Climate change hoax

Suppose that all the fuss about the climate is a climate change hoax.

Suppose that none of it is true.

The greenhouse gases, the warming, the global warming effects, they are all a beat up by vested interests including the politicians and the media.

Imagine for a moment that the smug look on the faces of the climate change skeptics are there because it is all a myth.

And consider this question: What if it's not emissions?

What if all the emission reduction policy turmoil and argument over emission reduction was unnecessary and emissions didn't matter at all.

If it's not emissions then

  • there will be egg on the faces of the believers, especially the outspoken ones.
  • several significant international institutions will take a credibility hit causing some to collapse and others to fade away quietly.
  • many people will lose faith in the science and the peer-review system that the scientists say is the best way to ensure quality and trust in science will be lost.
  • a shakedown of carbon trading mechanisms as the market quickly decides that the commodity traded, a ton of CO2e, is worthless.
  • politicians in western democracies will be treated with even more contempt as, yet again, they will have debated a subject to death, all the while having us believe that it was not a climate change hoax. 
  • the politicians who argued that climate change was dangerous will look especially silly.
  • green minded folk, who were so convinced of climate change and global warming that they blocked legislation because it was too weak, will be lost for a cause. Most will shrug and move on to the next environmental challenge, for this is the lot of the lone voice. A few will refuse to accept that it was all a hoax and, with courage and tenacity, fight for their version of the truth.
  • owners of coal mines, power stations that run on fossil fuels, energy hungry industries, and the managers of the superannuation funds that invest in these businesses will breathe again, as their profits will not take a hit after all.

This is quite a list that amounts to a mighty high pile of face saving. If it's not emissions a lot of people will be embarrassed beyond belief for much emotional energy and credibility has been invested in its truth.

Except that all this will be quickly forgotten as we return to business as usual.

Because those who claim the climate change hoax, that climate change does not exist or is natural and not something we should pay attention to, are really saying that we should carry on as we have been for the past 200 years.

And you can see why they would want this.

During this time, right across the world, the average trend has been for

  • longer life expectancy
  • improved health care
  • higher quality lifestyles
  • greater access to better quality education
  • access to technology
  • economic opportunity

Clearly there are places where these benefits have not happened or have been slow to develop. We live in a world of extreme inequality where both poverty and wealth are pervasive.

But overall things are better than they were.

The proof is that there are now 7 billion of us, that's six times more people than were alive at the start of the 1800s.

As a species we have been extraordinarily successful.

Admitting to anthropogenic climate change is saying that all this has been at a cost.

It is inevitable that there will be vocal opposition to both the concept of climate change and the mechanisms put in place (taxes, trading schemes, technologies) to tackle the problem.

And one way to oppose is simply to deny it exists at all.

So much vested interest

Few of the believers want to contemplate the question: What if it's not emissions?

Because if it's not emissions then:

  • All believers will eat humble pie. This will be uncomfortable but not life threatening.
  • The scientists have more to lose for credibility is their trade. Weaken credibility and the whole profession suffers. For a generation of young climate scientists it is also their jobs and careers that are at stake.
  • Market players will lose money but this is the nature of risky investments. Much of the upside was in money made on trades, the bundling and hedging instruments that make the secondary market buzz. Many investors do not want to be burnt again by the very mechanisms they create to make money. They will cling on to the prospect of future maturity.

Nobody wants to be wrong, especially if the admission weakens your position or comes at a cost. But saving face is not why climate change cannot be a hoax.

Why it cannot be a climate change hoax

It is also nothing to do with the facts. We do know climate changes and that it is changing now. All that we know about the history of the earth and the evolution of life is that change has been a constant theme and important driver of innovation. Change disrupts but it also creates opportunity and the steady increase in biological diversity over evolutionary time is the result.

Claims of climate change myths are confounded by the evidence and the known drivers from wobbles in the earths orbit [Milankovich cycles] to solar wind and mobile continents. Greenhouses gases are just another driver.

And here is a more esoteric reason.

Climate change cannot be a hoax because we must use it to change ourselves.

Climate change action is the start of unusual business. A secure future requires that we respond to the size of our footprint on the earth positively, with smart, decisive and thoughtful action.

So even if it is not emissions and it really is a climate change hoax, what the process of attempting to understand and deal with a global scale issue has done is provide us with some of the tools to manage global change.

And whether it is climate or not, 7 billion people are changing the globe.

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