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NY Times best-selling author Matt Ridley discusses the green scare problem

Matt RidleyWriting for the Wall Street Journal, best-selling author Matt Ridley discusses the green scare problem, and the danger of raising constant alarms.

He explains a few of the environmental threats over the past few decades that have been greatly exaggerated, and the ultimate expense of Obama’s plan to cut carbon-dioxide emissions, which could cost the U.S. up to $1 trillion in lost GDP (according to Energy Information Administration data analyzed by Heritage Foundation statistician Kevin Dayaratna).

Ridley emphasises that the remedies to solve these environmental issues, sometimes prove worse than the disease. For example, widespread opposition to fracking for shale gas, has delayed the growth of onshore gas production in the U.S. and Europe, and has hurt the environment.

“In short, the environmental movement has repeatedly denied people access to safer technologies and forced them to rely on dirtier, riskier or more harmful ones. It is adept at exploiting people’s suspicion of anything new. To argue that the increasingly small risk of dangerous climate change many decades hence is something they should be more worried about is positively obscene.”

Click here to read the full article.

For more information, or to book Matt Ridley as a speaker for your conference or event, please contact Alex Hickman at alex@chartwellspeakers.com or call 0044 (0) 20 7792 8004.

Bjørn Lomborg, convener of the Copenhagen Consensus, outlines “the alarming thing about climate alarmism”

Bjørn Lomborg speakerBjørn Lomborg, convener of the Copenhagen Consensus, has argued in the Wall Street Journal that “climate alarmism” results in bad policy, and ignores a wealth of encouraging data. For example, the latest study from the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change found that in the previous 15 years temperatures had risen 0.09 degrees Fahrenheit. The average of all models expected 0.8 degrees, so we’re seeing about a 90% less temperature rise than expected.

We’re told that things are worse than ever, but Bjørn suggests the facts don’t support this. He believes that this is important, because “if we want to help the poor people who are most threatened by natural disasters, we have to recognize that it is less about cutting carbon emissions than it is about pulling them out of poverty.”

“In short,” Bjørn explains, “climate change is not worse than we thought. Some indicators are worse, but some are better. That doesn’t mean global warming is not a reality or not a problem. It definitely is. But the narrative that the world’s climate is changing from bad to worse is unhelpful alarmism, which prevents us from focusing on smart solutions.”

Click here to read the full article.

For more information on how to book Bjørn Lomborg as a keynote speaker for your conference or event, please contact Leo von Bülow-Quirk at leo@chartwellspeakers.com or call 0044 (0) 20 7792 8000.

Award-winning science journalist Matt Ridley defends his stance as a “climate change lukewarmer”

“I am a climate change lukewarmer”, asserts Matt Ridley, an award-winning journalist and best-selling author of “The Rational Optimist”. Writing for The Times, Matt defends his position by explaining that whilst he believes recent global warming is real, mostly man-made and will continue, he also thinks that it is not likely to be dangerous, and its slow and erratic progress so far is what we should expect in the future.

Despite being subject to “torrents of online abuse” for his stance, Matt maintains that his current view is still consistent with the “consensus” among scientists, as represented by the reports of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC): that climate change is happening, not that it is going to be dangerous. However, he notes that policies being proposed to combat climate change – far from being a modest insurance policy – “are proving ineffective, expensive, harmful to poor people and actually bad for the environment.”

Matt contends that the polarisation of the climate debate has gone too far, adding that “all the fury must mean that my arguments are hitting home, or efforts would be made to demolish them rather me.” He goes on to give examples of critics “playing the man and not the ball”, and demonstrates that his point of view seems to particularly displease publicly funded scientists and politicians, who insist that climate change is still a big risk.

Click here to read on (paywall).

For more information, or to book Matt as a keynote speaker for your conference or event, please contact Alex Hickman at alex@chartwellspeakers.com or call 0044 (0) 20 7792 8004.

Matt Ridley on climate change: “the richer we get, the greener we’ll become”

In this week’s opinion piece for The Times, Matt Ridley, a prominent British journalist and member of the House of Lords, writes that the world’s climate change experts are now saying that strong growth doesn’t hurt the environment, but rather protects it.

