Matt Ridley: A Lukewarmer Against Dogmatism

Posted: January 22, 2015 by tallbloke in alarmism, Analysis, flames
Tags: ,

Reposted from Matt Ridley’s blog

Matt-RidleyI am a climate lukewarmer. That means I think recent global warming is real, mostly man-made and will continue but I no longer think it is likely to be dangerous and I think its slow and erratic progress so far is what we should expect in the future. That last year was the warmest yet, in some data sets, but only by a smidgen more than 2005, is precisely in line with such lukewarm thinking.

This view annoys some sceptics who think all climate change is natural or imaginary, but it is even more infuriating to most publicly funded scientists and politicians, who insist climate change is a big risk. My middle-of-the-road position is considered not just wrong, but disgraceful, shameful, verging on scandalous. I am subjected to torrents of online abuse for holding it, very little of it from sceptics.

I was even kept off the shortlist for a part-time, unpaid public-sector appointment in a field unrelated to climate because of having this view, or so the headhunter thought. In the climate debate, paying obeisance to climate scaremongering is about as mandatory for a public appointment, or public funding, as being a Protestant was in 18th-century England.

Kind friends send me news almost weekly of whole blog posts devoted to nothing but analysing my intellectual and personal inadequacies, always in relation to my views on climate. Writing about climate change is a small part of my life but, to judge by some of the stuff that gets written about me, writing about me is a large part of the life of some of the more obsessive climate commentators. It’s all a bit strange. Why is this debate so fractious?

Rather than attack my arguments, my critics like to attack my motives. I stand accused of “wanting” climate change to be mild because I support free markets or because I receive income indirectly from the mining of coal in Northumberland. Two surface coal mines (which I do not own), operating without subsidies, do indeed dig coal partly from land that I own. They pay me a fee, as I have repeatedly declared in speeches, books and articles.

I do think that coal, oil and gas have been a good thing so far, by giving us an alternative to cutting down forests and killing whales, by supplying fertiliser to feed the world, by giving the global poor affordable energy, and so on. But instead of defending the modern coal industry I write and speak extensively in favour of gas, the biggest competitive threat to coal’s share of the electricity market. If we can phase out coal without causing too much suffering, then I would not object.

Besides, I could probably earn even more from renewable energy. As a landowner, I am astonished by the generosity of the offers I keep receiving for green-energy subsidies. Wind farm developers in smart suits dangle the prospect of tens of thousands of pounds per turbine on my land — and tens of turbines. A solar developer wrote to me recently saying he could offer more than a million pounds of income over 25 years if I were to cover some particular fields with solar panels. Many big country houses have installed subsidised wood-fired heating to the point where you can hear their Canalettos cracking. I argue against such subsidies, so I don’t take them.

I was not always a lukewarmer. When I first started writing about the threat of global warming more than 26 years ago, as science editor ofThe Economist, I thought it was a genuinely dangerous threat. Like, for instance, Margaret Thatcher, I accepted the predictions being made at the time that we would see warming of a third or a half a degree (Centigrade) a decade, perhaps more, and that this would have devastating consequences.

Gradually, however, I changed my mind. The failure of the atmosphere to warm anywhere near as rapidly as predicted was a big reason: there has been less than half a degree of global warming in four decades — and it has slowed down, not speeded up. Increases in malaria, refugees, heatwaves, storms, droughts and floods have not materialised to anything like the predicted extent, if at all. Sea level has risen but at a very slow rate — about a foot per century.

Also, I soon realised that all the mathematical models predicting rapid warming assume big amplifying feedbacks in the atmosphere, mainly from water vapour; carbon dioxide is merely the primer, responsible for about a third of the predicted warming. When this penny dropped, so did my confidence in predictions of future alarm: the amplifiers are highly uncertain.

Another thing that gave me pause was that I went back and looked at the history of past predictions of ecological apocalypse from my youth – population explosion, oil exhaustion, elephant extinction, rainforest loss, acid rain, the ozone layer, desertification, nuclear winter, the running out of resources, pandemics, falling sperm counts, cancerous pesticide pollution and so forth. There was a consistent pattern of exaggeration, followed by damp squibs: in not a single case was the problem as bad as had been widely predicted by leading scientists. That does not make every new prediction of apocalypse necessarily wrong, of course, but it should encourage scepticism.

