Charity begins …

There has been an interesting “exchange of views” at the DT today following on from Environment Correspondent Louise Gray’s re-hashing of a scaremongering press release from that well-known scientific research organisation Oxfam.

No, you say, Oxfam is a charity which does good things for to poor people in the third world and has an impressive number of shops from which I can buy second hand designer dresses to show off in. And feel good about myself because I am giving money to help poor people in the third world.

In that case somebody needs to explain what grounds they have for issuing a press release which (perhaps accidentally for all I know) coincides with the opening of the Cancun Climate Gabfest telling the world (or at least those who still read the MSM) that twice as many people died in “weather-related disasters” this year as did last year.

Needless to say, these events, according to Oxfam’s Tim Gore “have been linked to climate change”, not least, one presumes, by Tim Gore. What his evidence for this link is is not made clear but then PR is not about facts, is it, Tim? And all this is is PR.

A quick trawl (thank you, Google!) shows us that Mr Gore (no relation, I assume) is Oxfam’s senior climate change policy adviser and he is on record as saying that

Negotiators [at Cancun] must remember that they are not merely talking numbers and dollars, but negotiating the lives of poor people already affected by climate change. Climate funding holds the key to unlocking the talks and steering the world to a global solution that tackles the threat and the reality of climate change.

I’m not sure whether he includes in the “poor people already affected by climate change” the elderly in Britain who will die of cold this winter because they are now in fuel poverty, thanks to the insane policy of subsidising pointless and expensive wind farms out of the electricity bills of British consumers. Somehow I doubt it. I’m not sure either what he means by the “reality” of climate change. Climate change is indeed very “real”, indeed it is not only “real” but ever-present, indeed the only constant thing about the climate is that it is changing. Only in the last 20 years has mankind in his arrogance considered that he might be able (or indeed need) to “tackle” it.

Oxfam, inevitably, has a “team” at Cancun, paid for I don’t doubt with some of the proceeds from those wonderful little shops. Mr Gore will be there and he introduces himself on the Oxfam website http://tinyurl.com/2e6ahke thus:

I’m Tim from Oxfam’s policy and lobby team. Starting next week, I’ll be in amongst the thick of negotiations. I’ll be meeting with governments and their advisors, working toward an international treaty that supports poor people in their fight against the devastating effects of climate change.

(Emphasis mine).

Lest anybody think I’ve got it in for young Tim, I must say I’ve never met the guy; he’s probably very polite and kind to animals and all that. But if you are the one who is paid to stick your head above the parapet then you are the one the snipers will aim at. Sorry, old son!

Why, I am keen to know, does a charity that claims to be “fighting global poverty” need a “policy and lobby team”? Why does it need to be “meeting with governments and their advisors”? What business is it of Oxfam’s to involve itself in matters which are rightfully the province of elected representatives of the people and where, please, is the slightest smidgeon of empirical evidence that climate change will have the “devastating effects” on the poor that Tim is so concerned about?
Why, and this is the difficult question, is Oxfam rejecting the detailed analysis put forward almost 10 years ago that the cost of Kyoto would — at best — reduce any increase in temperature by 0.07oC by 2050 (a figure too small to measure) and at the same time cost more every year than the sum needed to provide the entire world with clean drinking water and sanitation?

Precise figures are uncertain but estimates are that this would avoid something like 2 million premature deaths, not to mention the countless numbers who would be prevented from becoming ill as a result of bad hygiene, something that itself would be a major factor in overcoming poverty in sub-Saharan Africa as well as other parts of the developing world.

And this analysis begs the question of whether climate change, if unattended to, would have the effects attributed to it, a hypothesis for which there is still as yet no empirical evidence.

Perhaps it is time Oxfam got back to being what it actually claims to be: a leading UK charity fighting global poverty. Leave the politicians, the posers, the hangers-on, and the unsufferably righteous to ponce about at exotic locations and get back to doing what it does best.

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