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Christopher Booker is a regular
columnist in the Sunday Telegraph, the first editor of Private Eye,
a Spectator contributor and a prolific author who has published
more than ten books. In 2010 he published "
The Real Global Warming Disaster: Is The Obsession With
`Climate Change Turning Out To Be The Most Costly Scientific
Blunder In History?" with Dr Richard North - described by the
"the definitive sceptics' manual". Booker's publisher styles
him as the "
most conspicuous 'global warming sceptic' in the British
Booker has made a life's work of
challenging the scientific consensus on a broad range of issues. In
Scared to Death: From BSE to Global Warming - Why Scares are
Costing Us the Earth, a book also co-authored with North, he
asserts that scientific research shows that passive smoking has
"little or no effect on health at all" (p.270) and that there is
"not a scrap of firm scientific evidence" to justify statements
that BSE can be transmitted to humans from cows (p.7). Despite the
agreement of major agencies including the
World Heath Organisation and the
US Department for Health and Human Services that all forms of
asbestos are carcinogenic to humans, Booker has also repeatedly
claimed white asbestos
"poses no measurable risk to health". He has been critical of
journalists who have reported the scientific consensus on key
public health issues, and claims in his book that the BBC is biased
in their coverage of asbestos and BSE.
Booker was born in 1937 and was
privately educated at the Dragon School, Oxford and Shrewsbury
School, before studying History at Corpus Christi College,
Cambridge. He was originally a member of the Conservative Party but
later became a supporter of the
Eurosceptic United Kingdom Independence Party. In 1994 he
The Mad Officials: How the Bureaucrats are Strangling
Booker has been criticized by a range
of experts from different disciplines in the scientific community.
The science journalist Philip Ball
has described Booker's science writing as
"bunk". Timothy Walker, Director General of the Health and
responded to Booker's reporting on asbestos by stating publicly
that Booker's claims "are misinformed and do little to increase
public understanding of a very important occupational health
issue." Geoffrey Podger, chief executive of the Health and Safety
Executive, wrote an
open letter agreeing that "risks to human health for white
asbestos are substantially lower than for brown or blue asbestos"
but noting that "[white asbestos] cannot be called safe by any
sensible person." Booker has often relied on
Professor John Bridle as a source of information, labelling him
"Britain's practical asbestos expert". Bridle was
convicted under the Trades Description Act in 2005 for falsely
claiming to be a be qualified asbestos surveyor, and was
investigated by the Radio 4 programme You and Yours. Robin McKie,
the science and technology editor of the Observer, describes
Booker's practice as "
Climate sceptic views
Booker is a prominent climate
sceptic. He has attacked the BBC for sending out a
"farrago of convenient untruths" on global warming and
believes that the Met Office has been "hi-jacked," to "become
one of the world's major propaganda engines for the belief in
man-made global warming". In 2008, Booker dismissed scientific
findings that sea ice had reached the lowest level in recorded
history by pointing out that the
ice expanded again between September and January. In response,
asked how "The Sunday Telegraph continues to employ a man who
cannot tell the difference between summer and winter."
In 2009 Booker
presented a paper at an International Conference on Climate Change
in New York, organised by the Heartland Institute, a thinktank
promoting free market solutions.