I’ve just watched the
Channel 4 Sky news video clip to be seen here, in which Bob Ward, policy director at the Grantham Research Institute on Climate Change and the Environment, berates Fraser Nelson, editor of the Spectator, thus:
“… it’s remarkable how the so-called sceptics have been using this as a propaganda tool to promote a political end … People with a clear vested interest in creating public confusion because they want to undermine action on climate change, they should shut up and wait until the investigation is done rather than carry on a witch hunt.”
Fraser Nelson took exception to this, in particular because Fraser Nelson thinks that AGW is quite a bit truer than I now think it is. In other words, said Fraser Nelson, he is a true sceptic, rather than a “so-called sceptic”.
However, if Bob Ward had been shouting at someone like me, instead of at Fraser Nelson, as in his own mind he surely was, then he would have had a point. I definitely want the whole AGW thing to collapse in ruins, and suspect that it quite soon may collapse. In the meantime, I definitely do dislike all the regulations and taxes that Bob Ward and co want to see introduced, and I am most definitely using Climategate as a propaganda tool to promote that political end. I certainly prefer the current state of public confusion about climate science to the public unanimity that this confusion has now replaced. Insofar as I had any tiny part in helping to create and spread such confusion, and I did, I am a proud man.
But, as the true object of Bob Ward’s ire, I do have some incidental disagreements with him.
Bob Ward says that it is “remarkable” how people like me are using Climategate to score political points. No it isn’t. And the reason Bob Ward is so alert to the true nature of his politically biased and point-scoring enemies such as me is that he is quite clearly just such a creature himself. He is almost certainly telling lies, while I am sincerely trying to tell the truth. But when it comes to point-scoring and having a political agenda and being keen on propaganda, we are two of a kind.
Rather unpleasantly, Bob Ward says that we anti-AGW-ers should “shut up”. Well, yes, I’m sure he would like that. He and his team are now losing an argument that could end up wrecking all their careers, and he wants that argument to cease. But that is not a proof that it should cease, and of course there is no chance of that happening, now that the internet makes it so hard to shut people up.
Talking of shutting people up, and of the internet, the notion that we anti-AGW-ers should wait, in silence, for a “public inquiry” is also very bizarre. What on earth does Bob Ward think has been in progress on the internet for the last fortnight, if not a gigantic inquiry of the most public kind?
Telling people to “shut up” these days is rather ridiculous, so maybe I am making a bit too much of what is really just silly bluster. On the other hand, shutting people up was what some of the nastiest of those GRU emails were all about, so on second thoughts I think I am not making too much of this phrase. I wonder what kind of teacher Ward is, when teaching students who don’t share his worldview. I wonder what kind of scientist he is when faced with scientific disgreement. Not a nice one, and not a nice one, are my guesses. My guess is that Bob Ward is someone who says “Shut up!” rather a lot. Especially just lately.
I don’t have any “vested interest” in the sense of being paid by anyone to say the things I now say. My vested interest is intellectual rather than economic. Bob Ward’s vested interests, on the other hand, are both intellectual and economic. He stands to lose both an argument and a job if this argument carries on going against him.
Nor am I part of a witch hunt, exactly. A Bob Ward hunt yes, a witch hunt no. As has been said many times, and as is now going to have to be said many times more, the bad thing about the original medieval witch hunts is that those accused of witchcraft did not, on the whole, do the things they were accused of. They did not, for instance, fly across Europe on broomsticks at the dead of night and participate in Walpurgisnacht ceremonies. Lots were accused of this. None actually did this. This was an entirely imaginary crime. However, the victims of the anti-Communist “witchhunts” (sneer quotes there because the phrase was and is deliberately misleading) were, on the whole, guilty as charged. They were accused of being Communists and of being supporters of the vile tyranny that was the USSR, and they mostly were. Certainly many people were, at that time and since, guilty of being Communists and USSR supporters – real Communists, who did exactly the evil things that Communists were accused of. “Witchcraft”, on the other hand, was not actually practiced by anyone.
And now, a quite large number of climate scientists are, I believe, about to be proved guilty of manipulating the science of climate to create both unnecessary climate panic and consequent new global political arrangements that could do huge political and economic harm to the human species. Unlike all those poor medieval witches, most of them are probably once again: guilty as charged. They are green Communists, people who want the exact same global political and economic catastrophe that the earlier Communists worked so hard to achieve, but by using different arguments, different academic and scientific frauds and manipulations, different lies.
The basic problem with what Bob Ward said in his little contretemps with Fraser Nelson is not that Bob Ward is wrong about my motives, and he may even have been right also about Fraser Nelson’s motives. No, Bob Ward’s problem is that what we partisan politicos are saying about him and his fellow climate scientists is probably true. Wishing something to be true does not make it true, but neither does it make it false. What you want to be true sometimes is true. I and my political comrades do indeed want to believe that Bob Ward and his political comrades have been foisting a fraud upon the world, and we want this to be proved, asap. Boy, do we want it! We will rejoice at such an outcome, and absolutely will not be shutting up about the possibility of this, and reasons for hoping for this, in the meantime. But that does not mean that this outcome, if it materialises, will be unjust or untrue.