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The real western civilisation emergency-Melanie Phillips

February 21, 2020

By Paul Homewood


Melanie Phillips is one of the few who have been fighting back against global warming dogma since the early days.

Despite being marginalised by the Daily Mail, she is still continuing the fight:



A few commentators have begun to stumble towards the fact that the policy of becoming “carbon neutral” by 2050, as adopted by the UK and the EU, would undo modernity itself.

On Unherd, Peter Franklin observes that, if carried through, the policy will have a far greater effect than Brexit or anything else; it will transform society altogether.

“It will continue to transform the power industry, and much else besides: every mode of transport; how we build, warm and cool our homes; food, agriculture and land use; trade, industry, every part of the economy”.

Franklin is correct. Even so, he seems not to grasp the full implications of the disaster he intuits – because he thinks there’s some kind of middle way through which the imminent eco-apocalypse can be prevented without returning Britain to the Middle Ages.

In similar vein he quotes Rachel Wolf, a co-author of the 2019 Conservative manifesto, who is prone to the same kind of magical thinking. She wrote:

“Government has committed to ‘net zero’ greenhouse gas emissions because it does not want the side effects of the energy sources we have used for centuries to destroy the planet. At the same time, we do not want to return to an era where children (and their mothers) regularly died, and where the majority of people lived in what would now in the UK be considered wholly unacceptable poverty. This is a staggering challenge”.

This is what we might call an understatement. What is truly staggering is, first, that any sentient person thinks this can be done and, second, that it should be done.

For it’s not just that the carbon-neutral target will destroy the livelihoods and wreck the living standards of millions of people. It’s not even that it would take Britain and the west backwards to a pre-industrial way of life.

More fundamentally, it shows that policymakers and politicians – even those who may not fawn idiotically over Greta Thunberg and who rightly view Extinction Rebellion as a bunch of anarchist vandals – have not the slightest scintilla of a clue that the whole idea of a “climate emergency” is bogus from start to finish.

Full post here.

  1. jack broughton permalink
    February 21, 2020 10:20 pm

    How to get this type of article into the mainstream press is the problem.
    Excellent review of the junk-science!

    • Eoin Mc permalink
      February 23, 2020 12:40 pm

      As I suspect you realise Jack, that ship has sailed. Apart from rare appearances on Sky News Uk of climate science sceptics, producers of news and current affairs output relentlessly inculcate into their schedules what is unashamed alarmist propaganda. All Uk Tv outfits are guilty of this but none rival the state broadcaster in Ireland, Rte. The second Irish Tv channel, a commercial outfit, is similarly fundamentalist. Ditto local radio stations. I was a regular right of centre political contributor/commentator on a Leinster local radio station for nigh on fifteen years, including regularly on climate in the aftermath of Al Gore’s Inconvenient Truth. About a year before St Greta emerged I recommended the station interview an Irish father and son who had collaborated with climate science sceptic astrophysicist Wei-Hock “Willie” Soon. What transpired was six months of requests for accreditation of the two scientists, deflections and eventual radio silence. The station is now relentlessly climate alarmist.

  2. Pancho Plail permalink
    February 21, 2020 10:30 pm

    The true climate apocalypse will occur if they achieve their objectives, however I expect the populace to take to the streets and voice their refusal to have their lifestyles destroyed, long before the catastrophe arrives.
    We are witness to a string of failed predictions about the climate, and what little actual temperature rise has occurred is actually beneficial. The scare-mongering about the frequency of extreme events is simply not supported by climate records. It is more an artefact of increased reporting than worse weather.

  3. Robert Christopher permalink
    February 21, 2020 10:35 pm

    It’s a ‘Houston, we have a problem’ problem.

    In other words, it’s stark raving bonkers, as a decision has been made to do this: it is not an unintentional, unforeseen accident.
    It does highlight just how ignorant all these learned people, lawyers, social scientists, humanity graduates, philosophers, theologians and, of course, subsidy addicted others who keep this boondoggle going are, or worse!
    And how our media employ no journalists.

