Feeds

Nigel Lawson: Climate science has turned into religion

Why a think tank? Why now?

Top 5 reasons to deploy VMware with Tegile

Interview One thing is missing from the Global Warming Policy Foundation, launched at Westminster on Monday, chairman Lord Lawson admitted. Mrs Thatcher's Chancellor for six years acknowledged that there aren't many young people on board. The average age of the Trustees is 74. You could almost say it pits the Old Aged vs the New Agers.

We got a brief opportunity to talk to Lawson at the launch event - more below.

The think tank is really Benny Piesar's show. The Liverpool anthropologist and policy academic, widely known for founding the CCNet mailing list, is the Foundation's director. The body may disappoint people who want the scientific controversies tackled head on. It's not going to look for the scientific 'smoking pistol' that skeptics crave. What's the point, then?

As with Lawson's book An Appeal To Reason, which dissected the Stern report, it is going to take a look at the policies - and ask whether they're worth it. Lawson resents the assumption, which he said was expressed by state broadcaster the BBC, that if you accepted the majority view of scientists in the field then you had to accept the policies they proposed, too. That's for a democracy to decide.

But speaking to Lawson later, it was clear he didn't think some of the wilder predictions made for man-made global warming had any rational basis.

Lawson

"There is no scientific basis for some of the alarmism. I'm talking about the predictions of warming, and the measurement of the impacts. There's huge alarmism there."

He referred to what he called a "a disgraceful television advertisement" from the Department of Energy and Climate Change. He means the one with the drowning dog.

"We will certainly be actively involved in monitoring what is being said, in correcting errors where the are errors. The only thing we will not be actively engaged in is what are the causes of the temperature changes on the planet: how much is CO2, how much is solar radiation, how much is cosmic rays. We won't be getting into all that."

Lawson was Chancellor when Crispin Tickell, then British Ambassador to the UN, convinced Prime Minister Thatcher that man-made global warming was a problem. Despite Tickell lacking any scientific background (he read history at university) Mrs Thatcher took the population campaigner's views seriously enough to make a landmark speech on global warming. This led to the foundation of a branch of the Met Office, the Hadley Centre at Exeter, to study the issue. It remains one of the three leading climate institutes.

"[Global Warming] wasn't really getting a head of steam back then. It did after I left in the 1990s. I left in 1989," he cautions. But did Lawson anticipate, back then, that it would become this all-encompassing movement?

Beginner's guide to SSL certificates

More from The Register

next story
PORTAL TO ELSEWHERE scried in small galaxy far, far away
Supermassive black hole dominates titchy star formation
Boffins say they've got Lithium batteries the wrong way around
Surprises at the nano-scale mean our ideas about how they charge could be all wrong
Edge Research Lab to tackle chilly LOHAN's final test flight
Our US allies to probe potential Vulture 2 servo freeze
Europe prepares to INVADE comet: Rosetta landing site chosen
No word yet on whether backup site is labelled 'K'
Cracked it - Vulture 2 power podule fires servos for 4 HOURS
Pixhawk avionics juice issue sorted, onwards to Spaceport America
Archaeologists and robots on hunt for more Antikythera pieces
How much of the world's oldest computer can they find?
prev story

Whitepapers

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops
Balancing user privacy and privileged access, in accordance with compliance frameworks and legislation. Evaluating any potential remote control choice.
Intelligent flash storage arrays
Tegile Intelligent Storage Arrays with IntelliFlash helps IT boost storage utilization and effciency while delivering unmatched storage savings and performance.
WIN a very cool portable ZX Spectrum
Win a one-off portable Spectrum built by legendary hardware hacker Ben Heck
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?
Beginner's guide to SSL certificates
De-mystify the technology involved and give you the information you need to make the best decision when considering your online security options.