November 4, 2014
I, the Risk-Monger, am a climate sceptic. There, I said it. I came out and it is a relief.
Although I fear that Brussels waiters will now spit in my coffee from here to eternity and many PR firms will refuse to work with me, I feel, after the recent high levels of politicised ignorance at the UN and the unthinking global media networks, that this was a statement I could no longer continue to be afraid to express. What is behind my scepticism? In brief:
- After two decades of poor modelling, the IPCC scientists are not able to speak with the confidence they continue to pretend. Climate science is not as clear or as simple as the IPCC wishes to project or what their politicised henchmen desire for their campaigning.
- It is not the role of scientists or science bodies to push for a consensus or draw political conclusions. Scientists should continually challenge the paradigms and attempt to falsify the theories to ensure a more robust science (ie, be sceptical).
- The collusion of activists from NGOs like Greenpeace and WWF as lead authors within the IPCC, not to mention the political motivations of the head of the IPCC, has been disgraceful and has further discredited the UN and UNEP.
- The solutions put forward by the politicised science lobby within the IPCC do not align with realities in many countries, risk worsening the situation for the environment and distract public attention and structural funding away from far more important (and solvable) issues in developing countries that take so many lives every day.
- Believing that man is so important as to able to have an affect on global climate trends by making simple and practically cost-free lifestyle changes (only 0.06% of global GDP?) is deceptive and highly over-estimating man’s vain concept of self-importance in the world.
- There is an enormous amount of grey literature (unpublished research) that failed to prove hypotheses supporting the climate doctrine. If there are campaigns in the medical research world to release all data from all pharmaceutical trials, why are we accepting a double standard here? It would be good to have a better idea about how much we don’t know. Saying that there is just far too much grey literature out there does not reassure me.
All of these views have been expressed in previous blogs of mine (see list at the bottom of this page), so what has pushed me to outing myself now?
I woke up on Sunday morning (2 November 2014) to watch live coverage on BBC news (at the top of the hour) of the IPCC press conference on the release of the Synthesis Report of Fifth Assessment Report (AR5) – and after almost 15 minutes of news time (admittedly it was a slow news day), I wanted to crawl back under my sheets. As a professor in communications and public relations, I recognised all of the deceptive tools and techniques of an activist campaign – of a battle hardened group getting ready to take on the national governments at the UNFCCC COP 21 in Paris next year.
The UN’s slick PR campaign
I watched in disbelief at how the head of the UN, Ban Ki-Moon, set his aim at fossil fuels which, he argues, must be totally phased out by the end of the century, while he encouraged the growth of renewables. He spoke about how inspired he was to see so many people out on the streets of New York and other cities demanding action on climate change. Is this the role of the UN – should they be pitting one industry against another or agitating the public to demonstrate against their governments? Has the UN embraced civil society campaign tactics? Since Climate-gate, it is clear that environmental activists have infiltrated the IPCC and UNEP, but his speech and the policies he espouses could have easily been written by a Greenpeace activist. Why didn’t he attack the meat industry or the automotive industry?
Is the IPCC really about science?
Then there was my favourite corrupt UN official, Rajendra Pachauri, who assured everyone at the press conference that the science is clear and unquestionable and the need to act is now. From that, Pachauri jumped to the doomsday scenarios of the “chaos of runaway climate change”. By presenting two paths (one of action and one of inaction), Pachauri reminded the audience of his non-scientific approach, opting for the activist rant against inaction. Only two paths? Is that how scientists think? Pachauri is not a climate scientist and his lingering presence continues to diminish the IPCC’s worth in global debates.
The IPCC has been wrong (with a “95% certainty”) in their modelling over the past two decades. They have largely ignored solar scientists in their deliberations (imagine the sun having a role in our climate? … don’t be silly) and by their own admissions after an internal audit, they need to pay more attention to statistics and include statisticians. Still, Pachauri is impervious to other thinking – for him, the facts are clear.
So the press conference got the media coverage and global reaction it had aspired for, except for one problem. There was nothing new being released at this contrived PR event. The Synthesis Report (as well as the Summary for Policymakers) is based on the Fifth Assessment Report, which was released beginning in September, 2013. I suspect the release of these documents was timed to keep the warnings and attention in the public mind post-New York and pre-Paris. It is a call to fire-up the civil society activists which they repeatedly praised throughout the one hour and thirteen minute show.
What is wrong with being a sceptic?
Why is it that our questioning of the science or the very process of demanding a scientific consensus has become the equivalent of denying the holocaust? Why does a supposedly science-based organisation sanction witch-hunts and discrediting of those who disagree with them? Why is it so important for everyone to agree? What is this dogmatic assertivism doing to the way young scientists are being trained to conduct their research?
If you have continued to read this far into the blog, and if you disagree with me, you have my respect. Most people supporting the consensus on climate change will have only read my title and thought: “The Risk-Monger is a climate sceptic? Well that figures … I hate that little shit!” There are too many people involved in the decision-making process who do not read anything they disagree with and the fact that you suffered this far through something that challenges your intellectual comfort zones means you are a thinking person. I admire that and thank you!
It is the ultimate in commonality that we are told that a “vast majority” of experts now believe that climate change is happening, and since even the sceptics are coming around, one should not dare question it. However I continue to see problems in how the world of politicised science comes to its conclusions and fails to critically assess itself. The sense of urgency does not justify the sense of carelessness or justify political opportunism. If being a sceptic means continuing to challenge these actors suffering from confirmation bias, then I am proud to be a climate sceptic. I encourage others to be brave enough to resist their non-scientific consensus pressure tactics and come out as well.
Some previous Risk-Mongering on climate doubtsDavid Zaruk