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« A letter from the Conservative leader | Main | Questioning the scientists »

Delingpole on the state of the debate

James Delingpole has an article in the Commentator, looking at the changed landscape in which we find ourselves:

Something extraordinary is happening in the great Climate Wars. I had a taste of it just the other day on an LBC talk show. The producer had only booked me in for a ten-minute slot, in case the listeners weren't interested in my boring new book about that tediously hackneyed subject Man Made Global Warming. But the switchboards were jammed and the station ended up keeping me in for a full hour to reply to all the calls.

There was one big problem though: "We can hardly find ANYONE who disagrees with you," whispered the show's host, Julia Hartley-Brewer. This was true. By the end, things had got so desperate that I found myself accidentally picking fights with callers who were on my side. An easy mistake to make for someone on my (sceptical) side of the debate: we card-carrying Satanic "deniers" are so used to being vilified at every turn it really feels kind of weird suddenly to be in tune with the popular mood.

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Reader Comments (100)

As Dellers points out in his excellent book, the Climate Wars are about politics rather than science. If the general public has now concluded that AGW is a scare story, how do we get our politicians to see that scepticism is a vote-winner; that there's public support dismantling the ruinously expensive low-carbon policies?

Mar 8, 2012 at 10:08 AM | Unregistered CommenterBrent Hargreaves

But the Establishment steamrollers on.
" Attempts to spin climate change have been going on so long they have their own historians: Oreskes and Conway’s Merchants of Doubt shows the similarities – and links – between the tobacco and climate story. But this is of the ‘Pope is Catholic’ category of news."

An extract from an article by Joe Smith, 'Senior Lecturer in Environment' at the Open University
OU Platform

Mar 8, 2012 at 10:17 AM | Registered CommenterView from the Solent

Can anyone suggest a good reason why getting research grants by lying should not be regarded as fraud?

Mar 8, 2012 at 10:18 AM | Unregistered Commenterdearieme

[Snip - venting]

Mar 8, 2012 at 10:26 AM | Unregistered CommenterTerryS

In a small way I can confirm what James D says - for many years some of us sceptics used to post sensible questions on various forums etc when a rabid warmist piece of propaganda appeared. The responce back then was often tacit agreement from most along the lines of "well we have to do something - don't we!".

But now! - a post went up on one of the forums I chat on about the cost of wind farms and this evolved into a discussion on the Huhnes pathetic report on how wind energy would be cheaper because everyone would insulate more whereas if we stuck with fossil fuels we would not insulate at all - AND! - the latest post is covering the recent report by the GWPF.

Now a year or so ago, the thread would have been overrun with exactly the same "warmist" glib comments that James D outlines so well.

To date there have been none.

What there is, is a VERY angry group of people asking the questions "what the hell is the UK government doing re its energy policy?"

The moonbat minions are now very thin on the ground.

Mar 8, 2012 at 10:47 AM | Unregistered CommenterDoug UK

""We can hardly find ANYONE who disagrees with you," whispered the show's host, Julia Hartley-Brewer."

Had this show been broadcast by the BBC, there would have been overwhelming disagreement even if most of the "disagreement" was "in house". Furthermore, any callers to the BBC who happened to agree with JP would be silenced either by non-selection or, just as likely, by "technical difficulties" (a la the Today radio car).

Mar 8, 2012 at 10:49 AM | Unregistered CommenterUmbongo

With the exception of the comments pages of the Graun and the very nice hippie type chap who takes my son on his after-school wildlife club I haven't talked to anyone who believes in CAGW for years. I wonder where they hide when opinion polls are carried out.

Mar 8, 2012 at 10:50 AM | Unregistered CommenterMorph

That should be "JD" not "JP"

Mar 8, 2012 at 10:51 AM | Unregistered CommenterUmbongo

I think that whilst most people probably do not understand the 'science' behind AGW, they do wonder at the attitude taken by the established climate scientists. What other branch of science has spawned a group of researchers who define, as deniers and contrarians, those scientists who disagree with their hypothesis? And has there ever been a group of serious scientists before who ranted on about 'the cause?' Add to these aspects the revelations of climategate and it is no wonder that the fanatics are losing the trust of Joe Public. It is a pitty that politicians, the BBC and MSM in general don't take public opinion into account.

