Tel. +44 (0)20 7287 4414
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The Bruges Group spearheaded the intellectual battle to win a vote to leave the European Union and, above all, against the emergence of a centralised EU state.
The Bruges Group spearheaded the intellectual battle to win a vote to leave the European Union and, above all, against the emergence of a centralised EU state.

Bruges Group Blog

Spearheading the intellectual battle against the EU. And for new thinking in international affairs.

Unsettled: what climate science tells us, what it doesn’t, and why it matters. by Steven Koonin, hardback, 306 pages, ISBN 978-1-950665-79-2

Unsettled Climate Truth and Myths.

In this radical and well-researched book, Dr Steven Koonin examines the science behind the claims that we are experiencing a terminal 'climate emergency'. Some now claim that the science is settled, but this is to call for scientific investigation to cease. Paul Watson, the co-founder of Greenpeace, said, "It doesn't matter what is true, it only matters what people believe is true."

This anti-science approach allows the most absurd alarmism. For example, in 1982, Mostafa Tolba, the former Executive Director of the UN Environment Program, said that if we don't act, we will see "by the turn of the century [i.e. by 2000], an ecological catastrophe which will witness devastation as complete, as irreversible as any nuclear holocaust." A Pentagon report of 2004 stated, "European cities will be plunged beneath rising seas as Britain is plunged into a Siberian climate by 2020."

Dr Koonin is not, as the conventional slur would have it, a 'climate change denier'. He writes, "I don't know of any expert who disputes that the rise in CO2 concentration over the past 150 years is almost entirely due to human activities …"

Dr Koonin notes the inconsistency of the IPCC's climate models: "the simulated global average surface temperature … varies among models by about 30C (5.60F), three times greater than the observed value of the twentieth-century warming they're purporting to describe and explain."

Forbes magazine told us in 2020, "This era of deadly hurricanes was supposed to be temporary. Now it's getting worse." In response, Dr Koonin cites the World Meteorological Association's 2020 conclusion: "… any single event, such as a severe tropical cyclone cannot be attributed to human-induced climate change, given the current status of scientific understanding."

He also cites the 2014 United States Global Change Research Program's Third National Climate Assessment: "There has been no significant trend in the global number of tropical cyclone nor has any trend been identified in the number of US land-falling hurricanes."

Its 2017 Climate Science Special Report confirmed this, stating, "within the period of highest data quality (since around 1980), the globally observed changes in the environment would not necessarily support a detectable trend in tropical cyclone intensity. That is, the trend signal has not yet had time to rise above the background variability of natural processes."

The Centre for Research on the Epidemiology of Disasters found that "weather-related death rates fell dramatically during the past one hundred years even as the globe warmed 1.20C (2.20F); they're about 80 times less frequent today than they were a century ago." So, hurricanes are now less deadly, not more.

WHO's Director-General told us that 'Climate Change Is Already Killing Us' (Foreign Affairs, 12 March 2020). Yet, as Dr Koonin notes, "the article conflates deaths due to ambient and household air pollution (which cause an estimated 100 per 100,000 premature deaths each year, or about one-eighth of total deaths from all causes) with deaths due to human-induced climate change. The World Health Organization itself has said that indoor air pollution in poor countries - the result of cooking with wood and animal and crop waste - is the most serious environmental problem in the world, affecting up to three billion people. This is not the result of climate change. It's the result of poverty. … pollution deaths aren't caused by a changing climate; it's the pollution itself that kills."

In August 2019, the IPCC released its Summary for Policymakers of the IPCC's Special Report on Climate Change and Land. The New York Times ran the headline 'Climate Change Threatens the World's Food Supply, United Nations warns'. (8 August 2019)

But the Report itself in no way justified such alarmist rhetoric. Its Key Finding A.1.4 said, "Data available since 1961 shows that the per capita supply of vegetable oils and meat has more than doubled and the supply of food calories per capita has increased by about one third (high confidence)."

Dr Koonin notes that "the increasing concentration of carbon dioxide has been a significant factor in yield improvements, as it boosts the rate of photosynthesis and alters plant physiology to use water more efficiently. … To sum up, agricultural yields, and the food supply overall, have surged during the past century even as the globe has warmed; 2020 saw record high grain production."

The first point in the UN's 2013 Fifth Assessment Report's Executive Summary to its Chapter 10 was: "For most economic sectors, the impact of climate change will be small relative to the impacts of other drivers (medium evidence, high agreement). Changes in population, age, income, technology, relative prices, lifestyle, regulation, governance, and many other aspects of socioeconomic development will have an impact on the supply and demand of economic goods and services that is large relative to the impact of climate change."

Its Working Group II found that the projected global temperature rise of up to 30C by 2100 would reduce the world economy by 3 per cent or less. This means a decrease in the annual growth rate by an average of 3 per cent divided by 80, about 0.04 per cent a year. IPCC scenarios assumed an average global annual growth rate of about 2 per cent through 2100. The climate impact would then be a 0.04 per cent decrease in that growth rate, down to 1.96 per cent a year.

A 2018 article by Richard Tol, one of the IPCC's lead authors, reviewed a further four years of published papers and concluded, "… the total economic impacts of climate change are negative, but modest on average, and that the severe impacts on less developed countries are caused primarily by poverty."

Dr Koonin concludes, "The impact of human influences on the climate is too uncertain (and very likely too small) compared to the daunting amount of change required to actually achieve the goal of eliminating net global emissions by, say, 2075. … I believe the socio-technical obstacles to reducing CO2 emissions make it likely that human influences on the climate will not be stabilized, let alone reduced, in this century."

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