Sir David King circles the climate change wagons for vested interests

The bogus claims and subsequent actions of Rajendra Pachauri and the IPCC have caused so much embarrassment for vested interests, the big businesses that are looking to cash in on the back of claims that mankind’s emissions of CO2 are causing significant global warming, they are prepared to cut Pachauri and the IPCC adrift in order to continue the money train.  For evidence, see today’s Telegraph and an op-ed by the Director of the Smith School of Enterprise and the Environment at Oxford University, and UK’s former chief scientific adviser, Professor Sir David King.

The piece really has to be seen to be believed.  Here are some of the key highlights of his piece:

  • The IPCC 2007 report has ‘sloppy referencing’
  • The IPPC’s objective ‘runs against the normal spirit of science’
  • ‘In science, people are supposed to rock the boat. If someone challenges your findings, you make measurements, check the arguments, and see if they might be right.’
  • UEA emails suggest ‘certain members of the IPCC felt that the consensus was so precious that some external challenges had to be kept outside the discussion’
  • ‘That is clearly not acceptable.’

But for sheer chutzpah this comment by Sir David King really takes the biscuit:

‘Moreover, this leads to the danger that people will go beyond the science that is truly reliable, and pick up almost anything that seems to support the argument. The dodgy dossier saying that all ice would vanish from the Himalayas within the next 30 years is an example of that. When I heard Dr Pachauri, the head of the IPCC, declare this at Copenhagen last December I could hardly believe my ears. This issue is far too important for scientists to risk crossing the line into advocacy.’

Correct me if I’m wrong, but I can find no example of Professor Sir David King coming away from Copenhagen and saying the claims about the Himalayan glaciers was dodgy, much less that he couldn’t believe his ears when Pachauri said it.  For some reason Sir David King seemed perfectly comfortable with people accepting what Pachauri had said.  In fact, King wrote an op-ed in the Independent on 20th December 2009 titled ‘There is a way ahead after Copenhagen: The climate change talks show, at least, that the world takes the issue seriously. Now we need a truly global carbon-trading scheme.

Of Pachauri’s unbelievable claim, which would underline the need for the kind of action Sir David is advocating, there is not a single word.  How very convenient.  Indeed, there’s certainly no evidence of Sir David King ‘rocking the boat’ as he says scientists are supposed to.  But King continues:

‘However, it’s not all the IPCC’s fault. Climate scientists have been forced into this corner by a disastrous combination of cynical lobbying and a misguided desire for certainty. The American lobby system, driven by political and economic vested interests in fossil fuels, seeks to use any challenge to undermine the entire body of science. The drive for consensus has come to some extent because the scientific community (me included) has become frustrated with this willful misuse of the scientific process.’

The message here is clear.  Political and economic vested interests in fossil fuels are to blame for scientists seeking ‘certainty’.  This is bad.  But what of the political and economic vested interests Sir David King advocates for big business when he argues for carbon trading based on the ‘certainty’ than man is warming the planet through CO2 emissions?  Following that, his attempt to equate the certainty of theory about the effects of cigarette smoking on human lungs with the theories about the effects of CO2 emissions on the planet is priceless.

King wilfully disregards the fact that we know infinitely more about the human body than we do about the way this planet’s climate regulates itself and varies over time.  This is the same kind of scientific distortion he claims to be railing against, but he distorts because it suits his agenda. Evidence and data that he claims is robust has been shown by unadjusted version to be questionable.  He is denying the evidence in an attempt to distance the vested interests he supports from the exposure of scientific failings that would destroy their agenda.  The IPCC and Rajendra Pachauri are being set up to take the fall.  Trust the scientists and blame the mouthpieces, is he mantra.  And you can see why he is arguing for this in the rousing climax to this rant:

‘Enough already. Instead of vainly trying to pretend that the waters are not rising, let’s get on with the opportunities for innovation and wealth creation that this climate challenge brings. We in the UK have a fantastically strong science base, but in the past few decades manufacturing has fled our shores and we have been steadily losing our ability to capitalize on science. Now is the time to turn that around. We know that we need to decarbonise our economy, so let’s do it. Let’s work to create a new, smart manufacturing sector in this county that is fit to tackle the carbon challenge while stimulating our economy back into growth.’

Innovation – big business.  Wealth creation – big business.  Strong science base – keep the grants coming, from our tax pounds.  Decarbonise – lucrative carbon trading for big business.  Smart manufacturing – big business, funded by our tax pounds.  Find for me, if you will, one word in Professor David King’s objectives where the key driver is about protecting the planet, reducing harmful pollution, or managing our natural resources better.  It’s not there because the motivation is, as it always was, making money.  Just how is that in the spirit of science?

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3 Responses to “Sir David King circles the climate change wagons for vested interests”

  1. 1 JohnRS 06/02/2010 at 1:04 pm

    It’s not so much the cr@p that he’s spouting here, it’s that he thinks no-one remembers that he was spouting a completely different sort of cr@p a few weeks/months back.

    Do they really think we’re a stupid as they are?

    Does he have no (professional) shame over the changing positions he’s taken over the last few months?

    And they wonder why we don’t believe them any more!

  2. 2 Pat 06/02/2010 at 1:21 pm

    Plus of course, those economic benefits can only happen if CO2 is in fact hurting the planet- otherwise the businesses will be out-competed by overseas businesses that continue to use carbon freely, and our economic fate will be sealed.
    Seems rather important that we get the science right, to a high level of certainty, first- and then decide3 on the best response, which may well be adaption rather than carbon rationing even if the IPCC case does stand up (looking unlikely at the moment).

  3. 3 AM 06/02/2010 at 2:14 pm

    Quite right John. The good professor’s comments are like straws in the wind. In a few months we can expect a different tack to emerge, but that still advances the interests of big business at the expense of taxpayers.

    Pat, you’re exactly right. There are too many studies that are contrary to the global warming narrative. This is not settled science and there is no certainty that changes to our climate are being caused by CO2. It is folly to take hugely expensive action on a hunch.

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