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Sceptic on energy and climate change committee

Peter Lilley, one of the tiny handful of MPs to vote against the insanity of the UK's Climate Change Act, has been elected to membership of the House of Commons Energy and Climate Change Committee.

The times they are a-changin'.

Reaction from our green friends is predictably unenthusiastic.

They've elected Peter Lilley to the committee. They've actually gone and done it. It happened.

Does this make Peter Lilley Britain's answer to Senator Inhofe? The Tea Party tendency of Cameron's party just pulled off a little coup.

Peter Lilley. Champion of the IPCC. Friend of Peru. Expert on Arctic Sea Ice. I welcome his appointment.

Determined not to get hysterical about Peter Lilley on Decc Select Committee. Sure , Byles, Yeo etc can hold their own.

Let's hope Peter Lilley is more across his brief on energy slct cmmt than he was during his recent Newsnight appearance

In putting Peter Lilley onto the Energy Select Committee, the British parliament just took a great leap towards a US-type political culture.

Presumably, that last comment doesn't refer to a political culture in which dissenting views are permitted.

More interestingly, Leo Hickman (among others) seems to be getting excited about Lilley's business interests. The one he is concerned about is Tethys Petroleum, a London based company with interests in oil and gas in central Asia, of which Lilley is a non-executive director.

I'll have to scratch my head and work out how much of a concern this particular interest is, given where the company is working. 

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    - Bishop Hill blog - Sceptic on energy and climate change committee

Reader Comments (41)

This is good news. Although I still associate him with his singing a song in his speech to Conservative Party conference in the late 1980's. It was one of those "that was weird" moments.

Oct 24, 2012 at 9:24 PM | Unregistered CommenterRobinson

@robinson - about as weird as Blair starting an illegal war. Just saying.

Oct 24, 2012 at 9:43 PM | Unregistered CommenterPaul

Well done Peter.

Oct 24, 2012 at 9:44 PM | Registered CommenterMikeHaseler


The line it is drawn
The curse it is cast
The slow one now
Will later be fast
As the present now
Will later be past
The order is
Rapidly fadin'
And the first one now
Will later be last
For the times they are a-changin'.

Oct 24, 2012 at 10:07 PM | Registered CommenterGreen Sand

Good news, all the more so for the fact that ideologues like Joss Garman don't like it. That alone indicates we're on the right track.

Oct 24, 2012 at 10:13 PM | Unregistered CommenterAlex Cull

Ptere Lilley was the only MP who went to the Lindzen talk in the HoC this year. Not many MPs are prepared to listen to the evidence rather than follow the crowd.

Oct 24, 2012 at 10:13 PM | Unregistered CommenterPhillip Bratby

Dont forget that Lilley said on Newsnight that he accepts the IPCC position.

Fortunatley however I think he has actually read the documetation and is aware of the IPCC's own statements of uncertainty.

Progress, nonetheless.

Oct 24, 2012 at 10:16 PM | Unregistered CommenterRB

Am I missing something? Old I might be, to say nothing of behind the times, mired in a hopeless past.

But can anyone seriously tell me that a bunch of self-important, self-regarding non-entities sending each other silly, over-excited messages on Twitter about Peter Lilley amounts to anything more than a vast quantity of nothing?

Is this honestly what might otherwise once have passed for intelligent discourse has been reduced to?

It's like a gang of 12 year olds squabbling over who's going to take their knickers off first. Ohh, tee hee, snigger, snigger, titter, titter.

It is pathetic and puerile beyond belief.

Oct 24, 2012 at 10:25 PM | Unregistered CommenterAgouts

The times they are a-changin'. Ah, that certainly takes me back to my youth and makes me feel nostalgic! However there is another Bob Dylan number from the same period which makes me just as nostalgic, and unfortunately the title and the lyrics will probably be much more popular with the majority of the members of the Commons Energy and Climate Change Committee.

Blowin' In The Wind

The other members of the committee will probably say to Peter Lilley:

The answer my friend is blowin' in the wind
The answer is blowin' in the wind.

Oct 24, 2012 at 10:30 PM | Unregistered CommenterRoy

Yes, this is excellent news.

