Last night BBC Four aired a documentary which took a look at climate change sceptics and in particular one of the movement's most prominent poster boys, Lord Christopher Monckton, 3<sup>rd Viscount of Brenchley.
The programme, like climate science itself, attracted controversy before it even came on air. James Delingpole, a vocal climate change sceptic who appears in the documentary, yesterday called the programme "another hatchet job" on his Telegraph blog.
The presenter of the programme, Rupert Murray, concluded by saying that despite the arguments of the sceptics he did not want to take the risk that they were wrong. He was, he said, willing to give up some of his freedom if it helped to stop climate change.
This was a rather startling thing to say, especially as his own programme did not conclude that the warmists are right and the sceptics wrong. In fact he appeared to be saying he would give up his freedom just in case the warmists are right.
There was worse still in the programme, with one scientist effectively saying that democracy might need to be suspended in order for governments to successfully prevent a climate catastrophe.
Such statements are of course why sceptics such as James Delingpole and Lord Monckton have become all the fiercer in their criticism of climate change activists in recent years, seeing in climate change activism a threat not just to prosperity but to liberty.
The great problem with climate change is that it no longer seems like a scientific theory, but more like a 21<sup>st century version of the pre-Reformation Catholic Church, complete with evangelists, tithes, indulgences and bizarre superstitions.
Just as in medieval times when the people were expected to (and often did) believe everything they were told by the priest, now we see that it is the scientist whose word is gospel. Even today panellists on programmes such as BBC Question Time who question climate change can be booed and jeered at by people who read scientific papers on the issue even less than illiterate medieval peasants read the Bible, at the time still un-translated from the Latin.
This new religion does not yet have any martyrs (although maybe Professor Phil Jones at the University of East Anglia comes close), but it has plenty of evangelists foremost amongst them being former Vice-President of the U.S.A. Al Gore and His Royal Highness Prince Charles of Great Britain.
Many of these evangelists attempt, not to explain the science, but to scare the population into believing, through dire warnings that we face some kind climatic Judgement Day. Indeed if they are to be believed then we are already seeing signs of judgement because of the sin of burning fossil fuels.
Floods, hurricanes, droughts and famine are all blamed on man-made climate change and more is to come if we don't clean up our act we are told. One would have thought, listening to the doom mongers, that such disasters had never happened in the history of mankind until some Pandora-like figure had the idea of burning the energy out of coal and oil.
What is worse is that these doom mongers are so often found to be wrong and yet keep on going with their apocalyptic forecasts, rather like crazed American televangelists who predict that the Antichrist will come next Tuesday or that God will purge the land of homosexuals and then keep on making their bizarre pronouncements long after the date they said the world would end.
Former British Prime Minister Gordon Brown, said before the Copenhagen summit in 2009 that we have "50 days to save the world". Copenhagen was of course a complete flop and yet we are all still here, although his government is no longer with us. Similar predictions of impending doom have come and gone.
Then we have the language used by the warmists themselves. For years the public was warned of the dangers of "global warming" and indeed such warnings were easy to believe as year after year the weather kept getting warmer. However since 1998 temperatures have been falling and the seasons have been getting noticeably colder in the Northern hemisphere.
However rather than admit that there might be a flaw in the theory, warmists simply rebranded "global warming" into "climate change", so that cold weather as well as hot can be taken as evidence of our upcoming destruction. Given this one wonders what kind of weather it would take to indicate that global warming is not a problem.
This might all be harmless fun if it just stayed in people's minds. But governments are already taking steps to deal with this alleged threat to civilisation, steps which already damage the least well off more than any other.
Last year energy companies in Britain announced that they would be raising household energy bills, partly so that they could fund the government's climate change and social policies. In addition to paying this compulsory tithe to the church of climate change through their energy bills, sincere believers can also purchase an indulgence for every time they take a flight by paying extra to offset their carbon emissions.
I do not know if climate change is a real problem. I've heard many convincing arguments from both sides of the debate, however I cannot help but feel weary about a movement which claims we will face the apocalypse if we don't abandon our prosperity and liberty, especially when we have seen that the people making these predictions can and do make mistakes like the rest of us. Of course we should listen to the scientists on both sides, but we should also remember that they are no more infallible than the Pope is.