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“My Generation Has Done Terrible Things”–David Attenborough

April 29, 2019

By Paul Homewood


David Attenborough has made the astonishing statement that his generation has done terrible things, and that he couldn’t bear to think of the world he was leaving to his grandchildren because ‘the signs aren’t good’:



Sir David Attenborough has showed his support for students striking over climate change and called their outrage ‘certainly justified’.

The broadcaster and natural historian branded critics of the school strikes cynics in a podcast interview with former UN climate chief Christiana Figueres.

During the podcast, called Outrage and Optimism, he told Ms Figueres: ‘Young people understand the simple discoveries of science about our dependence upon the natural world.

‘My generation is no great example for understanding – we have done terrible things.’



This of course echoes what the likes of Extinction Rebellion and Greta Thunberg have been arguing, that we have destroyed their future.

But has his generation, or indeed more recent ones, done anything to be ashamed of. In particular, are they leaving the world in a worse place than it was when they entered it?

Attenborough is now 92, so let’s just consider what the world was like when he was born.



In the UK and other industrialised countries, grinding poverty was widespread and endemic in the 1920s.  Most children were undernourished and poorly clothed. Indeed, far from malnourishment, the biggest health problem for kids today is obesity.

Unsurprisingly, childhood diseases such as TB, diphtheria and polio along with rickets were rampant.

Thanks to improving living conditions, child mortality now is a tiny fraction of what it used to be then:


In those days, most homes had coal fires and outdoor loos, not warm bathrooms and central heating. Children, who now expect to be taken abroad for holidays, were lucky to get a week in Blackpool back then.

And when they grew up, they had little to look forward to. Just a life of back breakingly hard work down the mines or in factories. That was, of course, if they were lucky enough to have a job, for those were the days of mass unemployment.

If all of that was not enough, people in those days had to go off to fight a war, or stay at home and live through the blitz.

As a result of economic development since then, people can expect to live much longer than their forefathers, but importantly also enjoy a much higher quality of life.


The young Attenborough may not have been familiar with this grinding poverty, as he seems to have had quite a gilded upbringing. His father was principal at University College, Leicester, and he grew up there on campus.

After graduating at Clare College, Cambridge, Attenborough quickly moved into senior management positions at the BBC, becoming controller of BBC2 in 1965.

He was reportedly one of the BBC’s top earners in 2015, declaring income of £1.13 million, and his net worth is estimated at £24 million.

In short, I doubt whether he ever has had any idea of the day to day stresses and pressures that ordinary people have to cope with.



But what about the environment that Attenborough professes to be so concerned about?

Air pollution, contrary to what we are told, is probably at its lowest level for centuries. Certainly, the air in our cities is much cleaner than the days when coal fires, road and rail transport and dirty factories were responsible for real pollution which literally killed thousands every year.


Our rivers, countryside and towns are also much cleaner than probably any time since the industrial revolution began. We now make a fuss about plastic pollution, even though this is really down to individuals not disposing of things properly.

But those who complain about plastic would have apoplexy if they went back in time and saw what real pollution looks like.



The developing world

Maybe this is all very self centred, and our improved standard of living has come at the expense of the third world.

But the facts tell a different story. Throughout the developing world, we see the same rise in wealth and living standards as we do in the west.

Just as here, child mortality has fallen in leaps and bounds, while global  life expectancy has more than doubled since 1900.




And thanks to our modern, fossil fuel powered economy, global food production has nearly quadrupled since the 1960s:



Many in the third world now have mobile phones and access to technology their ancestors could not have dreamed of.

OK, we know that Attenborough is worried about the rapid population rise in much of the developing world, but just what has his or my generation have to do with that? (Unless, of course, you believe that providing health services, education and financial aid to poor countries is a “terrible thing to do”!)



Natural disasters

Attenborough has claimed that our weather is getting more extreme, but the evidence shows this simply is not true.

But, much more importantly, economic growth has meant that societies are now much more resilient to natural disasters.

In China, for instance it was quite common for hundreds of thousands to die in floods. The Yangtze floods in 1931, for example, are estimated to have killed as many as 4 million.

Millions more regularly died around the world as a result of drought. In 1769 in India, a great famine which was the result of drought took over ten million people’s lives, a third of the population at the time. The 1876-79 drought in China probably killed even more people, and is regarded as the deadliest drought in history.

Fatalities of this scale would simply be unimaginable now.

Yet some would appear to want us to return to those days.

The Swedish schoolgirl, Greta Thunberg, tells us that the UK has a “mind-blowing historical carbon debt”, because we dared to start the industrial revolution.

Well, I’m sorry Greta, but I have no desire to go back to those pre-industrial days, and I doubt many would. It is a pity that Michael Gove and his colleagues, who were granted an audience with her last week, did not pluck up the courage to tell her a few home truths.



But back to David Attenborough, and his claim that his generation have done terrible things.

