Matt Ridley's 10 Questions For Climate Alarmists

As I have read Mr. Ridley over the years, I have found him to have staked out a position on anthropogenic climate change very similar to mine  (we are both called "lukewarmers" because we accept that man's addition of greenhouse gasses to the atmosphere warms the world incrementally but do not accept catastrophic positive-feedback driven catastrophic warming forecasts).

I generally find room to nitpick even those whom I largely agree with, but from my perspective, this piece by Ridley is dead on.   (thanks to a reader for the link)


  1. marque2:

    I only mildly disagree with point 8. There is no guarantee that future generations will be richer. Empires come and go. We could have the failure of our 1st world governments lead to another dark ages.

  2. mesaeconoguy:

    That is what seems to be happening, especially in the major economies which have done the majority of the economic heavy lifting.

    There seems to be a concerted, semi-coordinated effort to destroy themselves.

  3. marque2:

    It is a lot like ancient Rome. Folks not working, depending on government which in turn depends on the labors from conquered lands. It rotted from the inside and died. Look for the world to be a Muslim theocracy in 50 years. All our freedoms gone.

  4. mesaeconoguy:

    Somewhat related – Italy just seized $1.7 billion from a Sicilian Mafia affiliate, and “alternative energy” investor:

    Italian media have dubbed Nicastri the "king of
    alternative energy" for his vast holdings in wind farms and photovoltaic
    cell companies. Police said the seizures include 43 companies; 98 pieces of
    real estate including buildings, homes, stores and land; 66 bank accounts,
    credit cards and investment funds.

    The scam of “alt/green” energy is a great place for parking hot money.

  5. DaveJ:

    11. I would also like to see all presentations purged of any study where the sources, applied factors, and methods are not fully disclosed. If you have to say "trust me", you don't have science. Anything based on non-science, is not science.

  6. Daublin:

    They are very good questions, but I think there are better ones to lead with.

    1. The prominent strategies do not work even under the assumptions of their proponents. The estimates I have read require an 80-90% reduction in CO2 emissions to reach an equillibrium where CO2 levels stop increasing. Yet, it's CO2 levels that cause trouble, not CO2 emissions themselves. If we decrease emissions by 10-20%, all it does is delay the catastrophe.

    2. Day to day life is being made significantly worse by CO2 policy. Automobilies and basic appliances are more than a factor of two more expensive than they would be without regulation, and those cars and appliances don't work as well due to the restrictions. These aren't small cuts around the margin; we are making tremendous sacrifices, especially those in the lower half of the income distribution.

    3. CO2 sequestration is a clearly cheaper approach than a serious effort to lower CO2 by 80-90%. NASA's budget at its peak was around 30 billion a year. Imagine if we spent 30 billion a year on sequestration technology.

    4. For a variety of reasons, in all probability we are better off treating the symptoms as they happen. Among other issues, our societal institutions just aren't good at choosing among policies that won't have any efffect for 100 years. Our intelligence, both individually and collectively, is highly experimental. We try things and see what happens.

    I totally agree that the fundamental science is poor, but I also think that's less important than the above arguments. #1 is particularly damning. We are making sacrifices just to show that we care.