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Thursday 8 December 2011

Booker – Not Waving But Drowning

[Updates, two so far, at end of post]

The latest magnum opus by David Attenborough, Frozen Planet, was not something I’d previously watched, but yesterday evening, knowing the gist of the content, felt I had to look in, given the hatchet jobs that would follow. Because much of the last episode looked at the by now screamingly obvious signs that the planet is warming, and this is occurring most markedly in polar regions.

Attenborough talked to those living in the northernmost settlement of Alaska, who told how the sea ice not only breaks up but melts for far more of the year than before. He showed how sea ice is thinning at and around the North Pole. Viewers saw how ice around the main ice sheet in Antarctica was breaking away. And the melting of fresh water ice in Greenland was shown.

Most strikingly, Attenborough contrasted the photographic record of glaciers on the South Atlantic island of South Georgia taken by the Shackleton expedition with the same locations today: those glaciers had retreated so far that some of those locations were barely recognisable. This was not merely a seasonal change, but a result of a long term trend (you can see the video HERE).

So how does the climate change denial lobby respond to this? Such is the desperation of Benny Peiser, Nigel Lawson and the rest at the so-called Global Warming Policy Foundation (GWPF), yet another Astroturf lobby group that declines to tell who is funding it, that they have been forced to turn to Christopher Booker for another of his tired and rambling polemics.

The result has been previewed by the Daily Mail – Nigel Lawson getting maximum value for that good feed he bought the legendarily foul mouthed Paul Dacre recently – and it contains the usual hyperbole along with a scattering of “facts”, such as the assertion that hurricane activity is “at an historic low” (misleading – the NOAA take can be seen HERE) and that Antarctic ice is increasing (not true either).

Otherwise, the “preview” is just a rambling series of exaggerations, false assertions and name-calling, although the GWPF will have had it read to make sure it stays on the right side of the line which Booker and his pal Richard North crossed not long ago, leaving the Telegraph with a six-figure legal bill. No doubt Booker’s adoring fan James “saviour of Western civilisation” Delingpole will call it “magisterial”.

But others would do well to remember that this is the work of someone who claims that moves to lower the amount of lead pollution were just a “scare”, that Darwin was wrong, that white asbestos is no more harmful than talcum powder, and who has attracted a rebuke on the record by a judge hearing a child custody case. Christopher Booker is fast becoming the Austen Chamberlain of climate science.

And, as Churchill said of him, “He always played the game, and he always lost”.

[UPDATE1 1830 hours: right on cue, James Delingpole has indeed told his enthusiastic followers (Sid and Doris Bonkers) that Booker's rambling guff-fest is "magisterial", and also "brilliant". Booker's conclusion is given at length, including the usual attempt to discredit BBC journalists ("not particularly well-informed") and scientists such as Paul Nurse ("out of their depth").

History graduate Booker will not, of course, be volunteering to debate his views with anyone, and especially George Monbiot, who he also smeared recently as being "not very bright". Nor will English Literature graduate (and "interpreter of interpretations") Delingpole. And neither Booker, nor Delingpole, nor the GWPF will be making any form of complaint to the BBC Trust any time soon. Because they're full of hot air and everyone who matters knows it]

[UPDATE2 10 December 1800 hours: Delingpole has returned to the attack by smearing the BBC Today programme as "that very exemplar of quisling Europhile values", calling the Corporation "a national embarrassment", and once again plugging Booker's "magisterial" conflation of sniffiness, scoffing and above all serial dishonesty.

But, just in case the message has not got through to his adoring fans (Sid and Doris Bonkers), Del Boy revisits - in full, just in case anyone was having difficulty nodding off - the introduction to Booker's "report", written by Anthony Jay. What is not told is that Jay recently wrote a piece for the Centre for Policy Studies, yet another right leaning Astroturf lobby group that refuses to disclose who pays its bills, advocating reducing the BBC to one broadcast channel and one radio station. So, as Mandy Rice-Davies might have put it, he would say that, wouldn't he?

And if, as Delingpole asserts, the BBC has broken its charter, then he and Booker have an open and shut case to put before any number of like-minded Tory MPs and other hacks. They won't be going there, because they're just full of wind and water]

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