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Is climate alarmist consensus about to shatter?

Foreword by Paul Driessen

A new study by climatologists Nicholas Lewis and Judith Curry concludes that Earth’s “equilibrium climate sensitivity” (ECS) to more atmospheric carbon dioxide is as much as 50% lower than climate alarmists have been claiming. That their paper was published in the Journal of Climate  suggests that the asserted “97% consensus” of climate experts may be eroding.

Or as Cornwall Alliance founder Cal Beisner puts it (paraphrasing Winston Churchill) it may not be the beginning of the end of climate alarmism. But it could be the end of the beginning of alarmism as the dominant, ever-victorious tenet of our times.

Indeed, say other noted climatologists, there are good reasons to think ECS and alarmist errors are even greater than 50 percent. For one thing, there is no persuasive reason to assume our planet’s climate system and deep ocean temperatures were ever in “energy balance” back in the late 1800s – so we can’t know whether or how much they might be “out of balance” today. Moreover, solar, volcanic and ocean current variations could be sufficient to explain all the global warming over the period of allegedly anthropogenic warming – which means there is no global warming left to blame on carbon dioxide.

If this is indeed the case, there is no justification for the punitive, job-killing, poverty-prolonging energy policies that “climate consensus” and “renewable energy” proponents have been demanding.

Is climate alarmist consensus about to shatter?

Is this the Beginning of the End – or at least the End of the Beginning?

E. Calvin Beisner

On November 10, 1942, after British and Commonwealth forces defeated the Germans and Italians at the Second Battle of El Alamein, Winston Churchill told the British Parliament, “Now this is not the end. It is not even the beginning of the end. But it is, perhaps, the end of the beginning.”

In The Hinge of Fate, volume 3 of his marvelous 6-volume history of World War II, he reflected, “It may almost be said, ‘Before Alamein we never had a victory. After Alamein we never had a defeat’.”

The publication of Nicholas Lewis and Judith Curry’s newest paper in The Journal of Climate reminds me of that. The two authors for years have focused much of their work on figuring out how much warming should come from adding carbon dioxide to the atmosphere. In this paper they conclude that it’s at least 30% and probably 50% less than climate alarmists have claimed for the last forty years.

In fact, there are reasons to think the alarmists’ error is even greater than 50 percent. And if that is true, then all the reasons for drastic policies to cut carbon dioxide emissions – by replacing coal, oil and natural gas with wind and solar as dominant energy sources – simply disappear. Here’s another important point.

For the last 15 years or more, at least until a year or two ago, it would have been inconceivable that The Journal of Climate would publish their article. That this staunch defender of climate alarmist “consensus science” does so now could mean the alarmist dam has cracked, the water’s pouring through, and the crack will spread until the whole dam collapses.

Is this the beginning of the end of climate alarmists’ hold on climate science and policy, or the end of the beginning? Is it the Second Battle of El Alamein, or is it D-Day? I don’t know, but it is certainly significant. It may well be that henceforth the voices of reason and moderation will never suffer a defeat.

Shattered Consensus: The True State of Global Warming was edited 13 years ago by climatologist Patrick J. Michaels, then Research Professor of Environmental Sciences at the University of Virginia and the State Climatologist of Virginia; now Senior Fellow in Environmental Studies at the Cato Institute. Its title was at best premature.

The greatly exaggerated “consensus” – that unchecked human emissions of carbon dioxide and other “greenhouse” gases would cause potentially catastrophic global warming – wasn’t shattered then, and it hasn’t shattered since then. At least, that’s the case if the word “shattered” means what happens when you drop a piece of fine crystal on a granite counter top: instantaneous disintegration into tiny shards.

However, although premature and perhaps a bit hyperbolic, the title might have been prophetic.