Why Isn’t Lord Lawson Dead Yet?

The Motive Fallacy

Lord Lawson: not dead, despite the wishes of internet trolls

Lord Lawson: not dead, despite the fond wishes of internet trolls

This isn’t me asking, you understand. I’m merely repeating a question someone posted on the internet after Lord Lawson had the temerity to appear on BBC Radio 4’s Today programme speaking out in defence of shale gas in a debate with Friends of the Earth’s Tony Juniper. (H/T Bishop Hill)

Did anyone on Lawson’s side of the debate post similar messages earnestly hoping that Juniper choked on his organic tofu? Or demanding that Friends Of The Earth have its charity status withdrawn because it’s quite clearly a viciously misanthropic, anti-capitalist political organisation funded by deep-green ecoloons who given half the chance would have us all living in Maoist peasant collectives while they busily bombed our economy back to the dark ages? I doubt it somehow. Climate realists tend to be far too busy being nice and reasonable and balanced – as Lord Lawson always takes pains to do – to adopt the Alinsky-ite smear tactics adopted by their opponents.

I’m sure Lord Lawson can take consolation from the words of his old boss Margaret Thatcher: “I always cheer up immensely if an attack is particularly wounding because I think, well, if they attack one personally, it means they have not a single political argument left.”

Never were these words truer than in the case of the climate change debate. The alarmists simply haven’t got a leg to stand on, so the best they can do to shore up the ruins of their collapsing cause is to engage in ad homs, appeals to authority and utterly dishonest campaigns like the current Guardian-encouraged witch-hunt to try to force the Global Warming Policy Foundation to reveal its sources of funding.

Why is the campaign so utterly dishonest? First, it succumbs to what Jamie Whyte calls the Motive Fallacy: the demonstrably false notion that if you have an interest (financial or otherwise) in holding an opinion it must perforce be untrue. Whyte gives one example: “A man may stand to gain a great deal of peace and quiet from telling his wife that he loves her. But he may really love her nonetheless.”

But even better answer comes from this brilliant analysis by Ben Pile at Spiked Online!, who notes the outrageous hypocrisy of the greenies’ harassing of the GWPF when its funding – relative to the amount spent on green propaganda – is so minuscule.

Even the £500,000 that the GWPF received from donors in its first year of operations fades into insignificance when put in perspective.

For example, it would take the combined resources of 25 GWPFs to produce an equivalent of the UK government’s extraordinarily patronising Act on CO2 campaign. The Committee on Climate Change spends more than eight times that much each year on its own operations. In 2010, the quasi-independent Carbon Trust and Energy Saving Trust received government grants worth £156million and £70million respectively. That’s a total of 452 times as much public money as the GWPF took from donors. The billionaire Jeremy Grantham – who has around $1.5 billion worth of stock in oil companies – is the benefactor of the influential Grantham Research Institute for Climate Change, headed by Lord Nicholas Stern, who wrote The Stern Review on the Economics of Climate Change. NGOs such as Friends of the Earth and WWF enjoy gifts of millions of pounds from the UK and EU governments. And the EU funds associations of renewable energy companies to lobby politicians to the tune of millions of euros per year.

It would be an astronomical understatement to say that the environmental activists banging on about the GWPF lack a sense of proportion and have incredible double standards. The GWPF’s resources are far less than even a thousandth of what is available to the government for research and PR – through its departments, the quangos and NGOs that are recruited into its green agenda, and firms and other associations that will profit by it. And yet this tiny operation has seemingly achieved such reach, to punch far above its weight, against the collective force of all the above.

But perhaps the best reason of all why the GWPF should never have to name its donors is this one, as advanced by Bishop Hill on Twitter:

Greenpeace spokesman: ” We know who you are. We know where you live. We know where you work.”. Why would GWPF donors want their names public?

Why indeed.

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One thought on “Why isn’t Lord Lawson dead yet?”