What sealed my apostasy from climate alarm was the extraordinary history of the famous “hockey stick” graph, which purported to show that today’s temperatures were higher and changing faster than at any time in the past thousand years. That graph genuinely shocked me when I first saw it and, briefly in the early 2000s, it persuaded me to abandon my growing doubts about dangerous climate change and return to the “alarmed” camp.

Then I began to read the work of two Canadian researchers, Steve McIntyre and Ross McKitrick. They and others have shown, as confirmed by the National Academy of Sciences in the United States, that the hockey stick graph, and others like it, are heavily reliant on dubious sets of tree rings and use inappropriate statistical filters that exaggerate any 20th-century upturns.

What shocked me more was the scientific establishment’s reaction to this: it tried to pretend that nothing was wrong. And then a flood of emails was leaked in 2009 showing some climate scientists apparently scheming to withhold data, prevent papers being published, get journal editors sacked and evade freedom-of-information requests, much as sceptics had been alleging. That was when I began to re-examine everything I had been told about climate change and, the more I looked, the flakier the prediction of rapid warming seemed.

I am especially unimpressed by the claim that a prediction of rapid and dangerous warming is “settled science”, as firm as evolution or gravity. How could it be? It is a prediction! No prediction, let alone in a multi-causal, chaotic and poorly understood system like the global climate, should ever be treated as gospel. With the exception of eclipses, there is virtually nothing scientists can say with certainty about the future. It is absurd to argue that one cannot disagree with a forecast. Is the Bank of England’s inflation forecast infallible?

Incidentally, my current view is still consistent with the “consensus” among scientists, as represented by the reports of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. The consensus is that climate change is happening, not that it is going to be dangerous. The latest IPCC report gives a range of estimates of future warming, from harmless to terrifying. My best guess would be about one degree of warming during this century, which is well within the IPCC’s range of possible outcomes.

Yet most politicians go straight to the top of the IPCC’s range and call climate change things like “perhaps the world’s most fearsome weapon of mass destruction” (John Kerry), requiring the expenditure of trillions of dollars. I think that is verging on grotesque in a world full of war, hunger, disease and poverty. It also means that environmental efforts get diverted from more urgent priorities, like habitat loss and invasive species.

The policies being proposed to combat climate change, far from being a modest insurance policy, are proving ineffective, expensive, harmful to poor people and actually bad for the environment: we are tearing down rainforests to grow biofuels and ripping up peat bogs to install windmills that still need fossil-fuel back-up. These policies are failing to buy any comfort for our wealthy grandchildren and are doing so on the backs of today’s poor. Some insurance policy.

To begin with, after I came out as a lukewarmer, I would get genuine critiques from scientists who disagreed with me and wanted to exchange views. I had long and time-consuming email exchanges or conversations with several such scientists.
Yet I grew steadily more sceptical as, one by one, they failed to answer my doubts. They often resorted to meta-arguments, especially the argument from authority: if the Royal Society says it is alarmed, then you should be alarmed. If I want argument from authority, I replied, I will join the Catholic Church. “These are just standard denialist talking points” scoffed another prominent scientist, unpersuasively, when I raised objections — as if that answered them.

My experience with sceptical scientists, many of them distinguished climatologists at leading universities, was different. The more I probed, the better their data seemed. They did not resort to the argument from authority. Sometimes I disagreed with them or thought they went too far. I have yet to be convinced, for example, that changes in the output of the sun caused the warming of the 1980s and 1990s — an idea that some espouse. So for the most part, I found myself persuaded by the middle-of-the-road, “lukewarm” argument – that CO2-induced warming is likely but it won’t be large, fast or damaging.

Then a funny thing happened a few years ago. Those who disagreed with me stopped pointing out politely where or why they disagreed and started calling me names. One by one, many of the most prominent people in the climate debate began to throw vitriolic playground abuse at me. I was “paranoid”, “specious”, “risible”, “self-defaming”, “daft”, “lying”, “irrational”, an “idiot”. Their letters to the editor or their blog responses asserted that I was “error-riddled” or had seriously misrepresented something, but then they not only failed to substantiate the charge but often roughly confirmed what I had written.

