Friday, August 03, 2007

Letting the Side Down

Margot Wallström
Margot Wallström
It didn't take long. Having just posted on the generally responsible consideration of the possibility of a link between climate change and recent flooding in the UK, even from the green lobby and the more senior grade of politicians, I suppose it was inevitable that would let the side down badly. Also pretty predictable was that it would come from that land that common sense forgot; Brussels and more specific the EU commission.

The ever logically challenged commissioner, Margot Wallström, has posted on the topic on her blog. OK, she doesn't explicitly state a causal relationship between climate change and the flooding, but the juxtaposition between her comments on the flooding (and fires elsewhere) and her fairly standard issue climate change diatribe leaves little doubt of the impression she wants to make, regardless of whether there is any truth to it.

As is often the case though, Ms Wallström takes things to extremes that would make our domestic politicians blush:

"It is frustrating that so many people still either deny that climate change is happening or that we can do anything about it. (Also frustrating that some people still regard climate change as some kind of conspiracy theory or a quasi religious belief).

"The scientists are unanimous: It is happening."

Source : Margot Wallström's Blog

There you have it. The scientists are 'unanimous', no need for any more debate then.

But of course they are not unanimous. It is true that there is a substantial majority of scientists who back the general consensus on climate change, and I am largely inclined to agree with much of the model from my inexpert position, if not the political answers to the challenges it presents. This is not the same as unanimity though; there are dissenting voices, and to pretend otherwise is simply intellectually dishonest, and just the type of nonsense that the conspiracy theorists feed off.

Maybe Ms Wallström is simply going along with the traditional politician's fantasy that truth can become what you wish it to be simply by repetition of a lie. To be fair though, Ms Wallström has form for statements that are poorly researched and full of logic holes, so it's probably just yet another cock-up. For poor research, my personal favourite was her posting where she announced that opposition to capital punishment was an uncontroversial shared European value, and then seemed genuinely surprised when commenters on her blog revealed just how many people in Europe, unlike me, backed the death penalty. For logical deficiency her finest moment was her treatise on her proud belief that the REACH chemicals directive would force manufacturers to do the impossible and prove a negative, by showing that their products could have no possible harmful effects; thankfully the legislation itself, misguided as it was, didn't quite reach such a level of stupidity. Interestingly her later posts on the same subject carefully avoided the same minefields, presumably after someone had pointed out the folly of her argument, but sadly we still have to fork out the same cash for her to make her foolish pronouncements anyway.

We of course should not be overcritical of Brussels, when we know our domestic politicians can serve up equally ridiculous fare. I truly wish I could remember which NuLab shadow minister it was who, shortly before NuLab came to power, announced that NuLab's target was for there to be nobody earning less than the national average wage. She brushed aside every attempt by the interviewer to convince her that this was a mathematical impossibility, and sad to say I'm pretty sure it was one of a couple of candidates, and both have gone far in government.

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