I don’t only find this absurd, but deeply insulting to both his generation and the ones which followed.

I am certainly fully aware of, and grateful for, the hard work and sacrifices made by my parents and the rest of their generation, which enabled me to grow up in a much better world than they did.

Is the world now perfect? Obviously not. But youngsters nowadays should be thankful that they are living now, and not a century ago.

  1. April 29, 2019 2:35 pm

    One of the “most terrible things” his generation did was to produce him.

    He has grandchildren, but wants to starve African grandchildren? He has some personal ‘splainen to do.

    • HotScot permalink
      April 29, 2019 2:52 pm

      Our world would a much worse place had our parents and grandparents not fought and died in two world wars.

      It’s also worthy of note that western birth rates are generally falling, some alarmingly, thanks to prosperity enabled by fossil fuels.

      Nor is it just child mortality rates that are falling, I daresay St. Attenborough has enjoyed medical intervention during his life which has kept him going for as long as he has.

      This reason alone convinces me the guy is either loosing his marbles or is simply raking in as much cash as he can from making these prophesies of doom programs.

      • Harry Passfield permalink
        April 29, 2019 3:19 pm

        Not sure I understand your first sentence, HotScot. If we hadn’t lost generations of what may have been brilliant scientists and politicians in those wars, things might well be all the better now – better, that is, than they are now.

      • HotScot permalink
        April 29, 2019 4:51 pm


        But what type of governance would we be enduring?

      • Harry Passfield permalink
        April 29, 2019 7:36 pm

        “But what type of governance would we be enduring?”

        You can’t really be saying that some of the cream of society and intellect were sacrificed to WWI – and that it was better they were than they survived to (perhaps) rule/influence the modern era?

        I often wonder what my family life would have been like had not my maternal grandfather and great uncle not died in WWI – when my mother was eight!

        But then, I think, perhaps I may have misunderstood your use of litotes. 🙂

        As a thought experiment: what if Attenborough had died in WWII?

      • A C Osborn permalink
        April 29, 2019 8:59 pm

        Harry, you are missing the point, if they hadn’t made the sacrifice we would have spent the last70 under the Jackboots of Germany along with the rest of Europe.

  2. Harry Passfield permalink
    April 29, 2019 2:47 pm

    Well, he’s in good (Marxist) company with Figueres.
    He also has good reason to praise young people who ‘understand the simple discoveries of science’ because he knows they will equally swallow the tosh that is called climate science.
    People of his, and his father’s generation have certainly wreaked far more damage on this planet than climate change has – or will. (Revolutions, wars, genocides, deforestation, Aral Sea, etc)

    • Dave Ward permalink
      April 29, 2019 6:02 pm

      “Young people who ‘understand the simple discoveries of science’ “

      Yes – they spend their entire day (and most of the night) staring into the screen of a smartphone…

      • Phoenix44 permalink
        April 30, 2019 9:22 am

        Its a simple biological fact that the reasoning part if our brain is the last part to fully develop – around our mid-twenties. Coincidentally when many start to move away from the Left!

  3. bobn permalink
    April 29, 2019 2:47 pm

    The terrible thing his generation has done is abandoning reason, rationality and the scientific method as the basis of our civilisation. He and his ilk have revertedto worship, mysticism (computer models), rumour, chanting (group think), voodoo and thuggery.
    By setting himself against reason, debate and logic he has indeed done a terrible thing and a terrible diservice to humanity.

    • April 29, 2019 3:20 pm

      Indeed, education in the UK is now in a pretty miserable state, just look at modern chemistry and geography textbooks, with their obsession with pollution and social justice, at the expense of covering the vital roles played by the chemical industry and agriculture. The BBC of course is heavily implicated, with its TV programmes about the cool kids who have zero interest in learning anything at school.

    • James permalink
      April 30, 2019 6:01 pm

      May I ask why you do not believe in computer models? – Just interested


  4. April 29, 2019 3:15 pm

    I am sad that Attenborough has thrown in his lot with the global warming rabble. He is trashing his own legacy as a great producer of films about the natural world.

    • richard verney permalink
      April 30, 2019 8:45 am

      And he knows better than most that climate change is not a new phenomena, and has existed throughout recorded time, without any involvement of man. He knows that most extinctions happened well before man even appeaered on this planet, and he knows that in general life loves warmth and hates cold, and that most biodiversity is found in warmer climes and least bio diversity in colder climes. He knows that life on Earth flourished during the age of the Dinosaurs when it was considerably warmer than today, the same with the Devonian seas.

      The upshot is that he knows, from his own extensive experience, that there is nothing to fear from a warmer world. Life, and biodiversity, will thrive.

      It is an inescapable conclusion that he must know that he is peddling junk.