RB — I think you'll find that there are quite a number of fairly sensible people who do accept the IPCC position, by and large at least. What they do not accept, mainly because they have taken the trouble actually to read the IPCC reports, are the Summary for Policymakers and the rabid greenie interpretations of the IPCC reports.
Which would explain why Lilley's appointment has been met with less than whole-hearted delight by the enviro-fanatics.
Facts are the last thing they want out in the open.
Lilley will no doubt still be in a minority but he is a senior MP and well-regarded in the party and in parliament. If he can pose a few germane questions and get the odd witness squirming a few of the hard-of-thinking brigade might also start to use the occasional brain cell.
Here's hoping!

Oct 24, 2012 at 10:32 PM | Registered CommenterMike Jackson

Lilley has been an excellent constituency MP and is pretty knowledgeable on climate issues as well as energy policy. It is clear from the multiple interests of Tim Yeo and others on the committee that personal involvement on one side of the issue is no bar to membership: let's hope that it is true for both sides.

Oct 24, 2012 at 10:37 PM | Unregistered CommenterDavid S

Someone is now on the committee who might, just possibly, ask a question that in some quarters could be viewed as challenging or even critical. One might get the perception that parliamentary committees are set up, as part of the democratic process, for the purpose of scrutinizing the executive and policy in the public interest. That would never do.

Oct 24, 2012 at 10:50 PM | Unregistered CommenterManicBeancounter


and just how do you recommend advising or expressing concerns to our representational system of democracy, assuming you are a UK voter?

Oct 24, 2012 at 10:53 PM | Unregistered Commenterdiogenes

The IPCC science was fraudulent from the start. Hansen got away with the big lie in 1981** and no-one stood up to him.

**Claiming that 33 K lapse rate warming, 6 km x 5.5 K/km is down the GHGs.

Lapse rate ~ Cp/g, independent of whether there are any GHGs except for the precipitation of water.

The 6 km is about 1.5 km too high and there is no reference to prove it.

Oct 24, 2012 at 10:59 PM | Unregistered CommenterAlecM


The ballot box used, once, to be quite an effective solution.

Today's instant, manufactured hysteria, on the other hand, seems likely to lead only to permanent crises, all demanding immediate answers that produce no more than further incoherence in the name of headline solutions.

In short, I have no answer to your question beyond making the obvious point that spluttering and leaping up and down on Twitter will, ultimately, get all of us precisely nowhere. Noise is not the same as sense.

Oct 24, 2012 at 11:25 PM | Unregistered CommenterAgouts

Joss Garman ‏@jossgarman

Does this make Peter Lilley Britain's answer to Senator Inhofe? The Tea Party tendency of Cameron's party just pulled off a little coup.

[Snip - manners] America has a democracy and sometimes it works - you know: it allows for the other side of the argument to heard.

The EU runs things, thus, the boneheaded lunacy of the green agenda marches on in the UK but Cameron is [much to my surprise] actually demonstrating a little objectivity - you should try it Joss and let "the enlightenment of scientific reason", illuminate your intolerant and prejudiced views.

Oct 25, 2012 at 12:09 AM | Unregistered CommenterAthelstan.

The importance of Peter Lilley is that he is not likely to listen to bullshit and be silent, he will speak his mind. My MP Dan Byles is a decent soul but he accepts what is given to him without too much criticism.
It was noticeable that when Lord Deben presented himself to the Committee on Energy and Climate Change (seeking their approval), he opined that this was a nice group and he hoped it could be kept together. I'll bet he did because they are a bunch of spineless yes men controlled by Yeo. The addition of Lilley offers another strong character around whom the weak could coalesce.
There is a serious trend forming here and it is a trend in the right direction ^.^

Oct 25, 2012 at 12:11 AM | Registered CommenterDung

The significance of this is huge. Lilley has been a lone voice of reason facing ridicule for long years in the wilderness of green political whimsy, and that he has almost certainly been penalised for stubborn adherence to his integrity by refusing to bend to this disastrous agenda. Reflecting that his parliamentary CV is more ministerially experienced than the PM's himself, I detect coffee finally being smelled and senses taking hold back stage.

