Nigel Lawson Wins Climate Policy Bet

From the GWPF

Oliver Letwin, David Cameron’s chief policy adviser, has conceded defeat in a £100 climate policy bet with Nigel Lawson which they had agreed four and a half years ago.

Towards the end of a climate debate between the two Conservative heavy-weights in the July 2008 issue of Standpoint, the following exchange took place:

Oliver Letwin: Nigel can’t know whether there is going to be a successor to Kyoto.
Nigel Lawson: Well, look, there’ll be an international agreement in the sense that there will be platitudes. The acid test is: will there be an agreement to have binding cutbacks for all participants on their carbon emissions? Instead of arguing about it, we could have a wager on it.
Oliver Lewtin: I’d be very happy to have a wager, and I offer you a £100 bet that before either of us is dead, whichever is the first — our estates can pay — we will see a very substantial agreement on carbon reduction.

 


Nigel Lawson: But I don’t think I want the bet to be “in my lifetime” because I’d like to get the £100. I’m sorry it’s such a modest amount you’re prepared to wager — it shows how unconfident you are — but I would like to be able to collect before I die. So I think we should say “by the time Kyoto runs out”, because there is meant to be no hiatus; there is meant to be a successor to Kyoto. So “by 2012 we will have the agreement” — maybe I’ll die before then, of course —but 2012 is the acid test.
Oliver Letwin: On the same basis, Nigel, I’m perfectly willing to take that bet too. The reason I’m willing to take the bet is that I know that the only way it can be made to happen is if we try to make it happen and if we build up the moral authority to make it happen by taking the steps ourselves.

The original Kyoto agreement which set binding CO2 emissions targets for 37 developed nations only ran out on the 31st of December 2012. There has been no new international agreement on CO2 emissions reduction, let alone a ‘substantial’ one. In the meantime, Canada, Russia and New Zealand have officially abandoned the Kyoto Protocol while Belarus, Ukraine and Kazakhstan have threatened to abandon it as well.
Oliver Letwin has now conceded that Lawson has won the bet.

Lord Lawson comments:
“I made the bet because I knew I would win. It has always been blindingly obvious that the positions of Europe, the United States and China were much too far apart for a truly global successor to Kyoto to be negotiable.”

“Oliver Letwin is one of the nicest people in politics, and one of the cleverest. It is, however, disconcerting that UK climate change policy – which makes no conceivable sense in the absence of a binding global agreement – has been based on the advice of someone so totally divorced from any understanding of practical realities.”

33 thoughts on “Nigel Lawson Wins Climate Policy Bet

  1. But what if the substantial agreement was that carbon reduction was a cloak for people control, a scam by our government agencies? Letwin would still be the winner?

  2. “based on the advice of someone so totally divorced from any understanding of practical realities”

    That goes for most of the AGW proposals regarding ‘combatting climate change’. Sad but true. Actually, we could use a ‘Don Quichot Award’ for the most hilarious plan or solution they come up with. Will be difficult to pick the winner, since there are so many climate clowns around.

  3. As £100 is the minimum donation to enrol as a member of the GWPF, perhaps Oliver Letwin can now be made an honorary member?

  4. +1 for Oliver for admitting an indisputable result; +1 for Nigel for betting such a huge sum at the time when I wouldn’t bet a buck.

  5. one of the nicest people in politics, and one of the cleverest … someone so totally divorced from any understanding of practical realities

    Now that’s how to do it. Flatter and disarm (keep your enemies close) … then stick the knife in.

  6. Philip Finck says:

    January 3, 2013 at 8:33 am
    Finally someone in the AGW crown has the guts to admit that they were wrong. +1 for Oliver.

    No Phillip, He hasn’t admited that he is wrong only that he lost the bet. He still believes that AGW is real.

  7. Stephen Richards says: @ January 3, 2013 at 8:58 am

    …No Phillip, He hasn’t admited that he is wrong only that he lost the bet. He still believes that AGW is real.
    >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>
    You left off the rest of the sentence.

    “No Phillip, He hasn’t admited that he is wrong only that he lost the bet. He still believes that AGW is [a] reallly good money maker.

    How do you know when a politician is lying?… When he opens his mouth.

  8. Oliver Letwin said,

    [ . . . ] The reason I’m willing to take the bet is that I know that the only way it can be made to happen is if we try to make it happen and if we build up the moral authority to make it happen by taking the steps ourselves.

    – – – – – – –

    Hmmmmm. Appealing to morality as a cause requiring action that presumes the science about climate has already established that AGW by CO2 is significant and/or its net effect on mankind is harmful.

    Invalid Premise

    John

  9. Letwin is one of Cameron’s inner circle. He wrote a nauseating piece in the Daily Telegraph a couple of years ago full of hand-wringing stuff about the UK’s ‘moral obligation’ to take the lead on foreign aid and combatting climate change. I don’t think he’d recognise reality if it hit him between the eyes.

  10. Oliver Letwin is a hybrid conservative from the Fabian Society. Nigel Lawson, concerning Letwin’s ideas: “The whole thing is pie in the sky and it’s about time that Oliver and his colleagues got real”

    Five years later, he is in Cameron’s government as “Minister of Policy” or something. Seems that “moral authority” is waxing. Makes you wonder about Cameron. But then, I always have.

  11. Perhaps Nigel Lawson would agree to take a small portion of his winnings and purchase a Josh 2012 Climate Sceptic (UK spelling) calendar for Oliver Letwin?

