The wintry weather across the UK has concentrated the minds of all sides in the climate change debate.
I say “all sides” because there is nothing simple about the arguments that are currently being aired with knee-jerk sceptics crowing at the discomfiture of what they regard as climate pseudo-scientists who in turn are desperately repeating the mantra that we must expect this sort of weather as part of global warming, aided and abetted as ever by their hard-of-thinking trolls in the blogosphere.
At the same time the climate “realists”, as they would call themselves — and amongst whom I number myself — are also desperately repeating the mantra that “this is a weather event not a climate event” and the more sane among the climate science community are trying to come to terms with a trickle (not yet a flood, but soon perhaps) of new research papers which are beginning in a small way to swing opinion at least away from “the science is settled” into a more neutral and open frame of mind.
Out in the real world this week people in the UK (as well as parts of northern France and elsewhere) are unable to live their normal lives. This is only partly to do with the extreme weather conditions; it is equally the result of authorities in general — local councils, public utilities and government — falling into the trap set for them 10 years ago.
According to Dr David Viner, a senior research scientist at the climatic research unit (CRU) of the University of East Anglia, within a few years winter snowfall will become “a very rare and exciting event”.
“Children just aren’t going to know what snow is,” he said.
The quote is from an article in the Independent in March 2000. Click for the full text.
What Dr Viner was thinking of when he made that remark — foolhardy then, fatuous now — only he can tell, but it does point up very clearly the inanity (or do I mean ‘insanity’) that has bedevilled the climate change argument from the beginning. Whatever the effects of global warming in the longer term there was no justification for providing the authorities with all the excuse they needed to stop spending money on salt, grit, and snow ploughs. Having grasped the opportunity with both hands they now find the chickens coming home to roost, those that can find a flight home, that is.
The disruption to everyone’s Christmas holiday, however, is a minor blip that will soon pass and be forgotten except by those who are unfortunate enough to be experiencing it and as some sort of “do you remember” myth by the rest of us. Of greater — infinitely greater — importance is the fact that politicians and civil servants have almost certainly not learnt the lesson of last winter and show no sign of learning the lesson of this winter either.
It matters not one whit whether the “warmists” or the “sceptics” are in the right; what does matter is that for government to commit itself blindly and mindlessly to a single course of action is criminally foolhardy in the extreme.
Old people are going to die this winter in greater numbers than would otherwise be the case because of the cold weather.
Old people are going to die this winter in greater numbers than would otherwise be the case because the government, in a blind pursuit of the belief that wind farms are some sort of electrical “magic bullet” which will help us all “save the planet”, is in the process of pushing more and more people — not only the elderly but also single mothers on benefit, the sick and the disabled — into fuel poverty by artificially hiking the price of electricity in order to convince themselves, though nobody else and certainly not the electricity generators, that this 13th century technology is the way forward.
The result is that this Christmas there will be a bigger than ever number of people who will be forced into a decision of “heat or eat”.
As MPs depart for a Christmas holiday they have done precious little to deserve it is to be hoped they give that situation some thought, though I doubt it will be uppermost in their minds as they turn up the central heating and cut another slice of the turkey.
But even this is only a sideshow. The main event will only start when somebody realises that the global warming hypothesis was no more than that; that the last three winters in the UK were not an aberration but a return to the weather of the 50s and 60s, or possibly even the 1850s and 1860s in which case Lord help us, and that government has been caught looking the wrong way.
And if the “warmists” are right and I am wrong, that still does not justify what the government is doing. With no thought for the welfare of its citizens, with no ‘Plan B’ in mind — or if there is they’re not telling us about it — our leaders have bought hook, line, and sinker into one particular vision of the future.
No ifs, no ands, no buts, no doubts.
If it starts to go wrong they have no escape because by the time they are prepared to admit they may have made an error, anything they try to do will be too late.
Every egg is in the global warming basket and that is not a clever way to organise anything.