Ed Davey warns about alliances between anti EU campaigners and climate change deniers

Former Liberal Democrat Energy and Climate Change Secretary Ed Davey has warned about alliances developing between climate change sceptics and anti EU campaigners.

The Guardian reports that he has written to the head of the Vote Leave campaign to point out the damage associating with those who dispute climate change could do to their campaign and, ultimately, to the UK’s international reputation:

Davey writes: “The campaign you lead, Vote Leave, seems ready to ally itself with climate change deniers who are on the wrong side of scientific evidence and international consensus … If you will not unequivocally distance yourself from both Ukip and Nigel Lawson, it will be clear that your campaign wants not only to take Britain to the fringes of the international community but do so by holding fringe views.”

He concludes his letter by saying Britain can best meet global challenges through co-ordinated action with its EU partners, a point previously made by Barack Obama and China’s Xi Jinping.

The Liberal Democrat former cabinet minister writes: “Vote Leave now has an urgent duty to tell the British people whether is stands on the side of science and international cooperation, or whether it indulges extreme views that would not only isolate Britain from Europe but from the entire international community.”

Ed will be making several visits to the climate change talks.

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  • nigel hunter 10th Dec '15 - 11:05am

    Should not Lawsons organisation be called ANTI Global Warming Foundation as it does not believe in it? The floods come from atmospheric changes, they are Global At this time of year in the past we have had frost cold winds and SNOW, the weather is mild, wet, Spring weather. This happened last year as well, freak weather is occasional not yearly.

  • Richard Underhill 10th Dec '15 - 11:17am

    The reduction from 2% to 1.5% of the climate change target is really important. So is the statement in the Commons by the current government minister that climate causes extreme weather, such as the floods in Cumbria. She may have intended to imply that enough had been done on defences. If so she is wrong.
    The government has also kicked into the long grass the question of noise pollution and air quality at airports, partially caused by planes, partially by passenger and freight traffic on roads and by diesel engined rail traffic.
    Diesel is particularly noxious because the fine particles emitted are not filtered out by the breathing systems of humans, or other animals, such as dogs on leads.

  • Using the term “deniers” for people who disagree with aspects of the science is a deliberate smear aimed at raising memories of the holocaust and those who denied that it occurred. This is despicable and says much about Mr Davey.

  • @Peter – while the association is largely one of your own making, it’s not wholly inappropriate.

    Here is a huge humanitarian (and environmental) problem, that all the reputable evidence proves, and suggests is both serious and urgent… Yet “deniers” continue to claim otherwise, citing conspiracies and bad science.

    Besides which… would it really hurt you/them if we strive, as a species, to be a more efficient & less polluting (even if our lives & planet didn’t depend on it)?

  • @AM I find your first sentence to be rather unpleasant.

    Nevertheless, there is indisputable evidence that the climate models are flawed, but with trillions of dollars riding on their predictions the scientists are not going to admit that they have made mistakes.

  • Richard Underhill 10th Dec '15 - 1:18pm

    Peter 10th Dec ’15 – 12:57pm Please see “An inconvenient truth”

  • clive english 10th Dec '15 - 1:30pm

    no Peter there is not indisputable evidence that the climate change model is flawed, There is, however, pretty clear evidence of practices that would disgrace FIFA in the governance and so called Peer Review mechanisms at the misnamed Global Warming Foundation. As for the term deniers it seems appropriate for those who put prejudices above factual research either in Science or History.

  • @Peter – “Nevertheless, there is indisputable evidence that the climate models are flawed, but with trillions of dollars riding on their predictions the scientists are not going to admit that they have made mistakes.”

    All scientific models are flawed! The question you are failing to ask is: with trillions of dollars riding on their predictions are the deniers going to admit that they may be mistaken in their beliefs…

  • I see it is hopeless trying to have a serious discussion with those who prefer to use name calling.

    The test of a simulation model is its ability to correctly hindcast and forecast the system it is supposed to be modelling. The climate models all fail this test. That is a simple fact.

    Gore’s film is badly flawed too, as ruled by the high court.

  • As a scientist, I ignore the propaganda and look at the data. The data says that the models are unfit for purpose since their predictions are badly wrong when compared with observations. Yet these models are the basis of climate policy and the driving force behind the decisions being taken in Paris.


