David Cameron Leads A Party Of Climate Sceptics

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Image Credit: Martin Robson via FlickrThis month heralds the UN Climate Summit 2014, to be attended by more than 100 world leaders, including UK Prime Minister David Cameron. As head of the Conservative Party, or the Tories, David Cameron took office at the end of 2005 after the general election resulted in a hung parliament and a forced coalition between the Conservatives and Liberal Democrats. Cameron has walked a fine line, environmentally, and generally been in favour of taking action to prevent further climate change.

However, David Cameron seems to rest squarely in the majority of Tories who believe in the facts of climate change, according to a new poll commissioned by PRWeek and conducted by Populus.

The numbers, published in PRWeek’s latest Special report — Climate Change and Communications — show that, overwhelmingly, members of the conservative party do not believe climate change has been established as a scientific fact.

The survey of 119 Members of Parliament (MP) revealed that only 51% believe it is an established fact that global warming is largely man made. However, given the number of Tory MPs, this figure is somewhat skewed.

Looking deeper, you can see that 73% of Labour MPs do agree that man-made global warming is now an established fact, while only 30% of Tory MPs believe similarly.

MPs on climate change
Click to see clearly.

According to the survey, over half of Conservative MPs agree with the statement that “it has not yet been conclusively proved that climate change is man made.” To make matters worse, there are actual living political representatives in the UK Parliament who believe that “man-made climate change is environmental propaganda for which there is little or no real evidence.”

A fact that I’m sure David Cameron is not overly fond of discovering. Because, let’s be very clear here, in advance of one of the year’s most important environmental meetings, the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom has certainly been made aware of these findings.

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Joshua S Hill

I'm a Christian, a nerd, a geek, and I believe that we're pretty quickly directing planet-Earth into hell in a handbasket! I also write for Fantasy Book Review (.co.uk), and can be found writing articles for a variety of other sites. Check me out at about.me for more.

Joshua S Hill has 4403 posts and counting. See all posts by Joshua S Hill

38 thoughts on “David Cameron Leads A Party Of Climate Sceptics

  • The Skeksis from The Dark Crystal

    “The Skeksis are the corrupt rulers of the planet Thra, having inherited it from their benevolent UrSkek predecessors, and embody the knowledgeable, yet unrestrained aspects of the UrSkeks’ behavior. The Skeksis culture favors repetitive flamboyance, emotional pettiness, and a wasteful attitude toward life. Though they are capable of alliances, none trusts the others and would immediately betray another out of self-preservation.”

    You have a sense of humor about somethings. We have them in US too.

  • Brit. Conservatives are like Repubs, Corporate Whores. Do and say anything puppets.

  • This is not hard to understand. It took scientists and astronomers thousands of years to convince everyone that the Earth is round and is not the center of the Universe.

    However, this issue is no longer as important as before, now that RE is cost-competitive and will soon cost below fossil fuels. Western Europe with little reserve of fossil fuel has no choice but to adapt RE in order to become energy secure. Soon, profit motive will trump all ideologies.

    • Yep. I think this is what saves our butts from the worst.

      Wind and solar become so cheap that they push fossil fuels aside. Same thing happens with petroleum. We won’t be willing to spend the extra money extracting fossilized energy. The profit will be in converting wind and sunshine into electricity and delivering it.

      • The only question is, Will the changeover happen fast enough?

        • Obviously not fast enough to prevent any climatic changes. Some have already happened.

          Not being a climate scientist I have to go with what climate scientists are telling us.

          “A leaked draft of the (IPCC) report sent to governments in December suggests that in order to keep global temperature increases below 2 degrees Celsius (3.6 F) by the end of the century — the stated goal of international climate talks — emissions need to fall by 40-70 percent by 2050.”


          I’ve heard no outcry from climate scientists saying that is wrong, so for now I’m going with it.

          That’s 40% to 70% from 2005 levels. The US is already down 10%. To get to 40% in 35 years with electricity in the US should be easy. Continue to do what we’re doing right now, or just a bit more. Move about 0.9% of our generation from fossil fuels to renewables. 70% means increasing our wind and solar efforts by less than 2x.