Mar 8, 2012 at 11:01 AM | Unregistered CommenterPeter Stroud

The alarmist have destroyed their own narrative by being caught lying, cheating and stealing for their noble cause.

Climategate made people sit up and listen.

Fakegate made people realise they were being lied to.

Ordinary believe that GW has happened. They are now unsure about AGW because they have lost confidence in scientists, but they do believe now that cAGW was simply a green conspiracy.

Sceptics can play a big part in helping put public trust back into science.

Mar 8, 2012 at 11:01 AM | Unregistered CommenterMac

[Snip venting]

Mar 8, 2012 at 11:19 AM | Unregistered CommenterHenry Brubaker

James nail it with the Gleick incident..

A turning point for some, is not the story about Gleick per se.. but the fact that various environmental journalists fell onto the docs and fake doc 'juicy quotes' with glee, and forgot to be journalists first.

Showing their naked advocacy for all (most importantly, media colleagues) to see.

Real journalists, and news editors (especially after climategate) can now see just how 'native' the journalists have gone..

Shalll we call it Kyoto Syndrome.....

Mar 8, 2012 at 11:29 AM | Unregistered CommenterBarry Woods

>That should be "JD" not "JP"

That's a relief! :-)

Mar 8, 2012 at 11:40 AM | Unregistered CommenterJames P

I have certainly noticed a fracturing of consensus view within blogs. Whereas all seemed to sing from the same hymn sheet before, it now seems that there are no lead singers and the congregation are improvising with their own renditions .

Mar 8, 2012 at 11:43 AM | Registered CommenterLord Beaverbrook

Delingpole seems to be wishing something that might be true but is not yet. And stating it is true is a part of making it true, I suppose. But, you see, I have a habit of watching parliament a lot (in deference of something better) and I watch our MPs, Lords and Ladies, too, write into law your worse nightmares. If we 'won the war' then, so far, it's Pyrrhic.

Mar 8, 2012 at 11:48 AM | Unregistered CommenterLewis Deane

Broken-clock syndrome.

Most people have grown tired of your incessant whining and sensible folk only tolerate you because, in between distortion, strawman argument and spin, you occasionally write something that contains a grain of truth.

To paraphrase Christopher Hitchens:

Why do we know what we already think we know. How do I know I know this except I've always been taught this at school?

You serve a useful function, though few people care to argue with you.

Mar 8, 2012 at 11:55 AM | Unregistered CommenterThePowerofX

The disadvantage the CAGW crowd have is that almost everybody has read Chicken Little (or Henny Penny) as a child. So when they read the thousandth, "We're doomed. It's getting hotter/colder/wetter/drier", screed they already know how that story ends.

Mar 8, 2012 at 12:04 PM | Unregistered CommenterStuck-record


Who's 'you'?

Mar 8, 2012 at 12:04 PM | Unregistered CommenterJames P

No idea who ThePowerofX's rant is aimed at, maybe they're talking to themselves.

Along with Lewis Deane I think Delingpole is claiming victory too early, however when the tide turns it will appear in hindsight to have happened instantaneously. It still feels a few years off but it's impossible to predict.

Mar 8, 2012 at 12:09 PM | Unregistered Commenterrc

ThePowerofX (11:55), next time you post, I suggest you try actually saying something.

In this instance, you fail to even let anyone know who is the "you" with whom you apparently have a problem, so it is somewhat difficult to know whether anything else you say is relevant.

Mar 8, 2012 at 12:15 PM | Unregistered Commentersteveta

X^n - interesting post but what exactly are you getting at?

Mar 8, 2012 at 12:16 PM | Unregistered CommenterGrantB

Peter Stroud,
'...I think that whilst most people probably do not understand the 'science' behind AGW,,,"

You ask an interesting question.

Who has successfuly predicted the solar cycle change to the month or year ( let alone the amplitude of the next cycle)?
Who has successfuly predicted any ocean cycle change to the month or year ( let alone the amplitude of the next cycle)?
Who has successfuly predicted any precipitation cycle change to the month or year ( let alone the amplitude of the next cycle)?
And who really knows *anything* about clouds?

