Monday, November 7, 2022

Barry Brill: The overdue retraction of a giant lie

The UN has shocked the climate change community by announcing on the eve of COP27 that it now believes climate change will be only about half as bad as previously thought.

According to the report from UN Climate Change released on 26 October[1] the world is “on track for around 2.5 degrees Celsius of warming by the end of the century”.

The New York Times is equally shocked. In Beyond Catastrophe: New Climate Reality Is Coming Into View, the Times’ leading climate change contributor, David Walker-Wells, muses at length on all the nightmarish fears that have now been banished: 

“Just a few years ago, climate projections for this century looked quite apocalyptic, with most scientists warning that continuing business as usual” would bring the world four or even five degrees Celsius of warming — a change disruptive enough to call forth not only predictions of food crises and heat stress, state conflict and economic strife, but, from some corners, warnings of civilisational collapse and even a sort of human endgame. (Perhaps youve had nightmares about each of these and seen premonitions of them in your newsfeed.)”

The same Wallace-Wells authored the much-lauded 2019 book The Uninhabitable Earth: Life After Warming, described by The Guardian as “an epoch-defining book” and by the NY Times reviewer as “the most terrifying book I have ever read”.  

No doubt this alarmed author feels like he has been thrown under a bus by his co-alarmists at the UN. Many others will feel the same, and Roger Pielke Jr (who is mentioned in the article) tweets that “there is a lot of resistance”.

But sustained resistance is futile, as the UN made very clear in its blunt assertion on Davos Radio that “we own the science”. The owner has spoken, and there will be no further argument. The new range of 2–3°C by 2100 is now set in stone.

Why has the UN (and WEF) chosen this particular time to muscle down the extreme hyperbole which has become increasingly hysterical over recent years?   Has their massive consumer-research intel finally told them that their long-running terror strategy has become counter-productive?

Wallace-Wells has lost no time in back-pedalling to a more defensive position. Rather tepidly, he welcomes the wonderful news that the apocalypse has been cancelled:

We’re headed towards a less apocalyptic future ….We once thought that we were heading one place, a bad place.  Now we know that we’re actually headed to another  that looks a whole lot better. And that is good news

Now, with the world already 1.2 degrees hotter, scientists believe that warming this century will most likely fall between two or three degrees.....At four degrees, the impacts of warming appeared overwhelming, but at two degrees, the impacts would not be the whole of our human fate, only the landscape on which a new future will be built.”

But he then rapidly gathers the charred remnants of his former apocalyptic stance. He is bloodied but not bowed. He concludes that life will go on for media doom-casters -

“… already we can say a given heat wave was made 30 times more likely by climate change, or that it was a few degrees hotter than it would have been without climate change, and both would be true. Well be able to talk about the contributions of warming to disasters that buckle whole nations, as the recent monsoon flooding in Pakistan has, or about the human contributions to such vulnerability.

And he turns his attention to adaptation -

“Deaths from natural disasters are not, in fact, growing — indeed, they have fallen, by an astonishing degree, from as much as an average of 500,000 deaths each year a century ago to about 50,000 deaths each year today. But whether those mortality trends would continue in a two-degree world is unclear. The declines have been smaller over the last 50 years, as global warming began to destabilize our weather, and even smaller over the last three decades, as temperature rise became more pronounced and warming pushed the world outside the Goldilocks” climate range that had governed all of human history. Perhaps this means the world has harvested much of the obvious low-hanging fruit of adaptation.

Two degrees is a lot better than four degrees,” says the climate scientist Michael Oppenheimer, one of those who delivered now-legendary warnings about the risks of warming to the U.S. Senate in 1988. And one-and-a-half degrees is even better than two degrees. But none of those levels means theres nothing to do.”

Remarkably, this long and rambling article by David Wallace-Wells contains no apology for his past disinformation - for misleading thousands, perhaps millions, of his readers. His self-indulgent horror stories deprived children of sleep, sapped the will-to-live of millennials, distorted political dialogues worldwide, suppressed energy investment and caused all manner of unnecessary harm. The UN has now exposed that his dystopic predictions were wholly devoid of evidence – and he should have told us that.  

Like many bad journalists, DWW obviously preferred to “interview his typewriter” rather than read IPCC Working Group 1 reports. Taking over-full advantage of the unwritten worldwide media pact to support the climate change narrative, he stretched it to outrageous lengths for his own benefit. Now caught out by his own “side”, his credibility is zero. But he does not apologise.

Rather, DWW attempts to credit the UN’s halving of climate fear to a previously unpredicted halving of human-related emissions – to reductions in SUVs, the demise of aviation, the culling of dairy herds, the decimation of coal power – all discovered in the 3.5 year period since his book hit the bestseller lists:

Thanks to astonishing declines in the price of renewables, a truly global political mobilization, a clearer picture of the energy future and serious policy focus from world leaders, we have cut expected warming almost in half in just five years.” 

Renewable price declines?

The UN’s downgraded estimate has nothing to do with sun or wind and everything to do with a large body of scientific work on Equilibrium Climate Sensitivity (ECS) that extends for over 10 years. Numerous recent research reports, ranging from Otto et al, 2013 to Lewis and Curry, 2018, have pointed to an ECS between one and two degrees. Although this burgeoning consensus was questioned by Sherwood et al, 2020, – just in time for AR6 – that paper has in turn been challenged by Nicholas Lewis, 2022.

