climate change

Forget Science – Climate Now Has a Central Role in The Culture Wars

One of my first tasks as a journalist in the late 1970s was to compile a “Major losses and catastrophes” page for a monthly reinsurance magazine. Sources were much scarcer in those days, but the back pages of the daily Lloyd’s List would supply various reports from shipping agents and news agencies. Every month there would be stories of large weather-related disasters including wildfires sweeping Australia, monsoons failing in Asia, droughts continuing in California, hundreds of people dying on a Philippines ferry caught in rough seas. At the time, I was intrigued at how little of this made the headlines in the U.K. Go forward a few years and we have global catastrophes, morning, noon and night. Bad weather has been politicised to spread widespread fear and anxiety as established elites pursue their subsidy-driven, command-and-control Net Zero political project.

Journalist Helen O’Callaghan put it succinctly in the Irish Examiner recently: “Whether it’s watching a David Attenborough interview, or seeing fires raging in California, becoming aware of the climate emergency is leading to anxiety and distress.”

The medical journal the Lancet published a paper in 2020 stating that ecological grief and anxiety were reasonable and functional responses to climate-related losses, and, needless to say, an “urgent response is needed from clinicians, public health practitioners and policy makers”. The American Psychological Association goes on to note that climate change mental health disorders include “trauma and shock, PTSD, anxiety and depression that can lead to suicidal ideation and risky behaviour”. Community-wide impacts are said to include interpersonal violence, including domestic and child abuse.

Woke Capitalism Meets Reality

Woke capitalism is fast going out of fashion as hard realities catch up – as they inevitably do – with progressive posturing. Matthew Lynn summarises the developments in the Telegraph.

BlackRock, the world’s largest asset manager, has just announced that it won’t expect the companies it invests in to meet so many environmental goals. Sweden’s SEB said recently it would lift its blanket ban on defence companies. And Barclays has said – shock horror – that it is willing to back oil and gas exploration once again. One by one, major asset managers are revisiting their fashionable pursuit of ESG and climate change.

True, that is long overdue, and will make the capital markets work better. And yet the bigger lesson is that the fund managers should never have allowed themselves to become so politicised in the first place. It is not their job, and they are really, really bad at it. The sooner they get back to simply investing in well-run companies making decent products, the better.

In the capital markets, when BlackRock speaks everyone listens. The American giant is the largest single asset manager in the world controlling $10 trillion (£8 trillion) in equities and bonds. There is hardly a major business in the world where it is not a significant shareholder.

In January last year, its chief executive Larry Fink positioned the firm as a champion of ESG – which stands for environmental, social and governance investing – pledging to wield its votes in favour of motions that committed companies to ambitious targets for combating climate change. This week, in a significant turnaround, it said it would wind down its support for proposals that were “too prescriptive”…

It is not hard to understand why that is happening right now. In truth, many of the causes major investors have taken up with so much enthusiasm are looking remarkably idiotic right now.

With soaring energy prices, wholesale disinvestment in oil and gas was clearly very short-sighted, especially as greener alternatives are not yet ready to meet global demand. All it has done is stoke up inflation, and make the West dependent on Russian energy instead.

And following Vladimir Putin’s brutal invasion of Ukraine, refusing to invest in defence looks worryingly naïve, especially if you happen to be Swedish (Russia annexed chunks of the country’s territory in the Great Northern War of the 1720s, and, as we have discovered, Putin has a long memory). It may look good in an annual report, but it is not so great when the shooting starts… A major investment firm should be capable of working out that if you unilaterally disarm yourself – which was what it meant in practice – you were only encouraging aggressors such as Putin. It is just naïve and silly.

Worth reading in full.

Another Desperate Met Office Attempt to Stoke 1.5C Global Warming Fear

Britain’s Met Office says it is a 50-50 call that one of the next five years will see global temperatures leap by almost half a degree centigrade to 1.5°C above pre-industrial levels. The tidings were of course faithfully reported by mainstream media, keen, as always, to support the political messaging behind Net Zero. But curiously missing from the coverage was the fact that the absurd prediction relies on a base of heavily adjusted past temperature records, and the future occurrence of one of the most powerful natural El Niño weather fluctuations ever observed.

It is on El Niño that the bet mostly relies. A powerful fluctuation in 2016 ended a lengthy temperature pause and raised the reading temporarily by up to 0.2°C. El Niños are natural weather fluctuations that draw heat from the eastern tropical Pacific Ocean and distribute it around the atmosphere. There was also a powerful El Niño spike in 1998 and since that date, global warming has run out of steam.

