Lack of Environment

A blog on the politics and psychology underlying the denial of all our environmental problems

Fostering Denial – Epilogue

with 17 comments

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.

17 Responses

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  1. The weird thing is that I did not hear about this before it happened.

    That’s not so weird at all. Part of the problem is that the mass media isn’t on board with the need for change. I wonder why that might be… (nothing whatsoever to do with shareholder profits, shirley).


    20 October 2012 at 15:32

    • P.S. I’m absolutely astonished that you’re wasting your time trying to discuss anything rational with this person; if the comments you have highlighted represent the quality of his arguments, he is either (a) a moran or (b) paid to waste the time of those who try to make a difference.


      20 October 2012 at 15:42

      • I don’t get this “moran” business – which just appears to have originally been a spelling mistake by a genuine moron….

        People like the Fosters are just convinced that their Bible tells them that climate change cannot be happening because God will not allow it. They are therefore also convinced that anyone who disagrees with them (including other Christians) have been deceived by a false religion popular in a godless age.

        Sadly, they are mistaken (and seemingly oblivious to the fact that in so doing they have aligned themselves with people whose only god is money)… The Bible may well be full of a great deal of wisdom about how to love thy neighbour as thyself (etc), but it is not a textbook of either science or history; and it is pure human folly (and indicative of a gross failure of imagination) to treat it as such.

        Martin Lack

        20 October 2012 at 17:13

        • I like the term ‘moran’ myself. It’s ironically self-referential: a ‘moran’ is so deluded s/he doesn’t realise s/he is one.

          And re: religion, yes, well, I’ve always thought it ironic that a book that preaches love is directly responsible for so much hate.


          20 October 2012 at 22:22

        • Ah yes, a neat way, then, of alluding to the Dunning-Kruger effect.

          I am not sure the book breaches love. There may be individuals within it that did but the book as a whole is a catalog of human imperfection, stubbornness and folly. (I could have had a nice piece of alliteration there but do not think you would have appreciated my using the term “sinfulness”). A description of the Bible I have always liked is that it is “a history of revelation and a revelation of history”

          Martin Lack

          21 October 2012 at 11:01

    • I had hoped the BBC’s David Shukman’s report from a small boat in front of a Svalbard glacier (quietly calving in the background) – in which he neatly explained the positive feedback mechanism of white ice being replaced by dark water – was reason to hope that the media was going to start accurately reporting facts…

      Sadly, this hope was dashed even more recently when Shuckman managed to get through an entire piece on the concatenation of all kinds of extreme weather in the last 2 years but did not even mention climate change. It may be good that climate science is not being reported as opinion… However, if the media is just going to report facts without any explanation; I would still say that is a gross dereliction of duty and/or abdication of responsibility.

      Martin Lack

      20 October 2012 at 16:51

      • Do glaciers calve quietly? That’s not my impression. The hoots and cheers of the watching humans is loud enough…


        20 October 2012 at 22:29

        • I guess I was being ironic. Shukman was quite some distance away (specifically because of the rate at which calving was happening) and probably did not have the right kind of microphone to pick up the sound properly.

          Martin Lack

          21 October 2012 at 10:52

  2. ‘lala lala lala lala lala, their is no warming, lala, the argument is won lala’

    the consensus of la la land.


    20 October 2012 at 22:08

    • It must be such a peaceful place. I suspect it must be like being permanently drunk. Just one problem; one day it will come to an end with one almighty hangover.

      Martin Lack

      21 October 2012 at 11:05

      • Hear that scratching noise, scrape scrape scrape- Denial is reaching the bottom of the barrel, you would think the biggest loss of Arctic ice would mean something, but hey the ‘biggest’ increase Antarctic ice saves the day, worst UK weather, longest hottest drought in US, food production down 20% – its just a freak of nature, Peak Oil [high energy inflation] – fracking, thorium reactors, will solve al problems. Morans!


        21 October 2012 at 15:38

        • Interesting developments in the Antarctic – will publish at midnight (UTC+1).

          Martin Lack

          21 October 2012 at 18:06

  3. It seems that, what with David Rose reprising his nonsense of a week or so ago and threats of power shortages that the media has been given a job to do for this latest Harabbin piece has echoes of the Phil Jones Q&A in which the no significant warming meme was unleashed on the world.

    See my thoughts at Deltoid here.

    Lionel A

    21 October 2012 at 18:18

    • As I said, Lionel, it takes an astonishing level of self-delusion to repeat lies so comprehensively exposed in The Guardian What do we have to do to shut these people up?

      Martin Lack

      21 October 2012 at 20:46

      • By not making statements like those.. i.e. Nobody is saying, “How do we make you shut up?”

        How much influence do you think Phillip is having, really, say in China?

        Barry Woods

        23 October 2012 at 10:06

        • I am not anti-free speech Barry and, because this comment was duplicated on my ‘Rose-on-Sunday-Fail’ post, I have there explained what I do and do not mean by this. Talking of answering questions, would you care to answer mine to you?

          Martin Lack

          23 October 2012 at 10:36

  4. […] 2012/10/20: LoE: Fostering Denial – Epilogue […]

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