So why no debate on the assumptions behind the more apocalyptic forecasts?

Example: the UN forecast 50 million climate refugees by 2010 – where are they?


[Image courtesy of 1_sparky via Flickr.com ©©]

Agitator/Climate summit


The latest so-called Climate Summit, that’s been taking place in Durban, hasn’t made many waves. It could be because global warming seems less daunting if you can no longer afford heating bills. It could also be that we’re getting fed up with the bogus certainties and quasi-religious tone of the great climate change non-debate.

Now, I don’t know for certain that man’s activities are causing the planet to heat up. Nobody does. We simply cannot construct a theoretical model that can cope with all the variables.

For what it’s worth, I think anthropogenic warming is taking place, and, anyway, it would be a good thing to stop chucking so much bad stuff into the atmosphere.


What gets up my nose is being infantilized by governments, by the BBC, by the Guardian that there is no argument, that all scientists who aren’t cranks and charlatans are agreed on all this, that the consequences are uniformly negative, the issues beyond doubt and the steps to be taken beyond dispute.


You’re not necessarily a crank to point out that global temperatures change a great deal anyway. A thousand years ago we had a Mediterranean climate in this country; 200 years ago we were skating every winter on the Thames.

And actually there has been no significant rise in global temperatures for more than a decade now.

We hear a lot about how the Arctic is shrinking, but scarcely anything about how the Antarctic is spreading, and the South Pole is getting colder.

Droughts aren’t increasing. There are fewer of them, and less severe, than a hundred years ago. The number of hurricanes hasn’t changed, the number of cyclones and typhoons has actually fallen over the last 30 years.

And so on.

There may be answers, I think there probably are - to all these quibbles – I would like to hear them.

I don’t want the media to make up my mind up for me.

I don’t need to be told things by officialdom in all its forms, that are not true, or not the whole truth, for my own good.

I resent the implication that the exercise of my reason is “inappropriate”, an act of generational selfishness, a heresy.

I want a genuine debate about the assumptions behind the more apocalyptic forecasts.

As recently as 2005, for instance, the UN said there would be 50 million climate refugees by 2010.

That was last year.

OK – so where are they?

I would like to hear a clash of informed opinion about what would actually be better if it got warmer as well as worse.

Where do you see reported the extraordinary greening of the Sahel, and shrinking of the Sahara that’s been going on for 30 years now – the regeneration of vegetation across a huge, formerly arid swathe of dirt poor Africa. More warming means more rainfall. More CO2 means plants grow bigger, stronger, faster.


I would like a real argument over climate change policy, if only to rid myself of the nagging feeling that sometimes it’s a really good excuse for banging up taxes and public-sector job creation.


It’s not happening. It’s a secular issue but skepticism is heresy.


They talk the language of science, but it is really a post-God religion that rejects relativist materialism.

Its imperative is moral.

It looks to a society where some choices are obviously, and universally held to be, better than others.

A life where having what we want is not a right and nature puts constraints on the free play of desires.

To reinvent, in short, a life where there is good and bad, right and wrong.

As with all religions, whether the underlying narrative is true, has become beside the point.



Latest comments

Leave a comment

  • Alan (04.01.2012,

    Regarding the flat temperature trend for the last decade which you characterize as misinformation from cranks: We’re not misinformed by cranks; we’re informed (in this case) by the faithful. The data at NASA GISS (think James Hansen, climate martyr) trend flat since at least 2001. See http://data.giss.nasa.gov/gistemp/graphs_v3/Fig.C.gif

  • Forget opinions consult the data and you will see very clearly that throughout history there is no evidence of any description that Co2 has or could wreak the degree of havoc predicted by the ipcc and its collective of muddle headed greed driven miscreants.


    The above shortcut takes you to a Canadian Senate hearing where you can see clearly why the current impasse continues to merit a holocaust of irrelevant misguided emotive and noxious green gibberish, it seems very few people have the intellect to recognise the difference between fact and opinion, between data and propaganda, this is what you say what about what the other side says, irrelevant just look at the numbers and if you can manage this comparatively simple task then you will soon recognise that you are considerably higher up the scale of intellect than those who presume to know better. Good luck it is a redeeming experience.

  • It seems that we will sidestep the most destructive of the proposed “solutions” to AGW, which coincidentally sound like long-time liberal policy prescriptions of higher taxes, more governmental power over industry and the citizenry, and the redistribution of wealth.