  4. bobn permalink
    February 22, 2020 12:24 am

    I was so furious at hearing today that the Govt was intent on banning the use of ‘wet’ wood to heat homes that i wrote the following letter to The Times.
    I heard today that the envirogeek dept of govt is banning the use of ‘wet’ wood in home heating fires and stoves. This on the pretence that it causes intolerable air pollution. Surely if ‘burning’ for home heating, bodily warmth, cooking and survival is to be banned, then gratuitous fires for no purpose but thrillseeking should be banned first? Guy Fawkes and other ’celebratory’ bon-fires must be banned, along with the gratuitous pollution from fireworks! The air pollution for no material purpose, released by the new year fireworks over London was horrendous. Such firework shows must be banned immediately if our Govt are not to appear even greater hypocrites.
    Bob N

    • Mike Jackson permalink
      February 22, 2020 10:05 am

      Forgive me for taking issue with you on this, Bob, but unseasoned wood is potentially a serious pollutant and not a very efficient means of heating, either.

      For some reason the woodburner has become one of the “must have” items of the “must have” brigade (and I’m not suggesting you are one of them!) with the result that there is no proper infrastructure for the supply of properly seasoned wood as there is, for example, where I am living in France. Few French suppliers would sell logs less than eighteen months after cutting and most would leave them for at least two years to season properly.

      Unseasoned wood does not burn well and creates a lot of smoke. There is also (or so I’m told) a lot of unsuitable wood (conifer, for example) being sold in the UK because there is not enough to meet the sudden demand. A demand has been created without the means to supply it.

      It pains me to say it but in this instance I think the decision is probably the right one, unless the plan is to ban all woodburners because the government doesn’t understand the ins and outs. Which wouldn’t surprise me.

      • bobn permalink
        February 22, 2020 12:51 pm

        First they came for our coal, and we did nothing. Then they came for our wet wood, and we did nothing. Then they came for our dry wood, and banned our stoves and fires, and we did nothing. Then we died of the cold in fuel poverty, because we did nothing!

        Certainly most of us try to only burn seasoned wood because it burns more effectively. However i defend your right to burn unseasoned if you must. When seasoning you remove H2O, you dont remove any carbon. The inefficient burn sends more H2O and less CO2 into the atmosphere, but because particulates adhere to H2O it will carry more soot (carbon particles) to disperse over the land and nourish the earth.

      • Ben Vorlich permalink
        February 22, 2020 1:41 pm

        The rural (&urban Frenchffor that matter) French have been burning wood for heating for centuries. The problem in the UK is that coal then gas replaced wood as the heating fuel of choice. As a result dry storage for wood is not available to most households, the knowledge of what’s good or bad wood has gone, along with chimney sweeps. Every DIY store in France is fully equipped with everything needed to maintain wood burning. Bûche de ramonage to reduce tar build up, seem very popular. Also house insurers usually demand a Certificate De Ramonage from an accredited sweep.

      • Gerry, England permalink
        February 22, 2020 2:40 pm

        Chimney sweeps are available. I have a good local company who employ a team of them. But then I do live in the country where a lot of us have open fires or stoves. If you have a stove you are not supposed to burn natural coal in it anyway. There is often the sweet smell of coal burning in the air on a cold still night when I walk home from the station.

      • Up2snuff permalink
        February 22, 2020 6:01 pm

        Mike Jackson, you are right in that burning unseasoned wood was a known carcinogen back in the 1960s. However, no one in their right mind burns it in a domestic fire because it is difficult to light, may well require an accelerant (which can be dangerous in use), doesn’t burn well and is liable to stink a home out if someone opens a door to a room too quickly.

        The real problem is Local Authorities and their contractors who clear public land and burn scrub vegetation or LAs who refuse to collect green waste for three months in winter or at all, which then leads gardeners to burn the piles of waste generated in their ‘clean ups’.

    • In the Real World permalink
      February 22, 2020 10:28 am

      The idea of banning wood burners , along with coal & gas heating , is just another part of the whole scam by green politicians to take more money from everybody .

      The real reason for everybody having to use electric heating , [ which was found to be just about impossible by a Parliamentary committee in 2016] , is because it costs about 4 times the price of the others .