And yet we see people who can't do solar, or oceans, or precipitation, or clouds claiming to be some sort of expert (did I miss an Oxford comma?)

Mar 8, 2012 at 12:16 PM | Unregistered CommenterTony Hansen

Judith Curry on Zerohedge today:

Mar 8, 2012 at 12:18 PM | Unregistered CommenterPaul

Victory is at hand. All we need to do is drive out the warmist politicans and vote massively for any one, from any party, front or backbencher who wears his skepticsm on his chest.
Once politicians see the great skeptic vote, they will switch sides, from warmists to skeptics. They only want our vote................

Mar 8, 2012 at 12:20 PM | Unregistered CommenterAlex

I'm happy for James. Warriors on the side of light deserve the occasional reprieve, IMHO.

Sadly, a warm winter, a drought, and a bump in the number of tornadoes in the U.S. appear to have bolstered the side of climate terror among Americans:

Mar 8, 2012 at 12:20 PM | Unregistered CommenterHarold Ambler

I agree Lewis, the view the BBC, the Guardianistas, the environmentalists and the Islington/Nottingham Hill gliteratii that infect these institutions and politics in general hold of the public is one of contempt. Our opinions count for nothing except in an election, when the politicians temporarily fawn over the hoi polloi. Having said all that I don't believe there is widespread questioning of either the science or politics, or indeed the "science in the service of politics" of CAGW. While every sign of progress is welcome we are overstating our importance, mainly due to the warmists overstatements of our importance. You have to be a serious non-thinker to assume that a small group of people, no more than around 20, or so, bloggers, and a few tens of thousand geriatric (for that's what these people think the village elders are nowadays) sceptics can thwart the will of the myriads of environmental lobbyists, and scientists in their service, but that's the meme, we are somehow stopping action on global warming and should be silenced. Serious fanaticism, based on the belief that the "cause" is so fragile that ny doubts should be kept from the ears of the mob.

We aren't of course, our government is steaming aheadnwith an energy plan that will ultimately lead to fuel poverty, and energy rationing, even with the knowledge that the UK's annual emissions of CO2 are the equivalent of 4 weeks of China's output.

When I first entered the fray it was to tell the person that was abusing me to hope that my view that CO2 wasn't the main driver for temperature was true, because there was no way we were going to reduce emissions in the short to medium term because the technology to provide renewable energy on an industrial scale, with the exception of nuclear which the warmists don't want, was many decades away.

Has anyone else noticed that the Guardian has pretty much abandoned allowing comments on climate change pieces in CiF?

Mar 8, 2012 at 12:26 PM | Unregistered Commentergeronimo

A key argument is emerging which should convince even the most dyed in the wool greenie politicians that they have to rethink UK energy policy. Beyond a 'penetration' in our grid of ~15% of demand wind energy, CO2 emissions will increase over those you'd have with no additional windmills.

In other words, at 15% penetration, you'd use the same fossil fuel as you would use with no windmills at all. There is a fix but it's bloody expensive.

This is proved by data in reports from three countries with grids like ours. The message that windmills used in this way have negative greenness is penetrating up the information loop to the politicians.

Once it reaches Cameron is the time that Sam has no further control over policy. When it will reach the EU is a moot point. We are approaching the point of no return, pun intended.

Mar 8, 2012 at 12:38 PM | Unregistered Commentermydogsgotnonose

Harold, I'm not sure that a run in the LA Times from the Brookings Institution is evidence of "terror" among Americans: (a) most thinking people are suspicious of opinion polls; (b) they are more so of articles from the notably liberal LA Times; (c) they are actually happy about the mild winter, especially given the ugly snows we had in 2010. The only spontaneous talk I've ever heard on this latter point is "Thank God for global warming, ha ha. Give us more!" Today it will be 70F and we are happy about it.

Anyway your book is in my Amazon cart and soon enough I'll buy it. Cheer up!

Mar 8, 2012 at 12:40 PM | Unregistered CommenterGarry

Why is it OK to suggest that Einstein might have got it wrong but be subject to vilification if you question climate science?

Mar 8, 2012 at 12:42 PM | Unregistered CommenterTom Mills

That's because Einstein was a scientist whereas the AGW groupies are religious fanatics.

