Richard North, 03/11/2021  

Johnson has really screwed the pooch, sneerily dismissing the "brilliant suggestion" of a referendum on "net zero", telling a press conference: "I think this country has probably had enough referendums to be getting on with for a while".

A video clip of the interview conveys the full measure of his disdain, the immediate outcome of which was to add several hundred signatures to our petition, bringing the total to well over 6,000 within six days of publication.

Not long after this little drama, I was holding forth on Ben Pile's (of Climate Resistance fame) #FLOP26 Livestream (watchable here), where I forecast that, if the government continues on its present trajectory, there will be tanks in the streets and widespread public disorder.

It won't happen immediately – people are extraordinary tolerant (too tolerant) of governmental mismanagement – and if there is predictable trigger, it will be the failure of the electric supply as a result of "net zero". That will bring people out into the streets in numbers that the authorities will not be able to control.

As a sign of the times, yesterday evening saw a near crisis situation on the National Grid. As it was getting dark, and solar was dropping off the edge, wind was down to 2.7 percent (generating a mere 1.02 GW), leaving gas to pick up the load, producing 53.1 percent of the electricity generated.

Even that was not enough and to plug the gap, the Grid pulled in 0.54 GW of highly inefficient open cycle gas generation (1.4 percent) and 1.94 GW of coal (4.9 percent) from the giant Drax power station. And to illustrate how desperate the Grid was for power, we see the price set was £4,050/MWh, nearly £8 million for each hour the station was supplying power, against the July wholesale electricity price of £70.59/MWh.

With pumped storage also running full flow, and the interconnectors working to nearly their maximum capacity, it was obvious that the Grid was pulling out every stop to keep the nation supplied, and it is still only early November, when we have yet to experience the peak demands.

No doubt oblivious to this drama – or the irony that the ultra-green delegates at Cop26 were relying on 55.4 percent fossil fuels for their electricity – the odious Johnson prattling about being "cautiously optimistic" about a deal to keep global temperature rises below 1.5degC when any objective observer will know that – even if there is a direct link between temperature and CO2 levels (which is by no means certain) – there is not going to be a meaningful deal concluded at CoP26.

As to whether the temperature ever gets to its forecast high is anybody's guess and, for all the protestations that the science is "settled", it really isn't. Not only isn't it settled, it isn't even objective. As the IPPC itself points out: "The climate system is a coupled non-linear chaotic system, and therefore the long-term prediction of future climate states is not possible".

This much is evident from the tale of the Artic ice extent which, despite the wailing of the climate worshipers, is proving to be cyclical – with current levels much the same as were experienced in July 1940 when the Germans sent the surface raider Komet through the northeast passage, crossing the Bering Straits into the Pacific Ocean in early September, in order to sink Allied shipping.

What the IPPC tells us, therefore, is that the focus must be "upon the prediction of the probability distribution of the system's future possible states by the generation of ensembles of model solutions". Translated, this means that researchers must create a series of "what if" models covering a range of scenarios and then offer their best guesses as to which of their fabrications might most closely approximate reality.

Bearing in mind that it is not possible directly to measure a single global temperature, as no such thing can exist, this too must be modelled, often on the basis of extremely fragile data.

This most definitely takes us out of the realm of objective science into the realm of speculation. It may be informed speculation, but it is still speculation, and prone to multiple errors and bias. Furthermore, it places climate models as intrinsically political devices, more so if their fabricators overtly take on the role of campaigners, which is indeed what they are doing.

Any idea, therefore, that is an "evidence based approach" is not supported by the facts. And anything generated by this speculative process must be treated with a great deal of caution, a view articulated by the United States Senate, Republican Policy Committee back in 2004 when it it declared:
The science of the earth's changing climate and the human actions that may affect it are important policy issues; yet policymakers need to put very-long-term forecasts of future greenhouse gas emissions and temperature changes in proper perspective. Such exercises are fraught with uncertainties and errors, even when best professional practices are employed. And when such practices are not employed… the results easily may be manipulated to serve political ends. Thus, there may indeed be cause for alarm – not necessarily with the scientific data itself, but with its misuse.
At the very least – and almost certainly so, given the tight-knit community – this exposes practitioners to the danger of groupthink, the very nature of which precludes those who are affected by it from recognising their handicap. And an established antidote, cited By Janis – the "inventor" of Groupthink - is the establishment of parallel teams which work entirely separately on the same problem, encouraging different perspectives and different solutions.

Groupthink is particularly lethal to effective policy-making, to which effect Johnson should have taken his briefings on climate change from as wider range of sources as possible, one of the essential safeguards being to include members outside the group in meetings and decision-making.

Instead, we have the spectacle of Johnson imbibing the Kool Aid from the climate worshipers, to the exclusion of all else, becoming with his advisors the embodiment of the observation from NASA astronaut Mark Kelly that: "None of us is as dumb as all of us".

This actually strikes at the heart of the claim of scientific "consensus" on climate change. All too often, this is just another description of groupthink, where the consensus is the block which creates (or perpetuates) the problem.

At least, we can enjoy the report of heavier than normal snowfall in Alaska, attributed to "much more sea ice in the Chukchi and East Siberian Seas" northwest of the country, exacerbated by retention of the snowpack well into the summer in parts of Alaska.

Nothing of this, of course, will influence the debate – and nor should it – especially as we have learned that, when it doesn't snow, it's global warming, and when it doesn't snow, it's also global warming.

Also published on Turbulent Times.

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