42 Science & Technology EIR July 25, 2008
The Alarmist ‘Science’
Behind Global Warming
Lord Nigel Lawson, Britain’s Chancellor of the Exchequer during the
Thatcher years and author of Appeal to Reason: A Cool Look at
Global Warming, was interviewed by Gregory Murphy on July 10.
EIR: I’d like to start
with you describing how
hard it was to get your book
Lawson: Well, I decided
to write this book, and I
gave the outline to my
agent. And he thought it
would be fine. But there
was extraordinary resistance
to it, so he said, you’d
better write it first. This is
very odd, because I’ve published
books before, and
each time, I have just given
an outline of the book, and
had absolutely no difficulty finding a publisher before the
book was written. But, it wasn’t like that this time.
So I wrote it. Even then, he sent it to any number of London
publishers, and couldn’t get anybody to take it. It was
quite clear that it was so politically incorrect that they wouldn’t
take it. Eventually, he found an American publisher—Peter
Mayer—who has a small London subsidiary, and that’s how it
came to be published. But it was very striking. That is to say,
it’s not something that I’ve ever come across before, and I’ve
written a number of books.
EIR: Would the subject matter of the book have been part
of the problem in finding a publisher?
Lawson: Yes, it was indeed. It was not so much the subject-
matter, because there’s a lot of interest in the subject. But
it was the fact that I took a view that was not politically correct:
There’s a kind of informal censorship—in England, anyway—
that it is not considered acceptable to hold a view which
is contrary to the new religion of global warming.
EIR: Your hearings in the House of Lords, in the Committee
on Economic Affairs, produced a report, which I found quite
helpful in sorting out some of the details on this highly uncertain
science of climate. I found it quite balanced in how it was
being presented, because you had both Sir John Houghton, first
chairman of the United Nations’ Intergovernmental Panel on
Climate Change (IPCC), and noted MIT climate researcher
Richard Lindzen speak on it. So you could see both sides. Did
you gain in your understanding on the climate from that kind of
discussion, as a policy-maker?
Lawson: Yes. Before that inquiry, I was extremely skeptical
of the economic sense in the policy which was being recommended
by the government and by governments in Europe
at the time. But I assumed that the science was absolutely
clear—cut and dried. It was only in the course of that inquiry
that I discovered that there was considerable uncertainty about
the science—not uncertainty as to whether there’s such a thing
as the “greenhouse effect”; there obviously is such a thing as
the greenhouse effect. But how large an effect it is, is extremely
It depends—as you well know—on complicated things in
the interaction between carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, and
EIR Science & Technology
Courtesy of Nigel Lawson
Lord Nigel Lawson
July 25, 2008 EIR Science & Technology 43
clouds, among other things. And the science of clouds is extremely
uncertain. It’s not a criticism of the scientists; it is extremely
And so, I discovered in the course of this inquiry, that it
was not merely that the economic prescription was, in my
opinion, not cost effective—and even if it was cost-effective,
nobody had looked to see whether it was cost-effective at that
time. But even the science itself was uncertain.
Global Warming and Iraq’s ‘WMD’
EIR: After the House of Lords report was released, Prime
Minister Gordon Brown had Lord Nicholas Stern produce a
report, which you described in the lecture that you gave to the
Center on Policy Studies, as, in a very real sense, the story of
the Iraq War writ large. Could you elaborate on that?
Lawson: What I had in mind there, was that the Iraq War
was based on the alleged threat of Iraqi weapons of mass destruction.
And that without looking into it sufficiently clearly,
the United States and the United Kingdom, and one or two
other countries, went to war to get rid of the Iraqi weapons of
mass destruction, which it subsequently turned out they didn’t
have in the first place. And they hadn’t been properly looked
at, properly investigated.
In a similar way, we’re now told, [that there is a threat] of
mass destruction of the planet by warming. And then panic
measures are introduced, even though the threat is hugely exaggerated
(see Figure 1). Quite a similarity.
EIR: You have referred to the alarmist Stern Report in
your book, as another “dodgy dossier.” Which I thought was a
very good comparison, because that’s the sense I got when I
read it back in 2006. But I noticed one thing: The prevailing
media want to use the word “climate change” in their discussion
of this issue. In your book, you stayed with the term “global
warming.” Is there a reason that you stayed with that?
Lawson: Yes, I do it very deliberately. Because, of course,
the climate is always changing all the time, and in different
parts of the world, in different ways. And so therefore, there is
evidence of some kind of change in the climate.
