More cooling from The Economist

The Economist likes to have a bob each way, but can’t escape the reality:

But there’s no way around the fact that this reprieve for the planet is bad news for proponents of policies, such as carbon taxes and emissions treaties, meant to slow warming by moderating the release of greenhouse gases. The reality is that the already meagre prospects of these policies, in America at least, will be devastated if temperatures do fall outside the lower bound of the projections that environmentalists have used to create a panicked sense of emergency. Whether or not dramatic climate-policy interventions remain advisable, they will become harder, if not impossible, to sell to the public, which will feel, not unreasonably, that the scientific and media establishment has cried wolf.

Here is the nub of the problem (emphasis in bold added):

This isn’t a crisis for climate science. This is just the way science goes. But it is a crisis for climate-policy advocates who based their arguments on the authority of scientific consensus. …

But his [Nate Cohn of the New Republic] attempt to minimise the political relevance of this is unconvincing. He writes:

The recent wave of news and magazine articles about scientists struggling to explain the warming slowdown could prolong or deepen the public’s skepticism. But the “consensus” never extended to the intricacies of the climate system, just the core belief that additional greenhouse gas emissions would warm the planet.

If this is true, then the public has been systematically deceived. As it has been presented to the public, the scientific consensus extended precisely to that which is now seems to be in question: the sensitivity of global temperature to increases in atmospheric carbon dioxide. Indeed, if the consensus had been only that greenhouse gases have some warming effect, there would have been no obvious policy implications at all.

So while The Economist is still giving itself some wriggle room:

There is no serious doubt that our planet continues to heat, but it has heated less than most climate scientists had predicted. … [and] Mr Cohn does his best to affirm that the urgent necessity of acting to retard warming has not abated, as does Brad Plumer of the Washington Post, as does this newspaper.

The Economist is indicating, “the public has been systematically deceived”. At least, on the appropriate policy responses.

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15 Responses to More cooling from The Economist

  1. Karl Kessel

    The other thing about the pause is that those who were worried about AGW should be celebrating.

    If, say, an asteroid had been on course to hit the planet but it was then shown that the observations were wrong and that we were safe there should be celebrations from those most concerned. Instead those most concerned are desperately inventing ‘hidden heat’ (under a pillow or in the deep ocean) to explain how they have not been exaggerating.

  2. Well, let’s be clear here: the column in question is an Economist hosted blog – which means one has to be careful about indicating that it is an editorial position of the magazine itself.

    Furthermore, it is by Will Wilkinson, who has an MA in Philosophy (shades of all the appropriate qualifications of Monckton, then) and Wikipedia tells me he was a research fellow at the Cato Institute until 2010, editted their monthly web magazine, and used to call himself a Libertarian, although he now rejects the label. His expertise seems to be acknowledged to be in the field of “happiness research”.

    No wonder his conclusion that the public has been “systematically deceived” is utterly crap and unjustified. Everything from his background indicates he can be safely dismissed with a “he would say that, wouldn’t he.”

    There is no indication at all that he follows the science and economic arguments with any care in this article.

  3. Rabz

    This isn’t a crisis for climate science. This is just the way science goes.

    The concept of “Climate Science” is a contradiction in terms.

    The chimera of catastrophic human induced climate change has always been utterly preposterous, evidence free hysteria cited as ‘settled’ science, solely for the purpose of lowering the standard of living across the globe and providing perfect cover for an agenda of increased taxation and regulation, as well as reduced individual freedom.

    In other words, as usual, “science” had bugger all to do with the reality.

  4. If this is true, then the public has been systematically deceived.

    I remember the day on Tim Blairs site when the emails finally surfaced this was going to be a catastrophe for the public perception of scientific integrity. Crying wolf indeed. The damage will take a generation to repair, and it was all over a few billion in funding.

