The 'urgent climate crisis' is just a political fabrication, argues Alex starling

Coal power station

Environmental campaigners are demanding an end to fossil fuel emissions

Alex Starling

By Alex Starling

Published: 20/09/2023

- 21:00

Updated: 21/09/2023

- 11:12

Dr Alex Starling is an advisor to and non-executive director of various early-stage technology companies

It is hard to keep up with the deluge of climate conferences that our esteemed leadership deems necessary to spend taxpayers’ money on attending.

The United Nations Climate Change Conference of the Parties (COP) 28 may only be taking place later in the autumn, but it seems that this is not enough for the UN. There is a ‘Climate Ambition Summit’ in New York today. Various luminaries will have hypocritically expended large quantities of greenhouse gases in order to attend the event and emit hot air of their own.

These wannabe galactico bureaucrats claim there is an ‘urgency to act’ following the ‘latest scientific assessment by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’ – apparently the ‘damage from the climate crisis is already extensive, and global greenhouse gas emissions remain at record levels’.

The idea that there is a ‘climate crisis’ is a complete political fabrication, not that you’ll read about this in The Times.

A stream in the The Brecon Beacons

The new head of the IPCC, Professor Jim Skea, recently pointed out that 'the world won’t end if it gets more than 1.5 degrees warmer'


The new head of the IPCC, Professor Jim Skea, recently pointed out that both “the world won’t end if it gets more than 1.5 degrees warmer” and, even if temperatures do rise that much, it “is not an existential threat to humanity”.

He specifically suggests that such doom-mongering stops: “If you constantly communicate the message that we are all doomed to extinction, then that paralyses people”.

I agree. We need rational scientific discussion, not more panic. Nor, for that matter, do we need large supra-national talking shops broadcasting ‘science propaganda’ that brooks no contradiction.

Surely no-one can have any truck with attempts to steward the planet better, to pollute less, to create a better world for our children’s children.

But this should not equate to unilateral decarbonisation, and the automatic vilification (and cancellation) of anyone who opposes such policies.


Rishi Sunak Rishi Sunak announced changes to climate change targets todayPA

Decarbonisation is based on a very simplistic assumption, namely that man-made emissions of greenhouse gases since the industrial age have somehow created global warming/climate change (or ‘global boiling’ as the UN Secretary General recently called it).

If this were a rational policy (and I am going to suggest that it is not), then it would be being implemented off the back of a serious increase in nuclear baseload power, providing the springboard for variable power from other sources to make up the rest, along with suitable standby power (such as gas) that can be fired up quickly.

But – as everyone surely remembers – this plan was vetoed in 2010 by a (now) Facebook executive (a certain Nick Clegg, the Deputy Prime Minister at the time) on the basis that it would “only come on stream in 2021 or 2022”. Interest rates were practically zero at the time, so the coalition government could have funded such an infrastructure investment plan with relative ease.

Putting party politics aside, the pseudo-religion of the climate alarmists needs a radical rethink, as more and more people are speaking out – modern-day heretics (I count myself among this number) – to point out multiple flaws in the rationale for decarbonisation.

The Climate Ambition Summit agenda expresses a corporate wish of the UN to “limit global warming to 1.5 degrees above pre-industrial levels”. But what does this mean? Do they want to take us back to the Medieval Cold Period, when the Thames froze over, and people starved to death for lack of food? Or do they mean the Medieval Warm Period, when temperatures are generally agreed to have been substantially warmer than most of the 20th century?

UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres

UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres referred to climate change as 'global boiling’


The idea that greenhouse gases – mainly CO2 and methane – are the main control knob that determines the temperature of the earth’s surface belies the complexity of our planet.

And was this control knob faulty during the Climatic Optimum (2.5 degrees warmer, 5-8 millennia ago, incidentally driving a coach and horses through recent ludicrous claims that July 2023 was “quite likely the warmest month on Earth in 10,000 years”) when CO2 levels are generally agreed to have been consistently low? And why did atmospheric CO2 levels grow at the same consistent level while industrial output was curtailed – at huge human cost – in the failed lockdown experiments through 2020 and 2021?

Of course, many vested interests and political movements stand to gain from cattle-prodding Western societies to push ahead with de facto deindustrialisation, and we should be cautious when interpreting anything stated by scientists that are funded by outfits that decided what they want to hear – note the Mayor of London influencing the academic research that was used to justify the implementation of the ULEZ extension.

So when peer-reviewed academic research is published where the funding disclaimer states “this research received no external funding but was motivated by the scientific curiosity of the authors”, it is worth taking seriously. The paper in question is by Koutsoyiannis et al and was published a few days ago.

It supports a large body of evidence that points to atmospheric increases in CO2 being a lagging indicator, i.e. a response to increases in temperature, not a cause.

This warrants further investigation.

Forgive me, therefore, for smelling a rat when it comes to strident calls for faster and harder decarbonisation.

This push just does not smell right, and should be paused until its value to humanity can be more rigorously proved.

And to those who disagree with me, please shoot me down. Politely, of course – as nothing screams ‘partisan belief system’ more than an inability to debate actual facts when confronted with inconvenient truths.

* Dr Alex Starling is an advisor to and non-executive director of various early-stage technology companies. Follow him on Twitter: @alexstarling77

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