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29/05/2008

Global warming skeptics arguments

Global warming sceptics in an unholy row

By Harry Mount
Last Updated: 12:01am BST 27/05/2008
http://www.telegraph.co.uk/opinion/main.jh...5/27/do2703.xml


I wonder when people last got widely and publicly ridiculed for not believing in God: probably not for several hundred years.

Nowadays, you'd get a slightly odd look for doing the opposite and expressly stating your faith. But, if you really want to know what it's like to be a 16th-century heretic, try saying you're a bit sceptical about man-made global warming.

Temperatures do seem to have gone up a little, even though environmentalists acknowledge that we might be in for a cool spell now. And we've certainly had our fair share of tsunamis, hurricanes and typhoons recently. Still, no one has convincingly proved that all this is definitely man's fault. Try saying that in polite circles and it's like saying you're partial to roasted babies.

advertisementI understand people disagreeing with global warming sceptics, but not the jeering, ridiculing way they do it. I'm not sure I'm right; they're convinced I'm wrong. They're convinced, too, that they have the moral high ground, that all sceptics are sworn enemies of nature, flowers and puppy dogs.

Environmentalism is the new secular faith - school prayer for liberals, as an American philosopher put it. The faith is a strict one. You're not allowed to join if you think that it's sensible to keep an eye on the environment but don't think that man is to blame for changes in world temperature.

You must believe in the full package. If you do, you are blessed, free from sin and allowed the pious smugness you find in the worst sort of religious believers. It's not enough to believe in these things yourself; you must condemn others for not sharing your belief.

The latest carbon credits scheme - published in a parliamentary committee report - is squarely on the side of the believers. The idea is that everyone gets an annual carbon ration to spend on fuel and energy bills and, if you want to overspend, you buy credits from low carbon emitters.

It's just like the medieval trade in indulgences, where remission for sins was granted by the Church once the sinner confessed and received absolution. By the late Middle Ages, the system had grown corrupt, with professional pardoners selling indulgences by the bucketload.

The medieval market in indulgences ended with the Reformation. You can imagine the outcome of this market in modern sin. Oceans of sackcloth-and-ashes piety from those who underspend their carbon credit, and badly informed abuse for people who like flying abroad on holiday.

• Poor old John Prescott got rather a harsh press over his expenses. Compared with some profligate MPs, he spent sensibly on necessary home renovations. The killer detail, though, was the style of that home; Prescott spent £6,707 on - shock, horror - mock Tudor panels.

Snobbery about mock Tudor has been intense for 70 years, ever since the genius cartoonist Osbert Lancaster attacked Roadhouse Tudor and Stockbroker's Tudor in Pillar to Post (1938).

People love mock Georgian terraces and Gothic revival houses, but mock Tudor gets it in the neck. In fact, mock Tudor can look very nice; it just has to be done well, like at Liberty on Regent Street.

The shop was built in 1923 from bits of real Tudor men-of-war - the Impregnable and the Hindustan - and put together in the original way, with mortises and pegs. The facade was built around a seasoned oak cage, with proper leaded windows and handmade roofing tiles.

It looks lovely - a real work of art that even Prescott-haters couldn't take against.

•At last, a sensible EU directive. Under new consumer protection regulations, fortune tellers and astrologists will be forced to tell customers that their work is not "experimentally proven" and that they offer "entertainment only".

Mediums are outraged at all this, but have astrologists never wondered why their work never appears on the news pages? Haven't fortune tellers noticed that their offices are in fairgrounds?

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