Thursday, April 21, 2011

The case for climate change policy is slowly unraveling

The case for climate change policy is slowly unraveling, even as the climate alarmists continue to dominate the policy agenda. They have made up their minds and don't want to be confused by facts and logic. I say climate change POLICY (rather than global warming as a phenomenon) because, even if we grant the case for global warming (which has by no means been scientifically made), there are still three other questions that we need to answer clearly in the affirmative before we have a case for global warming POLICY. As I have explained here:

In order to make a case for government policy to mitigate Global Warming all of the following questions have to be answered in the affirmative:
  1. Is the global climate warming?
  2. If yes, is this (partially) caused by CO2 emissions?
  3. If yes, is there anything we can do to significantly slow this down or even reverse global warming?
  4. If yes, is it worth the effort?
Each of these questions poses a tough burden to meet, appropriately so before we embark on policies that will disrupt hundreds of thousands of lives (read the blog). I would now add an important fifth challenge.
5. Can we answer #4 above definitively?
This is another way of saying, do we really know what the hell we are doing?

Have a look at this op-ed from today's WSJ for a dose of humility in this regard.

APRIL 21, 2011
Climate Refugees, Not Found
Discredited by reality, the U.N.'s prophecies go missing.

In 2005, the U.N. Environment Program (UNEP) published a color-coded map under the headline "Fifty million climate refugees by 2010." The primary source for the prediction was a 2005 paper by environmental scientist Norman Myers.

Six years later, this flood of refugees is nowhere to be found, global average temperatures are about where they were when the prediction was made—and the U.N. has done a vanishing act of its own, wiping the inconvenient map from its servers.

The map, which can still be found elsewhere on the Web, disappeared from the program's site sometime after April 11, when Gavin Atkins asked on "What happened to the climate refugees?" It's now 2011 and, as Mr. Atkins points out, many of the locales that the map identified as likely sources of climate refugees are "not only not losing people, they are actually among the fastest growing regions in the world."

The program's spokesman tells us the map vanished because "it's not a UNEP prediction. . . . that graphic did not represent UNEP views and was an oversimplification of UNEP views." He added that the program would like to publish a clarification, now that journalists are "making hay of it," except that the staffers able to do so are "all on holiday for Easter."

The climate-refugee prediction isn't the first global warming-related claim that has turned out to be laughable, and everyone can make mistakes. More troubling is the impulse among some advocates of global warming alarmism to assert in the face of contrary evidence that they never said what they definitely said before the evidence went against them.

These columns have asked for some time how anyone can still manage to take the U.N.-led climate crowd seriously. Maybe the more pertinent question is whether the climateers have ever taken the public's intelligence seriously.
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