My rant on climate change

I have written this comment on the BMJ Blog on climate change in response to this article, “Nell Crowden: What’s bad for the climate is bad for health.”.

I do not think James Dellingpole and Lord Monckton would necessarily agree, and me for example. Prof Phil Jones was asked whether there has been any statistically significant increase in global warming since 1997 and the answer was no.

In Roman times grapes for wine were grown as far north as South Scotland. In the 1920s while digging up Finchley Road Tube Station, the scree exposed suggested that was the furthest extent of the last ice age. The UK must have had a climate similar to north Sweden. While conversely 7 miles south at Trafalgar Square, underneath Nelson’s Column the bones of lions and rhinoceros from 250,000 years ago suggesting we had a climate similar to the African savannah. Climate changes naturally.
I am old enough to remember the BBC Radio Times front cover from I think 1976 where a new Ice Age was due upon us. The reason stated was that the smoke from coal and oil was blotting out the sun. Now it is blamed for global warming.
I remain truly sceptical for two reasons. Most of the people who are the main protagonists are paid by the state and as Dellingpole’s latest book suggests are and/or left wing “watermelons.” Green on the outside, red on the inside.  The fall of the Berlin Wall exposed the economic desperation and incompetence of socialism. The left lost the economic argument  and now wants new ways to control us and denigrate capitalism. Climate change is the perfect platform to go big business bashing. The other way is controlling our bodies.
Smoking bans and restrictions, obesity and McDonalds bashing, and now the demonisation of alcohol and drinkers. The left know what is good for us.
The second reason is that my expertise is smoking. I am happy to concede that ACTIVE smoking is as bad as the anti smokers make out. However the reason for smoking bans is the supposed harm of PASSIVE smoking. It is hugely ironic that I believe the commentator below (Richard Smith) was the one Editor (then of the BMJ)  brave enough to publish a 40 year study into passive smoking which found no correlation between second hand cigarette smoke and lung cancer. This falls into line with 85% of the other papers.
From my experience of tobacco control they have mislead the public and governments on a Biblical scale. Dissenting scientists have been hounded out of their jobs or silenced. Quite obvious endemic publication bias approaching fraud. Ad hominem and personal attacks replace debate.  Science to me as a layman has returned to the alchemy of the medieval ages. Politics has replaced science and objectivity, grants and loans give the proponents a tidy living and media access/ego scratching.
It is no coincidence that oil companies are tarred with using the same tactics as tobacco companies by their opponents.
I can see this all in the AGW Climate camp. It uses the same rent seeking, dubious tactics as the anti smokers. This is yet more junk science.
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2 Responses to My rant on climate change

  1. Rose says:

    “Science to me as a layman has returned to the alchemy of the medieval ages.”

    Not even that.

    Lessons from the Tobacco Control Movement
    Behavior, Energy and Climate Change Conference
    November 17, 2008

    Question for the Energy and Climate Control Community
    Who are your leaders?
    How can your leaders help increase the sustainability of the issue in the publics’ eye?
    Do you have an opponent that can be the focus of public attention (or even animosity)?
    Even if you do, could you achieve more through partnerships than confrontation?

    Summary of Tobacco Lessons
    “With tobacco, social change has taken decades. The challenge is to accelerate social change for energy and climate change behaviors so that it takes years, not decades.

    This link crashes my computer every time I load it.

    Post-Normal Science, the Precautionary Principle and the Ethics of Integrity

    ” Present laws and regulations even in democratic countries are not sufficient to prevent the grave environmental threats we face. Further, even environmental ethics, when they remain anthropocentric cannot propose a better approach.
    I argue that, taking in considerations the precautionary principle, and adopting the perspective of post-normal science, the ethics of integrity suggest a better way to reduce ecological threats and promote the human good globally”

    In order to protect the environment, the precautionary approach shall be widely practiced by the States according to their capabilities.
    Where there are threats of serious or irreversible damage, lack of full scientific uncertainty shall not be used as a reason for postponing cost effective measures to prevent environmental damage.

    This principle clearly indicates that, because of the gravity and the urgency of the many environmental problems and crises that face us, it is sufficient to be aware of the threats, even before the scientific certainty might be available,to indicate priority action on the part of policymakers.

    This principle is introduced as an agent of change in order to counter the arguments of those who would appeal to scientific uncertainty, or to disagreements among experts, as a delaying tactic and as a reason to postpone action.”

    That may be why nothing makes sense any more, it doesn’t have to.

    Lessons Learned From Tobacco Control Should be Applied to Climate Policy

    “The approach the world has taken to tobacco control holds many lessons for the COP-15 Climate Change Conference in Copenhagen. A newly-published article in The Lancet (available with free registration) summarizes the many similarities between tobacco control and climate policy, and how the lessons learned from tobacco control can be applied to the way countries approach climate policy.
    Deja Vu All Over Again

    For both issues, the scientific evidence mounted gradually over the years. Both tobacco and climate change negatively impact public health and disproportionately affect poorer countries and lower socioeconomic groups. Both have long lead times between cause and effect, and the solutions for both require significant political will, comprehensive international policies, and long-term monitoring.

    Climate change is similar to the issue of secondhand smoke in the sense that the damage both cause constitute “externalities.”

  2. Yes, the nonsense about passive smoke and the hysteria about the climate both defy common sense. They also deny a primary function of life: its risk. Even if the purveyors of these were right, and eliminated tobacco and achieved universal zero emissions, another dangerous risk would have to be found, to keep their movement going. But, nature being what it is, indeed life being what it is, other unanticipated risks will emerge pre-emptively, against which the movement will prove powerless and which will see the end to it. Such risks will have the misfortune of being real. One such risk is that of the economic disintegration of the European bloc, which will change lives dramatically, as the EU is whittled down to becoming a loose free-trade area and, more importantly, a defence pact. Just to keep warm and our heads clear, we will all be burning waste plastic in our grates for heat and smoking like chimneys!

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