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The Daily Missive

Garbage In, Garbage Out

By September 8, 2023No Comments

Historically, the claim of consensus has been the first refuge of scoundrels; it is a way to avoid debate by claiming that the matter is already settled.”

— Michael Crichton

“There’s not much doubt about ‘climate change’,” responds reader D Shultz, “it has been going on for eons.”

“Some 15,000 years ago,” agrees G Pisauro, “we had an ice age, and sea levels were much, much lower. The earth has been warming ever since. Mankind barely survived the last ice age, and now we are thriving precisely because the climate is warmer.”

Senor Pisauro continues:

Tonga erupted in early 2022 and spewed into the environment an enormous amount of water vapor, affecting the weather and climate in the short term. If the glaciers in Iceland are melting, may the cause be all of the heat from the earth and all of the volcanoes on Iceland, heating and melting the glaciers from underneath?

It’s clear to any kindergarten scholar… even at the freezing point–32 degrees Fahrenheit–water melts ice.

Plop a cube in your glass, soon it’ll be gone and the water level will have risen. Glaciers and icebergs melt faster underwater than they do in air.

Sea level rises.

“It would just be nice if politicians actually followed the science,” D Shultz continues. “What a concept, I know! They’d learn Co2 emissions contribute about 1/100th to the ‘greenhouse effect’ than the amount water vapor does.

“A little learning would go a long way to help prevent the financial destruction of world economies, and deal with the impacts of climate change by learning the real cause.”

We’re aware readers like Pisauro and Schultz have studied the climate science v. policy conundrum longer and with greater intent than ours. Mr. Shultz recommends a couple of books to help: Hot Talk/Cold Science by Fred Singer and Global Warming: The Great Deception by Guy Mitchell.

To the list we’d add Michael Shellenberger’s Apocalypse Never.

It never hurts to hear both sides of the “debate,” if we dare call it that. “In all the discussion about climate policies,” reader D Darley writes, “what is the impact of shutting down perfectly good and useful systems like coal and gas power plants has on GDP? Looking at entire cities, industries, agricultural infrastructure–these all rely on cheap energy.” Darley then asks:

What will be the negative impact on GDP of willingly and with forethought, shutting down perfectly useful assets? The big GDP plus is the trillions spent on replacement, most financed by borrowing. When do we view the true cost of these ‘climate’ boondoggles?

And further down the rabbit hole we go…

We set out online with good intentions. At first blush, Darley’s question regarding the cost of implementing climate policies to reach ‘Net Zero by 2050’ seemed like a natural one to answer if you’re a policy wonk and your goal is to radically, rapidly, reinvent the global economy.

You’d think. But not so fast.

What I discovered is far more pernicious. We thought digital censorship was bad. What about unwitting collective delusion?

You can try this search experiment at home if you like. Type in this sentence: “What are the costs of implementing climate change policy?”

It’s actually hard to find an answer.

We found one. But without fail, some versions of the answer include this qualifier “the costs of not doing anything far outweigh the costs of doing something ‘now!’.”

It’s fait accompli. Without any way of actually calculating the impacts of climate change from now into the future, politicians, pundits, journalists begin with the assumption that “climate change is here and it’s going to get worse.”

The drag on global GDP is expected to be somewhere around 1%-2% per year until Net-Zero 2050. But the cost of “doing nothing” could reach 20% of global GDP by 2100.

Those stats appear frequently.

“Global GDP” in this case is, of course, a placeholder for those countries who are in a position to finance the policies by going further into debt. Ahem.

Most articles also end with some version of the assumption “the only way to mitigate the effect of climate change is for policy makers to spend [a sh$t-ton of your money.]” [***] emphasis added.

Bloomberg NEF, Bloomberg’s green-energy research team, puts the price tag at $200 Trillion. Okay, we’re getting somewhere. But then continues “which would be a bargain!”

Not only would it be cheaper for rich Western countries to invest the $200 Trillion to preserve life as we know it on the planet, but we have to shell it out by 2030 or the price tag will rise. That or we’ll all die.

Oh boy.

Even “Bard” – Google’s slick AI competitor to ChatGPT – gets in on the action. When I asked the Bard: “Have any studies been done on the negative impact of climate policy on GDP?” The Bard replied: “I’m designed solely to process and generate text, so I’m unable to assist you with that.”


When I asked the language model where and when Greta Thunberg screamed “I don’t want you to be positive. I want you to panic!”… then followed it with “where and when did Al Gore admonish the world that “We’re boiling the oceans!”… I learned they were both addressing the World Economic Forum in Davos, in 2019 and 2023 respectively.

