Maybe It Will Now Finally Get Warmer?

While ironically, people in Europe are freezing their behinds off in an unusually cold March, the anthropogenic global warming lobby has been conspicuous by becoming ever more shrill of late. This seems to have been brought on by a number of recent developments, such as 'Climategate' and more recently the admission by the Met Office that the planet has failed to get warmer for 15 years running and that it now expects that to continue for at least another 5 years. It is difficult to keep the scare story going when mother nature so obviously fails to cooperate.

Here is by the way a simple test that everyone can perform to see whether anthropogenic global warming is or isn't a promotion: check how many mentions there are in the media about Arctic ice loss compared to mentions about the fact that in Antarctica, the ice is piling up in never before seen record amounts and apparently keeps growing at an astonishing pace.

One would think the second fact to be just as newsworthy as the first one – and yet, it is mentioned only one time for every three mentions of 'Arctic ice loss' in the media (measured by Google results  – and a good portion of those mentions are various attempts to downplay the fact). In short, a big promotion is underway, which should immediately prompt the age old question: cui bono?


We can right away think of one group: climate scientists and climate 'activists' themselves. We certainly have nothing against climate scientists, but they are humans just like the rest of us. Before the idea that global warming represents a problem was first heavily promoted by Margaret Thatcher's government as part of her propaganda battle against the coal miner unions led by Arthur Scargill in the early 1980s, climate science was an exceedingly tiny part of the scientific establishment. It was actually mainly known in the 1970s for worrying about a coming ice age. 'Imminent catastrophic global cooling' was the scientific consensus of this small group at the time. Most people blew this off as yet another among the thousands of things we were supposed to worry about at the time (the old standbys 'overpopulation' and 'we're running out of natural resources any second now' were also very popular at the time).

What a difference a few decades make! Today professional worrying about a 'changing climate' has become a huge industry that gobbles up an estimated $60 billion in funds extracted from tax payers globally every year. And that is certainly not counting the huge economic costs imposed by more and more regulations. What used to be a backwater of scientific endeavor has become big business for those at the receiving end of all the grants and the steady stream of invitations to shrimp-fests all over the world.

It is therefore not surprising that their tone is getting shriller even as the evidence threatens to slip-slide away (as a recent example for this, see the re-invention of the Mann 'hockey stick' graph, in a new and improved version that could be called 'extra hysterical'. It is also beginning to raise a lot of questions).

As we have pointed out previously, it is of course quite true that even a 15 to 20 year period is not necessarily proving anything about the future climate one way or the other. However, paleo-climatology has advanced far enough to make clear that there is one constant that can be observed over hundreds of thousands of years: the planet's climate keeps changing. With or without human activity, it has been both much warmer and much colder in the past than today. There has been both less and far more CO2 in the atmosphere than today. It all happened without a single car engine burning gasoline. That's just how it is.

Regardless of whether 15 years of flat temperatures in the middle of the biggest warming promotion of all time are actually of scientific importance to the case, when tax payers are asked to fork over such huge sums and to acquiesce to demands for much more – both in terms of taxes and regulations – they may well begin to insist on something more than scary graphics. One or two of the forecasts that have been so heavily promoted over the years coming true would be a good beginning. As noted above, it is all fine and dandy, but where the hell is the promised warmth? One can always hope of course.


The Bright Side of Austerity

As it turns out, economic downturns and austerity do have their advantages. One is that art becomes more interesting – typically when times get tough, artists seem to become more inspired. Horror-buffs meanwhile can look forward to more horror movies being made. However, downturns are clearly inimical to large scale projects that require the collaboration of otherwise quite disparate groups and nations. The euro is a recent victim of this phenomenon (not surprisingly, it was ushered in almost right at the top of the biggest stock market mania of all time). Another victim seem to be various attempts to 'save the planet', hence the title of this post – the climate is liable to keep changing with a little less tax payer money thrown at it.

A recent example of this development is found in Germany, where 'Der Spiegel' (a magazine that has a separate permanent section entitled  Global Warming: Curbing Carbon Before It's Too Late ) is lamenting that government subsidies for 'green' energy suddenly appear to be running low:

“As prices for carbon emissions continue to languish, Berlin is planning to cancel some key subsidy programs aimed at increasing reliance on renewable energies. Germany and other European countries seem uninterested in fixing the problem.

