By Bryan Appleyard
…Just a couple of weeks reading and watching and you can be out there, crushing dinner-party eco-warriors with devastating arguments based on cold, hard facts. You will be a stern, hard-headed denialist, your iron jaw set firmly against the tree-hugging, soft-headed warmists in their irritating hats.
That was me, once. I thought global warming was all bog-standard, apocalyptic nonsense when it first emerged in the 1980s. People, I knew, like nothing better than an End-of-the-World story to give their lives meaning. I also knew that science is dynamic. Big ideas rise and fall. Once the Earth was the centre of the universe. Then it wasn’t. Once Isaac Newton had completed physics. Then he hadn’t. Once there was going to be a new ice age. Then there wasn’t.
Armed with such historic reversals, I poured scorn on under-educated warmists. Scientists with access to the microphone, I pointed out, had got so much so wrong so often. This was yet another case of clever people, who should have known better, running around screaming, “End of the World! End of the World!” and of less-clever people finding reasons to tell everybody else why they were bad. And then I made a terrible mistake. I started questioning my instinct, which was to disbelieve every scare story on principle.
I exposed myself to any journalist’s worst nightmare — very thoughtful, intelligent people. …