Quotes from the Lords debate
Nov 3, 2010
Bishop Hill in Climate: Parliament, Energy

Here are a few choice moments from the Lords debate. Some of them are rather startling. Please note that these are taken from the uncorrected transcript.

Lord Grantchester (Lab) has come up with some jaw-dropping figures on the threat of sea-level rise:

Eighty per cent of the best grade 1 agricultural land lies at or below current sea levels.

Lord Lawson had a nice quip:

Unlike George Bush Jr, President Obama came in saying that he was going to get to grips with [carbon emissions]. What has happened? Nothing. There is a Bill in the House of Representatives which is like a beached whale. After the mid-term elections today, the beached whale will be a dead duck.

There was this from Lawson too:

The only conclusion that I can reach about the Government's policy, which is no different from the Opposition's policy, is that it is both intellectually incoherent and economically illiterate

Lord Giddens (Lab) seems not to have heard of direct air capture. Or trees.

...once the greenhouse gas emissions are in the air, we know of no way of getting them out again.

Lord Hunt (Lab) seems to struggle with the difference between climatology and economics. He appears to have a limited grasp of the latter.

I return to human-induced climate change, which only economists seem incapable of understanding, although the noble Lord, Lord Stern, is a notable exception. Its increase and its impacts on the poorest communities in India and Africa can be reduced most effectively by limiting emissions, albeit over many decades.

Lord Marland too, seemed to be something of a newcomer to economic ideas. Lawson had mentioned Frederic Bastiat and broken windows, something that seemed to leave Marland somewhat dumbstruck:

I was very interested in the remarks made by Bastiat, who was not someone of whom I had heard.

Perhaps Timmy should send him a copy of his new book?

Lord Reay (Con) relayed some remarkable news about onshore wind. He quoted a parliamentary report as follows:

[there has been] a dramatic reduction in the cost of onshore wind. The result is that it is competitive in a free market with other sources of energy.

Lord Reay went on to wonder about the implications:

In that case, one might ask, why subsidise it? Perhaps my noble friend could tell us when the Government intend to reduce the subsidies for wind power if it is now becoming so efficient. So-called wind farms are not wind farms; they are subsidy farms.

Lord Smith (Lab) managed to mention eroding coasts and climate change in the same breath and went on to speak of life in 20 years' time:

when river flows are 50 per cent lower in summer months than they are now. These are going to be the realities of climate change.

Lord Stoddart (Ind Lab) bashed Lord Whitty (quite rightly) for being offensive.

I and many other people are getting fed up-sick and tired-of being described as climate change deniers. That term has a serious connotation and we do not like it. It is associated with Nazism and the Holocaust and I hope that others, including my ex-noble friend, the noble Lord, Lord Whitty, will cease to use that insulting term.

Baroness Smith (Lab) could do with reading Pielke Jnr's blog:

If we do nothing, the worst scenarios will come true. People around the world will be displaced by freak weather conditions and floods and then it will impact on everyone across the world. We should bear that in mind.

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