Mar 8, 2012 at 12:46 PM | Unregistered Commentermydogsgotnonose

The CAGW scare has served its purpose and been used to justify legislation which supports a gravy train of jobs, taxes and scams. As we all know, once taxes and laws are in place they are hard to get rid of. The fact that the original justification is discredited won't make much difference. There's evidence that other justifications are being wheeled out. I can see something happening such as the Climate Change act being renamed the Sustainability and Energy Security Act.

Unfortunately, it will only end properly when it's caused an entirely avoidable crisis.

Mar 8, 2012 at 12:48 PM | Unregistered Commentercosmic

'If we 'won the war' then, so far, it's Pyrrhic.'

'Victory is at hand. All we need to do is drive out the warmist politicans and vote massively for any one, from any party, front or backbencher who wears his skepticsm on his chest.'

Victory is not at hand, public opinion may be as Dellers says but who do you actually vote for so that voice is heard, hardly think we are going to have an Arab Spring moment due the climate change bill. As usual we will stocially carry on feeding money to the muppets MP's so they can enjoy the trappings of power and leave the decisions to the EU mafia. Cynic mode off ;)

Mar 8, 2012 at 12:48 PM | Registered CommenterBreath of Fresh Air

The link to Joe Smith from View from the Solent was timely, as he'd been brought to my notice yesterday and I noted his profile at the OU. His first degree tells us all we need to know.

He writes "when uncertainties in the science have been narrowing."

His science is post modern science, which sees truth as socially constructed. His view is that the state recognizes no limits to its authority and strives to regulate every aspect of public and private life wherever feasible.

BA in Social And Political Sciences (Cambridge), PhD in Geography (Cambridge)

Mar 8, 2012 at 12:53 PM | Unregistered CommenterPerry

TPX: You appear to have put an unfinished post on the wrong site. Moreover, you appear to be very angry with someone you don't like very much. As a rule of thumb, and after many bad experiences I find it better to stay silent when I'm angry and wait for the moment that the cutting bon mot of quiet reflection comes to mind.

It's just a suggestion but if you don't want to come across as person in the arms of Bacchus at 11.55 AM you would do well to heed it.

Mar 8, 2012 at 12:57 PM | Unregistered Commentergeronimo

Mar 8, 2012 at 12:38 PM | mydogsgotnonose

Once it reaches Cameron is the time that Sam has no further control over policy. When it will reach the EU is a moot point. We are approaching the point of no return, pun intended.


The EU has high hopes for the Climate Change nonsense as a way of extending itself and if it abandoned it, it would be a major reversal.

The Euro crisis shows us what happens when an EU political dream meets reality and starts to fall apart. It picks up the bits which have fallen off and sticks them back with chewing gum and sticking plaster and tries harder.

What we see in the UK is a miniature version of the EU. It's certainly hard to imagine mainstream UK politicians going against EU law and pushing it to the point of being kicked out or leaving.

Mar 8, 2012 at 12:57 PM | Unregistered Commentercosmic

cosmic; Kingsnorth power station closes in March 2013. At that time, with the other coal stations closing because they have finished their 50,000 hours, we get major power cuts each winter.

Think of a city like Leicester or Nottingham dark all the time in rolling power cuts.

That will concentrate minds for the next election!

Mar 8, 2012 at 1:11 PM | Unregistered Commentermydogsgotnonose

Just remember capital punishment, polls always show a majority for its reintroduction but MP's always vote the opposite saying its for our own good, AGW may go the same way (some would say its already there now)

Mar 8, 2012 at 1:21 PM | Registered CommenterBreath of Fresh Air

Address to all Post Modern Climate Scientists. (with apologies to O. Cromwell Esq.)

It is high time for us to put an end to your sitting in this C.R.U. (de) place, which you have dishonoured by your contempt of all virtue and defiled by your practice of every vice. Ye are a factious crew and enemies to all good government. Ye are a pack of mercenary wretches and would, like Esau, sell your country for a mess of pottage and like Judas, betray scientific method for a few pieces of money.