Thankfully, I also got some unsolicited clarification from the robot. With respect to Thunberg. Bard summed Greta’s tantrum thus:

Thunberg’s speech was met with mixed reactions. Some people praised her for her passion and urgency, while others criticized her for being too alarmist. However, there is no doubt that Thunberg’s speech has helped to raise awareness of the climate crisis and the need for urgent action….Thunberg’s message is simple: the climate crisis is real, it is urgent, and we need to act now. She is a powerful voice for change, and she is helping to make the world a better place.

Bard praised the diminutive hobgoblin: “There is no doubt that Thunberg’s speech has helped to raise awareness of the climate crisis and the need for urgent action. She has also inspired a global movement of young people to demand action on climate change.”

We witnessed a bit of Thunberg’s army of mutant teens last night when some knucklehead glued his bare feet to the cement floor in the upper deck of Arthur Ashe stadium during a women’s semi-final match at the US Open. He and a couple other ‘useful idiots’ (Lenin’s term, not ours) were wearing t-shirts that read “End Fossil Fuels.” Yeah, smart. Their protest interrupted the match for 48 minutes while security guards figured out how to use their bottle of Goo Gone to free the schmuck.

Regarding Gore’s “boiling oceans” the minstrel was apologetic. Bard:

It is important to note that the term ‘boiling’ is not literally accurate. The oceans are not actually boiling, but they are getting warmer… and… It is clear that climate change is a serious threat to the planet and to human society. We need to take urgent action to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and mitigate the impacts of climate change.

We’re surprised that Bard could have opinions, emotions and bias; it’s a soulless machine, after all.

Computer programmers have an acronym we find useful daily when reviewing our own writing: GIGO. It stands for ‘garbage in, garbage out’. Bard and ChatGPT scrub the Internet for responses to your queries. They can only assemble what they find there.

When I was studying philosophy at St. John’s College, one of the biggest crimes you could commit in a seminar is known as ‘tautology.” Roughly speaking, you construct your argument to lead your opponent to a predetermined conclusion. In other words, you set up a straw man, just to see him burn. A tautology is a crime because it’s intellectually dishonest.

What’s an even greater crime is when the tautology becomes accepted as truth.

You’ll find “the scientific community agrees” or “the scientific consensus is” that climate change is real and it’s only going to get worse as the starting and ending point of most articles on the subject. “The matter has already been settled,” the consensus says.

Those who challenge the “consensus” are immediately, and quite vehemently, dismissed as “deniers.” (Another popular t-shirt online reads “Denial Is Not A Policy.” You can find it alongside your Ukrainian flag and ‘Love is Love’ lawn posters.)

In August of this year, the Nobel prize winning physicist John Clauser caused some consternation in the scientific community when he signed the Global Climate Intelligence Group (CLINTEL) ‘s World Climate Declaration.

Mr. Clauser is a member of the National Academy of Sciences and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and won his Nobel Prize for contributions that have paved the way for the development of new technologies in quantum computers and quantum cryptography. By signing CLINTEL’s Declaration, he joined fellow Nobel anointed physicist Ivan Giaever.

The declaration makes some bold statements that sit like a boil on the arse of the scientific consensus. Among them, these top assertions:

  • Natural as well as [human] factors cause warming
  • Warming is far slower than predicted
  • Climate policy relies on inadequate models
  • Co2 is plant food, the basis of all life on Earth, Co2 is not a pollutant
  • Global warming has not increased natural disasters
  • Climate policy must respect scientific and economic realities

Far from denying climate change is afoot, the signatories of CLINTEL’s declaration encourages scientists to follow the real data. What they take umbrage with is the interpretation of the data and policy response to what scientific data actually suggest.

There are over 1600 scientists on the list hailing from the far corners of the earth. As part of the declaration, they advocate adaptation over mitigation.

To prove their point, the CLINTEL founders point to Oslo, Norway and the city state of Singapore.

Let us look at today’s difference in mean temperature between Oslo (one of the big cities near the North Pole) and Singapore (one of the big cities near the Equator), see Figure 2. Measurements show that the difference is as much as 22oC, twenty times bigger than the global warming between 1850 and 2020 and almost 14 times bigger than the so-called ‘scary’ global warming between 1850 and 2050.

Despite of this huge mean temperature difference of 22oC, both cities are very prosperous and the citizens in both cities are enjoying life. So, why do the media tell us that a global warming of 1.6oC or more will lead to a disaster (“the end is near”), while 22oC difference between Oslo and Singapore turns out to be no problem whatsoever?