    We’ll suffer through some of it of course, such as taxes on jets for the carbon footprint of air travel, and Europe has some cap and trade boondoggles going on, but the dream of sucking $100 billion a year out of guilt-ridden Western economies seems to be fading.

  • “And actually there has been no significant rise in global temperatures for more than a decade now.”

    This is the giveaway line which tells us clearly that you are allowing yourself to be misinformed by cranks. You are either too ignorant or too lazy to properly interpret “significance” in this context, and your statement is scientifically irrelevant.

  • I hope that Mr Buerk has no need of his BBC income because publishing subversive material could mean that his coat will soon be hanging on a shugglie nail.

    This will be a pity because the BBC badly needs journalists of Buerk’s calibre which he convincingly demonstrates in the insight he offers contained in the last 5 short sentences of this expertly crafted piece.

    Mr Buerk is not alone in seeing that catastrophic anthropogenic global warming is a belief system rather than science but unlike most he has got a reasonable grip on the underlying reason. I expect that comes from his years of mind wrestling training on the Moral Maze.

    Having said all that perhaps Mr Buerk has a fine sense of timing and thinks that expressing these views is no longer carreericide at the BBC. I really hope so.

  • […] BBC journalist, Michael Buerk has a short podcast entitled Michael Buerk on the Climate Summit at a new blog that I have just come across called The Fifth Column. It has some thought-provoking […]

  • Presumambly the author of this podcast is aware of the conflicts of interrest within the BBC’s environment team..

    ie the fact that the BBC’s Roger Harrabin was discovered (climategate 2 emails) to have been on the Advisory Board of the Tyndall Centre at UEA.

    At he same tme Tyndall centre were funding Roger Harrabin’s (and OU’s Dr Joe Smith) Cambridge Media and Environment Programmme to influence the media especially the BBC, with Tyndall agenda. Not least by running seminars at the BBC..

    An almost unbelievable conflict of interest..

    As reported at Watts Up With That:

    extract: Mike Hulme:

    “Did anyone hear Stott vs. Houghton on Today, radio 4 this morning? Woeful stuff really. This is one reason why Tyndall is sponsoring the Cambridge Media/Environment Programme to starve this type of reporting at source.” (email 2496)”

    so when Roger Harrabibn interviewed and reported on climategate, why did he interview the very people implicated (and had a relationship with)…. why did he NOT mention the attempts to avoid FOI, the deltetion of emails in the face of FOI, all common knowledge. just focused on the ‘trick’ to ‘hide the decline’ with the very people implicarted defending it..

    BBC has indeed been lost to a ‘culture of environmentalism’

  • […]  Audio Podcast: MICHAEL BUERK ON THE CLIMATE SUMMIT  The latest so-called Climate Summit, that’s been taking place in Durban, hasn’t made many waves. It could be because global warming seems less daunting if you can no longer afford heating bills. It could also be that we’re getting fed up with the bogus certainties and quasi-religious tone of the great climate change non-debate. […]

  • […] Debate 29/12/2011FeaturedNo comments   thegwpf.org Wednesday, 28 December 2011  Audio Podcast: MICHAEL BUERK ON THE CLIMATE SUMMIT   The latest so-called Climate Summit, that’s been taking place in Durban, hasn’t made […]

  • Well said Michael, I only hope your career at the BBC isn’t threatened by your temerity, it didn’t do David Bellamy any favours to be so truthful

    Regards A

  • If there really is a scintilla of truth in the global warming theory, which I start to doubt, a rational, public debate on this matter is urgently needed, because as it is, the internet is exposing the facts about the subject, and people are utterly losing faith in the scientific process. The truly shocking part is that some scientists from other disciplines seem willing to support what is going on, rather than upset the apple cart.

    The scientists at the heart of this scare condemn themselves using their own words, in the emails that have been released on to the internet. We are regularly told that the scientists, and the science they are doing has been cleared by a number of inquiries, yet as even the Guardian exposed, this is simply not true!

    The Wikileaks organisation – famed for releasing details of abuse in Afghanistan and Iraq – is hardly likely to waste space on a bunch of irrelevant emails between hardworking scientists!

