30 years after he first graced the Sunday Telegraph’s comment pages, Christopher Booker has at last put down his pen. With the death of his column goes one of the last remaining regular outlets for outright climate science denial in the UK’s mainstream press.
Of course, he wasn’t going to go quietly. In his final column, he runs down what he sees as his greatest achievements, which of course he says includes challenging mainstream climate science and the UK’s decarbonisation project.
The full column is behind a paywall, but about two-thirds of the way in, he writes that, as the years have gone by:
“I have found even grander themes to write about, such as our suicidal national energy policy, based on the 'decarbonising' of our economy, which can only end in our lights going out and much else; and the even greater self-deception which lies behind it: the West’s obsession with catastrophic global warming, at a time when the rest of the world, led by China and India, is taking not the slightest notice, as it continues to build thousands more coal-fired power stations.”
“This is only one symptom of the way in which the societies of the West, spoiled by decades of the greatest material prosperity the world has ever known, fuelled by a mounting sea of debt, have been showing all the signs of what, in another age, would have been seen as ‘decadence’.”
Regular Booker-watchers will notice these two paragraphs contain three of his favourite fallacies:
- Climate change is a con;
- More renewables mean the UK’s lights go out;
- India and China aren’t doing anything to cut their emissions, so why should the UK?
Each of these arguments has been debunked many, many times. But once more for old times' sake:
Of course, there’s the obvious point that there is a huge consensus within climate science that rising temperatures is an extremely serious problem, as evidenced by the latest IPCC report saying the world has to take action within 12 years to keep warming to a vaguely ‘safe’ level.
Interestingly, the UK’s lights haven’t gone out for… well, the UK’s electricity grid works perfectly 99.99999 percent of the time, even with renewables providing record-breaking amounts of power — let's just leave it at that.
And China and India, with some hiccups, are definitely stepping up to the plate on climate change, to an extent. China is even being lauded as the world’s de facto climate leader after the US vacated that position in the wake of Trump’s assertion he’d pull the country out of the Paris Agreement.
Interestingly, in his final column, Booker failed to mention that many of his arguments were based on the work of climate science denier blogger Paul Homewood.
He also didn’t mention that he was a regular attendee at events and shindigs held by the UK’s main climate science denier campaign group, the Global Warming Policy Foundation. He even wrote a report for the group once.
Booker’s departure means that other than Matt Ridley in The Times, there is no other regular climate science denial columnist publishing in the mainstream press.
But this certainly doesn’t mean the death of denial in the UK — these groups will continue to find ways to push their agenda, often through pro-Brexit anti-regulation calls to action. And for that, they continue to have plenty of media allies.