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CLIMATE CHANGE - Who are on the side of the Angels?

This is an edited version of a letter I wrote to Dr Benny Peiser, Director of the Global Warming Policy Foundation on 14 December 2021. The GWPF was founded in 2009 by Nigel Lawson as a think-tank with a focus on global warming policies.

I want to make a comment on what you so correctly describe as the “growing disparity” between climate research and the general alarmism displayed by the media and the public.

Essentially, I think we are missing an important point. And I say this without implying any kind of criticism of you or the Foundation of which I have been an admiring member, almost from the beginning.

The question I ask myself is: why are we losing the argument?

We address the science. One could make an endless list of scientists, economists and politicians - starting (so far as I am concerned) with Nigel Lawson over ten years ago - who have explained the facts, which are by no means alarming, and who have also demonstrated the flimsy nature of any evidence of impending catastrophe.

We also address the horrendous costs of the policies being proposed, pointing out the devastating economic consequences. And, to cap it all, no one suggests that anything we do in the United Kingdom can have any effect whatsoever on the global warming catastrophe that we are allegedly facing.

But still, the media, the general public and most politicians turn a deaf ear. It’s actually worse than that. Many people, particularly the young, castigate anyone who supports the non-alarmist case as immoral – as a “climate denier” with its deliberately abusive reference to deniers of the holocaust.

This leads me to my point. We fail to address the moral point loudly enough.

Our opponents perceive themselves to be positioned firmly on the moral high ground. It has become a quasi-religion – as was pointed out by Nigel Lawson in his book An Appeal to Reason: A Cool Look at Global Warming all those years ago. (“We have sinned”. “It’s all our fault”. “We must flagellate ourselves”. “No penance is too severe”. “No cost is too high”. “How can we be saved?”)

This moral issue can only be resisted on its own terms. The arguments against the alarmist position must challenge the morality. We must point out that the policies being proposed are by no means moral. Nigel Lawson correctly described them as wicked.

How can this be done? Two areas stand out: the impact on the less well-off; and the impact on developing countries.

On the first, it was Nigel Lawson, again, who described the policies for renewable energy in the shape of wind farms as being “the most blatant transfer of wealth from the poor to the rich” – “by heavily subsidising wealthy landlords to have wind farms on their land, so that the poor can be supplied with one of the most expensive forms of electricity known to man”. How is it that politicians, particularly those on the Left, don’t seize on this?

On the second, the impact on developing countries, we read that international agencies stopped financing coal-fired generating plants in deference to climate alarmist politics. How moral was this? Many millions of Africans die prematurely because they cook on wood and dung fires, unable to get access to the more efficient forms of energy enjoyed by us. Again, how is it that politicians and those who profess to be concerned about global poverty don’t challenge the climate change policies from this angle?

My reason for writing to you is that the GWPF is the leader in this field. It does sterling work in publicising the facts on the science and indeed the economic costs. But can it do more to focus the debate more on the moral issues? I wonder if any progress will be made if the public and the media continue to be able to deceive themselves about being on the side of the Angels.


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