Spectator’s spectacular U-turn on climate change

Back in July, The Spectator caused controversy by splashing with the headline, “Relax: Global Warming is all a myth.” The piece was based on a new book from Ian Plimer which had already been systematically pulled apart by real climate scientists. Plimer is also now in an ongoing and entertaining spat with George Monbiot over his spurious claims.

Anyway, Left Foot Forward can now report an interesting development. One of Plimer’s central claims – reported by Melanie Phillips for The Spectator – is that Arctic sea ice is in fact growing. This assertion is, of course,  simply wrong. But now this week’s magazine, in arguing for new fossil fuel extraction in Arctic wilderness areas, carries this reverse claim:

“Climate change is creating opportunities to exploit new shipping routes and untapped gas and mineral resources… as the ice retreats, the region can soon be properly explored and vast natural resources exploited… True, sea ice is vanishing — it reaches its annual minimum at this time of year, and now covers around two thirds of the area it covered 30 years ago.”

This is far from the first time that a prominent vehicle of climate change denial has changed tack. Another astounding retreat came from The Daily Mail’s science editor, then perhaps the UK’s most influential ‘sceptic,’ Michael Hanlon.

There has been a change in editor over at The Spectator this past week. Are we witnessing a new editorial line on climate change – or is the magazine simply unconcerned about contradicting itself in the starkest terms on the biggest issue of our time?

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  • http://twitter.com/shamikdas/status/3818522667 Shamik Das

    RT @leftfootfwd: The Spectator’s spectacular u-turn on climate change:- http://tinyurl.com/speccie-u-turn

  • http://twitter.com/wdjstraw/status/3818535460 Will Straw

    Joss Garman for @leftfootfwd on the Spectator’s spectacular U-turn on climate change http://bit.ly/NGlTN

  • http://twitter.com/labourmatters/status/3818658440 labourmatters

    RT @leftfootfwd The Spectator’s spectacular u-turn on climate change: http://tinyurl.com/speccie-u-turn

  • http://www.keeprightonline.com keeprightonline

    You must be kidding. You’re naive to the point of Gordon Brown if you believe that these refutations from scientists have anything to do with the real science. The problem is the state funds so much climate change crap, which in turn employs scientists and gives them funding (which they then can use for other things) – that no scientist would dare speak against climate change for fear of having his budget slashed in half.

    If you want to get the truth from science, take it out of the hands of politics and politicians. Then you might realise that the facts do not correlate for 100% man made ‘global warming’.

    Yes, climate change is happening- but not to the degrees which people like you would have us think/taxed for.

    For SHAME.

  • Ben

    Dear keeprightonline

    I wonder if you might enlighten us. In the Arctic sea lice trend one of deplation or increase? (answer, by the way: it’s decreasing pretty rapidly). Why is it decreasing so rapidly? Why does it matter? Please enlighten us.

  • http://twitter.com/pickledpolitics/status/3823383644 sunny hundal

    Spectator mag does u-turn on climate change facts: http://is.gd/30d8R. Although, it’s more likely they’re just confused

  • marvin

    DOOM DENYERS!!!111!

    Can’t stand Moonbat. Pretentious twat.

    Now, let’s down to business. Build nuclear power stations. Now. Lots of them. Any takers?

  • Canon Alberic

    Monbiots ludicrous barristerial one-man cross examination (go on debate him in public you coward) and your disimulating double link to its undoublethink says it all.

    Progress – I think not?

  • Mark M

    Ben @5:35
    Doesn’t look to me much like it’s decreasing rapidly. Yes, the ice melts, and then it comes back. I agree that the lows in 2007 and 2008 were very low, but then the ice grows back to it’s normal extent over the next few months.

  • Enzyme


    The problem is the state funds so much climate change crap, which in turn employs scientists and gives them funding (which they then can use for other things)…

    You plainly have no idea of how academic funding works.

  • http://bishophill.squarespace.com Bishop Hill

    You notice on the JAXA arctic ice page linked by MarkM, that the sea ice in May was the highest of any of the years shown? Doesn’t look like a crisis to me. It’s quite possible that the 2009 minimum will be above that of 2005 as well as 2007 and 2008. And of course it’s now known that the 2007 decline was due to changes in winds and currents rather than temperature.

  • jossgarman

    Here’s a neat little school report from the ones who actually know what it is they’re talking about. http://www.realclimate.org/index.php/archives/2009/08/plimers-homework-assignment/#more-930

  • http://www.bodydetoxdiet.net detoxdietguy

    recently, there has been some massive flooding in the Philippines and Vietnam which i think is also due to Climate Change. the tropical storms in asia are somewhat getting stronger stronger each year.

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