A questionable frenzy

I love my planet. Given the choice of which planet to be born on, this is almost certainly the one I’d have chosen. Mercury is too hot and Jupiter is, well, too gassy. Saturn runs rings around you, and Venus and Mars are close, but not close enough. Further out in the Solar System, it’s probably too cold even for the Green Party.

Having been allocated this planet, I am happy to do the best I can for it. This does not include turning all my electricity off for an hour because the World Wildlife Fund tells me to. Why not? Partly because it’s a complete waste of time – why not spend an hour picking up litter? – and partly because the WWF is a wrong-headed institution misusing its money and its membership for a political agenda which has little to do with wildlife.

One of the things I like about this planet is that wildlife survives. It will survive however the climate changes. Which particular animals and plants prosper will depend on which turns the climate takes, but wildlife will not vanish. It is, actually, amazing. I think we should interfere with it as little as possible.

The WWF’s stance on climate, however, is part of a worrying trend. In fact it has gone so far that it has ceased to be a trend and become something of an epidemic. A correspondent who has given over 40 years of service to environmental and conservationist causes wrote recently that in the past a balance was always struck between different interests. He adds: “However there was always potential for distortion, via the power of conservation organisations with large memberships. If they had wanted an activity stopped, their members could have been recruited to apply sufficient pressure to influence political decisions.

“While this never happened during my tenure, it would appear that these tactics have now been adopted.”

He was writing specifically about the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds, and their “breathtaking cynicism” over wind farms – urging the Government to build them everywhere except on RSPB reserves. But his remarks apply equally well to bodies like the World Wildlife Fund. And remarks by politicians like Ed Miliband, Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change, reveal this for what is when he says it has become “socially unacceptable” to oppose wind farms. The idea that it is socially wrong to hold certain views on the environment smacks of a totalitarian outlook on life which certain organisations and people are enthusiastically fostering and which, if unopposed, will ultimately destroy our freedoms.

Certain charities are making climate change a big part of their agenda. Christian Aid, which laudably fights poverty and oppression, muddies the waters by trying to persuade its supporters to sign a pledge to reduce their carbon footprints. Tearfund, which also tackles poverty and injustice, urges us to take up a carbon fast. Friends of the Earth has abandoned all balance and majors on climate change scaremongering. Yes, we can withdraw our support from these charities, but we can’t avoid their influence on our lives. And of course they foster the kind of hatred that is seen in radical protest.

None of these organisations is scientific. They are at root political. They have taken a view on climate, under the influence of the kind of people whose talk outweighs both their experience and their qualifications – not to mention their judgement. And of course they get all the publicity, because that’s what they’re good at. We are more in danger of drowning in a sea of global warming guilt publicity than from any rise in sea levels.

But despite all that, and almost completely unreported, there is what has been described as an “explosion” of sceptical scientific voices. Over 700 scientists from all over the world are now signed up to the US Senate Minority Report of Dissenting Scientists (nearly 60 in the last three months), and in case you think this is not many, the number of scientists who authored the media-hyped 2007 Intergovernmental Panel for Climate Change Summary for Policymakers was 52.

“I do not find the supposed scientific consensus among my colleagues,” said noted Earth Scientist Javier Cuadros last month.

“Unfortunately climate science has become political science,” said award-winning Princeton University physicist Dr Robert H Austin. “It is tragic that some perhaps well-meaning but politically motivated scientists who should know better have whipped up a global frenzy about a phenomenon which is statistically questionable at best.”

Meanwhile peer-reviewed studies are making it past the barrier set up by global warming enthusiasts. Dr Anastasis Tsonis in a recent article found that “the Earth is undergoing natural climate shift”. Dr George T Wolff, a top atmospheric scientist, says: “There is no observational evidence that the addition of anthropogenic greenhouse gas emissions have caused any temperature perturbation in the atmosphere.” And chemist Dr Mark L Campbell writes: “The sky is not burning, and to claim that it is amounts to journalistic malpractice. The press only promotes the global warming alarmists and ignores or minimises those of us who are sceptical.”

At the very least, there is a serious possibility that human-generated carbon emissions do not cause global warming. The implications of that are staggering for many and should be investigated thoroughly. But the publicists, the marketing men, the politicians, the media and the activists have plumped for the scare story, created a high-speed, armour-plated bandwagon, and everyone is jumping on board, simply to avoid getting mown down. Is it too late for them to get off? They seem to think so.