Tory MEP hosts ‘climate sceptics’ conference


9:30 pm - November 18th 2009

by Sunny Hundal    


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The Conservative MEP Roger Helmer is leading the Tory charge on global warming denialism this week by hosting a ‘climate sceptics’ conference in Brussels.

It is titled: ‘Have Humans Changed the Climate?’

The Left Foot Forward blog, which highlighted the conference, adds:

The climate sceptics conference comes in the same week as the warnings from the UN’s Global Carbon Project study of a six-degree rise in the Earth’s temperature this century, which could lead to a climate not seen for 100 million years, extinctising almost all life and reducing humanity to a few struggling groups living near the poles

This statement will, no doubt, concern David Cameron who said in his conference speech, “The dangers of climate change are stark and very real. If we don’t act now, and act quickly, we could face disaster.”

But despite Conservative Party high-command attempts to signal that they understand the dangers of global warming, it seems most of the party is still rabidly sticking to the denialism line.

A recent survey of the top Tory blogs by Next Left found that all of them were global warming ‘sceptics’.

Another survey by Lay Scientist blog found similar levels of ignorance among (some) Tory, (most) UKIP and (all) BNP MEPs.

Roger Helmer previously said he did not believe that homophobia existed and was a “propaganda device”.

He has also been criticised for claiming to be libertarian while having very narrow view of what that means.

Update: More has emerged on speakers at the conference.

Political Scrapbook reports that the star of Tory climate change conference was paid to deny effects of passive smoking

[Fred] Singer may well have built his reputation as an atmospheric physicist but by the 1990s he was working for a front group run by a PR company and funded by tobacco giant Philip Morris. The Advancement of Sound Science Coalition was established in 1993 to hang the label of “junk science” round research on the effects of passive smoking – including a Royal College of Physicians study showing that 17,000 under fives were hospitalised each year in the UK by second hand smoke.

As for the link between smoking and cancer, his involvement with a campaign claiming that the relationship between passive smoking and cancer was one of ”The Top Five Environmental Myths” speaks for itself.

Over at Taking Out the Trash, Phil Chamberlain points out that one of the ‘Dr’ has his main qualification from a: School of Sport and Exercise Sciences.

The conference also lists the Telegraph columnist and well known climate change denier James Delingpole as a ‘Dr’, though he can’t find any record of what that relates to.

More on the other attendees can be found at SourceWatch: Anthony Watts, Ross McKitrick, Fred Goldberg and Benny Peiser

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About the author
Sunny Hundal is editor of LC. Also: on Twitter, at Pickled Politics and Guardian CIF.
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Reader comments


I just ought to pick you up on this:

“Another survey by Lay Scientist blog found similar levels of ignorance among Tory, UKIP and BNP MEPs.”

In fact the research for that article showed that the vast majority of Tory MEPs (all but two) accepted climate science and publicly supported prompt action on climate change. That’s in deep contrast to UKIP and the BNP, whose MEPs were, well, a cesspit of ignorance to put it bluntly.

It would be interesting to see a proper study done of MPs’ views. We’re working on it…

I blogged about this conference yesterday (see http://takingoutthetrash.typepad.co.uk/taking_out_the_trash/2009/11/ideas-above-your-station.html) looking in particular at the qualifications of the last two speakers covering the media and climate change.
One appears to have suddenly gained a doctorate; another works at a university sports science department.

I’ve updated the post, thanks.

Interesting point about Fred Singer’s tobacco past. A glance at conference organiser Roger Helmer’s blog find this post (http://rogerhelmermep.wordpress.com/tag/tobacco/) supporting the tobacco industry in the face of restrictions proposed by the World Health Organisation.

Helmer’s a bumptious clown. An acquaintance spotted him in a supermarket last weekend, berating the checkout staff because he had found a leaflet about climate change next to the till. The worrying thing is that he is building up a perception that there is a genuine scientific disagreement not about the extent of climate change and the best way to deal with it, but about whether it is happening at all (which nobody now believes, other than a few cranks like Helmer).

I’m amazed not to see Ian Plimer’s name on the list. I went to his Spectator lecture last week – what a depressing experience. Not just the total mendacity of his arguments but the way an obviously intelligent and educated crowd just lapped it up unquestioningly. In the Q&A session afterwards there were just two of us who were seriously critical of what he had to say.

Come to think of it I’m pretty sure Helmer was in the audience.

“Another survey by Lay Scientist blog found similar levels of ignorance among (some) Tory, (most) UKIP and (all) BNP MEPs.”

