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Discussion > We're Losing

Will Hutton in today’s Observer:

Compared with what is happening in some drug and cancer research, climate change science is remarkably honest, reproducible and subject to open criticism: the IPCC insists on the best methodology. But for climate change sceptics such as Andrew Montford, Bjørn Lomborg or Nigel Lawson's influential Global Warming Policy Foundation, this is an inconvenient truth.
This is just one of three insane articles in this paper on the forthcoming IPCC report (the others are by Nicholas Stern and Science Editor Robin McKie). There’s no science, no rational argument - simply an obsession with crushing scepticism. The BBC is guilty of giving too much space to scepticism. Sceptics are guilty of risking ther lives of our grandchildren. Those who dare doubt the word of the IPCC must be eliminated from the debate.
I know our host and most of the readers here believe the views of the near-bankrupt centre-left media are of little importance beside the science. But that’s not how the real world works. Most MPs read the Mail to find out what their constituents are thinking, and the Guardian and Observer because they think the likes of Hutton, Stern and McKie know what they’re talking about. Nothing that’s happened since the last IPCC report has changed that.

Sep 21, 2013 at 10:35 PM | Registered Commentergeoffchambers

Do you think the majority people still believe the very worst predictions?

My feeling is that there has been so much "x is good for you" one week followed by "x is bad for you" the next week that 97% of predictions are falling into the category of "experts say" so we'll ignore it until one we like comes out. Exceptions seem to be "5 a day is good for you" (apart from fruit acid destroying your teeth), fast food is bad for you, and smoking kills you.

There are a large number of people who are convinced that we're all doomed by climate change/disruption but don't appear to have changed their lifestyle to any great extent.

Most people I talk to haven't heard of Stern or Malthus, so perhaps I move in the wrong circles, the few that have don't seem that convinced.

Sep 22, 2013 at 7:54 AM | Unregistered CommenterSandyS


Well, I'm just waiting for the offer: "The climate you want - at a price that you can afford".

Sep 22, 2013 at 8:59 AM | Unregistered CommenterAlan Reed

Sceptics can’t win because the official version of what sceptics believe will change to the point where if the planet was to slip into an ice age we would be credited with being the ones claiming there was no such thing as climate change and leaving the public woefully unprepared. Too many powerful people signed up to CAGW for the system to ever admit it was wrong, so they'll just rewrite history instead.

Equally the other side can’t win because as SandyS points out nobody is actually doing much to cut CO2. Presumably the excuse will be that the siren song of sceptics led them astray. Unfortunately the money will keep gushing into stupid schemes until those worried about our finances get more forceful than those with misguided philanthropy in their hearts.

What will win will be the climate. It will do what it does and have a far bigger effect on public opinion than anything we say. Another cold winter (without a shortage of ice to blame) will be very hard for warmists to justify.

Sep 22, 2013 at 9:22 AM | Unregistered CommenterTinyCO2

Energy policy in the EU will save us - Geoff..

particularly German industry will/is starting to rebel against electricity costs.

Ref - Lew, I will be submitting a comment to Psychological Science. plus Lew has now told me he will not supply me his data (the survey url he lost) . I had to het Bristol's press officer to force a response out of him. Lew has passed the buck to UWA. I will be asking UWA for his data next week.

Sep 22, 2013 at 12:16 PM | Unregistered CommenterBarry Woods

Geoff, I'm not sure we're losing, we're a long way from victory I'm sure, and when it does come it will be a bit of a damp squib as people who support action on climate change quietly walk away and the environmentalist open up another front on the human race. There will be no Nuremberg type trials because the "losers" will still be the establishment. They may, of course be pissed off with the climate science spin community aka the Met Office, but heads won't roll, they will have brought misery to countless millions of people and they'll walk away scot free. But they will lose.

I suspect they'll move the goal posts to something like the average height of humans being taller because of global warming, there is a correlation after all, and that untold disasters will unfold as we outgrow our houses and can't ride horses because our legs are too long.

I believe that for some people there is a seventh need in Maslow's hierarchy - the need for an upcoming catastrophe to give them the opportunity to control other human beings lives.

Barry's right about the energy policy, that will do it, I read this morning that they're not decommissioning the coal fired stations, they're mothballing them, clearly because they can now see the reality of their energy policies causing blackouts and fuel poverty.

