I hereby take the challenge here of answering to Tony’s five arguments
However, the main problem here is that Tony is not arguing against what the climate scientists says, he is arguing against what some alarmist journalists says.
I view myself as representing mainstream climate science and I think the UN Climate panel (IPCC) do a very good and important job with their climate reports. My answers here are compliant with their latest Report
The label ‘alarmist’ is one I would use on those who think that the climate change poses an imminent existential threat to our civilization. The view of the UN climate panel is that it can develop to a huge problem, but we have several ways to stop it before the consequences become too severe. Therefore I do not label the UN Climate panel as alarmists.
Point 1. “Climate alarmism is based mainly around fear of extreme weather.”
Answer: Typical media alarmist may prioritize this viewpoint, but the climate science is more conservative on this topic.
However, there are some well known facts we can say for sure, such as:
- We know that hurricanes increase in strength when the sea surface temperature is above 27 Celsius. The warmer water, the quicker they increase in strength.
- Warm air can contain more water. This means that we can expect heavier rain in a warmer climate.
- Warm water occupies more space. This means that the sea level increase if the sea temperature goes up and if the glaciers melt the sea level will increase further.
Point 2 “Climate alarmism is much like the story of the Emperor’s New Clothes. … Only a small handful of people whom the press and politicians quote over and over again are allowed to state an opinion”
Answer: I agree in the last point above. The media should confront new sensational claims with what IPCC says on that topic before reporting it.
Point 3: “Academics have been making apocalyptic predictions for decades”
Answer: I Partially agree. The problem is that a small minority of academics have always come with apocalyptic predictions, and the media have reported only those. The new now is that virtually all academics agree on the fundamentals of climate science which are:
- There are such things as a climate effect and climate gases
- Water vapor, CO2 and methane are the three most important climate gases.
- The amounts of CO2 and methane in the atmosphere are the highest in at least 800 000 years, and probably the highest in 3 million years.
- The reason for the current elevated level of CO2 and methane is human emissions.
- The amount of water vapor in the atmosphere is correlated with temperature. Higher temperature results in more water vapor. This effect, viewed separately, means that the temperature increase caused by the greenhouse gases, CO2 and methane, increase more than the greenhouse effect from CO2 and methane alone should imply.
- Higher amounts of climate gases in the atmosphere should result in higher temperatures.
- The average surface temperature on the planet has increased by approximately one degree Celsius since 1900, and the rate of increase has been exceptionally high since 1980.
Point 4: “Climate alarmism is completely dependent on graphs and useless climate models generated by a small handful of people.”
Answer: Science is about analyzing models, and it has been so at least since Galileo and Kepler. It is true that the models which prevail have been developed by a small number of people, but the strength in science is that these methods are transparent and open to critique by all the scientific community.
Point 5: The most important argument against climate alarmism is that the proposed solutions are unworkable, dangerous and useless.
Answer: I disagree, although this is of course a huge topic by itself. My take is that there are several solutions to the problem, many are impractical, but a few are doable:
- The electricity production can be totally de-carbonized by either nuclear power, or renewables in combination with hydroelectric pumped storage.
- Virtually all the industry and transport sector can either be electrified, based on gas produced by power to gas solutions or bioenergy.
So how serious problem is the climate change?
My view is that it belongs among the top five challenges to humanity. Perhaps below the crisis that we still have a billion people on the planet living in desperate poverty; the economic development for those people should not be constrained in any way by requirements for green solutions.
We, in the richest part of the world have to take the lead.