Wednesday, 24 October 2018

What I Deny, and What I Do Not Deny

Recently, we’ve been bombarded by lots of hyped stories about global warming and climate change. (Not to mention pollution and “endangered species.”) There seems to be yet another concerted push by alarmists in governments, academe and media to try to make us accept draconian green policies that are based on nothing provably real. And more and more often, I find myself being castigated as a “denier.”

I thought it worth putting on the record my views on the matter; what I deny, and what I do not deny. I do this in the hope that those minded to call me “denier” may come to understand better my disagreements with the alarmist line. Perhaps, even, some may feel able to provide specific, objective evidence that I am wrong in one or more of my statements.

What I Do Not Deny

  1. I do not deny that there is such a thing as climate. I am not a “climate denier.”

  2. I do not deny that historically the Earth’s climate has changed, or that it is still changing. I am not a “climate change denier.”

  3. I do not deny that, according to historical temperature records, there has been a general tendency towards warming over the last 400 years or so. I am not a “global warming denier.”

  4. I do not deny that human activities affect the Earth’s climate to some extent; if only through urban heat islands.

  5. I do not deny that there is a plausible scientific hypothesis, according to which emissions of carbon dioxide, methane and other gases by human civilization might lead to some amount of warming, which would not have happened otherwise. I am not a “science denier.”

  6. I do not deny that the amount of carbon dioxide in the Earth’s atmosphere has, very probably, increased over the last 200 or so years.

  7. I do not deny that some, or perhaps much, of that increase in carbon dioxide has been due to human activities.

  8. I do not deny that, should the consequences of such a warming be proven beyond reasonable doubt to be a nett disbenefit to humankind, there is a case to be made for action to reduce or mitigate the disbenefit. Provided, of course, that the costs of the action are no greater than the disbenefit it is supposed to cure.

  9. I do not deny that I have a responsibility to compensate those to whom I cause significant and unjust harm through environmental or other side effects of my freely willed, uncoerced actions. Provided, of course, that they accept their responsibility to do the same for me.

  10. I do not deny that I can sometimes be wrong.
What I Deny
  1. I deny that the allegation that human activities are causing, or will in the foreseeable future cause, substantial global warming with catastrophic consequences (for example, through coastal flooding or more and stronger hurricanes) has been proven beyond reasonable doubt.

  2. I deny that the hypothesis, that a small temperature rise caused by human activities would lead to a much larger or even a runaway rise due to climate system feedbacks, is consistent with what is known about the Earth’s climate history.

  3. I deny that there is proof beyond reasonable doubt that any global temperature rise caused by human activities would be significantly greater than the likely effects of non-human-caused climate variations over a similar time period.

  4. I deny that, even if human activities were to cause a moderate amount (a few degrees C) of global warming, there is objective evidence that the nett effect on the planet and on human civilization would be negative. Indeed, human civilization has tended to thrive in past warm periods, such as the Minoan and the Roman.

  5. I deny that, even if human activities did cause some global warming and that warming did have some nett negative effects, the costs of the schemes currently implemented or proposed to reduce or mitigate these effects would be any less than the benefits from the mitigation. Very probably, the costs will be (indeed, they already are) hugely greater than any “benefits.”

  6. I deny that any reasonable interpretation of the precautionary principle can require any such mitigation action to be taken without first making an honest, objective and accurate comparison of the costs and benefits of the action.

  7. I deny that any reasonable interpretation of the precautionary principle can require any political action to be taken on a matter unless and until the science on that matter is good enough to do an objective and accurate cost-benefit analysis.

  8. I deny that any reasonable interpretation of the precautionary principle can shift the burden of proof in any matter away from those that seek political action towards those who would be negatively affected by such action, or can negate the general presumption of “innocent until proven guilty.”

  9. I deny that in situations where facts are uncertain, values are in dispute, stakes are high or decisions are claimed to be urgent, there should be any lessening of the rigour with which risk analysis should be done. Indeed, such situations increase the need for risks to be assessed objectively and accurately.

  10. I deny that there is something called “the environment” that has “rights” that override the rights of human beings to live and act according to our nature.

  11. I deny that I am obliged to feel any kind of communal guilt over unproven negative effects on the planet that may be, might be, or might in the future be, caused by human civilization.

  12. I deny that those driving the “global warming” and other environmental scares truly have any concern for Western civilization or for the people in it.

  13. I deny that the conduct of the “science” on matters such as global warming and pollution has been always honest and in accord with the scientific method.

  14. I deny that the general standard of reporting on these matters by alarmist organizations, the academic establishment or the mainstream media has been truthful, unbiased and honest.

  15. I deny that, in these matters, governments have been open and honest, and have acted in good faith towards the people they are supposed to “represent.”

  16. I deny that any amount of hype, posturing or repetition from politicians, academics, media or anyone else can make a falsehood into a truth.

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