Launch of The Global Warming Policy Foundation
.... I have no idea whether the majority scientific view (and it is far from a consensus) is correct. Certainly, it is curious that, whereas their models predicted an acceleration in global warming this century as the growth in emissions accelerated, so far this century there has been no further warming at all. But the current majority view may still be right.
Even if it is, however, that cannot determine the right policy choice. For a warmer climate brings benefits as well as disadvantages. Even if there is a net disadvantage, which is uncertain, it is far less than the economic cost (let alone the human cost) of decarbonisation. Moreover, the greatest single attribute of mankind is our capacity to adapt to changing circumstances. By adapting to any warming that may occur over the next century, we can pocket the benefits and greatly reduce the disadvantages, at a cost that is far less than the cost of global decarbonisation — even if that could be achieved.
Moreover, the scientific basis for global warming projections is now under scrutiny as never before. The principal source of these projections is produced by a small group of scientists at the Climatic Research Unit (CRU), affiliated to the University of East Anglia.
Last week an apparent hacker obtained access to their computers and published in the blogosphere part of their internal e-mail traffic. And the CRU has conceded that the at least some of the published e-mails are genuine.
Astonishingly, what appears, at least at first blush, to have emerged is that (a) the scientists have been manipulating the raw temperature figures to show a relentlessly rising global warming trend; (b) they have consistently refused outsiders access to the raw data; (c) the scientists have been trying to avoid freedom of information requests; and (d) they have been discussing ways to prevent papers by dissenting scientists being published in learned journals.
There may be a perfectly innocent explanation. But what is clear is that the integrity of the scientific evidence on which not merely the British Government, but other countries, too, through the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, claim to base far-reaching and hugely expensive policy decisions, has been called into question. And the reputation of British science has been seriously tarnished. A high-level independent inquiry must be set up without delay.
It is against all this background that I am announcing today the launch of a new high-powered all-party (and non-party) think-tank, the Global Warming Policy Foundation (www.thegwpf.org), which I hope may mark a turning-point in the political and public debate on the important issue of global warming policy. At the very least, open and reasoned debate on this issue cannot be anything but healthy. The absence of debate between political parties at the present time makes our contribution all the more necessary.