British science advisor goes beyond parody

by William Yeatman on May 11, 2004

in Politics

The alarmism of Sir David King, the British governments chief scientific adviser, has become even more hysterical in recent days. Not content with repeatedly calling global warming a bigger threat than terrorism even after the Madrid attacks of March 11 and publicly criticizing the U. S. administration, he has now gone, as the British say, “completely off the deep end.”

On May 2, the Independent on Sunday reported King as saying that, “Antarctica is likely to be the world’s only habitable continent by the end of this century if global warming remains unchecked. He said that the Earth was entering the first hot period since 60 million years ago, when there was no ice on the planet and the rest of the globe could not sustain human life.”

The report went on, “Sir David says that there is plenty of evidence to back up his warning. Levels of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere the main green-house gas causing climate change were already 50 per cent higher than at any time in the last 420,000 years. The last time they were at this level 379 parts per million and rising was 60 million years ago during a rapid period of global warming in the Palaeocene epoch, he said. Levels soared to 1,000 parts per million, causing a massive reduction of life on earth.

“No ice was left on earth. Antarctica was the best place for mammals to live, and the rest of the world would not sustain human life,” he said. Sir David warned that if the world did not curb its burning of fossil fuels we will reach that level by the end of the century.”

In a separate story in the Independent (May 13), King said that he thought the upcoming sci-fi movie, The Day after Tomorrow, would make a valuable contribution to the public debate on global warming. He even praised certain aspects of the film as realistic: “The opening scenes setting up the key scientific factors and introducing the viewer to the scientists and the scientific-political interface are in my view remarkably realistic. I think palaeoclimatologists can closely identify with the discussion. The sceptical reactions that the scientists received are also rather well depicted.”

As the BBC put it (May 13), “The blockbuster climate disaster movie The Day After Tomorrow contains badly flawed science and ignores the laws of physics, leading UK scientists believe.” It seems somewhat odd for the chief scientific adviser to praise the something that “ignores the laws of physics” for its political qualities. King, a professor of chemistry at Cambridge, has no expertise in climate science.

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