Challenging climate change denial

Scientists respond to an "unprecedented attack"

It's relieving to see UK scientists issue a robust defence of their profession in the wake of the increasingly hysterical assault from climate change deniers.

The statement from 1,700 scientists declares:

We, members of the UK science community, have the utmost confidence in the observational evidence for global warming and the scientific basis for concluding that it is due primarily to human activities. The evidence and the science are deep and extensive. They come from decades of painstaking and meticulous research, by many thousands of scientists across the world who adhere to the highest levels of professional integrity.

There's a fascinating debate to be had about why climate change denial has continued to rise despite the increasingly unambiguous evidence for man-made global warming.

At least one reason is that many on the right instinctively dislike the taxation, regulation and supranational bodies required to prevent climate change. But because it is neither intellectually nor morally tenable to argue that climate change is taking place and that we shouldn't do anything to stop it, they are forced to go back to the start and deny the theory itself.

Conversely, many on the left are more, not less, inclined to accept the science on climate change when offered the possibility of higher taxes and greater regulation.

Tariq Ali, for instance, remarked (not entirely unseriously) this week:

Copenhagen may be the last chance to get communist ideals back on to the global stage.

Meanwhile, Ed Miliband has written exclusively for Left Foot Forward from Copenhagen reflecting on the mood at the summit. Gordon Brown and Nicolas Sarkozy are expected to pledge today that Europe "will pay its share of a $10bn fast-track finance fund".

 

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George Eaton is political editor of the New Statesman.

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The Deep Dive podcast: Mandates and Manifestos

The New Statesman's Deep Dive podcast.

Ian Leslie and Stewart Wood return for another episode of the Deep Dive. This time they're plunging into the murky world of election promises with Catherine Haddon, resident historian at the Institute of Government. Together they explore what an electoral mandate means, what a manifesto is for, and why we can't sue the government when they fail to keep their promises.

Plus: Rant or Rave? Find out which podcasts have had our hosts on tenterhooks.

Listen to this episode of The Deep Dive now:

 

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