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« Why science is not enough | Main | White wrong »

The madness of Lord Deben

Lord Deben was on the Today programme promoting the Committee on Climate Change's 2015 progress report, which I shall read at my leisure. However Lord D's performance was amazing: he sounds more and more like Paul Ehrlich every day. No doubt the writing in capital letters will follow in due course.

This was completely swivel-eyed stuff, a full-on regurgitation of every bit of environmentalist disinformation that he could conjure up in three minutes with barely a pause for breath. For example, we had a bogeyman tale about Bangladesh facing doom, although Lord D was rather vague about what precisely it was that was going to be causing this crisis:

Bangladesh will be practically be unable to be lived in if we do not halt the march of climate change and we'll have 170 million displaced people wandering around the world looking for somewhere to live.

One assumes he means the old sea level rise canard, about which the academic literature says something very different:

There is a widespread misconception that a rising sea-level with global warming will overwhelm Bangladesh’s coastal area contour by contour and will thereby displace as many as 10–30 million people in the 21st century.

Brammer H.    Bangladesh’s dynamic coastal regions and sea-level rise. Climate Risk Management 2014; 1: 51-62

We had a fairy story about drought and floods in the UK, despite the fact that every reputable scientists says it's almost impossible to predict rainfall at a regional level and particularly for the UK.

And then there was the inevitable bonkers conspiracy theory about big oil-funded opposition to his madness.

This was, in its way, an extraordinary performance and you have to wonder whether the great man is losing his grip on reality. What do you think?

The audio is below.

Deben Today

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Reader Comments (60)

I thought he was bang on about anyone ignoring the risks being a very bad father.

You guys are going to have some very angry kids.

Jun 30, 2015 at 9:59 AM | Unregistered CommenterGubulgaria

@Gubulgaria: Good old fashioned scare stories are best. I have fortunately schooled my offsrping to challenge each & every "claim" about doom & gloom, & the moment somebody moans, drones, whines, & whinges, about the "facts", I have trained them to seek out the fictions, before drawing any firm conclusions! So hopefully, I won't be considered a "very bad" father! If you, sir, are going to have some very angry "kids", (small young goats), then that is your issue, not mine!

Jun 30, 2015 at 10:15 AM | Unregistered CommenterAlan the Brit

Dodgy burger.

Jun 30, 2015 at 10:15 AM | Registered CommenterPharos

"is losing his grip"

Only now? He lost it a long time ago, as poor Cordelia could testify.

Jun 30, 2015 at 10:16 AM | Registered Commenterjamesp

" It's like the BBC can't even be bothered now. Just let the bullshit flow." : said a tweeter
Another Tweeter : "Repeated the catechism with ever-greater hysteria each time."

......We have Lord Deben on to "talk about CLIMATE CHANGE"
= sell RENEWABLE ENERGY gimmicks from him and his pals

Deben to Humphreys 'fossil industry spends billions getting people like you to say things like that.'
Lord Deben : "the science on #climate change is stronger than that on smoking and health. No critic is taken seriously any more"
... Tweeter : “This is what the facts are”, says scaremongering Deben.
Except the ones he chooses to ignore, obviously. ..(shows graph of FAILED models vs Reality ...Pity on radio you can't just hold it up.)
- Direct link to audio stream Deben was on at 8.41am ..He was last last on March 27th

..Please don't be drawn off topic by @Gub ..I'll just say : What kind of father stuffs a burger into his toddlers mouth just for a TV PR stunt to show how safe it is from mad cow disease ?... photos

Jun 30, 2015 at 10:17 AM | Registered Commenterstewgreen


+1 (and the 'kids')

Jun 30, 2015 at 10:18 AM | Registered Commenterjamesp

I came in about half way through the 'interview', and I listened with increasing incredulity to Deben's lies, half-lies and delusions. Even by Deben's standards this was breathtaking, and left me, well.... gobsmacked seems the best word. I'm afraid I was raging at the end, both because of Deben and because R4 did not provide a proper expert (?Ridley) to counter his lies. Humphrey's was out of his depth.

Jun 30, 2015 at 10:19 AM | Unregistered CommenterMartinW

Did you say that for a bet Gubulgaria?

My son thinks opposing carbon fuel is madness. He certainly has no plans that don't involve using it.

Jun 30, 2015 at 10:20 AM | Unregistered Commenterfenbeagle

Gubulgaria on Jun 30, 2015 at 9:59 AM

"I thought he was bang on about anyone ignoring the risks being a very bad father."

You mean, like feeding your children 'mad cow disease burgers':

John Gummer: Beef eater

Go on! Go mad, and buy some British Beef.

Jun 30, 2015 at 10:21 AM | Registered CommenterRobert Christopher

There's a transcript of it here:

John Humphrys: And your critics will say: everything you've just said, pretty much, is based on computer modelling, and computer modelling is often wrong.