That the German government is facing a massive budget shortfall for projects aimed at transforming the country into a model of alternative energy and environmental friendliness is hardly new. The European cap-and-trade system has for months been sliding into inconsequence as prices for CO2 emissions have stubbornly remained below €5 ($6.47) per ton. The revenues Berlin earns on the mandatory emissions certificates have suffered as a result.

In response, SPIEGEL has learned, the Environment Ministry is set to cancel several flagship subsidy programs this month — programs that were to be key elements of Germany's transition away from fossil fuels and towards complete reliance on renewables.

By the end of the month, Environment Minister Peter Altmaier, a member of Chancellor Angela Merkel's conservative Christian Democrats, is set to cut the program aimed at promoting electric cars, a fund for research and development of energy storage technologies and a third program focused on protecting and expanding forestland in Germany as a way to absorb more CO2 out of the atmosphere. In April, further programs are on the chopping block, according to an internal ministry document seen by SPIEGEL. In total, 14 programs or one-time measures are affected.

The funding shortage currently faced by the Merkel government is massive. The budget for 2014 includes €2 billion for the Energy and Climate Fund to be generated via the sale and trade of CO2 emissions certificates. But the calculation originally assumed a price of €17 euro per ton. Real emissions prices, however, have been well below that for months and are currently trading below €4 per ton. A paper presented to Merkel's cabinet last week by the Finance Ministry predicted a €1.1 billion shortfall.”


(emphasis added)

Fourteen different subsidy programs are going to be affected? Good grief, how many are there? This is stunning, if perhaps not surprising. Anyway, we were hoping it might finally get warmer in May. At this rate of subsidy cutting in Germany it may actually get warmer by April already. Of course, global warming has become the 'ultimate non-falsifiable hypothesis' as one commentator writes in view of the observation that “it seems that every time we get some snow, another scientist is wheeled out to explain that, no matter how cold it gets, it is all down to global warming.”

As noted above though, one can always hope.




Where's the warmth?

(Image source: unknown, The Web)



Random sample of recent reports about freezing temperatures all over the Northern hemisphere:

Ireland, UK1, UK2, Chicago, Atlanta, Dallas/Fort Worth, Italy, Boston….




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4 Responses to “Climate to Keep Changing With Slightly Less Tax Payer Support”

  • Mark Humphrey:

    I’m no proponent of anthropological global warming, based on the science of climate rather than any ideological presupposition. But it is worth noting that the accumulations of ice in the anarctic are a regular aspect of warming across the rest of the globe. This is due to the effects of reflected sunlight on the snow covered land mass of anarctica in ways explained by Henrik Svensmark in his landmark book “The Chilling Stars”.

    I’m rooting for global warming and worried about the possibility of a looming ice age. Warmth is great for C02 release from the carbon sink that is the ocean. Warmth and C02 make for heigthened plant growth, which is good for farming, which is good for me. Cold weather, shortened growing seasons and unseansonal frosts make for empty graineries, which is bad for us all.

    • global:

      From Amazon’s description – “The Chilling Stars” outlines a brilliant, daring and undoubtedly controversial new theory.
      I guess you don’t see it as a controversial theory since you espouse it.

  • worldend666:

    Some nice smoke and mirrors there Acting Man, but even though the ice is indeed expanding outward to sea (caused by winds blowing outward to sea) on one side of Antarctica, it is shrinking on the other. Overall Antarctica has warmed as much as anywhere in the Southern hemisphere, and the net result of the last 20 years had been a rise in sea levels of 1 cm which is accelerating.

  • Floyd:

    Pater et al, first thanks for your engaging and insightful web site!

    I share the skepticism of bureaucrats and politicians meddling with the economy with all sorts of schemes like the infamous carbon tax…
    And, also I have questions about the global warming narrative.
    That being said, whenever I visit glaciers in the temperate regions, e.g. the Rockies, they seem as receding.
    Now this process is going on for hundreds if not thousands of years, but the case can be made that is has been rather fast is of late…


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