In These New Times

A new paradigm for a post-imperial world

The man who ‘invented’ Global Warming

Posted by seumasach on December 31, 2010

James Delingpole


30th December, 2010

I’m in Ireland this week and am not yet sure how close I’ll be to the internet. So to tide you over just in case here is a fascinating essay from Ishmael2009 (not his real name) on Sir Crispin Tickell is one of the chief architects of Man Made Global Warming’s towering cathedral of half truths, exaggeration, hysteria and Neo-Malthusian lunacy. Ladies and gentlemen, I give you, the mighty Ishmael2009…..

Our Man at the Climate Summit: Essay on Sir Crispin Tickell


Sir Crispin Charles Cervantes Tickell is one of the most influential people behind the idea of man-made global warming. Yet you could easily be forgiven for having never heard of him.

Tickell, you see, is a diplomat and a scion of the British establishment, and as such works largely behind the scenes, like a real-life Sir Humphrey. His CV bulges with numerous honorary doctorates, chairmanships and directorships around the world, including the European arm of Pachauri’s TERI organization (1). After starting as a bright young thing with the civil service, he spent two years at Harvard, where he addressed himself to the up and coming subject of climate change, the result of which was his 1977 book Climactic Change and World Affairs, a work that detailed the threat posed to Western civilization by possible changes in the world climate. It made his name, and on his return Tickell was made Chef de Cabinet to the President of the European Commission and afterwards advisor to the Thatcher government, where he was instrumental in persuading leading politicians to put global warming on the political agenda (11).

So is AGW the most serious threat facing the world today, so far as Tickell is concerned? Well, almost. There is one other threat that he sees as even more urgent than AGW – the human race itself. Specifically, those feckless, irresponsible classes and nations that continue to breed at more than the replacement level of 2.1 children (Tickell, it should be noted, has three children. Considerations of overpopulation do not apply to his class, of course (1)). For him, overpopulation is the driving force behind AGW: we are a cancer on the planet. In language which we would normally expect to come from extremists, Tickell lays out his vision of the rest of the world.

We are, he believes, “a malignant maladaption in the corpus of living organisms, and behave and reproduce like a virus out of control” (2). We are “infected tissue in the organism of life” (3). “More than ever,” he writes, “humans can be regarded like certain species of ant” (5).The only relief from this that Tickell sees on the horizon is that “it is hard to believe that there will be anything like current or future human numbers in their present urban concentrations or elsewhere. Whether weeded out by warfare, disease, deteriorating conditions of life, or other disasters, numbers are likely to fall drastically. We must, I believe, expect some breakdowns in human society before the end of this century with unforeseeable outcomes” (4). That’ll teach us to pollute his nice clean world!

Of course, Tickell is well aware that in every single industrialised country, total fertility rates (TFR) have fallen below replacement levels – in other words in modernised nations population is declining. The real threat, then, is from the feckless hordes in the less developed nations. Overpopulation and climate change will, he warns, lead to refugees from these countries becoming a “prime threat” to Western society in coming years (3).

For Tickell, these refugees are clearly at the root of his concerns. They represent a threat to Western culture as they “bring with them alien customs, religious practices, eating habits, agricultural methods, and – not least – diseases” (3). Yikes! Those horrible, horrible people! He warns that environmental refugees “like normal refugees . . . mostly rely on charity” and worst of all “tend to spread their poverty around them” (3). Tickell claims that “full assimilation” into national culture “is rare” and cautions that in the event of rapid change these refugees would be “only one of myriad animal species trying to cope with disruption of their [unassimilated] way of life” (3). They are, he tells us, a “dangerous element” in Western society and their presence will have “secondary effects” such as “disorder, terrorism, economic breakdown, disease, or bankruptcy” (3). Remember, these warnings come from the man largely responsible for putting AGW on the world political map.