But that is not what the issue is: The issue is, whether in
fact, globally, the Earth is getting warmer. If so, what is this
caused by? Is it largely man-made carbon dioxide concentrations,
or is it totally different reasons? And which [one] has a
huge bearing on what is sensible to do about it; and of course,
how big is the threat?
And, if there is no warming, which so far this century—although
the century’s young—but so far this century, there’s
been no further warming. If there is no further warming, the
The graph shows the University of Alabama at Hunstville (UAH) monthly temperatures for the lower Troposphere, taken by satellite since
1979, proving that Al Gore’s “global warming” ended in 1998. From January 2007 until May 2008, the temperature decrease has been
.774° C, which is larger than all of Gore’s hyped global warming for the entire 20th Century, which was only .6° C.
UAH Monthly Means of Lower Troposphere LT5.2, Global Temperature Anomaly 1979-2008
44 Science & Technology EIR July 25, 2008
fact that there may be storms somewhere in the world, or unusual
weather patterns somewhere, is really nothing new, and
may have nothing to do with carbon dioxide concentrations.
The “greenhouse effect” can only cause other changes via
warming. And if the warming isn’t happening, then the climatic
variation is for different reasons altogether. And even if
the warming is happening, there’s a question of how much of
it is, as they say, due to the carbon dioxide. So, we need to focus
on what the issue is. And the issue is, the issue of warming
and why, and how serious is it?
EIR: Yes, that’s exactly the sense I’ve been trying to convey
in the articles I’ve written so far. I noticed that in most of
your presentations that I’ve looked at, you have pushed the prescription
of adaptability as the proper method to deal with
warming (if there is any), as opposed to the IPCC’s carbon-cutting,
emission-trading systems—what they call “mitigation.”
The IPCC spends very little time describing that adaptability,
and basically they use assumptions that say, this really
couldn’t work too well. Could you describe some of the assumptions
Lawson: There are two assumptions in particular that
they use, which I think are, to say the least, implausible. The
first is that they consider adaptation in terms of the technology
we have at the present time. But they’re looking 100 years or
more ahead: It is quite clear, that over those next 100 years,
technology is going to develop; we don’t know precisely how,
but it’s unrealistic to think it’s not going to develop, considering
how much development of technology there has been in
the past hundred years.
It’s going to develop, and therefore, the ability to adapt is
going to increase over time. So, to have your fixed point of the
adaptation as we can do it at a moment, is an implausible and
unrealistic assumption to base
your views on.
The other assumption which
is implausible, is, they do admit—
they curiously enough
state, in terms of Australia and
New Zealand, but I suppose it
must mean it applies to other developed
countries like the United
States, and United Kingdom,
Europe generally—they say
that, it’s all very well, of course,
these highly developed countries,
wealthy countries, they
can adapt to a considerable extent.
But the problem is with the
developing world: They’re the
people who are going to suffer,
because they lack—and I put
this word in metaphorical quotation
marks, but this is a very important concept in the IPCC’s
report, if you read it, as I’m sure you have done—“they lack
Now, I think that is patronizing, and misleading on a number
of counts: It’s misleading, because many of them, in fact,
do have the adaptive capacity now. It’s misleading because the
whole assumption of the IPCC is that developing countries are
going to grow very fast, and it’s this growth, which leads to the
growth of emissions, which leads to their projective temperature
increases—they’re going to grow very fast, and as they
grow, their adaptive capacity will increase in many cases.
Finally, it’s misleading and false, because, although of
course there will be some countries, no doubt, that will be less
successful in becoming more economically developed, there,
we can help them. We in the West—it is not a huge cost to devote
much of our overseas aid programs, to helping them, if it
should be the case. But if it should be the case that they need,
for example, better sea defenses, we can help them build the
sea defenses! The fact that they don’t have the adaptive capacity
to do it on their own, doesn’t mean it won’t happen.
So for all those reasons, I think that [the IPCC’s] estimate of
the capacity to meet the problem of warming, should it occur,
through adaptation, is totally unrealistic, and unduly pessimistic.
The result of which, of course, of this inadequate adaptation
which they assume, is that they tend to exaggerate what would
be the damages caused by global warming, should it occur.