  5. buchanlad permalink
    April 29, 2019 3:32 pm

    Attenborough needs to read your succinct and reasoned comments and try and answer them Certainly the MPs greg clark , claire perry and michael gove appear to have lost all touch with reality when it comes to energy policy and climate change .
    Without fossil fuels the world would starve very quickly . Can someone explain that to St Greta ?
    Who is arguing about the climate ? Not me – but all the policy outcomes resulting from the panic have been ludicrous and harmful .

    • Gamecock permalink
      April 29, 2019 11:48 pm

      True, buchanlad. It is decadence. They argue against that which KEEPS THEM ALIVE!

      Consider Malé, Maldives. With 60,000 people per SQUARE MILE, they are ABSOLUTELY dependent on fossil fuels to bring them food.

      With tourism as Maldives largest industry, they are ABSOLUTELY dependent on fossil fuels to bring them tourists.

      Yet they play lead in the global climate change charade. Should they get what they ask for, they’ll all be dead within a month.

    • Phoenix44 permalink
      April 30, 2019 9:25 am

      They have simply jumped from a sensible approach based on economics to a lunatic policy based on avoiding an arbitrary change in temperature regardless of cost. If they carry on down this road they will destroy the economy.

      • Gamecock permalink
        April 30, 2019 11:59 pm

        Economics has nothing to do with this. Get a grip.

    • Gerry, England permalink
      April 30, 2019 1:41 pm

      I think there is a very good case to argue that they have never been in touch with reality.

  6. Curious George permalink
    April 29, 2019 3:34 pm

    He still has a good voice.

    • MrGrimNasty permalink
      April 29, 2019 4:06 pm

      In the same way that Lord Haw Haw had a certain air.

  7. Broadlands permalink
    April 29, 2019 3:36 pm

    It is interesting that the life expectancy charts, as well as global population charts, correlate very well with the increase in atmospheric CO2…supposedly the problem for the Anthropocene…for little Greta, Ms. AOC… and more than a few other politicians on the left.

    • MrGrimNasty permalink
      April 29, 2019 4:15 pm

      That’s because unlike with CO2 and the weather, there is actually a connection between the ingenious exploitation of fossil fuels and the thriving and prosperity of man-kind.

      Not surprisingly according to Heller, the adjustments to the raw temperature data also correspond almost perfectly with rising CO2.

    • John F. Hultquist permalink
      April 29, 2019 4:34 pm

      Please do “anthropocene (sic)” like this.
      It doesn’t exist, and never will.

      • Broadlands permalink
        April 29, 2019 5:10 pm

        John… the Anthropocene does exist. It represents the time since Homo sapiens arrived on the scene, and it represents…. “Throughout the developing world, we see the same rise in wealth and living standards as we do in the west.” Life has never been better for more people. It is those who misread and misunderstand the period…it doesn’t exist by their definition… Terrible things”?

      • Harry Passfield permalink
        April 29, 2019 7:47 pm

        The Anthropocene is only a ‘proposed’ GTS and has – so far as I know – been declined by the International Commission on Stratigraphy.
        It is more an attempt at propaganda, it seems to me.

      • John F. Hultquist permalink
        April 29, 2019 8:39 pm

        Harry P.
        A committee was established to study the issue. There is a newsletter.
        However, the Commission has moved on.
        Formal subdivision of the Holocene

        Makes interesting reading:

        1. Greenlandian Stage/Age = Lower/Early Holocene Subseries/Subepoch
        Boundary Stratotype (GSSP): NorthGRIP2 ice core, Greenland (coincident with the Holocene Series/Epoch GSSP, ratified 2008). Age: 11,700 yr b2k (before AD 2000).

        2. Northgrippian Stage/Age = Middle/Mid-Holocene Subseries/Subepoch
        Boundary Stratotype (GSSP): NorthGRIP1 ice core, Greenland. Global AuxiliaryStratotype: Gruta do Padre Cave speleothem, Brazil. Age: 8326 yr b2k.

        3. Meghalayan Stage/Age = Upper/Late Holocene Subseries/Subepoch

  8. Peter Plail permalink
    April 29, 2019 3:42 pm

    From a web site giving advice about coping with ageing people “……….. it’s very common for older adults to develop persisting fears, worries, and complaints that often strike their family members as irrational, paranoid, absurd, or ridiculous.

    Why is this?

    Among my own patients, I’ve found this is often related to underlying cognitive impairment. Meaning, dementia that hasn’t yet been fully diagnosed by doctors. “

  9. Stewart Herring permalink
    April 29, 2019 4:04 pm

    Isn’t he beginning to sound desperate?

    • Gerry, England permalink
      April 30, 2019 1:43 pm

      They all are as if they know the party might be coming to an end for some reason and need to get the damage done now.

  10. George Lawson permalink
    April 29, 2019 4:06 pm

    The quite ridiculous outbursts by this man suggests that he has entered the blissful state of senility and should be left to enjoy his remaining years without being taken seriously. What is surprising is those people like Ms Figurers who give Attenborough a stage and take on board his increasingly stupid statements without challenge or question.

