Skip to content

James Delingpole: How Scientists Got Their Global Warming Sums Wrong

James Delingpole, The Sun

The scientists who produce those doomsday reports for the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change finally come clean. The planet has stubbornly refused to heat up to predicted levels

I’VE just discovered the hardest word in science.

Not pneumonoultramicroscopicsilicovolcanoconiosis (inflammation of the lungs caused by inhalation of silica dust). Nor palmitoyloleoylphosphatidylethanolamine (a lipid bilayer found in nerve tissue).

 The earth hasn't heated up anywhere near as much as it was supposed to

The earth hasn’t heated up anywhere near as much as it was supposed to

No, the actual hardest word — which scientists use so rarely it might as well not exist — is “Sorry”.

Which is a shame because right now the scientists owe us an apology so enormous that I doubt even a bunch of two dozen roses every day for the rest of our lives is quite enough to make amends for the damage they’ve done.

Thanks to their bad advice on climate change our gas and electricity bills have rocketed.

So too have our taxes, our car bills and the cost of flying abroad, our kids have been brainwashed into becoming tofu-munching eco-zealots, our old folk have frozen to death in fuel poverty, our countryside has been blighted with ranks of space-age solar panels and bat-chomping, bird-slicing eco-crucifixes, our rubbish collection service hijacked by hectoring bullies, our cities poisoned with diesel fumes . . .

And all because a tiny bunch of ­scientists got their sums wrong and scared the world silly with a story about catastrophic man-made global warming.

This scare story, we now know, was at best an exaggeration, at worst a ­disgraceful fabrication. But while a handful of reviled and derided sceptics have been saying this for years, it’s only this week that those scientists have fessed up to their mistake.

 Doomsday father Vice President Al Gore talking to the UN in 1997

Doomsday father Vice President Al Gore talking to the UN in 1997

In a new paper in the prestigious journal Nature Geoscience, the scientists who produce those doomsday reports for the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change have finally come clean — the computer models they’ve been using to predict runaway global warming are wrong, the planet has stubbornly refused to heat up anywhere near as much as they’d warned.

The report’s authors say it is now much more likely that the world will meet its CO2 reduction targets agreed at the UN’s Paris summit in 2015. Back then, Professor Michael Grubb of University College London said that the goal — keeping the rise in global temperatures below 1.5C — was so hard that achieving it would be “incompatible with democracy”.

Now he says: “When the facts change, I change.” Because it is now clear the impact of CO2 has been overstated, it means less needs to be done to stop “global warming”.

But even here Grubb may be exaggerating the scale of the problem and — assuming the problem is real — man’s ability to deal with it.

According to research by Dr Bjorn Lomborg, former director of the Danish government’s Environmental Assessment Institute (EAI) in Copenhagen, using the UN’s own figures, even if every country in the world sticks to its Paris carbon reduction targets, the result will be, at best, a drop in global temperatures by the end of the century of about one fifth of a degree. All that money, all that effort to — maybe — reduce “global warming” by less than the temperature difference between getting up and ­having breakfast.

One scientist has described the ­implications of the new Nature Geoscience report as “breathtaking”. He’s right. What it effectively does is scotch probably the most damaging ­scientific myth of our age — the notion that man-made carbon dioxide (CO2) is causing the planet to warm at such dangerous and ­unprecedented speeds that only massive government intervention can save us.

For a quarter of a century now — it all really got going in 1992 when 172 nations signed up to the Rio Earth Summit — our politicians have believed in and acted on this discredited theory.

In the name of saving the planet, war was declared on carbon dioxide, the benign trace gas which we exhale and which is so good for plant growth it has caused the planet to “green” by an extraordinary 14 per cent in the last 30 years.

This war on CO2 has resulted in a massive global decarbonisation industry worth around $1.5trillion (£1.11trillion) a year. Though it has made a handful of green crony capitalists very rich, it has made most of us much poorer, by forcing us to use expensive “renewables” instead of cheap, abundant fossil fuels.

So if the science behind all this ­nonsense was so dodgy, why did no one complain all these years?

Well, a few of us did. Some — such as Johnny Ball and David Bellamy — were brave TV celebrities, some — Graham Stringer, Peter Lilley, Owen Paterson, Nigel (now Lord) Lawson — were ­outspoken MPs, some were bona fide scientists. But whenever we spoke out, the response was the same — we were bullied, vilified, derided and dismissed as scientifically illiterate loons by a powerful climate alarmist establishment which brooked no dissent.

Unfortunately this alarmist establishment has many powerful media allies. The BBC has a huge roster of eco-activist reporters and science “experts” who believe in man-made global warming, and almost never gives sceptics air time.

Typical of this bias was the way one of its scientist presenters — a Guardian writer called Adam Rutherford — campaigned on Twitter to have Labour MP Graham Stringer “blocked” from the House of Commons Science and Technology Committee just because Stringer is a climate change sceptic and a ­trustee of Lord Lawson’s Global ­Warming Policy Foundation (GWPF).

One irony here is that Stringer, with his chemistry degree, is probably better equipped than Rutherford to understand the ins and outs of climate science.

Another is that the GWPF produced a report three years ago saying pretty much exactly what the supposed climate change experts are only finally ­admitting now — that the computer models are running “too hot”.

It comes as little consolation to those of us who’ve been right all along to say: “I told you so.”

In the name of promoting the global warming myth, free speech has been curtailed, honest science corrupted and vast economic and social damage done. That ­apology is long overdue.

Full post & comments