Transcript of the Interview of Peter Lilley on Russia Today
Interviewer: Internet hackers claim that confidential emails from scientists show that climate change data has been fiddled. They allege scientists have been cooking the books to support the view that the global warming is caused by human activity rather than a naturally occurring phenomenon. We are now joined by British MP, Peter Lilley, a former senior cabinet minister under Prime Ministers Margaret Thatcher and John Major. He's live with us in London to discuss the so-called, "Climategate" affair. Mr. Lilley, thanks very much for joining us here on RT. Now, if these allegations about a conspiracy are true, why do you think such manipulation could be happening and who could actually be benefiting from it?
Peter Lilley: Well, I think it's an example of not so much of a conscious conspiracy but of an unconscious conspiracy by a group of scientists who, from reading the emails, are so loyal to each other that they are determined to agree with each other even more than they are determined to agree with the facts. So, if the facts no longer agree with their theory, they try and change the facts rather than trying to change their theory. And the people who benefit from it are obviously the scientists themselves because they feel morally superior – they're leading a crusade, apparently to save the world, and they believe in it profoundly even when the facts refute them. And they also get large grants from government for carrying on this sort of research and they wouldn't get it if they produced the opposite sort of conclusions.
Interviewer: So, these sort of emails are being uncovered. If they are genuine, this could be a big blow to the environmentalist movement, could it not?
Peter Lilley: It could and the scientists concerned have had to admit that the emails are true. There may be ... conceivably have been one or two filtered in which are not, but there's been no evidence of that and no suggestion of that so far. It'll be a blow to their credibility but so great is the momentum, so large is the amount of money invested in this theory that it will take even more than this exposure to derail it, I fear.
Interviewer: What are your thoughts about this? Do you think that alternative energy companies, for example, that they could be profiting from this so-called fear of global warming and that it's not related to human activity? What are your thoughts about this? Do you think that there is perhaps a conspiracy here?
Peter Lilley: Well, I'm certain from having read a lot of the emails and documents that they were "adjusting the data", manipulating the data, concealing the doubts they had internally and continuing to express certainty externally. There's even examples of the computer codes that they've "adjusted" to cut off the evidence of the recent period of global cooling over the last decade – the world hasn't heated up as their theory suggests it should have done, indeed, it's cooled slightly. So they cut that out of their computers and they cut it out of the diagrams and so on that they produce. And likewise, they've altered the data in the past, or they've selected data from the past which has wiped out the evidence of the so-called, "Medieval Warming Period" when the world was probably warmer than it is now because, after all, if it was warmer then without us all burning lots of hydrocarbons, it suggests that hydrocarbons aren't the only things that cause the temperature and the climate to change.
Interviewer: People are taking this extremely seriously – we're now seeing that there's a major climate change conference in Copenhagen, hoping to forge a new treaty to replace the current Kyoto Protocol. There must surely be some threat of global warming, otherwise these conventions wouldn't be happening. So, what do you think about this future meeting?
Peter Lilley: Well, I think that ... I'm personally a physicist by training, long ago ... (I) accept that doubling the amount of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere will produce a modest warming in the climate but nothing like the alarmist fears which these scientists have been trying to generate, or that lie behind the Copenhagen conference. I think the one thing we can predict with great certainty is that the Copenhagen conference will not achieve a legally binding agreement. They'll simply agree to meet again and tens of thousands of delegates will meet again somewhere else in a few months time, burning lots of carbon in their jet aeroplanes and their air-conditioned rooms and hypocritically telling us ... the rest of us that we shouldn't ever travel by aeroplane or burn any petrol or gas.
Interviewer: But, just finally, the fact is, I'm sitting here in Moscow – there should be snow here at this time of the year and even amateur meteorologists or experts would think, "There is a case. There is global warming occurring at the moment." So, do you really think that this money is being wasted or do you think it could be put to better use?
Peter Lilley: Well, the climate changes and is very variable. The very day the British Parliament passed the Climate Change Act, which is the most expensive piece of legislation we've ever passed, committing us to cut our emissions of CO2 by 80% – it'll cost us some 400 billion pounds – it snowed in London for the first time in October in 74 years. So, it's been exceptionally cold sometimes, exceptionally warm a month or two later but, overall, there's been no upward trend for the last decade. There was for the previous two and a half decades and, before that, it was actually cooling again, from the war through 'til 1975. So, they're trying to make an awful lot of a relatively short period of rapid warming and ignoring the cooling that occurred before it and the cooling that's occurred more recently.
Interviewer: Very interesting to hear what you have to say. Peter Lilley, thanks very much indeed. British MP for the Conservative Party and former government minister, live in London, we appreciate your time here on RT. Thank you.