There was a chap at the start of the early 17th century who challenged the orthodoxy. His ‘ignorance’ led to him spending the last 10 years of his life under house arrest. Galileo, I think his name was.

@8 – truefact. This is why we should listen to David Icke.

“It is not enough to wear the mantle of Galileo, that you be persecuted by an unkind establishment. You must also be right.”

Other notable moments from Dr S. “Fred” Singer’s past: disputing both the links between CFCs and ozone depletion and between UV exposure and skin cancer simultaneously, disputing the health risks of asbestos, and disputing the benefits of seat belts. What do all of these things have in common?

@10

So a man has been wrong in the past. Does that immediately make him wrong on this issue? A stopped clock is correct twice a day.

Anyway, I’m more interested by the way the climate change fanatics refuse to debate the issue. If they had the evidence to prove that man-made CO2 emissions were responsible for global warming then presumably they would release it, rather than calling anyone who doesn’t believe their view ‘ignorant’ and ‘deniers’ (a word more commonly associated with Holocaust). Why not engage in the debate, rather than posturing in how high and mighty their ‘morals’ are (socialists have a similar attitude – “I’m morally right. You disagree with me therefore you are wrong, no debate needed”)?

I’m quite happy to believe that mankind is responsible for global warming, if only someone would show me sufficient evidence rather than trying to tax me loads and insult me for not believing. “Climate change deniers”, as they are referred to here, are usually cynically about the intentions of government (see how Obama Beach has abused ‘green taxes’ simply as a way to increase taxes, rather than using them to cut taxes elsewhere).

The evidence has been released – it’s contained in a very large number of detailed scientific publications. The fact that you have either not bothered to examine it or failed to properly understand it is your problem, not anybody else’s. How many times do you want it explained to you? The very, very simplified version is: CO2 absorbs long-wave IR radiation (easily provable by lab experiments, predicted and explained by QM), the Earth receives heat from the Sun at short wavelengths and re-emits it at longer wavelengths (Stefan-Boltzman Law), therefore increasing the amount of CO2 in the atmosphere shifts the net radiation balance (First Law of Thermodynamics), and results in warming. QED. Then we can calculate the expected changes in tropospheric and stratospheric temperatures, compare them to reality, and find that we’re pretty damn close. What is there to debate? You want to argue that there’s some magical feedback which exactly counteracts the anthropogenic CO2 forcing, and there’s some magical forcing which exactly duplicates the expected result of the anthropogenic CO2 forcing, and that both of these magical factors (a) started exactly at the time we started emitting significant amounts of CO2, and (b) exactly keep pace with our CO2 emissions, but which aren’t actually caused by those emissions? That’s a very non-parsimonious position, and it’s you who would need to present some evidence in favour of it.

Climate is not driven by fucking goblin magic. It’s driven by well-known principles of thermodynamics and fluid motion.

As for Singer, it’s not that the fact that he’s been wrong before proves that he can’t be right this time, it’s that his work exhibits a very clear pattern of always favouring the industries which are indirectly funding his “think tank”. Back when he was an actual publishing scientist he did some very good work – but the last time he published a proper peer-reviewed paper was in 1973, IIRC.

I’m quite happy to believe that mankind is responsible for global warming, if only someone would show me sufficient evidence

Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change

Have a nice read.

Of course there is a legitimate debate regarding AGW- it is just that one side of the discussion refuse to acknowledge that fact and want us all to trust their scientists.

The problem is that scientists can not be trusted- particularly with areas of study where they’re paid to predict Armageddon.

If they could, we’d all be wiped out already by HIV, CJD and bird flu.

pagar, I think you’ll find HIV is a problem, just not in the places where people changed their lifestyle to avoid it. Ditto the other two.

Of course there is a legitimate debate regarding AGW

Quite true – there is a great deal of legitimate scientific debate about exactly how bad it will be and what precise regional impacts are likely, and there is also a great deal of legitimate policy debate about how we should tackle it. however, there is no more legitimate scientific debate about its existence than there is about the existence of gravity.

Ah, cack. Blockquote fail.

@12 Dunc – You see, what you’ve done there is explain why a planet would theoretically warm up given an excess amount of greenhouse gas and then you insulted me (just as I said happens) and swore (which as we all know is the perfect way to debate).

You also didn’t address my point about government. Why is it that the only solution governments have to try to curb our CO2 emissions is taxation and even then why do they never off-set taxes (for instance, bring in a green tax that will generate £5bn a year and simultaneously cut income tax by £5bn)?

