Wednesday, November 15, 2006

The environmental fundamentalist's battle with the climate change denier is like two religious zealots fighting

There’s a nice little spat running between George Monbiot and Christopher Monckton which again demonstrates how the climate-change argument has acquired the characteristics of a bust up between religious fundamentalists.

Yesterday the ever pompous Monbiot rubbished Monckton’s articles in the Sunday Telegraph (to which the admirable (apart from his views!) cassilis first drew my attention). Today Monckton, whom Monbiot sneeringly reminds us is a Viscount, replies in the Guardian.

I’m not a scientist but donkeys’ years ago I got a degree in electronic engineering (with Honours) from a (fairly) reputable university. Electronic engineering is basically maths with knobs on plus a bit of science. So I guess I’d be fairly high up any league table of the population’s scientific knowledge.

And I can spot some pretty basic hogwash in both Monbiot and Monckton’s writings. But I haven’t any real way of knowing which, if either, of them is right. My engineering training tells me to look for scientific concusses, the problem with these two chaps is that they look mainly at extreme results. I suspect the truth is somewhere between their positions.

As with religion people must latch onto a seemingly reliable person to guide them through unknowable complexities. But environmental writers are, like priests, highly selective in the texts they choose to interpret and jolly good at spinning them to produce the results that suit their flock’s desires and/or prejudices.

There are many in the ‘green’ movement who take a great delight in anything that seems to show ‘big business’ or the US in a bad light. Equally there are many deniers who prefer to bury their heads because they don’t want their comfortably selfish pleasures interfered with.

But, as any geologist could tell you, our planet is in no danger from mankind's activities. Some species, including our own, may be at risk but extinction is an essential component of evolution. It is only human vanity that leads us to speak about saving the planet rather than our own skins. If we were all wiped out tomorrow we’d leave hardly a trace in the fossil record because we’ve been around for such a short time. As John Maynard Keynes put it 'In the long run we’re all dead'; it’s being so cheery that keeps me going...

2 Comments:

At 19:55, Blogger Liam Murray said...

I welcome admiration on however flimsy a premise Brian...

I have no scientific background whatsoever but long ago came to the same conclusion - the truth of the environmental argument lies somewhere between the two extremes.

Worth pointing out though that Monckton et al aren't denying there's a problem or suggesting we should do nothing - merely that we should acknowledge the differing opinions. It's the Monbiot's of the world who are trying to put the issue beyond debate and silence dissent of any sort. I know which I find more sinister...

 
At 10:01, Blogger Hughes Views said...

I hope you took my tongue in cheek comment in the spirit it was offered!

The Monbiots of this world are part of a huge new industry that generates its income out of climate change hysteria. Although we need some campaigners to keep the issue high on the agenda, the pundits who make alarmist predictions which don't come true are probably doing more harm than good...

 

Post a Comment

Links to this post:

Create a Link

<< Home