Lord Lawson has no influence, fails to listen, and is touchy and rude – according to the Conservative peer leading Britain’s independent Committee on Climate Change.
But Lord Deben does not believe George Osborne, the chancellor, has fallen under the influence of Lord Lawson on the issue of climate change. He also described the failure of environmentalists to present a convincing case to government.
“The thing we have to accept about this government is that there is not a place for woolly good-heartedness,” he said.
“[Osborne] does understand and does believe in climate change but he has a fundamental antagonism to the sort of loose thinking that means that people can’t add up.”
Lord Deben, speaking to Ed King of the RTCC News website, dismissed Lord Lawson of the Global Warming Policy Foundation and its academic advisor, Lord Ridley, as “dogmatists” who repeat a “pre-rehearsed line”.
“Their influence is less and less I am happy to say. The facts of science, life and measured views of people like Pope Francis are undermining them. They have become just rude instead of arguing and they are so touchy,” he argued.
The former Conservative environment secretary seemed particularly incensed by Lawson’s attack on Pope Francis, who called on world leaders to address the crisis of climate change and prevent the world becoming a landfill site.
List of Priorities
Lawson is clearly a man “who hasn’t listened for years” he argued, adding: “You can’t possibly have confidence in a man who thinks he can improve the pope’s ethics.”
Deben questioned the latest claims by Lord Lawson, Lord Monckton, other climate deniers, and the coal industry that they were terribly worried about the plight of the world’s poor, should they be denied access to cheap fossil fuels.
This is in contrast to the stern warning from international charities, including Oxfam, Save the Children, Action Aid and Christian Aid, that climate change will have a profound, appalling impact on the poorest.
“I have yet to see any element of Lord Lawson’s budgets which suggested the poor were high on the list of priorities,” he pointed out.
“I noticed the proportion of national aid that went to the poorest nations when Lord Lawson was chancellor was significantly less than it now is… and I noticed that he and his friends were opposed to the 0.7% (GDP) aid target.”
“There is no evidence in past history of a great interest in the improvement of the poor.”
Lord Deben did not reserve his criticism for climate deniers, also pointing to the role of the environment NGOs in the debate – in particular their failure to have an impact on policy.
“My own view is that green groups have not been community groups,” he said. “They have been collections of enthusiasts, mainly aimed at influencing government.
“They have done lots of good work but as for getting their members to actively deal with these things I just don’t think they have been good at it.
“I keep on saying this. I don’t want any member of parliament to go to his weekly surgery without at least one person raising the issue of climate change – and it’s not difficult to do that… but where are these much vaunted numbers?”
“I like them – I have no problem… but we never managed to win the battle.”
Photo: PRASEG via Flickr