We should take the debate about climate change seriously — even if only to make sure that the idiots don’t do something stupid about it. There are, after all, those claims that we’ve got to entirely tear down industrial civilization in order that we not boil the whales. That doesn’t mean that we should take every report nor claim about it seriously, and I’ll not be taking a new report about carbon capture seriously either. I actually know something about the subject at hand — how do we suck that carbon dioxide out of the atmosphere and into rock where it can do no harm?

[More: California attorney general: Don't let pipe bombs distract from climate 'time bomb']

The report is from good and serious people, the National Academies. Their evaluations of the technologies they talk about are reasonable and detailed. It‘s what they don’t discuss that’s the problem. The news, generally, is that we should be using the technologies they do discuss. It’s a great idea! Suck it out of the air.

And here’s the one point which shows that this isn’t a good report and the idea isn't good at all. They do not analyze nor consider iron fertilization, this being the one method of carbon sequestration which we know works and which is also cheap (a particularly useful attribute).

This is the idea that certain areas of the oceans have too few nutrients, so we should add those and the algae will grow. Some of those algae are eaten by larger beasties; others fall to the ocean floor and become the next generation of sandstone and limestone. We do actually know this works; we know it’s cheap too. Past conversations with those who have investigated think of the order of $1 per ton of carbon dioxide turned into rock — much cheaper than what this report calls “cheap,” less than $100 a ton.

The problem with this method, iron fertilization, is that we not only know it works (it’s cheap) but also that further experimentation is almost certainly illegal under international law. At which point, I refuse to believe that these people, people in general, are taking climate change seriously. For we do indeed have those who tell us that Paris, or COP, or this and that, insists that we’ve all got to entirely change the way we live. But no one is willing to tweak the bureaucracy into testing a method of being able to deal with at least a part of the problem — tipping some iron into the ocean.

This actually becomes my litmus test. If you’re willing to discuss how we go about further testing on iron fertilization, then I’m willing to believe you’re being serious about the dangers of and solutions to climate change. If you’re not, you won’t consider it or insist that we cannot do it for some reason or other, then I’ll conclude you’re not actually being serious about it all as a problem at all. My suspicion will be that you’re using climate change as a crowbar to change society in your desired direction, not regarding it as a problem to be solved at all.

As this report doesn’t address this specific point, then, I’ll not take it seriously. Sorry.

Tim Worstall (@worstall) is a contributor to the Washington Examiner's Beltway Confidential blog. He is a senior fellow at the Adam Smith Institute. You can read all his pieces at The Continental Telegraph.