I have seen bad-tempered polarisation of scientific debates before, for example during the nature-nurture debates of the 1970s and 1980s between those who thought genes affected behaviour and those who thought upbringing was overwhelmingly important. That debate grew vicious. What caused the polarisation, I realised then, was not just that people on one side read the articles they agreed with, reinforcing their prejudices, but something more. They relied on extreme distortions of their enemies’ arguments, written by self-appointed guardians of the flame on their own side, so they were constantly attacking straw men.

It’s the same here. Most of the people who attack me seem to think I am a “denier” of climate change because that’s what a few hyperventilating bloggers keep saying about me. It’s not, of course, true. It’s these flame guardians who polarise such debates.

The most prolific of them is a man named Bob Ward. Although employed at the London School of Economics, he is not a researcher or lecturer, but policy and communications director, somebody whose day job is to defend the climate orthodoxy in the media. Some might call him a spin doctor. It appears to me that he feels compelled to write something rude about me every time I publish on this topic and although his letters to editors are often published, he throws an online tantrum if they are not. He is hilariously obsessed with my peerage, lovingly reciting my title every time he attacks me, like a Bertie Woosterish snob.

As an example of playing the man and not the ball, Ward and Lord Deben, chairman of the government’s official committee on climate change, are both wont to mock the fact that my Oxford DPhil thesis in 1983 was on the behaviour of birds. Good luck to them but I notice they don’t mock the fact that the DPhil thesis of Lord Krebs was also on birds, earned in the very same research group as me: the Edward Grey Institute of Field Ornithology. Lord Krebs is the chairman of the adaptation subcommittee of the committee on climate change.

John Krebs, a fine scientist and superb lecturer, was the internal examiner of my thesis, which he praised at the time, after telling me to correct a couple of silly mistakes he had spotted in the calculation of a probability result. I did so. Imagine my surprise when he recently told several separate people (who reported it to me) that I should not be listened to on climate change because my DPhil thesis, all those years ago, contained mathematical errors. Lord May even used this argument against me in a debate in the House of Lords: that because I got a number wrong in a calculation 31 years ago, I cannot ever be right again. This is the kind of hilarious thing that happens to you if you come out as a lukewarmer.

Talking of the committee on climate change, last year Lord Deben commissioned an entire reportto criticise something I had said. Among other howlers, it included a quotation from the IPCC but the quote had a large chunk cut from the middle. When this cut was restored the line supported me, not Lord Deben. When I pointed this out politely to Lord Deben, he refused to restore the excision and left the document unchanged on the committee’s website. Presenting quotations so they appear to mean something different from what they do is quite a sin in journalism. Apparently not in Whitehall committees.

I suppose all this fury means my arguments are hitting home. If they were easily demolished they would demolish them rather than try to demolish me. Many of the things that I was abused for saying have since proved to be right. I was one of the first to write an article in the mainstream media (in The Wall Street Journal in 2012) arguing that the latest data supported much lower estimates of climate sensitivity (the amount of warming induced by a doubling of carbon dioxide levels) than those being assumed by the models used by the IPCC.

This produced the usual vituperation online from about a dozen high-profile science commentators with nothing better to do. Since then four papers (the latest being this one) have appeared in the scientific literature, authored by very prominent climate scientists, giving low estimates of climate sensitivity, some even lower than I had said. I am waiting for my critics to acknowledge that my story was sound.

I have never met a climate sceptic, let alone a lukewarmer, who wants his opponents silenced. I wish I could say the same of those who think climate change is an alarming prospect.

  1. Paul Vaughan says:

    Lukewarmism is dark, fake, & deliberately deceptive.

    Lukewarmists sell themselves as pragmatic angels of the social & political center, but by deliberately artificial design (intended to inspire shift on a political axis) lukewarmism devilishly interpolates between
    (a) severely egregious misrepresentations of nature &
    (b) abstract modeling fantasy.

    Lukewarmist thought-policing campaigns are excessively militant in their vicious drive to aggressively shut down enlightenment. Lukewarmism ends up appearing born out of dark malicious hatred of observed nature.

