Just another signpost on the road to Sensible-land. Remember how skeptics were the fringe minority, the dying dinosaurs, and there were only a few left on the planet? That was last week. Suddenly, begrudgingly, being a skeptic is fashionable (but still wrong, of course). This is “fashionable” in the sense of popular but meaningless, not storming Gucci-type chic, more like getting a high-def TV built into the fridge door. It’s trendy but essentially useless. (By the way, the cool TV has a remote control, DVD and FM radio so you… don’t have to get off the kitchen floor. I suppose it’s just a matter of time before the TV in the family-room will get a fridge built in?)
But I digress.
The Telegraph has the headline “Global warming – there’s hope amid the gloom” .
Geoffrey Lean tells us “scepticism has replaced concern about climate change”, and you and I might think, that therefore, global leaders ought to pay attention to their citizens. But Lean says more skepticism means world leaders have to shout at the punters even louder. Never, ever assume the voters are right.
Lean hasn’t read Marcel Crok and Nicholas Lewis’s report about climate sensitivity being lower now than past IPCC estimates:
“Here we go again. On Monday the world’s governments and top climate scientists will publish the most devastating assessment yet of what global warming threatens to do to the planet.”
The last thing any fan of climate fear wants is for a repeat of Copenhagen. So look out for the PR-theme for Paris 2016. Firstly we-the-friends-of-the-IPCC must reduce expectations, secondly (contradictorily) we must not be too pessimistic and well, alarmist about our chances of getting a more global bureaucracy. Thirdly, repeat after me, it’s different this time.
As Lean says:
World leaders will meet in New York in September to address climate change for the first time since the ill-fated 2009 Copenhagen summit. Then they assemble again in Paris in December next year to try once more to conclude a pact to reduce emissions of carbon dioxide and other greenhouses gases. But they are approaching it in a very different atmosphere from five years ago.
Not that I’m suggesting that Lean got instructions on how to do this, just that all the people hoping Paris is not another Copenhagen will probably adopt similar strategies intuitively.
Here’s the lowered expectations, combined with a token red herring scapegoat:
Last time, such warnings were almost universally accepted, but they now fall on much more sceptical ears. That is partly because the predecessor to Monday’s report contained several inaccuracies, most notably vastly overestimating the rate at which Himalayan glaciers are melting.
If only the IPCC had double checked the Himalayan Glaciers, it might have panned out alright then?
Here’s the line admitting the skeptics are winning, and look out, the Copenhagen pain was so bad it left scars:
Over the intervening years, fashionable scepticism has replaced fashionable concern over climate change. And government leaders, traumatised by their experience in Copenhagen, have tended to stay quiet.
Those poor government leaders forced to sit through cold waste-of-time meetings. The pain. The pain!
Can they lower expectations more than this? Sure, but there must be hope left too:
So while expectations were sky-high for what was dubbed “Hopenhagen”, they are rock-bottom for Paris next year. Yet it is possible that the present pessimism is equally misplaced. For there have also been more positive changes.
Then sigh, there is the obligatory myth making about “momentum” and how really good things are happening:
Almost unnoticed in Britain, the two main obstacles to agreement in the Danish capital – the United States and China – are taking a lead in combating global warming, no small thing considering that they together account for two-fifths of world emissions. President Obama – who privately feels his record on climate change was the biggest failure of his first term – has made it a top priority for his second.
China of course has gone cold on climate change and is building as many coal powered stations as ever. Obama, has “said stuff”.
Normal caveats apply: Skeptics are winning, but apart from that, not much has changed. The institutions, organisations and people pretending to be scientific are still getting paid (and by us). The junkets continue, and the legislation is still on the table. Sigh. There is much to be done.