Monbiot Grandstands At Environmental Committee, But Expert Witness Is Banned
By Paul Homewood
Booker reports on some shameful goings on at the Environmental Audit Committee this week:
The Great Moonbat comes up with two impossible theories in a day
Last Wednesday was quite a day for that grand “environmental” campaigner George Monbiot. He began by regaling Guardian readers yet again with that IMF paper which last year startled the world by revealing that fossil fuels receive far larger subsidies than “renewables”.
The paper argued that we should take account of the true cost of all the damage fossil fuels are doing to us all, by causing global warming, air pollution, traffic congestion and deaths from traffic accidents. That the producers of coal, oil and gas can get away with not being charged for all this damage amounts to a “subsidy” worth $5.3 trillion a year, more than the entire global cost of health care. And if we were sensible enough to tax them for it, this would make the subsidies paid to windmills and solar panels look like peanuts.
One can see why this theory would appeal to someone like Monbiot. But to call it a “subsidy” may remind the rest of us of Humpty Dumpty’s dictum that, “When I use a word, it means just what I choose it to mean.”
Later that day the great environmentalist was deferentially invited by the Commons Environmental Audit committee, to explain his theory that the way to stop floods is not to dredge rivers but to plant trees, to slow the flow of excessive rainfall from higher up in the catchment area that causes them.
On the 2014 floods in my county of Somerset, Monbiot then went out of his way to rubbish by name those, including me, who revealed how those floods had been made much worse by the deliberate flooding of a key area of land to provide water for wildlife (because the Met Office had predicted a dry winter). To support his point he triumphantly cited a report by the Centre for Ecology and Hydrology.
In fact that report didn’t properly address this issue at all. It made no mention of how the flow of the Somerset Levels’ main “flood relief scheme”, the Sowy, was deliberately reversed, to flood Natural England’s Southlake Moor, thus blocking the drainage of a much larger area of the Somerset Moors to the east.
But nor did the Great Moonbat tell the MPs that the same report had trenchantly rejected his theory about tree-planting on the hills, by finding that this does nothing to halt the downward flow of excessive rainfall (and if he had looked at the relevant hills in Somerset, he would have seen that they are covered in trees anyway).
What made all this even odder was that an expert witness, who had been invited to follow him to point all this out, was then told that he could not appear before the committee after all, because of “allegations” (unspecified) that he had written something “offensive” online.
So the MPs were only allowed to hear one side of the story. It will be interesting to see how this is reflected in their report.
It turns out that the expert witness, who Booker was not allowed to name and who was banned by the committee, was Dr Richard North, who reports on his blog:
Having been asked several times by the Environmental Audit Committee in the House of Commons to give oral evidence to them on flooding, I travelled to London yesterday, at my own expense, prepared for the session.
Because of the Prime Minister’s statement on the EU, the session was late starting but, before the first witness was heard, I was called out by a clerk. In a nearby corridor, he told me there had been "allegations" against me, relating to my online activities, as a result of which, the committee had decided that my evidence would not be called.
That my evidence would have completely contradicted the evidence of the first witness, George Monbiot, is neither here nor there – one assumes.
Who actually chaired the committee on this session I do not know, mainly because I don’t care enough to find out. Such is the incompetence of the the committee that, until late this morning, it was recording on its website the chairman as Labour’s Huw Irranca-Davies, even though he stood down on 25 January. Suffice to note that this is obviously the way our masters do business now, and how they treat us lowly serfs.
I would mind so much had I not been specifically called by the committee to give evidence. I had not asked to give it, and had not contacted the committee in any way, until they had invited me. And, in anticipation of giving evidence, I had to spend most of the weekend preparing a written report for the MPs, to their deadline of Monday.
But, to add insult to injury, the clerk who yesterday conveyed the news that the Irranca-Davies surrogate didn’t have the guts or courtesy to tell me to my face, told me that, "if I wished", I could submit written evidence to the committee. I have to say that my response was what one might describe as "robust".
I need, however, to place on record this cowardly behaviour by a committee of MPs who obviously lack both manners and the courage to address me personally, and skulk behind their staff, getting them to do their dirty work. It is a measure of these loathsome creatures, however, that they don’t even have the self-awareness to be ashamed of their own behaviour.