Last week, the inimitable Boris Johnson wrote a splendid Telegraph opinion piece on the euro, entitled “Snooty Europhiles should be forced to crawl in penitence”. It concluded: “We (the sceptics) have been vindicated, and the least they can do is admit it. They know who they are”.
Surely (I asked) he could not have meant Ken Clarke? Though Ken is a man not given to admitting past errors.
The excellent James Delingpole responded with a blog in which he asked “You saw through the EU, Boris. When are you going to see through AGW (Anthropogenic Global Warming)?”.
I little thought that Boris would respond – after all it’s the kiss of death for an ambitious Conservative politician to question climate orthodoxy – but right on cue (Dec 20th) Boris came up with his next article in the Telegraph, in which he tip-toes around climate scepticism, and appears to endorse it in a not-very-coded way.
He starts out praising Piers Corbyn, the brother of lefty MP Jeremy Corbyn. Piers is running his own, one-man climate forecasting service (www.weatheraction.com), which has proved vastly more accurate than the Met Office, with its “Barbecue Summers” and warm winters. (According to the Met Office, we’re enjoying a warm winter in Britain right now). The Met Office uses the sort of computer models on which climate alarmism is based. Corbyn, on the other hand, places great emphasis on solar activity, and on historical experience of how climate has responded to solar variation in the past.
Corbyn, of course, is a climate sceptic, so it’s rather difficult for Boris to endorse him without also appearing to endorse his position on climate change.
Naturally Boris performs the compulsory ritual genuflection (I suppose “Knee-jerk genuflection” would be a tautology?) to climate orthodoxy. He accepts the view of “the majority of scientists” that man-made CO2 emissions would tend to increase warming, but then asks whether this is “the exclusive or dominant factor that determines our climate, or whether perhaps the impact of the Sun is more important?”
This is, in fact, the position of most sceptics, who would agree that increased CO2 would have some slight warming effect – but would argue that any signal from such an effect would simply be lost in the random noise and natural variation of the climate. Most sceptics would agree that the main influence on the terrestrial climate is the Sun, along with other astronomical factors and cycles. “The Sun” (says Boris), “is incomparably vaster and more powerful than any work of man”. Just so, Boris.
So without quite “coming out” formally as a sceptic, Boris has endorsed the nub of the sceptic case. I believe that politics, and the British people, are crying out for a politician of Boris’s stature to take up the sceptic cause, before we let Chris Huhne waste any more of our money on tilting at windmills. Maybe Boris is our man.