If the argument isn’t going your way, close it down. This was ever the way of liberal-left. Criticize the European Socialist Superstate and you’re a “Little Englander”; object to wind farms spoiling your view and you’re a “NIMBY”; demand curbs on immigration and you’re “a racist”; desire better education for your kids and you’re “elitist”; question the current majority scientific view on AGW and you’re a “Denier” who deserves only to be scorned, vilified and preferably silenced.
We have seen plenty examples of that last kind of bullying in the Climategate scandal (Warmergate, as Mark Steyn has wittily christened it: damn! Wish I’d thought of that): scientists ganging up to shut scientists who disagree with them out of the peer-review process; scientists actually gloating over their opponents’ deaths.
There’s another particularly splendid example of this approach from the Times’s resident ex-(?)Commie and apparently fervent Warmist David Aaronovitch. Often these days, the genial Aaronovitch is pretty good at portraying himself as the voice of commonsense and sweet reasonableness. But just occasionally, the former student radical’s half-buried inner Stalin will out – and never more so than in this diatribe against Lord Lawson of Blaby’s new climate change think tank, The Global Warming Policy Foundation.
What Aaronovitch gets particularly worked up about is Lord Lawson’s suggestion that there is not a consensus on global warming:
Lord Lawson’s acceptance of the science turns out, on close scrutiny, to be considerably less than half-hearted. Thus he speaks of “the (present) majority scientific view”, hinting rather slyly at the near possibility of a future, entirely different scientific view. That is why he qualifies “the majority scientific view” with the bracketed “and it is far from a consensus”.
Aaronovitch finds this very wrong. We know he does a) because of the way he weights every sentence with a molasses-thick layer of baseball-bat-on-the-head sarcasm but also because b) he concludes that Lord Lawson is effectively just another evil mouthpiece for the great capitalist, AGW-Deniers’ conspiracy to go on driving 4 x 4s and destroy the world:
They somehow believe that the whole global warming schtick is an amazing confidence trick performed upon the peoples of the world by a group of scientists and socialists, and pursued by politicans keen to get their hands on green taxes (though for what nefarious purpose we do not know), and which has taken in almost all the governments of the world, from the US to China.
They suggest that they are open-minded, but their foundations and articles are designed to reassure the witless that their attachment to their Porsche Cayenne Turbos and their hatred of recycling are somehow acts of non-conformist courage. The Lawson argument is a masterpiece in disingenuousness. A Magic Flute of guile. A Mona Lisa of chutzpah. Don’t buy it.
Before we get too carried away, let’s remind ourselves what the Global Warming Policy Foundation says it stands for:
We are an all-party and non-party think-tank and a registered educational charity which, while open-minded on the contested science of global warming, is deeply concerned about the costs and other implications of many of the policies currently being advocated.
Through our website www.thegwpf.org and in other ways, we shall be subjecting both the claims of the damage that might be caused by any future warming, and the costs and consequences of alternative policies that might be put in place, to dispassionate analysis based on hard evidence and economic rigour. We are in no sense ‘anti-environmental’. There is a wide range of important environmental issues, which call for an equally wide range of policy responses. Our concern is solely with the possible effects of any future global warming and the policy responses that may evoke. But we are also aware of the curse of world poverty, and of the crucial importance of growth and economic development in the poorer countries of the world as the only serious means of alleviating it.
Doesn’t sound that nakedly evil to me. All that Lord Lawson and this new body are trying to do is sift the evidence on Climate Change and its effects in order to help inform rational decisions as to the best course of action. What possible objection could any open-minded person have to that?
Unfortunately on this issue, like so many on the liberal-left, Aaronovitch isn’t remotely open-minded at all. This thing why he speaks with such reverence of “the majority scientific view”, and with such unutterable disgust that this might be replaced by “an entirely different scientific view.”
Er, David, I know you’re generally quite a bright boy. But were you not aware that this is how science works? Science is never settled. If it were, it would never advance. So when you criticise Lord Lawson for his apparent belief that the majority scientific view may change on Climate Change, what you are in fact having a go at is science itself. (Shades of Lysenkoism, anyone? Well you’d know about that, wouldn’t you, Comrade Aaronovitch?)