          Transportation. It’s dialed in. President Obama negotiated a 54.5 fleet mileage requirement by 2025. That is more than double our current MPG average. Over the 25 years following 2025 essentially all the old gas guzzlers will be crushed and we’ll pull vehicle GHG down by more than 50%. And that’s not even taking EVs into account.

          That’s the US. Europe is likely to do better than we will. South America is getting on board. China, I think, is going to do its part and more.

          And we’re looking at 35 years of innovation and discovery. With all the effort/research now being done on efficiency I would think hitting 70% is going to get easier and easier.

          Now, holding to a 2C increase prevents terrible stuff, it isn’t good. We, or the next generation need to figure out how to get some of those GHGs re-sequestered.

          • I hope you’re right. We have a lot of rich opposition.

          • Take a look at what has happened to coal stocks. The rich opposition is now the less-rich opposition.

          • My hopes rise as coal stocks fall. Now if oil & gas will follow, I’ll be really happy.

          • Oil stocks will head down as affordable, good range EVs hit the roads. NG stocks will fall as grid storage prices fall.

            Capital will shift to the most promising solutions and it seems to be moving away from coal already with only a small amount of renewables on line.

            Investors pay attention to what is happening. They’ve got money in the game. Pay more attention to investors than to CEOs who get enormous salaries to support the status quo.

          • Coal stock prices are down to almost half of what they were in 2011. That’s falling fast, considering they are never coming up again. I’m thinking that in five or six more years, coal will be at one-quarter of what it was in ’11, oil will be about half it’s ’11 price, and gas will be just starting to break over toward it’s own downward slide.

            I plan to do my part. My mother died recently and I’m going to inherit some oil stocks from her. As soon as they are transferred to my control, I’m going to start selling them and get rid of all of them within two years. Part of the money will go toward a wind turbine or solar panels for my home. The rest can be a down payment on an electric car. Or an electric pickup truck, if they exist by then.

            I suppose I should warn my brother and sisters to sell their oil stocks as soon as the Tesla 3 comes out.

          • I doubt that the T3 will cause oil stocks to drop.

            I suspect oil stocks will start losing value several years from now. We’ve got to do a better job of substitution. Coal value is dropping because we’re starting to impact consumption and it’s clear that consumption is going to keep decreasing.

        • As Bob has said below sticking to what needs to be done for just a 2°C rise seemed fairly doable.
          But unfortunately the report out this week from the international meteorological association on the CO2 and other GHG gases showed another sharp increase for 2013. It seems that the oceans and the world’s forests have peaked on their capability to absorb CO2,, so while there have been some attempts at reducing emissions more and more of them are going to stay in the atmosphere.
          Now I’m not trying to be a doom sayer and start screaming that the world is ending, but we really do need to step up efforts to further reduce emissions and even on a personal help with the sequestration of what is already in the atmosphere.
          Contact your politicians and sign the petitions towards stricter controls and more active policies in the upcoming international summits this December and next year. Along with that make sure that none of your votes this fall or in ’16 go for a denier, even if you disagree with some of the other policies of the politicians that accept climate change it is our most important issue right now.
          Then for the personal level on helping sequestration sign the petitions and do what you can to support those that are trying to protect the forests and wetlands. And then go plant a tree, once a week or once a month whatever fits into your budget and schedule. There have been big changes in local climate areas in India and North Africa just from the small efforts of a lot of people. So as they say, every little bit helps.
          Lastly don’t let this get you discouraged, while the situation may look bad in some ways we can’t change anything without a positive attitude about our ability to do so.

          • I’d say, be very encouraged by the fact that it looks like we’re on track to hold things down to less than 2C.

            Then, feeling refreshed in spirit, start pushing for getting to 70% before 2050 and carbon neutral soon after that.

            And encourage research into practical ways to re-sequester carbon.

          • There might be a way to bring down CO2 levels without using any radical Geo-engineering.
            If farmers would plant one cover crop it would increase the bio mass of the soil.

