I couldn’t help bursting out laughing on reading the start of Damian Carrington’s latest opinion column in The Guardian:

Ruinouseye-wateringcripplingstratosphericmassive. That’s the cost to the UK of beating the climate crisis, according to those who portray getting to net zero emissions as economic suicide that is being thrust on an unwilling population by posh eco-fundamentalists and zealots.

This is not just wrong, it is the exact opposite of reality. The delusions come from those with histories of climate change scepticism and could be dismissed as the latest mutant variant thrown up by the death throes of denial. But they are having a real-world impact, slowing action at the precise moment acceleration is needed.

H/t Mark Hodgson in Open Mic, as ever.

The good news: according to Carrington we are having a real-world impact. Furthermore, note that, apart from one piece by the GWPF, those are all MSM newspaper articles he’s linked to. So perhaps we’re having a bigger real-world impact than even I realised.

Anyway, I thought this might be a good place to give our personal account of what led us to have “histories of climate change scepticism.” And perhaps give our wider view on the history. Or just have a go at the rest of the article.


  1. …a good place to give our personal account of what led us to have “histories as climate change sceptics”

    I was pondering on this only today, in the context of wind turbines. I think they are (at least in my experience) the single biggest driver of scepticism on the part of communities adversely affected by them. My own interest in the topic commenced out of sympathy with friends who (together with many of their fellow-villagers) were fighting a particularly nasty and inappropriate wind farm development very close to their village. Fortunately they won. But it was observing the greed and divisive tactics of the wind turbine company that made me begin to question their “green” credentials and to wonder whether they were just in it for the money. And if they were just in it for the money, maybe much of their mantra was just a cover for their greed. I was pretty appalled by the proposed environmentalism vandalism in the name of environmentalism. That made no sense to me (and still doesn’t) And so I started to read. And to think. And to question. And it went from there.

    I am pretty confident many other sceptics had their scepticism awakened in a similar way. In some ways, wind farm owners and operators are great recruiting sergeants for the sceptic cause.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Mark: That’s a history I didn’t know and is extremely helpful. I have lots of thoughts on the way Carrington is trying to have his cake and eat it: we’re in our death throes yet having a critical real-world impact. Which one is it Damian old chum?

    The man has no idea of the history of scepticism would be my guess. I can illustrate from my own experience but I thought some other testimonies would be educational to him and, before that, to the rest of us.


  3. There had been a significant drought in the British Columbia Interior in 2003 following low winter snowfall. I attended a conference in Kelowna a couple of years later with a focus on the drought. One of the presentations included some graphs showing a short-term (about 10 to 15 years) declining trend in winter snowpacks at a number of stations and the assertion was made that it was caused by climate change. At the end of the presentation I asked if they had looked at the influence of the Pacific Decadal Oscillation (PDO). The PDO is known to have multi-decadal influence on annual precipitation and temperatures in the Pacific NW. The answer was no, they had not looked at it. But I was shocked by the negative reaction to my question by others in the room. It was as if I had committed a heresy.
    After that experience I started to get interested in climate change issues, discovered the Hockey Stick and it was downhill from there. By the way, the worst drought on record in the Okanagan was during the period 1929 to 1931.

    Liked by 3 people

  4. potentilla: Also fascinating. When do you think Damian Carrington believes you should have fallen into line? The moment the negative reaction to your mention of the old denialist canard the PDO was discernible in 2005? Or, given your subsequent interest in the hockey stick, when the various Climategate inquiries found ‘pas de problème’ with CRU and its associates in 2010?

    Since then, are you aware of when you became a ‘mutant variant thrown up by the death throes of denial’?

    Very glad you are one, I have to say.

    Here’s a bit of Damian’s own history in 2010, from 15th July, writing up a debate the Guardian had helped to arrange in London the night before (which I also attended). He describes all the participants, including this fellow:

    Steve McIntyre, editor of ClimateAudit: It was hard to reconcile the much-demonised McIntyre with the open and avuncular Canadian on the stage. Despite being the highest-profile critic of CRU, he pointed out none of the three enquires had asked him to give evidence. He ducked a question on how much the Earth was warming – “I don’t know” – he was convincing in saying his motive had always been wanting the temperature data only because he felt it was important and should be available. He noted that if he was running a government, he would be taking action on climate change. Hardly a classic sceptic.

