Sir John Houghton thinks so. Former director of the Met Office, former chairman of the Royal Commission on Environmental Pollution, and former co-chair of the International Commission on Climate Change he is an influential voice in the global warming debate. He is currently demanding, in a letter to the Observer, an apology from Benny Peiser, a man-made global warming agnostic who, he claims, has put words in his mouth that he has never spoken:
“I demand from Dr Peiser an apology that he failed to check his sources and a public retraction of the use he made of the fabricated quotation.” The particular words complained of are “Unless we announce disasters no one will listen”.
I have no evidence that he has ever spoken, or written, this specific sentence. But on the subject of disasters he has in the past made similar, divinely inspired, comments about disasters and global warming:
· “God tries to coax and woo, but he also uses disasters. Human sin may be involved; the effect will be the same.”
· “If we want a good environmental policy in the future we’ll have to have a disaster.”
These quotations are from an interview entitled “Me and my God” in the Sunday Telegraph on 10 September 1995.
Sir John, in this interview, is also quoted as saying: “God does show anger. When he appeared to Elijah there was earthquake wind and fire. Our model is Jesus. He was a man as well as being divine and he certainly showed anger.”
Clearly missing from the IPCC’s impressive body of expertise is that of theology.