    – –

    The sun is the heart pumping Earth’s circulation (…and hence its water cycle):

  2. tallbloke says:

    Paul: Matt Ridley isn’t trying to thought police anyone. It’s worth noting that he does give solar a mention in his article, without telling anyone what to think about that. He’s also open to discussing solar related theories. He asked some intelligent questions at Henrik Svensmark’s lecture last November, and has been in contact with me so I can supply him with relevant papers. He had been misled to believe that solar doesn’t correlate with surface temperature, and is now aware there is more to the issue than meets the eye.

  3. Doug Proctor says:

    Paul Vaughan says:
    January 22, 2015 at 4:30 pm
    Lukewarmism is dark, fake, & deliberately deceptive.

    Beyond satire ….

    My thoughts, not necessarily yours on why the Climate wars involves so much yelling on the Warmist side:

    Our unrecognized assumption about dispute resolution in general, not just vis-a-vis the climate debate, is that the disputants are rational beings seeking rational ways to find common ground and truth. Reason is supposed to prevail, not emotions. Why? Because we had a revolution in thinking a couple of centuries ago in Europe. Intellectuals determined that the better way to truth was through logic, making expectation match observation. And thus the Church fell down. So did reliance on the Ancient Greeks.

    But is that the way we are built? Are we, inside, prone to that or do we express ourselves like that because, socially, we are encouraged to do so? I’d say the latter.

    We think rationally and speak rationally when the disconnect between the world and our belief becomes too large in the community for us to avoid censure. Until then, we think and speak as our emotions drive us.

    We don’t like to think of ourselves this way. But we have no problem if we think of those in “less developed” societies. They do and say “crazy” things all the time, we “know”.

    There is a great example of an exteme case in Matt Croucher’s book, “Bullet Proof”. Bullet Proof is an account of his experiences as a British Commando in the Middle East in the Iraq and Afghanistan wars. One day he was performing guard duty at a warehouse in Baghdad, alongside a number of Iraqis. The powers-that-be had put members of two tribes together, and they got into disputes regularly, each group taking a tribal position. One got out of hand, someone got shot and the Commandos had to wade in before they let loose with their AK-47s . It was almost a massacre, yet (pg. 147, paperback, Arrow Books 2010):

    “A short while later everything was back to normal again … They were even getting on with each other as if nothing had happened. Arabs,” he comments, “are a strange bunch. … It was bizarre. …. Both tribes were sitting and smoking together as if nothing has [sic] happened …”

    “That guy tried to kill you the other day, and now you are friends,” Croucher says to one of them.
    “I know…” the reply comes, “It was just a misunderstanding.”

    The exchange here shows the emotional justification for our actions that is the basic drive of us as humans. It is not an Iraqi “thing”; everyone of us could give an equal example. In the Croucher tale, though, the character understood and was fine with going ballistic over a “misunderstanding” and then coming to an absolute 180 degree change of opinion later. When we are angry or upset, we grab the near and obvious way to react but when we are allowed by our community, as he was, we can admit it. The Iraqi explains:

    “… It was so out of character for me. The heat of the moment, you see? You understand?”

    The “less developed” understand human nature better than the “more developed”, an irony of ironies.

    It is only the European raised in a culture where he is supposed to behave through the exercise of reason and not emotion – or ego, which is emotion based – that finds this “bizarre”. Reasoning is an imposed way of doing things, artificial and new.

    This is what I see as the basis of the climate dispute (and, actually, the extreme Islam-West cultural dispute also). The Bill McKibbens and Bob Wards are seized emotionally. There is enough wiggle room in what the authorities say (the IPCC no less than the Bible or the Quran) that observation doesn’t have to match expectation. Reason is not necessary to come to a conclusion, and since it is not necessary, the emotional, internal tendency prevails. The warmists don’t understand what is going on, and even if they could, unlike the Iraqi in Croucher’s tale, they wouldn’t be able to admit that their emotional state was in charge. The Iraqi, to his credit, recognizes that the moment was a moment. The McKibbens and Wards can’t; they see themselves as purely rational beings. If they think something is outrageous, it isn’t outrageous right now, and not later, but universally and forever outrageous. They can’t back down or admit otherwise.

