Science,  Tories

Cameron warns of climate change “disaster,” but Tory bloggers are skeptical

The Fabian Society blog Next Left draws attention to the gap on the issue of global warming between Conservative Party leader David Cameron and leading Tory bloggers.

Cameron has said that “the dangers of climate change are stark and very real. If we don’t act now, and act quickly, we could face disaster.”

But the top 10 Conservative blogs, as identified by Total Politics magazine, are uniformly skeptical.

Pointing out the scale of climate scepticism among the online opinion formers on the right does not, of course, prove that they are wrong, or right. That is a matter of scientific evidence. (Everybody is entitled to their own opinion, but not to their own facts). But, as a matter of politics, the lack of support for party policy from the most prominent netroots voices on this high profile issue suggests there will be vocal pressure from the party will be to play down the climate change issue.

Of special interest are the distinctly non-skeptical views of a former research chemist and Tory prime minister. Here are the words of Margaret Thatcher at the Second World Climate Conference in 1990:

[T]he need for more research should not be an excuse for delaying much needed action now. There is already a clear case for precautionary action at an international level….

We should not forget that CFCs are 10,000 times more powerful, molecule for molecule, than carbon dioxide as agents of global warming. But of the other greenhouse gases, carbon dioxide is by far the most extensive and contributes about half of the manmade greenhouse warming. All our countries produce it. The latest figures which I have seen show that 26 per cent comes from North America, 22 per cent from the rest of the OECD, 26 per cent from the Soviet Union and Eastern Europe and 26 per cent from the less developed countries.

These figures underline why a joint international effort to curb greenhouse gases in general and carbon dioxide in particular is so important. There is little point in action to reduce the amounts being put into the atmosphere in one part of the world, if they are promptly increased in another. Within this framework the United Kingdom is prepared, as part of an international effort including other leading countries, to set itself the demanding target of bringing carbon dioxide emissions back to this year’s level by the year 2005. That will mean reversing a rising trend before that date.

A similar difference of opinion exists among US Republicans. Former presidential candidate John McCain says human-caused global warming is “undeniable,” while urging “free market” solutions. Oklahoma Senator James Inhofe calls global warming “the greatest hoax ever perpetrated on the American people.”

Asked whether John McCain is a victim of the global warming “hoax,” Inhofe responded, “People are afraid of some of the environmentalists out there because they pour all the money into campaigns and, consequently, we have a lot of people who fall in that category, and some of them are Republicans.”

(Hat tip: Jon D)

A belated hat tip to Conservative Cllr Richard Willis, a blogger who supports the Cameron-Thatcher position on climate change.