One of the global warming blogs I go to is run by a Canadian writer, Donna Laframboise, whose surname translates as ‘the raspberry’. She wrote a wonderful raspberry of a book called The Delinquent Teenager Who was Mistaken for the World’s Top Climate Expert, which showed just how unreliable the IPCC’s account of global warming actually was.
Her latest post on her website so tickled me that I am reproducing it here, more or less unedited. But I begin by saying that when I got interested in this whole business in 2007, we were being told by expert after expert that it was already too late to do anything to save the world. It was probably that kind of apocalyptic utterance that pushed me into wide reading.
As I said at the time, it was a puzzle that in a society like ours, relatively rich, well educated, well travelled, creative and progressive, such tales of doom could have much effect. Where was our traditional pragmatism, our can-do attitude, our understated optimism?
Ah, came the answer, ‘Well, science says so!’ And certainly there were scientists who were saying so. There still are, despite the fact that a lot more science has been done in the last six years, and it certainly doesn’t point at doom. The story is much more complex, and catastrophe is not part of it.
Donna Laframboise devoted her post to another version of this attitude, and here is her post.
‘“We are running out of time. We know that if we continue to rely on fossil fuels we will face a future of worsening air pollution and an increasingly inhospitable climate.”
So declared Jim Leape, the man in charge of the head office of the World Wildlife Fund, a few days ago. There’s nothing new about the idea that we’re experiencing a crisis to which we must urgently respond. We’ve heard this line before. Pretty much non-stop, actually.
Back in 1994, Chapter Five of a book titled Social Theory and the Global Environment, was called Running Out of Time. A decade later, in 2004, the UK’s Independent newspaper quoted a “a former government adviser on green issues.” His message: “we are running out of time to stabilise the climate.”
In 2007, we heard that rather a lot. Here’s a taste:
- February – the Christian Century magazine publishes an article by Bill McKibben titled Meltdown: Running out of Time on Global Warming.
- April – a Greenpeace spokesperson declares: “we are simply running out of time.”
- September – the Worldwatch Institute issues a report. The accompanying press release says the world is “running out of time to head off catastrophic climate change…now is the time to act.”
- September/October – The Environmental Forumpublishes an article about climate policy that declares: ”We are running out of time.”
- December – Time magazine asserts: “we are rapidly running out of time to cap carbon emissions.”
In 2008 James Hansen portentously warned: “we’re running out of time.” Five years later, during an interview in April of this year, he used the exact same words. For good measure, Australian professor Barry Brook also declared back in 2008 that, where climate change was concerned, “we are perilously close to running out of time.”
Was 2009 any different? I’m afraid not:
- January – the World Economic Forum issues a press release that quotes Al Gore talking about climate change. “We are running out of time,” he thunders, “we must have a planetary solution to a planetary crisis.”
- March – a co-director of the Australian Youth Climate Coalition, opines: “I know we’re running out of time.”
- May — the Secretary General of the United Nationstells business leaders at a summit in Denmark that they are “running out of time” to make climate change a strategic priority.
- June – insurance company Allianz publishes an interview with Stefan Rahmstorf, described as “one of the world’s best known climate scientists,” who solemnly declares that “we are now running out of time.”
And so this shabby, tired refrain continues. A month ago, Ian Bruce, a climate change specialist employed by the David Suzuki Foundation, insisted that “We’re running out of time and we need to change the mass way of thinking.”
In case we failed to get the message, Suzuki himself chimed in: “We are in the 59th minute.” ‘
What a set of repetitions! But of course, as most people know, there has been a unexpected pause in the rise in average global temperature, a long one.The climate modellers didn’t show it happening, and it wasn’t in the last IPCC report. And, let us be clear about it, the orthodox don’t have an explanation, other than the warming the models predicted must have disappeared into the deep ocean. An even weaker response is that carbon dioxide and temperature don’t have to go up in lock step — weak because that’s exactly what was predicted.
And while we’re said to be running out of time we’re learning that actually we do have quite a lot of time up our sleeves, in which we can learn much more about global climate — and about how to deal with our own climate problems in Australia.
But that’s for tomorrow, and we don’t need an emissions trading scheme for them, either.