Why is it that the only solution governments have to try to curb our CO2 emissions is taxation

What about, off thetop of my head, building more nuclear power stations and using more renewable power sources, carbon trading schemes, carbon capture and storage.

Of course there is a legitimate debate regarding AGW- it is just that one side of the discussion refuse to acknowledge that fact and want us all to trust their scientists.

As opposed to trusting whom?

The problem is that scientists can not be trusted- particularly with areas of study where they’re paid to predict Armageddon.

Have you any evidence that anyone is being paid to predict armageddon? And what would the motive be?

Ooh, I swore, therefore the laws of thermodynamics are void. Whatever.

It’s no more “theoretical” than the physics behind the steam engine. Yes, there is theory involved, but it’s not “theoretical” in the colloquial sense which you appear to be using. Just like gravity. I mean, if I say F=G((m1*m2)/R^2), that’s just theoretical, isn’t it?

And if you can’t keep up with 19th century physics yet publicly demand that someone explain it to you after it has already been explained to death in so many different venues that I find it hard to believe that anyone hasn’t been thoroughly exposed to said explanation, it’s not exactly surprising that you get insulted.

I’m entirely open to the discussion of better policy responses. It’s not really my area.

Have you any evidence that anyone is being paid to predict armageddon? And what would the motive be?

OK. What about this from an email hacked from the University of East Anglia Climate Research Unit.

From: Phil Jones
To: ray bradley ,mann@xxxxx.xxx, mhughes@xxxx.xxx
Subject: Diagram for WMO Statement
Date: Tue, 16 Nov 1999 13:31:15 +0000
Cc: k.briffa@xxx.xx.xx,t.osborn@xxxx.xxx

Dear Ray, Mike and Malcolm,
Once Tim’s got a diagram here we’ll send that either later today or
first thing tomorrow.
I’ve just completed Mike’s Nature trick of adding in the real temps
to each series for the last 20 years (ie from 1981 onwards) amd from
1961 for Keith’s to hide the decline. Mike’s series got the annual
land and marine values while the other two got April-Sept for NH land
N of 20N. The latter two are real for 1999, while the estimate for 1999
for NH combined is +0.44C wrt 61-90. The Global estimate for 1999 with
data through Oct is +0.35C cf. 0.57 for 1998.
Thanks for the comments, Ray.

Cheers
Phil

Prof. Phil Jones
Climatic Research Unit Telephone +44 (0) xxxxx
School of Environmental Sciences Fax +44 (0) xxxx
University of East Anglia
Norwich Email p.jones@xxxx.xxx
NR4 7TJ
UK

The key sentence is “I’ve just completed Mike’s Nature trick of adding in the real temps
to each series for the last 20 years (ie from 1981 onwards) amd from 1961 for Keith’s to hide the decline.”

As I understand it Mike is Michael Mann of the famous fake hockey stick. “Hide the decline” refers to the fact that the earth is coooling not warming.

Read all here

http://wattsupwiththat.com/2009/11/19/breaking-news-story-hadley-cru-has-apparently-been-hacked-hundreds-of-files-released/

Discuss

Or what about this one about the BBC reporting on no warming since 1998:

From: Michael Mann
To: Stephen H Schneider
Subject: Re: BBC U-turn on climate
Date: Mon, 12 Oct 2009 09:00:44 -0400
Cc: Myles Allen , peter stott , “Philip D. Jones” , Benjamin Santer , Tom Wigley , Thomas R Karl , Gavin Schmidt , James Hansen , trenbert , Michael Oppenheimer

extremely disappointing to see something like this appear on BBC. its particularly odd, since climate is usually Richard Black’s beat at BBC (and he does a great job). from what I can tell, this guy was formerly a weather person at the Met Office.

We may do something about this on RealClimate, but meanwhile it might be appropriate for the Met Office to have a say about this, I might ask Richard Black what’s up here?

mike

Have you any evidence that anyone is being paid to predict armageddon?

Apparently Prof Jones (above) got a grant of £14m last year….

No wonder he wanted to “hide the decline”.

Is that it, pagar? Where’s the meat, you know – the e-mails about setting up the communist world government. They must be in there somewhere!

Didn’t get to those.

Can you give me the link?

Nah, haven’t got it. I thought you had the password?

