An apology to the readers of Bishop Hill

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Over at Bishop Hill, the climate “skeptic” blog run by Andrew Montford, people seem to be discussing my short blog post from a couple of days ago which points out how climate change “skeptics” use the “This will harm poor Africans” gambit in their constant quest to provide justifications for doing nothing about climate change. My argument was that these people, mostly, don’t give a damn about the poor, but act is if they do when the subject of climate change comes up. Appealing to our better angels as a way of distracting from the fact that we are in fact appealing to our lowest, most selfish, instincts.

Montford claims the following:

According to Wilson, BH readers and people like that are actually cold, callous, heartless bad people who are unconcerned about our fellow human beings unless they are, like us, bloated plutocrats.

Oddly, I didn’t mention Mr. Montford or his readers in my original post.

So why would Mr. Montford be so sensitive to my post, and why would he imagine it somehow has him in mind?

Being a discerning reader I more or less haven’t read Bishop Hill in over two years, so I thought I would use the search function on the site to see what Montford says about the poor and climate change. And to my surprise this ostensibly right wing blogger is in fact a bleeding heart.

Here are a few of the blog posts thrown up. The titles say it all.

Climate policy and the poor

Oxford professors and the poor

Climate policy is harming the poor

Remember the poor – Josh 323

IPPR admits renewables hit the poor hardest

Laudato Si – a cry for the poor

Scientists: “poor must cough up”

Hedge funds snap up free money from UK poor

So, it turns out that Mr. Montford is as obsessed with helping the poor as he is with the BBC. I feel like I owe him and his readers a sincere apology. My prejudices are just that, prejudices.

I’m now confident that Mr. Montford and his readers will join me in supporting an increase in aid to developing countries, vigorous government action to end the scandal of food banks, and a massive increase in subsidizing energy costs for the poor.


8 thoughts on “An apology to the readers of Bishop Hill

    johnrussell40 said:
    June 30, 2015 at 12:00 pm

    Most importantly we should now financially-assist poor countries in providing their energy needs without resorting to fossil fuels. For as the World Bank tell us, “Climate Change in Africa Will Hit the Poor the Hardest”.


      Robert Wilson said:
      June 30, 2015 at 12:02 pm

      No. We must express our concern for poor countries by withdrawing all foreign aid


    Noel Darlow (@noeldarlow) said:
    July 4, 2015 at 8:03 pm

    They’ve got their hands full right now lobbying for the UK to open its doors to asylum seekers – especially climate refugees – but I’m sure they’ll want to get started on all that other stuff just as soon as they can.


      Robert Wilson said:
      July 4, 2015 at 8:09 pm

      Very true. The right wing press is full of “stop spending money on wind farms, spend it on helping refugees in the Med” to the point of cliché.


    Eli Rabett said:
    July 4, 2015 at 9:43 pm

    They don’t want to help, they just want to preen. In answer to the question:

    “If you actually care about PM10s in Africa or Bangladesh, say how you prefer to pay for reducing them.”

    Comes the answer:

    “Why should we pay?

    They industrialise, and pay for it themselves.We can lend them the money, if they want. We can provide expertise. But we don’t need to pay.”


    Mooloo said:
    July 5, 2015 at 12:02 am

    We should support the Third World by providing the cheapest and most reliable sources of energy. Generally coal. Nuclear, once they are able to manage it safely.

    Intermittent sources are useless in countries without decent grids to balance them out.Providing power “without resorting to fossil fuels” is not helping them at all. It’s helping us feel more virtuous, at the expense of their economic development.

    But there’s the rub. Most all at Bishop Hill are happy to see Africa become a fully functioning member of the Capitalist system. That includes getting rid of subsistence farming and replacing it with modern systems to those countries can feed themselves. We oppose any form of “aid” that works against that, not because we are opposed to aid, but because we are opposed to keeping them from the benefits of modernity.

    One of the great joys of real aid is that a couple of decades later and the countries stop needing it — see Taiwan, Korea, most of South America etc. The sort of “aid” we have been providing to Africa, where they aren’t allowed to industrialise or modernise agriculture is clearly not working, and is therefore money wasted.

    So yes, most sceptics are opposed to wasting money in the way you prefer.No doubt you will win in the short term, we will pour billions of wasted money into Africa, and they will gain nothing. Meanwhile those countries that industrialise, and burn coal to do so, will go from strength to strength without any aid at all.


      Robert Wilson said:
      July 5, 2015 at 12:15 am

      Opposed to wasting aid in the way I prefer?

      Are you telekinetic? I have never publicly expressed views on how aid money should be spent. But perhaps you could elaborate more on what my views are to save me the effort of having to express them at some time.


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