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Is The Telegraph Turning Sceptical?

January 4, 2020

By Paul Homewood


Is the Telegraph becoming more sceptical?

Following on from Charles Moore’s recent forays against climate alarmism, last week we had Sherrelle Jacobs having a pop at St Greta:


Jeremy Corbyn, the wintry and discontented Ghost of Seventies Christmases Past, may have spent the past weeks rattling around the political margins. But the rapper Stormzy, the blingtastic Ghost of Christmas Present, has more than made up for this in a manner most befitting of the mass media age. His viral diatribe against our “one hundred per cent racist” nation flashed on millions of smartphones as households settled into holiday hibernation. Generating almost as much hype was a ghoulish visit from the Ghost of Christmas Future, Greta Thunberg, who lamented mass apathy towards our impending climate doom as a guest editor on BBC Radio 4’s Today programme.

Stormzy and Thunberg are the eerie pin-ups of an anti-rational age. They remind us that, though the working-class heartlands are reeling from populist revolt, an intolerant and lazy metrollectual elite continues to dominate our culture and media…


But if Stormzy abuses logic, Thunberg is rewriting truth. Her potency lies in the fact that she is both the fake news messenger and the fake news: imminent human-caused extinction-level global warming is a scientific fact so beyond dispute that even a child can grasp it. This is a lie so fundamental that the failure of the BBC and other liberal media outlets to tackle it is a disgraceful dereliction of duty. The “consensus” on climate change – based on the statistic that 97 per cent of scientists agree – is not only groupthinkishly unscientific in spirit, but also invalid. It is traceable back to a paper by an Australian researcher, which a later paper showed was not only unsubstantiated but outright contradicted by its own data. Still, Greta does not want us to think but to “act”. The child oracle is yanking us by the hand, not out of the eco-apocalypse’s jaws but into the jowls of vegetable-brained oblivion.


And just a few days before, Ross Clark also weighed in :



In the past year climate-related disasters have cost over £100 billion in damage. Or maybe it was 82 pence.

Okay, I made up the latter figure, but it will be no worse a guess than the former, which is implied in a report “Counting the Cost. 2019: a year of climate breakdown” published by Christian Aid. The charity has compiled estimates for damage caused by 15 severe weather incidents last year and blamed everything on climate change – disregarding the fact that we have always had storms, floods and wildfires.

Even if rising global temperatures and sea levels do exacerbate heatwaves and add to sea flooding it would be ludicrous to bung the whole bill for every adverse weather event on climate change. And what about the other side of the ledger: the damage that would have been done by snow and freezing temperatures but hasn’t been done as a result of a slightly warmer Earth?

I don’t expect a lot else from Christian Aid, a left-leaning charity which seemingly likes to paint a pictures of climatic Armageddon to obscure the significant success of global capitalism, combined with emergency aid, in reducing the number of hungry people in the world. According to the Food and Agriculture Organisation it has fallen from 1 million in 1990 to 800,000 today, in spite of an extra 1.9 billion people in the world.

But what really bothers me is how ‘grey’ literature like Christian Aid’s hyperbole gets reported more than genuine science. The report attributes Hurricane Dorian to man-made climate change. Yet an analysis by the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration published last August concluded that it was ‘premature’ to make such an attribution. While its models project that rising temperatures will, by the late 21st century, slightly increase the intensity of hurricanes it also predicts that there will be fewer such storms.

Christian Aid blames wildfires in California on climate change. Yet long-term data by National Interagency Fire Center shows a dramatic fall in the acreage burned annually by wildfires in the US. In the worst year, 1930, 52.3 million acres burned. Last year, it was 8.8 million acres. Although the methodology changed in 1983, and so the two figures might not be directly comparable, the data shows a dramatic fall in the 1940s and 1950s as fire services became better at fighting fires.

Indeed, that is now the problem: the natural cycle of burning followed by regeneration has been broken, leading to a build-up of dead wood and to bigger fires when they do occur. Globally, Nasa satellite data shows that the amount of land burned in wildfires fell by a quarter between 1998 and 2015 – not that you would know from hysterical reporting and the lazy assertion, made by Greta Thunberg and others, that the “Earth is on fire”.

There are, of course, financial implications associated with climate change. Rising sea levels mean we will need to rethink sea defences, possibly eventually relocating some low-lying cities. But it serves no one to exaggerate and blame everything on man-made climate change as if we never used to have storms, floods and fires. We did, all the time, and they have always cost us a fortune in damage.



We still have to put up with the nonsense spouted by Ambrose Evans-Pritchard, Jeremy Warner and some of the more woke reporters. But there are encouraging signs that maybe, just maybe, the Telegraph has started paying attention to what so many of its readers have been saying for so long.

  1. Athelstan. permalink
    January 4, 2020 11:50 am

    ” that maybe, just maybe, the Telegraph has started paying attention to what so many of its readers have been saying for so long.” end quote.

    Hmm, how sadly ironic it is, for sure it’s not that long since one of the best, the estimable reporter Mr. Chris Booker passed on, albeit he’d have a wry smile on his face – if he were still around.

