No, he did say it....
Feb 16, 2010
Bishop Hill in Climate: Houghton

...or something very like it.

I'm referring to the recent kerfuffle over whether Sir John Houghton did actually say the controversial words that have been ascribed to him for many years. These words:

Unless we announce disasters, no one will listen.

A few days ago, after years of this quotation doing the rounds of sceptic blogs, Sir John suddenly denied that these words had ever passed his lips, pointing out that they didn't actually appear in his book, to which early citations had pointed as the original source. Cue much gnashing of teeth and wailing about "deniers".

There has now been another development in this story, reported by Benny Peiser, who took a certain amount of stick for repeating the quotation over the years, including a demand from Sir John that he issue an apology. In a posting on the GWPF website today, Benny relates how Professor John Adams has unearthed from his archives an clipping from the Daily Telegraph, dating right back to 1995. In it, Sir John is quoted as follows:

“If we want a good environmental policy in the future we’ll have to have a disaster.”

Oh dear.

The story was originally broken on Professor Adams' blog here. More here.

[Update: Benny asks me to make absolutely clear that he is passing the story on and the credit is due to Professors Adams and Stott]

[PS: If you ever get the chance to read Professor Adams' Risk, it's well worth it. It's one of those books that makes you smile with its deliciously counter-intuitive thinking.]


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