In my rapid skim of the junk that the Independent put out, I missed the classic I’ve just used as a headline. Hat tip to Coby for actually reading the stuff. To quote Coby: It makes James Inhofe sound reasonable. And that’s no small feat!


  1. #1 James Annan

    He’s got a book to sell, Lovelock-stylee. In fact it seems like a straight rip-off, judging from the “few struggling groups of embattled survivors clinging to life near the poles”.

    So that’s why he was on R4 recently (Today prog interview) being gutted by some septic. With “friends” like these…

  2. #2 stephan harrison

    To be fair to Mark…..a 6.4 C rise in temperature would be pretty alarming (especially with polar amplification etc). I also listened to Mark versus the sceptic agricultural economist on Radio 4 and thought he came out of it quite well. The economist was sounding like he was a prime mover in the climate science when it’s clear he didn’t have a clue.

  3. #3 James Annan

    Well, anyone who wants to can listen again. It seemed 9 parts ad-hom to me. As Mike Hulme put it,

    It was odd to hear a biologist and a historian trading blows in front of half a million listeners over the scientific veracity of a geophysical phenomenon.

    and especially funny to hear Lynas encouraging us all to wait for the AR4 when he then immediately exaggerated it so grossly when it came out.

    Of course it is clear to those in the know that Avery is a sceptic crank. But I suspect that the disengaged and sceptical members of the audience got quite a different take-home message.

  4. #4 stephan harrison

    Thanks for the link and I listened to it again. I agree there were lots of ad-homs, but isn’t that what you would expect in a debate like that? I also don’t understand Hulme’s point about biologists and historians discussing climate change….I would have thought that understanding climate change requires a whole host of voices (biologists, historians, Quaternary scientists, climatologists, chemists etc).

  5. #5 SteveF

    Especially Quaternary scientists, specifically, mid Pleistocene palaeoecologists (its where the fundings at!)

    Anyway, I’ll see you all in the polar refuge!

  6. #6 Lubos Motl

    The Independent piece was written by Mark Lynas. I have had the pleasure that this Gentleman has posted several similar quality “contributions” to my blog. If you can’t live without these deep analyses of the hell on Earth, go to I am very happy that you are slowly starting to see that James Inhofe is very reasonable. Sincerely Yours, Lubos

  7. #7 James Annan

    “I would have thought that understanding climate change requires a whole host of voices (biologists, historians, Quaternary scientists, climatologists, chemists etc).”

    They were talking about physics, though. At least, in principle.

  8. #8 Gareth

    The “methane fireballs” line sounds as if it should come from an up-dated Lucy In The Sky… with Methane Fireballs. Would play hell with the newspaper taxis.

  9. #9 Larry

    In another context, methane fireballs are quite interesting: as they may relate to earthquakes.

    Former Cornell Physicist Thomas Gold proposed a theory that oil, natural gas and other hydrocarbons are regularly out-gassed by the earth and not fossil fuel (as traditionally described).

    One of the things that Gold was interested in was the apparent association of earthquakes with out-gas events. He thought the former might be caused by the latter in some circumstances.