Fostering Denial – Epilogue
Last Thursday the Stop Climate Chaos coalition organised a Green Is Working demonstration outside the Treasury Building in the centre of London. The weird thing is that I did not hear about this before it happened. On the contrary, because I attended Richard Lindzen’s misrepresentation of the truth in London on 22 February this year, I was sent an invite to the Green Isn’t Working counter-demonstration, organised by a certain Rev Philip Foster (retired). I sent Philip an email wishing him all the best in his attempt to argue that renewable energy is not sustainable… and have been having an exchange of emails with him ever since. However, I think we are both now tiring of this, so I decided to try and end it:
OK Philip. I know that I started this exchange - so you don’t need to remind me – but I think it is nearing a natural conclusion. However, before it does, overlooking the many questions you have ignored (and some of the more bizarre things you have chosen not to ignore), I would like to focus on your two final remarks:
1. Well, just to be contrary, [rejecting scientific evidence for ideological reasons] is how I think alarmists are behaving (again I make this point in my book). I think Mark Twain expressed it well: “There is something fascinating about science. One gets such wholesale returns of conjecture out of such a trifling investment of fact”
The long-term effects of the energy-trapping properties of more CO2 in our atmosphere are not conjectured; they were predicted and they are now being observed. Furthermore, the people who are short on facts are those who dispute this. “It is hard to convey just how selective you have to be to dismiss the evidence for climate change. You must climb over a mountain of evidence to pick up a crumb: a crumb which then disintegrates in the palm of your hand. You must ignore an entire canon of science, the statements of the world’s most eminent scientific institutions, and thousands of papers published in the foremost scientific journals.” - George Monbiot (2005)
2. For good or ill, I am pretty certain that the scientific argument is now established; and we are winning the economic one.
This is a truly astonishing statement, for two reasons:
(a) Despite the fact that almost every reputable professional, academic, and/or scientific body on the planet has endorsed the scientific basis for concern regarding anthropogenic climate disruption (ACD), you seem to want to claim – not just that the science is uncertain – that the scientific basis for scepticism has been established. This is ridiculous. I think bookmakers would give you better odds on the Earth being only 6000 years old.
(b) Despite the conclusion reached by the Stern Review in the UK (2006); the Quadrennial Defense Review in the USA (2010), and the International Energy Agency (2012) - that ACD is a problem we simply cannot afford to ignore any longer – you are trying to claim you have won the argument; and that nothing should be done (because the problem does not exist). This too is ridiculous. Our government may be unwilling to accept the full reality of what needs to be done, but it most certainly does not deny that we have a problem.
Therefore, with regret, if I have correctly interpreted your remarks, I think further debate with you is pointless. There are many organisations – such as the Adam Smith Institute, Policy Exchange, and Taxpayers Alliance - who accept the reality of the ACD problem; and with whom fruitful discussion about policy may therefore be had. However, for the minority – like the GWPF and Repeal The Act – who appear to want to continue to dispute even that basic science of ACD; I can see no way in which discussion can be progressed.