Not at the Met Office of course. As we have reported, the Met Office removed an off-message pause from around 1998 by two major adjustments in 2013 and 2020 to its HadCRUT global temperature database. In total, the adjustments added about 30% more recent warming. This trend was exacerbated by cooling the temperatures recorded earlier in the 20th century. Similar adjustments were made by other important global temperature datasets. All surface datasets are complex blends of reported temperatures, proxies, estimates and modelled data.

Prince William Praises TV Writers For Inserting Green Alarmist Agenda into Shows After Video Claiming the “Planet is on Fire”

Prince William has opened a BAFTA segment on climate change praising television writers for inserting green alarmist messages into their programmes and urged them to “keep them high up on the agenda of programming”. His words followed a video that claimed the “planet is on fire”. MailOnline has more.

The duke appeared as part of a special video address highlighting “Planet Placement”, in which shows feature messages about sustainability throughout their ordinary programming.

The clip detailed how the “planet is on fire”, before he shared his hope that programme-makers will do more to prioritise environmental issues.

But William also praised the “innovative” and “emotive” messages that are now being written into television shows to help raise awareness of climate change and persuade audiences to actively want to save the planet. 

In the address, he said: “Now more than ever, programme makers have a unique opportunity to ensure climate change and sustainability remain at the forefront of our collective consciousness.

“By creating innovative, educational and emotive content for television, writers and producers are playing a unique role in ensuring the future of our planet is something that we all want to talk about.

“Over the past year, we’ve seen some fantastic examples of this across a wide variety of programmes and genres.

“I hope you will all continue to carry on your invaluable work, keeping environmental issues high up on the agenda of programming in the years ahead.”

Worth reading in full.

No, Spring is Not ‘Coming Earlier Every Year’ – And All this Alarmism is Taking its Toll on Our Mental Health

Spring has sprung and all good climate catastrophists are dusting down their annual ‘spring has sprung three weeks early’ story. BBC Science Correspondent Victoria Gill has a three-week-early avian egg-laying tale, which is topped with the obligatory ‘climate change’ headline.

Reporting on a survey in “some parts” of a wood in Oxford, Ms. Gill comments on the mating habits of the great tit. According to project leader Professor Ben Sheldon from Oxford University, observing the birds over time means “we’re also able to ask how extreme climate events – increasingly seen as a risk of climate change – affect the population”.

That presumably would be the climate change said to lead to ever higher temperatures as guessed by laughably inaccurate climate models – temperatures supposedly rising so fast that spring is starting earlier each year.

African Governments to Western Eco-Imperialists Who Tell Them Not to Drill Their Own Oil and Gas – Get Lost

It was never going to work. Telling African countries to stop developing their economies by banning cheap, reliable fossil fuel is little more than an eco-imperialist dream. Writing in Monday’s Daily Telegraph, Uganda President Yoweri Museveni lauded the discovery of oil in Lake Albert, but noted it was a battleground for the green NGOs and activists who claim that Armageddon is nigh at every opportunity.

“We are accustomed to these lectures, but we are tired of hearing them,” he added.

For the last decade, the West through the IMF and the World Bank has imposed a moratorium on support for African fossil fuel development – initially coal and more recently oil and gas as well. Museveni notes that in Africa the population is set to double by 2050, “and it is becoming increasingly clear that our energy needs cannot be met with a sudden shift to more expensive and less reliable solar and wind alone”.

Climate Change Saves Over Half a Million Lives in England and Wales, Says ONS – Not a Word From the Press

Over half a million fewer people died in England and Wales over the last 20 years due to a small rise in temperatures, according to recent work by the Office for National Statistics. According to the ONS, reduced climate-related mortality rates were 90% attributable to milder winters and 10% to warmer summers. Over three times the number of lives were extended due to climate change than are said to have been lost in the Covid pandemic.

In the mainstream media, the news was greeted with a deafening silence. There were few reports highlighting the lives saved. The BBC didn’t even mention the half million figure, but noted: “Hot days saw more injuries, violence and suicide but the relatively small rise in deaths was offset by warmer winter temperatures.” The third paragraph of the story claimed: “Climate change is a substantial threat to human health globally.” Resident green activist Justin Rowlatt then supplied an “analysis”, noting immediately that “statistics can be slippery, as these new climate-death figures show”.

For some inexplicable reason, there was no 5pm Downing Street press conference announcing that nearly 30,000 lives a year had been saved by climate change. There was no Professor Ferguson-inspired model suggesting that if current trends were followed, everyone in the world would be saved by teatime next Tuesday.

