Global Warming Policy Foundation: strategic error?

Lord Lawson and Benny Peiser are bonny climate change policy warriors but they have perhaps made a strategic error in lining-up climate (or AGW) deniers for their new think-tank. 

I admire Benny Peiser’s devotion to the cause of climate change debate, and Lord Lawson’s book (An Appeal to Reason: A Cool Look at Global Warming) was a very interesting discussion of climate change policy. Their new foundation could have done marvellous work exposing the intellectual, moral, political and economic weaknesses in much (almost all) public utterance and policy in this field. They would have had a large if minority audience, and a good deal of support, not least from serious players.

Instead, they have chosen to fall into bed with all sorts of  people who deny or doubt the science surrounding AGW (anthropogenic climate change). In doing so, they alienate almost all the concerned and interested people in the country. David Aaronovitch of The Times has already weighed-in in terms which the GWPF could easily have avoided. Politicians, for instance, will doubtless learn from the foundation in private, but they’ll have to hold their noses and make sure they distance themselves from their educators.

Indeed, Lawson and Peiser have risked undoing the most important single message they might have conveyed.  This is that whatever climate change is and becomes, policy to deal with it needs to be intelligent.

The greens, by and large, believe both in the science and a certain sort of policy response (lots of state interference to control carbon emissions, for a start). It is crucial to convey that we need to develop policy that is as future-proof as possible. We need policymakers to take seriously a range of possibilities as to what climate change is or will become, and to discuss with us what might realistically be done in the case of each.

Oddly enough, in Lawson’s own book, he recommends just that open-mindedness toward the science.

It might be a good idea to either dump the scientific element of the foundation’s team, or enrich it with some more right-on types.

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Publication date

24 November 2009