Upcoming: Spectator Global Warming Debate

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Spectator Debate: The Global Warming Hysteria Is Over. Time For A Return To Sanity

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global warming hysteria
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The number of people in the UK who do not believe in global warming has doubled in the last two years, according to a poll from the Office for National Statistics. Does this represent an alarming success in a war against science? Or the common sense of a British public who can see the claims of the climate alarmists dissolve before their eyes?
Join the Spectator debate, chaired by Andrew Neil, on Tuesday 29 March at the Royal Geographical Society, London, SW7 between 6 p.m. and 8.30 p.m.

FOR the motion:

  • Lord Nigel Lawson, Chairman, Global Warming Policy Foundation
  • Dr Benny Peiser, Director, Global Warming Policy Foundation
  • Graham Stringer MP,, Member of House of Commons Science and Technology Committee

AGAINST the motion:

  • Professor Tim Palmer, Royal Society Research Professor in Climate Physics, Oxford University
  • Simon Singh, Science Writer
  • Professor Sir David King, Director of the Smith School of Enterprise and the Environment, and former Government Chief Scientific Adviser

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61 thoughts on “Upcoming: Spectator Global Warming Debate

  1. Can not be there but would love to see the debate, hopefully it will be taped, i for one would buy it. Why is the good Lord Monkton not in the debate, now that would really be worth the price of the plane ticket to see.

    Roger i hope your right about it finally beginning

  2. As the masses are educated, fewer and fewer of them buy the AGW fraud. The hysteria that once gripped them has been cleared. The con is over.

  3. The warmist side hasn’t won a proper debate in ages. because in proper debates you have to follow the rules – no appeals to consensus or appeals to emotion.

  4. All right !!! Finally a real debate !!!
    Sign up soon Brits, seats are limited.

    But what *was* the motion?

  5. It is difficult to win a debate you already lost. Sort of like the fraud paying his barrister with a bad check.

  6. Sarcasm = ON

    Didn’t Al Gore tell us, “The debate is over!!!”
    What need do we have for a debate.

    In other news, as we have known, the debate was long over for the Earth being at the center of the Universe. The scientific consensus said that, so the debate is over!!!!

  7. I would love to see a good debate. But this one makes it look like it is a debate between politicians and scientists.

    Nigel Lawson and Graham Stringer may be good men, but they are politicians. Benny Peiser may be a good man, but he is not earth scientist or climate scientist.

    Tim Palmer is professor of climate physics. David King is listed as former chief science advisor to the government, but he trained as a physical chemist and was even considered for a Nobel Prize. Simon Singh is a science writer… okay, that may not mean much.

    Even if Lawson, Stringer and Peiser win people may say “They’re politicians! They’re good at talking. The real scientists are on the other side.”

    I would rather see politicians debate politicians and scientists debate scientists. Are there no skeptical scientists in the UK willing to step up for a debate?

  8. K, carry the day, guys! Carry the day. There is much at stake. For this day, the world turns its weary eyes towards you. Do it right, and do it well.

    Godspeed.

  9. So the debate appears to be focused on the question of whether being unsupportive of AGW consensus climate science centered on the IPCC (which is the problematical science that society is distrusting more and more) is the same thing as being unsupportive of all science.

    Well, if that is true, then the debate is not about the details of ongoing scientific advancement by skeptical scientists. It focuses on why is there the significant and growing distrust of the AGW consensus climate science. OK, that basically puts the pro AGW side initially on the defensive.

    I notice the lack of a hard scientist on the Peisner, Lawson, Stringer team. So that would confirm to me that this is debate is focused on the reasons for the increasingly distrustful view by society of AGW consensus climate science rather than looking at the detailed science.

    John

  10. Would be fun to watch. I see some version of Dr. Strangelove pounding on a hockey stick chart and getting delirious. And some Dead Parrot moments.

    But what’s this “Global Warming”? It thought “Climate Change” or “Climate Disruption” was the fuzzy new term. So, a weasel could say, yes, Global Warming Hysteria is over because now we need to shift to Climate Disruption Hysteria. The kind that fears warmcold, and keeps feeding the Green Pig.

    Anyhow, it will be fun watching the spin come out of this.

  11. I’d like to see a British climate physicist also on the “For” side. Maybe Duncan Wingham, University College, London.

  12. Anthony – you absolutely must inform your readers how we can view this debate in its entirety. I live in the western U.S. and cannot afford the travel, but I, too, would be more than willing to buy a dvd of the debate. Where can we subscribe to it?