Of course, the real nightmare scenario for Malthusians has always been not overpopulation per se, but differential fertility, so that the fecund foreign hordes pour into an under-populated and degenerate West. This is also a worry for neo-Malthusians such as Tickell as well, it seems. Pointing to the fact (as he sees it) that illegal Mexican immigration into the USA has led to many parts of America taking on “Hispanic characteristics”, he foresees a tidal wave of foreigners swarming into the under-populated areas of the world:

Desperation could push Africans into Europe, Chinese into the relatively empty parts of Russia, the Indonesians into northern Australia. Sheer numbers could swamp most efforts at control (3).

Double yikes! Start breeding chaps, there’s billions of ‘em! So, clearly, as industrialisation leads to a decline in population, what Tickell demands is the modernisation of the poorer countries, right?

Well, no. There aren’t enough resources to go around, you see. Tickell demands that the world pursue”‘sustainable development”. What does that phrase mean? He doesn’t spell it out exactly, but he does know one thing – what was right for the West is not right for the rest:

We should also be clear what it [sustainable development] does not mean: following the methods of industrialisation espoused in the West [ . . . ] Instead it should mean something specific to each country or regions’ resources and culture (6).

Like fellow neo-Malthusian Jonathon Porritt who believes that allowing poor nations to have an electricity grid would be “the end of the world,” Tickell believes that instead of allowing poor nations to industrialise, thus lowering their fertility rates as every developed nation has done, they must lower their populations without first industrialising (7).

At a lecture to The Royal Geographical Society in March 1990, while among friends and colleagues, Tickell spelt out exactly whom he was referring to. Industrialisation in the developed Western world was fine, as it “grew out of previous history” and was sustained by a “resilient” environment with the result that although the environment was greatly altered little irremediable damage was done” (12). Non-Western countries, sadly, do not have the same “history” and have not yet learnt to stop breeding, and so must not be allowed to follow the same path of modernisation. Well, of course. Makes perfect sense, if you’re a neo-Malthusian.

This is reflected in UK government policy towards global warming, according to Left-wing environmental historian David Pepper, who observes:

. . . the British Government (advised by neoMalthusian Crispin Tickell) predictably used Neo-Malthusian arguments at the Rio environmental summit in 1992 to try to shift the blame for global environmental degradation from the West to third world countries (9).

Tickell, unsurprisingly, puts it differently. Overbreeding by poorer nations is he claims “the biggest single environmental issue” and was ignored at Rio, thanks to a “tacit conspiracy”, though he forebears to mention any names behind this ‘conspiracy’ (13).

Like all neo-Malthusians, Sir Crispin Tickell knows full well that fertility rates in industrialised countries always decline to a perfectly manageable level as people decide to more with their lives than simply raise children. If overpopulation really is a problem, then the solution is simple:  modernisation and industrialisation – which is exactly the route these countries are pursuing for themselves. To compare mankind in general with “infected tissue” and demand that poor countries simply stop breeding before they modernise is surely not acceptable. But then, our man behind AGW doesn’t see it that way.


1)     Crispin Tickell CV at his website

2)     Crispin Tickell, ‘The Ecological Challenge in a Global context’

3)     Crispin Tickell, ‘Risks of Conflict – Resource and Population Pressures’

4)     Crispin Tickell, ‘Visions of the 21st Century. The Future: A Bumpy Ride’

5)     Crispin Tickell, ‘Environment, Islam and the Future’

6)     Crispin Tickell, ‘Development in an Unstable World’.

7)     Jonathon Porritt, ‘An Audience With Jonathon Porritt’ Tuesday 7th October 2003 @ The Lowry, Salford Quays, Manchester.

8)     Jonathon Porritt, ‘Population the Number One Issue’

9)     David Pepper, ‘Modern environmentalism: An Introduction’ page 279.

10)  Crispin Tickell, ‘Environment on the Edge’

11)  Brian Wynne, Peter Simmons et alia, Learning to Manage Global Environmental Risks. Vol. 1 (MIT Press, Mass: 2001). P. 103.

12)   Crispin Tickell, ‘Human Effects of Climate Change: Excerpts From a Lecture Given to the Society on March 26th’, 1990. Royal Geographical Society.

13)   Crispin Tickell, ‘The Human Species: A Suicidal Success?’ The Geographical Journal
Vol. 159, No. 2 (Jul., 1993), pp. 219-226. P. 224.


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