The scare over global warming, and our politicians' response to it, is becoming ever more bizarre. On the one hand we have the United Nation's Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change coming up with yet another of its notoriously politicised reports, hyping up the scare by claiming that world surface temperatures have been higher in 11 of the past 12 years (1995-2006) than ever previously recorded.
Their newest report is advance-fisked by Climate Sceptic in a must-read summary, whilst Tom Nelson highlights some of the problems with the Independent Summary for Policymakers (which is the bit that the politicians actually read). [Emphasis mine.]
The IPCC involves numerous experts in the preparation of its reports. However, chapter authors are frequently asked to summarize current controversies and disputes in which they themselves are professionally involved, which invites bias. Related to this is the problem that chapter authors may tend to favor their own published work by presenting it in a prominent or flattering light. Nonetheless the resulting reports tend to be reasonably comprehensive and informative. Some research that contradicts the hypothesis of greenhouse gas-induced warming is under-represented, and some controversies are treated in a one-sided way, but the reports still merit close attention.
A more compelling problem is that the Summary for Policymakers, attached to the IPCC Report, is produced, not by the scientific writers and reviewers, but by a process of negotiation among unnamed bureaucratic delegates from sponsoring governments. Their selection of material need not and may not reflect the priorities and intentions of the scientific community itself. Consequently it is useful to have independent experts read the underlying report and produce a summary of the most pertinent elements of the report.
Finally, while the IPCC enlists many expert reviewers, no indication is given as to whether they disagreed with some or all of the material they reviewed. In previous IPCC reports many expert reviewers have lodged serious objections only to find that, while their objections are ignored, they are acknowledged in the final document, giving the impression that they endorsed the views expressed therein.
All of these factors have led to the idea that there is a concensus on anthropogenic climate change (ACC) which is, of course, very far from the truth.
As Booker proceeds to point out, whether the earth is even warming or not is a moot point.
This carefully ignores the latest US satellite figures showing temperatures having fallen since 1998, declining in 2007 to a 1983 level - not to mention the newly revised figures for US surface temperatures showing that the 1930s had four of the 10 warmest years of the past century, with the hottest year of all being not 1998, as was previously claimed, but 1934.
Indeed, we saw in a recent post at The Kitchen that there is no warming measured at the USA's temperature stations—the warming trend is applied by scientists after the measurements have been collated.
Essentially, what the NOAA are saying is that their measuring sites are showing a relative cooling and that therefore they are applying a normalising positive bias. In basic terms, when they take a measurement from their stations, they are adding a few tenths of a degree because they think that that station is actually measuring things below what the scientists think they should be.
The trouble is that this is very hard to justify. As surfacestations.org is in the process of showing, many stations are probably recording temperatures higher than they would have done a century ago because they are now based around heat-radiating substances such as asphalt; in the case of one station, it is situated right next to the heat exchangers of an air-conditioning system.
As such, one would expect the NOAA to be applying a negative bias to the measurements, to counteract the majority of the changes to the measurement stations (mostly caused by urban sprawl).
But, as Booker points out, our politicians are launching themselves ever further into the climate change madness but, as Booker also points out, Brown and his merry men—and Cameron and his cronies after them—have no choice in the matter.
But of course he is no longer his own master in such fantasy exercises. Few people have yet really taken on board the mind-blowing scale of all the "planet-saving" measures to which we are now committed by the European Union.
By 2020 we will have to generate 20 per cent of our electricity from "renewables". At present the figure is four per cent (most of it generated by hydro-electric schemes and methane gas from landfill).
As Whitehall officials privately briefed ministers in August, there is no way Britain can begin to meet such a fanciful target (even if the Government manages to ram through another 30,000 largely useless wind turbines).
Another EU directive commits us to deriving 10 per cent of our transport fuel from "biofuels" by 2020. This would take up pretty well all the farmland we currently use to grow food (at a time when world grain prices have doubled in six months and we are already face a global food shortage).
Then by 2009, thanks to a mad gesture by Mr Blair and his EU colleagues last March, we also face the prospect of a total ban on incandescent light bulbs.
This compulsory switch to low-energy bulbs, apart from condemning us to live in uglier homes under eye-straining light, is in practice completely out of the question, because, according to our Government's own figures, more than half Britain's domestic light fittings cannot take them.
So, even were our politicians to come to what few senses they have, they would be powerless to counteract these lunatic measures unless, of course, we left the EU.
This year will be remembered for two things.
First, it was the year when the scientific data showed that the cosmic scare over global warming may well turn out to be just that - yet another vastly inflated scare.
Second, it was the year when the hysteria generated by all the bogus science behind this scare finally drove those who rule over us, including Gordon "Plastic Bags" Brown, wholly out of their wits.
Mr Booker is, I think, being overly generous in ascribing any wits for our polticians to take leave of. But, yes, when ACC is proven to be utter horseshit—which I believe it will be in a decade, maximum—some people are going to look very, very foolish.
Unfortunately, it is entirely possible that those obsessed with ACC will have been responsible for the unnecessary deaths of millions of human beings by that time. I only hope that they will have the decency to add to the carnage by killing themselves.