Leave science to the scientists

In: Uncategorized

16 Nov 2006

A weird exchange between Christopher Monckton, a former policy adviser to Margaret Thatcher, and George Monbiot, an environmental campaigner and Guardian columnist. Monckton, otherwise known as the third Viscount Monckton of Brenchley, had two articles in the Sunday Telegraph (5 November and 12 November) arguing that much climate science is bunk. For him it is apparently part of a left wing conspiracy run by the United Nations – although this view does not mean that his entire argument is necessarily false.

Next Monbiot waded in with a column in the Guardian accusuing Monckton of writing a “mixture of cherry-picking, downright misrepresentation and pseudo-scientific gibberish”. He also attacked Monckton for not writing in a peer-reviewed scientific journal (although the last time I looked the Guardian, like the Sunday Telegraph, was also a newspaper). Monckton then responded by saying that it was Monbiot who had his science totally wrong. The aristocrat concluded his article by saying: “gie the puir numpty a cigar – at least he spelled my name right.”

My conclusion on this sorry affair is that science should be left to the scientists. There is enough for the rest of us to argue about in relation to the correct economic and political response to climate change. Such a response does not automatically follow from the natural science although obviously it should be informed by the latest scientific thinking on the question.

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