IT SEEMS that the United Nations (UN) and governments across the world have abandoned rational thought about climate change. Rather than focus on preparing for the very real problems of a continually changing climate, they concentrate instead on the scientifically impossible goal of "stopping climate change". They seem to have flown away to Neverland.
Peter Pan author JM Barrie tells us that Neverlands are found in the minds of children. There, with the assistance of fairy dust, Peter Pan can fly and teaches children to ignore their common sense and soar as well. Peter claims greatness, is able to feel danger when it is near, and can even imagine things into existence. There is almost nothing the hero of Neverland cannot do — provided he stays childlike and forgets everything he learns about the real world.
Reality for the UN and most politicians is now more determined by what imaginative climate activists say than what science and observational evidence actually show. December’s UN climate conference in Paris is a case in point.
Sounding like an episode out of Barrie’s fairy tale, politicians pledged to prevent "global temperature" from rising more than 2C. That we are as yet unable to meaningfully forecast climate decades in advance, let alone control it, didn’t matter. Humankind has a global thermostat, they imagine.
Delegates believed that scientists have Peter Pan-like powers to sense climate danger decades in advance. They dream that today’s global climate models, simulations that utterly failed to forecast the current 18-year "pause" in warming provide legislators with the "unequivocal" knowledge they need to enact trillion-dollar energy policies.
To back up their extraordinary claims, we are told that there is an overwhelming consensus of scientists who agree with the UN’s position. Thousands of well-qualified sceptics are imagined out of existence.
On December 7, the Nongovernmental International Panel on Climate Change (NIPCC) released the report "Why Scientists Disagree About Global Warming." Authored by climatologist Dr Craig Idso of the Centre for the Study of Carbon Dioxide and Global Change in Arizona; geologist Dr Robert Carter, former head of the department of earth sciences at James Cook University in Australia; and physicist Dr S Fred Singer, emeritus professor of environmental sciences at the University of Virginia, the new report refutes the claims of climate alarmists. For example, the NIPCC states:
• "There is no survey or study showing consensus on the most important scientific issues in the climate change debate."
• "Neither the rate nor the magnitude of the reported late twentieth century surface warming lay outside normal natural variability."
• "No evidence exists that … (a future warming of 2°C) would be net harmful to the global environment or to human well-being."
• "No close correlation exists between temperature variation over the past 150 years and human-related carbon dioxide emissions."
• "General circulation models systematically over-estimate the sensitivity of climate to carbon dioxide."
• "Melting of Arctic sea ice and polar icecaps is not occurring at unnatural rates."
• "Sea-level rise is not accelerating."
• "No convincing relationship has been established between warming over the past 100 years and increases in extreme weather events."
The naïve crusade to stop the world’s climate from changing might be laughable were it not for its cost and other effects. The November report of the San Francisco-based Climate Policy Initiative shows that $395bn was spent in 2014 on climate finance. Of this, only 6% went to helping vulnerable people adapt to climate change in the present. The rest was spent on mitigation, trying to affect events that may or may not happen someday.
Letting people suffer today so as to possibly help those yet to be born is immoral.
After drinking the poison, Captain Hook had intended for Peter Pan, Tinker Bell survived only because children across the world clapped loudly to show their belief in fairies. Activists clearly believe that the climate scare will also survive as long as politicians keep clapping. Its time they stopped and let this, the most expensive hoax in the history of science, die.
• Harris is executive director of the Ottawa-based International Climate Science Coalition