THE United Nations’ ambitious climate action agenda may be unraveling. After being set back by a Climate Action Summit in New York in September, which was judged a failure even by climate activists, the UN must now face the abrupt cancellation of its scheduled COP25 conference in Santiago, Chile in December.
In August, the G-7 summit in France had declined to include climate issues in its agenda. COP24 in Poland was adjudged a non-starter.
Chile climate summit canceled
Now, the crushing word is that Chile has withdrawn as host of the COP25 climate summit in December after several weeks of violent unrest in the country. Chile’s President Sebastián Piñera announced the decision on Wednesday. In addition, Chile also canceled the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) summit of 20 world leaders that was slated in November.
The COP25 — Conference of the Parties of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change or UNFCC — was slated to run between December 2 and 13.
“This has been a very difficult decision, a decision that causes us a lot of pain, because we fully understand the importance of APEC and COP25 for Chile and for the world,” Piñera said in a brief statement from La Moneda Palace in Santiago.
Riots, arson and protests over inequality this month have left at least 18 dead, 7,000 arrested and Chilean businesses hit with losses of around $1.4 billion. The capital city’s metro public transport suffered nearly $400 million in damages
I want also to bring also to the reader’s attention two recent major articles that I project will carry much weight in the climate debate. These articles are:
1. An article on the much-publicized scientific consensus on climate change, which I now slammed as bogus.
2. An interview and profile of noted climatologist Judith Curry, which recounts at length her belief that now is the time for global warming to be scientific.
Bogus consensus on global warming
Robert P. Murphy, senior fellow of the Mises Institute and author, traced the claim of a scientific consensus about global warming to its origins, and found it bogus. He titled his article “The bogus ‘consensus’ argument on climate change.”
“One of the popular rhetorical moves in the climate change debate is for advocates of aggressive government intervention to claim that ‘97 percent of scientists’ agree with their position, and so therefore any critics must be unscientific ‘deniers.’
“Now these claims have been dubious from the start; people like David Friedman have demonstrated that the ‘97 percent consensus’ assertion became a talking point only through a biased procedure that mischaracterized how journal articles were rated, and thereby inflating the estimate….
Dubious ‘97% consensus’
“Back in 2014, David Friedman worked through the original paper that kicked off the ‘97 percent consensus’ talking point. What the original authors, Cook et al., actually found in their 2013 paper was that 97.1 percent of the relevant articles agreed that humans contribute to global warming. But notice that that is not at all the same thing as saying that humans are the main contributors to observed global warming (since the Industrial Revolution).
“This is a huge distinction. Incidentally, when it comes down to what Cook et al. actually found, economist David R. Henderson noticed that it was even less impressive than what Friedman had reported. Here’s Henderson:
“‘[Cook et al.] got their 97 percent by considering only those abstracts that expressed a position on anthropogenic global warming (AGW). I find it interesting that 2/3 of the abstracts did not take a position.’
“So, to sum up: The casual statements in the corporate media and in online arguments would lead the average person to believe that 97 percent of scientists who have published on climate change think that humans are the main drivers of global warming….
“From the beginning, the ‘97 percent consensus’ claim about climate change has been dubious, with supporters claiming that it represented much more than it really did.”
Judith Curry, myth-buster
Author Guy Sorman wrote on an interview he conducted with climatologist Judith Currry in the winter issue of City Journal. I quote below some key parts of account of Sorman’s long conversation with Curry.
“We’ve all come across the images of polar bears drifting on ice floes: emblematic victims of the global warming that’s melting the polar ice caps, symbols of the threat to the earth posed by our ceaseless energy production — above all, the carbon dioxide that factories and automobiles emit. We hear louder and louder demands to impose limits, to change our wasteful ways, so as to save not only the bears but also the planet and ourselves.
“In political discourse and in the media, major storms and floods typically get presented as signs of impending doom, accompanied by invocations to the environment and calls to respect Mother Nature. Only catastrophes seem to grab our attention, though, and it’s rarely mentioned that warming would also bring some benefits, such as expanded production of grains in previously frozen regions of Canada and Russia. Nor do we hear that people die more often of cold weather than of hot weather. Isolated voices criticize the alarm over global warming, considering it a pseudo-scientific thesis, the true aim of which is to thwart economic modernization and free-market growth and to extend the power of states over individual choices.
“Not being a climatologist myself, I’ve always had trouble deciding between these arguments. And then I met Judith Curry at her home in Reno, Nevada. Curry is a true climatologist. She once headed the department of earth and atmospheric sciences at the Georgia Institute of Technology, until she gave up on the academy so that she could express herself independently.
“Curry is a scholar, not a pundit. Unlike many political and journalistic oracles, she never opines without proof. And she has data at her command. She tells me, for example, that between 1910 and 1940, the planet warmed during a climatic episode that resembles our own, down to the degree. The warming can’t be blamed on industry, she argues, because back then, most of the carbon-dioxide emissions from burning fossil fuels were small. In fact, Curry says, ‘almost half of the warming observed in the 20th century came about in the first half of the century, before carbon-dioxide emissions became large.’ Natural factors thus had to be the cause. None of the climate models used by scientists now working for the United Nations can explain this older trend. Nor can these models explain why the climate suddenly cooled between 1950 and 1970, giving rise to widespread warnings about the onset of a new ice age.
“But aren’t oceans rising today, I counter, eroding shorelines and threatening to flood lower-lying population centers and entire inhabited islands? ‘Yes,’ Curry replies. ‘Sea level is rising, but this has been gradually happening since the 1860s; we don’t yet observe any significant acceleration of this process in our time.’ Here again, one must consider the possibility that the causes for rising sea levels are partly or mostly natural, which isn’t surprising, says Curry, for ‘climate change is a complex and poorly understood phenomenon, with so many processes involved.’ To blame human-emitted carbon dioxide entirely may not be scientific, she continues, but ‘some find it reassuring to believe that we have mastered the subject.’ She says that ‘nothing upsets many scientists like uncertainty.’
“This brings us to why Curry left the world of the academy and government-funded research. ‘Climatology has become a political party with totalitarian tendencies,’ she charges. ‘If you don’t support the UN consensus on human-caused global warming, if you express the slightest skepticism, you are a ‘climate-change denier,’ a stooge of Donald Trump, a quasi-fascist who must be banned from the scientific community.’ These days, the climatology mainstream accepts only data that reinforce its hypothesis that humanity is behind global warming.
“Scientific research should be based on skepticism, on the constant reconsideration of accepted ideas: at least, this is what I learned from my mentor, the ultimate scientific philosopher of our time, Karl Popper. What could lead climate scientists to betray the very essence of their calling? The answer, Curry contends: ‘politics, money and fame.’…
“‘Climatology,’ Curry observed, ‘is becoming an increasingly dubious science, serving a political project,’ In other words, ‘the policy cart is leading the scientific horse.’”