I'm not much of an investor - i.e. I don't have much in the way of stocks and shares other than what my pension provides. I tend to put any spare cash I have into savings accounts, but there are plenty of people who like the idea of buying shares to get a higher return on their investment. Horses for courses, as they say.
The question is, what sort of return does the investment give you and over what time scale. I know, for example, if I put a £100 into a savings account offering a 5% interest rate per annum that one year later I'll have £105 in that account. I see a visible return on my investment and that justifies it one way or the other.
Suppose you were offered an investment that promised high returns. The seller showed you various projections that suggested if you invested in this scheme you'd see big returns on your money. Would you go for it? Personally, I'd want to see more evidence than just some projections, but there are plenty of people who would be swayed by that.
Suppose then that you had invested in this great scheme and ploughed £50,000 of your money into it starting in 1990. What would you expect to see 10 years later? £100,000? £200,000? Maybe something more modest?
One thing is certain, you'd expect to see something more than the £50,000 you put in. So, suppose after 10 years of investing in this scheme the seller tells you that your return is actually zero - not only have you got nothing back, but your money is all gone. However, if you put another £50,000 in to the investment scheme then the projections suggest you'll see an even bigger return on your investment than the first projection did.
What would you do?
Suppose then, that that £50,000 was actually $50 billion and after 18 years of investment your $50 billion had returned absolutely nothing. What would you think of that?
That is how much has been spent on trying to prove that mans emissions of CO2 are warming the planet and after 18 years and $50 billion of research specifically geared to prove that is the case the actual evidence of it is nothing - zilch, zero, diddly squat. All that they can come up with as "proof" is yet more projections.
There is no evidence - none - that mans emissions of CO2 are causing significant warming of the planet. We've known for 5 years that, in reality, it is the other way around - i.e. warming increases CO2 and the evidence of that is real, tangible evidence - not some pie in the sky computer simulation, but hard empirical evidence from the same ice cores that were once used to propagate the AGW myth.
As David Evans - a former alarmist - points out, there are four things that have happened since 1998 which put paid to this theory that man-made CO2 causes runaway global warming.
First, the new ice cores shows that in the past six global warmings over the past half a million years, the temperature rises occurred on average 800 years before the accompanying rise in atmospheric carbon. Which says that the carbon rises could not have either started or ended the temperature rises, and that there are more powerful forces on global temperatures than atmospheric carbon levels.
It was the apparent correlation between the atmospheric temperature and CO2 which alerted us to the possibility that increasing CO2 increases temperature, but correlation does not imply causation. Now, with better analysis, we are able to obtain that, in fact, the temperature rose significantly before CO2 did.
Second, there is now no evidence to support the idea that carbon emissions cause significant global warming. None. There is plenty of evidence that global warming has occurred, and theory suggests that carbon emissions should raise temperatures (though by how much is hotly disputed), but there are no observations by anyone that implicate carbon emissions as a significant cause of the recent global warming.
It is the evidence that the planet has warmed which the AGW crowd have used as proof that man-made CO2 has caused it, but evidence of the planet warming is not evidence that CO2 caused the warming. Indeed, the planet has been warming pretty much steadily since emerging from the Little Ice Age and there is no doubt that humankind has been a significant beneficiary of the warming.
Third, the satellites that measure the world's temperature all say that the warming trend ended in 2001, that 1998 was the warmest recent year, and that the temperature has dropped about 0.6C in the last year (to the temperature of 1980).
This is contrary to what the IPCC and their models predicted would happen. It was not projected by any model that there would be any cooling whatsoever - only that temperature would continue to rise steadily in line with CO2 emissions. The models are the only "evidence" the AGW crowd have to support their theory - and they have been proven to be wrong.
Fourth, we looked for the greenhouse signature and could not find it. Each possible cause of global warming has a different pattern of where in the atmosphere the warming occurs first. The signature of increased greenhouse warming is a hotspot 10 km up in the atmosphere over the tropics. The hotspot is central to our understanding - if there is no hotspot then either there is no significant increased greenhouse warming, or we don't understand greenhouse and all our climate models are rubbish anyway.
The hotspot doesn't exist. This "signature" is like the fingerprint of the culprit on the smoking gun. We were supposed to find mans fingerprints all over it - but we didn't. Instead we found someone (something) else's, but rather than then look for the real culprit the alarmists have insisted that the fingerprints don't matter and that man must have worn gloves.
If this were a murder trial the case would have been dismissed years ago. The prosecution have produced the flimsiest of evidence and the defence have rebutted every assertion repeatedly. Man did not do it - something else must have.
And it has cost us $50 billion to get to this point. So what should we do? Do we continue to pour good money after bad in the hope that something might actually be found even after 18 years and $50 billion has so far turned nothing? Or do we stop believing these people who promise that if you'll just give them more money and more time you'll get a result?
Me - I'm sticking with my savings accounts.