You Will Never Guess Who Was Really Behind Britain's First Climate Denial Propaganda…

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A humble pamphlet is the subject of DeSmog UK’s latest instalment in its history series. This pamphlet would prove critical in the relentless critique of climate science.

Julian Morris, research fellow at the Atlas Foundation – a libertarian think tank founded by Antony Fisher – started work on the infamous pamphlet Global Warming: Apocalypse or Hot Air? in 1994.

Along with Roger Bate of the Institute of Economic Affairs (IEA) in London, the two co-authored the humble red pamphlet that would prove instrumental in attacking the science of climate change.

But it was also the first authoritative-sounding publication produced in Britain that the free market think tanks, journalists and policymakers could turn to that offered support to the sceptic attack on climate science.

Scientific Style

The pamphlet made significant use of the scientific work of Richard Lindzen – the sceptic whose testimony before the US senate had been funded by coal – and was presented in the language and style of a scientific paper in a peer-reviewed journal.

Fred Smith, then the president of the Competitive Enterprise Institute (CEI) in the US, recalls that his colleagues also helped with the research and writing.

Apocalypse was launched during the first conference held by the IEA’s new Environment Unit (set up by Bate) in March 1994, titled ‘Markets and the Environment’.

It rehearsed Lindzen’s claim that the sun, rather than the use of fossil fuels, was the main cause of the recent measured rise in global average temperatures. It also drew heavily on Lindzen’s argument that due to natural “negative-feedback loops” – a lack of which would have been an improbable display of “poor engineering” on mother nature’s part – the greenhouse effect would lead to cloud cover and therefore global cooling.

Prize-Winning Publication

The authors concluded from Lindzen’s research that, in the end, the greenhouse effect serves the world faithfully in “maintaining a comfortable planetary temperature.”

Bate and Morris were later awarded the Sir Antony Fisher Memorial Prize and the publication was sent to IEA funders and supporters.

During the coming years, it would be recommended for American readers through Fred Singer’s notorious sceptic Science and Environmental Policy Project (SEPP) – a research organisation dedicated to climate change denial.

Next week, DeSmog UK’s epic history series continues with a look back at the conference that marked the first major event where climate sceptic views were promoted in England.

@brendanmontague

Photo: Wikimedia Commons

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