Sep 22, 2013 at 12:34 PM | Unregistered Commentergeronimo

If we are fortunate — and it will be our children/grandchildren who will need to take up the baton — people will realise that the environmentalists have finally over-reached themselves.
You are right to say that they will "open up another front" against the human race and if only enough people cotton on to what that is in time it might just be possible to kill it off before it reaches the dangerous state that the global warming battle has.
I suggested some time ago that the next big idea would be biodiversity and I quickly realised that, whatever the actual battle front, the meme was going to be sustainability. Like every environmental buzzword it needs to be challenged at every opportunity. Dodgy Geezer has just posted on the AR5 Leake thread that the one thing the environmentalists do not want you to do is give any serious thought to 'sustainable' or 'renewable' or 'green'. As he says, these are 'good' words and therefore are to be accepted and not thought about.
It's the 'not thinking' over the last 20+ years that has allowed the environmentalists free rein.You and Geoff and a few others have been doing the thinking but have you noticed the influx onto this site in recent weeks and months as probably hundreds of others, some of them evidently serious scientists, have also started to think.
I keep being reminded of a friend of mine standing at the bar of our rugby club on the day of Princess Diana's funeral who suddenly said, very tentatively, "am I the only one who thinks this is all a bit OTT?" The collective sigh of relief nearly blew the windows out! It just needs one brave boy to point out the emperor's nakedness except that this time there are too many organisations who know the emperor is naked and always have but are going to make a good living out of pretending he isn't for as long as they can. And they still control most of the purse strings and the airwaves.
Mother Nature will probably win this war but there is an outside chance that we could indeed reach a tipping point before a critical mass of people in Europe and the US realise they have been taken for a very expensive ride aboard a train that is not heading for where they were led to believe it was.
As for the culprits being allowed to walk away, I don't really care. As long as we stop killing our old people through fuel poverty or beggaring our economies to satisfy the illusions of politicians and eco-nutcases I shall die happy.

Sep 22, 2013 at 4:30 PM | Registered CommenterMike Jackson

Barry Woods
I was watching a news channel earlier not sure which one, I hadn't realised just how much Germany contributes to EU output and exports. I think you're right in what you say.

Sep 22, 2013 at 6:24 PM | Unregistered CommenterSandyS

The sceptics will win, but only by default, as the country collapses into that of the third world, and we have to resort to a hand-to-mouth subsistence. The only positive thing is that many immigrants may decide that, in this ever-giving land, the milk has soured and the honey crystallised; let’s admit it, the climate of this country is not conducive to the level of technology that the Greens want to drive us into – why do you think the British wanted to move out when we did live at that level?

Sep 22, 2013 at 10:50 PM | Unregistered CommenterRadical Rodent

I don't think there is any doubt that the greenie movement will morph into issues around "sustainability", which handily covers just about every aspect of human activity. Even private, bottom-related things like sex and going to the toilet are captured by this useful meme. They are already regulating the kind of dunnies we can have and continue to blather on about overpopulation.

There is no doubt that the tide has turned on climate hysteria, as evidenced by elections in Canada, Australia and Norway in recent times. The winners had to pay lip service, but only to the minimum extent required to get elected. Neither their hearts (such as they are) nor, importantly, their budgets, are in it.

As I said at Pointman's, the climate dragon may be in its dying throes, but the root cause is alive and kicking, and will rise again.

Sep 22, 2013 at 11:25 PM | Registered Commenterjohanna

I don't agree Jo. I think like a cornered rat, all the viciousness is a death throe. They know the game is up, and they know who has beaten them, and all the bile and empty rhetoric is them lashing out as their ship goes down. I'm not saying they have been neutralised, the cornered rat turns and bites back precisely because it has nothing to lose, and this can sometimes save its bacon. We still need to keep the pressure up on them.

Sometimes we paint this as an "us and them" fight, but what it really is a smallish group of activists who are dependent on a much larger group of neutrals to give them a platform. They have to continually convince this platform that their message is what "most people" think, because that platform is an axis of the media and politics, both of whom are complete popularist whores. This explains why people like Lew and Cook spend so much time asserting the false consensus. Science doesn't need it, but the neutrals will stop supporting them if they don't see popular appeal.

This is why it is so important for them to destroy the credibility of their opponents. It's a battle to win the hearts and minds of a mostly stupid, fay and flibbertigibbet media and political class.

