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Saturday, December 5, 2009

MP John Redwood: Why are there so many climate change sceptics?

"The government has started its counter atack, after the East Anglian emails. We are now told that the risks are simply too great that the earth is warming up, so something has to be done. This has replaced the previous sound bite that the 'science is settled'. Even the BBC now accepts that not all scientists agree.

"This crude use of language and failure to engage with the underlying issues and doubts partly explains the scepticism in the polling. It is like the advocates of Euro federalism. Instead of telling us why it is good for us in detail and dealing with all the counter arguments, they simply repeat endlessly that 3 million UK jobs depend on exports to the EU, as if these jobs would be lost without federalism. They ignore the other 25 million jobs that do not depend on such trade as if they did not not matter or are unaffected by overly intrusive and expensive European government. The more the federalists have made their case in the UK, the more Eurosceptic the public has become. There is a lot of overlap between Euroscepticism and climate change scepticism. Some climate change sceptics see warming theory as another excuse by the EU to extend its power of regulation and to encourage higher taxation.

"The main reason many people are climate sceptics is they do not like the remedies the warmists recommend. They see the theory as a way of increasing a whole range of taxes on them, and increasing regulation which is a kind of back door taxation.

"The warmists and their Ministers need to set out in detail their case to the public. They need to show that

"1. The world is warming. Some temperature series show no warming in the last decade, and a cooler period after the war until the 1970s.
2. That warming comes from rising C02 levels
3. That past periods of warming prior to industrialisation in both historical and geological time were caused by processes and events that do not apply today
4. That the man made element of increasing CO2 is the bit that matters and will cause unacceptable warming
5. That it makes more sense to try to stop the CO2 increases and the warming, than to invest in ways of handling the adverse consequences
6. That taxing and regulating is a better way to change human behaviour than incentives and technology

"I have been asked by several to set out my view. Some ask me that no doubt because they wish to play silly political games in the press by misrepresenting my view by crudely labelling me as a climate change denier as part of their attempt to divide and rule. I have set out my views on several occasions. We should concentrate on tackling any adverse consequences of climate change, as it is not in the UK’s power to solve the global problem. I have long been an advocate of more reservoir capacity for water in the UK, to meet the demands of the rising population. I have wanted better flood defences. We need these things now.

"The UK should parrticipate in international conferences on the environment as a voice of reason. It is a very good idea to lower our dependence on fossil fuels, to recycle where sensible, to improve fuel efficiency, and to clean up our air and water. It would be helpful if the scientists who do believe warming theory could set out proper temperature series for the public to see with the underlying data, and could produce a climate model which did predict future patterns of temperature. The long run climate data could then be analysed with explanations for past variations. Then maybe more people would be persuaded that the 'science is settled' and 'the risks are great.'"

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