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Fertilisation effect: Over the past 30 years, the earth  has become observably greener, and this has even affected most parts of the Sahel (credit: Getty Images)

There is something odd about the global warming debate — or the climate change debate, as we are now expected to call it, since global warming has for the time being come to a halt.

I have never shied away from controversy, nor — for example, as Chancellor — worried about being unpopular if I believed that what I was saying and doing was in the public interest.

But I have never in my life experienced the extremes of personal hostility, vituperation and vilification which I — along with other dissenters, of course — have received for my views on global warming and global warming policies.

For example, according to the Climate Change Secretary, Ed Davey, the global warming dissenters are, without exception, "wilfully ignorant" and in the view of the Prince of Wales we are "headless chickens". Not that "dissenter" is a term they use. We are regularly referred to as "climate change deniers", a phrase deliberately designed to echo "Holocaust denier" — as if questioning present policies and forecasts of the future is equivalent to casting malign doubt about a historical fact.

The heir to the throne and the minister are senior public figures, who watch their language. The abuse I received after appearing on the BBC's Today programme last February was far less restrained. Both the BBC and I received an orchestrated barrage of complaints to the effect that it was an outrage that I was allowed to discuss the issue on the programme at all. And even the Science and Technology Committee of the House of Commons shamefully joined the chorus of those who seek to suppress debate.

In fact, despite having written a thoroughly documented book about global warming more than five years ago, which happily became something of a bestseller, and having founded a think tank on the subject — the Global Warming Policy Foundation — the following year, and despite frequently being invited on Today to discuss economic issues, this was the first time I had ever been asked to discuss climate change. I strongly suspect it will also be the last time.

The BBC received a well-organised deluge of complaints — some of them, inevitably, from those with a vested interest in renewable energy — accusing me, among other things, of being a geriatric retired politician and not a climate scientist, and so wholly unqualified to discuss the issue.

Perhaps, in passing, I should address the frequent accusation from those who violently object to any challenge to any aspect of the prevailing climate change doctrine, that the Global Warming Policy Foundation's non-disclosure of the names of our donors is proof that we are a thoroughly sinister organisation and a front for the fossil fuel industry.

As I have pointed out on a number of occasions, the Foundation's Board of Trustees decided, from the outset, that it would neither solicit nor accept any money from the energy industry or from anyone with a significant interest in the energy industry. And to those who are not-regrettably-prepared to accept my word, I would point out that among our trustees are a bishop of the Church of England, a former private secretary to the Queen, and a former head of the Civil Service. Anyone who imagines that we are all engaged in a conspiracy to lie is clearly in an advanced stage of paranoia.

The reason why we do not reveal the names of our donors, who are private citizens of a philanthropic disposition, is in fact pretty obvious. Were we to do so, they, too, would be likely to be subject to the vilification and abuse I mentioned earlier. And that is something which, understandably, they can do without.

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August 4th, 2014
11:08 PM
An excellent - and much needed - read. I differ with him on one point, however. Based on reading I have done, I don't think that Christianity is "clearly in decline." Quite the opposite - it is booming in China, South America, and Africa. Good news, in my opinion.

hegels advocate
July 7th, 2014
4:07 PM
Nigel Lawson could well be right. But what he and the eco-alarmists never mention is the evolution and progress of Uruguay. It`s not one of the big `dinosaur-ideology` economies nor does it need them. The Yes/No "Tartling" about climate is twee and quaint. Nigel Lawson and his enemies are both just Morris Dancing. I`m `pro-utopia` with Zizek and the people of Uruguay.

Jake J
May 13th, 2014
9:05 PM
I like this article, except for the discussion (such as it is) of renewables. There are good arguments to make on both sides of that question, but it's truly a strawman argument to (pardon the pun) smear the concept of renewable energy by including all the cow dung burned in India and Africa.

May 13th, 2014
8:05 PM
A fascinating essay, and good to hear alternative views, even if I haven't made up my mind yet. Two things spring to mind: 1. With regards to the points at the end about forcing poor countries to cut emissions it struck me that there is a linked issue concerning nuclear energy. Existing nuclear powers try to prevent the technology spreading due to the link to weapons development, yet it is clearly a zero carbon energy source. So there is a moral issue here. If we are to believe that emissions must be curbed it seems particularly evil to prevent most countries from having access to the least carbon intensive form of energy. 2. Irrespective of climate change, a bigger issue could be the fast deteriorating EROEI (energy return on energy invested). So whereas it used to take a barrel of oil to produce 100 barrels, I've seen estimates ranging from 1:1.5 to 1:5 for shale oil, and falling. As the reserves become less and less efficient to exploit, we may be forced off oil, gas and coal anyway, on pure economic grounds.

