Spectator’s spectacular U-turn on climate change

One of Ian 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 this week’s magazine, in arguing for new fossil fuel extraction in Arctic wilderness areas, carries the reverse claim. 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?

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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