Charles Moore

Do alarmists know the difference between weather and climate?

Do alarmists know the difference between weather and climate?
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Until recently, those expressing scepticism about climate-change catastrophe have been hauled over the coals (or the renewables equivalent) for not understanding the difference between ‘climate’ and ‘weather’. The lack of global warming at the beginning of the 21st century was not to be taken, chided the warmists, as evidence that climate change was not happening. Weather was the passing phenomenon of each day: climate was the real, deep thing.

Now, however, the alarmists themselves have elided the two concepts, using the Australian bush fires as their cue. As Sir David Attenborough puts it: ‘The moment of crisis has come.’ They could be right, of course, but how could they really know? In this sense, President Trump is surely justified in warning, at Davos, against the ‘Prophets of Doom’. Prophecy is a different skill from an exact understanding of the here and now.

Mr Trump might usefully have talked about the Profits of Doom too. If the movement can persuade western society that the climate emergency is upon us, there are enormous sums to be made by people who claim to be able to remedy it. Hence the patter now coming out of companies such as Blackrock, BP or Microsoft, fanned by Mammon’s public intellectuals, such as Mark Carney. A lot of clever people are putting the Green into greenbacks. A lot of less clever investors are going to get their fingers burnt.

This article is an extract from Charles Moore's Spectator Notes, available in this week's magazine.