- Those who think it is real but entirely natural and unalterable, and who label dissenters as alarmists or warmists;
- Those who think it is entirely anthropogenic and dangerous, who predict catastrophe unless we rapidly decarbonise, who classify dissenters as contrarians or deniers, and who lay claim to a 97% scientific consensus (Cook et al 2013).
- Assumes climate change (CC) is entirely anthropogenic and potentially catastrophic;
- Links CC to increased frequency of intense storms despite contrary evidence;
- Links CC to floods and droughts with limited evidence and undue certainty;
- Overlooks the real causes of food insecurity, the displacement of people and spread of disease vectors;
- Accepts climate model’s emission scenarios and temperature projections as reliable predictions;
- Portrays all fossil-fuel emissions, including CO2, as harmful while ignoring fossil-fuel benefits to humanity;
- Focuses on the hazards of global warming while ignoring or downplaying its benefits;
- Portrays renewable energy as reliable and affordable for developing countries;
- Dilutes its positive contribution on adaptation by overemphasising mitigation;
- Overestimates the benefits of mitigation and underestimates its overall costs;
- Promotes unproven climate mitigation over proven preventive measures in combating tropical diseases;
- Recruits support for urgent climate action by employing hyperbole and quasi-religious notions (e.g. sanctity of the natural world);
- Hypocritically attributes climate inaction to vested interests while ignoring vested interests in climate action;
- Seeks to further strain the public purse by creating yet another climate action coalition.
Impact of global temperature on GDP
Source: Tol 2010[i]
(derived from UN data)
|Figure 2: Keeling Curve of rising atmospheric CO2.|
|Figure 5: HadCRUT4 surface temperature data 1979-2015|
|Figure 6: 400-year sunspot solar cycle record, showing Maunder Minimum (MM) |
and Dalton Minimum (DM)
Figure 7: Pacific and Atlantic Oscillations (L) and USA temperature
anomaly (R) 1905-2000. Source: D’Aleo, 2007.
Figure 8: HadCRUT4 temperature anomaly (L) and
Mauna Loa atmospheric CO2 (R) 1958-2013.
Figure 9: Average of 90 CMIP5 climate model projections
vs. observed temperature anomaly. Source: Roy Spencer
Figure 10: Revised NOAA global temperature 1880-2014.
Note that the warming trend from 1910 to 1940 was at
least as steep as NOAA’s later Trend.
|Figure 11: Sea Surface Temperature. Source: Argo, 2009|
|Figure 12: Arctic sea ice volume as measured by CryoSat-2|
Figure 13: Southern Hemisphere Sea Ice Extent 1979-2015
|Figure 14: Global Sea Ice Area 1979-2015|
Figure 16: Temperature
response to atmospheric CO2.
calculations (without feedbacks)[i]
[i] Climate models factor in strong positive feedbacks, mainly from increased atmospheric water vapour, the dominant greenhouse gas; but increased evaporation cools the surface, convection transports the latent heat high into the troposphere where it is radiated to space, the water vapour absorbs longwave solar radiation and condenses into clouds which reflect solar radiation. Weather balloons and satellites have failed to find the tropospheric hot spot predicted by climate models:
Douglass DH et al. 2007: A comparison of tropical temperature trends with model predictions. International Journal of Climatology: DOI. 10.1002/joc.1651.
