Thank you for responding to my recent blog (see below).
We could no doubt try each other’s patience with a long correspondence, which I prefer not to do. Nevertheless, some of your points need a clear answer.
First of all, it is hardly a hallmark of serious debate when you dismiss your opponents as “buffoons”, and repeatedly refer to contrary opinions as “silly”. Sarcasm and abuse do not constitute a substantive, academic or scientific argument.
Of course I do not claim to be a scientist. I have a Cambridge maths degree, but I spent most of my career in international marketing and general management. However in 1999 I was elected to the European Parliament, and have remained an MEP ever since – sixteen plus years. As a politician, I am frequently called upon to make voting (and policy) decisions about technical subjects in which I am not hugely qualified. This is the job of elected politicians, whether you like it or not.
I have been engaged in the climate debate for around ten years, and during that time, I have discussed it with many scientists (and economists and others) from countries across Europe and the USA. I consider it a critical issue, because of the huge economic damage it is doing in Europe. Even if you are right about AGW (and of course I don’t think you are), the policies we are pursuing to “save the planet” are simply not working. In the EU, we are not cutting emissions – we are merely exporting them. And as I hope you would agree, a ton of CO2 emitted in Shanghai has exactly the same effect on the planet as a ton of CO2 emitted in Sheffield.
In the course of my enquiries into the climate issue, I have met rather a large number (dozens at least) of highly qualified scientists, who profoundly disagree with you and with the IPCC. Several of them have actually been reviewers on IPCC panels – and have the Nobel lapel pin to prove it. One said rather plaintively “The IPCC accepts my corrections to its punctuation – but not to its science”. Another had to threaten legal action to have his name removed from a section of an IPCC report with which he profoundly disagreed.
I asked in my previous blog, but now I ask again: do you think that all these highly qualified scientists are “buffoons”? Do you think their opinions are silly? Should you not be a little more open-minded, and see whether they may perhaps have a better grasp of the subject than (say) Michael Mann, with his highly suspect work on his “Hockey Stick”?
Then you say “You are demonstrably not interested in science”. Sorry, but again, Michael, you are way off beam. As a schoolboy I was very keen on your own subject, and read every book in the local library about astronomy. I was fascinated by the “Continuous Creation” vs. Big Bang debate (I once had tutorials an office next door to Professor Fred Hoyle), and I rather regretted the triumph of the Big Bang – continuous creation seemed so much more satisfying intellectually.
In later life, I took a keen interest in evolutionary biology, and read (as a layman) a great deal about it. I also have some interest in the history of the subject, to the extent that I went on a cruise in the Galapagos that set out to follow the route of Darwin’s visit there.
I also know enough about science to know that it is never “settled”, and that unlike politics, it is not determined by opinion polls and majorities. You will recall the anecdote about Einstein, where a journalist told him that a hundred prominent physicists disagreed with him. He replied “If I were wrong, one would be enough”. You must be aware that much of climate science depends on computer models, and that the predictions of those models have been consistently undershot by reality.
You may also be aware that the IPCC itself reports that the models predict a hot-spot in the tropics between 5 and 10 kms high in the atmosphere – but that observation clearly shows that no such hot-spot exists.
The IPCC used to say that the climate sensitivity of CO2 was around 3oC per doubling. Now I understand they are saying “between 1.5o and 4.5o“. This is of course a huge range, and would dramatically affect the outcome a few decades hence. Yet politicians are still talking, absurdly, about “targeting 2oC”, and telling us that the emissions limits under discussion in Paris would result in a warming of 2.7oC – an absurd pretension to accuracy when the IPCC offers such a broad range of sensitivity estimates (and many scientists believe the true figure could be <1oC).
I am particularly amused by your reference to my “lack of interest in science”, since the response of the usual suspects – the Warmists who pour scorn on my views on social media – clearly did not even recognise that the radiative forcing effect of CO2 is governed by a logarithmic relationship.
Those who disparaged my disregard of “the science” clearly knew a great deal less about it than I did.
I notice that your standard of scientific debate is simply to refer the other party to your favourite web-site. In the same spirit, I suggest you could usefully spend some time with www.thegwpf.org; http://wattsupwiththat.com/;https://notalotofpeopleknowthat.wordpress.com/; http://bishophill.squarespace.com/, and of course http://www.sepp.org/ and http://climatechangereconsidered.org/about-nipcc/
With kind regards. ROGER HELMER MEP