25 August 2007

He advised Mrs Thatcher so he must be right

You have to be desperate to quote a clapped out advisor to Mrs Thatcher in support of your argument. When that person, Lord Monckton, is also a hereditary peer, and a retired journalist and "inventor" to boot, that desperation becomes terminal. But that is just what they do over at the grandly named Science and Public Policy Institute, SPPI, which has just published Papers by British Peer Disprove Catastrophic Human-Induced Global Warming and "Consensus".

Plenty of people have weighed in to dismember the peer's ideas. The puzzling bit for me is that an organisation should feel that advising Mrs Thatcher and being a "Lord" adds weight to their views. Both could equally be signs of eccentricity, or something even more deranged.

The idea that such a person can "disprove" all the stuff we read about climate change must also raise doubts about the credibility of SPPI. It seems that anyone can throw a bunch of grand words into its title and some people out there will take it seriously.

The problem with this set of initials, well, one of the problems, is that its title is awfully similar to a once credible outfit, the Scientists' Institute for Public Information. SIPI was in on the public engagement game, and in "educating" the media, long before the current bandwagon hit the road.

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