Earth science

Independent, 15 February 2003:

Sir Philip Stott (letter, 12 February) may have had a long scholarly career, but his credibility has never been lower. The 2,000 scientists who contributed to the report by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change are in no doubt that man-made emissions are contributing significantly to global warming. An editorial in the Lancet (November 2001) described climate change as a new form of bioterrorism whereby emissions from one country creates severe ecological damage in others.

An editorial in Nature (July 2001) likened the coalition to deny climate change as equivalent to the tobacco industry’s denial that smoking causes lung cancer. Commentators such as Philip Stott are similar to rogue scientists such as Peter Duisberg who spent the 1990s denying that HIV causes Aids, and claiming that there was no Aids pandemic in Africa.

Scientists who hold dissident views can contribute to the scientific process, but only if their position is scientifically plausible. Bjorn Lømborg and Philip Stott belong to the long tradition of flat-earthers who pursue a scientifically indefensible agenda for reasons of faith, personal vanity or mendacity.

St.John’s Institute of Dermatology
St Thomas’ Hospital London SE1