Is there a single virtue now remaining amongst you? Is there one vice you do not possess? Ye have no more good conscience than my horse. Gold is your God; which of you have not barter'd your conscience for bribes? Is there a man amongst you that has the least care for the good of the Commonwealth of Humanity?

Ye sordid prostitutes have you not defil'd this sacred place, and turn'd Science's temple into a den of thieves, by your immoral principles and wicked practices? Ye are grown intolerably odious to the whole nation; you, who were deputed here by the people to get grievances redress'd, are to get yourselves gone! So! Take away those shoddy computer generated climate models there and lock up the doors.

In the name of reason, 'koff!

Mar 8, 2012 at 1:25 PM | Registered Commenterperry

The reality is that the laws of the land here in the UK are passed in Brussels NOT London. So even if the clowns supposedly in charge in Westminster WANTED to change things around they cant. They dont have the power to!


Mar 8, 2012 at 1:25 PM | Unregistered CommenterMailman


There are quite few stations scheduled for closure, I believe. How long does it take to build a replacement?

I sometime wonder if the knowledge that China makes a new one every fortnight sends the wrong message...

Mar 8, 2012 at 1:30 PM | Unregistered CommenterJames P


That maybe why UKIP is recruiting so well lately. I notice that JD's article appears alongside this:


Mar 8, 2012 at 1:35 PM | Registered Commenterjamesp

Public opinion may be shifting but there is still a long way to go before there is overwhelming support against AGW. More significantly, the political lag will be even greater.

The vast majority of people in the UK consider that we should cut back on overseas aid; they consider that a very large percentage of foreign aid goes to supporting corrupt governments or other forms of corruption in the distribution process or simply permit those foreign powers to buy arms/weapons (which weapons may well be turned on their own citizens). In some instances, aid is being given to countries whose economies are in better shape than the UK and who can afford space programmes that the UK cannot afford.

Given the perilous state of the UK economy, it is madness to increase the amount of aid being spent overseas. The case for reducing the amount of aid spent overseas is strong. So what do politicians do? They increase the amount being spent overseas. One can see from this how out of step politicians are with public opinion. The same will be seen with cAGW and green taxes. Politicians will continue to feed off this teet long after the tide of public opinion is against it. Don't expect any miracles any time soon.

Mar 8, 2012 at 1:38 PM | Unregistered Commenterrichard verney

"Has anyone else noticed that the Guardian has pretty much abandoned allowing comments on climate change pieces in CiF?"

Yes. Particularly on the more controversial ones and rabid pieces by the likes of Suzanne Goldenberg. The defenders of imminent CO2 driven catastrophe keep taking a bit of a beating when they do allow comment and are gradually reducing in number. Proponents of "it is NOT as bad as we thought" and of sensible energy policies ( or "deniers", for short!) seem to get a lot of recommendations these days.

Us "Deniers" have to tippy-toe even more than we used to, though, as the moderators are now shameless.

There is also much more ranting about "paid sockpuppets" and "shills for Big Oil" than there used to be.

There is absolutely no sign of any change in the editorial policy, unless it is to double down on the number and intensity of alarmist pieces and to drift even further away from journalism into advocacy.
Another few years of falling circulation like the last few will eventually demand a radical rethink, I would guess.

Just a personal view. I used to enjoy the Guardian many years ago. It was just as left-leaning but more honest, somehow, about it. It could well just be me! The last decade of events, politics and my discovery of the Internet has made me a bit of a Nazi!

Sorry, wandered well off-topic there....

Mar 8, 2012 at 1:56 PM | Unregistered CommenterJack Savage

Breath of Fresh Air

Please tell me where the synic mode is so that I can turn mine off.

Mar 8, 2012 at 2:02 PM | Unregistered Commenterpesadia

The trouble is that scepticism has won the intellectual argument too late to make any difference. As victories go, it's as useful as the French winning at Wavre on the same day that they lost at Waterloo. It was a victory all right, but the war was already lost.

The process for auctioning European emissions permits continues apace. The aviation industry has been pulled into the net and there are now EUAAs as well as EUAs being traded and forced upon industry.

The Cliemate Change Act hasn't been repealed and not a single cliemate psyentist has lost even his job, much less his liberty, over Cliemategate. Nobody was sacked for lying about Himalayan glacier retreat.