Clearer picture of the energy future?

Even Wallace-Wells has now bowed to the overdue abandonment of the extreme but unreal scenario known as RCP8.5. He says he was convinced by Ritchie and Dowlatabadi 2017 which bears the subtitle “Are cases of vastly expanded future coal combustion still plausible?”. Note that this paper was published some two years prior to DWW’s book. There has been much other work on the implausibility of RCP8.5, summarised in Roger Pielke Jr et al, 2022.

Global political mobilization? Focus by world leaders?

The article offers no evidence that the puny efforts of COP1 to COP26 have contributed in any measurable way to the avoidance of the previously-imagined apocalypse. Some credit should probably be given to the voluntary national reductions offered under the Paris Agreement but we know that its maximum effect could only be a trivial contribution of 0.048°C by 2100.

The UN’s COP27 announcement effectively concedes that there is no “climate emergency”. The extent of the risk is that global temperatures over the next 80 years are expected to rise at around the same barely perceptible average pace as the last 80 years – about 0.017°C per year.

And David Wells-Wallace, a world-leading guru of climate panic, makes it absolutely clear that this UN announcement is a seminal moment in the history of climate change alarm.

[1] Backed by the 132-page UNEP Emissions Gap 2022 Report.

Barry Brill OBE JP LL.M(Hons) M.ComLaw is a former MP and Minister of Energy, Petrocorp director, and chair of the Gas Council, Power NZ, ESANZ, and EMCO. He is presently the Chairman of the New Zealand Climate Science Coalition.


Robert Arthur said...

The feras may have been postponed but certainly not banished. The reponse has been based on postponement anyway.

DeeM said...

Yeah, but what does Greta think? She'll likely accuse the UN of defecting to the dark side of capitalism and big oil and demand a great socialist reset.

Maybe Extinction Rebellion will...go extinct! A particularly unpleasant and useless species that nobody will miss.

Maybe James Shaw will have a nervous breakdown as his dream of a climate catastrophe goes up in smoke, courtesy of his heroes at the UN.

One thing's for certain - the Earth will continue to go through its regular warming and cooling cycles, untroubled by the trials and tribulations of us pesky humans, who imagine ourselves far more influential than we really are.

Owen said...

Now to get Government and Local Government to adopt the new RCP's into their policies and abandon RCP8.5. The MfE's National Adaption Plan would be a good place to start. regional Council's coastal plans are all predicated on RCP8.5 and are costing now and will cost local communities big time.

Anonymous said...

I don’t know why but I read the UN report to which Mr. Brill drew our attention. It’s conclusions don’t remotely match those described in Mr Brill’s piece. Liar liar pants on fire, Baz!

5th generation Kiwi said...

Climate is and has always changed, mankind's contribution around 3% of all carbon emissions is minimal and all the finger pointing and alarmist will have no effect whatsoever. The big elephant in the room is population that nobody wants to talk about at COP because that's not being pc in this woke world. It took humans 200 thousand years to reach 1 billion and in the last 200 years we have gone from 1 billion to 8 billion. What a huge polluting effect and drain on our natural resources that has on our poor planet. While mainly European and developed countries are starting to reduce the birth rate others who can least afford it are increasing at a huge rate, for example Pakistan had a population of 30 million in the 1950s its now 200 million and will be 300 million by 2030.
Climate change alarmist is more about the lefts agenda of wealth distribution and destruction of the west and capitalism

Ian Bradford said...

This is a response to anon. who should put his name. I have read the articles mentioned three times. Barry is quite correct. The alarmists forecast a temp rise of about 4 deg C by the year 2100. Now they have changed that to about 2-2.5 deg C. Isn't that about half anon.? At COP22 in 2016 they settled on the world trying to stop a temp rise of 0.5 deg C by the year 2030. That's on top of the 1 deg C rise since the Industrial Revolution. now they are saying it would be good to stop that 1.5 deg C rise by the year 2100. A number of scientists including Syun-ichi Akaspofu, Frizsche et al, Polyakov et al, Burroughs , and Tarrand and Nordii, using ice cores, found that the temp rise since 1800 was approx. linear. So if we take from the Industrial Revolution 170 years ago the temp. increase each year has been 1/170 = 0.006 deg C. From 2016 to 2030 is 14 years. In which case the temp rise would be 14 x 0.006 which equals just 0.08 deg C. So the estimated rise we were supposed to stop by 2030 now extended to 2100 of 0.5 deg C was clearly scare tactics.
Barry is correct.

MRH said...

I don't watch the news 100%, but will this get a mention as it is pretty significant.
Surely NZ farmers will stop culling animals, land to forest should get a reversal headline, Jacinda can announce 'no emergency now', Auckland City can slice the climate change budget by 50% or even more, with planning, and James Shaw can switch from problems to solutions. He might even given a realistic time frame and a better study of science, discover that there is more.
Was he also 50% or even more wrong, in fact was he ever on the right track with Carbon and Methane. Hit a big Pause button everybody. Please.

Darag said...

Anonymous, why don't you type in quotations what you are reading so we can compare?