John McCrystal, co-author with economist Gareth Morgan of Poles Apart, the new book weighing up the arguments about climate change, responds to Dr Reisinger’s comments about how the book was researched.
“With all due respect (and gratitude — he was good enough to assist us in our researches) to Dr Reisinger, I think he slightly misses one of the most important points raised in Poles Apart. While he would prefer the cacophony of voices from the riff-raff — economists and political studies graduates — not to interfere with decision-making, I am concerned to know who is actually doing the deciding.
“Are we living in a technocracy, then, where we must shrug and do what the scientists tell us to do without question? Or is there some quality of our elected representatives that makes them uniquely qualified (unlike the rest of us) to tell whether the scientific evidence they are being presented with is good or bad?
“Gareth and I never claimed to be judges in the case of global warming: only jurors. We didn’t claim any special legal or scientific knowledge, just a willingness to apply ourselves, to the limits of our ability, to the expert testimony being presented. After all, it’s the jurors who bring back a verdict, not the judge in a jury trial, just as it’s the voters who ultimately decide what they can stomach in terms of policy.
“And rightly or wrongly, the riff-raff are in the majority… It seems to me you’re confusing the role of science in
this whole thing. It’s as though you’re arguing for the right of expert witnesses to deliver a verdict, rather than simply to assist the court.”