Oct 25, 2012 at 12:15 AM | Unregistered CommenterPharos

RB, If you separate out the component reports in the overall IPCC reports that express true scientific uncertainties and try to accurately express the observed data without bias, then we can agree with Peter Lilley, but not regarding the Summary for Policymakers or the reports that deliberately tow the political line. Bravo for his appointment though. A ray of sunshine in the murky green darkness.

Oct 25, 2012 at 12:28 AM | Unregistered CommenterSimon

Dunno whether Lilley will bring light to shine upon the heat but I do welcome his contribution to counter the imbalance that has plagued UK energy policy for too many years.
OK dokey, confession time, I'm an old bloke who would have been counted as part of the 97% consensus who agreed that Man had contributed 'substantially' to climate change/warming/weirding and all that jazz.
Sadly, for the integrity of my undoubted prejudices, I found it impossible to agree with fellow-consensuallists who appeared to revel and celebrate findings that 'it's even worse than we thought'
Probably happened long before the 'Loo Paper' but, whatever. the seeds must have germinated sufficiently to expose, for me, the futility of mainstream Green logic.
How effing sad !

Oct 25, 2012 at 1:07 AM | Unregistered CommenterRoyFOMR

I wish the British the best and I think, restauration of rationality, common sense and democracy in Britain will trigger a positive change in the US as well.

Oct 25, 2012 at 2:29 AM | Unregistered CommenterManfred

"We have to carry out a deep and far-reaching review'"

First, lol

Oct 25, 2012 at 4:44 AM | Unregistered CommenterAdrian

The words of Bob Dylan which seem to me to be apt as well (can't remember the song for the moment) are "A man hears what he wants to hear and disregards the rest".

Oct 25, 2012 at 8:39 AM | Unregistered CommenterMike Fowle

Paul Simon:

I am just a poor boy
Though my story's seldom told,
I have squandered my resistance
For a pocketful of mumbles,
Such are promises
All lies and jest
Still, a man hears what he wants to hear
And disregards the rest.

Not Bob Mike.

Oct 25, 2012 at 9:11 AM | Unregistered CommenterAthelstan.

Leo Hickman said

"Let's hope Peter Lilley is more across his brief on energy slct cmmt than he was during his recent Newsnight appearance"

What on earth is this meant to mean?
Also Peter Lilley studied Economics and Physics at Cambridge, does anyone know what if any Leo Hickman's academic background is? English like Harrabin?

Oct 25, 2012 at 9:50 AM | Unregistered CommenterConfusedPhoton

Mike, that's Paul Simon, the Boxer.

Oct 25, 2012 at 10:39 AM | Unregistered Commenterrhoda

OK. too late for that one. Rhoda would like to point out that she has no degree at all, but does not feel that this disqualifies her from having an opinion on any subject, nor from finding out the elements of any debate by self-study, in this day and age. As long as people do not pretend to qualifications or authority they don't have, the same principles apply. To see this that or the other journo sllghted for not having a science degree is getting tiresome. I think we all agree that journalists are equally as expert in all the subjects they adventure upon. Folks who are paid by some group to hold their opinions will spout any old rubbish despite their qualifications.

Oct 25, 2012 at 10:49 AM | Unregistered Commenterrhoda

"More interestingly, Leo Hickman (among others) seems to be getting excited about Lilley's business interests."

Scorched earth policy? Take down Lilley and in the process lose Yeo on the same petard but...

Is that a price worth paying by the renewable lobby?

Imagine if the CRU were asked questions about the background to the next IPCC report by Peter Lilley. A few Climategate quotes in the public domain may be very costly to those wanting to silt up the Severn estuary and put windmaills on the hillsides.

They need the image of the greater good.

Oct 25, 2012 at 11:03 AM | Unregistered CommenterM Courtney

Rhoda said

"I think we all agree that journalists are equally as expert in all the subjects they adventure upon."

No I do not agree. The critical thinking and scientific methodology developed during a professional scientific career cannot be short circuited. Some of the most ill-informed statements on both sides of the debate, have come from jounalists.