    The global temperatures which were rising through the 90’s, have been flat ever since – Prof Jones and other climatologists admit that grudgingly if pushed, but the normal way to report annual temperatures, hides this fact, by reporting the result as if it were a horse race.

    I think Michael Buerk’s final point is particularly true – this has become a religion, in which the truth of the message no longer matters. To me, part of the tragedy is that there are real environmental issues – such as the destruction of the rain forests, that are eclipsed by this nonsense.

  • There may be answers, I think there probably are – to all these quibbles – I would like to hear them.

    Perhaps a bit of research may be in order – or ask somebody that knows what they are talking about – scientists seems generally very helpful to honest queries.

    I think you need to separate ‘the science” from the “the policy response’ – ‘the science’ does not mandate a particular ‘policy repsonse;

    As someone who accepts the science – (so, for example, lookup IPCC AR4 WG1 – The Physical Science Basis) I am very sceptical as to the policy responses – they indeed look as they have been formulated by politicians rather than economists. – maybe here to start http://timworstall.com/2010/08/27/so-what-does-james-hansen-suggest-we-do/ for some policies from a economic point of view

  • Why has it taken so bloody long to start asking those questions? When are those frauds, who have enriched themselves (US gov report spending 34 Bn dollars in the last 10 years on climate related research) will be brought to justice they so thoroughly deserve?
    Why the poorest in UK are forced to a)pay for BBC propaganda on this topic and b)directly subsidize those rich enough to have wind farms and solar installations, through the 10% levy on energy bills?
    Why is there no debate on the single most expensive bill rushed in 2009 through the parliament – costing this country 100 Bn in the next 8 year, and delivering even more economic destruction than it costs – all in the name of “global warming”?? http://www.thegwpf.org/press-releases/3773-top-economist-warns-green-jobs-creation-will-undermine-recovery.html
    I am outraged, and quite frankly, scared, that this society can get it so wrong for so long.

  • Wait for it. Michael Buerk, famous for his broadcast from the Sahel in 1984 which sparked much of the environmental “consciousness” of the last twenty years,will now be a pariah. I agree with everything he says in this article including the fact that there is a perfectly legitimate “luke warm” position which admits that mankind has an effect but only to the extent that he/she is a factor in a chaotic system. Interestingly, of the few outlets on BBC radio which give a fair viewing to contrary opinions on this issue – The Moral maze ( chaired by Buerk) and Home Planet, sees the latter facing the chop. Probably it will be replaced by more eco-nonsense so often given a platform on “Saving the Earth” and such like. I suggest Michael you instigate the debate on the Moral Maze, while you still have the influence to do so.

  • Bravo! Buerk has said almost everything, in succinct and understandable form. The only part of the truth he missed is that the Planet Goddess Cult serves two masters. Buerk emphasizes the advantage to governments of promoting the Cult, which is definitely true … but the real pushers in recent years have been corporations and speculators. The draconian regulations and subsidies created by the Cult have made life easier for giant corporations and vastly harder for small and mid-size business. Speculators have taken full advantage of the Carbon Offset system, as well as the overall chaos caused by the regulations.

    Speculators love a situation where everything is changing and nobody can be sure what’s coming next.

  • Well said Miachael Buerk. I hope that your BBC pension is secure. The BBC doesn’t tolerate anybody who speaks against their biased propaganda for Mann-made climate change.

  • Well, you’re getting some buzz over at WUWT, the Goliath of science blogs. M. Buerk, drop a line/comment to Anthony Watts there. I’m sure you’d be welcomed as a Guest Blogger.

  • Exactly so ! So what can we do about it ?

  • Hengist McStone

    I too ruminated on a tedious canard yesterday, I must have overcooked it.

    However, your other comment regarding misinforming the public seems to me to reveal a fear that, given a true balanced opinion, most rational people currently in the “I don’t know what to think” category would tend to side with the ‘Climate Realist’ view once presented with all the facts.

    Till now the realistic view has had no mainstream voice thanks to an establishment run MSM where the
    Harrabins, Clovers, Leakes, Leans and Monbiots always have the last word, as given to them by the IPCC, WWF and Greenpeace.

    Climategate e-mail 0927 from wwf to someone at UEA.
    We can help you with the
    database of journos of course – obvious
    ones are Paul Brown, Nick Schoon, Charles
    Clover, Fred Pearce, Geoffrey lean Jonathan
    Leake etc., and Julian Rush or Andy Veitch
    at Ch4 news

  • “The trouble with that is whilst it would get better for a small few , the aggregate effect on humanity would be negative.”