The Benefits from Warming
EIR: Yes, I’ve noticed the really catastrophic consequences
that they associate with food production, human
health, and the rise in tropicial diseases, like malaria—things
Lawson: Yes, they say that. But if you look at each individual
thing, it is incorrect. It is quite clear what game they are play-
Lord Nigel Lawson compares the alarmist “Stern Report” on climate change, authored by Nicholas
Stern (left), to Tony Blair’s “dodgy dossier,” which “documented” Iraq’s non-existent weapons of
Council of the EU
July 25, 2008 EIR Science & Technology 45
ing. And I’ve no doubt that most of them are well-
But they think they have got to paint the
most alarmist picture possible, in order to stir political
leaders into action. I’m sure they genuinely believe
that action is desirable. But they are deliberately
painting an alarmist picture, in order to persuade
politicians to take it seriously.
But this is an alarmist picture; it is not an objective
picture. And indeed, even if you read the
IPCC’s own report, you find they contradict themselves
time after time. For example, you mentioned
two things, food and health: This is based on an inadequate
assessment of the capacity to adapt, and
in food it’s particularly large, because of the development
of bioengineering, and genetically modified
crops, which is continuing to advance all the
time, that technology.
But they say, an increase in temperature of up to
3° Centigrade, which is more than their median
forecast for the next hundred years, would actually
improve global food production. Which is not surprising,
but it’s because the warming is often good,
and carbon dioxide has this fertilization effect on plants, and
they grow better. So, the alarmism is clearly unwarranted, even
from their own findings, which are, as I say, unduly pessimistic,
because of their inadequate estimate of what can be done,
or what would be done, through adaptation.
The other thing, in health: They say all these things about
health, but if you look at the table, where they show—this is
buried away—the table shows health effects, and the only
health effect which they list as virtually certain—the number
of grades is “certain” down to “possible”—is reduction of
cold-related deaths. But again, in some areas, you don’t find
this at all.
And right away, along with the whole picture, they underplay
the undoubted benefits that come from warming. I’m not
saying there aren’t damages, too, from warming, should it occur.
But you also have to recognize that there are benefits as
well, and see what the net effect is. And they downplay the
benefits to the most extraordinary degree.
EIR: Yes, that’s the assessment I had from looking at
Lawson: And on the health thing: They downplayed it a
little bit in the latest report, the 2007 report. But the big thing
in their 2001 report—they say this, and Gore makes much of
this in his book and film, “An Inconvenient Truth”—is the
huge increase in malaria.
Malaria has very little to do with temperature. That is well
known. Prof. Paul Reiter of the Institut Pasteur in Paris, who
gave evidence to our Economics Affairs Committee investigation
which you referred to earlier, is probably the world’s
leading authority on malaria—he’s a professor of epidemiology.
He was associated with the IPCC originally, and he pointed
out that what they had to say about malaria, was plain
wrong! After all, malaria was endemic in Europe during the
little Ice Age: It’s got virtually nothing to do with temperature!
And they refused to change what they had written. And
so he was forced to resign from the outfit.
You know, they have a message, and they’re not interested
in expert, scientific evidence, if it conflicts with the message.
In our domestic affairs, we had a heat wave in Europe [in
2003]; I refer to it in my book. It was a regional heat wave, it
wasn’t a global heat wave, but there was one in Europe. And
there were a number of deaths, particularly in France, for particular
reasons of elderly people, as a result of dehydration.
And the Ministry of Health in this country, was sufficiently
concerned about it, to have a study about what would be the
consequences for health if the predictions of the conventional
computer models of temperature increase by 2050 were to occur,
what would be the health result by 2050? And they found
that there would be, by that time, 2,000 more deaths a year
from dehydration; and 20,000 a year fewer deaths from hypothermia!
But you very seldom hear this pointed out.
And, there was, incidentally, a French academic study
done about France, where they’d suffered the most from this
heat wave, which came to the same conclusion.
The Globe Cannot Outsource Its Emissions
EIR: Since we’ve seen the end of the G8 summit in Japan,
there’s a lot of talk, about cutting emissions. The question I
have, is, about the cost to the economy of this. And, if we
didn’t spend the money on these emission-cutting schemes, is
it plausible that we could afford to have health care, fresh
and real development in the developing countries,
which would actually, in turn, cut their emissions?
In his super-hyped docu-fraud, “An Inconvenient Truth,” Al Gore asserts that the
worldwide increase in malaria is caused by Global Warming. In fact, Lawson
states, “malaria has very little to do with temperature. . . . After all, malaria was
endemic in Europe during the little Ice Age!”
