So, spite, then: is there anybody in Britain with a more exalted opinion of themselves than George Monbiot? His entire column in today’s Guardian deals exclusively with the one subject which has obsessed the man for many years, and bored the rest of us: himself.
In particular, he is outraged that the scientist Ian Plimer has apparently failed to rise to the challenge and debate the certainty of man-made climate change with the world’s acknowledged expert on the subject, George Monbiot. Plimer’s views were published in The Spectator recently: he is, according to Monbiot, a “climate-change denier” (a typically loaded phrase which deliberately echoes the accusation of “holocaust denier”). Monbiot doesn’t merely have it in for Plimer – he attacks The Spectator for having had the audacity to publish the man’s views and thus “dropping editorial standards”.
You pompous, monomaniacal, jackass. The unchallengeable certitude with which Monbiot treats his second favourite subject, and the viciousness with which he denounces anyone who disagrees, reminds me a little of the hardline creationists you find jabbering in the backwoods of the Appalachian Mountains: there is no argument, we are not qualified to argue, man-made climate change simply IS, and let there be an end to the debate. It is this very certitude, and the response to critics, which makes me doubtful.