By Nigel Lawson
Global-warming alarmism is not merely irrational.
There is something odd about the global-warming debate — or the climate-change debate, as we are now expected to call it, since global warming has for the time being come to a halt.
I have never shied away from controversy, nor — for example, as chancellor of the exchequer — worried about being unpopular if I believed that what I was saying and doing was in the public interest.
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But I have never in my life experienced the extremes of personal hostility, vituperation, and vilification that I — along with other dissenters, of course — have received for my views on global warming and global-warming policies.
For example, according to the climate-change secretary, Ed Davey, the global-warming dissenters are, without exception, “wilfully ignorant,” and in the view of the prince of Wales we are “headless chickens.” Not that “dissenter” is a term they use. We are regularly referred to as “climate-change deniers,” a phrase deliberately designed to echo “Holocaust denier” — as if questioning present policies and forecasts of the future is equivalent to casting malign doubt about a historical fact.
The heir to the throne and the minister are senior public figures who watch their language. The abuse I received after appearing on the BBC’s Today program last February was far less restrained. Both the BBC and I received an orchestrated barrage of complaints to the effect that it was an outrage that I was allowed to discuss the issue on the program at all. And even the Science and Technology Committee of the House of Commons shamefully joined the chorus of those who seek to suppress debate.
In fact, despite having written a thoroughly documented book about global warming more than five years ago, which happily became something of a bestseller, and having founded a think tank on the subject — the Global Warming Policy Foundation — the following year, and despite frequently being invited on Today to discuss economic issues, this was the first time I had ever been asked to discuss climate change. I strongly suspect it will also be the last time.
The BBC received a well-organized deluge of complaints — some of them, inevitably, from those with a vested interest in renewable energy — accusing me, among other things, of being a geriatric retired politician and not a climate scientist, and so wholly unqualified to discuss the issue.
Perhaps, in passing, I should address the frequent accusation from those who violently object to any challenge to any aspect of the prevailing climate-change doctrine, that the Global Warming Policy Foundation’s non-disclosure of the names of our donors is proof that we are a thoroughly sinister organization and a front for the fossil-fuel industry.
As I have pointed out on a number of occasions, the foundation’s board of trustees decided, from the outset, that it would neither solicit nor accept any money from the energy industry or from anyone with a significant interest in the energy industry. And to those who are not-regrettably-prepared to accept my word, I would point out that among our trustees are a bishop of the Church of England, a former private secretary to the queen, and a former head of the Civil Service. Anyone who imagines that we are all engaged in a conspiracy to lie is clearly in an advanced stage of paranoia.
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