  13. Ron Cram says:
    March 7, 2011 at 10:05 pm

    I agree. The “for” team needs another scientist to replace one of the politicians, preferably a specialist like Roy Spencer for Lord Lawson (who is a somewhat reserved, quietly spoken man). Sir Patrick Moore is another option. He is very well known, highly respected, immensely popular and his opinions would carry weight.

  14. Will the debate be recorded by video for general consumption?
    It could be made into a short series -if the will was there!
    Would any network be courageous enough to show it?
    As it seems that we are entering a cooler period, for possibly 20 years,would somebody ask the “against team” if they could explain’what weather events,temperature changes etc will be required in order that they would strongly reconsider their position .

  15. Steven Mosher says:
    March 7, 2011 at 11:18 pm
    The debate is not about the science.>>>

    That sentence would be of so much more value of it was followed by what the debate IS about…

  16. Instead of Lawson I would have preferred to see one climate science sceptic. It seems the other side seems to have at least two people qualified to speak on climate science. Dr. Benny Peiser is a social scientist apparently.

  17. Just as others have said here; the balance is wrong. Clearly the scientists in the opposition camp will make hay leaving all sorts of straw men around for the politicos to fall over. I’ve got really bad vibes about this.

  18. The Brits don’t trust the AGW anymore becaue they feel manipulated by the scientific leaders. “Trust me I am a scientist” doesn’t work anymore. Since we Brits concocted the AGW proactive movement, and then undermined it with our own CRU, it would be fitting for the Brits to nail stand up, own up, and terminate what has become a scam.

    Opinions can changed slightly by the most compelling presentations, but compelling doesn’t mean correct. We all wonder at the “magic” performed in front of our eyes by those who seem to do the impossible by sleight of hand, and we know scientists can do the same to us, just as politicians too.

    A science debate would be welcome if the science was the issue, but it increasingly looks as though it is not the issue, and perhaps it never was.

  19. I am not convinced that this will be an impartial debate and with Andrew Neil moderating, the chances of the alarmists winning this is quite high.

  20. You cannot debate purely on a purely scientific basis, the ‘science’ of AGW is defenestrated.

    This was always about politics, tax and control, that’s why the British have smelled the stink of corruption, the lies, deception and science fiction of drying Amazon basins and 35 year span – ice retreat in the Himalayas etc.
    Recently they’ve become ever dafter, Rahmstorf, claiming the European Winters are the product of a ‘warming’ Arctic, and the more cyclones/tornadoes/heat waves/ mean climate change is down to MMCO2e = outrageous pap but the alarmists grow desperate as the [British and world] public grow weary of the hype and downright lies.

    Pity Marc Morano wasn’t coming to town, how many of the ‘anti’s’ for this debate, will actually roll up??

  21. I really hope that this is a bright light beginning to shine for the skeptics. Make sure that you write to your MP, a letter, not an email. MPs are obliged to answer letters addressed to them at the Houses of Parliament. The only way to get the “great and good” to listen to the rest of us is to be a real pain in the A**, in a nice polite way.
    Good for the Spectator, good for common sense, good for true science. The current view of the Met Offfice in the UK is that they would give more accurate forecasts by checking pine cones every morning.

  22. Meanwhile in Australia, the following TV interview was held jus a few minutes ago.
    Hot off the airwaves:

    Chris Ulman is the new joint presenter on the Australian ABC 7.30 pm news review program.
    Chris really got stuck into Julia Gillard, the Austrailian PM who is touring the USA.
    He told her, very directly, that the world is moving away from taxing carbon (read CO2 emissions), particularly in the USA.
    After the interview, he subsequently went into some detail on this.

    He also challenged the PM on the record low rating of her Labor government in the latest public opinion polls.
    He commented that the government were doing just as bad a job as did former PM Kevin Rudd.
    KR lost his position as PM in large part because he had lost the debate on CO2 taxes.

    This is the first time that anybody on the ABC TV has come clean about the real position.

  23. I agree with much of the sentiment already noted. Wish I could be there. Why is there no scientist on the pro side? Why were people like Lord Monkton, Stephen Wilde, Piers Corbyn, Richard Lindzen, etc., not invited to speak, & why was Albert $4M on San Francisco sea front property despite 20ft sea-level rises Gore, not also, if only to publicise his decline to enter into debate?

  24. I’d trust Andrew Neill to be impartial. The debate may or may not be strictly about science but surely the For side would benefit from one more scientist and one less politician.

  25. Ken Hall 12:31:
    Andrew Neil is decidedly sceptical. He won’t let alarmists get away with any of their usual rubbish.

  26. It is good to see that at long last a debate is actually taking place. However, the wording of the motion is rather unsatisfactory and does not necessarily lead to a detailed argument on the scence; it may direct argument more towards examination of policy response.