  12. Stephen Richards says:
    January 3, 2013 at 8:58 am

    Philip Finck says:

    January 3, 2013 at 8:33 am
    Finally someone in the AGW crown has the guts to admit that they were wrong. +1 for Oliver.

    No Phillip, He hasn’t admited that he is wrong only that he lost the bet. He still believes that AGW is real.

    Actually the bet wasn’t over the reality of AGW but the predictied international response to it in the form of a binding treaty. You might say the bet was on a “deriviative” of AGW. As such it does not obligate Mr. Letwin to admit anything about the reality of AGW other that it was insufficiently persuasive to the number of nations required for a successor agreement.

  13. “Oliver Letwin is one of the nicest people in politics, and one of the cleverest. It is, however, disconcerting that UK climate change policy – which makes no conceivable sense in the absence of a binding global agreement – has been based on the advice of someone so totally divorced from any understanding of practical realities.”

    No point being nice if you are incompetent. That makes you not nice since you are screwing up everyone that you affect in your life.

  14. He’s not a nice guy to the tens of thousands in his own country that suffer because of opinions such as his.

  15. In defence of Oliver, with whom I share policy forums from time to time, he is extraordinarily bright and occasionally (intentionally) very funny. Some call him the Gandalf of the party. I think of him as our Leonardo. Capable at once of many moments of genius and the occasional howler (the poll tax was one of his). I think CAGW may turn out to be his “Duke of Milan’s Kitchen” moment. On another plus for Oliver, he is capable – very slowly – of changing his mind.

    As for Lord Lawson, on this matter he simply has the right of it.

  16. Phil’s Dad says: January 3, 2013 at 3:50 pm
    In defence of Oliver, with whom I share policy forums from time to time, he is extraordinarily bright
    =================================
    Here, Oliver needs all of the defense available. If Oliver were so bright he would talk more with those who are not pushing panic. It is a question of judgment.

  17. Academically Clever? Clever, doesn’t cut it, give me common sense, broad shoulders and a willing worker any day of the week.
    Ollie Letwin is ‘clever’ but he’s never been out in the real world.

  18. It is not only Oliver Letwin who is the looser, but the Tory party as a whole.

    In the past, they would have had the conviction of their principles to adopt useful and pragmatic policies. Now, they will, like New Labour follow any policy that will gain and keep themselves in power. Cameron’s policy of being the “greenest” party ever has meant that he has had to push ultra left solutions, which has had the effect of creating a vacuum in centre/right opinion within the country and has helped to regularise the Green Party as a mainstream party with mainstream policies. .

  19. I have a picture that Gail Combs January 3, 2013 at 9:32 am is wrong. A certain well known politician was fast asleep in the house with his mouth wide open and showing his interest in the debate in all honesty

  20. mpainter says:
    January 3, 2013 at 4:40 pm

    Here, Oliver needs all of the defense available. If Oliver were so bright he would talk more with those who are not pushing panic. It is a question of judgment.

    He used to be quite intelligent but, as with so many others, a few years association with David Cameron has reduced him to only a couple of levels above a gibbering idiot.

  21. While I’d like the Don Quichot Award for the most hilarious plan to combat climate change (with extra points for those plans which harm the environment or make living conditions in the third world worse), we should not forget that we have a good reason to fight against windmills.

  22. Since both Letwin and Lawson are still alive as I write, I don’t see how Letwin can have lost the bet as framed yet.

  23. Well said Scarface!
    My thoughts exactly.

    As to the Mighty Lord!!

    I trust the 100 pounds will be spent down at the local pub with Lord Monckton and others enjoying the fruits of your labours…

    From a colonial offspring from distant Oz. to my forebears in the Old Dart….

    I say, Thankyou very Much!

    PS. If only my PM could understand this!!

  24. Scarface says
    “Actually, we could use a ‘Don Quichot Award’ for the most hilarious plan or solution they come up with.”

    Shouldn’t it be the Don Kyoto award?

  25. oldspanky:

    It is extremely annoying when WUWT threads are interrupted by trolls who ‘copy and paste’ falsehoods from warmunist web sites without bothering to read the subject of the thread. Your post at January 4, 2013 at 2:39 am is an example of such an annoying interruption, and it says in total

    Since both Letwin and Lawson are still alive as I write, I don’t see how Letwin can have lost the bet as framed yet.

    You would “see” if you were to read the above article which states the bet was

    Nigel Lawson: But I don’t think I want the bet to be “in my lifetime” because I’d like to get the £100. I’m sorry it’s such a modest amount you’re prepared to wager — it shows how unconfident you are — but I would like to be able to collect before I die. So I think we should say “by the time Kyoto runs out”, because there is meant to be no hiatus; there is meant to be a successor to Kyoto. So “by 2012 we will have the agreement” — maybe I’ll die before then, of course —but 2012 is the acid test.
    Oliver Letwin: On the same basis, Nigel, I’m perfectly willing to take that bet too. The reason I’m willing to take the bet is that I know that the only way it can be made to happen is if we try to make it happen and if we build up the moral authority to make it happen by taking the steps ourselves.

    Please read articles before trying to disrupt discussion of them.

    Richard

  26. I do hope that if the next 18 years prove to be significantly cooler, then all the AGW troughers will agree to forego their pensions and their tenures as a minor repayment for the billions of pounds that would have been wasted on hot air, unscientific posturing and organised scaremongering for the purpose of grant awards.

  27. …two Conservative heavy weights…”

    I think relatively is at work here. UK conservatives have pretty much shifted across centre into leftist traditional terrritory. The leftists have shifted into something really scary!

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