From The Sunday Times
Motormouth: John Aizlewood
Jolly green idiot
"I haven’t seen it. I’ve only got a D in physics." As excuses go, it was a mealy mouthed mixture of ignorance and confessional stupidity. The apologist, speaking on Radio 4’s Today, was David Miliband. The programme he hadn’t bothered to see was Channel 4’s The Great Global Warming Swindle.
David Miliband? He’s the secretary of state for environment, food and rural affairs and, if Gordon Brown were to fall under a bendy bus before the summer’s out, a potential prime minister. Moreover, he’s powering Britain’s global warming agenda and is the mover (and shaker) behind the Climate Change Bill, which, straight-faced, demands a 60% cut in carbon emissions by 2050.
Miliband once suggested that the achingly worthy film An Inconvenient Truth, by failed US presidential candidate Al Gore, should be compulsory viewing for British schoolchildren. Strangely, though, he didn’t bother to watch a programme that set out the counter-arguments.
Just to fill Her Majesty’s minister in, it bewailed the self-flagellation of the global warming gravy train, it pointed out that cows produce more greenhouse gases than cars, that Greenland was warmer 1,000 years ago than today and that the sun (rather than, say, the Range Rover), drives our planet’s temperature. No, it didn’t disprove man-made global warming, but it did bring intellectual rigour to the debate.
Tellingly, after his Today fiasco, Miliband dispatched government wordsmiths to roll out 1,657 words attempting to refute the programme’s arguments on his website. Even they agreed that "changes in solar radiation are a significant driver of the climate".
Unlike Miliband, I did watch The Great Global Warming Swindle. Simply, it argued that an ice age or temperature surge may happen, but industrialisation is an insignificant contributor compared with the sun. It dismissed wind and solar power as silly, unless you want to power a pocket radio for two minutes a month, and it admitted that nuclear power (the one serious, global-warming-neutral power source) is environmentally friendly, albeit after the 2m years it takes for the waste to decompose.
Like Miliband, I’m no physicist. Moreover, I care. I’m a recycling vigilante, not because I’m so self-regarding as to pretend I’m saving the planet, but because waste is self-evidently bad. Even so, I’d rather increase carbon emissions by throwing myself on a coal fire than endure the strident self-righteous imposed orthodoxy of the global warming movement and the notion that anyone who isn’t Bono who gets on a plane without planting a rainforest as compensation is a criminal. I resent the suggestion that because I will never have a wind turbine near my house, unlike “Dave” Cameron, I’m murdering my — and your — children.
I despair at the greener than thous who roll their eyes when I confess to making journeys in my air-conditioned car before arriving sweat-free, after stopping at every red light. They’d rather I wore chaffing Lycra, drenched my hairshirt in sweat, cycled through every red light and arrived looking like I’d spent the night with Pete Doherty.
Naturally, Brown’s budget was proclaimed a "green" budget because he raised revenue by slinging some tax at gas guzzlers. And he’s paying pensioners to fit central heating, which is nice.
But will global warming be that bad? If it means I can wear T-shirts in February and have a vineyard instead of a back yard, frankly I’m all in favour. Anyway, as a lucky westerner, it rather ill behoves me to demand that the good folk of Equatorial Guinea forgo refrigerators to help Miliband "save" the planet and make his career. Perhaps the minister should watch a little more television.