A bit of scepticism

Started by klondike, July 09, 2022, 08:13:17 AM

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klondike

Knowing there is a reluctance to click links I'll paste the lot in too. I think some here will know that I was a lockdown sceptic from early on, became a sceptic of climate change being an existential threat and an even bigger one that anything we do here could change anything about it anyway.

I'd appreciate views on this...

https://dailysceptic.org/2022/07/08/now-boris-has-gone-please-can-we-scrap-net-zero/

According to the Extinction Rebellion (XR) website we are in the midst of a climate emergency and unless immediate action is taken to achieve Net Zero then we face a climate catastrophe. What is the basis for such apocalyptic predictions? Certainly most people's lived experience is that the climate has not changed much. In the U.K. the winters are still dark and cold and the summers lighter and warmer. The data support this impression: since the Industrial Revolution, the temperature of the Earth has risen by less than a degree. In fact, XR's predictions of doom and gloom are based on the results from scientific modelling of the Earth's climate. But can we really expect the people of the world to change their way of life because of the predictions of a small number of scientists and their models?

During the pandemic, scientific modelling predicted that deaths from Covid would be astronomical unless we went into lockdown. Our Government, and many others throughout the world, 'followed the Science' and the subsequent lockdowns caused, and are still causing, immense suffering. However, some countries did not impose lockdowns and so we now have actual data to judge the accuracy of the modelling. In Europe we can compare excess deaths in Sweden, which did not impose a lockdown, with excess deaths in other European countries, which did impose lockdowns. The excess deaths in Sweden are similar to these other countries. We see the same pattern in the USA where some states locked down and some didn't. Again, the excess deaths are similar in both groups. In other words the predictions of the scientists and their models that there would be astronomical numbers of deaths if lockdowns were not imposed were wrong. The number of deaths was more or less the same whether lockdowns were imposed or not.

If scientists and their models cannot be trusted to predict the spread of a virus a few weeks ahead, then how can they be trusted with a far more complex problem, to predict the evolution of the Earth's climate a few decades ahead?

Unfortunately Boris Johnson, having 'followed the Science' down the wrong turning of lockdown, was undaunted and proceeded to 'follow the science' down the wrong turning of Net Zero zealotry. He committed the U.K. to a rushed and half-baked Net Zero programme. In the U.K. we have already replaced all our coal-fired power stations with renewables, a move which may be considered reasonable. But he committed us to replacing all our gas-fired power stations with renewables such that by 2030 nearly all our energy generation will be from renewables. This is madness. Renewables are unreliable: sometimes the sun doesn't shine and the wind doesn't blow. To depend so heavily on renewables means that either we will suffer widespread power cuts or our electricity bills will increase to pay for costly back-up measures.

Electric car sales in the U.K. are already increasing but by 2030 Boris Johnson proposed a total ban on the sale of new petrol and diesel cars. This will cause hardship. Typically, electric cars cost considerably more than petrol or diesel cars and will be difficult for some people to afford. Whilst their running costs are lower the average motorist will never recoup the extra purchase cost. Also, the long charge times make electric cars inconvenient for some people. Fine if you do low mileage or have your own driveway, so the car can be charged overnight. But what about people who do high mileage or live in blocks of flats? Other major countries are not proposing bans on the sale of new petrol and diesel cars until much later: 2035 in the case of China, Germany, Italy, Japan and the USA; 2040 in the case of France and Spain; and not at all in the case of India.

Even if the U.K. were to achieve these ambitious Net Zero targets there would be little impact on Global Warming because countries with far bigger carbon footprints are moving much more slowly. The U.K. only produces 1% of the world's CO2 emissions, China produces nearly 30% and is not intending to make any reduction in CO2 emissions this decade. More generally, the developing world produces 63% of the world's CO2 emissions and the leaders of most of the countries in the developing world have been clear that achieving Net Zero is low on their list of priorities. Their primary goal, quite understandably, is to improve the living standards of their people, their housing, healthcare and education.

Realistically, the world will make more progress in reducing CO2 emissions if green technologies improve. If green technologies were to cost less than their fossil fuel equivalents and perform better then Net Zero would happen naturally and quickly. There are some promising new technologies, for example the development of smaller and cheaper nuclear reactors and possibly power stations fuelled by 'green hydrogen'.

Let us hope the next Prime Minister will abandon the Net Zero zealotry of his or her predecessor and instead adopt a more balanced policy. Firstly, be mindful of the limits of scientists and their models. The models may accurately predict the direction of travel – the more CO2 emitted the more the Earth will warm – but the magnitude of any temperature rise is highly uncertain. Secondly, remember that there are two words in 'global warming' and the first is 'global'. So the U.K. should not reduce its CO2 emissions at a pace faster than other countries, particularly those that are major emitters.

Dr. John Fernley is a retired scientist.

Michael Rolls

agree with every word. I get tired of typing it, and folk probably get tired of reading it - but the planet's climate is cyclical. 130 years ago there were phots of folk roasting an ox on the frozen Thames at Kingston. We are only just emerging from the most recent ice age - so it's getting warmer- surprise, surprise.
Mike
Thank you for the days, the days you gave me
[email protected]

Scrumpy


The weather is forever changing.. Heatwaves . droughts and big freezes.. torrential rain and flooding..
  So what's new..!!   What makes it any different now as to what it has always been.. !
Don't ask me.. I know nuffink..

Michael Rolls

Thank you for the days, the days you gave me
[email protected]

Raven

I know something is changing :shocked: certainly the Ice Caps ARE melting, and the animals that live there are going to go extinct if it doesn't stop.
1182950.jpg   

Cassandra

Quote from: Michael Rolls on July 09, 2022, 09:14:11 AMagree with every word. I get tired of typing it, and folk probably get tired of reading it - but the planet's climate is cyclical. 130 years ago there were phots of folk roasting an ox on the frozen Thames at Kingston. We are only just emerging from the most recent ice age - so it's getting warmer- surprise, surprise.
Mike

Neine, neine, dumbkopf

Maggot.jpg
My little Dog - A heartbeat at my feet ...

Scrumpy

Quote from: Raven on July 09, 2022, 12:33:25 PMI know something is changing :shocked: certainly the Ice Caps ARE melting, and the animals that live there are going to go extinct if it doesn't stop.
1182950.jpg 
 
Raven.. It is changing.. As it always has.. 
Don't ask me.. I know nuffink..

Diasi

There's mega-bucks to be made from trying to stop climate change.

20,000 years ago, where Dundee is, would have been an arctic environment, so what caused that warm up?
Make every day count, each day is precious.
"Death leaves a heartache no one can heal, love leaves a memory no one can steal".  (Cassandra)

klondike

Fred Flintstone in his car.