A Weblog monitoring coverage of environmental issues and science in the UK media. By Professor Emeritus Philip Stott. The aim is to assess whether a subject is being fairly covered by press, radio, and television. Above all, the Weblog will focus on science, but not just on poor science. It will also bring to public notice good science that is being ignored because it may be politically inconvenient.

Saturday, January 10, 2004

Ah! Alex K. in wishful mode.....

Now my old pal, Alex Kirby, is an excellent reporter and the most genuine of chaps. His stuff is far more balanced than most, but here I believe he has allowed himself just a smidgen too much wishful thinking: ('Doom warnings sound more loudly', BBC Science/Nature News Online, January 10):

"For the doom merchants amongst us, 2004 showed its fearsome teeth in a cracking start before it was even 10 days old."

I think the reasons are pretty straightforward. As the Kyoto Protocol bites the dust, as a large swathe of good folk remain totally unswayed and unmoved by all the 'global warming' hype and rhetoric, as self-righteous Europe fails lamentably to attain its own Kyoto targets (with Denmark, Spain and Ireland so bad it is deeply embarrassing), and as even young Lomborg is reprieved, Green hysteria is becoming more histrionic and more fanciful by the day. I feel a sense of desperation in the air. Expect the volume to increase in every sense of the word! I have already ordered my ear plugs and dark specs!

Interestingly, this was predicted recently in a short article in Business Day ('Economic solution to scourge of malaria', December 10, 2003):

"The United Nations Framework Convention on Climate's 9th Conference of Parties has just ended in Milan [December 2003]. The multimillion-dollar conference did not achieve much, and the future of the Kyoto Protocol is in doubt and depends on Russia ratifying it.

To the glee of climate sceptics and horror of the Greens, Russia probably will not. This means that the many parties with vested interests in the protocol will stress every possible histrionic climate change scenario in order to boost the political will to ratify the protocol." [My emphasis].

So don't lose your Kirby grip, everyone! But I loved the anecdotal stuff about a man in a Birkenhead park! [And Liverpool won today!].

Unquestionably, however, it would be a better world if everyone was as courteous as Alex: "I know there are sincere people who regard both the global extinction rate and the changing climate as entirely natural developments which need not concern us."

This is such change, where people holding strongly opposing views can acknowledge the sincerity and the genuineness of each other, without resorting to ad personam abuse. It is a sign of strength, and I can think of many who should heed the example (cf. my January 9 blog). Fair dinkum, Alex.

Philip, understanding and respecting, but politely disagreeing with, Alex's wishful thinking.

[New counter, June 19, 2006, with loss of some data]

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