    That’s at https://www.theguardian.com/environment/blog/2010/jul/15/climategate-public-debate

    Oops, no it isn’t. That page now says only:

    We have switched off comments on this old version of the site. To comment on crosswords, please switch over to the new version to comment.

    But click on next and you have George Monbiot in full flow on 22nd July. Click on previous and you can read someone else’s unredacted thoughts under the headline Real BP Gulf oil disaster is still to come from earlier on 15th July.

    Just this one article from all the Guardian blog posts of the time has been consigned to the memory hole. Or so it seems.

    You can read what the Wayback Machine captured of Damian’s thoughts here. He ends “I’m cautiously optimistic.” Wrongthink at its most dangerous.

    Anyway, thanks again. I didn’t know I was going to have that rabbit-hole to go down this lovely Somerset morning.

    Liked by 2 people

  5. first – is the post photo him now & the Guardian photo from the link him before the global heating ? he looks dehydrated !!!
    then he quotes to prove his post has the facts/science behind it –
    Chris Stark, head of the government’s advisers, the Climate Change Committee.
    Swiss Re, the insurance giant whose business is risk, agrees.

    we knew that already,not new news Damian.

    then –
    “In the face of this, why do some still make hysterical claims of ruinous costs? The first reason is blinkered nationalism – the UK’s emissions are just 1% of the globe’s, they say. The problem here is that the UK is holding the vital Cop26 climate summit in November – why should anyone act to save the world if the host is not? Failing to act would also cede competitive advantage in green industries to other nations: kiss goodbye to “Global Britain”.”

    “Global Britain” means we can trade with any country in the world (I Think) – what a plonker!!!

    ps – see Stephen McIntyre has a new post –

    Liked by 1 person

  6. dfhunter: Ha, it’s a selfie I took twelve days ago, to show a friend a haircut I’d had that morning.

    None taken 😉

    (The barber was Kurdish and was visiting his family in Kurdistan the next day. Interesting chat.)

    I didn’t want a depiction of ‘mutant variant’ as that easily links to less light-hearted thoughts at present.

    And this was genuinely triggered by laughter. Though there’s a serious side too, as always.

    Thanks for alerting us to Steve’s thoughts on the hockey stick in the SPM that has no corresponding assessment in the report proper.

    They too are having a laugh. But not in such a good way.


    The Carrington article you’ve retrieved on Wayback is precious. A transcript of the debate itself is at
    The Guardian was going to provide a video of the whole proceedings, but only provided a 5 minute video trailer, from which supposed sceptic Steve McIntyre was omitted, and a complete audio, from which sceptic Douglas Keenan was omitted, on the grounds that his accusations of fraud might be libellous. I said somewhere that I was transcribing the thing and Keenan provided his part of the debate. If Keenan hadn’t seen my statement, there would have been no input from a “sceptic” in the only public record of the only debate where the Guardian claimed to present a sceptic point of view.

    The debate was greeted as an attempt by the Guardian to be fair, even by Montford at Bishop Hill. It wasn’t. The choice of Monbiot as moderator was absurd. McIntyre wasn’t even going to be invited until someone paid his airfare. Even Stalin sometimes let people off, when enough pressure was exercised.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. the rant – “mutant variant thrown up by the death throes of denial” has a certain ring to it which I find intersting (if uttered by anyone else in this Covid era it would be called out).

    wonder what “the exact opposite of reality” means ?


  9. To answer your question:
    like the best psychoanalysis, you’ve helped me to go back further in my self-analysis, back to 1968 in fact, to a viewing of the Beatles animation film “Yellow Submarine” which I found deeply upsetting, due to a self-identification with the irritating little know-all depicted in the song ‘”Nowhere Man.” Fourteen subsequent years working in market research and advertising made me realise that “Nowhere Man” represents a whole tranche of society, of which I was a part.

