Wednesday, April 25, 2012

The old script

In a nice turn of events Maria van der Hoeven, executive director of the International Energy Agency (IEA) makes a statement about catastrophic climate change. A few days ago I posted Jim Lovelock's insights about his misplaced alarmism. Now we have just such an example of alarmism at the service of climate policy, old style. Ahead of a meeting of energy ministers in London, the IEA director warns of catastrophic consequences if politicians fail to act. The intervention appears to have a special target: David Cameron, the British Prime minister who is expected to make a speech at the meeting which has been the object of much speculation over the past week or so ('will he stick to his ambitious climate policy or avoid the issue?').

Van der Hoeven follows a tried and tested script without realizing that it does not work. But at least she manages to put it in a very concise form:
On current form, she warns, the world is on track for warming of 6C by the end of the century – a level that would create catastrophe, wiping out agriculture in many areas and rendering swathes of the globe uninhabitable, as well as raising sea levels and causing mass migration, according to scientists.
One wonders which scientists she has in mind. It can't be the IPCC, but it cannot be Lovelock either.
Interviews such as this are a pity and do climate policy a huge disservice. After all, van der Hoeven has very valid points to make about the challenges of decarbonization. But she does not appear to trust the arguments on their merit. Hence the additional rhetoric of catastrophism. It reminds of some old fashioned preachers, teachers or parents who tell children to behave -- and if they don't they will go to hell.


Harry Dale Huffman said...

All "climate policy" is political hysteria, based upon misinformation from an incompetent climate science that has suborned all of the supposedly authoritative institutions. The unreasoning fear inherent in the lady's words, above, is unprecedented in the modern science era, and it is but a symptom of insane clinging to false, imagined fear rather than a healthy understanding of the clear stability of the natural world. The false fear follows, of course, the false thinking of Malthus and Darwin, and the current scientific paradigm, or philosophy, is Darwinian, which shows how imbedded and long-cultivated is the hysteria in modern science. It has come boiling to the surface in climate science and in earnest but insane "climate policies", which gives everyone a chance to recognize the real underlying danger, of hysterical, dogmatic thinking at the very heart of the natural sciences today. Man can and often has fouled his own habitat, as by deforestation, but the world is over 70% ocean, beyond Man's ability to change it. The world today needs to grow up and cast off childish fears, and blaming others for those fears.

plazaeme said...

Don't we have some sort of a problem here? I mean, from a "warmist" perspective there seem to be two strategies. Or you exaggerate a la Van der Hoeven, or you try to be "reasonable". But in the later case someone may ask you: Why not wait something like a decade, and try to see whether temperatures point to +6ºC (Van der Hoeven), +3,5º (IPCC), +1ºC (sceptics), or no warming at all (super sceptics)?

I see some difficulties when "warmists" try to address such question (without exaggeration). It may be the case they have a pet policy, more or less independent from the reason.