          • Possibly. But most of that organic matter is going to be fairly close to the surface and the carbon will make its way back into the atmosphere as microbes eat it up.

            There are some crops such as switchgrass that have very deep root systems and do seem to sequester carbon. Planting large amounts of switchgrass and using the tops for biofuel might help some.

            We need very strong solutions. I can imagine only minor ones.

          • Large Algae blooms in ocean from Iron fertilization.
            This is a dangerous idea.
            We depends on world oceans for so much of our protein.

          • If they’d make biochar, it would sequester it for hundreds of years, and reduce the amount of fertilizer needed. And, they could make syngas on the side.

          • I wonder if anyone has done the math.

            I would think we could design a no-fossil fuel input system of farming fast growing plants (hybrid popular/kudzu/whatever) in a way that it could be harvested and hauled to processing.

            But could we do it on a large scale? Do we have crop room? Where would the funding come from? Would there be enough value in the biochar and gas produced to support the industry?

          • They row down instead of cutting down the cover crop. The roots become part of the soil. By increase the bio mass, you are taking the carbon out of the air.
            The carbon become part of living system. The soil is alive.

            I’m not a farmer, I live in Los Angeles, and I like organic gardening. You can check out cover crops videos on youtube.

          • My comments come from remembering the article from the 10th on here “World MET Organization Finds Record GHG’s Increase In 2013”. And in it the Price Waterhouse and Cooper forecast that we are looking at a doubling of the 2°C increase by the end of the century.
            From it and other stories seen on the subject it seems that while the plans were made for what to do to limit the warming to two degrees Celsius for one not enough of them have been followed through on and secondly the earth’s natural sequestration capabilities have been maxed out.
            So as you say we need to set new goals, and hopefully the world’s governments can come to some type of agreement this December and next year to see that the new goals are definitely followed through on.

          • To a large extent I think we’re moving past the point where it takes government action to bring about the changes we need.

            Wind and solar are at or rapidly approaching the point at which economics causes them to replace fossil fuels. Getting the price of storage down a bit assures the change without government action.

            Even without storage a combination of wind, solar and natural gas is the cheapest way to go and over building wind and solar further cuts the cost by reducing the amount of gas needed.

            The same thing will happen with personal transportation (I think). Prices drop a bit, ranges get above 150 miles and economics will drive ICEVs into extinction.

            I’d like to see strong government action, it would drive the change faster, but I think we get to 70% by 2050 based on simple math. The math of purchasing the cheapest.

          • No disagreement that the economics are there for a conversion to renewables. But unfortunately without government support or at least cooperation we get situations like Australia where the ending of the RET means the money is going into the more expensive long term choice of coal over solar, or the english nimbyism of support of the more expensive offshore wind as compared to onshore. Or even here in our own country the long delay in beginning offshore wind until the past couple years when the government agencies from financial to environmental and finally with Obama administrative are finally supporting it.
            Especially here in the US with the monopoly control of the energy supply it can be seen that the most economic sources aren’t always the first choice. This shows up in big power plants and suppliers using coal and oil or gas being allowed to ignore the residual costs of those sources. To the transportation issue and California’s support of the much more expensive fool cell cars over battery EV’s.
            The economics are there for renewable energy, but without the people making an issue over the carbon and other residual costs of fossil fuels so that their government’s bring these costs into the figures to many of the industries will stay with the fossil fuel sources out of inertia. Once the full costs of fossil fuel are made to be considered from the preproduction subsidies on to the full costs of pollution and clean up, then it will be a financial situation where renewables are the automatic choice. And only the government’s can make that happen.

    • Supertrue

      dollar takes over and is made in Wind Power and Solar Power.
      fossil cost to many dollars.
      everyone benefit

    • “It took scientists and astronomers thousands of years to convince
      everyone that the Earth is round and is not the center of the Universe.” Sorry, this is plain wrong. The earliest people we would recognize as scientists were pre-Socratic Greeks like Thales and they proved very quickly that the Earth was round, an even measures its diameter. A Greek boy climbing up a hill near the coast would see the sails of ships disappearing below the horizon. This wasn’t at all controversial. King Alfred knew the earth was round “like the yolk in an egg,”

      Copernicus’ heliocentric revolution was complete by 1758, when the Vatican dropped heliocentric books from its Index of prohibited books – two centuries. By that stage astronomers had moved on from thinking even the sun was at the centre of the universe. I don’t know of any significant opposition to this third shift.

