matt ridley

Post image for “We Are Taking Chemotherapy for a Cold” — Matt Ridley on Climate Policy

The UK-based Global Warming Policy Foundation (GWPF) has published prize-winning author Matt Ridley’s A Lukewarmer’s Ten Tests: What It Would Take to Persuade Me that Current Climate Policy Makes Sense

For coercive decarbonization to make sense, Ridley argues, climate alarmists would have persuade us of ten things, none of which is plausible in light of either recent science, economic data, or moral common sense.

Such articles of alarmist faith include the propositions that the urban heat island effect has been fully purged from the surface temperature record, water vapor and cloud feedbacks will eventually amplify the modest observed warming trend since 1979, mankind will fail to adapt to climate change even though there has already been a 98% reduction in the probability of death from extreme weather since the 1920s, and today’s relatively poor generation should bear the cost of damages that may not materialize until a far wealthier future generation.

Ridley concludes that the UK’s “current energy and climate policy is probably more dangerous, both economically and ecologically, than climate change itself.”

Ridley is well aware of the argument that “even a very small probability of a very large and dangerous change in the climate justifies drastic action.” But he notes that “Pascal’s wager cuts both ways.” 

To climate alarmists, Ridley would reply that “a very small probability of a very large and dangerous effect from the adoption of large-scale renewable energy, reduced economic growth through carbon taxes or geo-engineering also justifies extreme caution.” Big picture: “At the moment, it seems highly likely that the cure is worse than the disease. We are taking chemotherapy for a cold.”

Post image for Matt Ridley on Climate Change, Scientific Heresy

Matt Ridley, a prolific author (among many other professional accomplishments) recently name-checked by Bill Clinton as one of the “smartest, most penetrative thinkers” remains one of the highest profile skeptics toward the likelihood of catastrophic anthropogenic global warming. Last week he delivered the 2011 Angus Millar Lecture at the Royal Society of Arts in Edinburgh. The title of his talk was “Scientific Heresy,” and it detailed extensively why he remains skeptical on this issue. You can read the entire text of the talk here. A PDF with accompanying graphs and charts is here.

Here are a few excerpts, though the speech in its entirety should not be missed if you follow this debate:

Using these six lessons, I am now going to plunge into an issue on which almost all the experts are not only confident they can predict the future, but absolutely certain their opponents are pseudoscientists. It is an issue on which I am now a heretic. I think the establishment view is infested with pseudoscience. The issue is climate change.

Now before you all rush for the exits, and I know it is traditional to walk out on speakers who do not toe the line on climate at the RSA – I saw it happen to Bjorn Lomborg last year when he gave the Prince Philip lecture – let me be quite clear. I am not a “denier”. I fully accept that carbon dioxide is a greenhouse gas, the climate has been warming and that man is very likely to be at least partly responsible. When a study was published recently saying that 98% of scientists “believe” in global warming, I looked at the questions they had been asked and realized I was in the 98%, too, by that definition, though I never use the word “believe” about myself. Likewise the recent study from Berkeley, which concluded that the land surface of the continents has indeed been warming at about the rate people thought, changed nothing. [click to continue…]