Following my Climate Seminar on Monday, the questions and insinuations from the press are starting to come in. Of course no one would argue against anthropogenic global warming unless they had been bought and paid for by the oil industry. Of course politicians are venal. Of course anyone who argues a case must be getting paid — why else would they do it?
I’ll tell you why. Because I have studied the evidence and I passionately believe that (A) The climate change we are seeing is very modest, and is in line with natural cyclical variations over the last 2000 years; (B) It has nothing to do with human activity; (C) Even if it had, the policy responses proposed would have zero effect on climate — but a catastrophic effect on our economy; (D) Action to adapt to climate change (to the extent that it is happening at all) would be both more effective, and hugely cheaper, than current proposals for mitigation (i.e. trying to stop climate change). As Bjorn Lomborg has pointed out, for far less than we plan to spend on mitigation, we could ensure clean water and education for everyone on the planet who needs it. And we could eliminate malaria while we’re at it, and still have change left over.
I see action being proposed, and being taken, which will achieve nothing but to impoverish my grandchildren (and hasten Europe’s relative economic decline), and for me that is a good enough reason to oppose the alarmist hypothesis.
So how much have I been paid? Short answer: nothing at all. Not a penny. Zilch. Zero. I don’t think I’ve ever had so much as a dinner from Exxon-Mobil (or any other oil company). No brown envelopes. No castles in Spain. No trips to Texas. Or anywhere. Most of the overseas trips I have taken in the course of my work have been paid for out of parliamentary expenses. The odd one has been paid by the American Legislative Exchange Council, an American Public Policy Institute involving many hundreds of state legislators. It has dozens of blue chip corporate partners, so I guess if you check the list it would include the occasional oil company, but it is not predominantly concerned with energy issues, nor is it predominantly funded by the oil industry. I have frequently addressed their conventions (not, though, so far as I can recall, on energy issues), and they were kind enough to appoint me as their Adam Smith Scholar, and in 2006 to award me their first International Legislator of the Year Award.
Fair question, straight answer. So let me ask a question in return. What about the funding for the climate alarmists? Literally billions of dollars poured into research projects predicated on climate alarmism. And into propaganda (see my report on the EU’s “Agora” below, with the EU funding dozens of NGOs supporting the alarmist position). Many thousands of people making a living out of it — scientists, journalists, lobbyists, wind-farm merchants. And indirectly, companies that have decided to pander to alarmist sentiment as a deliberate marketing ploy.
So I’ve a message for any journos who want to start digging on my motivation on climate change. Feel free to dig. But recognise that the big bucks are with the alarmists, and start asking them a few questions for a change.