" Folks who are paid by some group to hold their opinions will spout any old rubbish despite their qualifications." - there have been honest scientists who have refused to spout any old rubbish.

Oct 25, 2012 at 12:01 PM | Unregistered CommenterConfusedPhoton

" The critical thinking and scientific methodology developed during a professional scientific career cannot be short circuited."

And yet one may debate scientists right here who resort to the most astounding ad homs and labelling with generalisations. Almost as if they were humans first and scientists a long way second. Anybody, anybody at all, should be judged by what they write and say, not by their label or first degree subject. Besides, there are few journalists with a scientific career behind them. Even they are as reliable as the others who cannot write a story without getting the facts wrong. Because did you ever read a story in the paper when you had personal knowledge of the facts of the case and the story was accurate? Not me.

Oct 25, 2012 at 12:09 PM | Unregistered CommenterRhoda Klapp

Friends of the Earth's head of campaigns, Andrew Pendleton, said: "This is a deeply worrying development – Peter Lilley was one of the few MPs to vote against the Climate Change Act. With a growing question mark over the government's commitment to a science-based approach to safeguarding the environment, this committee has a crucial role to play in holding ministers to account over their legally binding climate targets. One of Lilley's first tasks should be to meet with the foremost experts on climate change to familiarise himself with the latest science – Friends of the Earth would be more than happy to facilitate this."

Ha ha.

Oct 25, 2012 at 12:28 PM | Registered CommenterPharos

"the latest science" (FoE)

Has it changed recently, then? Or are they still talking about models, as the observations won't meet the criteria..?

Oct 25, 2012 at 12:55 PM | Registered Commenterjamesp

The Grauniad already has no less than three articles about Peter Lilley's appointment.

None of these articles are written by Leo Hickman, George Monbiot or John Vidal, so I suppose we can look forward to further pieces from these learned experts in the near future.

Oct 25, 2012 at 12:58 PM | Registered CommenterPaul Matthews

I stand corrected. Thanks.

Oct 25, 2012 at 1:11 PM | Unregistered CommenterMike Fowle

Peter Lilley gives his views on climate from 21-35 min on this youtube video.

Among other things, he explains why he voted against the climate change act, and says he would be part of the infamous "97%".

Oct 25, 2012 at 2:45 PM | Registered CommenterPaul Matthews

Rhoda Clapp, as you are coming on here spouting FoE propaganda may I suggest asking our host to save you a copy of his new book as I am sure you would like to read both sides of a debate being scientific? or is it just the usual bluster?

Oct 25, 2012 at 3:21 PM | Unregistered CommenterShevva


Did I miss something? The only thing Rhoda said was that she didn't feel that the lack of a degree disqualified her from making a contribution to the climate debate (or any other debate). Rhoda asked that people be judged on what they say and write and I totally agree.
Messrs Mann, Jones, Hansen and Schmidt all have letters after their names...........
What has this to do with FoE?

Oct 25, 2012 at 4:02 PM | Registered CommenterDung

Shevva, I'm sure you haven't noticed my stuff before. I've read the book, too. But from the Oxford library, I'm afraid, the Bish must make do with the PLR payment.

Oct 25, 2012 at 4:29 PM | Unregistered CommenterRhoda Klapp

A stalwart of the Thatcher government, Lilly is also vice-chairman of Tethy's Petroleum Ltd, prompting some to suggest that his place on the committee is a conflict of interest.

Now that would be interesting

Oct 25, 2012 at 9:19 PM | Registered CommenterLord Beaverbrook

sHx would like to second rhoda's comment at (10:49 AM, October 25) with a special plea to rhoda that she no longer refers to herself in third person a la a certain infuriating rabbit also known as Rabbett in the climate blogosphere. :-)

I would also like to add that the science and engineering types are generally obsessed with authority and qualifications even as they preach 'nullius in verba'. That contradiction ought to be obvious to everyone with reasonable mind, yet the science and engineering types keep doing it everywhere from here to Royal Society.

Oct 26, 2012 at 6:29 AM | Unregistered CommentersHx

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