Fly Less and Eat Less Meat to Save Planet, Government Science Chief Tells Brits

The Government’s Chief Scientific Adviser Sir Patrick Vallance has said Brits should fly less and eat less meat as part of the “behaviour change” required to achieve Net Zero carbon dioxide emissions by 2050. The Telegraph has more.

Sir Patrick Vallance has warned against Net Zero fear mongering and said he has not stopped eating meat or flying.

“It’s important that the messaging [on climate change] isn’t designed to cause fear or upset, it should be about making sure people understand what the situation is,” the Government’s Chief Scientific Adviser told a House of Lords committee on Tuesday.  

“We should not aim to frighten people because that’s not helpful, but we should aim to enable people to understand what actions they can take.”

Sir Patrick said that people need “clear and specific guidance” about what they can do to help tackle climate change.

Policies to reach Net Zero by 2050 have so far stopped short of encouraging behaviour change such as flying less or changing diets, but the Government has established an environmental ‘nudge unit’ to work out how to persuade people into green behaviours.

Sir Patrick said it was “unarguable” that getting to the Government’s target of Net Zero carbon [dioxide] emissions by 2050 would require behaviour change, and said he had already changed some of his own habits.

“I’m eating less meat, I cycle to work and I fly less than I used to. I haven’t said I stopped flying or I don’t eat meat; I do. I think it’s about reduction, and appropriate reduction across society,” he said.

“Individuals need to know what is expected of them, as well as making that easy for them.”

Funny how Government policy these days seems to come down to the population stopping doing things they enjoy for the sake of some urgent collectivist goal identified by the experts with their models.

Worth reading in full.

Twitter Begins Censorship of Climate Science Dissent. Will Elon Musk End It?

Twitter’s decision to ban advertisements that “contradict the scientific consensus” around human-caused climate change is both bad and sad. Twitter says such ads are now prohibited by its “inappropriate content policy”. Ads that cast doubt on a scientific hypothesis that doesn’t have a single credible paper to conclusively prove it’s correct are now to be placed on a list that includes the promotion of paedophilia. Ads that question almost forecasts about increases in global temperatures by multiple degrees centigrade based on always-wrong climate models are now to be lumped in with vile abuse based on a person’s skin colour.

The move was announced on Earth Day but was largely a virtue-signalling act since few if any ads will be affected. It is mainly woke companies that signal their virtue in their advertising on a range of cultural and political issues. More practically-minded companies maximise their attempts to provide a service and turn a profit rather than indulging in ideologically-charged advertising.

There are fears, however, that the move, banning in effect non-existent ads, could presage wider restriction of the overall freedom to debate climate change science on social media. It remains to be seen whether the just announced purchase by Elon Musk changes any of the cancelling culture at the San Francisco operation. Twitter said that “misleading information” about climate change “can undermine efforts to protect the planet”. It added: “In the coming months, we’ll have more to share on our work to add reliable, authoritative context to the climate conversations happening on Twitter.” It noted that it was “always thinking about other ways” to “serve” climate conversations.

Lifestyles and Diets Must Change, Says Latest IPCC Report of Climate Doom – But Where Are the Scientists?

Even the Fonz only got to jump the shark once. But every day is a happy day for the IPCC, seemingly intent on plumbing new depths of climate alarmist gimmickry with every passing report. Its ‘now or never’ latest offering comes in a long line of sci-fi fantasy episodes, guaranteed to run for many more seasons.

The Guardian reports that scientists have said it is a final climate warning for governments. According to the BBC, scientists say carbon dioxide must peak within three years, and even then we must invent machines to suck the gas out of the atmosphere. The IPCC says diets and lifestyles must change. Having the right policies in place will enable the changes in our lifestyles and behaviours to take place, co-chair of the latest report Priyadarshi Shukla told the BBC.

Mr. Shukla was an interesting choice to co-chair the report. Until August 2017, he was Professor at the Indian Institute of Management, specialising in energy and environment modelling. Amongst his published work is a contribution to Fair Weather? Equity concerns in climate change.

Sucking CO2 out of the atmosphere is typical fantastical IPCC. The technology is expensive, largely untried and uses huge amounts of energy. Maybe, with the face mask fetish still going strong in many parts of the world, humans could be persuaded to wear some kind of attached breathing receptacle to trap the three billion tonnes of CO2 they emit each year. Two figures always missing from IPCC reports are what temperature and CO2 level they consider most suitable for the Earth’s atmosphere.