I discovered that Andrew Montford was a guest on The Big Questions this morning. I normally don’t watch it as I think it’s generally a very silly programme, that normally has some kind of religious undertone, and normally has guests who just end up shouting at each other. Of course, I get the feeling that this is how some think that all such discussions should take place.
I’ve just, however, watched this part of the show on iPlayer. I don’t really want to do some kind of major summary, but I think (assuming he can watch it) that Willard would be pleased, as the basic message from Andrew Montford, and one of the other guests, was that we had to focus on groooowwwwth. The general picture being that we needed to grow the economy first, then consider tackling these problems. I’m not an economist, but I would have thought that we could grow the economy by tackling these problems?
It was also unfortunate that Andrew Montford decided to titter when one of the other guests was speaking. Maybe Andrew should remind himself that the online climate debate may be juvenile, but that that may not be best way to behave when in front of the general public. It doesn’t come across particlarly well. He also disputed the idea that 96/97% of scientists agreed about the basics of anthropogenic global warming and claimed there was only one paper that suggested this (wrong!). He should probably talk to Richard Tol a bit more.
He also got a little upset when someone suggested that he had pseudo-skeptic views, suggesting that his views were being mis-represented. One way to avoid this – IMO – is to not say things that make it seem that you have pseudo-skeptic views. This was nicely illustrated by his next comment where he accepted that CO2 would cause warming, but then said that he was at the bottom end of the range suggested by the IPCC (which really just means that he’s guessing), and that the net effect of the next few degrees of warming would be roughly zero. If that isn’t a pseudo-skeptic view, I don’t know what is. Seriously, if you don’t want people to think that you’re a pseudo-skeptic, stop saying things that make it appear that you are.
In fact, this is roughly the sum total of my experience with Andrew Montford: on the few occasions that I have ended up in discussions with him, he’s complained that I’ve misrepresented his views, and then immediately said something that appears entirely consistent with what I had just said. There’s probably some kind of name for this: say something silly, complain that you’re being mis-represented when someone points out you’ve just said something silly, then say something silly again. I imagine that it could be quite an effective strategy.