I’ve spent best part of ten years arguing against the theory of man-made climate change – and had great fun doing so. There are powerful arguments to say that mankind has little impact on climate – not least the obvious point that the slight warming over the last hundred years is exactly comparable to repeated warmings that have occurred every thousand years or so throughout the current Interglacial (and arguably for much longer).
In response, the Warmists merely appeal to authority – which is no basis for doing science. They parrot the canard (sorry about the mixed avian metaphors) that “97% of scientists agree”, despite that fraudulent claim having been comprehensively and repeatedly debunked. One can have hours of fun debating the issue, but sadly the closed minds stay closed, and no progress is made.
I’m finding that a different line of argument gains more traction. It goes like this: “I don’t care whether you believe in Anthropogenic Global Warming or not. Even if you’re right about it, the fact is that our current ‘green’ policies are doing more harm than good. They are failing to cut global CO2 emissions – indeed they may be increasing them – and at the same time they are doing massive economic damage, leaving us less well placed, economically, to do the sort of adaptation that would be needed if you were right about climate change”.
My good friend and former colleague Eija-Riitta Korhola was a Finnish MEP for my first fifteen years in the parliament, from 1999 to 2014, and she still revisits us from time to time. At a recent meeting of the European Energy Forum, she spoke with typical courage and clarity: “We’re not cutting emissions – we’re merely exporting them”.
The picture above shows Eija-Riitta and me, with a copy of her recent PhD Thesis “Climate Change as a Political Process: The Rise and Fall of the Kyoto Protocol”
Regular readers of this blog will be familiar with the argument, so I’ll put it briefly. Our green aspirations have led to very high energy prices, making European economies uncompetitive, We are driving energy-intensive industries – steel, aluminium, glass, chemicals, cement, petroleum refining – out of the EU altogether, taking their jobs and their investment with them,. Frequently they go to jurisdictions with lower environmental standards, where they produce more CO2 per unit of output. Sources in the steel industry claim that a ton of steel made in Shanghai produces twice as much CO2 as the same ton of steel made in Sheffield. And we have a British government DECC report confirming that imported refined petroleum products imply 35% higher emissions than those refined at home.
Matt Ridley makes essentially the same point: “Wind makes electricity expensive and unreliable, and doesn’t cut emissions”.
When will the establishment get the message? Wars aside, renewable energy represents probably the greatest misallocation of resources in the history of mankind.