The Corner

The Tree-Hugger’s Nightmare

That methane revelation is sending alarmists into a tizzy. I have to say that it’s the first time I’ve seen an important new piece of science come out and the alarmists actually say, “Wait a minute, the science is very complicated and we shouldn’t rush to judgment on the basis of one paper.” Compare this reaction to, say, the silly paper alleging that global warming alone is driving central American frogs to extinction (on which, see UVa’s Pat Michaels here).

Robert Matthews, in today’s FT, has it just about right:

Climate scientists would have us believe there is no doubt about the basics of global warming and the time for action is now. The recent spate of large revisions of the facts tells a different story. Yet politicians are still being pressed to do the impossible: modify the huge, chaotic system that is the earth’s climate in ways guaranteed to be beneficial for all. We should count ourselves lucky that, for once, politicians do not share such delusions of omniscience.

Well, perhaps not all politicians; David Cameron’s environment spokesman seems pretty sure he has the answers

Meanwhile, many of those politicians who do take a realistic view gathered in Australia this week for the first meeting of the Asia-Pacific Partnership on Clean Development and Climate. The communique is eminently sensible. As they say, “We recognised that fossil fuels underpin our economies, and will be an enduring reality for our lifetimes and beyond.” Anyone who argues that the methane discovery this week means that you shouldn’t be able to get credit for planting trees and should instead reduce fossil fuel use further just drives yet another nail into Kyoto’s coffin.

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