Lord Deben: No critic is taken seriously any longer. The science is not based on computer modelling - it's based upon a whole range of intricate, very careful measuring of the situation, over 30 years, and we know that what we say is absolutely true. The only people who oppose it are people who have a very vested interest from the fossil fuel industry, who are spending billions of pounds, trying to get people like you to say that, in order to confuse people. The science is now stronger than the connection between smoking and health, so if you want to take the risk, you can smoke as much as you like but that would be your health - if you take the risk with the climate, it's everyone else's health.

John Humphrys: And of course you may be absolutely right about all of that - the problem is when you use the sort of language that you've just used, people will say "He makes it sound more like a religion than a science. You're not allowed not to believe".

Lord Deben: Well, I'm not saying that you're not allowed not to believe - what you're not allowed to do is to believe that there's no risk. You don't need to believe in climate change - what you have to say is: as every learned society in the world warns you of the risk, you'd be a very bad father of a family that said "I know best". If even the Pope comes out and says "This is a serious risk", you wouldn't be a very sensible person to say "I know better than everyone else". Even if you were right, you would have to take into account this very serious risk. It's not a religion, it's a fact of saying: this is what the science says, these are what the facts are, you can ignore them but if you do so, you take a very large risk, one which most people wouldn't want to take.

Jun 30, 2015 at 10:24 AM | Unregistered CommenterAlex Cull

As Lord Deben spoke this is all I could hear.

Jun 30, 2015 at 10:28 AM | Unregistered Commenterson of mulder

Mad he might be, but his madness is highly profitable!

Jun 30, 2015 at 10:32 AM | Unregistered CommenterPeter Stroud

ooh, I'm a bad father now.
my list of failings grows and grows.

Jun 30, 2015 at 10:33 AM | Unregistered CommenterEternalOptimist

His ignorance is appalling. His irresponsibility is unforgivable.

Jun 30, 2015 at 10:38 AM | Registered CommenterJohn Shade

I don't think most people's children in the UK will be happy about the likes of Deben dismantling their civilisation, and putting them into massive debt in order to pay out subsidies for unreliables to achieve virtually no overall reduction in CO2. Moreover depriving poor people elsewhere of cheap energy, as Deben connives in, based on predictions which have never been accurate, will ensure we are flooded with their children as economic migrants - something that is already happening.

Jun 30, 2015 at 10:39 AM | Unregistered CommenterBudgie

What did happen to that terribly frightening bug that was going to eat us all alive back in the 90s? I recall somebody in the office with a newspaper with all the "facts" across the front page! They had far more better scares than this AGW lark back then! I am convinced they have got some scarier stories in store to keep the fear mongering going whilst AGW dwindles!

Jun 30, 2015 at 10:40 AM | Unregistered CommenterAlan the Brit

Lord Deben used to be my MP. He always struck me as an ineffectual figure with an inferiority complex. Perhaps this is his way of compensating.

Jun 30, 2015 at 10:51 AM | Unregistered Commentermike fowle

Bangladesh will be practically be unable to be lived in if we do not halt the march of climate change and we'll have 170 million displaced people wandering around the world looking for somewhere to live.

Having failed to scare the British people with threats of warmer summers or less frost, he now jumps on another political bandwagon by pumping up fears of inundation from millions of muslim migrants. Political opportunism at its most flagrant.

Jun 30, 2015 at 10:54 AM | Unregistered CommenterBloke down the pub

Put him on every program. The more people hear the whiney little shrimp the more people will realise it is a scam to make him and his cohorts rich. I don't think that quoting the pope is going to help his cause in the UK. The BBC needs to up its game and get some more believable people on. Perhaps they could get Putin to give his opinion?

Jun 30, 2015 at 10:55 AM | Unregistered CommenterIvor Ward

Non Sequiturs is his hallmark as he makes a series of wild claims ..Such that if a child checks through the transcript they'll see Deben is raving.

Jun 30, 2015 at 10:56 AM | Registered Commenterstewgreen

You would have to be a bad father to think you know best. Or better than him?

♪Trust and Obey for there's no other way to be Grabby of Sleazes.
Than to Trust and Obey.♫

He does sound a bit culty, doesn't he?

Jun 30, 2015 at 11:02 AM | Unregistered CommenterMCourtney

It is difficult to tell if these are real rantings of a mad man or just a facade.

After all if you go to Roswell and give a talk about aliens you will have a full house with gold in you pocket. However, if you give one saying that there are so such things and that area 51 is just a military base, no one will turn up!

Alarmism sells and you can get very rich quickly.Look at all the people in both Houses of Parliament earning a lot from renewables!