The reason we are winning a little ground is that the media and politicos are starting to see that perhaps "most people" don't agree. The reaction of the activists? A renewed attempt both to show how EVEN MORE scary things are, and at the same time how EVEN MORE people support it. It's not supposed to scare us - man in the street - it's meant to scare the Fleet street and Whitehall frappuccino brigade into thinking they might be unpopular if they don't go along with it.

Sep 23, 2013 at 8:37 AM | Unregistered CommenterTheBigYinJames

agrees with BigYinJames. The real reason that Cameron promised "the greenest government ever" was to try to win some part of the unthinkingly "environmental" Green vote. The stuff about fuel bills inexorably rising as we switch to more expensive ways of generating electricity haas him worried. It is not really an argument about science because there is very little of science on show. It is all about policy actions and trying to win votes.

Sep 23, 2013 at 5:41 PM | Unregistered Commenterdiogenes

I keep being reminded of a friend of mine standing at the bar of our rugby club on the day of Princess Diana's funeral who suddenly said, very tentatively, "am I the only one who thinks this is all a bit OTT?" The collective sigh of relief nearly blew the windows out!
Sep 22, 2013 at 4:30 PM | Registered CommenterMike Jackson

Mike Jackson, I was living in the US at the time and, from that distance, thought the same thing.
While at a friends wedding, I saw a BBC TV report of the RAF plane bringing the deceased back to the UK. The BBC reporter described the plane as landing "under leaden skies". I looked at the TV. The sky was blue, with a few white cumulus clouds.

Sep 23, 2013 at 5:46 PM | Unregistered Commentermichael hart

meanwhile, the tide of alarmist propaganda at the BBC is relentless - the top news stories on the website currently:

Top Stories

Smoke rising from Westgate Mall (23 Sept. 2013) (screen grab)Kenya forces storm Westgate centre
Kenya stand-off: Latest updates Live
Labour questions future of HS2
Human role in warming 'more certain'
Harris in court over assault charges

and Harrabin's article uses the Marcott diagram to underline the point - a diagram that ought to have been retracted by now!

Sep 23, 2013 at 5:53 PM | Unregistered Commenterdiogenes

I don't think we're losing. A lot of the money that's been wasted is gone, but there is always a time-lag with spending projects. I wouldn't be at all surprised if a draw-back was already in motion, in anticipation of a change in sentiment following the next IPCC report.
Governments will be looking for a way out of the CO2 targets that they've got themselves into. They probably are already, but are keeping it quiet.

One thing in the imminent IPCC report that I cant wait to see, is their estimate of the ODDS that manmade CO2 is the cause of the warming. It used to be about 90 percent certainty claimed. I've heard a rumour that they are going to increase it to 95 percent.
How they can try to justify that is a real mystery, in the face of the increase in CO2 levels over the last sixteen years, against the lack of warming.
Be prepared for some pretty vague wording.

Sep 23, 2013 at 8:10 PM | Registered Commentermistermack


I do not think we are losing and I also do not think it will be a bad thing if they give up climate change and go for sustainability. There is far less unknown science needed to debunk sustainability ^.^

Sep 23, 2013 at 8:29 PM | Registered CommenterDung

Lots of nice comments, with no clear conclusions. There’s been a lot of interesting comments also on the threads about Andrew’s radio and TV interviews.
Probably I should have delayed raising this subject until after the reactions to IPCC AR5, but the Observer’s triple-barrelled attack on reason was too much. Even if the Guardian and Observer disappear tomorrow, the social nexus that keeps this madness alive will be with us for a while yet.
The fact that Montford has been interviewed three times already on the BBC is an immensely encouraging sign that our society’s self-correcting systems are still functioning. This wasn’t obvious even a few months ago.
Of course, three Montford interviews are not going to change the direction of history. What’s significant is that there are signs that there are people at the BBC who are prepared to go against the consensus and do what journalists are supposed to do, which is challenge the conventional view.
With all due respect to the highly qualified scientists and engineers who read this blog, the week in which the IPCC AR5 Summary for Policy makers is published is a moment in which Media Studies come into their own. Let’s pay the closest attention to the media commentary and hope that I’m wrong.

Sep 23, 2013 at 11:25 PM | Registered Commentergeoffchambers