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By Chris Morrison
10th December 2019
Inexplicably missing from the well deserved broadcast eulogies for Clive James was the great sceptical writer’s view that in reporting climate science the BBC “has been behaving for several years as if its true aim were to reproduce the thought control that prevailed in the Soviet Union”.
During his lifetime such comments attracted the opprobrium of resident Guardian activist George Monbiot who called him a “sucker”. In 1999 Moonbat said that all the coral in the Indian Ocean was likely to die within a year. Of course it is still there, but it explains why James wrote that in asking for so many leaps of faith, the proponents of man-made climate catastrophe “were bound to run out of credibility in the end”.
James’s later work as a poet was rightly lauded – except for his elegant thoughts on climate change alarmists. Drawing attention to this work in the Daily Telegraph, Charles Moore was rewarded with a stroppy tweet from former Guardian editor Alan Rusbridger who objected to publication on the grounds of “denial about the seriousness of climate change”.
Clive James was unimpressed with the concept of “settled” science and forecasts of future Armageddon from climate models that over 30 years have always been wrong. His great work on climate science scepticism called “Mass death dies hard” was widely admired on social media but, needless to say, ignored by most mainstream press.
A fate shared by all inconvenient sceptical climate science views these days, however scholarly the source. The Canadian scientist Dr Patrick Moore helped found Greenpeace and spent 15 years campaigning in its early days. Now Dr Moore thinks Greenpeace is a “monster” having turned to extremism “to try to justify its continued existence”.
These days Greenpeace spends its time drumming up money and support to outlaw various human benefits including non-toxic plastic, fracked CO2-lite gas and famine-thwarting gm foods. Moore spent his years with Greenpeace concerned with genuine environmental issues such as atmospheric nuclear tests, whaling and seal clubbing. In his view Greenpeace turned “anti-science” when it started campaigning against chlorine – “imagine the sheer stupidity of campaigning against one of the elements in the periodic table”, he notes.
Last year Monbiot, along with numerous green activist academics and politicians, signed a letter to the Guardian stating that they would no longer “debate those who deny that human-caused climate change is real” and went on to urge broadcasters to move on, “as we are doing”. With the BBC and most of the msm, there is now a strict anti-science, anti-Voltairean code in place: “I disapprove of what you say, but I defend to the death my right not to have to listen to you say it”.
One person no longer tolerated is the former Guardian journalist Melanie Phillips. Working on the paper she came to the conclusion that the idea that climate science was settled was “a scam” and some of the most fundamental work of the UN’s IPCC was “simply fraudulent”. During her work, it might be noted, as the first editor of a Guardian environment supplement.
Moonwalkers seem a distinctly sceptical crowd. Both Buzz Aldrin and Harrison Schmitt signed a letter in 2012 stating the claims that man-made C02 is having a catastrophic effect on global climate “are not substantiated”. Harrison Schmitt was the only scientist who travelled to the moon and he continues to challenge climate hysteria by pointing to the geological record. So far as humans causing climate change, “there is no evidence”.
These views are of course increasingly annoying to the climate converted and the default defence is to attack the heretics by labelling them as “deniers”. Of course the insult is linked to holocaust denial, causing Clive James to point out the idiocy of comparing a known historical fact to a mere, somewhat uncertain, forecast of temperatures rising. The Canadian writer Mark Steyn satirises the whole denier/flat earth/conspiracy nonsense by noting: “Clearly this Buzz Aldrin kook is just some whackjob who believes the moon landings were filmed in Nevada”,
Another whackjob/denier is Renato Angelo Riccio, a former emeritus professor of physics and a former president of the Italian Society of Physics, who led a group of Italian scientists last summer in stating that human responsibility for climate change is “unjustifiably exaggerated and catastrophic predictions are not realistic”. In their scientific view, “natural variation explains a substantial part of global warming observed since 1850”. At the same time the noted Japanese oceanographer and meteorologist Dr Mototaka Nakamura described the reliably inaccurate climate models on which all future predictions of a climate fireball are based as “toys” and Mickey Mouse mockeries”.
Real scientists, people studying subjects like physics and chemistry, are rarely glimpsed in the world of tv studios, Channel 4 climate “emergency” debates and BBC “science” pages. Notably absent is William Happer, an emeritus physics professor from Princeton University, whose view that we need more C02 in the atmosphere would strike a rather discordant note. According to the professor, who has spent his professional life immersed in atmospheric physics, higher C02 levels would remove the “near famine” levels for plants that have prevailed for millions of years.
Happer is a retired academic and freed from the need to seek state funding for his work. Younger scientists need to take more care in voicing sceptical views. In the recent past Dr Susan Crockford and Professor Peter Ridd have lost university jobs. Dr Crockford lost her Canadian university post after querying polar bear extinction while Professor Ridd, late of James Cook university in Queensland, noted that sudden changes in water temperature caused by natural El Nino weather systems were responsible for most coral bleaching. After 40 years studying the Great Barrier Reef, he observed that tropical coral was largely immune to gentle global warming since it can, and does, live in waters between 24C and 32C.
And finally our tale of two Davids. David Attenborough, a BBC apparatchik to his fingertips, has taken to “End of the world is nigh” climate change as quick as a walrus jumping off a cliff chased by a pack of polar bears. But what became of David Bellamy, a once familiar presence on the BBC with his infectious programmes about habitat and wildlife? One day Bellamy, a botanist by trade, said that the preservation of habitat was far more important than the controversial hypothesis of man-made climate change.
Taxi for David B, never to be seen or heard again.
Follow Chris on Twitter @CMorrisonEsq