Mark Humphrys (politics)


Scepticism - Anti-Green - Global warming

  Historical global temperature

Modern global temperature

Would global warming be bad?

Natural disasters

Global warming

In terms of armageddon scenarios, I was afraid of nuclear war, and I am still afraid of nuclear terrorism, but I am not very afraid of global warming.

I have a few questions:

  1. Is it really happening? I am not qualified to say if global warming is happening or not. I wouldn't be surprised if it was, and there are certainly heavy-duty scientists behind it, but it is funny how conveniently it meshes with left-wing, anti-capitalist, anti-consumerist ideology, and westerners' post-religious need to feel guilty about their fantastic prosperity and consumer riches. It may be just a coincidence. But it's quite an amazing coincidence.
  2. How bad will it be? It's not enough to say that changing the climate is scary. I agree. It would be better not to do it. But how bad will it really be? Maybe it will just be a problem that we can adapt to, and that can be reversed as technology (e.g. of cars) changes in the future. We need to compare the cost of global warming with the cost of the solution, and then make a rational decision as to which one is worse.
  3. In particular, the proposed "solution" to global warming seems to be to reduce development and to keep the third world undeveloped (i.e. starving and poor). It seems to me that is worse than global warming.
  4. In short, if global warming is happening, the greens need to tell us how we can be rich, developed, consumerist, drive cars, and still avoid global warming. If the choice is between poverty and global warming, then any sane person should choose global warming, as the price we reluctantly have to pay for prosperity. If the greens don't like that, they have to give us another choice.

The movie The Day After Tomorrow (2004) rather makes my points for me.
They obviously felt that showing a slightly warmer planet would not be very scary, so they claimed that what would actually happen would be global cooling.
The movie thus tacitly admits that:
  1. Global warming may not be armageddon. That's why they didn't show it - because it's not scary.
  2. Global warming theory is rather new and speculative - otherwise how could they get away with showing global cooling and still be applauded by their fellow greens? In truth, scientists have difficulty predicting whether climate will warm, cool, not change at all, or just change locally. Why? Because climate is practically the definition of a complex, chaotic system. You can try to simulate such a system, but you do not really know what will happen short of trying it out. Global warming theory is new and speculative, and hardly has the same status in science as, say, the theory of evolution.


The movie Don't Look Up (2021).
A satire of how the world reacts to climate change. In this movie, a comet is headed towards earth and no one cares.

Global warming

Global cooling was predicted throughout the 1970s.

Historical global temperature

UK temperature since 1659.
Are we simply warming up after the Little Ice Age (16th cent to 19th cent), and returning to something like the Medieval Warm Period (10th cent to 14th cent), or is it something more sinister?

Temperature in C from Greenland ice core.
It does show a recent warming, but one that started in the early 19th century, and also a modest one compared to the Medieval Warm Period, which itself is modest compared to earlier historical warm periods.

Temperature in C from Greenland ice core.
Years in AD along bottom axis.
Modern warming compared to Medieval Warm Period.
Note however: The Medieval Warm Period may have been just a local event (in the North Atlantic region).

Modern global temperature

Looking at the actual figures for average global temperature may give you a surprise.

Changing the Y-range

You can obviously mislead with the Y-range.

The last decade

There was a record high in 1998, and since then temperature has stayed around this level rather than rising further.


Stats for 1960-2020.
From here.

UK weather forecast in May-June 2019.
26 and 28 celsius are nice summer days.

UK weather forecast in July 2016.
26 and 28 celsius are burning infernos.

Would global warming be bad?

A final question is: If the earth is actually warming a little bit, would that be bad?

It's obviously hard to make a scary movie about it. That's why The Day After Tomorrow decided to show global cooling.

Obviously some kind of runaway warming would be terrible. But a modest warming would probably be good for humans and good for life. Matt Ridley thinks humans are causing some global warming, but thinks this will be good for the world, not bad.

One problem I have with this is that surely the warming will carry on forever? (As long as humans carry on using current technologies.)

How Fossil Fuels Have Greened the Planet, Matt Ridley, 4 Jan 2013, says the earth is getting greener.
He references the NDVI satellite imagery of vegetation: "Between 1982 and 2011, 20.5% of the world's vegetated area got greener, while just 3% grew browner".
Ridley says humans are causing this, and it is good: "The inescapable if unfashionable conclusion is that the human use of fossil fuels has been causing the greening of the planet in three separate ways: first, by displacing firewood as a fuel; second, by warming the climate; and third, by raising carbon dioxide levels, which raise plant growth rates."
Isn't he missing urbanisation and the decline of mass farming? At least in developed countries.

Urbanisation and the continued decline of mass farming has resulted in a massive re-growth in forest cover in Europe, and the dramatic return of large animals.
See full size.
From Our World in Data.

Natural disasters

There is a claim that natural disasters are getting worse because of climate change. There is very little evidence for this.

Some data in response to Obama's UN speech above notes that deaths from storms, floods and droughts have not increased.
If the Greens lie about this, it is hard to totally trust them on more opaque topics such as temperature and sea level.

Fewer people than ever are dying from climate-related catastrophes.
From Bjørn Lomborg, who says: "Notice that the reduction in absolute deaths has happened while the global population has increased four-fold. The individual risk of dying from climate-related disasters has declined by 98.9%."

The 1931 China floods, the worst natural disaster of all time.
In 1931.
From Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, Aug 24, 1931.
Hat tip here.

See larger.
From here.

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