  • David Allen 10th Dec '15 - 4:59pm

    “I see it is hopeless trying to have a serious discussion with those who prefer to use name calling.” “As a scientist, I ignore the propaganda and look at the data.” “There is indisputable evidence”. “Using the term “deniers” for people who disagree with aspects of the science is a deliberate smear aimed at raising memories of the holocaust”

    That’s a very high horse you have climbed up on to!

    Why do you suppose that the overwhelming majority of climate scientists disagree with you? Do you think they have all taken bribes from the likes of Greenpeace? (Of course, Greenpeace have vastly more money to splash around than Exxon-Mobil and the Koch brothers, haven’t they!)

  • Here we go again. Yes, Christy is correct in as far as he actually dares to go – there could be some aspect we’re all missing right now that would invalidate the models. And yes, the models are not perfect. That’s why they’re called ‘the models’ and not ‘the all-knowing Oracle’.

    What Christy, and Peter too if he is indeed a scientist, need to do is to go away and come up with something that explains the observed trends better than the existing models. The minute they can do that, Nobel Prizes, research grants and a place in scientific history to rival that of any other heterodox diehard proved right in the end awaits.

    Until that point, while their contribution remains at this level of alleging without evidence that it’s all a big conspiracy of money, silence and patronage, its a case of the rest of us merely noting that while they laughed at Galileo and though they laughed at Copernicus, they also laughed at Boffo the Clown and he never had anything serious to say about science either.

  • Richard Underhill 10th Dec '15 - 10:01pm

    Peter 10th Dec ’15 – 3:41pm “Gore’s film is badly flawed too, as ruled by the high court.” The High Court did not say that.
    Please read the link posted about Dimmock v Secretary of State for Education and Skills.
    As Al Gore said ” Of the thousands of facts in the film, the judge only took issue with just a handful. And of that handful, we have the studies to back those pieces up.”
    Subsequent research strengthens the case.

  • Richard, I’m sorry, but I do not regard anything Gore says as a serious contribution to the science. His main achievement has been to make a very large amount of money out of climate change. I prefer to get my information from scientific publications.

    T-J, a scientist I know has identified the flaw in the models. I expect it will take some considerable time to get his work published and recognised but he will get there in the end. The problem lies with the model architecture not with the physics, so the science really is sound but the way the model calculates the consequences is wrong. It exaggerates the warming by a factor of five and makes necessary the famous hotspot in the troposphere – a feature that scientists have searched for over fifty years but never found.

  • @Peter

    Until your friend has his discovery peer-reviewed and published, us mere mortals must accept the current consensus – based on the published and scrutinised research by people much better informed than us – rather than taking your word for it. Thus, the models we have are the best approximation of a hugely complex system and are exactly what our response should be based upon.

    If you or your friend does produce a convincing argument against data we rely on, then we should revise our policy accordingly. That’s how science works, as I’m sure you’re aware.

    Not acting, on the basis that something may be only 95.5% accurate rather than 95.6% accurate may be leaving things a little to late, considering the speed of our response is glacial as it is.

  • As a scientist, I do tend to account of a person’s background and track record:

    “Quoting John Christy On Climate Change Is Like Quoting Dick Cheney On Iraq”

  • Roland, Joe Romm is one of the most notorious and outrageous climate activists on the planet. If you trawl the net for misinformation and smears you will find plenty.

    Scientists like John Christy, Judith Curry and others are smeared, intimidated, threatened. Anyone who dares to challenge the climate change gravy train has a tough time.

  • Peter – Sorry I omitted the smiley as I didn’t say whether I agreed or not; but Joe Romm is also a ‘scientist’, being in possession of PhD from MIT…

    One of the big problems with climate change science is that research is being conducted in the media and political spotlight, which is forcing the debate into a more adversarial contest, with little real thought as to what are the real implications – remember with climate change the spectators don’t live on earth! Something I think many of the strident deniers (and particularly those who Davey is referring to) forget…

    So yes the climate models are probably wrong and are in need of refinement – something we all should be focused on, as until these models are ‘correct’ we have no real model of our climate and so have zero knowledge of whether there is or isn’t a problem! This leaves us in a predicament, namely as caretakers of the earth for future generations, should we simply carry on regardless or should we take steps that we believe will mitigate the worst excesses?

