Fight climate extremists before they upend society, pleads McKitrick

Ross Mckitrick, the level-headed University of Guelph Professor of Economics who has been on the frontlines of the debate about climate change for two decades, is sounding the alarm for everyone in the “moderate middle.” 

He describes in this article published through Troy Media that in 2019 “the climate issue took a sharp turn towards extremism”.

The subhead states: Start learning the deep details of the science and economics instead of letting extremists dictate what you’re allowed to think or say

He concludes, “Climate and energy policy has fallen into the hands of a worldwide movement that openly declares its extremism. The would-be moderates on this issue have pretended for 20 years they could keep the status quo without having to fight for it. Those days are over.”

This chart summarizes how "B group", who have been going with the flow, have lost control to "C group" who are now upending society, without a firm grasp of the science or economics.

What is the likely "social cost of carbon"?

We now routinely see headlines that shout, if we do not halt the emission of carbon dioxide we are running out of time to prevent a climate catastrophe. Leaving aside the scientific details of exactly how much of an effect that carbon dioxide has on global temperatures the question needs to be answered, “If the more pessimistic forecasts are true, what will it cost society?”  In a recent paper Ross McKitrick weighs the effects using “integrated assessment models” (IAMs). Assessments that have been customary leave out the effects that carbon dioxide has that are positive, primarily on crop productivity. When these are included the “costs” of carbon turn positive into a net benefit

Mckitrick makes it clear that it is impossible to be certain about any forecasts. In every case the calculations require logic along the lines of, “if this happens, then the outcome will be…” 

The paper is technical and unlikely to be read by anyone other than economists: Climate sensitivity, agricultural productivity and the social cost of carbon in FUND (Framework for Uncertainty, Negotiation, and Distribution) Kevin D. Dayaratna, Ross McKitrick & Patrick J. Michaels. Published 18 January 2020


The scientific community is becoming alarmed

Media headlines are not covering the voices of scientists. Instead we hear from climate extremists who threaten climate deadlines. But there is no reasonable justification for this. For example, a close reading of the IPCC Special Report on global warming does not foretell a climate deadline. Another example was reported in the respected journal Nature July 2019 under the title, “Why setting a climate deadline is dangerous.” The alarm comes, it states, from “the rise of the political rhetoric of setting a fixed deadline for decisive actions on climate change.” They suggest that the IPCC “take responsibility for its report and openly challenge the credibility of such a deadline.”

Further discussion can be found in a thoughtful editorial by Mike Hulme in WIREs Climate Change, a cross-disciplinary online journal published in association with the Royal Meteorological Society and the Royal Geographical Society, Is it too late (to stop dangerous climate change)?

"Net zero" deadlines are unrealistic

There is no credible scientific data that indicates we are closing in on a “climate deadline.” And yet policymakers and corporate chiefs are being scared by climate alarmist activism into setting deadlines that are unrealistic. 

For instance BP’s chief executive, Bernard Looney, as reported in the Guardianhas set an ambitious target to shrink the oil firm’s carbon footprint to net zero by 2050 by cutting more greenhouse gas emissions every year than produced by the whole of the UK. There is no accounting for how this might be possible. It could be achieved only if there is an unexpected leap forward in technology or say, the rapid adoption of nuclear energy, which, at the moment are not being discussed.