Within an hour or two of my sending out my essay on ‘fear’ and its implications I was receiving email about it. One of the first to comment to me was a retired Canadian meteorologist, Madhav Khandekar, who was born in India, and revisits his native land every year. Madhav wrote that he was baffled as to why Australians should be worried about warming, just as he was baffled by Canadians feeling the same way, given that eastern Canada was still ‘buried in snow’, which meant that Spring was still a long way off.
He offered a part explanation. In the 1980s and part of the 1990s, Canadian cities (Toronto, Montreal, Ottawa, Vancouver etc) did have warmer summers (warmer just by a couple of degrees C in the mean), and that is when this GW agenda started to take hold!
In contrast, People in India most of them I feel DO NOT worry about a hotter climate. They are accustomed to it. Right now most big cities in the north, and the south as well, record max temp at 32C to 37C and low at 20C or thereabouts. April is the hottest month in India, and high temperatures at 40C and above are not uncommon. Yet no one, as I see it, is worried about ‘hot summers’ because most Indians accept that summers are hot anyway. Some summers are hotter and longer than others, if the monsoon rains are delayed, otherwise a few weeks of hot summer is something most Indians are prepared to bear during the months of April, May and a part of June.
And India too, has had a very cold winter, with parts of the northwest and Kashmir experiencing deep snow. Indian houses are often poorly built, he says, and few are insulated. So Indians may worry more about cold weather than they do about hot. It’s an interesting take. And I don’t have an answer about why Australians would be worried about warming, other than to say that I don’t think the worry is about warming as such, given that air conditioning is common and that, like Indians, Australians generally are used to hot summers. It’s more about the notion that something really bad will happen if we don’t control greenhouse gases… It’s the fear disease I wrote about.
But I think there are similarities between Canada and Australia that might explain why, if Madhav is right, both societies seem in thrall to the fear of AGW. Both have national media systems, both are well off, have high proportions of university-educated people, have high proportions living in cities, have very similar standards of living, are secular, have similar political systems, use English as the common language, and have similar scientific and academic institutions. Stephen Harper has been more outspoken than Tony Abbott about what he sees as the pernicious economic consequences of the AGW movement, but, like our PM, he mostly prefers to say nothing about it.
Below the Canadian border there is a different world. Judith Curry on Climate etc has provided a short statement made by Ted Cruz, the first Republican to announce that he will contest the primary for the 2016 Presidential elections. Cruz is a young (45), academically brilliant lawyer of Cuban, Irish and Italian heritage who is the junior Senator for Texas. He spoke on a television talk show (Seth Myers), and later give a fuller account of his views to the Washington Examiner. Here it is.
I think debates on these issues should be driven by the science and the data and the evidence. Global warming alarmists don’t like to confront the actual evidence because it does not support their apocalyptic theories.
Specifically, satellite data demonstrate there has been no warming over the past 17 years. That’s despite the fact that the computer models relied upon for this theory showed there would be significant warming, and yet the actual data don’t back up those flawed computer models. So what did the alarmists do? Rather than look to science to understand what’s happening, they simply modified the theory.
Now you don’t hear them talking about global warming, you hear them talking merely about climate change. The reason for that alteration is because the data demonstrate the Earth is not warming. And I would note whenever anyone makes that point, you immediately get vilified as a quote-unquote ‘denier’ without anyone actually refuting the facts.
And the language of denial is revealing because one usually hears of deniers in the religious context, dealing with heretics. And much of the global warming hysteria is pushed forth as a religious truth that no facts can dare contravene.
It is altogether worrisome when you have scientists treating matters — denouncing those pointing to the actual facts and data as deniers. And indeed I would point out that was the exact same conduct the Flat Earth people demonstrated toward Galileo. And the global warming alarmists in their treatment of those looking to the facts and evidence often behave like modern day Flat Earth proponents.
I can’t see Mr Abbott or any member of his Ministry, let alone the relevant Minister, speaking as forthrightly as this. More, apart from qualifying ‘warming’ a couple of times with ‘significant’, I don’t think there is anything in the statement to which an informed person could object. Having said that, I think that there are only a few climate scientists who regularly denigrate their opponents this way. Most of the denigration comes from those who ‘believe’, and are not interested in data and observations.
But why the difference in our countries? A few things come to mind. Support for the AGW notion seems to be, on opinion poll evidence, a good deal lower in the USA than it is in either Australia or Canada. Scepticism is higher, too. The party system is different, with opinions on AGW or ‘climate change’ more affected by one’s political partisanship than is the case in the two Commonwealth countries. And since the President has taken a public stand on the danger of ‘climate change’, it is understandable that his opponents should take the opposite view. Finally, the media system in the USA is more heterogeneous than ours is, and I would think more diverse than that of Canada. Most of the denigration, both ways, comes from the USA too.
Ole Humlum, in climate4you (page 2), has provided a striking visual realisation of the freezing weather that has afflicted the American and Canadian northeast. But that is weather, not climate. The great Russian land mass, as you will see, had a pleasantly mild February.