Climate change: sceptics, deniers and conspiracy theorists

An observation

Why is it that the climate-change sceptics, deniers and conspiracy theorists are so keen to question, critique and/or dismiss the "theory" of climate change BUT don't ever seem to have a problem with the theory of gravity? Or relativity? Or -- dare I say it -- evolution? Odd, isn't it?

On that note, let me draw your attention to a brilliant blog post on the Telegraph website from the wonderfully named Will Heaven, who begins:

Imagine a Premier League of cranks and conspiracy theorists. Who do you reckon would top it? It's a tough call. I think Holocaust deniers would lift the cup, with 9/11 truthers not far behind. But there's a new lot on the rise, recently promoted from Division One: global warming sceptics. Fuelled by the hype surrounding Climategate, those who believe that climate change has nothing to do with mankind's release of greenhouse gases into the atmosphere have had a storming week -- led, in case you hadn't noticed, by our very own James Delingpole.

Well, brilliant though he is, Delingpole's about as much of a scientist as he is the captain of the England rugby team.

Read the full post here.

Oh, and here's Hugo Rifkind in the Speccie hilariously dismissing the relevance of the "Climategate" controversy:

So some of them are crooks. It's like giving up on doctors because of Harold Shipman. I appreciate that you lot don't like to be called "climate-change deniers" because of the implied Holocaust equivalence but, melodramatic as it is, the comparison hasn't come from nowhere. You are the forces of anti-science, anti-reason and anti-fact. Your natural bedfellows are the 9/11 Truthers -- people who believe that the way to deal with something frightening which they don't understand is to recast it as part of a convoluted fantasy which they do. Go back a few hundred years, and it's people like you who would have cried "witch" and run for the kindling when the village crone predicted that bad things might happen if you shagged your sister.

Mehdi Hasan is a contributing writer for the New Statesman and the co-author of Ed: The Milibands and the Making of a Labour Leader. He was the New Statesman's senior editor (politics) from 2009-12.

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PMQs review: Theresa May shows how her confidence has grown

After her Brexit speech, the PM declared of Jeremy Corbyn: "I've got a plan - he doesn't have a clue". 

The woman derided as “Theresa Maybe” believes she has neutralised that charge. Following her Brexit speech, Theresa May cut a far more confident figure at today's PMQs. Jeremy Corbyn inevitably devoted all six of his questions to Europe but failed to land a definitive blow.

He began by denouncing May for “sidelining parliament” at the very moment the UK was supposedly reclaiming sovereignty (though he yesterday praised her for guaranteeing MPs would get a vote). “It’s not so much the Iron Lady as the irony lady,” he quipped. But May, who has sometimes faltered against Corbyn, had a ready retort. The Labour leader, she noted, had denounced the government for planning to leave the single market while simultaneously seeking “access” to it. Yet “access”, she went on, was precisely what Corbyn had demanded (seemingly having confused it with full membership). "I've got a plan - he doesn't have a clue,” she declared.

When Corbyn recalled May’s economic warnings during the referendum (“Does she now disagree with herself?”), the PM was able to reply: “I said if we voted to leave the EU the sky would not fall in and look at what has happened to our economic situation since we voted to leave the EU”.

Corbyn’s subsequent question on whether May would pay for single market access was less wounding than it might have been because she has consistently refused to rule out budget contributions (though yesterday emphasised that the days of “vast” payments were over).

When the Labour leader ended by rightly hailing the contribution immigrants made to public services (“The real pressure on public services comes from a government that slashed billions”), May took full opportunity of the chance to have the last word, launching a full-frontal attack on his leadership and a defence of hers. “There is indeed a difference - when I look at the issue of Brexit or any other issues like the NHS or social care, I consider the issue, I set out my plan and I stick to it. It's called leadership, he should try it some time.”

For May, life will soon get harder. Once Article 50 is triggered, it is the EU 27, not the UK, that will take back control (the withdrawal agreement must be approved by at least 72 per cent of member states). With MPs now guaranteed a vote on the final outcome, parliament will also reassert itself. But for now, May can reflect with satisfaction on her strengthened position.

George Eaton is political editor of the New Statesman.