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Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Climate Change - Sir Paul Nurse Slithers Off Sinking Ship

   Last night the BBC broadcast the Dimbleby Lecture, named after a dead BBC broadcaster. in which annually a chosen member of the approved is invited to air his opinions.

   This time it was Sir Paul Nurse, boss of the Royal Society and someone previously employed by them to host a 6 hour interview with warming sceptic James Delingpole. As he describes it
That's why about the only section he used out of at least three hours' worth of footage is the one where he tosses what he clearly imagines is the killer question: "Suppose you were ill with cancer would you wish to be treated by "consensus" medicine or something from the quack fringe?"
    Not much of last night's lecture was about global warming, he was at least as eager to push the "sustainability" button - a term with no objective meaning whatsoever, at least as used by ecofasccists. However he did make an extraordinary weasel on warming.

     He urged us all to accept the "consensus" of scientists saying that those who claim that there has been no warming and those who claim "catastrophic" warming are equally "extreme" and that we should all agree with him that there is warming. (about 1/4rd of the way in). Later he went on about the extensive action we need to take to prevent it, suggesting that those opposed to that are politically opposed to regimented worldwide government control of everything and to be fair also saying that alarmists are also politically motivated by being in favour of that.

     Notice that. He has quite deliberately distanced himself from the entire concept of catastrophic anthropogenic global warming (CAGW) on which the entire edifice depends. Now he is simply a "moderate" believer in minor warming rather than the series of scare stories we have been subjected to for over 2 decades. No alarmist him; man behind the curtain must have been somebody else.

    In attacking "deniers" who say there has definitely been no warming he is also deliberately erecting a straw man to oppose his new position. I don't know of anybody that certain and he made no attempt to name one. There is agreement that there has been warming since the Little Ice Age 2 centuries ago - we sceptics simply doubt whether it is catastrophic the position Nurse is now claiming to also occupy..

     But if any warming is not catastrophic, indeed if it is that minor, history shows that it will be beneficial as the Medieval warming was more temperate than the Little Ice Age. If he had honestly believed that he could not possibly have made the comparison to being "ill with cancer". If warming is likely to be net beneficial the claim of necessity to destroy most of our economy to marginally reduce it is clearly untrue and could never be maintained as necessary by any remotely honest person. Yet Nurse maintained it even as he repudiated any connection to the only argument for it.

    Clearly, following the recent acknowledgement by the Met Office and CRU that not only has there been no warming for 15 years but also that the more probable scenario is cooling, Sir Paul is not only deserting a sinking ship but attempting, in an Orwellian way, to pretend he was never aboard. He will not be the last.

    To be fair to him most of the rest of his lecture was cliches about how society needs more belief in science and that scientific ideas should be evidence based. No disagreement there. He was lighter on concrete examples, for example, though saying a little in favour of nuclear power he was silent on the fact that the basis of the anti-nuclear movement, the Linear No Threshold radiation damage theory, never had any scientific basis and had now been disproven. Cliches are easy as long as you don't get specific.

  Another example of the dishinesty that led Sir David King and some other ecofascists, to pretend he had never made his ludicrous remark about how Antarctica would be the "only habitable continent" by 2100.  Such rewriters of history are entitled to no respect whatsoever.

UPDATE Via Bishop Hill comes the text of Nurse's speech. This is the relevent part (p 7)
The majority of expert climate scientists have reached the consensus view that human activity has resulted in global warming, although there is debate about how much the temperature will rise in the future. Others argues that warming is not taking place at all or that it will happen in a catastrophic way, but they have failed to persuade the majority of climate experts, who have judged the scientific arguments made to support these more extreme views as being too weak to be convincing.

UPDATE 2 James Delingpole, to whom even I defer in ability to find the mot juste to describe ecofascists, refers to this thread in his article today.
H/T Neil Craig who has also noticed at this blog, most disrespectfully titled Sir Paul Nurse slithers )
  He also points out that it isn't just Nurse discrediting himself but the entire recent history of the Royal Society which he leads, which has been unequivocal in promoting the most catastrophic warming predictions under both him and his predecessor.

UPDATE 3 - I have followed Prof John Brignells Numberwatch  since way back when I still assumed there must be something to CAGW if all these people thought so. He knew better. He has sent me this link to his latest post.
Is it the King Rat deserting the sinking ship or, perhaps, the captain accidently falling into a lifeboat? ..your bending author listened to the Richard Dimbleby lecture by Sir Paul Nurse and completely missed the import of the salient passage identified by Neil Craig, a regular correspondent, and elaborated by James Delingpole.
 That such a ruthless propagandist for the faith should now begin to pose as the neutral man of reason, standing between two poles of extremism, is not just an extraordinary volte face; it is a pointer to a crumbling of that monstrous edifice known as the consensus. Not just a president of the Royal Society, he is now the one who is our number of the month.
Perhaps there is light in our darkness after all.
  I am immensely gratified by such approval

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