    Lukewarmers are attacked as much as outright skeptics by the warmists because the dispute is not based on reason. There is too much “wiggle room” to kick out the emotional drive. It is telling to me that in the 28 years of research the IPCC still have less-than-nothing to planetary catastrophe range – and that the public, not just the politicians, don’t find that unacceptable. Somehow we are to believe that mathematically driven scenarios that are mostly linear for the next 85 years can jump from the bottom of the line to the top of the line. Why, if reason prevails, doesn’t that demolish the whole CAGW narrative? Because reason doesn’t have to prevail. Emotions are sufficient.

    It is of interest that Ridley notes skeptics and lukewarmers do not shriek and attack the warmists to the extent the warmists do the skeptics and lukewarmers. In this reason vs emotion view, it is because they are driven by reasoning, not emotion. The anti-CAGW crowd is focused on graphs and equations. Even if they are outraged by the collateral damage of the IPCC story, their arguments are with CAGW stories based on numbers. Numbers have no emotional content. Numbers are about process, not outcome. Only outcome – the warmist stories of death, destruction and loss – has emotional content.

    Until the distance between expectation and observation becomes impossible to avoid, I expect this non-rational fighting between the warmists and the lukewarmer-skeptic side to continue. Ultimately, though, the gap will become be too great (IMHO, as I expect temperatures to fall in the near-term). Then the CAGW/ climate wars will go the way of other madnesses of crowds. As in the Croucher Iraqi story, someone – maybe McKibben – looking back in 2025 will say:

    “… It was so out of character for me. The heat of the moment, you see? You understand?”

    And that will be it, over.

  4. p.g.sharrow says:

    @Matt Ridley, It is good to see that you have ventured partially out into the light of wisdom. Those the preach darkness and disaster hate it when someone questions their visions of gloom. Perhaps some day you will see the whole truth of climate change and mans insignificance.

    As to the doom sayers, Their religion will create new dogma as the old one dies from non-fulfillment. pg

  5. hunter says:

    Matt Ridley,
    My journey was very similar. I grew up assuming that the enviro-apocalyse was well nigh. Then that little quiet voice in the back of my mind, so to speak, got loud enough for me to notice that the apocalyse never actually happened. This journey away from enviro-apocalypse has been happening to many people over many years. Look up “The Doomsday Syndrome”. Look up “The Apocalyptics”.
    Take a peak at Climate Resistance blog for some amazing observations and commentary on this phenomenon.
    Thank you for having the guts to stand up on this issue.

  6. mkelly says:

    Matt as long as you don’t try to control my life I don’t care about you being a confessed lukewarmer. Warmist are want to control people and that is why they get mad when they meet resistance.

    This is now and has always been about control.

  7. ivan says:

    While Matt Ridley is to be congratulated on his move away from the Chicken Little ‘the sky is falling’ position I still wonder why he sticks to the man made mantra.

    So far there has not been any verifiable concrete proof that man is responsible for the warming that is not beyond what could be expected from the earth moving on from the little ice age. By verifiable I mean would stand up to standard industrial engineering analysis.

  8. Zeke says:

    ivan says:
    January 22, 2015 at 10:15 pm
    “While Matt Ridley is to be congratulated on his move away from the Chicken Little ‘the sky is falling’ position I still wonder why he sticks to the man made mantra.”

    Actually, the interesting bit is the fact that he is anti-coal – for no reason.

    And as for the mention of genetics, and inherited intelligence, the science is just as muddled and murky as climate science. The twins studies show monozygotic twins reared apart share many traits, similarities in physiological and intelligence test results, etc.;

    but the similarities extend to names of spouses, majors in college, hobbies, names of children…there is absolutely no mechanism for genes to express themselves in the choosing of a major or naming of children.


  9. gbaikie says:

    I am slowly becoming less of lukewarmer.
    I never thought there was any danger. But I did think one could terraform Mars with greenhouse gases.
    I never did or still don’t think if earth warmed by 5 C in say 50 fifty years [which other than a drunk
    Ted Turner, no one imagines is possible] it would be a problem.
    The only problem would the political response to such warming- not just the 5 C increase in average global temperature. Nor would a wilder prediction of 1 meter rise in sea level in 50 years
    be a problem. Or without careful measurement most people would not notice [nevermind, be affected by such changes] We simply have freak storms or such changes temperatures which do effective cause these to happen- and it’s not the end of the world.
    Yes such global warming would affect some skiing businesses. But imporvement of technology related to skiing has improve ski condition more than the 5 C global warmer would diminish.