  1. Anonymous says:6th February 2012 at 3:39 amLike WWF, FoE is part-funded by the European Commission – which explains a lot

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We Need to Talk about Wind Farms…

“Energy prices may rise by a third”

A wind farm near the village of Bothel, Cumbria (Photo: Alamy)

A wind farm near the village of Bothel, Cumbria (Photo: Alamy)

“Energy prices may rise by a third,” says our disastrous secretary of state of energy and climate change Chris Huhne. Rubbish. They’re going to rise by a hell of a lot more than that before he is finished. Alternative energy, let us never forget, is just that: an alternative to energy. Wind power and solar power are so risibly inefficient that the only way they can ever be economically viable is with lashings and lashings of taxpayer subsidy. Nuclear power would be much more effective but Huhne has effectively ruled it out. Why? Because in Huhne’s bizarre Weltanschauung, it’s OK for the taxpayer to subsidise low-carbon energy that doesn’t work (wind, solar) but not low-carbon energy that does work (nuclear).

But it’s not Huhne’s breathtaking hypocrisy, ignorance and eco-fanaticism I want to talk about today. Rather I want to focus on just one aspect of it: his plan to carpet Britain in wind farms. What I should like to know is how many of you are with me on this one. It seems to me that at the moment we are sleepwalking towards the greatest environmental disaster of our lifetimes: in the name of alleviating something distant and imaginary – “Climate Change” – our government is now committed to the destruction of the British landscape. And what I’m not sensing, yet, is any kind of serious, concerted resistance.

We need a figurehead. (Not me, unfortunately. I ain’t got the time or the fame or the diplomatic skills.) We need somebody who can galvanise ordinary British people into saving their countryside before it’s too late. Ideally that figurehead would have been the Prince of Wales. But as I explained in last week’s Spectator the Prince has rather ruled himself out of that one. Alan Titchmarsh? He’s the only name that immediately springs to mind, but perhaps you can suggest others.

Next we need money to counter all the propaganda which is spewed out, much of it at taxpayer’s expense of course, by quangos like the Carbon Trust, by schools, by organisations like Renewable UK (formerly the British Wind Energy Association) – each of them repeating the same fundamental lies: that CO2 is a pollutant (not a plant food); that Man-Made Climate Change is a serious, pressing threat; that wind farms are the solution.

Above all, though, we need to stop kidding ourselves that if only we concentrate on how thoroughly marvellous Michael Gove is or what a splendid idea elected police chiefs are, this nasty, scary energy policy our Coalition has decided to foist on us will somehow magically evaporate. At the moment, we seem to be allowing their spokesmen to get away with all manner of nonsense, such as:

1. Britain needs to set an example on CO2 reduction.

No it doesn’t. At least not unless you believe in futile, suicidal gestures. China’s burgeoning CO2 output alone is more than enough to wipe out any paltry emissions Britain makes by going “low carbon”.

2. It will create green jobs.

Only in places like China, where the wind turbines are manufactured. There will be no benefits to the British economy, just a disastrous replay of the Spanish experience where for every “green job” created by government subsidy, 2.2 jobs were lost in the real economy.

3. It will provide “energy security”.

No it won’t. Because wind power is so unreliable, it has to be backed up by conventional power such as coal or gas. If energy security is really what we want we should go for more coal-fired power. We are, after all, sitting on an island of coal.

4. It doesn’t destroy property values, ruin views, chop birds to pieces, or create a low subsonic hum which drives anyone unfortunate to live by a wind farm mad.

Yep. Sounds like you’ve been taking your daily dose of propaganda from the likes of Renewable UK and Polly Toynbee, who thinks wind farms are rather attractive.

5. The future is low carbon.

Says who? What we need, now more than ever, is cheap power to generate the economic growth the world needs to lift itself out of the looming double-dip recession. Low carbon energy is, by definition, not cheap.

6. But what about “climate change”?

What about it? If it’s “global warming” you’re worried about, it stopped in 1998. Global cooling is a much more imminent and serious problem. Recent changes in the Pacific Decadal Oscillation mean that we’re now set for a 30 year cooling period guaranteed to make a mockery of all our fears about “global warming.” Yet here we are, embarked on a policy guaranteed to raise our energy bills to unaffordable levels, as we enter a period of colder winters.

This nonsense has got to stop. People, are you with me?

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  4. The best article on wind farms you will ever read

Posted on 29th July 2010Author jamesCategories Blog

One thought on “We need to talk about wind farms…”

  1. Caroline says:7th August 2010 at 10:33 pmTOTALLY 100% with you about wind farms. We shall look back at some future date and think, ‘What on earth possessed us?!’

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