46 Science & Technology EIR July 25, 2008
Lawson: I don’t know how much it would cut their emissions,
but it would certainly do far more good for the people.
It would certainly relieve these problems they do have, of
hunger, and drought, and malnutrition, and disease, and premature
death. It would certainly help them far, far, more. And
it would also actually cost considerably less.
EIR: Yes, that’s the sense I had. You’ve written in your
book, and said in your other presentations, that the biggest
problem right now in the developing world is massive poverty.
Lawson: That’s right.
EIR: And impeding their use of carbon-based fuels to further
their development, will actually do more harm to them,
than global warming ever could.
Lawson: That’s absolutely right. And that is why I think it
is most unlikely, that either China or India—I think it sounds
like Russia will, too, or one or two other big countries—but it’s
certainly most unlikely that either China or India will agree to
cut back their emissions drastically, which is what they’re told
they should do, as we are told we should do. And I think it’s
most unlikely. And even if they were to sign up for it, for a quiet
life, I’m quite sure they wouldn’t, in fact, implement it.
And if they take that view of signing up and not implementing
it, they are doing no worse than those of us who did
sign up to ratify the Kyoto agreement, and have done [nothing]—
because that was only a 5% reduction of carbon dioxide
emissions, but, in fact, it is quite clear that if anything,
there is going to be at least a 5% increase [in emissions] by the
end of the Kyoto period. And, of course, it really wouldn’t be
much bigger than that.
I think this is something people don’t fully realize, and I
don’t think I spelled it out with sufficient clarity in my book:
The reason that the Kyoto signatories have missed the target
by a relatively small amount—instead of a 5% reduction, it’s
something like a 5% increase—is because they have, in a
sense, outsourced their emissions. Because so much of manufacturing
industry has moved from the developed world to
China and India, and parts of the developing world, that the
emissions are no longer coming from the developed world,
which has made it relatively easy for us to have a lower growth
of emissions. But if if you are seeking—which they are in the
G8 meetings—a global cutback, there’s no way the globe can
outsource its emissions to Mars or wherever.
EIR: When you think about these emissions-cutting
schemes, it brings the medieval indulgences back to mind. It’s
really: You can sin all you want, but as long as you can pay,
you’re okay, and somehow that’s going to solve the problems:
And that was not the case then, nor is it the case now.
Lawson: No, I think that, looking back, the sale of indulgences
by the medieval Church, was much less damaging,
much less harmful, than what is proposed now.
EIR: Yes, definitely. Considering now, you have a rise of
this, what you described as “eco-fundamentalism,” this moving
into the Age of Unreason—
Lawson: Yes, which is very worrying.
EIR: Yes, you have [global warming alarmist scientist]
James Hansen, the other day, making statements that skeptics
and oil executives should be put on trial for crimes against humanity!
Lawson: It is, it is. It’s a very alarming trend.
Questioning the Global
by Gregory Murphy
An Appeal to Reason: A Cool Look at
by Nigel Lawson
New York: Overlook Duckworth, Peter Mayer
149 pp., hardcover, $19.95
Lord Nigel Lawson’s latest book is short, but polemical, attacking
the orthodoxy of the “new religion” of global warming.
Lawson’s previous book was a diet book (co-written with
his daughter, the chef and television personality, Nigella Lawson),
and now it appears that he wants to reduce the hysteria
around Al Gore’s global warming swindle. As such, it should
be required reading for all policy-makers.
In particular, Lawson’s arguments against the fraud of the
Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) needs to
be understood by all the policy-makers of the world before
they pass an international agreeement to cut carbon emissions,
which would kill billions of people both in the developed
and the developing world. On this point, Lawson, who
was the treasury secretary in the Thatcher government, doesn’t
directly call the policies of the IPCC genocidal, which is the
major shortcoming in his book.
Lawson’s book has been attacked for saying that the science
of global warming is uncertain. Most of the attacks on the
book have been focussed on his statements that there has been
no global warming this century. But, in fact, the temperature
records from Britain’s leading climate research center, the
Hadley Center and the Climate Research Unit at the University
of East Anglia, indicate that global warming ended in 1998, a
July 25, 2008 EIR Science & Technology 47
fact noted by Australian Climate Researcher Bob Carter.
Al Gore’s warmaholic friends have attacked Lawson for
not being a scientist, but these people cannot have read the
whole book, or they would have noticed that Lawson states
very clearly that he is not a scientist—but then, neither are the
vast majority of those who espouse the currently fashionable
madness of global warming.
