Nigel Lawson In Swiss Interview: Climate Alarmists “Are In Search Of A Reason To Explain Why They’ve Erred”

Lawson Nigel Public Domain Own workBritish politician, Nigel Lawson, former Chancellor of the Exchequer and Secretary of State for Energy, interviewed yesterday with the online Swiss daily Tagesanzeiger based in Zurich. He provides his views on climate change and energy policy.

Photo right: Nigel Lawson, public domain photo

A number of leading Swiss publications have recently expressed doubts over the claims made by the IPCC and its scientists. The Tagesanzeiger interview is just the latest.

First Lawson calls the IPCC’s admission that the global temperature hasn’t risen in 15 years “notable” and that it shows the climate models are “inadequate”. “The empirical findings contradict the claims about the future being made by the IPCC. That’s not the way to do science.”

(Note: All quotes are translated from the German).

Lawson does not dispute that CO2 has a warming impact on climate, but that the real question is: how much? “On this there are many different opinions“. Lawson believes that the IPCC agenda is mostly in the hands of alarmists who believe CO2 is mostly driving the climate. But Lawson says there has to be other factors. “Without a doubt, the most important one is solar activity.”

IPCC presents excuses and speculation

Lawson calls the assumption that the oceans have soaked up the heat “pure speculation, an excuse from alarmists who are searching for a reason to explain why they erred”. He says that there are no measurements from the deep sea to support this, and also dismisses the notion that CO2 may have caused the Gulf Stream to change, calling it “nonsense”.

On Svensmark’s cosmic ray theory, Lawson says that CERN has neither been able to confirm nor refute the theory, and that the theory remains interesting.

When asked about global warming causing more storms, Lawson is emphatic, saying this is not the case and points to greedy insurance companies.

It is completely false. The number and strength of tropical storms over the last decades has not increased, even if the insurance companies always claim to the contrary in order to justify their increasing premiums.”

On sea level rise, Lawson sees no data showing sea level rise is going to speed up and warns that this is fraught with uncertainty as it is a very complex phenomena involving the movement of land masses. (Story continues below)

The article first appeared in the print edition of the Basler Zeitung:

Basel Zeitung _Lawson

Introduction starts on page 1 with full story on page 2.


Fossil fuels the most efficient

In the interview, it is also clear to Lawson that global warming does not entail only disadvantages, but also brings a number of advantages. He cites the fertilization effects on plant growth from higher Co2. He also points to mankind’s ability to adapt to changing climate conditions as being far better today than ever.

On the question of whether the world should wean itself off fossil fuels:

Countries like China and India should not do so under any circumstances because it would put their economic development in jeopardy. Fossil fuels are and will remain the most efficient.”

He adds that he thinks it’s possible that Europe will go it alone on renewable energy, and claims that its “competitiveness would suffer enormously. … Except for Europe, no one on the planet believes in the end of fossil fuels. Higher energy prices would by horrible, especially for the poor!

No consensus

The Tagesanzeiger then asks why he thinks he knows better than the IPCC scientists. Here Lawson delivers a lethal blow to the notion of “consensus”, reminding the Tagesanzeiger that many scientists agree with his position, among them Freeman Dyson. He also reminds the Tagesanzeiger that many of the climate scientists are not from the field of climate, but from other fields. Lawson was also former energy minister, and so he thinks he understands energy far better than David Cameron or Al Gore. He accuses David Cameron of populism with the climate change issue and that Cameron fancies himself as a sort of planet rescuer. Lawson reminds us that also Margaret Thatcher also had emphatically rejected the alarmist theories.

On why climate alarmism and the calls to abolish CO2 are today still very much in vogue, Lawson concludes:

After the failure of communism, new arguments were needed in order to be able to discredit the market economy. Also the belief in man-made climate change to some extent involves religious tendencies.”


8 responses to “Nigel Lawson In Swiss Interview: Climate Alarmists “Are In Search Of A Reason To Explain Why They’ve Erred””

  1. Stephen Richards

    As I read it, this is one of the best interviews from a skeptic ‘leader’ I have seen. The likes of Rutan, Spencer, lindzen, Mcintyre, watts etc whilst genuinely knowledgable and intelligent people whom I respect enormously fail to go for the political jugular. I think they are all too nice.

