This is the first time I’ve dabbled with an article on Climate Change in my blog. It’ll probably be my last, as I guess I’ll be the target of much vitriol, get upset, and pull the plug like the sensitive chap I am. However, as I have been passionately concerned about the subject ever since my Green Party days of the 1980’s I thought it was about time I stuck a toe in the water, so here is a small article on a subject that has been eating away at me for several weeks.
Photograph credits : Lawson: Martin Argles The Guardian, Cruz: Chris Keane, Reuters
With the huge amount of recent publicity following the ridiculous Donald Trump, the rest of the candidates for the US Republican Party can get somewhat overshadowed. We seem to now hear less about Ben Carson and his Christian fundamentalist beliefs than we did, but there is one other candidate for the leadership of the ‘Grand Old Party’ (the GOP) who grabs a huge amount of news (as seen here in Europe, at least), that being the Senator from Texas, Ted Cruz. Trump maybe nasty and a racist – stupid even, but Cruz is more dangerous I would say, and definitely not stupid.
It is this intelligence that I want to highlight with regard to the Senator’s incredible stance with regard to Climate Change, and it is also here that similarities to the ex British Chancellor of the Exchequer Lord Nigel Lawson become apparent, but more about Baron Lawson of Blaby later, let us first deal with Ted Cruz.
It’s hard to know where to start with just how wide of the mark Senator Cruz is with his ‘beliefs’ on Climate Change. Perhaps reading this article would serve as some sort of primer, but Cruz (incredibly) chairs the Senate’s Subcommittee on Space, Science, and Competitiveness, and back in December 2015 appeared prominently in a meeting devoted to Climate Change where, amongst other things he displayed a graph which he stated proved that “there has been no significant global warming for the past 18 years.” You can watch his performance and see the graph here , but my point is that the chart is an example of cherry-picking the data to make a point, and Cruz knows this because, as already mentioned, he is not dumb. (I won’t go into massive detail here, but the cherry-picking includes ensuring that the El Nino enhanced temperature figure for 1998 is shown on the left of the chart, and thus deliberately lessening the real growth in global temperatures seen and measured over the past several decades, which is only explainable by including mankind’s emissions of greenhouse gases). I’m guessing also that Cruz must have staff members who prepare these things for him – perhaps advising and coaching him on what to say.
What, therefore, makes a person (and their staff – how can these poeple live with themselves!) knowingly present information in this false and deliberately misleading way? I am certainly unable to imagine the commercial, corporate and political factors that must contribute to the pressures on such a smart man making himself look and sound so ridiculous. Unfortunately, Ted Cruz has a huge following, and that’s what makes him so dangerous (see here for how dangerous he could be). But how does such an educated person manage to internalise and bury the deceit, and convince himself that he is right? I can only assume that this sort of denial of the work of thousands of scientist is akin to the way that the (very) occasional qualified biologist denies the fact of evolution and subscribes to the belief of creationism and that the world is only 6,000 years old!
So, what of Lord Lawson? How can we draw any parallels between the current Senator of Texas, and a Westminster School and Christ Church Oxford educated British politician (obtaining a first class honours degree in PPE) who served in Margaret Thatcher’s government? Surely we couldn’t have picked two more dissimilar people? Well, both are very smart, yet subscibe to incredibly dumb views related to Climate Change! Lawson founded the Global Warming Policy Foundation (GWPF) and has ridiculed himself several times by spouting nonsense about Climate Change. Unfortunately the GWPF has the means to represent this nonsense as ‘facts’ in such a way as to convince the more credulous members of the public and also many politicians (who should know better). For a detailed discussion of the utter twaddle that Lord Lawson spouts, I can do no better than to refer you to this immaculately-written blog article by Graham Wayne which really is worth a read.
In summary, you can be both very smart and a dickhead, all at the same time!