  2. dennisambler permalink
    January 4, 2020 12:11 pm

    It’s great to see a journalist doing some research, but Ross Clarke then abandons his investigative bent in succumbing to: “There are, of course, financial implications associated with climate change. Rising sea levels mean we will need to rethink sea defences, possibly eventually relocating some low-lying cities.”

    He must have listened to David King, as quoted by Matt Ridley:

    “He (King) said that we will see 1-2 metres of sea level rise this century, when the current rate of rise is 3.4 millimetres a year with no acceleration (or 0.3 metres per century). He said that all of Greenland’s ice cap might melt and could cause 5-6 metres of sea level rise, though at current rates of melting, Greenland’s ice cap will be 99% intact in 2100.

    He said scientists are agreed that Calcutta will have to be moved, when the Ganges delta is actually expanding in area, not shrinking.”

    Clark’s link shows climate change is to blame for the current “natural disasters, including Angola, Zimbabwe and Mozambique”, according to Kiri Hanks, climate policy advisor at Oxfam, “climate change has made the weather in southern Africa more unpredictable and extreme – sparking the widespread food insecurity.”

    He started well…

    • grammarschoolman permalink
      January 4, 2020 12:34 pm

      Often the way with Clark’s pieces in The Spectator, unfortunately.

    • Harry Passfield permalink
      January 4, 2020 11:34 pm

      Dennis, punctuation is everything: “He started; well?”.

      • dennisambler permalink
        January 5, 2020 9:11 am


  3. Chris Graham permalink
    January 4, 2020 12:36 pm

    Battling against the lazy and openly biased mainstream media, ill-informed politicians, funding-preserving scientists and confused and manipulated green activists, is a tough and incredibly frustrating job. Perhaps, though, the tide – rather than rising – is beginning to turn. Maybe 2020 will be the year when the real science, rather than the political agenda, starts being considered. The problem is that the IPCC, Al Gore and their hundreds of puppets, have done such an effective job at promoting their AGW views. Everyone now knows that ‘97% of scientists agree’, and that anyone who argues against that must be some kind of conspiracy theory-pedalling loony.
    The one ray of hope is that the general public appears to remain steadfastly sceptical, despite the 24/7 scare-mongering we’re all exposed to, and the best efforts of the critically-untouchable climate science expert, Greta. It’s just a shame that the UK’s youngsters have been so thoroughly indoctrinated at school. My 16-year-old daughter is a perfect case in point. She’s 100% on message regarding the impending, man-made climate catastrophe, and refuses to discuss the matter, or read anything that counters her view of what’s happening. I think the only thing that will change the views of the young is the uneventful passing of time. As the years, months and decades roll by, and the penny finally drops about everything remaining much as it always has done, only then will the whole business be revealed for what it actually is… a manipulative, politically-driven, money-making scam.

    • BLACK PEARL permalink
      January 4, 2020 1:32 pm

      Yes Scoldelocks and her handlers will have a lot to answer for !

      • Pancho Plail permalink
        January 4, 2020 2:13 pm

        Love the nick-name

    • Gerry, England permalink
      January 4, 2020 5:32 pm

      You could restrict her use of electricity because a) you are helping her save the planet; and b) because global warming taxes have made it so effing expensive.

    • Chris Greenland permalink
      January 4, 2020 11:57 pm

      Turn off her hair dryer and phone then see what she thinks of fosel fuels

  4. JohnP permalink
    January 4, 2020 1:01 pm

    Meanwhile today’s Telegraph reverts to type with a doomsday article by David Wallace-Wells, who seems to be drumming up sales for a book.

    • Edward Bull permalink
      January 4, 2020 4:36 pm

      From Wikipedia: “David Wallace-Wells is an American journalist known for his writings on climate change. He wrote the 2017 essay “The Uninhabitable Earth”, which he later expanded into the 2019 book The Uninhabitable Earth.”
      “Wallace-Wells attended University of Chicago and graduated from Brown University in 2004 with a degree in history.”

      • Barbara Elsmore permalink
        January 4, 2020 7:26 pm

        The article is headed: We must stop normalising climate disasters – The Australian fires are a vivid warning of what lies ahead if we fail to act, says David Wallace-Well. I found this comment on his book:
        “The Uninhabitable Earth” wagers that we’ve grown inured to cool recitations of the facts, and require a more direct engagement of political will. “There is no single way to best tell the story of climate change, no single rhetorical approach likely to work on a given audience, and none too dangerous to try,” Wallace-Wells writes. “Any story that sticks is a good one.”
        I am very disappointed that the DT has assisted in his aim to get out ‘any story that sticks.’

      • Pancho Plail permalink
        January 4, 2020 9:35 pm

        How often have sceptics been told that we are not qualified to comment because we are not climate scientists. When did history change its status?

    • Mike Stoddart permalink
      January 4, 2020 4:44 pm

      But no comments allowed!

    • dennisambler permalink
      January 5, 2020 9:15 am

      Tony Thomas covers some of Wallace-Wells outpourings in this article on climate journalism.

      • Barbara Elsmore permalink
        January 5, 2020 10:14 am

        Thank you for sharing this – even more disappointed in the DT now having read this through.