    And of course this is informed opinion…

  • Better late than never. Thanks for a rational comment. I have three degrees in sciences, two with relevance to climate science, but I am far short of forming an independent assessment of AGW. But I have the expertise to read and form judgements on the evidence. What do I have to go on?

    On the one side there seems to be strong evidence (evidence that has not been effectively challenged) that the IPCC has been corrupted and that much of the evidence that it relies on is dodgy and often fraudulent. The models (and I have hands-on experience of modelling physical systems) and all, by the only valid criterion, useless. There have been countless attempts to undermine the peer review process. It is doubtful if it ever worked in climate science and it is certainly broken now. Finally, we have the mindless chattering of the likes of that latter-day Goebbels, Al Gore, and Brian Cox who used to be a scientist but is now infatuated with his TV image. They are aided and abetted of course by the BBC, which lost its reputation decades ago. All of these are driven by fantasy-level financial incentives.

    On the other side, we have a few who produce authoritative work using open data and who make, at best, relatively modest rewards and suffer continuous abuse.

    I know where my sympathies lie. I hope that the charlatans and fraudsters will get their deserts one day but I doubt it.

  • A scientific but admittedly skeptic point of view here:..Do a search at… http://wattsupwiththat.com/

  • Hallelujah,

    Spot the irony in the religious exclamation, if you may.

    At last someone speaking sense in public on how environmentalism has become the new religion which no-one may gainsay.

    Hooray for Michael the new Messiah.

  • It’s a bit rich for a BBC newsreader to spout “I don’t want the media to make up my mind up for me.” Where does Buerk get “… the issues beyond doubt and the steps to be taken beyond dispute” from ? Mr Buerk posits that there probably are answers to all his quibbles and if he researched properly he would find that is so. On the whole Buerk is ruminating on tedious canards.

    One statement in particular indicates that Buerk’s polemic is biased towards misinforming the public “I would like to hear a clash of informed opinion about what would actually be better if it got warmer as well as worse.” The trouble with that is whilst it would get better for a small few , the aggregate effect on humanity would be negative. There is no informed opinion that disputes that ergo Mr Buerk’s desire to hear such a clash of opinions is on the face of it misleading.

  • Well…. you are certainly echoing my thoughts on this matter. They need to be repeated loudly and often.
    However…expect a shit-storm for your efforts.
    Hearty thanks from the Savage household!

  • The IPCC myth about high feedback CO2-AGW is based on fraud.

    1. High CO2 ‘climate sensitivity’ was the logical inference when it was thought CO2 rose with T at the end of ice ages but when in 1997 that was disproved, insiders switched to calibrating models against modern warming via the fake ‘hockey stick’ and systematically lowering past temperatures.

    Few realise it but there was also a search for missing ice age amplification – Hansen claims it is the difference between the albedo of wet and dry ice, an explanation lacking in credibility.

    In 2007 it was shown that at the end of the last ice age, warming of Southern Ocean deeps started 2000 years before CO2 rose. The same biofeedback process explains recent Arctic warming now reversing. Contrary to Gore propaganda and the indoctrination of our children, CO2-AGW/GW plays no part in ending ice ages, is much smaller than claimed and the science justifying it is plain wrong.

    2. Aarhenius’ ‘back radiation’ can do no thermodynamic work. Such mistakes happen in science but are usually corrected. Unfortunately, climate science prevents publication of contrary opinion, a major part of the fraud.

    3. Cooling by polluted low level clouds supposed to hide (2) is only true for thin clouds: as they get thicker it switches to heating, another GW/AGW. Sagan got this physics wrong.

    4. The claim of 33K present total GHG warming is wrong because it includes ‘lapse rate’ warming. It’s really ~10K, easily proved.

    So, CO2 climate sensitivity is exaggerated by a factor of at least 6.7. When you correct the physics, extra CO2 probably slightly cools now there is IR band saturation. Hence no IPCC climate model can predict climate.

    It’s time this new Lysenkoism was consigned to the dustbin of history. The previous attempt by international Marxism to create fake science, ‘accelerated evolution’, was in the 1980s.

Sorry, this post is closed for comments