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Climate Hysteria & Green Fanaticism

Andrew Montford, Bishop Hill

Environmentalists are a never-ending source of fascination for me. There is hardly a day that passes without them whipping themselves into a frenzy over something somebody said somewhere.


Take Owen Paterson’s unexceptionable observation that there will be upsides to any global warming as well as downsides, which has been greeted by industrial-scale hysterics from the usual suspects:

Professor Kevin Anderson, of Manchester University, told the Independent: “His view that we can muddle through climate change is a colonial, arrogant, rich person’s view.”

And Professor Myles Allen of Oxford University, one of the authors of the report, said: “I find it very worrying that this person is charged with adapting [Britain] to climate change. I do think it is a good idea for whoever is planning for adaptation to have a realistic understanding of what the science is saying.”

One can’t help but think that politicians’ understanding of the science might be helped if scientists, including Professor Allen, had tried to write a clear explanation of it rather than trying to obfuscate any difficulty that might distract from the message of doom.

However, that aside, we know from Tol’s review of the literature that the net effect of small amounts of global warming are expected to be positive (note that the temperatures given are above the present, rather than the more normal pre-industrial baseline). And as estimates of climate sensitivity fall, the timescales for reaching the scarier scenarios at higher temperatures stretch further into the future.

I can’t see how anyone can argue then that Paterson has not stated something that is unequivocally true. Saying true things seems, however, to be considered beyond the pale by Kevin Anderson, who apparently went on to describe Paterson as “immoral”.

To see a senior academic frothing at the mouth in this way is not, after all the years, much of a surprise. It is nevertheless a continuing source of wonder that anyone should take them seriously.

Bishop Hill, 1 October 2013