It is one of the ironies of the climate change debate that the greater the urgency for action on climate change, the louder the voices urging for inaction.
There were thousands of corporate lobbyists at Copenhagen trying to undermine effective action. It would also be a foolish person who denied that the sceptics managed to manipulate the debate once again by leaking the emails from the University of East Anglia.
Both the lobbyists and sceptics will be heartened by the failure of Copenhagen. So it is not surprising that I am not the only one warning that the lobbyists will be out to scupper any deal in Mexico. Far more distinguished voices are also sounding the alarm bells.
Rajendra Pachauri (pictured), who chairs the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), wrote in the Guardian yesterday that “powerful vested interests and climate sceptics will work overtime to block legislation and discredit the science ahead of the next global climate summit in Mexico”.
Pachauri continued: “It is a well-known fact that powerful vested interests and those opposed to action on climate change are working overtime to see that they can stall action for as long as possible.”
Pachauri also offers a stinging rebuttal to the likes of James Delingpole, the sceptic columnist in the Telegraph who had the flawed audacity to try and claim that the leaked emails were the “the final nail in the coffin of ‘Anthropogenic Global Warming’”
Pity for Delingpole that the emails show no such thing. As Pachauri notes: “the allegations made on the basis of the stolen emails have proved incorrect. The papers which were criticised in the emails were actually discussed in detail in chapter six of the Working Group I report of the AR4 [Fourth Assessment Report]”.
Pachauri adds that “Significantly, the datasets from East Anglia were totally consistent with those from other institutions, on the basis of which far-reaching and meaningful conclusions were reached in the AR4.”
Pachauri also notes that it was more of the Daily Telegraph’s climate sceptics (the paper seems stuffed to the gunnels with them), Christopher Booker and Richard North, who have also attacked him personally. Climate scpeticism fits nicely into the right-wing reactionary politics of the Telegraph, and the you can only imagine what the morning news conference looks like, as the Telegraph editors think of yet another excuse to argue that the earth is flat.
But Pachauri is correct in pointing out that as the sceptic voices get louder and the delay for action on climate change gets longer it will be the poor who suffer most.
But the poor don’t read the Daily Telegraph.