Matt notes that there is a convergence between the 5 projections given by the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), which show that by 2100 the global average income per head should have increased 13-fold to $100,000 (in 2005 dollars) compared with $7,800 today. Inequality will have also declined, because people in poor countries will have been getting rich faster than people in rich countries, as is happening now.

Asking whether the planet can “survive this sort of utopian plutocracy,” Matt shows that the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) has done its own projections and concludes that more trade, more innovation and more wealth make possible greater investment in low-carbon energy and smarter adaptation to climate change.

Click here to read the full article.

Matt Ridley: “Armageddon Averted”

“We have a new climate change consensus — and it’s good news everyone” proclaims Lord Matt Ridley, best-selling author of The Rational Optimist, in his latest piece for The Spectator.

Matt is referring to the latest news from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), whose recent publication differs from the stories of national newspapers that regularly forecast the certainty of environmental Armageddon. Instead, the IPCC states that climate change is now a question of adaptation, rather than one of mitigation.

Matt argues that such a distinction is crucial, because until recently “the debate has followed a certain bovine logic: that global warming is happening, so we need to slow it down by hugely expensive decarbonisation strategies — green taxes, wind farms. And what good will this do?”

Adapatation has six obvious benefits as a strategy, which mitigation did not share. It required no international treaty, but would work if adopted unilaterally; it could be applied locally; it would produce results quickly; it could capture any benefits of warming while avoiding risks; it addressed existing problems that were merely exacerbated by warming; and it would bring benefits even if global warming proves to have been exaggerated.

Matt also points out that the report also toned down the alarm considerably, firmly stating that the impact of climate change will be small relative to other things that happen during this century, so “yes, the world is heating up. But in many ways, it will be a better world…Armageddon averted”

Click here to read the full article.

Matt Ridley: “Climate change is doing more good than harm”

Matt Ridley

“Carry on warming” is the message that Matt Ridley conveys in his latest article for the Spectator, challenging the widespread belief that climate change has had negative effects for the world.

Matt argues that information from the current scientific consensus is largely ignored by the mainstream media. If one were to aggregate all the economic effects of climate change, the overall situation appears to be positive – and is likely to stay so until around 2080.

Matt identifies the following net economic benefits of climate change:

  • Fewer winter deaths
    It is a global phenomenon that winter deaths exceed summer deaths; with a warmer environment comes a better chance of life. This benefit is tied to lower energy costs – global warming has so far cut heating bills more than it has raised cooling bills.
  • An increase in global plant growth
    Higher carbon dioxide (CO2) levels is actually good news. The increase in carbon dioxide over the century, from 0.03% to 0.04% of the air, has had a measurable positive effect on plant growth rates. To put this in a wider context, 31% of the global vegetated area has become greener as a result of this rise, whereas only 3% has become less green. This has a domino effect on our food supply: with more rainfall and higher CO2 levels our agricultural yields are greater, a phenomenon that is pronounced in the Sahel region of Africa, where levels of famine have recently been declining.
  • Fewer deaths from extreme weather
    There is no evidence that climate change has caused a higher rate of death due to extreme weather. This conclusion is backed up by the latest report by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). An independent study by Indur Goklany actually shows that the death rate from droughts, floods and storms has dropped by 98 per cent since the 1920s. This is not because weather has become less dangerous, but because people have gained better protection as they got richer. “That’s the thing about climate change”, Matt says. “…we will probably pocket the benefits and mitigate at least some of the harm by adapting.”

The trouble is that the mainstream media, and even the IPCC, cherry-pick the bad news whilst ignoring the good. This leads to damaging anti-climate change policies:

  • Negative economic and environmental impact
    Matt contends that these policies have “driven people into fuel poverty, made industries uncompetitive, driven up food prices, accelerated the destruction of forests, killed rare birds of prey, and divided communities”.
  • Large input – negligible returns
    Britain will spend around £1.8 trillion over the course of this century on climate policies, in the hope of lowering the air temperature by just 0.005°C.

For Matt, the key question is: is it worth trying to impede a change in the future at the expense of causing a great deal of harm in the present.

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