The shouted words rang out across the packed parliamentary corridor: “Fiona Harvey is the worst journalist there is. She’s the worst journalist of them all, because she should know better.” They were the words of Lord Lawson, former UK chancellor of the exchequer, turned climate denier and now Brexiter, addressing a crowd of more than 100 people trying to cram into a House of Commons hearing on climate change. As listeners craned their necks to hear better, whispering and nudging, he elaborated at length on my insistence on reporting the work of the 97% of the world’s climate scientists whose work shows human responsibility for global heating, and failure to give equal weight to the tiny number of dissenters. As the science of climate chaos has become vastly clearer in the past two decades, and the warnings more stark, the rearguard action fought by climate denialists has grown fiercer and their attacks more vicious. Fact-based arguments will never serve their purpose; trolling is the last refuge of the discredited. We can expect much more of the same. Our climate knowledge has increased vastly in 15 years. No one can now plausibly say there is not enough data, or that we lack the technology, or that saving the climate is too expensive. All of these pretexts have been exploded by patient scientific work. There are no excuses left and now it is up to journalists to ensure there are no more hiding places either, in the boardrooms, on the websites of fake news, behind the facade of populism. That is what the Guardian has committed to do, with a clear focus on the climate emergency. Even if that upsets some people in the corridors of power: there can be pride in being the worst, if that’s what it means.
Guardian 17th Oct 2019 read more »