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James Delingpole on the Economist

James Delingpole takes a swipe at the Economist's coverage of global warming, saying some nice things about the Hockey Stick Illusion in passing.

Thanks James!

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Reader Comments (21)

Another epic article by James Delingpole. The HSI should be number 1 soon around the world. I predict a sales curve of hockey stick shape, even without cherry-picking or fudging the raw data.

Mar 24, 2010 at 5:20 PM | Unregistered CommenterPhillip Bratby

Sweet!! HSI kicks A$$!! Where can we nominate it for the best science writing of 2010?!

Mar 24, 2010 at 5:27 PM | Unregistered CommenterKevin

I expect the Economist's Environmental Editor is doing as well as can be expected from a "committed environmentalist" with a degree in English Literature. I have been surprised by the way she has tried to not run with the more rabid AGW enthusiasts in some articles.

Mar 24, 2010 at 6:05 PM | Unregistered CommenterLiam

I didn't renew my Economist subscription after 15 years because of it's stance on AGW. Otherwise I really like their writing style - complex issues are typically presented in a neutral and easy to understand way.

I love JD's wit as he pulls apart their ridiculous position on our favourite subject.

Mar 24, 2010 at 6:26 PM | Unregistered CommenterFarley

I notice a slight panic in The Economist's articles on the subject lately. As if, they have recently begun to realize that maybe, just maybe it's not as clear-cut as they thought and that they may have associated themselves with something that may cover them in ridicule in the near future - especially embarrassing for a newspaper whose self-image is of intellectual superiority. It does say something that they moved from barely acknowledging the CRU's emails (and then just to dismiss them as something of no importance) to now actually bothering to contact - I assume, for the first time - Steve McIntyre, Anthony Watts and Richard Lindzen. I wonder if they don't realize that that "uncertainty is all the more reason to do something" argument could be used to justify almost anything?

Mar 24, 2010 at 6:30 PM | Unregistered CommenterPeter B

From Delingpole:

So, let me get this right: as even the Economist admits, scientists don’t really have a clue what the future holds regarding global warming. But that still doesn’t mean we shouldn’t DO something. Anything is better than nothing.

Interesting that their have been at least 3 volcanoes erupting in the last month...mother nature regulating things for herself, perhaps? I think we shouldn't meddle. AGW fans seem to extrapolate disaster from the normal weather and solar cycles.

For the sake of argument, let's say an ice age is coming instead or a warm period. We should know what we're doing. What if instead of trying to cool things down we have it wrong and we really need to heat things up? What if we should be trying to increase greenhouse gases? This is just speculation, of course... We need to know with more certainty what is going on before we act.

Mar 24, 2010 at 7:09 PM | Unregistered CommenterKevin

What with The Dismalist, various media campaigns, and the Royal Society currently running a course for climatologists and their pet journalists on how to deal with uncertainty, lectured by some fine physicists I note for whom uncertainty has been a given since the dawn of the twentieth century, it surely can't be long until the "classical" Heisenberg Uncertainty Principle of hard science fame is supplanted in the popular vocabulary by the newly coined, Post-normal Uncertainty Principle (PUP) of dismal science climatology fame.

Like many here, I also gave up reading The Economist regularly long ago, and therefore only pay it attention when suffering terminal boredom at airports. I do recall noticing over the years however that they were also busy championing the wisdom of prolonged cheap credit and turning a blind eye to the dangerous asset bubbles being created.

Then, post crunch, I believe they also cheer led the global tax plundered stimulus and bail outs.

Then, and just a few months back I noticed that it ran a front page story warning of the danger of asset bubbles, created by the loose policies it had espoused all along, all the time in the inimitable and imperious style of The Economist.

Mar 24, 2010 at 7:12 PM | Unregistered CommenterDrew


Joe Strummer had it right, back in 1980 iirc. "The ice age is coming" London Calling. The Clash.

It's at least as valid a reason to invoke the alarmists' favourite excuse, the Precautionary Principle, as the uncertainty of a slightly warming planet. If not indeed more so, given that historically and biologically, a colder planet kills more than a hotter one.

Mar 24, 2010 at 7:16 PM | Unregistered CommenterDrew


Thanks for the reminder...listening to London Calling right now. :-)

Maybe we should develop a precautionary principle against climate alarmists. As soon as the gloom and doom starts...take precaution and check the underlying science of the claims.

Mar 24, 2010 at 7:59 PM | Unregistered CommenterKevin

Michael Lewis (financial journalist and author) on Economist journalists, quoted on Wikipedia:

Editorial anonymity, said by the editor to reflect “a collaborative effort", is said to hide the youth and inexperience of those writing articles. "The magazine is written by young people pretending to be old people," according to American author Michael Lewis. “If American readers got a look at the pimply complexions of their economic gurus, they would cancel their subscriptions in droves."

