Belfast Telegraph

Friday 26 December 2014

Discredited claims of climate deniers

Ryanair CEO Michael O'Leary's interview didn't disappoint.

In his now familiar tone Mr O'Leary dismissed man-made climate change as "bulls**t" and suggested a global conspiracy by thousands of scientists who are busy falsifying climate records, ice core samples, ancient tree rings, coral samples, satellite measurements and weather station data and turning the laws of science upside down in order to get research funding.

He went on to trot out a myriad bogus claims, including making the basic error of comparing daily weather with long-term climate trends.

Mr O'Leary's claims are similar to those peddled by other high-profile climate change deniers, but which have been comprehensively discredited by peer-reviewed science. The same laws of physics that keep Ryanair aircraft in the air (whether being flown by one pilot or two) tell us that the greenhouse gas emissions coming out of the back of their engines contribute to man-made climate change.

Airlines have a clear interest in delaying environmental initiatives and, as the tobacco industry eventually conceded, what is good for shareholders is not necessarily good for other people.

Jarlath Molloy, Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, Imperial College London

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