Understated humour has a long tradition in the hard sciences. My favourite example is from the 1970s, when Richard Feynman commented of a theory that predicted, under some circumstances, a result of infinity that it was "wrong, experimentally".
There was plenty of wry understatement in the documentary that screened last night on Channel 4. The Great Global Warming Swindle was full of remarks like "The theory does not fit the facts". But there was also a great deal of exasperation. The evidence and scientific consensus are clearly overwhelming: global warmening alarmism is an outright, deliberate fraud.
If you missed the show, clips have already appeared at YouTube.
The only part of the chain of evidence I had not previously known was Margaret Thatcher's role. When confronting the Miners Union in the 1980s, she wanted to play up justifications for abandoning coal power, and carbon emissions were a useful excuse. She set up research funding that can in hindsight be seen as the first little piece of snow starting to roll down the slope, that has become the massive snowball that provides such a rewarding work-life balance for so many gravytrainers today.
To summarise the main points:
- Carbon levels in the atmosphere and global mean temperatures have very very similar graphs, but the carbon dioxide levels lag temperature by a couple of centuries. In other words, temperature variations cause CO2 variations, and not the other way round.
- The mechanism for this is well understood: the oceans absorb more CO2 when they are cool, and emit more when they are warm, but they take a long time to warm or cool, hence the time lag.
- The global mean temperature graphs do not follow the graph of human CO2 emissions. There is no measurable connection between the two things.
- The global mean temperature graphs do follow those of solar activity, exactly, over any time period you care to choose
- The mechanism for this is now well understood: solar wind affects cloud formation and clouds are the principle driver of temperature
- As a corollary, if current warming were the result of a greenhouse effect there would be higher rates of change in the upper atmosphere. There aren't.
- Climate alarmists have shamelessly jumped from warming, to cooling, to warming again during the 20th century.
It was also good at showing how the left, following the fall of communism and the disgrace of socialism, entered environmentalism (the "watermelon" syndrome - thin green skins, bright red inside) and coöpted it as a vehicle for revolutionary social change. And how their campaigns today boil down to working to make sure the world's poorest people die young after lives of grinding poverty and ill health.
I am still suffering from whiplash caused by the cuts between a young African woman trying to light a fire in her hut to cook a meal, and the lavish beanfeast going on a short distance away from her as immensely wealthy NGO, UN and government delegates to an environmental conference met in luxurious air conditioned halls to discuss how to make sure the young African woman's country can be prevented from developing. A small hospital was shown that gets its power only from solar panels. It can either have lights switched on, or the medicine refrigerator, but not both.
If you missed it, catch up at YouTube.
When it finished, I switched channel on the TV. Question Time was on BBC1. Patrick Mercer was the subject under discussion. A group of professional politicians and a journalist who have all decided to cling to the global warmening bandwagon-of-dishonesty were competing to see who could be the most pious liar in the studio.
Mercer's remarks had been unacceptable in this day and age, they all agreed. There were angry exchanges about who agreed the most. It proved the Tories are the nasty party, said some kind of blonde dwarf from the Green Party. A Labour Party harpy agreed, but much more than the blonde green dwarf. Alan Duncan from the Tories - normally a refreshing change - toed the line. Mercer's remarks were unacceptable. There was no room in the modern Conservative Party for such comments.
He was right, of course. Mercer was honest, straightforward and blunt, and there is no room for that in any of the main parties, nor in the Greens.
I switched the TV off.