  • Cameron is not walking a thin line.

    He wants nuclear utility. that is not walking a thin line, that is falling in a deep black hole.
    Sellafield England not decommissioned yet, 100 billion cost, not finished.
    Germany nuclear decommission of one plant, cost are over 4,2 billion, not done yet.

    Hope for Scotland they vote yes.
    Scotland can be the new Kuwait in Europa for Wind Power.

    • Indeed he is nowhere near the line, 9.25p per kWh guarantee for the new Hinkley point nuclear station would cost us over £30 billion in just 25 years.

      At the same time as clearing the way for fracking, the Tories put Eric Pickles in charge of over-ruling planning permission for on-shore wind farms.

  • If only……..David Cameron actually came into power in 2010, not 2005.
    Fortunately, despite the scepticism, the UK seems to be making reasonable progress on RE.

    • That’s no thanks to the Tories. They are pro-fracking, pro-nuclear and anti-wind on-shore (allowing wind only off-shore makes it look expensive which I’m sure they like).

      Scotland made huge progress with renewables because they have some decision making powers. If they leave the UK we will be left looking very bad from an energy standpoint.

  • Sigh. They paid absolutely no attention to Australia during the Global Financial Crisis where we sensibly avoided a recession and went on to have the strongest economy in the developed world. Instead they went on to plunge the UK into a Greater Depression that has reduced economic growth by more than the Great Depression did. And since we’re currently ruled by morons, UK idiots are less worried about displaying their brickwitted ideas. Now they can always point south and say that at least they’re not as stupid as Australians.

    • Davey should consult a map. A cable from Iceland would land in Scotland.

  • It’s irrelevant whether or not global warming is man-made or caused by some mythical god. The indisputable facts are that it’s happening now and we are able to influence it for better or for worse. No intellegent person can denigh global warming, only dispute it’s cause.

    • If the warming is not caused by scientifically explainable factors then there’s no basis for assuming scientific mitigations would work either. Rational people logically must base their mitigation actions on the scientific explanations for why global warming is occurring.

  • One important reminder. Although I have a keen interest in Man made Global warming and how and why it is happening and what to do about it, I realized after a conversation with Andrew Weaver, a lead author of many of the IPCC reports and a scientist who conducted many research papers, that coal is the problem. There are enough reserves of coal to raise the earths temperature 14 degrees celcius. (By the way 14 degrees means is game over for most life, for sure) There are not enough petro and Natural gas reserves to come anywhere close to that. The problem is coal is cheap. So… wind and solar must undercut the price of coal, coal, coal. Focus on coal.

    • Coal. Shot in the head and stumbling toward its grave.

      If we look at which countries burn coal:

      China 50.7%
      US 12.5%
      India 9.9%
      Russia 3.3%
      Germany 3.3%
      South Africa 2.6%
      Japan 2.5%
      Poland 2.0%

      That’s 86.6% of all coal consumed in the world.

      China is capping, seems to be slowing. US is dropping use. India is working on reducing use. Russia? Germany is decreasing. South Africa is decreasing. Japan has a short term upturn due to Fukushima. Poland looks to be about to slow use.

      As far as renewables competing with coal, it’s not the fuel price that kills coal. It’s the cost of building a coal plant. Coal plants don’t last forever, the average lifespan in the US is about 40 years. When it comes to replacement time there’s wind and solar well under a dime and coal well over a dime.

      Plus countries like China and India are under a lot of pressure to reduce pollution. Another pressure driving coal back underground.

      • Don’t forget that coal-mining is horrible, dangerous and unhealthy work. Deep coal requires lots of miners. As countries get richer, coal mining wages will rise faster than the average. China’s coal downturn seems to be driven by demand, but India’s coal problem is supply.

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