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Why No Honest Person Need Fear Global Warming

In this morning’s Wall Street Journal, an immensely important piece of reporting by author Matt Ridley.  Excerpts:

We can now estimate, based on observations, how sensitive the temperature is to carbon dioxide. We do not need to rely heavily on unproven models. Comparing the trend in global temperature over the past 100-150 years with the change in “radiative forcing” (heating or cooling power) from carbon dioxide, aerosols and other sources, minus ocean heat uptake, can now give a good estimate of climate sensitivity.

The conclusion—taking the best observational estimates of the change in decadal-average global temperature between 1871-80 and 2002-11, and of the corresponding changes in forcing and ocean heat uptake—is this: A doubling of CO2 will lead to a warming of 1.6°-1.7°C (2.9°-3.1°F)….

A cumulative change of less than 2°C by the end of this century will do no net harm. It will actually do net good—that much the IPCC scientists have already agreed upon in the last IPCC report. Rainfall will increase slightly, growing seasons will lengthen, Greenland’s ice cap will melt only very slowly, and so on….

The scientists at the IPCC next year have to choose whether they will admit—contrary to what complex, unverifiable computer models indicate—that the observational evidence now points toward lukewarm temperature change with no net harm. On behalf of all those poor people whose lives are being ruined by high food and energy prices caused by the diversion of corn to biofuel and the subsidizing of renewable energy driven by carboncrats and their crony-capitalist friends, one can only hope the scientists will do so.

As the late Jeanne Kirkpatrick used to say, we must learn to face the truth–no matter how good it may be.

  1. Barkha Herman

    I’ll worry about the oceans rising after Al Gore sells his beach front property….

    Oh but wait, perhaps there is no global warming because Obama fixed it.

  2. The Mugwump
    DrewInWisconsin: “Climate Justice” is a thing, now?

    WHO SPEAKS FOR GAIA!!!???· 4 minutes ago

    And the right is accused of insinuating religion into politics even as the left embraces neo-paganism. 

  3. Joseph Stanko
    yggdrasil: 

    Still, the opinion of the majority of climate scientists is hard to ignore and I feel like I must be missing something.

    The majority of climate scientists are correct.  Man-made carbon emissions are causing “climate change” i.e. making the average global temperature a few degrees higher than it would have been otherwise.

    When the media or politicians insist “the science is settled,” if you dig into the details they are usually referring to this narrow fact: carbon emissions cause a greenhouse effect and (if you ignore all other climate inputs) this will tend to increase global temperature slightly.

    It’s the media and the environmentalists (or is that redundant?) who have planted this notion that somehow a few degrees of warming would cause the polar ice caps to melt, droughts, super storms, polar bear extinctions, the zombie apocalypse, and so on.  That’s the part they don’t really want to talk about, they just say “the majority of scientists agree that carbon emissions will cause global warming and OMG WE BETTER DO SOMETHING ABOUT IT IMMEDIATELY OR WERE ALL GOING TO DIE!!!” 

  4. liberal jim

    I believe your boy Bush used national security as the main justification for his ethanol farce.   Big government types will use anything to justify more government.  If the kinder, gentler, compassionate-conservatives and socialists abandon climate change it simply means they are moving on to another pseudo-justification for yet more government.  

  5. Tom Davis
    The whole global warming crap brings to mind Richard Feynman.  C. 1964 Feynman gave a lecture.  Part of what he said was: “In general we look for a new law by the following process. First we guess it. Then we compute the consequences of the guess to see what would be implied if this law that we guessed is right. Then we compare the result of the computation to nature, with experiment or experience, compare it directly with observation, to see if it works. If it disagrees with experiment it is wrong. In that simple statement is the key to science. It does not make any difference how beautiful your guess is. It does not make any difference how smart you are, who made the guess, or what his name is – if it disagrees with experiment it is wrong. That is all there is to it.” The man made carbon dioxide crowd started right, they guessed it.  They half-assed the second step, they calculated what the results of their guess would be.  After that they did nothing and broadcasted their guess and their guess at the results of their guess as if they had actually examined data. 
  6. Bartholomew Xerxes Ogilvie, Jr.

    I’m really tired of the whole “us-versus-the-Earth” concept. Humans and their creations are just as “natural” as birds and their nests.

    We’re not the first species to have an effect on the environment — far from it. Billions of years ago, single-celled creatures started excreting, in massive quantities, a highly corrosive gas that radically changed the atmosphere of the planet. It’s called oxygen. Was that morally wrong?

    That’s why I reject any argument that starts with the premise that any anthropogenic climate change is in some way evil or wrong. As the WSJ article points out, it might even turn out to be a good thing.

  7. DrewInWisconsin
    CoveredUp: Why should I believe the bearer of good news about global warming than the bearer of bad news?

