…..a “climate change sceptic” or as Mr Miliband dubbed those of a different opinion to himself last week - a “climate change saboteur” …… but boy they are not making it easy for me.
For I find myself increasingly wondering – just how much money is there in this for those who are leading the climate change vanguard? How much kudos, fame and bandwaggoning is tied up in this particular cause? The scientists taking their research funds; the energy companies taking their subsidies; the politicians taking centre stage with their great moral crusade on which they pontificate, and use to terrify us into submission.
Only today The Sunday Telegraph reports that professor Phil Jones – who until recently led the Climate research Unit (CRU) at University of East Anglia -has so far received £13million+ in climate research funding no less. That’s 13million good reasons to big-up any issue.
It has not helped the climate change cause that the very same unit in receipt of the £13million is also at the centre of the investigation into doctored figures. Emails (obtained by hackers it seems) from Prof Jones say, amongst other things, “I’ve just completed Mike’s NATURE trick of adding in the real temps to each series for the last 20 years and from 1961 for Keith’s to hide the decline”. Well…if you will incentivise people to go down a particular path, don’t be surprised if they overstep the mark.
And let’s not forget the holier-than-thou, great-and-the-good descending on Copenhagen. 15000 delegates are seemingly required to discuss pie-in-the-sky “targets” that everyone seems to agree already will not result in any binding deal. And even if they do agree binding targets – these dont appear to be modest, sensible ones, over, say, the life of most parliaments (e.g. 3 or 4 years) that today’s politicians will be answerable to. Why not cancel the thing and save the many thousands of tonnes of carbon the conference seems set to cost. Because it will have a BIG carbon footprint. Last heard, some 1200 limo’s will be used to ferry these hand-wringers around and some 140 extra private jets will use Copenhagen’s airport. That’s a lot of hot air, in every sense of the word.
Back in boggy Britain, we, the little people, are berated over OUR energy use. We are bombarded with sinister Government adverts telling us to use our cars 5 miles less per week, use public transport wherever we can – no matter how difficult/poor/filthy/cramped etc that is- switch off our lights, fly less, recycle more, obey or be doomed. Politcians on the other hand swish about in gaz guzzlers, attended by dozens of “advisors” along for the jolly, making big speeches feeling very self important . What bit of irony don’t they get?
We do irony well in the UK. We also do dissent rather well too. Echoing the results of The Times survey a couple of weeks ago, an ICM survey for The Sunday Telegraph published today, shows that nearly 50% of voters think there is no proof that mankind is causing global warming. Gordon Brown described such people as “flat earthers” . There’s clearly an awful lot of them about. And his response to the ICM survey was to say that he’s convinced by the scientific evidence (well thats ok then) and that his government will be making the case that the threat of climate change is real. Hmmmm…..We have seen the effects of dodgy dossiers from this Government before. Let’s hope that the Government has not got another one in its briefcase this time.
All I really want for Christmas is an open honest debate on this issue – preferably amongst scientists – butI will take what I can get. No doubt inspired by the Daily Politics show last week, just such a debate appeared on BBC’s Politics Show lunchtime today between Lord Lawson and Ed Miliband. Government may be reduced to name-calling. Research units may manipulate the data and seek to prevent FOI requests for the raw data. But it seems to me that a healthy debate concerning the science and the economics of climate change is coming out at last. That has to be good news for all sides of the debate because it’s good for democracy.And because its more likely to result in the right policies being implemented.
And no Ed Miliband I do not think it “irresponsible” to query the science of climate change. As Lord Lawson put it so magnificently…” What I think is profoundly irresponsible is to say that dissent should not be tolerated. That honest, rational, reasoned debate is unacceptable. That is wrong on any issue”
You can catch the Nigel Lawson v Ed Miliband debate at the top of the post - or catch the full Politics Show programme on BBC iplayer by clicking here.