      But where will the electric come from . A quick count up shows 20 power stations run on wood [ biomass ] , & 70 use coal / oil/ gas to generate the electricity .

      So just more green insanity .

      • Russ Wood permalink
        February 22, 2020 1:50 pm

        I’ll believe a ban when they close down Drax!

      • Gerry, England permalink
        February 22, 2020 2:35 pm

        Electricity went up 8.6% last year in the inflation figures just released. With council tax going up by 4% this year I would suspect that most people’s pay increase is wiped out.

    • It doesn't add up... permalink
      February 22, 2020 3:54 pm

      From the NAEI: (N.B. you can set the chart to run from 1970)

      In general, emissions of finer particulates follow similar trends as for PM10. UK emissions of PM2.5 have declined by 55% since 1990 due mainly to a reduction in coal use, and the banning of crop residue burning in 1993. Emissions from coal-fired power stations have fallen by 99% since 1990. Residential sector emissions fell between 1990 (43kt) to 2002 (27kt), reflecting declining coal use. However, emissions from this source are now back at around 1990 levels due to increased use of wood as a fuel for homes (wood contributed 86% of domestic combustion emissions in 2017, compared with 13% in 1990). Industrial use of biomass fuels is also increasing and has, as a result, become a more significant contributor to UK emissions – 10% of UK emissions of PM2.5 in 2017.

      Emissions of PM2.5 will need to be reduced by 18% based on the 2017 total to meet the 2020 National Emission Ceilings Directive and Gothenburg Protocol targets.

      “Directive” is of course EU law:

  5. marlene permalink
    February 22, 2020 3:33 am

    Fossil fuel is an organic gift from God.  Global warming does not exist and “climate change” is not anthropogenic.  This whole nightmare is one of the dirtiest schemes perpetuated by a plague of politicians looking to cash in on something they control for their own benefit and NOT for the benefit of mankind as they so slickly claim.  Weak minds have fallen for the intense indoctrination and repetative propaganda they’ve been throwing in our faces for decades. 

    • Bertie permalink
      February 22, 2020 9:36 am

      Very succinctly and accurately said.

  6. layor nala permalink
    February 22, 2020 5:51 am

    This statement in the paper caught my eye “This innate distorting mechanism will be hugely exacerbated by the $10 billion which Amazon founder Jeff Bezos has announced he is investing to “save Earth” from climate change, “the biggest threat to our planet”.

    Why it caught my eye was that the Bezos Gulfstream Jet has just been spotted in Wellington, New Zealand. I suspect that the Bezos $10 million is a cynical sop to his employees,to ensure his business is not affected (despite flying halfway around the world in his $50 miilion jet for a holiday in New Zealand.

  7. February 22, 2020 6:34 am

    Thank you, Paul.
    It’s well worth following the link Paul provides and reading the whole of Melanie Phillips’ piece; it’s one of the best I’ve read on the matter.

    • February 22, 2020 7:28 am

      I totally agree. This needs to get wide publicity.

      • Mack permalink
        February 22, 2020 9:16 am

        Indeed, Melanie giving both barrels on one of her pet hates is always a joy to read. Her final paragraph sums up brilliantly the whole farrago of nonsense we are having to endure and is well worth repeating to anyone who will listen.

        “The “climate emergency”, which we are told threatens the imminent collapse of civilisation and the extinction of humanity, is a dogma being enforced by a culturally totalitarian tyranny. Threatening the living standards of millions, permitting no challenge and wrecking the livelihoods and reputations of any who dares dissent, it has been created by a repudiation of science, humanity and reason: the very markers of modernity and the west. This is the real emergency.”

  8. Mark Rogers permalink
    February 22, 2020 7:06 am

    It is an excellent article summarising the latest state of groupthink and how governments are all being influcenced, or maybe perpettrating a policy which will lead to the destruction of the current modern way of life and drive us all, except the exceptionally wealthy, back into the dark ages without affordable energy.

    • Phoenix44 permalink
      February 22, 2020 8:21 am

      The exceptionally wealthy will become much poorer too. Bezos wealth is largely his stake in Amazon – when none of us can afford to buy anything, what is the value of Amazon?

