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I am trying very hard not to be a “climate change denier”

December 6th, 2009 Posted in UK Politics by

…..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.

13 Responses to “I am trying very hard not to be a “climate change denier””

  1. Tristan Says:

    Depends what you mean by denying climate change – nobody seriously does that, what many are skeptical about is the run away warming scenarios presented by the most vocal.

    Climate Skeptic gives an excellent run down of the questions skepticsc ask (as opposed to idiots like Glenn Beck who skeptics are lumped with to try and shut them up).

    Some important questions which I’ve never seen anyone try to answer, instead ad-hominem and politics are the order of the day.

    Any liberal should be concerned by the politicisation of science, either for government or business (not that there’s much difference between the two).

  2. ajbpearce Says:

    arrrggghh its so annoying how for many people of our political persuasion 3 badly worded ( but out of context and not actually saying anything that would indicate evidence against global warming) e-mails (among a 60 mb leak) apparently overturn the work of thousands of scientists for dozens of years in proving climate change.

    It seems to me that many small government advocates are confusing their justifiable economic “skecptisim” about proposed “solutions” to climate change that inevitably involve big government regulation and leftist “equality” regulation with the science based evidence of global warming.

    We need “honest, rational and reasoned debate” but ti is impossible to have a debate that meets those criteria around whether or not global warming is happening because the scientific evidence is really SO overwhelming that any debate fails one of those 3 criterion.
    What we need to be debating is how we deal with it in a liberal way that does not rely on massive government gutting of western civilisation through the imposition of compulsory “equality” banning of the wonders of cheap aviation, meat & free trade which is what most left wing enviornmental groups seem to advocate

  3. Geoffrey Payne Says:

    If you really are interested in the science of climate change, I could introduce you to a Lib Dem member in Hackney who studied climate change at Cambridge University and knows the subject in depth.
    But I do not get the impression you are that interested. The debate on the Politics Show is between 2 politicians and you may judge that one is more persuasive than the other but in the end the debate is about how to spin the science, rather than what the science actually says.
    If you believe that markets are self correcting, and yet at the same time it is market economies that is producing this carbon pollution, then logically is makes sense for you to deny that climate change is something that requires a solution from government. Yet it is Utopean to imagine markets unhindered will correct this problem which they created in the first place.
    2 other points. You object £13million spent on the research, but you do not say what would be a reasonable basis upon which funds should be allocated for this kind of research. Maybe a libertarian position would be to say that the state should spend nothing. But if global warming (contributed by man) is taking place, then how would we know and then take action? What incentive would there be for the private sector to investigate this? The evidence is that they fund libertarian think tanks in order to discredit the science and advocate the opposite of what needs to be done.
    The other point is that you object to the “name calling” when Brown talks about “flat earthers”. Well if you attended the climate change demo last Saturday you would have heard Nick Clegg use the same language. And why not? There is a lot at stake here and people need to wake up. How is this “Name calling”, but when you accuse your political opponents of supporting the “Nanny State”, that is not?

  4. Philip Walker Says:

    Geoffrey et al.: the political issue isn’t whether climate change is happening. That’s a scientific question. The political one, to which economists are qualified to speak but not climate scientists, is whether the proposed course of action is worthwhile. Suppose you had a reliable (but not infallible) weather forecast predicting that your house was going to be flooded. You could knock up a flood defence for a hundred thousand quid, or for a few thousand (plus a bit more for the psychological anguish) you could move all your belongings out of harm’s way and clean up once the floods have gone.

    I can understand someone looking at the evidence and concluding that they would still prefer the flood defence. Essentially, they value the mental pain of a flooded house at a few hundred grand: fair enough. But it would be stark, staring bonkers and unscientific nonsense-on-stilts to assert that the choice doesn’t exist, that we can’t discuss the choice, and that we must follow this really expensive course of action without even contemplating the alternatives.

  5. Freethinking Economist Says:

    […] theories, Global Warming. Leave a Comment Angela over at Liberal Vision produces some, um, less than damning arguments against the Copenhagen summit.  Like the cost of flying 15,000 people there. Or the fact that the […]

  6. Kevin Boatang Says:

    Having watched that interview on Sunday I concluded that Ellie is a nasty little turd. He repeatedly cried like a limp schoolboy, that a billion would face water shortages. And?

    His solution is to tax and spend on vague and empty promises with zero end result whilst countries like New Zealand and Canada go all out in increasing their pollution.

    In terms of water, he could be rasing awareness of water schemes and third world sanitation. In this country he calls for the mystical green economy that his government has done nothing to support in relation to places like Germany.

    The green left have the major problem of screaming ‘Holocaust denier’ at anyone who dares question thei reasoning, it is this that has damaged the green cause.

    Discussion is the ultimate and the left, typically, refuse this debate. If they are correct then a debate should be nothing to fear. You don’t see evolutionists refuses debate with hyardcore flat earth 7 dayists do you?

    They must present the evidence in a sensible, level-headed way, discuss the possibilities, the outcomes and the solutions. Then people can make their minds up. Instead it is presented in the same way as the Mail does with immigration: hysterically.

  7. Ziggy Says:

    Is it just me or has anybody noticed the BBC bias towards climate change being man made

    Plus anybody hear about how two faced the ruling classes are about the enviornment

  8. Ziggy Says:

    Please don’t miss this opportunity as I had remind Mark Edge more then once to book in

  9. Ziggy Says:

  10. Ziggy Says:

    ‘If you really are interested in the science of climate change’

    But are you interested in a fact

    Are you sitting down because its actually quite shocking

    There were no cars or planes that caused the last ice age so drastic climate change can happen without being caused by the actions of man.

  11. Caroline Marks Says:

    I found your blog on google and read a few of your other posts. I just added you to my Google News Reader. Keep up the good work. Look forward to reading more from you in the future.

  12. Tom Papworth Says:

    Whereas the fact that the globe is warming is not really in doubt, the economics is far less clear. Last week the Economist did a pretty good round-up of the economic arguments, which showed that economists are in no way agreed about it (which is not to say that all, by any means, think it is uneconomical).

    A lot of it seems to revolve around which discount rate one uses. This doesn’t entirely seem to be a rational choice; several of the arguments are normative. There is nothing inherently wrong with that, but effectively it moves the economic argument out of the realm of science and into that of morality.

    What the article failed to deal with was what methods are best to apply if one does decide that global warming needs to be tackled. Even if that decision is accepted, it does not follow that government intervention is necessarily the answer, or that government intervention should go beyond setting a carbon price and extend to picking energy generating technologies or transport solutions.

    The article also skips over the opportunity cost, which is unfortunate.

    However, it is still a pretty good round-up.

  13. Liberal Vision » Blog Archive » Sexed up documents, personal attacks on their critics.. no it’s not Iraq.. it’s Global Warming Says:

    […] thought hard before deciding to post on this. I have posted on this subject  before (”I am trying very hard not to be a climate change denier “). My concerns have surrounded the over-reliance on “computer models” to predict […]