“The idea that human beings have changed and are changing the basic climate system of the Earth through their industrial activities and burning of fossil fuels - the essence of the Greens’ theory of global warming - has about as much basis in science as Marxism and Freudianism. Global warming, like Marxism, is a political theory of actions, demanding compliance with its rules.
Marxism, Freudianism, global warming. These are proof - of which history offers so many examples - that people can be suckers on a grand scale. To their fanatical followers they are a substitute for religion. Global warming, in particular, is a creed, a faith, a dogma that has little to do with science. If people are in need of religion, why don’t they just turn to the genuine article?” - Paul Johnson
Climate change knows three realities: science reality, which is what working scientists deal with every day; virtual reality, which is the wholly imaginary world inside computer climate models; and public reality, which is the socio-political system within which politicians, business people and the general citizenry work.
In 1990 the IPCC’s first Assessment Report concluded that no human influence on climate was discernible. Despite the huge expenditure of research effort and money since that time, the boundary arguments to the debate have scarcely moved. We now have copiously more data and more powerful computers, have spent upwards of $50 billion on climate research, and are the beneficiaries of twenty years of hard thinking by some of the world’s most accomplished scientists. Yet the protagonists in the debate remain in the same bunkers they occupied in the early 1990s, and a clear human-caused climate signal continues to elude us.
Two years ago, I wrote: “It remains a matter of faith whether reductions in carbon dioxide emissions, should they occur, will have any measurable influence on climate. My conclusion is that-irrespective of McCarthyist bludgeoning, press bias, policy-advice corruption or propaganda frenzy - it is highly unlikely that the public is going to agree to a costly restructuring of the world economy simply on the basis of speculative computer models of climate in 100 years time. Attempting to ‘stop climate change’ is an extravagant and costly exercise of utter futility. Rational climate policies must be based on adaptation to climate change as it occurs, irrespective of its causation.
Despite the present Australian government’s manifest determination to introduce a penal carbon dioxide tax, I see little reason to change this view. The IPCC experiment has failed, in large part because of the priority that has been given to policy advocacy over the accurate reporting of empirical science. Attempting to prevent ("mitigate", in the lingo) climate change is an expensive exercise in futility. Planning for inevitable future climate change, both natural and possibly human-caused, will best be undertaken in the same way as we plan for other natural disasters such as bushfires, earthquakes, volcanic eruptions, tsunami and cyclones.