    Remember the issue isn’t so much whether the earth’s biosphere can survive geologically rapid climate change, it most probably will, but whether 9+ billion humans and our global high-tech society can survive – given the disruption we’ve seen in recent years due to weather events I suggest not without some fundamental change… And as AM notes, such change is likely to take decades, given how little has been achieved since circa 1970 when scientists really started making projections and sounding the wake-up…

  • For those who are interested, I can give a hugely simplified explanation of the major flaw (there are several) in the basic model.)

    Solar radiation warms the earth’s surface. Our atmosphere is effectively transparent to the visible sunlight. In order to maintain a constant temperature, the earth’s surface radiates infra red radiation to space. Energy in equals energy out at equilibrium.

    Greenhouse gases can absorb IR radiation and re-emit it in random directions. The presence of such gas in the atmosphere leads to some opacity to IR radiation, effectively trapping heat in the atmosphere. This is the warming process.

    Arrhenius produced the first model back in 1894. As scientists started to quantify the variables, they made the calculations easier by equating the energy retained in the atmosphere to extra sunlight received at the surface. This is ok because it retains the overall energy balance. This became embedded in the basic climate models and gave good agreement with observation when greenhouse gas theory came into fashion again in the Seventies and Eighties when warming was strong.

    Unfortunately, the two mechanisms are not equivalent at all. Direct surface warming is not the same as the retention of heat in the atmosphere especially when calculating the subsequent feedbacks – how the system responds to the changes. In reality, the retained heat in the atmosphere warms up the water vapour there, which immediately radiates most of the heat to space.

    It seems incredible that this error has been retained but think of the models today as huge, highly complex jigsaw puzzles. Today’s scientists are concerned with the details of an ever more complex model. They regard the original pieces at the centre of the model as correctly completed decades ago.

    An Australian scientist knew that the models are flawed since today they do not agree with observations. As a model expert, he wanted to understand why, and spent three years looking for the flaw. He found others as well, for example, the use of partial differentials when there are dependent variables (remember your calculus?) which is meaningless and bad mathematics.

    The physics is correct but the way the model is constructed is wrong. It will take a long time to break down the likely resistance. Imagine trying to present this at Paris!

  • I should have added that when the model is modified to the correct architecture, the warming is much less. For a doubling of carbon dioxide the warming is about half a degree which is more beneficial than a problem. It also means that much of the warming of last century was due to natural causes.

    The corrected model does not predict a hot spot in the troposphere. The official models do predict the famous hotspot which 28 million radiosonde devices launched since 1950 have failed to find.

  • Peter
    You are becoming boring. And you are proving the point of the original article by talking about climate change “gravy trains”. Europhobes have used that smear for many years against MEPS etc). By the way, I thought you were against smears?

  • Andrew McCaig 13th Dec '15 - 1:39am

    Climate models are very complex, there are several out there with differing assumptions which make different predictions, and of course they cannot all be correct… Nevertheless the atmosphere and hydrosphere do seem to be warming and the most important thing here is the oceans, since they contain a lot more heat than the atmosphere. While there was a flattening of the warming curve of the atmosphere from 2002 to 2013, the increase in heat contained in the oceans continued unabated. And now it looks like 2015 will be by some distance the warmest year ever in the atmospheric record (and 2014 was the previous warmest).

    Well, the models may or may not turn out to be correct, but personally I don’t much like doing giant experiments on the planet my grandchildren will have to inhabit!

  • I find it bemusing that deniers keep talking about a “climate change gravy train”. Why is it just climate scientists who get accused of riding a gravy train to get funding? What about scientists researching cures for cancer, or particle physicists? They depend on the existence of cancer or sub-atomic particles that no one can see in order to make a living, so are they on a gravy train too?

    Or is it just that there aren’t any massive, well funded vested interests who stand to lose out from new cancer treatments……..

  • Andrew,
    There has been a temperature pause for nearly 19 years. If any one of these years was a record then all the rest are, too. The tiny differences that differentiate the data points are smaller than the errors. Increased heat in the oceans was put forward by Kevin Trenberth about two years ago to explain the pause. No evidence has been found to support his case. The heating could only be by IR and water is opaque to IR. Heat at the surface results in evaporation, not warming. The seas warm by visible solar radiation and that is constant.

    Tim, where are the trillions of dollars going?

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