  5. Tom

    Couldn’t have put it better myself, Rabz. As Dr Roy Spencer says, “what else could it be?” is not a sufficient standard of proof, especially when observation tells us that climate pulses in cycles of 30-40 years. Today’s climate is quite different from the 1960s climate. Yeah, and? When do you suppose they’ll start work on actually proving up their thesis — know how, that CO2 is the primary driver of global temperature — instead of doctoring the temperature record and campaigning to destroy capitalism in conjunction with the Greens? Or do they know how childish and anti-intuitive it is and won’t even bother? When will Michael Mann go to gaol as a common fraudster and embezzler? Will he share a cell with James Hansen?

  6. Makka

    Like everything else the Left has attempted, they screwed this AGW fantasy up badly and are now exposed for the manipulating liars and incompetents they are – all for the propogation of their totalitarian agenda. The really dumb thing is that mindless people willingly hand over $Billions in earned income (ie Taxes) to gain this precious knowledge of the Left.

    This is why Conservatives need to address the core biasses with which the Left have infected our education systems . While the Left control carricula and Universities we will see this stupidity over and over again. At enormous cost. Every journalist received his Left injection at University.

  7. inedible hyperbowl

    In the state of Victoria, can anyone with legal training tell me why the AGW alarmists should not be charged with “obtaining financial advantage by deception”?
    They have taken money from the state. The deception is clear and unambiguous.

  8. Bruce

    The Economist is looking decidedly schizo on global warming lately. On the other hand there’re distinct signs that they are being slowly colonized and absorbed by the green progressive Keynesian blobmonster, like all mainstream media, so its no surprise they are finding it hard to get the green vampires out of their neck.

    In case you think TE has reformed, here is the article I read a few minutes ago.

    Unburnable Fuel – Energy Firms and Climate Change

    This appears to be based on press releases by the Grantham Institute and from the IEA, which if anyone reads the climate news are so iridescently green you could light a marijuana hydro setup using the light from their orifices.

    Then last issue they have a glowing green write up on wind power, which neglects completely to mention that wind energy does not actually save much CO2 (due to coal fired power station and open cycle gas backup inefficiencies) nor the hypocritical carnage inflicted on the migratory bird and bat population of the US and other countries.

    I am still a subscriber, it is hard to pull the plug out of the machine which goes ping and consign the patient to that icy place where resides my past subscriptions to New Scientist, Scientific American and NatGeo. But oh how I wish these small signs of sceptical realism would infect this magazine! Which I have loved…

    Unfortunately if they do get sceptical it wont help their progressive colonization problem. Keynesian economics and progressive looniness works really well to bankrupt magazines which are supposed to be bought by us righties. Do they have a death wish?

  9. wreckage

    Wait, they’re saying that “inevitable catastrophic CO2 driven warming” might be a complete and total pile of BS but they still support actions and laws that can only be cost-benefit justified by the goriest of worst-case scenarios?

    It’s a lie, a damned lie, but we stand by our earlier calls to to horrific damage on the basis of it?

  10. jupes

    It’s a lie, a damned lie, but we stand by our earlier calls to to horrific damage on the basis of it?

    Has there ever been a more moronic generation? History will rightly remember us as the stupidest generation.

  11. JC


    My understanding is that partridge is limited to one half way relevant novel comment.

    This is just the sludge he posted everyday.”

  12. Gab

    Yeah, I made similar comment yesterday, JC. I think Sinclair has given up hope of “interesting” comment and simply allows him to post one comment per day.

  13. Jim Rose

    I stop reading the economist on a regular basis years ago.

  14. Jim Rose

    how long does the cooling have to last to become a break in trend. But that assumes a known trend

  15. Mk50 of Brisbane, Henchman to the VRWC

    jim, 15 years of alleged warminess based on fraudulently manipulating the data = incontrovertable proof to give greenfilth tens of billions.

    18 years of no warming at all based on satellite data = no reason whatsover to pull the greenfilther’s snouts from the trough.

    because shutupshutupshutup.

    I think that sums up their position quite neatly.

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