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Home > Dictionary of Science Quotations > Scientist Names Index H > Sir John Houghton Quotes

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Sir John Houghton
(30 Dec 1931 - )

Welsh meteorologist who began in the late 1960's drawing attention to the buildup of carbon dioxide in the earth's atmosphere and its result of global warming, now known as the greenhouse effect.


Science Quotes by Sir John Houghton (9 quotes)


Any successful international negotiation for reducing emissions must be based on four principles: the precautionary principle, the principle of sustainable development, the polluter-pays principle and the principle of equity. The strength of 'contraction and convergence' is that it satisfies all these principles.
— Sir John Houghton
In The Independent (10 Aug 2003).
Science quotes on:  |  All (4107)  |  Contraction (15)  |  Convergence (4)  |  Development (424)  |  Equity (4)  |  Global Warming (27)  |  International (37)  |  Must (1526)  |  Negotiation (2)  |  Principle (510)  |  Strength (126)  |  Successful (123)  |  Sustainable (13)

Nowadays everyone knows that the US is the world’s biggest polluter, and that with only one 20th of the world’s population it produces a quarter of its greenhouse gas emissions. But the US government, in an abdication of leadership of epic proportions, is refusing to take the problem seriously. … Emissions from the US are up 14% on those in 1990 and are projected to rise by a further 12% over the next decade.
— Sir John Houghton
In 'Global Warming is Now a Weapon of Mass Destruction', The Guardian (28 Jul 2003).
Science quotes on:  |  Biggest (8)  |  Decade (59)  |  Emission (17)  |  Epic (12)  |  Gas (83)  |  Government (111)  |  Greenhouse Gas (3)  |  Know (1519)  |  Leadership (9)  |  Next (236)  |  Polluter (2)  |  Population (110)  |  Problem (679)  |  Produce (104)  |  Project (73)  |  Proportion (136)  |  Rise (166)  |  Seriously (19)  |  World (1778)

The world won’t come to an end, but the incidence of disasters will have a very big impact, and in ways we can't predict. … Rises in seas levels will displace millions of people. It’s estimated there will be 150 million refugees by 2050, homeless as a result of global warming. It’s how we deal with these problems that is as much the challenge as tackling the causes of global warming.
— Sir John Houghton
In The Independent (10 Aug 2003).
Science quotes on:  |  Cause (542)  |  Challenge (85)  |  Deal (188)  |  Disaster (52)  |  Displace (9)  |  End (590)  |  Global (35)  |  Global Warming (27)  |  Impact (42)  |  People (1005)  |  Predict (80)  |  Problem (679)  |  Refugee (2)  |  Result (678)  |  Rise (166)  |  Sea (309)  |  Warming (23)  |  Way (1216)  |  Will (2354)  |  World (1778)

There are those who will say “unless we announce disasters, no one will listen”, but I’m not one of them. It’s not the sort of thing I would ever say. It’s quite the opposite of what I think and it pains me to see this quote being used repeatedly in this way. I would never say we should hype up the risk of climate disasters in order to get noticed.
— Sir John Houghton
In Steve Connor, 'Fabricated quote used to discredit climate scientist', The Independent (10 Feb 2010).
Science quotes on:  |  Announce (13)  |  Being (1278)  |  Climate (97)  |  Climate Change (61)  |  Disaster (52)  |  Listen (73)  |  Never (1087)  |  Notice (77)  |  Opposite (104)  |  Order (632)  |  Pain (136)  |  Quote (43)  |  Repeated (5)  |  Risk (62)  |  Say (984)  |  See (1082)  |  Thing (1915)  |  Think (1086)  |  Way (1216)  |  Will (2354)

We need to look, I suppose, for some good PR people to help us get our messages across in an honest and open and sensible way, without causing the sort of furore, the sort of polarisation that has occurred because of the people who are trying to deny it, and trying to deny it so vehemently that the media is taking so much notice of them.
— Sir John Houghton
On BBC website, 'Climate change scientists losing “PR war”' (11 Feb 2010).
Science quotes on:  |  Cause (542)  |  Deny (67)  |  Good (889)  |  Help (106)  |  Honest (50)  |  Look (582)  |  Media (13)  |  Message (49)  |  Need (290)  |  Notice (77)  |  Open (274)  |  People (1005)  |  Public Relations (5)  |  Sensible (27)  |  Suppose (156)  |  Trying (144)  |  Vehement (2)  |  Way (1216)