  27. Andrew Neil will be fair and impartial, you just have to look at a couple of his other small debates he had on his own program, regarding climate issues, to recognise this.

  28. The first of The Spectator’s questions is begged, in that to answer, there has to be an assumption that there is a “war against science”, which of course, there isn’t.

    The ‘war’ is against science which is “Betrüger”…

  29. This is what is going to be debated:
    “The number of people in the UK who do not believe in global warming has doubled in the last two years, according to a poll from the Office for National Statistics. Does this represent an alarming success in a war against science? Or the common sense of a British public who can see the claims of the climate alarmists dissolve before their eyes?”

    So it isn’t about AGW as such, but about ‘anti-science’ v ‘common sense’.
    Having Graham Stringer, MP, participating is a stroke of genius. He is a Labour MP, but he also is a scientist and was the only one in the various Parliamentary Special Committee meetings about the whitewashes to ask the pertinent scientific questions which infallibly had the likes of Jones, Oxburgh etc squirm.

    Can’t go meself, so am hoping for a video. Perhaps someone will do a liveblog, e.g. here: http://bishophill.squarespace.com/

  30. I was First Speaker in many successful debating teams. Defining the terms lays the ground for what follows. What is the structure of this ‘debate’?

  31. There are so many aspects to this controversy that there ought to be half a dozen debates scheduled, one on each.

  32. This is what is going to be debated:
    “The number of people in the UK who do not believe in global warming has doubled in the last two years, according to a poll from the Office for National Statistics. Does this represent an alarming success in a war against science? Or the common sense of a British public who can see the claims of the climate alarmists dissolve before their eyes?”
    ———————————————————————–
    Back again as a First Speaker of some experience. Weasel words abound, like implying that common sense and ‘science’ are somehow opposed, and that they are the only alternatives. I would almost kill to get this gig. They would not know what hit them.

    And, yes, look forward to it being available as widely as possible.

  33. As nearly everyone has mentioned: What is the specific question? There is no clarity in the announcement. It may be only a debate over the poll results, and what would be the point of that?

  34. Steven Mosher says:
    March 7, 2011 at 11:18 pm
    The debate is not about the science.

    It would also be carry more value if it had any basis in fact. I too would prefer more illustrious scientists from the for side of the discussion. Cristy, Lindzen, Spencer. But they are all american because the discussion has been squashed in the UK. It really is a dirty little socialist dictatorship these days. Fortunately, evryone knows that the great bit has long since gone. I would not pay 10€ to see this debate. I cannot see any value in it at all. The speakers are not the main protaganists. We need Jones, Mann, Hansen and Hune with Cristy et al. Shame really a great opportunity blown.

  35. I smell a setup. This will just be an attempt to “whitewash” the “Debate” the same as they whitewashed Climategate.

    The Royal Society on the “Against” side?

    Come on.

  36. Well, by reading Lawson’s wikipage, it would appear I may be mistaken. Maybe.

    It looks like the skeptic arguement will be on the “For” side not the “Against”.

  37. Amongst political commentators in the UK Andrew Neil is the biggest beast in the jungle. He will be a good chairman. I’m looking forward to the event and am also looking forward to enjoying a few glasses of Rioja with other WUWT appreciators.

  38. I would love to watch this and throw in with all the others for a webcast or DVD.

    Personally I hope this is about the politics as IMHO the science is not the crux: in the ‘which came first’ debate the politics or the science the resounding winner and inescapable conclusion is the politics.

    I mean really, what hard science are they going to promote? Two beakers with thermometers, one with a higher ppm of CO2 and a couple of 100watt bulbs? The only “science” they have is model based. Or maybe they’ll bring up a century dead hypothesis by Arrhenius, that he later recanted?

    It is no longer possible even to say with a straight face that CO2 drives global temps due to the fact that CO2 has risen 40% and the temp has gone up in tenths of a degree C (0.7C)…really? That’s going to be their argument?

    Whe it sounds like, smells like, tastes like, looks like, and feels like natural variability to anyone with common sense and even a surperfluous knowledge of historical climate, then that’s what it is and that is why they can’t get their message across. No, they will keep it as political as possible with just sound bites of science from the AGW camp (stick and jab, then run away).

    Hopefully (assuredly?) Stringer et al will be on their game. Politics is what started this mess (again, IMO) and hopefully that’s where it will end. As soon as all the enabling / motivating / corrupting grants dry up so will the charlatan “scientists” leave town. Who knows? After all the harm they’ve done maybe a few will even be tarred & feathered while others will end up in the pokey. :-)

  39. “Number of people who BELIEVE in Global Warming?????

