Ian Magness

Name: Ian Magness
Country: UK

What is your background?
I studied Earth Sciences for my BSc at Imperial College, after which I worked in the geophysics department of an oil company. I became a Fellow of the Geological Society of London although, frankly, I suspect that was less on merit and more as a result of my former personal tutor (Professor Janet Watson) being President of the society at that time. I decided to broaden my knowledge base by undertaking a masters degree at Imperial College Business School. With opportunities in finance greatly exceeding those in the oil and gas industry at that time, I entered the field of corporate treasury, later completing the professional examinations of the Association of Corporate Treasurers, later becoming a Fellow – this time more merited. Either working within (generally multinational) corporates or later supplying specialist services to them, corporate treasury provided the great bulk of my career until I retired in 2022.

Since when and why are you interested in climate change?
I would say that 2005 was a key ‘tipping point’ for me, as a result to a fishing expedition to Great Bear Lake, which straddles the Arctic Circle in Canada. At the time, and being exceptionally busy combining a demanding career with parenting young children, like so many I had never given ‘climate science’ as reported in the media much thought. In Canada, however, I recall being told that the feeder rivers to the lake were running faster and with increased volume than in previous years. Nobody understood why but I postulated that it must be this global warming thing, melting the permafrost. It wasn’t until I returned to England that I decided to investigate the matter further and could find no evidence to support my theory. From that moment on, and in the firm knowledge gained at undergraduate level that the Earth’s climate has always changed (so why would humans be responsible for it now?), I became a sceptic and realised that what the media and politicians were spouting was oversimplified at best and often demonstrably wrong.

How did your views on climate change evolve?
From 2005 my views evolved quickly, albeit there was a growing realisation that the subject was extremely broad and necessitated a lot of study, which I had very limited time for then. One thing that was clear to me, however, was that what I was observing in the British countryside, and on my travels, just didn’t match what the media and politicians were telling us. I have always been an outdoorsman combining various interests such as being an amateur naturalist and occasional geologist with my main outdoor activities of hillwalking and angling. I kept hearing statements along the lines of “such and such butterfly has emerged, or blossom has erupted, early due to climate change” and thinking “no, there are major variations each year – this is nothing unusual”. Further, whenever some weather pattern was described as ‘unprecedented’, I would think “no what about such and such year – it has happened before”.

Moving on to recent years, I had become rather bored with my financial career and far more interested in all aspects of Earth Sciences. I started spending many more hours in study, joined the GWPF and commented on sites like WUWT and NALOPKT. The latter route enhanced my network, inclusive of some old university contacts and one of them introduced me to a private geoscientists’ forum which I contribute to today. Retirement has allowed me to spend more time on all this too. My overall knowledge is now considerably better and broader but there is always so much more to learn. The science isn’t ‘settled’ and never will be.

Is climate change a big issue in your country and how do you notice this?
Regretfully, the greens have taken over almost every arm of government and pretty much all of the leadership teams of professional bodies in Britain. So, net zero in Britain, which is already costing the country billions, is continuing apace and will continue to spiral out of control until a completely different type of government comes in – which won’t happen any time soon. It is good that there is now a level of public debate about aspects of net zero and some gains have been made by sceptics. The key point, however, that CO2 does not drive the climate (so we don’t even need to contemplate net zero) is still pretty much taboo. There is still no public challenge to the CO2 meme in British public life, despite all of the available evidence that the gas is, at best, a trivial player in the climate game. What doesn’t help, of course, is that the overwhelming percentage of media people and politicians that you ever come across don’t have the faintest clue about Earth and climate sciences. Ignorance for them is bliss.

What would climate policy ideally look like in your view?
I would immediately reverse all net zero policies and repeal all related legislation like the Climate Change Act. I would disband all climate-related government quangos like the Climate Change Committee. I would reverse all climate-related taxes in all areas, not least hydrocarbon production and motoring. I would immediately stop the development of all new renewable energy plants and put all existing plants – including Drax – under strict financial review with all subsidies being removed within three years. Hydrocarbon production and nuclear power would be prioritised. Lastly, I would instruct the police and courts to be very severe on any climate protest activity that in any way obstructed the lives of people or businesses.

What is your motivation to sign the CLINTEL World Climate Declaration?
With apologies to the Christian community, I truly believe that the CO2 theory is “the greatest story ever told” and it needs to be rebutted. If it had remained just a scientific argument, I think I could just look on with interest but no more. Instead, net zero proponents are an existential threat to the economy of any country taken in by the theories, not least Britain. I think any of us who have taken the time and trouble to understand the broad subject matters involved needs to stand up and be counted. We need to make clear to the public at large that there is no climate emergency.

A sad aspect of all this is the incredulity that you continually meet when trying to put across a reasoned argument against climate alarmism to a believer. The very talented British author and journalist Allison Pearson recently wrote about the – falsely accused and convicted – victims of the appalling British Post Office scandal in these terms: “the peculiar torture of not being believed when telling the truth”. This is exactly how I have felt time and again when trying to explain to people why their fears were unfounded and what they were being told by the media and politicians was simply wrong. Nevertheless, we mustn’t be downhearted. Illegitimi non carborundum.