Nature warns that (yawn) “Global warming will happen faster than we think”. Extreme weather political urgency emissions rising etc. The last underlining that, rhetoric notwithstanding, climate policy is in retreat. In the Dutch elections the big story, as we predicted, was the surge of the populist, anti “climate-change hysteria” Forum for Democracy, from no seats to largest in the Dutch Senate. At the European Council summit, Germany defected from the Western European consensus behind aggressive climate targets. In France the “yellow vest” protests continue. In Ireland the left is fracturing over carbon policy (though the minority administration promises higher carbon taxes). And moderate U.S. Democrats are trying to back away slowly from the Green New Deal. Why? Because these plans are all pain for no gain and voters are getting wise. As Judith Curry notes, even Nature seems to realize that to salvage anything from the wreck, politicians need to be more honest, or in some cases realistic, about what they’re going to do and why.
The political climate has not changed because politicians, or citizens, have ceased to think boiling the planet would be imprudent. Nor are most yet openly delving into the myriad uncertainties and contradictions of the “settled” science although the gap between politicians’ professed concern and their tepid actions is growing, suggesting they don’t really believe what they say. But most normal people seem to have noticed that the endless string of disasters the alarmists have confidently predicted have not occurred. And the politicians have noticed a corresponding reluctance to tolerate economic pain to prevent things like the end of winter that seem to have prevented themselves.
It also seems to be dawning on policymakers who do wrestle with the question of cost-effective action that, as we discuss in our latest video about the Paris Agreement, it’s all pain for no gain. Dramatic cuts in fossil fuel use really will mean widespread misery, even death especially in poorer countries. But if every nation meets its Paris agreements the infamous computer models show… a tiny reduction in temperature by 2100.
What exactly you’d do if you understood that point and still believed CO2 was toxic to the Earth is not obvious. But what you’d do if you didn’t believe your own beliefs is pretty clear: Put virtue-signaling over trivial policy steps, do nothing significant, and put reelection ahead of less vital matters like saving the Earth.