    Try this on for size –

    I believe in God, the Father Almighty,
    the Maker of heaven and earth,
    and in Jesus Christ, His only Son, our Lord:

    Who was conceived by the Holy Ghost,
    born of the virgin Mary,
    suffered under Pontius Pilate,
    was crucified, dead, and buried;

    He descended into hell. [See Calvin]

    The third day He arose again from the dead;

    He ascended into heaven,
    and sitteth on the right hand of God the Father Almighty;
    from thence he shall come to judge the quick and the dead.

    I believe in the Holy Ghost;
    the holy catholic church;
    the communion of saints;
    the forgiveness of sins;
    the resurrection of the body;
    and the life everlasting.

    Amen.

    ———————–

    That’s called “Faith”, that is called RELIGION!

    But that is NOT science, or “verifiable” or testable.

    The fact that people are using the phrase, “Believe in Global Warming”…shows that it is NOT, REPEAT….NOT!!!!!! Science. But a religion.

    And the amazing thing is the “true believers” can’t see it.

    One talks about “civility” in the debeat. How about this. I REFUSE to be “civil” to ANYONE who couches things in terms of “belief”.

    If I can find someone who THINKS THAT THE ENERGY BALANCE OF THE ATMOSPHERE HAS BEEN SHIFTED TO A NET INWARD (until the black body re-radiation matches the input) by “CO2″ changes since WWII… and wants to argue facts, figures, analysis, etc. FINE.

    But arguing with a ‘believer’…well, ALLAH ACKBAR!

    Max

  40. The Spectator has been the most critical part of the mainstream British media. The editor Fraser Nelson went head to head with Bob Ward on Climategate and a recent article by Matt Ridley explained the significance of the O’Donnell refutation of Steig.

    Some doubts have been expressed about the impartiality of Andrew Neil. If anything he has shown his colours more for the sceptic side of debate both in his blog and interviewing true believers.

    Graham Stringer, though a politician now was a scientist: the only one on the Commons Select committee and the only one to have read The Hockey Stick Illusion.

    Expect a good debate.

  41. Sorry to disagree with Max, but belief is an inevitable factor in all spheres. The idea that science itself is outside of “belief” is a false belief in itself, one of the biggest delusions of the day, and falsified by many examples from history. Indeed, any poll of opinions is about beliefs – the way someone is thinking based upon their particular received/interpreted knowledge, and is integrated into their world view usually to support it.

    It is hard to separate two belief systems (AGW and non-AGW in this case), so both sides wish to take the “pure science” high ground, pretending that belief has nothing to do with it. In both cases it is not true, but neither side can afford to admit it.

  42. On many fronts, from Berkley’s BEST, to Lisbon, to the sweet reason running rampant at the Curry blog, and now this rigged debate, the sceptic camp is being co-opted. Trust but verify. Negotiate but keep your powder dry.
    If this were a military situation sceptics would be about as prepared as Poland in 1939. The first ploy of a foe who faces or has suffered a defeat is to negotiate so that he can gain time to rearm and redeploy. I give you Stalin’s redeployment of his manufacturing base to east of the Urals while under treaty to help Hitler dissect Poland.
    Sceptics have presented a real threat to Alarmists. Alarmists have at least a modicum of organization and leadership and a lot to lose. They are not done fighting and have no intention of giving up their sinecures. It is apparent from Climategate that the Alarmist camp is coherent enough to accomplish some actions to protect itself. Indeed, there now appears to be a monolithic response to every attack on Alarmism.
    Sceptics need leadership, goals and a plan. Rants are fun, but they don’t really impress the bad guys.

  43. I think there certainly is a war on science, but it’s coming from within.

    Scientific inquiry has been co-opted by propagandists (and by PhDs who’ve either been bought or brainwashed by politicians and investors who had their eye on making it big in the carbon credits scheme). Science should not be a matter of “repeat after me”. It ought to be about observation and experimentation and learning new things about the world.

    It’s time for scientists who genuinely believe in scientific inquiry to take back their field of study. And it’s time for regular folks (like me) to stop nodding and turning the page when we read nonsense in the paper. I’d like to think the game is up. I guess time will tell.

  44. BargHumer says:
    March 8, 2011 at 8:38 am

    @Joanna

    From your experience, how would you expect this debate to pan out?
    ——————————————————–
    I have no idea, but as I said earlier, a lot depends on whether the skeptics allow the CAGW side to define the terms. As the topic is loaded with value judgements and false dichotomies, clarifying what the real issues for discussion are is absolutely critical.

  45. What a shame. There is no sensible motion there to debate.
    Just about everybody, whatever his or her view on climate science, will agree that hysteria is bad and sanity is good.