The health impacts of climate change
|Figure 16: Average U.S. annual mortality 1964-1998|
“There is also now strong evidence that such heat-related mortality is rising as a result of climate change impacts across a range of localities. . . The incidence of heatwaves has increased in the past few decades, as has the area affected by them.40, 41 The most severe heatwave, measured with the Heat Wave Magnitude Index, was the summer 2010 heatwave in Russia.40 . . . Projections under climate scenarios show that events with the magnitude of the Russian heatwave of 2010 could have become much more common and with high-end climate scenarios could become almost the summer norm for many regions.40” (p.8)
1. Although the frequency of severe heatwaves does appear to be increasing, the 33-year time frame is short. Analysing raw Australian BOM data, Geoffrey Sherrington found as many 5-6-day heatwaves in Melbourne from 1856 to 1935 as from 1936 to 2013 and they were as hot or hotter. Bourke experienced >102⁰F for 24 days straight in 1896, and the thermometer read 109⁰F at midnight in Brewarrina;2. Excluding the exceptional Russian heatwave, there was no increase in affected area over time. Indeed, the two recent US heatwaves were smaller in area than that of 1980.3. All seven major heatwaves occurred in temperate regions.4. The report states: “impacts are unevenly distributed, with greater risks in less developed countries”, but all five of these countries are developed, the U.S. being the most frequently affected.5. Apart from the 2010 Russian heatwave, they were not associated with globally warmer years. Chase et al (2006)[i] found that most of the globe was normal or cooler than normal during the 2003 European heat wave. Heatwaves are usually associated with unusual blocking high-pressure (Hadley Cell) systems combined with reduced precipitation and soil moisture (Beniston and Diaz, 2004).[ii]
[i] Chase T N, Wolter K, Pielke RA Sr. & Rasool I 2006: Was the 2003 European summer heat wave unusual in a global context? Geophysical Research Letters. 33(5) doi:10.1029/2006GL027470 Was the 2003 European summer heat wave unusual in a global context?[ii] IPCC 2007: 4AR WGI Box 3.6, Chapter 3 "Observations: Surface and Atmospheric Climate Change"
Table 1. List of Record-Breaking Heat Wave Events in the Period 1980–2012a
U.S. Benelux Europe Greece Russia U.S. U.S.
NCEP-II (1980) (1994) (2003) (2007) (2010) (2011) (2012)
Grid points 91 61 51 61 148 38 53
Max 8.20 5.49 4.70 3.76 11.71 4.17 3.75
Mean 4.65 3.26 3.30 2.46 5.50 2.72 2.71
Median 4.10 2.91 3.48 2.36 5.43 2.57 2.60
Grid points 54 37 47 78 148 44 55
Max 5.51 4.30 6.26 4.02 11.43 10.44 5.56
Mean 3.46 3.01 3.53 2.58 5.37 3.51 2.96
Median 3.23 3.05 3.72 2.51 5.29 3.14 2.76
a. The spatial extension is estimated by counting the grid points within a specific event with HWMI equal to or greater than 2.
|Figure 17: Average Melbourne minimum temperatures|
|Figure 18: Average Melbourne maximum temperatures|
|Figure 19: Strength Index of Tropical Cyclone Events in |
North Qld (1226-2003) Adapted from Nott et al 2007 
|Figure 20: Time series of annual global land precipitation anomalies (mm)|
with respect to the 1981-2000 period for 1900-2005.
The smooth curves show decadal variations. Source: NCDC
|Figure 22: Roller coaster of individual (coloured) and combined (black)|
power generation from 11 wind farms. Source: Peter Mitchell, 2010
|Figure 23: Declining global poverty population percentage.|
The past few decades have been characterized by a period of relatively high solar activity. However, the recent prolonged solar minimum and subsequent weak solar cycle 24 have led to suggestions that the grand solar maximum may be at an end1. Using past variations of solar activity measured by cosmogenic isotope abundance changes, analogue forecasts for possible future solar output have been calculated. An 8% chance of a return to Maunder Minimum-like conditions within the next 40 years was estimated in 2010 (ref. 2). The decline in solar activity has continued, to the time of writing, and is faster than any other such decline in the 9,300 years covered by the cosmogenic isotope data1. If this recent rate of decline is added to the analysis, the 8% probability estimate is now raised to between 15 and 20%.