    So the 5 C increase in 50 year is not a problem at year 55, but that would cause people to wonder
    whether in 50 + 50 year would temperature increase by 5 + 10 C- and that would certain require
    something action which could be in the category of extraordinary.
    So for example we might need to spend a trillion dollar for a solar shade and get it built without 10 or 20 years.
    But why is that any more frightening that US government adding a trillion deficit every year?

    And why don’t the crazy warmists ever suggest going into to space. All doom based sfi thinks that is a solution. Firefly when to another star system because Earth was too badly polluted, etc.
    Crazy premise as was Matrix and it’s blacken earth sky and living near Earth core [and why was Earth important to the AI- must not got meme that robot exploration is cheaper than manned].

    Anyhow, it’s simply the utter lack of evidence that Earth could get much warmer- not fear of it,
    which makes me a lukewarmer, which I define as, it’s within the realm of possible that CO2 could
    cause some insignificant amount of warming.

    Of course if CO2 were considered important the entire discussion would about Chinese CO2 emission- a clue that the alarmist not even alarmists- they are really dumb and/or posers.

  10. AlecM says:

    Like all professional scientists and engineers I did a sniff test and an energy balance when looking at IPCC ‘Science’.

    Sniff test: if the Earth’s surface were to heat local (~20 m) air at the claimed mean 157.5 W/m^2*, its temperature must be ~ 0 deg C** – averaged OVER THE WHOLE PLANET; colder than at any time in the past 444 million years.

    It’s really near surface temperature, kept there by the convection that maintains ‘lapse rate’. Houghton showed why in 1977***. He then apparently gave up Science to co-found the IPCC. In 2005, Hansen bemoaned the fact they had no measurements of local air temperature, apparently realising vulnerability to clear thinking opposition asking ‘Where’s the Beef?’. There is no Beef.

    Conclusion: Climate Alchemy Stinks; unfit for UN consumption.

    Energy Balance: Hansen et al in 1981 claimed an imaginary -18 deg C ‘OLR’ emission zone emitting over 360 degrees in the upper atmosphere, radiating 238.5 W/m^2 Up and Down, This was in effect a ‘bait and switch’, exchanging real 238.5 W/m^2 with imaginary 333 W/m^2 ‘back radiation’; 40% increase. They did another numerical trick in hindcasting to purport extra evaporation from oceans. His claims to Congress in 1988 were all based on ‘modelling artefacts’.

    Conclusion: the modelling has been fraudulent for 34 years.

    * ‘Clear Sky Atmospheric Greenhouse Factor’.

    ** Assumes 0.75 atmospheric Emissivity for 238.5 W/m^2 Emittance.

    *** Figure 2.5 of the 1977 edition of ‘Physics of Atmospheres’.

  11. tallbloke says:

  12. Paul Vaughan says:

    tallbloke (January 22, 2015 at 5:14 pm) wrote:
    “Matt Ridley isn’t trying to thought police anyone. It’s worth noting that he does give solar a mention in his article, without telling anyone what to think about that. He’s also open to discussing solar related theories. He asked some intelligent questions at Henrik Svensmark’s lecture last November, and has been in contact with me so I can supply him with relevant papers. He had been misled to believe that solar doesn’t correlate with surface temperature, and is now aware there is more to the issue than meets the eye.”

    Let me try to clarify.

    Interpolation between (a) wrong & (b) wrong ….is wrong.

    For political purposes lukewarmists interpolate between (a) egregious misrepresentations of nature & (b) baseless model fantasy.

    Interpolation between (a) wrong & (b) wrong ….is wrong.

    It’s all about inspiring people to approach the american political center fence from the other side.

    In this sense, Doug (Doug Proctor January 22, 2015 at 6:14 pm), they are being completely logical — and calculatedly so, so you’re not giving them enough credit for being logical.

    You (Doug) are of course correct about their application of emotive force — they apply it logically in cold pursuit of a political objective. Their axiomatic framework is logical, but its rooted in political pragmatism, not climate observations.

    TB, I’m not suggesting Ridley is thought-policing, but lukewarmism as a collective movement does so and devilishly.