    • John F. Hultquist permalink
      April 29, 2019 4:39 pm

      Christiana Figueres is steering the ship. Don’t expect a communist to challenge him. He is her “useful idiot.’

    • The Man at the Back permalink
      April 29, 2019 5:12 pm

      George, as John says She is the main driver –

      Christiana Figueres, executive secretary of U.N.’s Framework Convention on Climate Change, admitted that the goal of environmental activists is not to save the world from ecological calamity but to destroy capitalism.

      “This is the first time in the history of mankind that we are setting ourselves the task of intentionally, within a defined period of time, to change the economic development model that has been reigning for at least 150 years, since the Industrial Revolution,” she said.

      The trouble is that our politicians are going along with this???!!!! Are they useful idiots or part of the problem?

      • Derek Buxton permalink
        April 30, 2019 10:00 am

        Regretably, they are part of the problem, a majpr part!

  11. arfurbryant permalink
    April 29, 2019 4:22 pm

    Moral cowardice, dogmatic belief and a refusal to actually practice the science he so glibly advocates. That is a bad combination.

  12. John F. Hultquist permalink
    April 29, 2019 4:27 pm

    The chart “Life expectancy” is sub-headed “at birth.”
    While interesting, this curve is skewed low because of child mortality (CM). In the CM chart, not much changes until after 1900.
    Take out the early deaths and life expectancy jumps by about 10%; If you are middle age (plus) now, expect average age at death to be closer to 88, than to the 80 shown in the chart.

    In certain societies (UK, USA, ..) saving the new born is much better than years ago, so the charts change over time. [ Note that in this aspect – saving the newborn – comparing national statistics is fraught with problems.]

  13. RICHARD JARMAN permalink
    April 29, 2019 4:44 pm

    Would it not be possible to send this to Sir David and ask him for his considered response to the arguments put foward

  14. europeanonion permalink
    April 29, 2019 4:57 pm

    What is truly shocking about Mr Attenborough’s caste is that his society was carefully shielded from the lives of ordinary people, how they coped. He could not fail to be embarrassed by what he found having left his gilded up-bringing. When he speaks of differentials it is that between his young understanding and that which he encountered the dirty world filled with artisan labour doing dirty work.

    The effect would be profound for someone of a zoological bent. All animals live in demonstrably tidy, green endowed places and we much them up as a necessity to the way we survive. What’s not to like about animals and what’s lamentable about humans? He would not have had any conception of how these others’ survived and he would have to go through several stages of understanding, starting with contempt and prejudice, gradually moving towards horror (which would encompass his own sort being made to rein-in their lifestyles). His sentiments now mean stasis for all, the going price for a hair shirt.

    If equality could be a possibility in Attenborough world it would be a process of dumbing-down rather than wishing his golden beginnings for all. Where is the chastisement in that? His principals seem to be based on his own lamentable lack of awareness of that around him and now we pay the price for his guilt trip, his coming face to face with his excruciatingly, embarrassing ignorance.

  15. April 29, 2019 5:12 pm

    I’m 85. When I was at school in the 1940s in Birmingham every winter there were several days when we were all sent home early because the fog, a mixture of water droplets and coal smoke, was so dense you could barely see where you were going. One Sunday evening, returning from an amateur dramatic performance some miles away, we came home with a man holding a white cloth in front of the hired bus to show the way. But it’s not new. On at least one occasion Queen Elizabeth I refused to enter London because of the foul air. Today’s air in our cities is cleaner than it’s been for centuries.

    • George Lawson permalink
      April 29, 2019 9:45 pm

      Exactly. We have lived with diesel fumes for 80 years without any affect on our health. Proven by the fact that that we are all living longer and working to an older age.. Hands up anyone who has seen asthmatics lining our streets unable to breath in London and the big cities? Yet stupid government ministers like Mr Gove are prepared to ruin our motorcar industry in order to placate the silly people who genuinely believe we can exist as a nation without cars, lorries, buses, and fossil fuels. Why oh why have we arrived at a state where our government is prepared to support a minority group of mindless Green activists rather than do that which is right for the country?

    • RICHARD JARMAN permalink
      April 29, 2019 10:20 pm

      To Michael – I remember the same smog in Birmingham in the 1950s when I was sent to school with a scarf wrapped round my face!

      • Lydia Holden permalink
        April 30, 2019 6:35 am

        To Michael and Richard, I remember smog in B’ham in the late fifties and early sixties too. Trying to find my way to the school bus only able to see a couple of feet ahead and the strange smell of the fog. I often wonder what my lungs must look like! My father was a GP, he had many patients with severe chest problems he couldn’t do much for. He used to suggest they move to Weston Super Mare for the clean air. Many of them thanked him for his advice as the move improved their health enormously!