All three of the main UK parties are completely aligned on cliemate change to the point where, as with selective education, immigration, law and order, EU membership, reducing public expenditure, the death penalty and Scottish expulsion from the UK, there is no party you can vote for that reflects and will act on the public view.

Greenpeace, FoE, and WWF funding has not collapsed. The EU continues to tax and spend to pay lobbyists to lobby itself about CAGW. Not one carbon tax has been repealed. Not one wind power "station" has been cancelled, closed or forced to compensate the taxpayer or local residents for the economic and financial harm.

Paul Nurse is still president of the Royal Society. Richard Black still works for the BBC. The BBC still exists. Pachauri is still head of the IPCC. The IPCC still exists. Not one of the various academies of science that declared they agreed with the "consensus" has yet polled its members on whether this actually reflected their views. None has qualified its pronouncements with any disclaimer to the effect of "the Society of American Pediatricians has done no climate change research and is unqualified to hold any view on the subject, but here's our view anyway..."

This isn't victory; this is the ecofascist cause simply deciding that although they've patently lost the argument, it no longer matters. DDT is net helpful but still widely banned; secondary smoking is not harmful but is still widely banned; and so on.

Mar 8, 2012 at 2:11 PM | Unregistered CommenterJustice4Rinka

Judith Curry on Zerohedge today:
Mar 8, 2012 at 12:18 PM | Unregistered CommenterPaul

Yep, saw that. Mrs Ripper & I have been reading been reading zerohedge since before the the GFC hit and as far as finance goes they are usually well ahead of the curve.

That piece pulled commentators out of the woodwork trying to debunk it with user names I can't honestly say I seen before.

The alarmists are incredible well organised, every forum I have participated in since ~2002 (from AFL footy to satellite TV)has had at least one poster who jumps in to "debunk" any arguments against CAGW if by chance it comes up in general talk yet posts nothing about whatever the forum is about.

Mar 8, 2012 at 2:19 PM | Unregistered CommenterRipper


I agree, but we have to keep ourselves cheerful!

It will be interesting to see (if only metaphorically) public reaction when the power starts to fail. Since the power station closures are at the behest of the EU, rather than due to end-of-life hardware, perhaps a bit of disobedience will be called for.

Mar 8, 2012 at 2:27 PM | Registered Commenterjamesp

I wonder if we might reasonably expect a journalist to ask a few questions unanswered in the book under review.

A recurring meme in the televised nightly news in the US is "questions are being asked" usually in association with the crash of an airliner driven by someone of dubious experience who had not slept in the 24 hours preceding the off-air port landing. What these questions might be is left to the imagination of the viewer. But to the point, someone has realized that there should be questions whether or not they are ever actually asked. At least a start.

I don't think this would be too much to expect of someone styling him/herself a scientific reporter. Such a question might be along the lines of "Author states but does not support with any observations, references, or logical development that pigs fly. My reading is that this assumption is the basis of much of his theory. The author's failure to more solidly establish this assertion seems to me to reneder all which follows unsupported."

Don't most of you (BH readers) dismiss a technical review which has no quibbles with the book reviewed? Quibbles provide insight into the clarity of the review.

Mar 8, 2012 at 2:39 PM | Unregistered Commenterj ferguson

I don't think anyone has mentioned this yet, but even when the tide of opinion turns, science will have been damaged by the whole AGW debacle.

Mar 8, 2012 at 3:17 PM | Unregistered Commentertimheyes

Some good comments here [as usual] but this is.................. [along my way of thinking] Cosmic:

Unfortunately, it will only end properly when it's caused an entirely avoidable crisis.

IMVeryHO cosmic, I think that the first major power outages will occur in about 2013 - that will be the effacement [will it be too late? - hopefully not] of the 'renewables madness' and the demolition of the 'green energy' lunacy + very possibly 'bring an axe' to some notable political careers. To boot, will be: the end of some eco-loony journalist's careers and cause a 'mass extinction event' of the dinosaurs of the clim-astrologists period.
Of course the other unfortunate event, avoidable crisis could happen today - via a Greek default.

Mar 8, 2012 at 3:22 PM | Unregistered CommenterAthelstan.

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