May 13th, 2014
9:05 AM
Lord Lawson states: " [greenhouse gases] in effect, trap some of the heat we receive from the sun and prevent it from bouncing back into space. Without the greenhouse effect, the planet would be so cold as to be uninhabitable". Blind acceptance of this unproven theory by Luke Warmers such as Lord Lawson merely sustain the hegemony of argument that "the science is settled". The existence of an atmospheric radiative greenhouse effect (GHE) is necessitated by the false construct typified by the Kiehl/Trenberth earth energy budget cartoon. This makes the fatal error (or fraud, you decide) of equating solar flux in = terrestrial flux out, which is incorrect. It should equate solar energy in = terrestrial energy out. Kiehl/Trenberth use a false and physically meaningless average, whereby they halve the actual incoming solar flux, by simply ignoring the reality that it only hits 50% of the globe at any one time. Instead, they say that half the actual solar flux hits a flat earth 24/7. So what? If the actual incoming energy is used over HALF surface area, using the same formula as K/T, the linearly-averaged temperature of the lit half of the globe is more like +30C, vice -18C. Considering the 'average' global temperature is +15C, the false conclusion is drawn that the GHE lifts global 'average' temperature by +33C. If you stick to energy conservation, not energy flux conservation, which depends on surface area, there is no requirement for a GHE, on any planet. Just think about it - you are asked to believe that the hottest the sun can heat us to is -18C. This is supposedly "settled science". So, the sun can't melt ice nor evaporate water, they would have you believe. Sounds more like "settled nonsense" to me. It's about time we had a Chief Scientific Adviser with some of his objectivity remaining. Numbers here:

Alex Garcia
May 12th, 2014
8:05 PM
You've read the essay, now see the video .... complete with Q&A session. 88 minutes total.

May 12th, 2014
5:05 AM
My Dear Lord Lawson, having studies the subject independently for >4 years, and being one of the few real heat transfer and GHG experts from Industrial Science who has actually measured coupled convection and radiation, I have concluded that CO2-AGW is near zero. This is because the atmosphere self controls using CO2 as the working fluid of a heat engine. Furthermore, there is zero, yes ZERO, net surface IR emission in the self-absorbed IR bands of water vapour and CO2. The IPCC 'science' is a clever fraud based on a form of Gresham's Law, bad science displacing good. Those responsible should be put on trial for Malfeasance in Public Office.

Burl Henry
May 11th, 2014
5:05 PM
An excellent monograph, but it is possible to show that the theory of Climate Change due to greenhouse gasses has a fatal flaw, one that that is irrefutable, and can be PROVEN with existing data. The flaw is that the warming 1970-2000 of approx. 0.5 deg C is all attributed to the accumulation of CO2 and other grenhouse gasses, when in fact hundreds of Megatons of aerosols were being removed from the atmosphere in that time period, cleaning the air and allowing greater insolation(warming) of the earth's surface. This inevitable warming needs to be subtracted from the 0.5 deg. C atrbuted to CO2, and will be so large that the CO2 congribution will be zero. Everything, including the "pause" can be explained in terms of aerosols.This needs to be pursued. Nigel,please contact me for supporting references and further details.

May 11th, 2014
5:05 PM
Catmando's May 4th comment, regarding the use of the term, "denier", is factually correct, I'm certain. However, she presumes the term's users, in this context, have far greater depth than they likely do. Lord Lawson is without doubt correct when he says the intention is to paint climate-change skeptics with the same brush as those dastardly miscreants who dare to claim the Holocaust never happened.

May 11th, 2014
4:05 PM
Catmando commands: “To claim that the term is designed to make one think of Holocaust deniers is ignorant.” Tell this to Jim Hansen's old second in command who now runs the NASA office above Tom's Diner here in the Columbia University area, who last year pointed out *exactly* how the term renders activists ridiculous: -=NikFromNYC=-, Ph.D. in carbon chemistry (Columbia/Harvard)

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