While no one can ascribe a single weather event to climate change with any degree of scientific certainty, higher maximum temperatures are one of the most predictable impacts of accelerated global warming, and the parallels—between global climate change and global terrorism—are becoming increasingly obvious.
— Sir John Houghton
In 'Global Warming is Now a Weapon of Mass Destruction', The Guardian (28 Jul 2003).
Science quotes on:  |  Accelerate (11)  |  Becoming (96)  |  Certainty (174)  |  Change (595)  |  Climate (97)  |  Climate Change (61)  |  Degree (275)  |  Event (216)  |  Global (35)  |  Global Warming (27)  |  Impact (42)  |  Maximum (12)  |  Most (1729)  |  Obvious (126)  |  Parallel (43)  |  Predictable (10)  |  Scientific (940)  |  Single (354)  |  Temperature (79)  |  Terrorism (3)  |  Warming (23)  |  Weather (46)

Your average scientist is not a good PR person because he wants to get on with his science.
— Sir John Houghton
On BBC website, 'Climate change scientists losing “PR war”' (11 Feb 2010).
Science quotes on:  |  Average (82)  |  Good (889)  |  Person (363)  |  Public Relations (5)  |  Science (3880)  |  Scientist (825)  |  Want (497)

[O]ur long-term security is threatened by a problem at least as dangerous as chemical, nuclear or biological weapons, or indeed international terrorism: human-induced climate change. … The impacts of global warming are such that I have no hesitation in describing it as a “weapon of mass destruction.” Like terrorism, this weapon knows no boundaries. It can strike anywhere, in any form…
— Sir John Houghton
London Guardian (28 Jul 2003)
Science quotes on:  |  Biological (137)  |  Boundary (51)  |  Change (595)  |  Chemical (292)  |  Climate (97)  |  Climate Change (61)  |  Dangerous (105)  |  Destruction (125)  |  Form (960)  |  Global (35)  |  Global Warming (27)  |  Hesitation (19)  |  Human (1470)  |  Impact (42)  |  Indeed (323)  |  International (37)  |  Know (1519)  |  Long (789)  |  Mass (157)  |  Nuclear (107)  |  Nuclear Weapon (17)  |  Problem (679)  |  Security (47)  |  Strike (69)  |  Term (349)  |  Terrorism (3)  |  Threat (30)  |  Threaten (32)  |  Warming (23)  |  Weapon (93)  |  Weapons (58)

~~[Houghton did NOT write]~~ Unless we announce disasters, no-one will listen.
— Sir John Houghton
This IS NOT written in his book Global Warming: The Complete Briefing (1994). Houghton has explicitly denied writing it, saying it, or even believing it, in Steve Connor, 'Fabricated quote used to discredit climate scientist', The Independent (10 Feb 2010). Perhaps the earliest example of this being falsely quoted is by Piers Akerman, in a Australian newspaper, The Sunday Telegraph (Nov 2006). Spreading virally, climate change skeptics now gleefully repeat the false quote, without verifying it.
Science quotes on:  |  Announce (13)  |  Climate Change (61)  |  Disaster (52)  |  Listen (73)  |  Will (2354)  |  Write (231)


See also:
  • 30 Dec - short biography, births, deaths and events on date of Houghton's birth.
  • Global Warming: The Complete Briefing, by John T. Houghton. - book suggestion.

Carl Sagan Thumbnail In science it often happens that scientists say, 'You know that's a really good argument; my position is mistaken,' and then they would actually change their minds and you never hear that old view from them again. They really do it. It doesn't happen as often as it should, because scientists are human and change is sometimes painful. But it happens every day. I cannot recall the last time something like that happened in politics or religion. (1987) -- Carl Sagan
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