Feeds

Nigel Lawson: Climate science has turned into religion

Why a think tank? Why now?

Internet Security Threat Report 2014

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?

Internet Security Threat Report 2014

More from The Register

next story
Antarctic ice THICKER than first feared – penguin-bot boffins
Robo-sub scans freezing waters, rocks warming models
I'll be back (and forward): Hollywood's time travel tribulations
Quick, call the Time Cops to sort out this paradox!
Your PHONE is slowly KILLING YOU
Doctors find new Digitillnesses - 'text neck' and 'telepressure'
Reuse the Force, Luke: SpaceX's Elon Musk reveals X-WING designs
And a floating carrier for recyclable rockets
NASA launches new climate model at SC14
75 days of supercomputing later ...
Britain's HUMAN DNA-strewing Moon mission rakes in £200k
3 days, and Kickstarter moves lander 37% nearer takeoff
prev story

Whitepapers

Seattle children’s accelerates Citrix login times by 500% with cross-tier insight
Seattle Children’s is a leading research hospital with a large and growing Citrix XenDesktop deployment. See how they used ExtraHop to accelerate launch times.
How to determine if cloud backup is right for your servers
Two key factors, technical feasibility and TCO economics, that backup and IT operations managers should consider when assessing cloud backup.
Getting started with customer-focused identity management
Learn why identity is a fundamental requirement to digital growth, and how without it there is no way to identify and engage customers in a meaningful way.
Reg Reader Research: SaaS based Email and Office Productivity Tools
Read this Reg reader report which provides advice and guidance for SMBs towards the use of SaaS based email and Office productivity tools.
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.