,000 years. Similarly, a few years back, we were regularly assailed by stories of the disappearance of coral atolls, but the excitement seems to have died away, no doubt prompted by a series of studies showing that most atolls are actually stable or getting bigger. Amusingly, just as global warming was previously said to cause the atolls to disappear, it is now said to be the cause of their growth. Whatever the truth, it’s surely hard for any reasonable person to portray growing atolls as an emergency.

And on it goes. Rates of death from climate-related disease — another favourite of the doom-mongers — haven’t just got better, they have collapsed, with astonishing falls in almost every category over the last 30 years. As an example, the death tolls from malaria and diarrhoea have both fallen by around a half. Of course, this is not a function of climate change; it’s all down to better medical care and the deployment of simple preventative measures such as insecticide-treated mosquito nets. The conclusion is hard to avoid: climate-related disease can be addressed with a little money and even less fuss. Like sea-level rise, it’s simply not an emergency.

Global warming doesn’t seem to have damaged crops either. The food supply continues to grow, with fossil-fuel-derived fertilisers and the beneficial effects of higher carbon dioxide levels delivering new record yields across the globe almost every year. This is not to say that it hasn’t got warmer, but simply that any deleterious effects have been swamped by the benefits of carbon dioxide and by the technological advances that mankind has deployed.

Fertilisers — both manmade and natural — have also had the beneficial side effect of reducing pressure on the natural world. Since the 1960s, the global population has more than doubled, but the area devoted to farmland has increased by only 8 per cent. Indeed, if it were not for environmentalists persuading governments that biofuels were a good idea, we might have seen countless thousands of hectares returned to nature already.

Of course, Dr Goklany’s pointing this out will make not the slightest difference to the scientists, whose livelihoods depend on keeping politicians firm in a belief that the world is about to end. It’s easy enough for them to come up with new measures that seem to be getting worse. ‘Rising crop yields? Pah, take a look at the fall in crop yield potential!’ they say. ‘Millions no longer dying from malaria? But look at the… erm… couple of thousand dying from dengue fever!’.

Or they can predict that things will get worse — or more often, much worse — in the future. Soils will degrade they say, new diseases will arise, and of course extreme weather will get worse too. They say we should play it safe, therefore, altering the world’s economies and industrial practices to alleviate carbon emissions, just in case they are a threat to global climate stability. But as we career headlong into our net-zero emissions future, there is every sign that the costs of what is proposed will not only reverse many of the gains we have made in the last half-century but make things far worse than if we simply adopted a policy of adapting to what the climate throws at us. As Goklany shows, we are good at adaptation; we have been at it for a long time.

And with the government stubbornly refusing to release an array of financial figures supporting their decarbonisation plans, there is a strong suggestion that they know the course they have started us down is unsupportable on any rational grounds. Their plans to ‘build back better’ are therefore likely to be a hammer blow to an economy that is already reeling from the pandemic. So if in a few year’s time you find you are worrying about paying the heating bill, or you can’t sell your house because you can’t afford the government-mandated insulation measures, you might like to cast your eye back over Dr Goklany’s paper and wonder why we set out on the course we did.

There is also a very succinct video on the Goklany report, which I recommend sharing on Facebook etc:

  1. Peter Yarnall permalink
    February 23, 2021 11:04 am

    Perhaps we could send a copy to Boris Johnson and his undercover ANTIFA operative fiancee.

  2. JimW permalink
    February 23, 2021 11:09 am

    There is something rather sick at the core of human behaviour. There is an embracing of bad news, bad ideas, bad predictions. The worse the more they are embraced. The rise and rise of computer generated ‘reality’ feeds directly into this paranoia. The ‘worst case’ is embraced as the only scenario worth attention.
    I fear as a species we are doomed.

    • Broadlands permalink
      February 23, 2021 2:00 pm

      “The whole aim of practical politics is to keep the populace alarmed (and hence clamorous to be led to safety) by menacing it with an endless series of hobgoblins, all of them imaginary.”

      HL Mencken.

    • NeilC permalink
      February 23, 2021 2:29 pm

      I was about to post something similar. Why, I ask myself are computer modelers always wrong by large margins. AGW models temperatures are far above reality. Covid-19 models even worse.

      It must be more than simple error or it wouldn’t happen that often (102 climate models), two forecasts for Covid-19 first outbreak 3 times reality, second outbreak most likely 2 times overstated, Incompetence, yes but why?.

      Is there another agenda the government have? Ferguson is a good example. He grossly overestimated death rates and that is why we had the first lockdown. So why do the government listen to him now? Climate models have been wrong for years, why are the government taking notice, to invoke net zero carbon?

      • Gerry, England permalink
        February 23, 2021 9:40 pm

        Ferguson was also responsible for the needless slaughter of millions of livestock back in 2001 when foot & mouth hit.

  3. Ian Miller permalink
    February 23, 2021 11:20 am

    We are probably being run by woke University academics who are no doubt gratuitously funded by and receive their instructions from the Chinese Communist Party.

