A New God of Chaos

Climate change scientists are spreading panic.

Benny Peiser is a social anthropologist best known for his work on the portrayal of climate change. The founder of CCNet, a leading climate policy network, Peiser is co-editor of the journal Energy and Environment and director of the Global Warming Policy Foundation.

Ahead of his appearance at this year’s HowTheLightGetsIn festival, we spoke to him about changing attitudes to climate change.

You have previously argued that scientists are overstating the significance of anthropogenic climate change. What, then, do you believe is the source of our panic over global warming?

I think it's a combination of factors. It's of course something comparatively new, and what very often occurs when people experience a new hazard, a new risk that they haven't encountered before, is that they are increasingly concerned because it's an unknown hazard. So that's the backdrop to the concern, and then of course we've had the climate science communi

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Cody McHubart 18 May 2014

Benny -- While I agree with your inclination towards the long view, I must take issue with the "very slow and very gradual" construction in paragraph #3. About a third of Dr. Mann's Hockey Blade was decidedly un-gradual, appearing within the 12 months running from September of 1997 thru August of 1998. He and Drs. Bradley and Hughes used that Super El Nino to good effect, with their alarmist graphic, but, as the saying goes, live by the blade, perish by the blade.

In the shadow of that abrupt upheaval, all manner of contemporary confusion has been deliberately sewn and exaggerated. The instrumental record, which runs back ~150 years, depicts cooling until 1907. Since then the warm-rate has averaged 1.57 HUNDREDTHS F. per annum (thru 2011, the central year of the latest five-year average), but only 1.5 hundredths F. thru 1998. Thus, since the five year interval centered upon the abrupt heat released from that El Nino, the warm rate has risen 45%, to 2.2 hundredths F. annually.

None of the minimalists, nor any of the US conservative intellectuals who opine on climate (viz., Krauthammer, Gigot, Barone, Will, Stossel, or Krystol) recognize that gradual (typical observed) warming would not be expected to return to global advancement, following a convulsive 55 hundredth Fahrenheit degree leap, until after 2030. The shadow years have instead been erroneously depicted, with relish, as variously: a diminishment, a pause/hiatus, or, with egregious disdain for the integrity of the discourse, a "cooling".

While unlikely, suppose the tumult now brewing in the tropical Pacific reprises the '97-'98 event, in intensity. That would take us, again abruptly, to a realization of 2.2 F. degrees of witnessed warmth, or right about 41% of that depicted as most likely 35 years ago by Charney, when climate science was in infancy. And what percent of a CO2 doubling is in-hand? About 41%.

paulswann 15 May 2014

The credibility of IAI is seriously undermined by giving prominence to drivel like this.

Who do you believe? Right wing anti-environmental political ideologues like Peiser, Lamont, Lilley, Monckton, Davies et al, or virtually the whole of the climate science community plus anyone with an open mind who's taken the time and made the effort to seriously research the issue for themselves?

Wake up and smell the coffee IAI, and then read the concise, 28 page report by the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) Climate Science Panel, 'What We Know: The Reality, Risks and Response to Climate Change': http://bit.ly/AAASWhatWeKnow

"human-caused climate change is happening, we face risks of abrupt, unpredictable and potentially irreversible changes, and responding now will lower the risk and cost of taking action."

Peiser and his cronies are fools. Please stop encouraging them.

Mary Wilbur 11 May 2014

Karl Popper has probably turned over in his grave several times by now. In the US it's not about science it's entirely political, full of irrationality and name calling.

Oliver Manuel 5 May 2014

Climategate exposes a global abuse of the scientific method by members of UN's IPCC, the National Academies of Sciences of the US, UK, USSR, Sweden, Norway, Germany, etc. that now refuse to publicly address <b>nine pages of precise experimental data (pages 19-27) that falsify their post-1945 models of the atomic nucleus, the Sun and the cosmos.</b>

Their actions show that their united deceit to control Earth's population was intentional.

<i>“A Journey to the Core of the Sun – Chapter 2<b>: Acceptance of Reality</b>"</i>