On the face of things, the green lobby’s support for scientific consensus on climate change conflicts with its defiance of similar consensus on the safety of GM foods. That is a real inconsistency, except for the political point that agribusiness (especially Monsanto) promotes genetically modified (and now genetically edited, which is different) crops, whilst the corresponding lobbies for renewable energy are apparently less powerful and well connected. There is a real need for a public debate on how much store we should set by science and politics – respectively.

The strong, and growing, scientific consensus about a heating world shows up a reverse political hazard from the one about GM foods. In some quarters the climate argument has been conflated with ‘left-liberal’ causes, and a left-liberal orthodoxy vilifying anyone who challenges that argument. In this case the hazard is that, unlike any campaigning groups, however influential, the climate argument might become driven by the climate itself with devastating power. Possibly the time for that is arriving now.

There has been an argument that even if global heating is truly happening, it will have – on an overall count – beneficial effects for humanity. I would not discount that, but for one thing. Like all life, humans tend to move in response to changes in their environment. Bearing in mind the troubles over migration now, how will we cope with many times the numbers?

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