In colder climates, living in a comfortably heated home is commonly viewed as protective for human health, and the World Health Organization recommends a minimum temperature of 21⁰C in living rooms, and 18⁰C in all other rooms (WHO, 2007). In the United Kingdom, households that are unable to maintain these standards of thermal comfort and safety are described as living in fuel poverty. . . . Households which require 10% or more of their income to attain WHO standards are rated as being in fuel poverty (Sefton and Chesshire, 2005). Since relatively few UK households can afford to spend such a substantial proportion of their income on domestic heating, a large percentage of fuel-poor people live in homes that are persistently cold and damp (Liddell,2008). . . 12% of households in England were fuel poor in 2006, 21% in Wales, 24% in Scotland, and 34% in Northern Ireland (NIHE, 2008). At the last estimate, and using the OECDs definition of affordable warmth, 6% of homes in France lacked affordable warmth, 7% in Ireland, 11% in Italy, and 15% in Belgium (EU-SILC, 2005). This makes fuel poverty a common challenge throughout the Northern Hemisphere . . .
Broadly speaking, significantly more deaths occur during winter (e.g. Healy, 2003). Cold indoor temperatures are strongly implicated in this effect, in that risks are especially great for residents of poorly insulated homes (Wilkinson et al., 2007). This helps account for countries such as Italy and Greece having significantly higher excess winter mortality rates than do more northerly countries such as Finland and Sweden (Barnett et al., 2005); although the latter group have colder winters, they also have better standards of domestic insulation and lower rates of fuel poverty (Healy, 2004). Cold-related deaths occur mostly through changes in blood pressure and blood chemistry during cold weather, which in turn increase the risk of catastrophic cardio- or cerebro-vascular events such as strokes, myocardial infarctions or pulmonary embolisms (Crawford et al., 2003). The immune system is also suppressed, increasing the risk of infections (Howieson and Hogan, 2005). . .More recently, studies have begun to examine the enduring and potentially cumulative health effects that might be associated with living in cold conditions. These include increased risk of influenza, pneumonia, asthma, arthritis, and accidents at home (WHO, 2007). . . the three groups deemed most vulnerable to the effects of fuel poverty . . . are people over 60 years old, people living with disability or long-term illness, and families with children.
|Figure 24: Australian subsidies for electricity production.|
Cost per Life Saved
3. Subsidies &
Control of HIV/AIDS
Control of Malaria
6. Sanitation & Water
7. Sanitation &Water
8. Sanitation & Water
Develop new agricultural technologies
Small-scale water technology for livelihoods
Research on water productivity in food production
Lowering the cost of starting a new business
Lowering the barriers to migration for skilled workers
Improving infant and child nutrition
Reducing low birth-weight prevalence
Scaled-up basic health services
Guest workers program for the unskilled
Optimal carbon tax
Value-at-risk carbon tax ($100-$450)
But not with very next statement on page 34: “However, if fossil fuel prices increase from their currently relatively low levels and remain volatile, and the capital costs of renewables (especially solar and wind) continue to fall, then at some point renewable electricity may become economically preferable to fossil-fuel derived power, irrespective of other factors.”
1. Positive lessons for international cooperation and negotiation – by WHO for example;2. Encouraging political lessons from surmounting past denialism – e.g. tobacco lobby, HIV/AIDS;3. Harnessing the health impacts of climate change as added motivation – the human component;4. Highlighting the health co-benefits of adaptation and mitigation measures – e.g. less air pollution;5. Analogies in health responses to complex problems – prevention (mitigation) and treatment (adaptation).
1. The size of the health threat from climate change is on a scale quite different from localised epidemics or specific diseases. . .
2. There is a widespread lack of awareness of climate change as a health issue.1913. Several independent accountability groups have brought energy, new ideas and advocacy to other global health issues. . .
4. Perhaps the paramount reason for an independent review is the authority of health professional voices with policy makers and communities. . . .
‘climate action coalition’? Might the alarmism of this Lancet Commissions report serve its intended purpose better than either science or humanity?
In Conclusion, the Lancet report faithfully follows the script of the late Stephen Schneider: “offer up some scary scenarios, make simplified dramatic statements and little mention of any doubts one might have.” Questioning the scary scenarios and dramatic statements in this report and expressing doubts regarding the ‘settled science’ risks being tossed into the company of Holocaust deniers, tobacco defenders, shills of Big Oil, or dishonest snake oil salesmen who must be silenced. So be it.