Ridley Shoots and Scores Again

A couple of commenters have either taunted or made request of us “when are you going to get around to the Muller-BEST study on global warming”—the taunters thinking it presents a problem for our skepticism.  Au contraire.  I’ll get to it in due course; I’ve been following Muller’s writing for many years, and I’m doing my due diligence about the whole BEST business.

In the meantime, though, I want to bring to Power Line readers’ attention a recent lecture from Matt Ridley, author of The Rational Optimist.  I’ve written about both Matt and his book here before some months ago, though I don’t have the link handy.  The Rational Optimist recently won the annual Hayek Prize of the Manhattan Institute.  (And yes, my weekly Hayek post here is overdue. Coming later. . .)

Last week Ridley delivered the annual Angus Miller Lecture at the Royal Academy of the Arts in Edinburgh, Scotland, on the subject of “Scientific Heresy.”  Courtesy of the Bishop Hill blog, you can read the text of the lecture here, and download a PDF file with his text and charts here.

It’s environmentally incorrect of course.  Here’s one highlight, but do read the whole thing:

I know it is traditional to walk out on speakers who do not toe the line on climate at the RSA – I saw it happen to Bjorn Lomborg last year when he gave the Prince Philip lecture – let me be quite clear. I am not a “denier”. I fully accept that carbon dioxide is a greenhouse gas, the climate has been warming and that man is very likely to be at least partly responsible. When a study was published recently saying that 98% of scientists “believe” in global warming, I looked at the questions they had been asked and realized I was in the 98%, too, by that definition, though I never use the word “believe” about myself. Likewise the recent study from Berkeley, which concluded that the land surface of the continents has indeed been warming at about the rate people thought, changed nothing.

So what’s the problem? The problem is that you can accept all the basic tenets of greenhouse physics and still conclude that the threat of a dangerously large warming is so improbable as to be negligible, while the threat of real harm from climate-mitigation policies is already so high as to be worrying, that the cure is proving far worse than the disease is ever likely to be. Or as I put it once, we may be putting a tourniquet round our necks to stop a nosebleed.

For the record, this tracks closely with what I wrote in my long post here a few months back on what Romney should say/should have said about climate change.

More later. . .

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