Last month, 1,000 emails leaked from the University of East Anglia’s Climatic Research Unit. The institution is more important than it sounds: for decades, it has been at the centre of the global warming debate, keeping in touch with the close-knit group of scientists who guard the various projections about global warming. Or, as the emails showed, the lack thereof. ‘The fact is that we can’t account for the lack of warming at the moment and it is a travesty that we can’t,’ said one scientist.
As the fancy-dress party season begins again, Leah McLaren wonders why the British are never more themselves than when they’re pretending to be someone elseThere is a popular urban legend about a British couple in New York who attended a black tie gala dressed as a pair of pumpkins. Turns out they had misinterpreted the host’s instruction to ‘dress fancy,’ as an invitation for fancy dress — something Americans only do once a year on Halloween.
Pity the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO). Once supreme in Whitehall, King Charles Street is now a frail and damaged place, bleeding power and purpose from multiple wounds. It is emasculated by the interference of No. 10 and the drift towards a common EU foreign and security policy while the sun sets on our time as a first-rank power-projecting country. All this leaves the FCO seeking a raison d’être.
The pledges many countries will make on greenhouse gas emissions in Copenhagen are pure fantasy, says Bjørn Lomborg. We must pursue other optionsJudging by the opinion polls, those gathering at the Copenhagen climate change summit have a lot of persuading to do. Just two in five Brits think that global warming is taking place and is man-made. Only one third of Americans think that humans are responsible for climate change.
It was when I saw an internet tweet comparing me to Nick Griffin — with 2,000 people signed up to it — that I realised just how much trouble I was in.It was when I saw an internet tweet comparing me to Nick Griffin — with 2,000 people signed up to it — that I realised just how much trouble I was in. My sin: I had written an opinion piece entitled ‘Is global warming hot air?’ I’d wanted to see if my 18,000 architect readers agreed with the line now adopted by the Royal Institute of British Architects (Riba) that ‘man-made’ climate change is the greatest challenge facing the profession.
The President of the Maldives recently held a Cabinet meeting underwater, saying his islands may be submerged. In an open letter Nils-Axel Mörner assures him his country is safe
Dear Mr President,
You are obviously very concerned about the effect that sea level rises may have on the Maldives. Your Cabinet has been photographed meeting underwater, and you have even declared that ‘we are going to die’ if the climate change summit in Copenhagen fails.
Imagine for a moment that a terrible, unforeseen threat to humankind had suddenly arisen, one so grave that it endangered the very future of the planet. Two teams of respected scientists immediately set to work, trying to find a way to prevent the impending disaster.The first set of scientists returned with a potential solution, but it had some shortcomings. It was expensive, with a price tag in the trillions of dollars.
Al Gore’s film, An Inconvenient Truth, was a masterpiece. Like an elder brother to all humanity, he patiently explained the familiar litany of disasters — droughts, floods, hurricanes, sea-level rise and the rest — spiced with heartrending personal stories: his baby son’s near-fatal accident, the agony of losing a sister to lung cancer. It was a science lecture crafted by Hollywood.In his book — the version for adults, not the one for schoolchildren — he even included a colour photograph of a corpse, a young man, floating face downward, drowned by Hurricane Katrina.
Make no mistake, Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels would have given short shrift to global warming and environmentalism in some of their most colourful prose. As Sherlock Holmes explained to the Scotland Yard detective, there is the curious incident of the dog in the night-time. But the dog did nothing. ‘That,’ Holmes replied, ‘was the curious incident.’Who heard the Marxist bark? In the history of global warming, that dog was classical Marxism, a Promethean doctrine that argued for the strengthening of man’s power over nature.
I have no expertise on the subject of global warming; nor do I have a strong view about it. But I do know attempted thought control and hostility to free speech when I see it; and I find these unlovely phenomena present among all too many of the enthusiasts for climate action. Words such as ‘denial’ are intentionally brought into the debate and recall those who deny the reality of the Nazi Holocaust.
A high-priority government report warns of climate change that will lead to floods and starvation. ‘Leading climatologists’ speak of a ‘detrimental global climatic change’, threatening ‘the stability of most nations’. The scenario is eerily familiar although the document — never made public before — dates from 1974. But here’s the difference: it was written to respond to the threat of global cooling, not warming.
A ban on minarets may seem racist to the BBC, says Rod Liddle, but in fact we should applaud any small battle won in the people’s war against the growing ‘Islamification’ of EuropeHere’s a very short and simple pre-Christmas quiz to get you into the swing of Christmas quizzes, as they will soon be taking up almost every page of your morning newspapers. A few years ago, Angus Roxburgh — one of the BBC’s chief Europe correspondents, based in Brussels — wrote a book about the rise of right-wing or libertarian parties on the Continent.
Jack Straw has finally got his wish: despite valiant efforts in the Lords, his Coroners and Justice Act has castrated one of our most ancient and overlooked institutions. Why? Because the ‘people’s judge’ was just too good at winkling out inconvenient truths.
The office of coroner has existed in this kingdom since the year 1194. The medieval version was chiefly concerned with the protection of Crown revenue and determining responsibility for violent deaths as a means of raising fines.
No one has followed the Taleban and al-Qa’eda more closely than Richard Barrett, head of the United Nations monitoring mission. He tells Christina Lamb why Obama’s reinforcements won’t scare the fundamentalists awayIt’s known as the ‘kill list’. The world’s biggest directory of bad guys — the 1267, as it is officially called after the United Nations resolution which voted it into force — has long been essential kit for Special Forces scouring Afghanistan and the tribal badlands of Pakistan for al-Qa’eda and Taleban.
By one of those bizarre coincidences, I bumped into Ed Balls, the Schools Secretary, on Tuesday night, just after I had accused him in print of being ‘the minister for Hizb ut Tahrir’. Quite extraordinarily, Mr Balls has spent much of the past seven days defending two primary schools run by supporters of this deeply nasty, racist and segregationist group after the Tories attacked his department’s decision to give them £113,000 of public money.
When Ed Balls left a Labour fundraiser at a Westminster curry house last Wednesday to be interviewed on Newsnight, he had the look of a man with an ace up his sleeve. David Cameron’s attack on the government for allowing public funds to go to schools influenced by Islamist extremists was blunted by some slapdash research. Although understandable given their profusion, muddling up ‘pathfinder’ funds was stupid.
When I was asked recently whether I wanted to go shooting, I felt torn. It’s clearly very fashionable at the moment, as Charles Moore’s story about Cherie Blair and Lord Mandelson at the Rothschilds shows. But shooting is unutterably bloody, if you’re a woman. It starts with a long drive to a big house, encumbered by a vast array of boots, hats, gloves, jackets and thermal underwear, as well as sparkly evening outfits.
The Stern Review is four years old but remains a vital tool for Copenhagen’s policy-makers. It shows them exactly what not to do, says Robert O. MendelsohnAcross the West, we hear the increasingly shrill prophesies that climate change will destroy the earth. The solution proposed is to adopt a new world order with regulations that will dramatically change the global economy. Against this backdrop, world leaders will meet in Copenhagen in a few days’ time to discuss whether such upheaval can be justified.