On Philip Pullman's grim eco-fantasy

Lucifer knows, he's miserable now

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In a new book published this week, author Philip Pullman looked back with nostalgia at post-war austerity - and advocated the state cutting off your power as soon as you exceed your Carbon Ration. He also expressed his hope that Polar Bears would kill and eat lots of humans.

More nasty misanthropy from a millionaire, then? But it's no isolated example. Radiohead's Thom Yorke thinks we should go back to compulsory austerity too, citing our lifestyles. And a new book, in which Pullman's interview is published, is a kind of WW2-style manual telling us how to enjoy the new, low-carbon monochrome era: not so much a Protect And Survive, as a Shiver And Perish.

Some people just hate being alive, I guess.

Here are some of your responses to that piece.

Many thanks to Graham for finding this gem of a recent interview:

Thanks for yet another cracking article on the Reg.

I don't know what it is about having millions of pounds in the bank, but it does seem to turn you into a hypocrite quite quickly. You might be interested in this sycophantic drivel from the Times:

Pullman ... "has recently relocated. He has bought a detached, modernised 16th-century farmhouse in the rolling countryside of well-heeled Cumnor, just 10 minutes by car from Oxford station. A new Mercedes E320 estate stands on the secluded brick-paved driveway.

And a bit later:

He takes me to the kitchen - expanses of terracotta tiles, downlighting, new designer units, and a resplendent cream four-oven Aga. "We've been bending this house to our will," he tells me.

Of course, the eco-doubts are nagging away at him:

As I admired his car, he said a trifle hastily: "Yes. But it's diesel: 50 miles to the gallon on the long trip." As for the Aga: "Mmm... but I can't help worrying whether it contributes to global warming."

But not for long:

...he drives us in his new Mercedes E320 diesel into the bosom of Oxford to Walton Street, where he has booked a table at the Loch Fyne restaurant. As he quaffs an order of oysters...

What? Driving in Oxford, the most bicycle-and-park-and-ride-friendly town in England? The selfish bastard.

The URL is here.

I reckon the Government really should implement his loopy carbon rationing scheme. I might only make it to October, like he says, but I'd at least have the satisfaction of watching him freeze to death in March.

I suppose Pullman think he's "doing his bit".

I had always had a great deal of respect for Philip Pullman's stand against the irrational nature of organised religion. That respect has, sadly, now evaporated due to his equally irrational ranting on 'climate change' which, as you rightly point out, is mostly bollocks.

<sigh> Another public image bites the dust...

Regards, Mike

Thankyou thankyou THANKYOU Andrew for your insightful article against climate alarmism.

I look forward to more El Reg articles biting the hand (hoof?) of this most sacred of cows.


Cows... methane ... nope, best not go there.

Fantasy Authors Back Climate Change Models? And in other news ... Frank Carson Bids For General Secetary Job At UN. I'd stick more money on Frank than I'd pay to listen to Mr Pullman.

Andy H

You make the point that the 'carbon cultists' have driven any concern other than carbon off the environmental agenda. I agree and I think it's a particularly short-sighted approach that will cause us and our ecosystem great harm. It isn't something that gets discussed very often. Why do you think this is though? It clearly isn't in the best interests of the environment, so what's going on?

This allows .gov to appear to do something without affecting donations. The environmental lobby is just responding to that by applying the pressure where it will yield a result.

If that is the case then it's a big change in how environmental pressure groups operate. Historically they have always gone after corporate polluters: difficult, for sure, but it's where the biggest payoffs lie. They have always fought the hard, but genuine, fight. That doesn't seem to be the case anymore.

Do you agree, or do you think I'm being naive and the environmental lobby has always been self-serving? Maybe you feel that the environmental movement been co-opted by practicioners of the lowest kind of jealous socialism (as espoused by the 'ginger winger')?


I expect every lobby group to be jostling for the attention of government - that's just what lobby groups do. It's very unusual for a lobby group that desires wholesale lifestyle changes to capture the government's ear. It's also most unusual, but not unprecedented, to find policy directing the science so explicitly. Especially when the science is in its infancy, as our recent look at particulate forcings points out.

I think you're onto something, Tim. A government that voluntarily implements the kind of top-down austerity program that Pullman and Yorke want to see wouldn't stay in office for very long. So may be it is all for show? Either that, or the politicians are figuring out a way of implementing it and not have to get elected to stay in power.

But as I expected, there's an ear-bashing for daring to question the "consensus"

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