    Lawson is a politician and knows how to hurt politicians much like Howe did to Maggie Thatcher.

  2. Mike

    Lawson is good in this case, but I will never forget his famous “blip” statement in the early 90s. Rather than realise things were turning very bad, he really seemed to think the unexpected bad inflation data was just a “blip” – everything is alright really. For me it comes second only to Michael Fish who said “Someone phoned me to say there is a hurricane coming, but don’t worry, there isn’t.” With a nice smile. The following morning many people found their roof missing, and thousands of trees across the south of England lay horizontal, entire forrests were flattened.

    I am sure I am not the only one who has reservations about an ex chancellor and his ability to judge correctly, but at least in this case, his views seem reasonable, and perhaps the earlier political experience has taught him some useful lessons. He must be very well aware of the scams and corruptions in politics, mostly for money, across the Con/Lib/Lab party lines.

  3. Stephen Richards

    Mike 15. Oktober 2013 at 16:15 | Permalink | Reply – See more at:

    Mike, not particularly good example you have here. There was no hurricane in ’87 and Lawson couldn’t say we are about to have a disaster in that particular interview.

    The Oct ’87 storm was forecast on the Sunday before as ‘ a severe gale but stay tuned’. The phone call came from a woman in france, as I remember, with the hurricane force winds forecast for Finistere and the English channel. What actually happen was what was predicted except that the storm deepened explosively and, more importantly, filled explosively but no a very bad forecast after all said and done.
    Rather bizzarly, in dec 1999 a storm on exactly the same track and even more severe struck finistere but went south of the UK through northern france, onto the Alsace and into southern germany. The french météo missed it completely. It destroyed much of the electric reseau and several cathedrals.

    At the end of the same week a second storm of even greater strength hit the Bordeaux area with a tidal surge of 7 metres and several tornades and cut a swath through central france destroying everything it hit.

    None of these events were shown in the UK, as I recall. A man in Paris lost his head to a piece of corragated iron sheet in the first storm. So you see, the ’87 storm was not as rare an event as the BBC and UK Met off would have you believe.

    Now, don’t get me wrong, I think the Met Off and it’s people are raving idiots lead by an ex-greenpeace terrorist so I do not respect their opinions or words in any way, shape or form.

  4. G. Watkins

    Go Swiss press. With their economic clout (strength and influence for non English readers) can little Switzerland save the Western world.
    BTW Stephen Richards who is the G-P terrorist at the M.O.?

  5. Mike Heath

    A good response and quite correct regarding the great storm. Indeed, I think it was in ’89 that there were three consecutive storms on the south coast of the UK which did a similar amount of damage over 2 weeks. I remember the sound like an express train going past my house. However, my point really is about being blinkered and blind to what is going on. In the case of Mr.Fish, he was correct that a hurricane was NOT coming, but the wind speed actually was hurricane force. To be advised about it in advance, and then dismiss it, and then put it entirely down to something freaky is a bit odd. Why did the woman phone up if there was no real concern?

    With regard to Lawson, which is the point in question, I very much appreciate his front line approach today. His “blip” statement, perhaps could never have been anything else since politicians know when they can tell the truth and when they can’t, but false reassurance creates more doubt. Did anyone believe he was telling the truth? Anyone in his own party even?

    Well, we have all made mistakes and been guilty of misleading people at times, but hopefully we learn from our mistakes and arrogance and hopefully perform better with age and wisdom. I hope and trust it is so in this case.

  6. Lars P.

    Thanks for highlighting this article, I find it to be a very moderate and reasonable explanation by Lawson.
    Interesting to note the title: “The belief in anthropogenic climate change bears religious traits”

    1. DirkH

      CO2AGW is just the latest political religion.
      (Ersatz religion for atheists)

      1. Bernd Felsche

        «If you don’t believe in anything, you’ll believe anything.»

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