  16. Lezz permalink
    April 29, 2019 5:18 pm

    I visualise him guilt ridden and sobbing uncontrollably every time that daft advert about smart meters is shown on the TV. (The one aimed at school kids and greenies, suggesting that having one will go some way in ensuring the continued existence of polar bears).
    BtW, I wonder how much this pathetic advertising campaign is costing us all.

  17. April 29, 2019 6:02 pm

    Attenborough has done a terrible thing by trading his huge respect and popularity, built up over many years of broadcasting, for a grubby alliance with climate alarmists, media propagandists, and brainwashed, moronic activist millennials. When he passes away, this will be his final legacy to the world.

  18. April 29, 2019 6:27 pm

    Anserine Attenborough has cooked his goose as far as I’m concerned; do we now distrust all the info in his films ?
    If so how far back ?

  19. MrGrimNasty permalink
    April 29, 2019 6:40 pm

    MSM is still selling renewables with deliberate deception and leading us over the cliff.

    “Britain is one of the world leaders in erecting wind turbines offshore, where breezes are stronger and more constant. The result is that many days the grid runs primarily on natural gas and clean energy, coal marginalized or even completely shut down.”

    Gas and clean energy – i.e nuclear. They deliberately make it sound like it is the windmills displacing coal, whereas it is chiefly the gas.

    On the days when coal is deliberately shut down/marginalized, it’s typically low-demand and the wind/solar is irrelevant too – gas and nuclear can meet demand. It’s high demand times when we need the coal because the windmill contribution can drop to zero at any time.

    Gas and Nuclear is doing >70% of demand as I write and wind is under 5%.

    • Harry Passfield permalink
      April 29, 2019 7:23 pm

      Mr GN: It’s not so much the selling of renewables, as such (‘though a pain in the butt), but the disgusting use of underage (under 10?) children for the voice-over of the Maxine Peake advert for smart meters: “I don’t want to live in a world without polar bears”; “I want less (sic) fossil fuels”; “We must be more sustainable”. Arrghh!!
      This is child abuse! The ASA should have banned this ad As for Peake: as good an actress she was – who I liked – she has lost it big time for me.

  20. Joseph Formosa permalink
    April 29, 2019 7:04 pm

    So all the evidence pointing towards increasing temperatures and deforestation and large scale pollution from oil companies are all lies in your esteemed opinion.

    • April 29, 2019 7:14 pm

      So you’d rather live in the 1920s?

      Please explain why the world’s climate is worse than the 19thC.

      Also, what “large scale pollution”?

    • Harry Passfield permalink
      April 29, 2019 8:03 pm

      Make your mind up, Joseph. Are you protesting for Climate Change or ‘large-scale pollution’? They are two different things with different solutions (and costs). But I guess you are pushing this new meme which says that school kids will think they are one and the same – but with the costs and solutions prescribed for climate change. Please try to stand by (your) science and not behind the (mental) abuse of children.

    • Bertie permalink
      April 29, 2019 8:25 pm

      There is no evidence for such. However there is plenty of scientific evidence to refute the alarmist case which is actually based on a political rather than scientific programme. You could easily find the answer to your question by doing some basic research and this blog would be a good starting point.

    • MrGrimNasty permalink
      April 29, 2019 8:48 pm

      Well Joseph, there is little empirical evidence of significantly increased temperatures, merely of data tampering with the sparse and vastly inadequate short term cobbled together mish-mash of records. There is absolutely no evidence that any climate changes is linked to fossil fuels or that it is outside natural ranges or that it in any way represent a threat.

      As for deforestation, vast swathes of EU and USA ancient and hardwood forests have been clear-felled for bio-mass. You are also aware that forests are cleared for wind farms? That vast tracks of land are despoiled for low efficiency energy harvesting that can only be indulged because the infrastructure is made with fossil fuels? Rare bird nests are destroyed so that wind farms will not be delayed, dog bark recordings are used to drive out birds. There are about 1000 Griffin Vultures on Crete – it is estimated a proposed wind-farm will kill 84 per year. Since c.2000 wind farms have become the No.1 cause of mass mortality events in bat populations globally.

      Have you any idea about the pollution (including radioactive thorium) and exploitation of child labour and poisoning of farm land that occurs to source the neodymium and other metals for batteries etc. and the highly toxic chemical wastelands produced manufacturing PV panels?

      Like all modern eco-fascists, you are utterly brainwashed and deluded. You don’t care about the facts because you don’t actually care about the environment, only politics power and money.

    • John F. Hultquist permalink
      April 29, 2019 8:53 pm

      Can you get the UK to stop cutting down the forests of North America to be converted to CO2 at DRAX Power Station in North Yorkshire?

      My grandparents farm is now in trees, as are thousands of others.
      Society has gone urban and the environments is better for it.