Jun 30, 2015 at 11:12 AM | Unregistered Commentercharmingquark

I thought we had finally got rid of him at the last election, but he managed to stay at the trough and his nose is stuffed well inside.

Jun 30, 2015 at 11:29 AM | Unregistered CommenterBreath of Fresh Air

I think Humphrys was on the money with his religious quip. As religious belief has dwindled there are parts of the population that have replaced fear of damnation to a new fear of the 'Revelations' catastrophe of AGW.

Jun 30, 2015 at 11:29 AM | Unregistered Commentersrga

What Deben knows about science could be written in large font on the back of a second class stamp.

Jun 30, 2015 at 11:42 AM | Registered CommenterPhillip Bratby

His stunt with the burger may have seemed foolhardy, but it remains to this day that there was no science basis for saying that BSE was a threat to humans. Lots of computer modelling, bit like AGW really.

Jun 30, 2015 at 11:56 AM | Registered Commenterdennisa

Umm ... I thought the Beeb weren't allowed to have people talking about topics in which they hold no qualifications and that would limit Gummer to history and Westwood to frocks

Jun 30, 2015 at 12:00 PM | Unregistered CommenterVictoria Sponge

I'm always puzzled about the way 'The Science' is talked about in a reverential tone that no one can be allowed to argue about, when it is discussing 'Climate Science'. However when we have the science saying that nuclear power, GMOs fracking etc are perfectly safe, it is open season for any scientifically illiterate 'activist' to make ill informed arguments against it.

Jun 30, 2015 at 12:01 PM | Unregistered CommenterKevin

I couldn't listen - did he blame tonight's Leap Second (at midnight) on climate change?

Jun 30, 2015 at 12:03 PM | Unregistered CommenterIan E

I heard it.

Absolutely barking.

I reckon that burger did for him. He sounds like a complete loon.

Jun 30, 2015 at 12:05 PM | Unregistered CommenterRB

As a fully signed up marketing man Debs is doing a great job for his side. If enough people keep on telling the same lie then it will be believed, in addition it would be true to say "panic and the world panics with you" ^.^

Jun 30, 2015 at 12:07 PM | Registered CommenterDung

As a friend of mine would put it

1. One who is actively involved or skilled in politics, especially one who holds a political office.
2. One who deceives or out-manœuvers others for personal gain.

Jun 30, 2015 at 12:20 PM | Registered CommenterPhillip Bratby

I got the impression John Humphreys realised fairly quickly that Deben was spouting nonsense so gave up on any semblance of an interview. Deben did a great job of making the climate change argument seem ridiculous by rabbiting on about Bangladesh becoming uninhabitable.

Jun 30, 2015 at 12:21 PM | Unregistered Commenterhebe

I normally turn the radio off before he opens his mouth. This morning I listened to him all the way through and thoroughly enjoyed every minute of it. He was brilliant!

It should be compulsory listening for everyone and he should have a radio slot every morning.

That would shut down the entire climate change industry in a matter of weeks. The deluge of propaganda does more to discredit climate science than serious reasoned argument.

It is also interesting that the biased BBC's blatant presentation of one side of the argument is hardly worth mentioning these days. We have come to expect it as BBC policy.

Jun 30, 2015 at 12:30 PM | Unregistered CommenterSchrodinger's Cat

Those nameless fossil fuel industry people must have spent an awful lot of billions to get Humphrys to tell Deben that his predictions are based on models. Is Humphrys saying anything?

Jun 30, 2015 at 12:36 PM | Unregistered Commenterrotationalfinestructure

It was interesting to see the response to the accusation that 'Climate Change is like a religion'.

Because Debden used the argument:

"Believe or not as you wish. If you do, you are all right. But if you don't, you run a huge risk... "

This is almost precisely the argument that Pascal used to justify belief in a (Christian) God. It is well known by theologians and philosophers, and is called 'Pascal's Wager'. See's_Wager

So, in response to the accusation that Climate Change is not science but religion, Debden used a theological argument to claim that belief in Climate Change is sensible. Game, Set and Match, I would imagine...

Jun 30, 2015 at 12:39 PM | Unregistered CommenterDodgy Geezer

'Climate Change is like a religion'.

I would say Climate change is a religion. I am no theologian, but the foundation of all religions is the belief in a supernatural being. The only difference with climate change is that it is founded on the belief in a supernatural molecule. ;)

Jun 30, 2015 at 1:00 PM | Registered Commenterlapogus

Debden - every one knows you never go full retard - even if you're a Greenie.


Jun 30, 2015 at 1:02 PM | Unregistered CommenterPointman

The bloke protesteth far too much. Almost complete nonsense from start to finish with his Bangladesh claims being especially top notch hand-wringing gibberish. ('170 million refugees'!!) John Humphries didn't challenge him enough though, imo. Was just another BBC-provided free hit for the green blob.

