The Editor, The Lancet
Your notion of a “climate crisis” (editorial “Climate and COVID-19: converging crises,” December 2; click here for the PDF), though fashionable among the classe politique, is misplaced. That notion sprang from an elementary error of physics perpetrated in the 1980s by climate scientists who had borrowed feedback formulism from control theory, another branch of physics, without quite understanding it. Interdisciplinary compartmentalization delayed its identification until now.
After correcting the error, anthropogenic global warming will be only one-third of current midrange projections, well within natural variability and net-beneficial to life and health. CO2 fertilization (for CO2 is plant food) has assisted in steadily increasing crop yields – this year’s global harvest has set yet another record – and in improving drought resistance (Hao et al., 2014) and greening the planet.
Your suggestion that warmer worldwide weather has caused net loss of life, particularly among the world’s fast-declining population of poor people, is fashionable but misplaced. Cold is a bigger killer than warmth. Research conducted three years ago for the European Commission found that, for this reason, even if there were 5.4 C° global warming from 2020-2080, there would be 100,000 more Europeans than with no warming at all.
However, now that nearly all major banks – citing “global warming” as their pretext – refuse to lend to developing countries for coal-fired electricity, a billion people lack the capacity to turn on a 60 W lightbulb for just four hours a day (the International Energy Agency’s scarcely generous definition of “access to electricity”). According to the WHO, 4 million annually die of particulate pollution from smoke in cooking fires because they lack domestic electrical power and, for the same lack, 500,000 women die in childbirth. These are just two of the many causes of death from lack of access to electricity that kill tens of millions annually. The chief reason why so many cannot turn on a light is not global warming but misconceived policies intended to address what is in reality a non-problem.
More than 90% of all new greenhouse-gas emissions (BP Annual Review of Energy, 2019) are in nations exempt from the Paris agreement, which, after correction of the error of physics, is in any event supererogatory. You have said China must do more, but China – though it has its own space programme and continues to occupy Tibet by military force – is exempt from Paris on the ground that it is a “developing country”. It is not required to forswear its sins of emission.
Your advocacy of “low-carbon diets” is fashionable but misplaced. Like it or not, we have evolved over 2 million years to eat meat, which can provide all necessary energy, nutrients and vitamins. Yet ill-informed official guidelines on both sides of the Atlantic recommend low-fat, high-carbohydrate diets. Those recommendations have demonstrably been the chief cause of the surge in obesity and diabetes in both the UK and the USA. They were abandoned by court order a decade ago in Sweden at the instance of a brave doctor whom the medical authorities had attempted to prosecute because she cured all her diabetes patients by ignoring the guidelines and recommending a high-fat, low-carb diet.
Your advocacy of “renewable” energy is fashionable but misplaced. Using 14th-century technology to address a 21st-century non-problem would be silly enough in itself. What is worse, however, is that “renewables” have not only quadrupled the price of electricity but have also added to CO2 emissions. The chief reason for this apparent paradox is that the more windmills and solar panels are connected to the grid the more grossly-inefficient, CO2-emitting spinning reserve must be maintained in the often vain hope of preventing blackouts when the wind stops or the night falls.
With respect, The Lancet should study more science and economics, however unfashionable, and peddle less totalitarian politics, however fashionable and profitable – and deadly.
With all good wishes,
Viscount Monckton of Brenchley
“Climate of Error: The grave error of physics that created a climate ’emergency’“; Alex Henney, Christopher Monckton of Brenchley (2020).
“The 2020 report of The Lancet – Countdown on health and climate change: Responding to converging crises,” The Lancet, December 2, 2020.