AKA me on Eli on Richard Betts on… well, you get the idea. The story so far: I wake up one morning a week or so back and hear some luvvie talking the usual kind of “me ‘arts in the right place so you won’t mind if I talk drivel, lord luv a duck, I ‘ad that Lord Monckton in the back of me cab once, y’know, guv” stuff. It was clearly well over the top and not very interesting, so I shrugged and went back to sleep.
ATTP posted something that appeared to amount to, yes she was wrong but lord luvva duck, ‘er ‘arts in the right place (DN says much the same in the Graun), unlike the Dork Side like Booker, Ridley and so on. However, ATTP’s support was conditional: he clearly said, and this was picked up by VV, Additionally, I would expect Emma Thompson to correct these errors in future. A hostage to fortune, was that wise of ATTP? It would seem not, if the Daily Fail can be trusted not to invent direct quotes; ET is reported to have hit back with I’d like to say to him [Richard Betts]: Are you insane, have you been to the Arctic, have you seen the state of the glaciers? I’ve talked to the experts… this is not scaremongering. No obvious sign of having learnt anything there.
Ms Thompson spoke passionately and in no uncertain terms about 4°C warming by the 2030, and stated that “in a few years …. whole swathes of the Earth will become uninhabitable”. These statements do not reflect what the science actually says. Does this matter? What’s the harm in a bit of exaggeration if it’s in a good cause? To my mind, there’s three reasons why it’s a problem. Firstly, making wild predictions that don’t come true obviously harms your credibility… Secondly, if people come to believe that catastrophic impacts are only round the corner, this could lead to wrong decisions made in panic… Finally, even if the world does make major emissions cuts very soon, this will take time to filter through into tangible effects on global warming…
all of which seems Fair Enough To Me. If you want luvvies who know nothing about GW to talk about it, then for heavens sake coach them properly and give them a script, don’t let them make things up “passionately”.
Gavin said “When scientists focus public outreach on correcting technical errors instead of big picture values, they reinforce ‘scientization’ of debate which I don’t think was as well thought through as we’ve come to expect from him; RB’s reply Blimey Gavin, it was more than a “technical error”. It’s massively wrong. Doesn’t accuracy matter any more? seems rather to the point; and to my reading Gavin the backs off his original somewhat. He also1 says but by focusing on one incorrect point in a ~5 min interview, all other (more interesting) points for discussion are lost. It turns out to be possible to listen to the original interview on youtube, so I thought I’d see what other more interesting points she raises. But the interview, despite taking five minutes, is remarkably thin on content. She starts with the error we’ve already discussed, continues with …in a few years time… entire swathes of the Earth become uninhabitable… and I can’t see that as an improvement. To finish, she rants about racism for a bit.
Eli is on ET and G’s side; but I remain with RB.
1. This sentence added as an update; my blogging software lost this from the original. I think my invective was higher-quality in the “lost version”; its so hard to foam at the mouth consistently.