De menselijke bijdrage aan de opwarming van de aarde is geen planetaire ramp.
Onlangs sprak de Tsjechische president Václav Klaus voor het 'International Seminar on Planetary Emergencies', georganiseerd door de 'World Federation of Scientists', in Erice, op Sicilë, Italië.
De voorzitter van die federatie van wetenschappelijke zwaargewichten is Prof. Antonino Zichichi, een van de zes topexperts in de wereld op het gebied van deeltjesfysica. Hij is 83 jaar oud en de meest bekende wetenschapper in Italië. Hij ergert zich dood aan de politisering van de klimatologie.
Václav Klaus is een van de weinige politici ter wereld die de klimaatmaterie grondig heeft bestudeerd en daardoor in staat is zich een zelfstandig oordeel daarover te vormen. Hij heeft er zelfs een boek over geschreven: Blauwe planeet in groene kluisters. Dat boek is inmiddels in 18 talen vertaald, ook in het Nederlands. Vele andere politici volgen slechts slaafs de opvattingen van het VN-klimaatpanel (IPCC).
Klaus begon zijn lezing als volgt:
Many thanks for the invitation to attend your conference and to speak here. I appreciate that a mere politician, a former economist, has been invited to address this well-known gathering of highly respected scientists. If I understand it correctly, this year´s seminar is devoted to the discussion of the role of science and of “planetary emergencies”.
To the first topic, I want to say very clearly that I don´t see a special role for science which would be different from doing science. I have, of course, in mind “normal science”, not a “post-normal science” whose ambitions are very often connected with political activism. The role of scientists is not in speculating on the probabilities of events that cannot be directly measured and tested, nor in promoting a pseudo-scientific “precautionary principle”, nor in engaging in activities which are the proper function not of scientists but of risk managers.
To the second topic, I have to say that as a conservatively-minded person, I am unaware of any forthcoming “planetary emergency”, with the exception of those potential situations which would be the consequences of human failures – of human fanaticism, of false pride, and of lack of modesty. But these are problems of political systems and of ideologies.
Over de AGW-hypothese (AGW = Anthropogenic Global Warming) zei hij het volgende:
This doctrine, as a set of beliefs, is an ideology, if not a religion. It lives independently on the science of climatology. Its disputes are not about temperature, but are part of the “conflict of ideologies”. Temperature is used and misused in these disputes. The politicians, the media and the public – misled by the very aggressive propaganda produced by the adherents of the global warming doctrine – do not see this. It is our task to help them to distinguish between what is science and what is ideology.
Volgens Klaus kan de doctrine in de volgende geloofsartikelen worden samengevat:
1. It starts with the claim that there is an undisputed and undisputable, empirically confirmed, statistically significant, global, not local, warming;
2. It continues with the argument that the time series of global temperature exhibit a growing trend which dominates their cyclical and random components. This trend is supposed to be non-linear, perhaps exponential;
3. This trend is declared to be dangerous for the people (in the eyes of “soft” environmentalists) or for the planet (by “deep” environmentalists);
4. This temperature growth is postulated as a solely or chiefly man-made phenomenon attributable to growing emissions of CO2 from industrial activity and the use of fossil fuels;
5. The sensitivity of global temperature to even small variations in CO2 concentration in the atmosphere is supposed to be very high;
6. The GWD exponents promise us a solution: the ongoing temperature increase can be reversed by radical reduction in CO2 emissions;
7. They also know how to bring about their solution: they want to organize emissions reduction by means of the institutions of “global governance”. They forget to tell us that this is not possible without undermining democracy, the independence of individual countries, human freedom, economic prosperity and a chance to eliminate poverty in the world;
8. They rely on the undefined and undefinable “precautionary principle”. Cost-benefit analysis is not relevant to them. ...
I do not believe in any one of these eight articles of faith and I am not alone. There are many natural scientists and also social scientists, especially economists, who do not believe in them either. The problem is that most genuine scientists do science and are not willing to discuss this doctrine in the public space. ...
Klaus stelt verder vast dat er gebrek aan interdisciplinaire wetenschappelijke discussie is. Wat de politieke dimensie betreft merkt hij op dat het verval van oude ideologieën tot een vacuüm heeft geleid. De AGW-doctrine kwam als geroepen om dat vacuüm op te vullen. Om tal van redenen verwacht hij niet dat er spoedig een beslissende doorbraak zal komen, noch in de wetenschappelijke noch in de publieke discussie.