  4. 1saveenergy permalink
    February 23, 2021 11:28 am

    What a dreadful video (full of dread),
    If you watch it with the sound off …
    it shows the world is indeed suffering a global catastrophe
    even with the sound on the lasting impression is that ‘Gritter’ could be right.

    That video should be pulled as it sells CAGW better than Al Gore does.

    • Ben Vorlich permalink
      February 23, 2021 12:18 pm

      I assume that you are more convinced by a passion from politicians and teenagers than by calmly presented facts. If you are a typical member of modern western societyhow do you suggest presenting non-threatening data with equal emotion and passion?

      • 1saveenergy permalink
        February 23, 2021 1:26 pm

        “I assume that you are more convinced by a passion from politicians and teenagers than by calmly presented facts.”

        Ben, That’s the problem with assuming.

        The visual impact of the video is greater than the spoken word , factual graphs of floods falling overlay’d on a picture of flood leaves a subliminal impression of flooding.

        Suggestion –
        Show a claim then overlay a BIG red X & then show reality & appropriate graph,
        then move to each claim in turn & do the same.

        Most people have short attention spans, they need your message in the first 15secs.

      • Ben Vorlich permalink
        February 23, 2021 2:51 pm

        As it happens I think that for the majority of people passion and emotion trumps facts and figures as most people can’t conceptualise what a big number means. I think most people who comment here work on facts and figures, so if my assumption that you don’t was incorrect then I appologise.

        I tend to agree with you that having watched the repeats of alarmist emotion then the majority will switch off when the facts begin. I don’t think enough people understand graphs, only pictures or movies do the trick. But what pictures convey well being, health and prosperity?

  5. MrGrimNasty permalink
    February 23, 2021 12:37 pm

    I’ve spent years trying to re-find the link to the climate change propaganda strategy expose that described shifting the narrative from invisible (and at the time the lost argument of dangerous) climate change to “your actions are responsible for poisoning/killing your neighbours’ children”.

    Well this has cropped up on WUWT and it is clearly part of, or the origin of, the same plan.

    “However, if we shift from making this about polar ice caps and about our neighbor with respiratory illness, we can potentially bring this issue home to many Americans.”

    Click to access march-09-epa-strategy-memo-to-lpj.pdf

    This is what gave rise to the explosion in published ‘science’ papers and all the coverage in the media about (patently grossly exaggerated) claims of deaths from air pollution, and the infiltration and co-opting of medical institutions and publications who all started spouting the same climate health rubbish.

    It is very important to remember that the climate campaign is very sophisticated and very well planned and coordinated by the most powerful elites in the world.

    • Penda100 permalink
      February 23, 2021 1:07 pm

      EPA = Environmental Propaganda Agency

    • dennisambler permalink
      February 23, 2021 6:05 pm

      Richard Windsor was of course a “nom de plume” private e-mail address for EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson. It is interesting that she spoke about herself in the third person in this “Richard Windsor” communication. You can find out a lot more about the good lady here:

      “Lisa P Jackson, EPA Administrator – Fulfilling the UN Mission”

      Click to access epa_un_mission.pdf

      “Environmental justice is one of my top priorities for my time at the EPA, and it is something we are working to include in each and every initiative and decision the agency makes.”

      It does go back further than Lisa Jackson, back to the Clinton White House and Al Gore, still a major force in the agenda.

      “Vice President Gore got his former staffer Carol Browner appointed head of the EPA…The administration touted environmental justice as one of the symbols of its new approach. In 1994, Clinton issued an executive order, directing that every federal agency make environmental justice part of its mission.”

  6. February 23, 2021 1:41 pm

    Good news…or… ‘Climate change a grave security threat’ – Boris Johnson
    Published 15 hours ago

    Who writes these rubbish speeches? 🥱

    • It doesn't add up... permalink
      February 23, 2021 2:12 pm

      Someone who admires his crocus of hope?

    • MrGrimNasty permalink
      February 23, 2021 3:25 pm

      And Harrabin’s comment takes another swipe at the coking coal mine he doesn’t like!

    • Mack permalink
      February 23, 2021 5:34 pm

      I think it should have read, ‘climate change ACTION is a grave security threat’. I think the Russkis and Chinese generals fell about laughing their socks off when they read that our own general staff were looking into electrifying our armour whilst the Secretary General of NATO thought solar panels might do the trick. Jesus wept.

      • Jongo permalink
        February 24, 2021 2:02 am

        ..and Mary cried!

    • George Lawson permalink
      February 24, 2021 10:08 am

      I’m sure most of it must be put together by Johnson’s deputy Carrie Symonds as we rarely heard him talk so much about the global warming fraud before he was persuaded by the fanatical and fast talking Carrie to become his live-in partner. She must feel that her success in having achieved the means for direct contact with her boss way over that of any other government official is the stuff of PR dreams. In this respect she has become an unofficial but a very dangerous influence on government.

  7. ianprsy permalink
    February 23, 2021 1:42 pm

    Spot the irony – a story in The Spectator by James Max:

    I’ve left a suitable comment.

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