Saturday, December 05, 2009

Clutching at straws

It is tempting to see all this [Climategate, etc] as a rise in sceptical thinking as the world contemplates the economic consequences of massive cuts in its carbon emissions, says James Randerson in tomorrow's Observer.

But that is too simplistic, says Bob Ward, communications and policy director at the Grantham Research Institute at the London School of Economics, which is headed by Lord Stern. "I don't think there's been a rise in scepticism," he says. "All that's happening is that the sceptics are now down to a small enough group that they are able to band together and gloss over their differences."

So you get a "spin doctor" working for an arch-warmist to pronounce on whether "climate scepticism" is increasing. And he says "no". Well, there's a surprise!

Then we get Dr Adam Corner, "an expert in the psychology of climate change at Cardiff University." He tells us that the climate sceptic arguments are very attractive to the person on the street. "[The sceptics] offer an escape route from the conclusion that things are going to have to change," he says.

An idea that challenges government intervention into how we eat, how we travel and where we go on holiday is bound to find fertile ground. "There's a challenge for the environmental movement to not present [climate change arguments] in that way," he adds.

They really are clutching at straws.