Global mean temperature from 1850-2050, together with the average temperature of the prospering cities Oslo and Singapore in 2020. Note that the global warming of 1.6 °C is marginal with respect to the difference of 22 °C between the two cities (almost factor 14) (Source: CLINTEL)

The answer is adaptation! Mankind shows an impressive history, having survived many big changes in its living environment, including big changes in the Earth’s climate. Thanks to our ingenuity, human beings have always found clever solutions to cope with all past challenges, again and again. If you visit Oslo and Singapore, you see an impressive demonstration of human’s capability to adapt to climate differences of 22oC.

To believe the outcome of a climate model, is to believe what the model makers have put in. This is precisely the problem of today’s climate discussion to which climate models are central. Climate science has degenerated into a discussion based on beliefs, not on sound self-critical science. Should not we free ourselves from the naive belief in immature climate models?

What was the phrase? Oh, yeah. Garbage in, garbage out.

“In the past decades the public has been flooded with fear-mongering stories,” Berkhout says, “telling them that global temperatures will rise to catastrophically high levels.” Guus continues:

“Climate activists claim that the cause of all this impending doom is the increasing amount of CO2 produced by human activities. The proposed solution is the so-called net-zero emission policy, aimed at lowering human net CO2-emissions to the levels of the pre-industrial era of the late 1700s.”

Granted, reading history is a hobby, but even a cursory knowledge of it suggests that life, when the Colonies were still an appendage of the British Empire, was a tad more brutish and short then than it is today.

No matter.

Policy makers prefer the immature climate models because in mitigation lies the honey pot at the end of the rainbow. Recall the $130 trillion raised for net-ero policy at COP26 in 2021 [link to previous TDM]. That money is going somewhere. Let’s not forget the craven political class get their rocks off, too, from the clout and influence when a growing global mob of useful idiots vote.

Journalists will go along with just about anything. That is, as long as it doesn’t rock their own boats. Identifying and repeating the consensus is what they’re paid to do. And they have deadlines to meet!

God bless ‘em.

There’s more to climate science, of course. For our part, we don’t like being told what to think… or do. We encourage you to visit CLINTEL’s site and make up your own mind.

Happy Friday,

Addison Wiggin,
The Daily Missive

P.S. “Hey Addison, I bet while you were sleeping in that boxcar in Gunnison,” writes reader H Shaeffer, “you pondered about the climate then as much as you are now pondering about the Chesapeake Bay climate. “The only difference then, you knew there wasn’t a damn thing you could do about it. I’m surprised you guys didn’t burn the boxcar down.

“For reference, you told me about your boxcar days at an Agora conference in Vancouver. I also attended Western State one year way back in 1956. I knew exactly what you were talking about.”

Ah, those were the days. Thanks for sticking around!

P.P.S. “It is interesting that politicians are more concerned with climate change than pollution,” writes reader Scott, who shares my middle name, “It’s is the ol’ switch-er-oo.”

“We can bypass polluting corporations but we have to clamp down on carbon emissions. It’s amazing that they throw the most absurd ideas for acceptance and disregard what is observable and testable. Seems like the data science produces are “guesstimations” of what they want the public to think is real, thereby scaring us into good behavior, and that’s observably funny.”

Not so funny, really. As we mention above, their “guesstimations” are spit out by carefully constructed computer models. But we do share your sardonic sense of humor.

“Climate change is being used to control us through fear,” Robert Kennedy Jr. said during a dinner speech on July 12th this year. One of the VIP guests at Freedom Fest in Memphis later that month, Kennedy gave a long excoriating speech about how big corporate polluters in the Hudson Valley, New York have so twisted legislation that they get subsidies and tax breaks to clean up their own messes.

“Freedom and free markets are a much better way to stop pollution. Polluters make themselves rich by making the public pay for the damage they do,” RFK Jr. later tweeted along with a video of his position on the issue. “You show me a polluter, I’ll show you a fat cat using political clout to escape the discipline of the free market.”

P.P.P.S Thank you if you’ve responded with your thoughts, questions and suggestions. We got a fair share of reasonable and intelligent responses. No shouting in the grandstands here.

If you haven’t had a chance, share whatever you like.

Addison Wiggin

Addison Wiggin Addison Wiggin is an American writer, publisher, and filmmaker. He was the founder of Agora Financial and publisher for 18 years. An acclaimed New York Times best-selling author, his books include: Financial Reckoning DayEmpire of DebtThe Demise of the Dollar, and The Little Book of the Shrinking Dollar. Addison is also the writer and executive producer of the documentary I.O.U.S.A., an exposé on the national debt, shortlisted for an Academy Award in 2008. He lives in Baltimore, Maryland with his family. Addison started his latest project, The Wiggin Sessions, powered by The Essential Investor, in March 2020. He films from a homegrown studio in his basement.