I am often confronted by well-meaning environmentalists with questions along the lines of, “Even if the AGW model is scientifically untenable, if it causes industry to cut pollution, what’s the harm? Surely it is a good thing?”
There’s no concise way to answer all the implications in those questions (for a start, CO2 is the very opposite of a pollutant). This morning I found a reasonable way of replying. I started to watch a very disturbing programme on BBC illustrating the imminent demise of various species, including several kinds of tiger and leopard, and that is something that really tugs at my heartstrings. I care about threatened species. A lot. But I had to change channels. You see, the message of this documentary was in essence twofold:
1. Tigers are threatened almost exclusively by climate change.
2. If we follow the guidelines set out by the proponents of anthropogenic global warming, we will not only correct the climate so that it becomes more comfortable for all creatures of the Earth, we will save the tigers from extinction too.
That sort of message is so wrong, it’s criminal. And totally immoral. There is absolutely no hard evidence that the AGW corrective measures have any effect on the climate, for better or for worse. “Fighting climate change” has become the mantra of environmentally concerned citizens, who believe that the IPCC is going to save the planet and cure all the ill effects of nature. And save the tigers and polar bears from extinction. The AGW movement is immoral in that it satisfies the environmental conscience of millions of people while having no reason to feel pleased with themselves other than that their climate model has convinced so many people to support them.
“Fighting climate change” is not going to save the tigers, ladies and gentlemen. I am certain of that, for three main reasons: Firstly, the model is not supported by the data, in other words, we have no unambiguous evidence that it does what it claims to do. Secondly, it is prohibitively expensive, and that has obvious consequences for the economies of the world in their efforts to produce enough wealth to pay the taxes AGW brings to bear, and reduces the surplus from which real environmental conservation is funded. Thirdly, tigers are not threatened by climate change. They are threatened by human beings.
We really need to get our feet back on the ground.