    The bearer of bad news wants to confiscate your lightbulbs, take away your internal combustion engines, tax you according to some carbon tax schemes, and increase the costs of pretty much everything in a ritual sacrifice to Mother Gaia in the hopes that she won’t kill us all with tornadoes and earthquakes.

    The bearer of good news doesn’t want anything from you, but wants to give you freedom.

  8. DrewInWisconsin

    I like to ask the True Believers what temperature the earth is supposed to be.

  9. MaggiMc

    Peter, the yearning for a moral crisis/drama in which the “global-warming=doom” crowd can play the saviors of mankind can’t be satisfied by accepting this inconvenient evidence. It can only be satisfied by transferring that yearning to a new, emerging crisis. (I know I’m channeling Dr. Sowell here.) So, my challenge to the group is to lay your bets on what the next crisis is. All the bright minds here–time to pony up.

  10. Despair Troll

    Why should I believe the bearer of good news about global warming than the bearer of bad news?

  11. FloppyDisk90
    DrewInWisconsin: I like to ask the True Believers what temperature the earth is supposed to be. · 3 hours ago

    How ’bout this:

    Within a range capable of sustaining maximum human life at the minimum cost.

  12. DrewInWisconsin

    Obligatory: Rar! Rar! Matt Ridley is in the pay of big oil! Rar! Rar!

    Carry on . . .   ; )

  13. Yggdrasil

    I have been following the climate skeptic community for some time. I find the arguments against global warming compelling. Having a technical background, I have read through some the IPCC reports and have not been convinced ( to say the least). Generally, most advocates can’t answer even basic questions scrutinizing their beliefs. 

    Still, the opinion of the majority of climate scientists is hard to ignore and I feel like I must be missing something. Has anyone here ever had a chance to sit down with a true believer who was credentialed or could explain their position in convincing terms? What did you think?

  14. The Mugwump

    Scientific evidence does not alleviate the need for “climate justice.”  And, yes, it’s a real term in the lexicon of the left.  So how is it we on the right are accused of being unscientific?  The mind boggles.    

  15. DrewInWisconsin

    “Climate Justice” is a thing, now?

    WHO SPEAKS FOR GAIA!!!???

  16. Scott R

    Even the last IPCC report anticipated a sea-level rise over the next century of a mere 8-18 inches (in its most likely scenario), a rise comparable to the rise we experienced over the previous 150 years — during which time mankind improved its quality of life in every measurable way (see Bjorn Lombourg’s Cool It).

    I once confronted a doom-mongering science teacher of one of my kids with this point in an email exchange. He had no coherent response, other than the typical defensiveness and frustration that follows evidence that all will be well. 

  17. Despair Troll
    DrewInWisconsin

    CoveredUp: Why should I believe the bearer of good news about global warming than the bearer of bad news?

    The bearer of bad news wants to confiscate your lightbulbs, take away your internal combustion engines, tax you according to some carbon tax schemes, and increase the costs of pretty much everything in a ritual sacrifice to Mother Gaia in the hopes that she won’t kill us all with tornadoes and earthquakes.

    The bearer of good news doesn’t want anything from you, but wants to give you freedom. · 4 hours ago

    So we should assign correctness in science based on out of pocket costs of the result?

    When a doctor tells you something is wrong and will need expensive treatment, where another doctor says you’re fine, what do you do?  Forgo treatment because you think the first doctor is out to get you?

    Something doesn’t seem right about this way of thinking.

  18. DrewInWisconsin
    CoveredUp

    So we should assign correctness in science based on out of pocket costs of the result?

    When a doctor tells you something is wrong and will need expensive treatment, where another doctor says you’re fine, what do you do?  Forgo treatment because you think the first doctor is out to get you?

    When I know that the doctor suggesting the expensive treatment (i.e., the global warmist) is a quack, then yes.

  19. Yggdrasil
    Joseph Stanko

    When the media or politicians insist “the science is settled,” if you dig into the details they are usually referring to this narrow fact: carbon emissions cause a greenhouse effect and (if you ignore all other climate inputs) this will tend to increase global temperature slightly.

    Yes, this is more or less the conclusion that I came to.

    What I meant to say is: how can so many well-meaning people be so resistant to only a slightly subtle argument? One of my friends is currently teaching at Columbia and has been brought onto NPR and NOVA as an “expert” on climate change. I mentioned the argument to him and he really didn’t have anything to add or detract. Still he continues to make recommendations that sound, to me, like massive over-reactions to a what amounts to manageable problem. 

    It may be just cultural, but I feel like we are really missing something when we communicate with academics in this debate. There is no way that so many thoughtful scientists could be missing this incredibly obvious point. It must have something to do with how we are posing the argument.