    Here’s the line from Ridley’s article indicating dark ignorance &/or deception about the role of the sun in terrestrial climate:

    “Sometimes I disagreed with them or thought they went too far. I have yet to be convinced, for example, that changes in the output of the sun caused the warming of the 1980s and 1990s — an idea that some espouse.”

    He appears to have succumbed to the brainwashing: people “went too far” (!!) by stating the truth.

    He’s incompetent on the sun-climate file. If you think you can help him Rog, by all means please try, but I’m of the view that if people (Ridley or anyone else) cannot understand deeply firsthand, their views are irrelevant.

    I don’t have an issue with Ridley. He may be a good & fine man.
    My issue is with lukewarism.

    Lukewarmism is an interpolation between (a) wrong & (b) wrong.

    It’s not right.
    At best it’s left.

    I think many alarmists are good, well-intending people.
    Most lukewarmists, however, are not. They are cold, calculating, devilish agents of hateful coercion. They’re not the innocent bunch the alarmists are, so they need to be dealt with an order of magnitude more squarely and firmly, the way you deal with someone who’s alertly & sharply weaseling in any & every way possible to be intently devious.

    In the short-term, lukewarmism can probably fool enough people to maybe help win some elections.

    In the long run, the lukewarmists are guaranteed to be lose because interpolation between wrong & wrong isn’t right.

    My non-negotiable tactical suggestion would be this:
    Take the devil out of lukewarmism.

    By “the devil” I of course mean devilish misrepresentation of the role of sun in climate.

    I flatly & harshly reject lukewarmism as a darkly corrupt, politically-motivated philosophy not on the grounds that it overstates the role of CO2 in climate (I don’t really give a sh*t about that) but rather on the grounds that its agents refuse to acknowledge sun-climate 1+1=2.

    I hope that clarifies.

    The important thing:
    Nature is beautiful & powerful.
    She deserves our appreciation & respect.
    We’re wise to harmonize with natural power & beauty.

    Best Regards

  13. tallbloke says:

    Paul: Great comment, and it clarifies your position well.

  14. wayne says:

    Paul says:

    My issue is with lukewarism.

    Lukewarmism is an interpolation between (a) wrong & (b) wrong.

    It’s not right.

    At best it’s left.

    I think many alarmists are good, well-intending people.

    Most lukewarmists, however, are not. They are cold, calculating, devilish agents of hateful coercion. They’re not the innocent bunch the alarmists are, so they need to be dealt with an order of magnitude more squarely and firmly, the way you deal with someone who’s alertly & sharply weaseling in any & every way possible to be intently devious.

    Have to agree 100% there Paul and that stance is well put.

  15. tallbloke says:

    Oh dear. Calls for Matt Ridley to be beheaded at the Guardian – from a Guardian author:
    Meanwhile, Richard Tol’s comment is deleted.

  16. tallbloke says:

  17. tallbloke says:

    I emailed Scott Trust board member Emily Bell about this.

    ———- Original Message ———-
    From: tallbloke
    Date: 23 January 2015 at 14:45
    Subject: Hate speech at the Guardian

    Dear Emily,
    I was rather shocked to note a ‘Guardian’ author, Gary Evans, publishing a call (penned by himself), for Viscount Matt Ridley’s beheading.

    This is a bit thuggish isn’t it? Or ISILish perhaps?

    Best regards

    Roger Tattersall


    The comment from ‘bluecloud’ has since been removed.

  18. Paul Vaughan says:

    creepy stuff
    that’s the way to get support: up the creep factor (/sarc)

  19. gbaikie says:

    I am happy keeping Gary Evans alive as placeholder for a human being.

    But if you are Lefty one is forced to position of wanting to commit suicide or murdering people.
    That is serious “error” or design feature of the lefty’s belief system.

  20. oldbrew says:

    The Guardian climate blogs went off the rails years ago – probably after Climategate exposed the methods and thinking behind climate science propaganda.

    Don’t go there unless you want to swim with their propaganda tide.

  21. oldbrew says:

    Breitbart reporting the ‘Bluecloud’ fiasco.

    ‘The comments are merely the latest in a long history of warmists advocating the killing of people who question global warming dogma.’