The ‘Dodgy Dossier’ of Warming
The book is an extended version of a lecture that Lawson
gave to the Center for Policy Studies in London in 2006. In it,
Lawson says that a constructive parallel for the British government’s
so-called Stern Report on the economic effects of
climate change is Tony Blair’s notorious “dodgy dossier” of
sexed-up intelligence on Iraq’s weapons of mass destruction.
Lord Nicholas Stern, he says, “sexed up” his report by claiming
that global warming would cause more
damage than the two world wars and the
Great Depression combined.
The strongest feature of the book is Lawson’s
view that the only solution for global
warming, if warming were, in fact, a problem,
is to pursue the policy of adaptation. The
IPCC tries to ignore this as much as possible,
and it only gives honorable mention to this
type of solution. The IPCC’s own scenarios
are actually written by the Austrian-based International
Institute for Applied Systems
Analysis (IIASA), which denies the existence
of human creativity. That is why it is important
that Lawson pushes the adaptation possibility,
because that solution is based on the
idea that human creativity can find solutions to any problems
that may arise in the future.
Furthermore, the policy of adaptation is not one that has to
wait until there is an international agreement, as required by
the IPCC carbon-emissions cutting scheme. The presumed
problems that the IPCC points out—like sea-level rise and severe
drought conditions—could actually be solved right now:
The developed nations could help the developing nations to
build better sea defenses, and to start building nuclear desalination
plants to supply potable water.
Lawson estimates that for the cost of cutting carbon emissions,
the world could have all the fresh water, public health care,
and increased food production needed, which would be a better
solution to what he calls the largest environmental problem today:
widespread, and growing poverty throughout the world.
And unlike global warming, the problem of poverty is not a hoax.
Lawson has said that these small-minded solutions that Al
Gore promotes, such as changing your light bulbs and driving
a hybrid car, “are trival to the point of total irrelevance. What
would be required is for all transport to be 100 percent electric,
and all electricity to be generated by nuclear power.”
pOne problem with Lawson’s book is that he presents the
global warming hoax as a post-Cold War “red is now green”
outlook. This is the same view taken by other free-marketeers,
including the President of the Czech Republic, Vaclav Klaus.
Klaus has gone so far as to say that environmentalism is the
new communism. This erroneous outlook severely misses the
point that the environmental movement is really just an antihuman
extension of the finanical oligarchy’s drive to reduce
the world’s population to 2 billion people and create a feudal
fascist world empire as a solution to the onrushing global economic
Otherwise, Lawson’s critique of environmentalism hits
the mark. He attacks the march of unreason represented by the
rise of the new religion of global warming as part of the larger
rise of eco-fundamentalism, or, more simply put, eco-fascism.
Lawson writes: “So the new religion of global warming, however
convenient it may be to politicians, it is not as harmless
as it may appear. Indeed, the more one examines
it, the more it resembles a ‘Da Vinci
Code’ of environmentalism. It is a great story,
and a phenomenal bestseller. It contains a
grain of truth—and a mountain of nonsense.”
Lawson continues, “We appear to have
entered a new age of unreason, which threatens
to be as economically harmful as it is profoundly
disquieting. It is from this, above all,
that we really do need to save the planet.”
As a prime example of what Lawson is
talking about, one only need look at the briefing
that NASA’s resident global warming nut
case, James Hansen, gave to the House Select
Committee on Energy Independence and
Global Warming June 23, in which he declared that climate
skeptics and oil executives should be put on trial for “crimes
This little book is a refreshing reminder that not all of
the world’s policy-makers are in league with Al Gore and
his backers among the financial elites, in rolling the world’s
population back to dark age levels. His short presentation of
the uncertainty of the climate science is very accurate, and
he makes the point that computer models cannot forecast
the future because they are based on failed assumptions
generated by anti-human Malthusians who deny human
creativity, which is the greatest force for defeating poverty.
In all, Lawson’s book, even with its few shortcomings, is
a much needed attack coming from a policy-maker on Al
Gore’s global warming swindle.
. The registered British charity Optimum Population Trust issued a statement
on July 11, stating that the optimum world population would be 2 billion
people. Optimum Population Trust’s board of directors is a collection of malthusian
genocidalists which includes Sir Crispin Tickell, former U.K. Permanent
Representative to the United Nations Security Council, and a leading
promoter of the fascist global warming hoax; primatologist Jane Goodall, and
“population bomb” freak Paul Erhlich.