Klaus is van huis uit econoom. Vanuit die invalshoek heeft hij een aantal denkbeelden ontwikkeld, die een originele en waardevolle bijdrage aan het klimaatdebat vormen.
1. Economists believe in the rationality and efficiency of the spontaneous decisions of millions of individuals. They believe in “the wisdom of people” rather than in the wisdom of governments and of their scientific advisors. They do not deny that market failures happen, but they have many reasons to argue that government failures are bigger and much more dangerous than market failures. They consider that jumping on the bandwagon of the global warming doctrine is an example of a serious government failure which undermines markets, human freedom and human prosperity;
2. Economists, at least since Frederic Bastiat, have considered it their duty to warn policymakers against unintended consequences and against failing to differentiate between what is seen and what is not seen;
3. Economists have at their disposal a rather developed subdiscipline called “energy economics”. They know something about scarcity, as well as about prices, and they have to warn governments against playing with them.
4. Economists believe in rational risk-aversion, not in the precautionary principle;
5. Economists are aware of externalities and have worked with them for a long time. It is their own concept: it was not discovered by environmentalists. They consider it dangerous in unqualified hands. After decades of studying it, they do not see the world as full of negative externalities a priori;
6. Economists base their thinking about intertemporal events on a rather sophisticated concept of discounting. It was the misunderstanding of discounting in the climatologic modeling that brought me into the subject of global warming some years ago;
7. Economists have some undeniable experience with the analysis of time series. Statistical and econometric methods used in economic analysis are full of sophisticated models not used in natural sciences, because these are based mostly on the analysis of cross-section data samples. They know something about the problems with the imperfect quality of data, about measurement errors, about data mining, about the precariousness of all kinds of averages and other statistical characteristics. They also have some experience with computer modelling in complex systems, with pseudocorrelations, with the sensitivity of parameter adjustments, etc. For that reason they are convinced they have the right to comment on the statistical analyses of climatologists.
Based on all that:
1. Economists do not see the outcome of the cost-benefit comparisons of CO2 emission reductions as favourably as the adherents of the global warming doctrine. They know that energy demand and supply patterns change only slowly. They see the very high degree of stability of the relationship between man-made carbon dioxide emissions, economic activity and emissions intensity, and possess no hypothesis for expecting a radical shift in this relationship. Emissions intensity (as a macro-phenomenon) moves only very slowly and does not make miracles. The very robust relationship between CO2 emissions and the rate of economic growth is here, and is here to stay. ...
2. The relationships studied in natural sciences are not influenced by subjective valuations of the variables in question, nor by any rational (or irrational) behaviour, nor by the fact that people make choices. In social or behavioural sciences, it is more difficult. To make rational choices means to pay attention to intertemporal relationships and to look at opportunity costs. It is evident that by assuming a very low, near-zero discount rate the proponents of the global warming doctrine neglect the issue of time and of alternative opportunities.
A low discount rate used in global warming models means harming current generations (vis-à-vis future generations). Undermining current economic development harms future generations as well. ….
3. As someone who personally experienced central planning and attempts to organize the whole of society from one place, I feel obliged to warn against the arguments and ambitions of the believers in the global warming doctrine. Their arguments and ambitions are very similar to those we used to live with decades ago under Communism. The arrogance with which the global-warming alarmists and their fellow-travellers in politics and the media present their views is appalling. They want to suppress the market, they want to control the whole of society, they want to dictate prices (directly or indirectly by means of various interventions, including taxes), they want to “use” the market. I agree with Ray Evans that we experience the “Orwellian use of the words ‘market’ and ‘price’ to persuade people to accept a control over their lives”. All the standard economic arguments against such attempts should be repeated. It is our duty to do it.
To conclude, I agree with many serious climatologists who say that the warming we may expect will be very small. I agree with Bob Carter and other scientists that it is difficult “to prove that the human effect on the climate can be measured” because “this effect is lost in the variability of natural climate changes”. Provided that there are no irrational attempts to mitigate the human effect on global temperature, the economic losses connected with the warming we may expect will be very small. The loss generated as a result of the completely useless fight against global warming would be far greater.
Lees verder hier.
Voor mijn eerdere DDS-bijdragen, zie