      The wealthy will once again be those with land.

      • Chaswarnertoo permalink
        February 23, 2020 12:41 pm

        I will be laughing here on Warner Acres then. Any HMG prodnoses will be fed to the dogs.

  9. A Norwich Tory permalink
    February 22, 2020 7:37 am

    She’s a regular in The Times on Tuesdays.

  10. Phoenix44 permalink
    February 22, 2020 8:19 am

    No actual science shows us “destroying” the planet. It’s a lie that credulous politicians seem to have accepted for some reason. Proper scientists are pushing back against the extreme scenarios used by some, and even those don’t produce disaster.

    A sensible scenario that sees us gradually transition as technologies improve and existing assets reach the end of their lives (as Stern suggests) produce some warming with limited economic effects. These childish and dangerous cries for immediate, drastic action are not supported by either the science or the economics.

    • Mark Rogers permalink
      February 22, 2020 1:09 pm

      Very well said, It is the headlong rush into economic oblivion that I do not understand, I seem to recall Nigel Lawson in his book said something like keep a watchful eye on the situation, there is no need to spend Trillions of pounds chasing an unproven theory.

  11. February 22, 2020 8:48 am

    As Lenin said: ‘See who benefits’. Though no fan of the man, it’s a good rule of thumb to find out who’s behind any scam. Also, most people are assuming that the chaos that will undoubtedly be unleashed by these policies is somehow incidental, an unintended consequence of the policies themselves. But what if their purpose is exactly that? After all, most politicians and other criminals hide their true intentions behind a wall of cant and semi literate gibberish. Johnson is clearly a green/Marxist mole of some kind. The question is how to stop him?

    • Chaswarnertoo permalink
      February 23, 2020 12:44 pm

      Get him a willing blonde replacement who has a Physics A level?

  12. Bertie permalink
    February 22, 2020 9:24 am

    The telegraph editorial today sounds a more practical and sceptical note. As does an excellent aticle by Charles Moore. There is also a huge expose spread about the con called ‘Carbon Offsetting’ I fear some of it may be behind a paywall.

  13. Peter F Gill permalink
    February 22, 2020 9:45 am

    Great to hear that Melanie has not been completely stifled. I remember quoting her in my presentation at Imperial College many years ago as follows: “The claim of man-made global warming represents the decent of science from the pursuit of truth into politicised propaganda. The fact that it is endorsed by the top scientist in British government shows how deep the rot has gone” Melanie Phillips, Daily Mail, 12 January 2004.

    • February 22, 2020 10:05 am

      The BBC did a good job of stifling her in last week’s Moral Maze, entitled The Moral Purpose of the BBC (!), which was another shocking example of the BBC shutting up someone who dared to query climate change as fact. Jonathan Freedland was one of the guests and banged on about climate change being real, like rain, but when Melanie Phillips dared to question this towards the end of the programme she was promptly silenced by Michael Buerk. It’s on here and to hear that bit scroll in to around 38.

      • Peter F Gill permalink
        February 22, 2020 10:28 am

        Yes Brenda. You are talking about real experts. The BBC can close down any sign of a debate on or an alternate view on climate change mechanisms faster than you can say Dansgaard-Oeschger.

      • Neil Wilkinson permalink
        February 22, 2020 12:04 pm

        Freedland ….illustrating that the Beeb doesn’t report, but advocates and is intolerant of alternative view

    • dave permalink
      February 22, 2020 10:32 am

      The people in Britain believe, however.

      It is a perfect storm of idiocy, caused by several delusions blending together into a ridiculous world-view. I suspect that even the people who started off cynically, just to make money, now believe the fear-mongering.

  14. February 22, 2020 10:14 am

    Reblogged this on Tallbloke's Talkshop and commented:
    Another fiasco on the way is the EU’s plan to go ‘carbon neutral’ at vast expense, with no obvious post-Brexit source of funding.