  5. January 4, 2020 1:23 pm

    Reblogged this on Climate-

    • nadeembutt permalink
      January 5, 2020 10:30 pm

      Why do you have to announce it and why do you copy every post from here? Well apart from trying to plug your own blog?

  6. Pancho Plail permalink
    January 4, 2020 2:19 pm

    Sherrelle’s columns are a breath of fresh air. Whatever the topic she seems to talk good old-fashioned sense. I share your concern over Evans-Pritchard and Warner, neither of whom I bother to read any more.
    It would be nice to think that Cummings’ putative revamp of the civil service, and the introduction of some technically able brains might also bring a breath of sanity into the governments thinking (despite the pressure on Boris from the green side of his bed).

    • January 4, 2020 4:04 pm

      Also worth reading is another article in the Telegraph on Saturday 4 Jan 2020 from Ken Thompson on the puzzling inability of UK moths to conform to the “insectageddon” and “insect apocalypse” predictions so confidently set out elsewhere. He reports that total moth biomass has increased since 1967, and seems to have been unaffected by temperature or rainfall. In fact the article says that “If you’re not puzzled by now you ought to be”.
      Perhaps some different assumptions need to be made?

  7. Chilli permalink
    January 4, 2020 3:27 pm

    Almost like the good old days at the Telegraph when Geoffrey Lean’s weekly alarmist articles were torn to shreds in the comments – before The Telegraph decided they didn’t want comments or readers anymore.

    • roger permalink
      January 4, 2020 3:53 pm

      It was in the Geoffrey Lean era that I cancelled my DT subscription in disgust, having noticed that The Carbon Trust was taking large areas of advertising space within the paper, cunningly disguised to resemble articles and opinions, using my own money recycled through the govt to brainwash me. The DT sold it’s soul all those years ago and will never get me back.

      • January 4, 2020 4:38 pm

        Sadly the Church has also sold its soul and I cancelled my donations to Christian Aid years ago when they started recommending “green” companies as electricity providers. Like the brainwashed schoolchildren, they refuse to even consider the evidence. Also they love windfarms, again without bothering to check the facts.

      • Gerry, England permalink
        January 4, 2020 5:37 pm

        You get similar ignorant drivel in CityAM from a column from Schroders which they will say is only an opinion. Makes you think twice about allowing Schroders anywhere near your investment funds as they appear to be so ignorant. A new cub reporter has appeared at the paper recently by the name of Thicknesse – yes quite apt given some of the dross he writes about climate etc.

    • Pancho Plail permalink
      January 4, 2020 9:43 pm

      I had completely forgotten fat man Lean. So easily forgettable

  8. January 4, 2020 5:05 pm

    Reblogged this on Wolsten.

  9. January 4, 2020 6:00 pm

    Who is going to prosecute the BBC for this dereliction of duty?

    • Luc Ozade permalink
      January 5, 2020 4:27 am

      Somebody certainly should Charles. I just wish I had enough money to do it myself. But there must be somebody out there with a lot of funds – and the will to see it through. They would be doing the country, even the World, a great service.

  10. alsomaninthemirror permalink
    January 4, 2020 7:33 pm

    Chris Graham; your comment was right on the button… thank you. Your daughter is a prime example of what all this supposed CACC – Catastrophic Alarmist Climate Change – Cult has brought about. If you look into history at totalitarian countries, there are often glowing pictures of children who obviously support the “regime” what ever that might be. It is amazing that this Cult has gained traction in the democracies of the Western World. The dam of truth is yet to burst and it will be a long, long, slog to arrive at that happening. But there are chinks of light piercing the very darkened room and a few “Ah! ha” light bulbs are turning on in some peoples heads as the left leaning socializing Cult leaders, drive harder and harder towards the basket to score a slam dunk, which actually will elude them, because their lies will get bigger and bigger as they get more and more frustrated that they are not getting their way, so that in the end no one will be able to believe their propaganda any longer. Let’s hope this process has started in 2020.

  11. Gas Geezer permalink
    January 4, 2020 8:17 pm

    Sherell Jacobs sure is a breath of fresh air , how in God’s name did that get published ?

  12. January 4, 2020 10:14 pm

    All the climate zealots will ever have to show for their efforts and beliefs is ever increasing energy bills. Maybe one day they will look back and figure out what the climate game was really about.

  13. Nancy & John Hultquist permalink
    January 4, 2020 11:23 pm

    I think it is time to replace the term “woke” with wickd.
    Note: No ‘e’ in the term.
    There are alternatives, and I’ve given at least 10 seconds of thought to them.
    Thus, in your post where it is written “… some of the more woke reporters.”
    . . . becomes … some of the more wickd reporters.

    Unrelated, but background information

  14. Bertie permalink
    January 5, 2020 8:20 am

    I penned a comment praising Sherelle on the 3rd in which I also referenced CB. Since that date there are reams of deleted comments but recently a spirited discussion on the merits of the alarmist case. Worth looking at.

  15. nadeembutt permalink
    January 5, 2020 10:32 pm

    Encouraging that they’re at least trying to balance the coverage

  16. January 7, 2020 11:08 am

    There appears to be another sensible editorial in the Telegraph:

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