28. chairman moo

pagar

You’re clearly a racist. Climate Change denial is now on the list….as is driving a car with an engine greater than 1.4 litres, leaving the tap running while brushing your teeth, watching the Cumbrian floods without rolling your eyes and sighing “so it begins..the fools..why wouldn’t they listen?”…and not drinking your own piss.

Hope your happy Dr Goebbels.

Where’s the meat

£14m

Is that veg?

£14 million is small fry when you want THE WORLD!!!!11!!!

Neil. Are you drunk?

Aderess the substantive point.

The climate scientists, on whose integrity the globe is betting billions of pounds, have been found to be colluding in misinformation.

I don’t know whether AGW is a reality or not.

But their duplicity is shameful.

I think you’re getting a likle bit over-excited, pagar. That is all.

Maybe you’re right.

But it’s nice when you find evidence that seems to prove a theory.

When your income depends on that evidence standing up it’s even better……….

BTW, pagar, do you think it’s wise to be re-publishing (what appears to be) stolen material on here?

OK We’ll keep it a secret then.

Wouldn’t want the PPC shutting LC down, would we?

Yeah, on balance, you’re right. Let’s supress the truth.

Who fucking needs it, right?

Ah, the “end justifies the means” defence. Might be worth keeping this thread bookmarked…

Pagar,

A single leaked email of dubious provenance which may or may not be genuine is hardly a smoking gun. And there is nothing in there that suggests that Jones was given his grant expressly in return for making certain predictions, or indeed that he has ever “predicted apocalypse” at all.

And I don’t see what is remotely suspicious about Mann’s email about the BBC. The BBC was guilty of poor journalism and as an expert in the field in question he naturally objected to that.

Of course Jones was not given his grant to make certain predictions. But it is clear that there is a symbiotic relationship between his employment and the results that are produced- if there were no evidence of global warming he would not be paid to study it.

I don’t think the leaked emails show a smoking gun (that anthropogenic global warming is a fiction) but what they demonstrate is that scientists are all too human in trying to bend evidence to suit their theory. They have been happy to try to shut down the debate by concealing evidence from colleagues they fear would interpret it differently and have indulged in crude smear tactics on opponents.

In short, they have not behaved like scientists seeking an objective truth- more like politicians trying to win an election.

Tragic really.

39. Roberta Maria

….extinctising? Uh..from the verb….to extinctise? As in … what happened to the dinosaurs? Thank you. Now I understand why no one could figure out what happened to them. They didn’t become extinct: they were extinctised!


Reactions: Twitter, blogs
  1. realLibs

    RT @libcon: :: Tory MEP hosts 'climate sceptics' conference http://bit.ly/2gQEFh

  2. richut

    RT @libcon: :: Tory MEP hosts 'climate sceptics' conference http://bit.ly/2gQEFh

  3. David Stringer

    RT: @pickledpolitics: it's Roger Helmer again! RT @libcon: Tory MEP hosts 'climate sceptics' conference http://bit.ly/2gQEFh #cop15 #climate

  4. irene rukerebuka

    RT @pickledpolitics: it's Roger Helmer again! RT @libcon: :: Tory MEP hosts 'climate sceptics' conference http://bit.ly/2gQEFh

  5. sunny hundal

    Updated information on who is attending and speaking at Tory MEP's ‘climate sceptics’ conference: http://bit.ly/44zfLm

  6. Rooftop Jaxx

    RT @pickledpolitics: Updated information on who is attending and speaking at Tory MEP's ‘climate sceptics’ conference: http://bit.ly/44zfLm

  7. Rhys Bearder

    RT @libcon Liberal Conspiracy » Tory MEP hosts ‘climate sceptics’ conference http://bit.ly/44zfLm

  8. Andrew Thompson

    RT @chasbooth: Do u really want these w/nuts running country? #votegreen RT @pickledpolitics: Tory climate denial conf: http://bit.ly/44zfLm

  9. Liberal Conspiracy

    :: Tory MEP hosts 'climate sceptics' conference http://bit.ly/2gQEFh

  10. sunny hundal

    it's Roger Helmer again! RT @libcon: :: Tory MEP hosts 'climate sceptics' conference http://bit.ly/2gQEFh

  11. Chas Booth

    Do u really want these wingnuts running the country? #votegreen RT @pickledpolitics: Tory climate denial conference: http://bit.ly/44zfLm

  12. Gareth Winchester

    RT @libcon Liberal Conspiracy » Tory MEP hosts ‘climate sceptics’ conference http://bit.ly/44zfLm *sigh* #climatecharge #globalwarming





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