  46. Lord Lawson of Blaby may actually be a very good choice! Scientific credentials: 0! However; he was a part of the government that created the Tyndall centre and the CRU!

    DaveE.

  47. I have a bad feeling about this. I couldn’t believe that this, in fact, was the motion to be debated:

    \\ “The number of people in the UK who do not believe in global warming has doubled in the last two years, according to a poll from the Office for National Statistics. Does this represent an alarming success in a war against science? Or the common sense of a British public who can see the claims of the climate alarmists dissolve before their eyes?” //

    Let’s take the three sentences in order:

    1. \\ The number of people in the UK who do not believe in global warming has doubled in the last two years, according to a poll from the Office for National Statistics. //

    Is this an undisputed fact? Seems pretty fuzzy to me. What poll? When? How was it worded?
    It if is a fact, the public is stupid because global warming is a physical fact — otherwise this planet would be an ice cube. The is not “global warming”, but “Catastrophic Global Warming” that the public finding increasingly dubious.

    So is it the public “do not believe in global warming” or that the public “do not believe in global warming [as an imminent threat to our lives]” As the ridiculous premise is stated it should call into question the competence (and fairness) of the organizing body.

    2. \\ Does this represent an alarming success in a war against science? // Yep, sure does. Global warming is a physical fact. If the public does not believe in a physical fact, it must be because they have been fooled into a fantasy. Of course, it might be public science education is atrocious. Or it might represent incredibly bad polling questions. Or bad reporting of poll results. Thanks to a poorly formed premise, this is a mess.

    Only the third sentence gives hope to a “skeptic”

    \\ Or the common sense of a British public who can see the claims of the climate alarmists dissolve before their eyes? // To argue this one, you must put on display for ridicule the claims of climate alarmists [and alleged alarmists, fortunately this is inclusive]. It should be like shooting fish in a barrel. It is a target rich environment.

    And then, in the summer of 1988, public concern over climate change reignited dramatically. Heat waves and droughts were already flaring up when NASA scientist James Hansen made his famous appearance before a Congressional committee chaired by Senator Tim Wirth as, outside the building, temperatures reached an all-time high. Hansen said to journalists afterwards that it was time to “stop waffling, and say that the evidence is pretty strong that the greenhouse effect is here”.xxiii As the summer wore on – with Hurricane Gilbert, the worst forest fires in a century and the Mississippi River falling so low that barge traffic was halted – the media leapt on climate change as never before. The number of American newspaper articles about global warming rose tenfold between 1987 and 1988; and by September 1988, polling found that 58 per cent of Americans had heard or read about the greenhouse effect http://www.global-greenhouse-warming.com/birth-of-IPCC.html

  48. The picture accompanying the advert is a bit worrying … bloated plutocrat using the world!

  49. There’s no doubt about the motion. It’s as follows: “The global warming hysteria is over. Time for a return to sanity.”

    As Bart has indicated, it’s poorly worded: using “hysteria” and “sanity” allows the team opposing the motion to focus simply on whether such terms are appropriate rather than on relevant issues such as the dearth of evidence. All they have to establish is (a) that “hysteria” is an absurd way to describe recent scientific findings and (b) that climate scientists have not abandoned sanity. That would put the onus on the supporting team to show that the phrasing is justified. I suppose that, given the history of this matter, they might just conceivably prevail re hysteria. But I think they’d struggle to persuade the audience that climate scientists are insane.

    A debate on such lines would be a huge opportunity missed. Better surely if it were phrased so that the debate had to focus on the real issues? I hope (and expect) that the participants will ignore the motion and do just that. But it’s unfortunate that the Spectator has created this unnecessary uncertainty.

  50. It really is sad. Here are these people at The Spectator sincerely trying to promote rational debate, and yet they completely fail to formulate a motion that would promote rational debate.
    It’s still not too late. The Spectator should have another try, and if some of their advertised speakers then say they aren’t happy to debate a straightforward one-simple-sentence motion, then so be it.

  51. Thanks, Robin. It did not occur to me that the title was the official wording of the motion. There still seems some room for doubt. A couple of others previously in this thread were confused, too.

  52. “The global warming hysteria is over”
    The assumption that man-made CO2 caused the Warming. The believers believe this assumption and the sceptics are sceptical of this assumption.
    “Time for a return to sanity”
    Understanding the importance of trying to prove an assumption to be right or wrong using an Atmospheric chamber (Jaworowski, 2007) or the Atmosphere of Mars (Ferenc M. Miskolczi, 2007) to prove that Man-made CO2 has produced an irrelevant 0.01 Kelvin increase in over 100 years.

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