Give It Up, Progressives: You Have Lost the Global Warming Argument


After my attack on activist and environmental journalist Mark Lynas, I thought I’d test the waters with Tom Chivers who is a science editor at Buzzfeed.

Chivers has been a nemesis of mine since my days at the Telegraph. A likeable, good natured nemesis – but an irritant nonetheless. It’s bloody annoying when you’re a seasoned hack breaking stories like Climategate showing alarmists to be a bunch of lying charlatans and you’ve got some dogged progressive fresh out of ‘uni’ in the neighbouring pages, brandishing his science degree like it automatically trumps your Oxford arts degree, explaining patiently, goodnaturedly, passively aggressively that there’s this thing called the “science” and that what the “science” shows is that global warming is real, regardless of what some batshit crazy conspiracy theorist from the bad old days when the Telegraph was conservative might say.

So I thought I’d goad Tom, partly for the pure mischievous hell of it; but partly because I’m genuinely interested in seeing what coping strategies professional climate alarmists are going to adopt as their bankrupt theory crashes about their ears. Are they going to make a clean breast of things – admit they got the whole man-made-global-warming thing wrong and hope that we sceptics don’t shoot all our prisoners? Or are they going to go down with the sinking ship?

Well, this morning I had my answer from Mark Lynas.

Interesting. Such, even now, is his contempt for what he calls “climate deniers” that he feels under no obligation to defend himself against the perfectly valid criticism that he called “the Pause” completely wrong, misled his readers and traduced an honest journalist. He calls fair comment “trolling.” Clearly, he will  remain loyal to the Emperor on that remote Pacific island many decades after Hiroshima has been nuked.

But then, as alarmists go, Lynas is pretty out there: you need to be quite committed to do what Lynas once did to Bjorn Lomborg and assault someone with a custard pie at a book signing.

Surely, I thought to myself, there might be at least a little repositioning from the less dogmatic or at least more diplomatic Chivers. So I asked him whether he’d ever doubted the Pause and whether he’d since changed his position on it.

Here was his response:


I think we can draw some helpful conclusions from this, don’t you? Let’s assume, for a moment, that Tom Chivers is fairly representative of where moderate progressive types are on the climate change debate. Here is what his response suggests to me.

  1. Even now, alarmists continue to treat skeptics as a joke. Tom and I get on – yet he can but barely conceal his contempt for what he considers my ignorance. Quite often the mask slips in dismissive phrases like “it’s kind of tiresome” and “as you’ll know if you’ve read it.” The base assumption is that skeptics are slipshod, prone to cherry-picking, unscientific.
  2. Alarmists are unaware how quickly the debate is moving. They’re too ready to fall back on old certainties – like the long-since-debunked “missing heat in the deep oceans” excuse – too stubbornly dismissive properly to engage with new developments in the saga, such as the momentous investigation being conducted by Lamar  Smith into suspected data-manipulation by scientists as NOAA. You can’t just shrug this stuff off and go on saying: “Oh but the science…”
  3. Alarmists are still far too ready to misconstrue the skeptic case, to delude themselves that it is so shoddy and threadbare that it can be rebutted with a few glib turns of phrase. This is sadly obvious from Chivers’s first par. The reason skeptics didn’t report “gleefully” on the Science paper, Tom, is not simply because we didn’t like the way it rejected our beloved “Pause” but because – as very quickly became clear once it was scrutinised – it was scientifically weak and very likely corrupt and fraudulent. Hence that Senate investigation.  Hence the bizarre spectacle of even alarmists like Michael Mann trying to save their skin by endeavouring to dissociate themselves from such a tainted document – not out of scientific integrity but clearly out of fear.
  4. If you’re going to play on your sciencey credentials, as climate alarmists with science degrees are wont to do, then for heaven’s sake do at least try to grapple with the nuances of the actual science. Even if we accept that the data wasn’t manipulated and that 2015 was the warmest year on record, this was  because of El Nino not because of “global warming”. El Nino is weather. We will have to wait for the El Nino to end and the subsequent La Nina as well before we can say about the pause ending. To end a pause of 18 years or so because of short-term weather is stupid. One should never start or end an analysis of temperature trends on an El Nino year. Saying that the warming is back on is nonsense.

I am currently reading Mary Renault’s novels about one of my early role models, Alexander The Great. Before capturing another enemy city, Alexander would offer them an ultimatum. If they surrendered gracefully, he would show mercy and magnanimity. But if they were foolish enough to carry on the futile fight then he would slaughter them without mercy.

My view is that if you have lost the argument you should show your victor respect rather than mock him and scorn him with your ugly little cheap shots and wholly unmerited arrogance. I’m sorry, Tom Chivers, that you don’t get this.


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