    • Phoenix44 permalink
      April 30, 2019 9:28 am

      So all the evidence pointing to reforestation in the West and massively reduced pollution are all lies in your ignorant opinion?

      And all the evidence pointing to temperatures going up and down over decades is lies?

      And then there’s cause….

  21. jack broughton permalink
    April 29, 2019 7:59 pm

    The “faithful-believers” in AGW have been told to disrupt deniers’ sites and occasionally one appears here, usually to raise some banal point. It would be great if they intended to debate issues but that is not their style: few of them have considered any aspect other than total belief in the “fear-campaign”. On Twitter sites deniers are simply abused as global destroyers and shouted down.

    • Athelstan. permalink
      April 29, 2019 8:17 pm

      Twatter is a non event autobot site run by the Brotherhood and corporate elite to influence the eejits, it’s not a debating forum.

      All the rest – bring it on.

      • Bertie permalink
        April 29, 2019 8:28 pm

        I believe that the higher the ‘denier’ the greater the quality!

  22. Athelstan. permalink
    April 29, 2019 8:15 pm

    st david attention seeker, the gob shite speaks unto the masses but on behalf of whom? This ocean going dead walrus blob all teef and no trousers, with its certitude of bloviating but unconscionable sanctimony only certain the liberal tossers hone and can exude, he: left planet earth many moons ago.

  23. April 29, 2019 8:25 pm

    Did Dave give even one specific example of a ‘terrible thing’ his generation has done?

  24. Andrew Dickens permalink
    April 29, 2019 8:25 pm

    Excellent analysis. Attenborough has totally lost focus.

  25. Bertie permalink
    April 29, 2019 8:34 pm

    Wonderfully cogent and comprehensive rebuttal, Paul. How do we get your wonderfully reasoned and soundly-based argument more into the public domain? It all seems to be rather one-sided at the moment.
    I can’t decide if I am more satisfied that I shan’t have to suffer the medieval life that these group-thinkers are striving to attain; or sad that I shan’t be around to witness the shambles.

    • RICHARD JARMAN permalink
      April 29, 2019 10:14 pm

      Perhaps David Attenborough would like to take part in a televised discussion with Paul – no other participants and no Question Time claque

  26. Coeur de Lion permalink
    April 30, 2019 3:04 am

    He’s just a silly old man

    • Bertie permalink
      April 30, 2019 5:56 am

      But, unfortunately, an influential one.

  27. James permalink
    April 30, 2019 4:29 am

    Unfortunately, the Daily Mail site does not link to the actual podcast where he made the comment, Here is the link:

    They also do not complete his quote!! – Infact his comments were much more thoughtful than what the Mail headline portays and he mentions that a lot of research has been done on how pollution impacts the environment and peoples health since he was born.

    Unfortunately the apple podcast doesn’t let me seek to the exact section of his comment so you will have to listen yourself to see what he was talking about.

    I think he is right to address the fact that we should be moving away from a fossil fuel based economy and over-consumption. The world is already moving away to use cleaner sources of energy and become more energy efficient.

    To take a good North American example, the USA made massive shifts to move their economy away from inefficient uses of fuel resources which were also causing heavy pollution. They swapped out their giant, thirsty Chevrolet Bel-Airs for the smaller but much more economical Honda Civics other small Japanese hatchbacks during the oil crisis.

    American Industry also did massive research to become more efficient aswell, see these unducted aero-engines for example:

    This article also shows how laws helped to reduce air pollution for Californians:

    Finally, I would encourage everyone to listen to the Yale Climate Connections podcast to see how new technology can help us make things more efficient.

    • April 30, 2019 9:57 am

      Above all, it is technology which has massively improved our quality of life and the environment over the years.

      I would have thought he should be immensely proud of that

      • James permalink
        April 30, 2019 5:33 pm

        He is proud of how much we have achieved!, he just notes that our scientific understanding has improved an we can now see what problems we have also caused “Hindsight is twenty twenty”. Just wanted to say that we shouldn’t take his comments out of context – and certainly it is better not to use the daily mail website, better to link the original source.

      • April 30, 2019 6:37 pm

        I listened to most of it, and did not hear him say that.

        I presume that he does not agree with Greta and co that we have destroyed their future

      • James permalink
        April 30, 2019 8:03 pm

        Just want to say that the bit in the quotation marks he did not say – I just wrote it to say that we have a clearer view of things after they happen.

        But yeah, I agree that we have not destroyed the future.

    • MrGrimNasty permalink
      April 30, 2019 12:43 pm

      “The world is already moving away to use cleaner sources of energy and become more energy efficient.”

      James, that’s simply not true with wind turbines, solar PV or electric cars – beyond the hype, they are inefficient, not economically viable, destructive of the environment, polluting, lethal to wildlife, and the CO2 ‘savings’ don’t stack up in reality, marginal at best. They are atrociously poor engineering solutions. If it weren’t for politics and subsidies, no one would countenance them.

