The 9th International Conference on Climate Change kicked off Monday in Las Vegas, featuring some of the most best-known skeptics of human-caused global warming. Among the speakers at the 3-day conference is Lord Christopher Monckton. He was once a policy advisor to former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher. Now he is the chief policy adviser at the Science and Public Policy Institute in Virginia. He spoke with me on the telephone from the conference.
Let’s start with the big question here: Is global warming or climate change real? President Barack Obama says it’s “settled science,” and the debate is over. What do you say to that? First of all, it is settled that if you add carbon dioxide to the atmosphere, as we do by burning fossil fuels, some warming will result. This is well-established. It’s been suspected for 200 years, known by experiment for 150 years, proved definitively right down to the quantum level. Yes, we know that, if you like, global warming is real. The question is: Does it matter? Because … what we don’t know, what isn’t settled, is how much warming we’re going to get. And even if we got the warming they think we’re going to get, would it make any real difference to the way we and our fellow creatures on Earth live? That’s the central question. And on that question, so far, the evidence is entirely against the so-called “settled science.”
Why is that evidence being misrepresented by believers in human-made climate change? Let’s go back to 1990, to the first assessment report on the climate done by the then-very new climate panel of the United Nations. That panel had been told that its job was to accept not only that global warming would happen, but to accept that so much of it would happen that it would be dangerous unless it was stopped by shutting down the West. … It was told to assume that there were going to be dangerous amounts of warming. So it made a prediction at that time. It said that warming … would have happened by now at a rate exactly twice what has actually happened. So the “settled science” was wrong. They said that they had substantial confidence in that forecast. They were wrong.
And you say they’ve been wrong on other predictions, as well. And they’ve been wrong in every prediction ever since. In fact, in the last, fifth assessment report—they’ve produced five of them since 1990, the last one last year—they said, in the pre-final draft, that warming would happen in the next 20 or 30 years at a certain rate. In the final draft, after the likes of me had gotten to them and said, ‘Oh, come off it, you can’t go on getting away with making up silly numbers,’ they drastically reduced that forecast. But it’s still too high because there’s been no global warming at all on any measure for 13 years. There’s been no global warming statistically distinguishable from zero for up to 25 years, depending on which record you use. Not one of the computer models that they used to predict the climate predicted that. Every single one of them was incorrect.
In your view, why were those computer models wrong? They were wrong because they know where the money is. They know the money is in giving governments what they want. Governments want new ways of raising taxation. They want some kind of moral justification for the very excessive amounts of taxation they now tend to levy worldwide. When this global warming story came out, it was manna from heaven for governments and for bureaucracies and for scientific and academic establishments. This was money all around from the ordinary, poor taxpayer. … This was a huge transfer of wealth and power away from democratic control by ordinary people keeping the money in their own pockets and deciding what kind of light bulbs they could use and how much petrol to use. Now all of this is prescribed by governments, which have grown huge, new bureaucratic enterprises to tell people exactly how much carbon dioxide they’re allowed to [emit]. You soon won’t be allowed to fart without permission in quintuplicate from some bureaucrat somewhere. It’s gotten completely out of hand. But what is interesting is that there is no—and I mean no—scientific basis for the exaggerated predictions of future global warming that the usual suspects have been making.
Listen to the rest of Kent Covington’s interview with Christopher Monckton on The World and Everything in It: