His article is published on his blog website here:
and had been signposted by him at:
where he also says:
"... reducing the UKs carbon emissions to zero tonight will reduce the earth’s temperature in 100 years by about 0.001 degrees."
This is akin to the "my country's emissions, on their own, will make little difference to AGW at the global level, therefore we should not do this (at all, let alone tonight)". That argument is the same sort of argument as has been made to try to dissuade individuals from taking action on AGW because "reducing my individual carbon footprint will make little difference because I'm only one of 8 billion people". Similar to efforts by the fossil fuel industry to put the blame on "the consumers" rather than the producers, of GHG-emitting fossil products.
In that thread, he makes a couple of other points that are covered in the following review of his article.
He makes more than a dozen points that are worth countering specifically and directly. I list out below a brief counter to each of the substantive points he appears to make in his article:
He cites as his only source of evidence Davis (2017), which is rebutted, eg here:
7. “carbon dioxide makes up about 0.04% of the atmosphere, and we increase the total annual natural emission of it by only 4%” – that is a common anti-AGW trope, debunked here:
8. “[climate scientists] tweak the carbon dioxide/temperature knob—what they call “climate sensitivity”—until “things line up”] - misrepresents what they actually do, which is calibration. The models do “backcast” sufficiently accurately to corroborate many other lines of evidence. However, scientists recognise there are uncertainties in future projections, and they account for this using scenarios and uncertainty ranges. Even with generous uncertainty ranges, climate sensitivity (ECS) is, with high confidence, in a range of about 2.5 to 4, median about 3. See IPCC reports, and Knutti (2017) "Beyond equilibrium climate sensitivity".
9. “[ECS is] just a random number”. No, it’s not. See above.
10. The only source he uses to support his argument about ECS is Scafetta 2022. The main claims of Scafetta about ECS have been rebutted here:
11. “96% of monitoring stations in the USA fail to meet the criteria” – and he goes on to describe a myth about something that is called the urban heat island effect. That myth is debunked here:
12. the only source he cites to support the claim about USA temperatures, temp measurements and the urban heat island effect is at Wattsupwiththat, a site that lacks credibility, as per:
Also, citing data about the USA is weak counter evidence to scientific findings about a global phenomenon – AGW.
When Lyon says “It turns out, when you plot that data as a spatial plot of how temperature has changed over time, you get a beautiful map of all the big cities, airports, industrial centres, and oil and gas regions where we’ve been flaring gas for decades. The temperature in the dataset has risen. It is warming. It’s just not the climate that’s warming.” he does it alongside a map of the USA. That implies he is relying on data about temperature monitoring in the USA only, not globally. This invalidates his conclusion that “The earth is warming. But our carbon dioxide is not having a significant warming effect on the Earth”
13. He refers to “catastrophe hypothesis … believers” That’s drawing on the popular anti-AGW trope “sceptics are like Galileo”, debunked here:
14. “to avoid death on an epic scale from cold, malnutrition, disease, and poverty ...” – just scare-mongering, with no supporting evidence provided.
15. “The thermodynamically absurd project — "renewable energy"” – No supporting evidence provided
16. “short lived energy scavenging devices” – unnecessarily polarising language, and no evidence provided
17. “robbing viable projects of the energy they need” - unnecessarily polarising language, and no evidence provided
18. “by extending our production of imaginary money to fund the pointless reduction of an atmospheric trace gas, we are hastening the collapse of our financial system” – a point of debate about public financing of many things, including the subsidisation of fossil fuels (which, at global scale, is about 20 times the subsidisation of renewables)
Instead of raising some genuine areas for debate such as the extent and size of damages caused by AGW and how quick and expensive those are likely to be, he descends into a gish-gallop of misleading misinformation about AGW, based on a cherry-picked selection of anti-AGW tropes, much of it unsupported with any evidence, and a small number of works from outliers, including some published in sources lacking scientific credibility, and ignoring the vast bulk of credible evidence, eg as reported on by the IPCC.
It’s difficult to avoid the impression that he is playing into the hands of those who would use a “catastrophist” narrative against the climate movement, by trying to “other” people he calls ‘catastrophists’ and drive a wedge between them and the main bulk of the listening public.
Some ideas for countering such a “wedge” strategy:
This means that, even if we don’t think that the most catastrophic outcomes are likely, there is asymmetry in the situation we find ourselves in. The risks from wasted expenditure are much lower than the risks of failing to act sufficiently robustly and having one of the worst scenarios actually unfold. Moreover, since that video was created, more recent work has suggested that such expenditure (eg to achieve global net zero by mid-century) would in fact be GDP positive. See Ekins and Zenghelis, which makes global net zero even more of a no-brainer.
In this way, what some call “catastrophists”, others might call “good risk managers”, and all have something to contribute to creating “a better world, for ourselves, and for our children”, which is what Lyon also wants.
Unfortunately, there is a large gap between current actions to tackle AGW, and global net zero / the Paris 1.5 target. Misinformation and disinformation online hinders efforts to accelerate the required transition in the global economy. Not enough is being done to combat such anti-AGW propaganda. Lyon's article doesn't help in this respect, but instead encourages propagation of misinformation and disinformation.
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