      • James permalink
        April 30, 2019 5:43 pm

        Just focusing on electric cars – They are a better solution than fossil fuel cars as they reduce air pollution in cities. Just take a look at all the cars idling in traffic during rush hour.

        Sure most of them still have emissions because of fossil fuel power, but it is better for this to be emitted out in the country in a specifically chosen site with specialist technology to limit the pollution, rather than infront of peoples doorsteps and schools.

        A lot of public charging points are solar powered, I know that Tesla’s “supercharger” network is solar.

  28. Harry Passfield permalink
    April 30, 2019 9:16 am

    Well, if Attenborough truly feels his generation have done terrible things to the planet and this country then he will be assured that his disciples are intent on continuing that program.
    This morning we had the pleasure of listening to the cerebrally-challenged Ed Miliband being interviewed by an increasingly demob-happy John Humphreys on Milibands solution to CC and the way to get to ‘zero carbon’.
    Miliband’s idea is that thousands upon thousands of workers will go door-to-door converting houses from gas to electric or ground-source heating in much the same way as the country converted from town gas to NS gas. I think Humphreys was too stunned by the naivety of the man to ask a serious question. He tried to put one on costs but Miliband, like all messiahs, was not to be diverted from his goal.
    As for banning flying or stopping people flying to the Costas, Miliband’s solution was simply to tax them more if they want to fly. So, it’s not really about ‘zero carbon’ at all.

    • Derek buixton permalink
      April 30, 2019 10:13 am

      Obviously someone has never heared of the Carbon Cycle, a thing we need!

      • Derek Buxton permalink
        April 30, 2019 10:14 am

        Sorry, it should of course be “Buxton”

      • Harry Passfield permalink
        April 30, 2019 10:28 am

        I assume you mean that Miliband has never heard of the carbon cycle. In which case, I agree.

  29. Phoenix44 permalink
    April 30, 2019 9:20 am

    Air is cleaner, rivers in Europe and North America are much cleaner, we have more forest cover, the whales were saved.

    Like so many, he just looks at one side of the argument. Pathetic really.

  30. Ian wilson permalink
    April 30, 2019 10:09 am

    Re Harry Passfield and the Smart Meters GB adverts, I have lodged a complaint with the ASA, citing the ludicrous polar bear reference. They have sent a holding response that this advert is already under investigation, so there must be other complaints.

    • Harry Passfield permalink
      April 30, 2019 10:26 am

      Well done, Ian.

  31. April 30, 2019 10:16 am

    Attenborough has claimed that our weather is getting more extreme

    No, it’s him and his ilk that are getting more extreme. The less evidence there is that climate models are credible, the louder they shout that we’re all doomed if we don’t change our ways.

  32. April 30, 2019 11:17 am

    I’m with bobn, to me this is the real issue; the most important message we need to get across; the importance of the scientific method.

    I think Paul is doing a most important job here but I fear it is falling on deaf ears until we can help people realise the importance of getting the scientific method right and the dangers of getting it wrong and therefore the importance of what Paul is doing.

    I’m with DA in that we have done terrible things to the planet, but also with PH and that this side must be heard in response. Where I am not with DA is what I fear is the longterm damage he and others may be doing to the scientific method in trying to support the gh gas AGW/CC theory, disprove alternatives and get their own message across and as a result I’m very concerned their conclusions and priorities on what to do may be very wrong. There may be other much more important environmental priorities than cutting gh gasses and they may have done terrible damage to science with disastrous consequences for future generations including our ability to forecast dangerous weather/climate events.

    • James permalink
      April 30, 2019 5:59 pm

      May I ask why you think AGW is not true to the scientific method?

      -Thank you

      • jack broughton permalink
        April 30, 2019 8:09 pm

        The basis of the IPCC is that the science is proven: it is patently not as the only basis for future fears is mathematical models that are so full of holes that they could be Swiss Cheese.

        The starting point of all of the models is a radiative forcing function that has little scientific basis and whose value is increased beyond a nonsense value by a fictional “feedback”. In addition they all accept that there is little physical understanding of cloud formation or oceanic circulations.

        True scientific method involves open discussion and debate: we deniers are denied this right in the major media.

      • May 1, 2019 8:54 am

        Thanks Jack, greatly appreciated.

        Thanks for the question James, I think Jacks last paragraph sums it up well, but to try to explain it more properly is going to need a long reply and take me more time than I have today, hopefully tomorrow though.

      • James permalink
        May 1, 2019 11:39 pm

        Feedbacks are processes that respond to changes in the Earth’s temperature, so feedbacks do not initiate climate change.

        Science can never give us 100%, it is just a probability – that’s why the IPCC have confidence intervas. New theories come out and then scientists work with them to see if they work or not all the time.

