How to convince a climate skeptic he’s wrong

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Just the facts, Ma’am.

By Christopher Monckton of Brenchley | Guest Blogger | April 9, 2015 |

What Evidence,” asks Ronald Bailey’s headline (, April 3, 2015), “Would Convince You That Man-Made Climate Change Is Real?

The answer: a rational, scientific case rooted in established theory and data would convince me that manmade climate change is a problem. That it is real is not in doubt, for every creature that breathes out emits CO2 and thus affects the climate.

The true scientific question, then, is not the fatuous question whether “Man-Made Climate Change Is Real” but how much global warming our sins of emission may cause, and whether that warming might be more a bad thing than a good thing.

However, Mr Bailey advances no rational case. What, then, are the elements of a rational, scientific case that our influence on the climate will prove dangerous unless the West completes its current self-shutdown?

Here is the mountain the tax-gobbling classes who tend to favor profitable alarmism must climb before they can make out a rational, scientific case for doing anything about our greenhouse-gas emissions.

The tax-gobblers’ mighty mountain

Step 10. Would the benefit outweigh the cost?
Step 9. Can we afford the cost of CO2 mitigation?
Step 8. Will any realistic measures avert the danger?
Step 7. Will warmer worldwide weather be dangerous?
Step 6. Will temperature feedbacks amplify that warming?
Step 5. Will greenhouse-gas emissions cause much warming?
Step 4. Are humankind raising CO2 concentration substantially?
Step 3. Are humankind increasing atmospheric CO2 concentration?
Step 2. Is a consensus among climate experts compatible with science?
Step 1. Has any climate warming beyond natural variability taken place?

If the answer to the question at any Step from 1 to 10 on the stony path up the tax-gobblers’ mighty mountain is “No”, there is no rational, scientific basis for climbing any further. Unless one can legitimately reach the top by answering Yes to all ten questions, there is no credible justification for any investment of taxpayers’ funds in trying to make global warming go away.

The mountain that the tax-gobblers have to climb is tall, steep, and difficult. Every policy-maker must climb that mighty mountain, and none can justify shelling out a single red cent on thwarting Thermageddon until he shall have demonstrated, at each step, that there is rational, scientific justification for climbing above that step. Gird your loins, sharpen your crampons, and grip your cromach. Let us climb.

Step 1. Is global warming exceeding natural climate variability?



Step 2. Is consensus among climate experts scientific?

No. And there isn’t one anyway. A recent paper by paid propagandists trying to prove that there was a consensus inadvertently proved that there was not. Cook et al. (2013) claimed that 97.1% of 11,944 papers on “global climate change” endorsed the consensus, which they defined in their introduction as the “scientific consensus” that “most current warming” is anthropogenic. However, setting aside the fact that there has been no “current warming” for getting on for two embarrassing decades, the authors’ own data file shows that they had marked only 64 papers out of 11,944, a dizzying 0.5%, as endorsing the “consensus”.


Step 3. Are we all guilty of increasing CO2 concentration?

No, not necessarily. True, our emissions of CO2 and its atmospheric concentration are rising, but anthropogenic CO2 represents only 3% of the total free CO2 in the Earth-atmosphere system. But in logic – it cannot be repeated often enough – mere correlation does not necessary imply causation.

Professor Murry Salby, late of Macquarie University, Australia, has established that it is the time-integral of temperature changes that causes changes in CO2 concentration, leaving little or no room for any detectable anthropogenic contribution. He is not alone in his findings. If he is right, there is no need to posit any role for CO2 or other anthropogenic influences. On that analysis, climate sensitivity may well be zero.


Cross-correlations by Professor Salby between CO2 change and temperature change. He has found by detailed inspection that the observed record shows CO2 concentration change lagging temperature change by about 8-10 months, approximately the lag that would be expected on the basis of an atmospheric residence time of about 5 years. It is a settled principle of logic that that which occurs second cannot have caused that which occurred first.

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