Jun 30, 2015 at 1:10 PM | Unregistered Commentercheshirered

If this is a real quote from the audio (I can't listen to it I am supposed to be working)

"Deben to Humphreys 'fossil industry spends billions getting people like you to say things like that.'"

I'm surprised John Humphreys didn't take his head off...

Jun 30, 2015 at 1:15 PM | Unregistered CommenterClovis Marcus

"It's going to be bad, very bad , but there is a solution more mugsidies for our biz mates." that's what wealthy businessmen like Lord Deben and Lord Krebs seem to be saying today.
- What would a good interview have been like ?
" I know that your report says that Climate Change is the biggest threat ever ..but let me stop you in your list of forthcoming catastrophes ..and ask you : Isn't your report about getting SUBSIDIES increased ?

... cos as we see the current subsidies are capped to max at £7.6 billion on consumer bills in 2020/2021. ..BUT you say investors need certainty and are talking about need to rise to £9 billion a year in 2025 before falling.
Then in addition you call for more incentives for Greening : 'EXTENDING FUNDING for the Renewable Heat Incentive, Levy Control Framework and support for renewables, carbon capture and storage (CCS) and nuclear energy.
'continued subsidies for ultra low emissions vehicles, such as the plug-in car grant"
'echarging points and hydrogen refuelling stations.'
'development of heat networks and CCS.'
That's great for those that have business in those area, but the man on the street is going to have to pay for it all ..isn't he ?
..And it will make NEGLIGIBLE difference to world CO2 . won't it ?"

Jun 30, 2015 at 1:24 PM | Registered Commenterstewgreen

Now I've stopped regular listening of the Today program it just sounds like a propaganda channel pretending to be impartial.

I expect it was pretty much the same when people listened to Lord haw haw.

Addendum ... reading the comments it sounds as if it was less that completely biased. That's not enough for me to want to listen, but it's better than being completely biased.

Jun 30, 2015 at 1:27 PM | Registered CommenterMikeHaseler

The conspicuous consumption of mad cow burgers in the past does much to explain the present rhetoric of the climate wars.

I wonder what will be on the Vatican menu tomorrow?

Jun 30, 2015 at 1:29 PM | Unregistered CommenterRussell

Good point +1 ................Jun 30, 2015 at 12:39 PM | @Dodgy Geezer

Jun 30, 2015 at 1:44 PM | Registered Commenterstewgreen

"I thought he was bang on about anyone ignoring the risks being a very bad father.

You guys are going to have some very angry kids.

Jun 30, 2015 at 9:59 AM | Unregistered CommenterGubulgaria"

"The conspicuous consumption of mad cow burgers in the past does much to explain the present rhetoric of the climate wars.

I wonder what will be on the Vatican menu tomorrow?

Jun 30, 2015 at 1:29 PM | Unregistered CommenterRussell "

What a very bizarre claim

Over the last twenty years, my children have grown up. Thanks to the religious fanaticism required by the green goons, my adult children have learned to ask questions; especially why, what and when.

The classic questions every reporter and interviewer should ask when hearing 'new' or 'old' claims. Discerning the motive behind the jet setting greens ultra modern greens and CAGWrs frames their shrill cries as the lies they are.

Pay attention to the good Bishop's notes about Deben repeating old long ago falsified disaster predictions. No matter how many times the lie is repeated, does not make it true. Also note that when CAGW disciple's frantically repeat their claims, every refrain sounds more like a cult's religious chant for the mindless.

Jun 30, 2015 at 2:59 PM | Unregistered CommenterATheoK

Speaking of madness on TV, I happened to catch a promo on BBC America last night about a program on tonight featuring Obama and Attenborough discussing climate change. Unfortunately I shall either be watching cartoons or sleeping when it is scheduled so I will miss all the hard science based discussion between these two great minds.

Jun 30, 2015 at 3:16 PM | Unregistered CommenterPhil Howerton

Failed MP's, punted into the Lord's, rely on a loss of mental faculties to avoid being held to account for previous misdeeds.

Deben's grasp of money, seems stronger than ever, so is his insanity carefully contrived, or is he acting, on legal advice?

Jun 30, 2015 at 3:54 PM | Unregistered Commentergolf charlie

What do you think?

I think Deben is a slime monster that knows exactly what he is doing, sending messages of 'loyalty' out to those whose pockets he is hopping to pick .
That such a old school Tory has become a 'hero' to the greens merely shows that nothing washes whiter than 'green wash ' perhaps no eco friendly but certainly pocket friendly .

Jun 30, 2015 at 4:43 PM | Unregistered Commenterknr

It pains me to say it but I think Hebe above is close to the answer.

Jun 30, 2015 at 6:21 PM | Unregistered CommenterJones

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