Challenging Climate Orthodoxy…

by | Apr 10, 2007

April 2007. Since its release in February, the IPCC’s AR4 (Working Group I) Summary for Policymakers has been uncritically reported in the mainstream media, and its findings often exaggerated. Because of a perception that the public mood demands action to mitigate climate change, the UK government has used the IPCC findings to justify committing the country to a 60% reduction in CO2 emissions by 2050. Like much environmental policy, this has gone largely unchallenged by opposition parties.

We believe that an unfounded sense of crisis – and therefore urgency – dominates public discussion of environmental issues. Thus, demands for urgent action to mitigate climate change thrive at the expense of genuine, illuminating, nuanced debate.

Neither the science nor the politics of climate change should be exempt from scrutiny. Our intention is to provide some decent commentary on how science, politics and the media handle environmental matters, for anyone interested in challenging this dangerous new orthodoxy. And for anyone just interested.

Where we’re starting from…

  1. There is good scientific evidence that human activities are influencing the climate.
  2. The evidence for anthropogenic climate change is neither as strong nor as demanding of action as is widely claimed.
  3. Our ability to mitigate, let alone reverse any such change through reductions in CO2 emissions is even less certain.
  4. The scientific consensus on climate change as widely reported inaccurately reflects the true scientific consensus.
  5. There is no scientific consensus on how society should proceed in the face of a changing climate.
  6. How society should proceed in the face of a changing climate is the business of politics.
  7. Science does not and should not proceed by consensus.
  8. Political arguments about climate change are routinely mistaken for scientific ones.
  9. The IPCC is principally a political organisation.
  10. Environmentalism is principally a political phenomenon.
  11. And yet climate change policies go unchallenged by opposition parties.
  12. The goals/aspirations/values of society are/should be matters of politics, not science.
  13. The current emphasis on mitigation strategies is impeding society’s ability to adapt to a changing climate, whatever its cause.
  14. The public remain unconvinced that mitigation is in their best interests.
  15. Widespread disengagement from politics means that politicians pander only to the loudest, shrillest voices.
  16. Science is increasingly expected to provide moral certainty in morally uncertain times.
  17. Environmental concerns are serving to provide direction for directionless politics.


  1. Wormaldo

    I really like the 17 points and think they make an excellent starting point for discussion.

    One issue I would like to raise is about point 7, Science does not and should not proceed by consensus.

    I completely agree with the idea contained in this point. However, given the fact that scientific research is almost exclusively funded by either governments or business, is it not a bit disingenuous to imply that science and politics can be opposed in this way in the ‘pragmatic’ world?

    Even among the seemingly more objective publicly funded science, for example, there are numerous ethnographic studies among – for example high energy physicists – that show how even the most rigorous, falsifiable, empirical science is open to often very small differences in interpretation and analysis by researchers in different political / economic spheres of funding, employment and publication (e.g. Japan vs. the USA). Over years of publication, of professors handing work (and interpretation) on to their juniors etc, these small differences end up with pretty big differences in broader application.

    And it is of course based on these applications that decisions are made by (elected) governments which lead to the availability – or absence – of future funding, promotions, grants to pay for doctoral students… the progress of science.

    I would be very interested to know some more about what the editors feel this means for the idea that science does not proceed by consenus?

  2. Gary Novak

    Your first premise is so vague that it could mean anything but will be interpreted to say something about greenhouses gasses, where it is not true. Hence, it is propaganda of the worst kind. It states: “There is good scientific evidence that human activities are influencing the climate.” Any such examples are localized effects, such as desertification or stripping rain forests, where broad influences are unknown.

    It does not apply to greenhouse gasses. The only scientific link to anthropogenic climate change through greenhouse gasses is the claim that humans caused a 30% increase in CO2 in the atmosphere over the past 150 years, while there is no valid scientific evidence that CO2 can influence climate.

    The 30% claim was never anything but junk science based on ice core measurements which are now being discredited and an incredible logic which says a human input of 1% of the CO2 in the air per year can result in a 30% increase, while other sources are 33 times larger but do not result in an increase. A recent Nature article discrediting the ice core measurements is reviewed by Tim Ball on Canada Free Press linked here: Tim Ball.

    The second part of the discrepancy—that there is no valid scientific evidence that CO2 can influence climate—is shown through these simple estimates:

    claimed heat due to atmosphere — 33°C
    95% due to various things — 31.35°C
    5% due to infrared radiation from earth’s surface — 1.65°C
    8% of infrared radiation picked up by CO2 — 0.13°C
    3% of CO2 produced by humans — 0.004°C
    5% of absorption “unsaturated” for global warming — 0.0002°C

    Gary Novak
    Science is Broken

  3. Anonymous

    Can someone explain how my annual inputs to my home convert to a CO2 tonnage that is greater than the combined weight of the inputs. I base this on the estimated household usage figures published by the Irish Green Party. Does anyone buy CO2?


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