    • Mack permalink
      February 22, 2020 11:01 pm

      Like Paul, you do a grand job oldbrew! Lots of interest, incisive climeageddon pieces alongside proper physics, astronomy and incisive odds and ends over at Tallbloke’s Talkshop. And, as someone who is very verbose (i.e. long winded and often very boring about making a point) you do a fantastic job of hitting the bloody nail on the head! Well done. Keep the flame alive!

  15. Mike Jackson permalink
    February 22, 2020 10:24 am

    I picked up this piece from Simon Kelly’s comment yesterday, so many thanks for that, Simon.

    I have long been a devoted fan of Melanie Phillips who always has sound reasons for her views which are not always popular (even with me!) but are well-argued and a positive contribution to any debate.

    This is one more step towards the ‘Emperor’s Clothes’ moment and another would seem to be here:

    For the Telegraph this has to be a major step. And since we are on “major steps” here’s another, given the right publicity:

    Scroll down to ‘Authors asked to edit conclusion’ and follow the link. A more blatant example of researchers being pressured into watering down conclusions because they aren’t “helpful” would be hard to find.

    • dave permalink
      February 22, 2020 10:39 am

      This goes back to a Professor Lu:

      CFCs are gradually declining now, and so we will see how much merit there is to the idea – in another decade or so.

      • Broadlands permalink
        February 22, 2020 2:47 pm

        The Antarctic ‘Ozone hole’ depletions are seasonal and short-lived. The ozone is immediately restored from outside of the wind-driven polar vortex. That cannot effect global climate. CFCs are irrelevant simply because total column ozone was steadily rising from 1960 to 1979. They had no long-term effect. The depletion from 1979 to 1985 stopped and ozone was back to its 1960 value of 300 Dobson units. No net loss.

  16. AllanM permalink
    February 22, 2020 10:59 am

    Maybe all this brouhaha is so that some people can have their feudal system back. Every civilisation prior to the industrial revolution has been built on slavery. Did our leaders ever wholeheartedly repudiate it?

  17. Vernon E permalink
    February 22, 2020 11:59 am

    Melanie, as always and in true Booker tradition, presents her case well but, in my opinion, focusses too much on denying climate change (of course it changes, it would be a damn funny world if a chaotic system remained constant) but not enough on the lack of any forensic evidence to connect miniscule changes in a tiny trace gas present in the atmosphere to these “catastrophic” climate events and their associated emergency. For me, to rest the whole case on denying change is happening is grist to the mill to the mob; it is too easy for them to point at demonstrable events and ascribe them, to the uninformed, as inevitable consequences.

  18. ThinkingScientist permalink
    February 22, 2020 2:12 pm

    Anyone know of an email address for Melanie Phillips? I would like to provide her with some more ammunition from a recent presentation I gave.

  19. Gerry, England permalink
    February 22, 2020 2:46 pm

    CityAM had a piece by a National Grid director this week – expertise in transport! – trying to claim that if we all had battery cars the grid only needs to be increased by a small amount. It was propaganda as it was celebrating wind power generation while of course passing over the big failure last year. Is it also the ploy to ignore the planned switch to electric heating and cooking at the same time? The big thing with charging battery cars is if everyone wants fast chargers then the work involved if pretty much unaffordable. I heard this week that it is costing £0.5m just to install the infrastructure in one car park in London!

  20. February 22, 2020 9:03 pm

    “Government has committed to ‘net zero’ greenhouse gas emissions because it does not want the side effects of the energy sources we have used for centuries to destroy the planet. At the same time, we do not want to return to an era where children (and their mothers) regularly died, and where the majority of people lived in what would now in the UK be considered wholly unacceptable poverty. This is a staggering challenge”.

    But given the choice of the two, they clearly choose the first – net zero carbon. The second – starvation, subsistence etc. – well, whatever

  21. markesommer permalink
    February 25, 2020 3:19 am

    It seems the” information age” has resulted in the total destruction of basic science knowledge. Perhaps the masses suffer from information overload. Even my own family trusts the media more than engineers and distinguished scientists. It’s up to all of us to remind our communities that we are in a temporary warm period of a very long cold cycle in geological terms. Enjoy the warmth while you can, the clock is ticking!

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