    Twenty years later, I was still nowhere, since I still believed that one was defined by one’s political and social beliefs. My earliest recollection relevant to climate change was of an article in (I think) the Observer suggesting that, due to global warming, Western Europe was facing catastrophic cooling. “Not a lot of people know that,” I thought, which is the natural reaction which the liberal media aim to elicit – information being the fuel for opinions which are the currency of dinner talk, conferences, and chats around the coffee machine in the world where interesting opinions count for more than hard (and hard to come by) facts.

    Climate change was part of the background noise of my beliefs until Justice Burton issued his judgement on Al Gore’s film “An Inconvenient Truth,” finding that a half a dozen of Gore’s claims were in contradiction with the findings of the IPCC. “How dare a High Court Judge attempt to censure a documentary film?” I thought. And I started to look around for evidence about global warming. First stop, Realclimate, where an article claiming to explain the basic science “in a way that Gavin Schmidt’s aunt could understand” proved beyond me. I got good grades in maths physics and chemistry A-levels. Maybe Gavin’s aunt got better ones.

    Next stop, Climate Audit. I can’t be sure that it was at this time, or later, that the discussion was about measurement of sea temperatures. It seems that, prior to 1940, the majority of measurements were made by British ships, using a thermometer dipped in a bucket of seawater. (Thereafter the majority of measurements were made by US ships with thermometers situated on the ship’s hull near the water intake. Who would have thought that a mere world war would interfere with the collection of scientific data to such an extent?)

    Apparently, adjustments had to be made according to whether the buckets were made of leather or of oak. A commenter suggested that the weight of the sailor should also be taken into account, since a slight cabin boy wouldn’t dip his bucket as deep as a hefty midshipman. I didn’t get that this was a joke, but it didn’t matter; I was already a sceptic.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Richard,

    I have already told the story of how I came to be a climate sceptic here:

    Days of Yore and Days of Wonder

    So I won’t repeat the story now. Incidentally, a number of individuals (Alex Cull, Alan Kendall, Jaime Jessop, etc.) were kind enough to share their own experiences on the above thread, and I might suggest that they would work equally well as comments for your own.

    Suffice to say, I became sceptical of a certain class of scientific enterprise before I homed in on climate science as being the most notorious representative of that class. If anything, I had become a string theory sceptic before I turned my attentions to climate science.

    Liked by 1 person

  11. Geoff:

    The Carrington article you’ve retrieved on Wayback is precious. A transcript of the debate itself is at …

    Thanks – and for the rest of what you said. I’ve kept a local copy now too.

    I admit I remain gobsmacked by what the Guardian has done here.

    What was so harmful in that article that it had to be removed from the record? I think it has to be this:

    Despite being the highest-profile critic of CRU, [Steve McIntyre] pointed out none of the three enquires had asked him to give evidence.

    He did indeed say that and young Damian recorded the fact. Which was verboten, as a chastened Mr Carrington now realises, which is why he has to throw ridiculous rhetoric in our direction in August 2021. You can never atone enough for this, for telling the truth about something so damning.

    It reminds me of a submission to the Commons select committee on science and tech earlier in the year:

    5. Are the terms of reference and scope of the Independent Review announced on 3 December 2009 by UEA adequate? Last week Steve McIntyre and Ross McKitrick informed me by email that they had not been contacted by Muir Russell. If that is still the case the scope of his review is inadequate …

    Richard Tyrwhitt-Drake
    February 2010

    I agree that it was ridiculous for George Monbiot to chair the July debate and the rest. But, with all the failings, a nugget of important truth, that blew apart the cover-up job on Climategate in 2010, was present in the Guardian archives. It had to be expunged. And now Mr Carrington lectures us on our history. Yeah, convincing.

    Liked by 1 person

  12. John (13 AUG 21 AT 9:26 AM): I finally read that post from October 2019. Reread it, even, based on the first comment!

    I’m sorry not to have done much with this mutant theme, which was, partly, going to be about how different the histories of climate sceptics are. Just the four here – Mark, potentilla, Geoff, John – bear that out. More when the time comes around.


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