        With climate change the evidence suggests it is happening and is caused by humans. Lots of organizations have a big stake in climate change not being real such as fossil fuel companies and they have funded deniers for a long time:

        Even fossil fuel companies such as BP and Shell accept climate change now. Check out this video to see how republicans changed their stance only when it became advantageous to them:

        I think I can see why you might feel let down and not being listened to. But that does not make the science suddenly somehow false.

        Best wishes,


      • May 2, 2019 7:05 pm

        Thanks. The evidence for everything rotating around earth might have seemed overwhelming several hundred years ago; you only had to look up, we couldn’t feel Earth rotating and we could predict planetary motions well into the future. Didn’t scientists think there was plenty of evidence for Piltdown man. I’m not sure that the focus on temperature and averages is the way to look at such a complex thermodynamic system. I don’t understand the ‘bigoil’ argument; don’t arguments such as vested interest, funding etc work both ways. I also want us to find better ways of getting our power with less impact on the natural world. If you are a scientist with a new theory that few people are interested in funding there may be no other option, does that still automatically mean that theory is invalidated? My scepticism and concerns come from listening to the climate scientists; what appears to be inconsistency of logic and the attitude to those wanting to replicate, audit or question it. That doesn’t necessarily mean their conclusions are wrong, but I fear I see many of the warning signs that make me realise this is something to be sceptical of. I think scientists have a duty to point out their concerns but also a right to do so without fear of the consequences when that challenges the consensus, I wonder how many scientists are afraid to speak out. Science is not something to be done by consensus; if only one engineer out of 100 (or even the cleaner) said a building was not safe then it is potentially most important to listen to that point of view with an open mind and have proper discussion about it.

        Yes, science is about new theories coming out, etc, but in this case I think we are at the next level of science in that this is presented as settled science and it has massive implications for everyone and the planet. If it is wrong we may have failed to understand how longrange weather/climate work and misunderstood the role of gh gasses – as a hypothetical suggestion, what if it turns out solar factors have a significant influence on stratopshere/jetstream behaviour and recent solar activity is a warning of a change to conditions where “unusual” weather patterns that we fail to forecast in time and struggle to cope with (and perhaps wrongly continue to blame on CO2) become the norm, nothing to do with gh gasses.

      • May 2, 2019 7:24 pm

        So, because this is presented as settled science and it’s implications are massive whether it is right or wrong I think we need to step up to the next level of the scientific process (and probably should have done so in the 90’s). I think if we haven’t thought about past failures in science, engineering etc we may not realise the importance of the correct processes in all this and that mistakes will happen that you would think could not possibly happen, how easy it is to make bad assumptions and for the consensus to be wrong.

        Perhaps if I turn it around; why should I believe them? What procedures, certifications, fully independent audit is there of their methods, procedures, results, conclusions. What lessons from past mistakes have been applied to avoid bias, oversight, mistakes. Are we believing this because we believe we are seeing a very plausible explanation and no alternative and if so is that the same as proof (the epicycle theory had very good predictive power for planetary motion across the sky, maybe they could have claimed a very high level of confidence). Is there an auditable paper trail and structured process covering the design, development and validation of the gh gas AGW/CC theory and/or their model?

        If there was no requirement to audit (to check for changes due to tarmac, proximity to air conditioning outlets etc) the surface air temperature network how do we know if it meets the requirements of climatology (what was the result when an audit was carried out of the US stations?); isn’t this a major part of their most widely publicised metric. Would you eat in a restaurant that had no or failed a food hygiene audit? Does the culture and system encourage those who may notice problems with the methods or conclusions to speak out and ask questions or does it punish or exclude them? How well does it adhere to the principle of replication? I’ve only had time to give part of a response here.

  33. Ian permalink
    April 30, 2019 1:06 pm

    I think Saint David may have a point. From a debate in the HoL yesterday:

    Lord Anderson:

    … in 1950, the population of Nigeria was 38 million, and now it is over 190 million. UN estimates are that, by 2050, it will be 411 million and, by the end of the century, 794 million. Are these figures not alarming? Does she agree that, in respect of the dignity and freedom of women, the Government should do all they can in co-operation with African countries to further family spacing?

    Later …

    Lord Collins:

    I am concerned that the amount of money we are spending on empowering women and developing family programmes is being countered by the huge amount of money flowing into Africa from overseas, particularly from evangelical churches which are preaching the complete opposite of what we are funding.

    Aren’t the churches lining up behind Saint Greta on climate change? What hypocrisy.

  34. Rustyn Thomas permalink
    May 1, 2019 2:05 pm

    When he was born we were 3.5 billion people
    1 billion live below the poverty line.
    Now we are 7 billion yet still only 1 billion
    live below the poverty line.

    Pretty good job (now 1 in 7) i would have thought.


  1. Delingpole: Gove’s Greenery – Yet Another Reason Not to Vote Conservative – REAL News 45

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