My subscription lapses next month. I shan't be renewing, partly because of their approach to AGW but more generally because their opinions so often turn out to be substantially wrong or so hedged as to be worthless.

Mar 24, 2010 at 8:12 PM | Unregistered CommenterSimon Anthony

After reading Richard North's post on the BBC, and their tangled connections with the climate alarmism movement, I wonder if The Economist could also have some connections which an independent news organization would not be proud of. Just speculating.

Mar 24, 2010 at 8:21 PM | Unregistered CommenterDon B

Michael Lewis, an ex-colleague of mine and fine fellow from back in the mid 80s at a certain US Investment Bank, and author of the excellent Liars Poker, incidentally a game we all played there constantly when markets were quiet.

The game was based on betting on your hand given by the serial numbers of a dollar bill, and then telling your friends lies as believably as possible in order to bid up your hand forcing others out until the winner takes all. Dollar bills were used so that in the event your boss stopped by, it wasn't quite as obvious what you were up to as it would have been caught with a deck of cards.

Liars Poker. How apt, in these AGW times.

BTW, for anyone who followed the VS/Tamino ding dong last week and interested in a different, more accessible take on it all, I've just posted in unthreaded a summary and links to an excellent series Lubos has written in response.

Mar 24, 2010 at 8:30 PM | Unregistered CommenterDrew

24 March: BusinessGreen: "Mad scientist" talks up geo-engineering vision
Leading contributor to IPCC report calls for increased support for geo-engineering research, reveals European Research Council is considering funding pledge
by James Murray
Speaking at an event hosted by Lloyd's of London and Exeter University, professor Peter Cox argued that projects capable of reducing global temperatures may be necessary if world leaders are serious about their stated goal of limiting average temperature rises to two degrees...
He added that the European Research Council is now "openly thinking" about providing funding to a number of geo-engineering projects.
Cox, who was the lead author of one of the chapters in the IPCC's fourth assessment report on climate science and is a Member of Royal Society Working Group on Geo-engineering the Climate, admitted there were numerous risks and uncertainties associated with proposed geo-engineering technologies...
Cox is not alone in his support for more research into geo-engineering and growing numbers of scientists have expressed an interest in the field. The Royal Society produced a major report on the topic last autumn, which concluded that while geo-engineering would not provide a "silver bullet" for tackling climate change, it could play a key role and as such the government should invest £10m a year in geo-engineering research...
Environmental groups, however, remain fiercely opposed to the concept, arguing that geo-engineering projects distract from the need to cut carbon emissions and are likely to have unintended consequences that could further destabilise the climate...

when will the 'environmentalists' realise the scam for what it is, a money/power grab, and join the sceptics in calling for a decoupling of climate science/cap'n'tax while the 'settled science' is reconsidered.

Mar 24, 2010 at 9:58 PM | Unregistered Commenterpat

1979 was when London Calling was written...and least by the river that it refers to.

Regardless...always nice to see Joe Strummer quoted. I enjoy your site.


Mar 24, 2010 at 10:07 PM | Unregistered Commentertim


thank you for pointing out my deficient knowledge of the history of popular music.

But I think that you'll find that my 1980 call is qualitatively and statistically indistinguishable from 1979, given the Earth's age at several billion years.

Please remember, we are talking about the climate here, and you're clearly talking weather ;o)

Mar 24, 2010 at 11:28 PM | Unregistered CommenterDrew

The Hockey Stick Illusion seems to be "Temporarily out of stock" at Amazon. Others claim to have it in stock.

Mar 25, 2010 at 12:00 AM | Unregistered CommenterHenry

The Hockey Stick Illusion seems to be "Temporarily out of stock" at Amazon.

That's good news for A. W. Montford. Way to hit it out of the park.

Mar 25, 2010 at 1:45 AM | Unregistered CommenterKevin

All of the problems with the reporting on global warming in The Economist started with the editorship change in 2006.

Mar 25, 2010 at 6:18 AM | Unregistered CommenterSkip Smith

Totally agreed...I was being petulant and your retort was superb. Best album ever I'm glad it ties in to the larger concern at hand.



Mar 25, 2010 at 7:22 AM | Unregistered Commentertim

Another excellent Delingpole article. But just how sad is this? "And how is the likely incoming CEO D Cameron proposing to deal with this crisis? Erm, he’s not yet quite sure. But one thing’s for certain: he’s going to stick with the new regulation brought in by the previous regime for this essential new scheme called the Climate Change Act." I despair.

Mar 25, 2010 at 11:48 AM | Unregistered CommenterPeter Stroud

James Delingpole:
"I know in the world of business dosh is jolly important. But isn’t integrity more so?"

No. Cash is King, integrity is the just the Jester.

Mar 25, 2010 at 12:00 PM | Unregistered CommenterJohn Silver

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