No 680 Posted by fw, February 19, 2013
“It is fair to say that trust in politicians is not something the public has in abundance. That is why, when it comes to climate change, it is so important that all the rigours of the scientific method are applied. That it is the science that drives policy. And that we hear loud and clear from the experts.” —Ed Davey
Could it be that President Obama’s recent “if Congress won’t act soon to protect future generations, I will” speech may have stiffened the spine of other government leaders and their ministers. Others, excluding, that is, Messrs. Harper, Baird and Kent who continue to have their heads buried in tar sands oil, spewing a feeble defense of their “ethical oil” record.
Pity our three blinkered ministers can’t see their way to follow the lead of Ed Davey, UK Energy and Climate Change Secretary. He has laid down the gauntlet: “Those who deny climate change and demand a halt to emissions reduction and mitigation work, want us to take a huge gamble with the future of every human being on the planet”
To read one account of Davey’s address to the Royal Society, click on the linked title below. Alternatively, read this post with its added subheadings.
Davey takes on the skeptics
‘Those who deny climate change and demand a halt to emissions reduction and mitigation work, want us to take a huge gamble with the future of every human being on the planet’
Ed Davey will aim his most vocal criticism to date at those climate skeptics who seek to delay and undermine action to curb global greenhouse gas emissions, accusing them of adopting a “dogmatic” and “blinkered” stance that represents “a huge gamble with the future of every human being on the planet”.
The Energy and Climate Change Secretary is to deliver a speech at the Royal Society this afternoon to a meeting of the AVOID symposium, a government-funded climate research programme incorporating the Met Office, the Tyndall Institute and several other research bodies.
In it Davey will offer fresh assurances that the government’s climate policy is firmly based on the latest scientific evidence and call on scientists and researchers to play an even more proactive role in supporting the development of the green economy.
“It is fair to say that trust in politicians is not something the public has in abundance,” he will say. “That is why, when it comes to climate change, it is so important that all the rigours of the scientific method are applied. That it is the science that drives policy. And that we hear loud and clear from the experts.”
In addition, Davey will aim pointed criticism at those who reject this evidence, including some MPs on the government’s backbenches, arguing that they are denying a body of evidence that is largely “irrefutable”.
“When the scientists tell us that the evidence proves that smoking is addictive and can cause a whole host of deadly medical conditions from emphysema to heart disease, we believe them,” he will say. “So if we have this trust in scientific evidence, why would we make an exception when it comes to the science of climate change?
“Good science is questioning, skeptical, analytical – testing theories and understanding risks. Two hundred years of good science – teasing out uncertainties, considering risk – has laid the foundation of what we now understand. It screams out from decade upon decade of research. The basic physics of climate change is irrefutable.”
“Those who deny climate change…want us to take a huge gamble with the future”
He will also argue that climate skeptics are failing to acknowledge the broad risk mitigation benefits that come with transitioning towards a low carbon economy.
“You know, when I am confronted by some of the most dogmatic and blinkered people who deny that climate change is happening, I am reminded of the sentiment of the famous USA Today cartoon,” he will say. “If we really are wrong about climate change, we will have created a better world for nothing.
“In reality, those who deny climate change and demand a halt to emissions reduction and mitigation work, want us to take a huge gamble with the future of every human being on the planet, every future human being, our children and grandchildren, and every other living species. We will not take that risk.”
The public attack on climate skeptics, including lobby groups such as former Chancellor Lord Lawson’s Global Warming Policy Foundation, provides the latest evidence that the government is ratcheting up the rhetoric in support of its green agenda.
Even PM Cameron is distancing himself from fellow Conservatives who oppose ambitious green policies
Only last week Prime Minister David Cameron publicly distanced himself from those in his own party arguing against the adoption of ambitious green policies, declaring that “to those who say we just can’t afford to prioritize green energy right now, my view is we can’t afford not to”.
Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg adopted a similar stance in defence of the government’s green agenda, arguing last week that sustainability and economic growth “go hand in hand”.
Davey, whose speech will be accompanied this afternoon by an address from the outgoing Chief Scientific Adviser Sir John Beddington on the importance of the role science plays in informing government policy, will today also argue that a global climate change treaty is within reach, but will require significant support from the scientific community.
“We can’t leave this to the politicians to save the planet”
“We can’t leave this to the politicians to save the planet,” he will say. “This has to be a whole of society effort, and no contribution will be more crucial than that of the scientific community. Conceiving solutions, engineering new efficiencies, bringing new energy sources to the market. We share a positive vision of a green, clean energy and transport – and a better, healthier way of life. And the progress of science will help us get there.”