Global Warming: A Case Study in Groupthink–Booker

By Paul Homewood



Christopher Booker summarises his new paper for the GWPF, Global Warming: A Case Study in Groupthink:


Christopher Booker

As it is now 30 years since the great alarm over global warming first burst onto the world, it might seem hard to believe that science could now come up with anything that would enable us to see this story in a wholly new light. But that is what I am suggesting in a paper I launched last week in the House of Lords, drawing on the remarkable insights of a book published by Irving Janis, a professor of psychology at Yale, more than 40 years ago.

The purpose of my paper is to look at the whole global warming story afresh in light of the three scientific rules Janis came up with to describe what happens to people when they are carried away by what he called “groupthink”. Rule one is that a group of people come to share a view of the world that is not properly based on reality and from looking at all the evidence. It is just an untested belief.

Rule two is that, because they have shut their minds to any evidence which might contradict their belief, they insist that it is supported by a “consensus”. They cannot accept that anyone should question it. Rule three is that anyone holding a contrary view must thus be dismissed as not worth listening to.

My paper reviews the warming story as a perfect case-study in the operation of those rules. It began in 1988 when a tiny group of meteorologists, already convinced that the world was catastrophically warming because of rising man-made CO2, set up the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC).

Although this purportedly represented the verdict of the world’s top climate scientists, it was never anything of the kind. In fact, many scientists were highly sceptical. Richard Lindzen, the eminent physicist, described the IPCC’s models as being so obsessively focused on CO2 that they failed to allow for all the other natural factors that shape the earth’s climate.

But almost immediately the theory was being hailed as a “consensus”, accepted by the entire scientific establishment, the media and, above all, the politicians. Any dissenters were derided. And for a while, as temperatures continued to rise, the theory did indeed seem plausible. The “consensus” carried all before it: to the point where, by 2006, anyone still daring to question it was being scorned by the groupthink as just a “denier”, the moral equivalent of those who denied the reality of the Nazi Holocaust.

But then the groupthink began to be put to the test. It had become obvious that global temperatures were no longer rising as the IPCC models had predicted. Expert blogs appeared, demonstrating how one “consensus” claim after another was being flatly contradicted by what was happening in the real world. In 2009 came those damaging “Climategate” emails between the handful of scientists at the heart of the IPCC, exemplifying all Janis’s rules. The UN’s great climate conference in Copenhagen collapsed in disarray, followed by even more damaging reports that the scariest predictions in the latest IPCC report were not based on science at all, but only on propagandist claims by climate activists.

Finally, with yet another UN conference in Paris in 2015 came what I describe as the crux of the whole story. Documents supplied by every country setting out their intended energy plans up to 2030 showed that, although Western countries pledged to cut their “carbon” emissions by 40 per cent, the rest of the world had totally different ideas. China, now the world’s largest CO2 emitter, planned to build so many new coal-fired power stations that, by 2030, its emissions will have doubled. India, the third largest emitter, planned to triple them. Altogether global emissions by 2030 were set to rise by a staggering 46 per cent. Not one Western leader mentioned all this until 2017, when President Trump gave it as his reason for pulling the US out of that meaningless “Paris Accord”. He was finally calling the bluff of the groupthink, which for 30 years had driven the whole global warming scare story.

If other Western countries wished to commit economic suicide, so be it. But the rest of the world is no longer listening.

Christopher Booker’s Global Warming: A Case Study in Groupthink is published by the Global Warming Policy Foundation.


February 26, 2018 at 08:27AM

2 Comments on “Global Warming: A Case Study in Groupthink–Booker

  1. Pingback: Global Warming: A Case Study in Groupthink–Booker — Iowa Climate Science Education – NZ Conservative Coalition

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