I’m reading reports that Tory MP Ann Winterton has made a complete fool of herself in today’s Prime Minister’s Questions. She has suggested that the government should cancel “wasteful expenditure” on wind farms as the current weather clearly demonstrates that global warming is nonsense.
Despite being complete nonsense, this is an argument that I hear on a regular basis. It’s trotted out by someone every time the weather takes a turn for the worse. Here’s another Tory MP, Douglas Carswell, making the same claim during December’s snows. [Update: And here's the the front page of today's Express: Snow Chaos - And They Still Claim It's Global Warming]
I was about to write a post pointing out the obvious flaws in this argument, but there was a feeling of deja vu niggling away at the back of my head. Then I remembered what I wrote during the snow we had last February.
 You might want to take a look around Carswell’s site. There’s a lot of nonsense there. I’m planning to cover him in more detail in the coming weeks.
Weather like we’ve seen in the UK over the last twenty-four hours seems to effect people’s cognitive facilities. There’s one particular nonsense that I can almost guarantee you’ll come across in the next couple of days. That’s a climate change denier saying something like
Well this weather at least proves for once and for all that global warming isn’t happening.
I’m sure that all of my readers are intelligent enough to punch a few holes in that logic, but here are a couple of rebuttals that leapt to mind:
- Thirty years ago, I remember weather like this happening every couple of years. We now have winters without any snow at all – which is why we are so unprepared for this weather and why it is such big news. Anyone who can remember thirty years ago can therefore see for themselves that the climate is changing, And fewer cold winters would seem to indicate that it’s warming up. No-one ever said that warming would mean we never get cold weather.
- When people started talking about climate change, they made the mistake of calling it “global warming”. It’s true that the planet will, on average, get warmer, but that temperature rise could actually lead to cooling in some places. And the UK is a prime example of somewhere that could end up getting far colder. For our latitude, the UK is far warmer than you would expect it to be because of the warming effect that we get from the Gulf Stream. Some climate change models predict the Gulf Stream slowing down or even stopping altogether. If that happens, then the UK will become a far colder place to live.
I first became aware of the new advertising campaign for Oxfam Unwrapped in Balham tube station a few days ago. There was a picture of Helena Bonham-Carter wrapped up like a christmas present with the slogan “say no to crap christmas presents”.
To be honest I was a little confused for a second or two. I couldn’t for the life of me see why anyone would see Helena Bonham-Carter as a crap christmas present. Then I realised my mistake. You’re supposed to think that she’s just been given a crap christmas present and that she’s gagged (by a christmas bow that represents politeness) into not saying what she thinks about it. And the way to avoid being seen as someone who gives crap presents to people like Helena is to buy them from Oxfam Unwrapped.
I like the idea of Oxfam Unwrapped a lot. You give Oxfam money and they buy something useful and send it to the developing world. The people who you bought the present for get a card telling them what you’ve bought and where it’s gone. I used it a couple of years ago. I bought a goat for a couple of friends. It was much appreciated.
If you want to avoid the traditional commercialisation of christmas, then you could do much worse than buying your presents from Oxfam
Yesterday’s Observer has a piece about Stewart Dimmock the lorry driver and school governor who campaigned against Al Gore’s film An Inconvenient Truth being shown to British schoolchildren. Dimmock’s campaign has largely been portrayed as a “David and Goliath” fight, with Dimmock as the underdog, fighting a school system that is trying to indoctrinate his children.
The truth is, it seems, a little different.
The Observer has established that Dimmock’s case was supported by a powerful network of business interests with close links to the fuel and mining lobbies. He was also supported by a Conservative councillor in Hampshire, Derek Tipp.
Dimmock also has links with the New Party, a Tory spin-off that was formed when the Tories were floundering under the leadership of Iain Duncan Smith in 2002. The New Party has strong links to Scientific Alliance a group that “promotes biotechnology, genetically modified food, and climate change scepticism.” The Scientific Alliance were advisers on Channel Four’s largely discredited documentary The Great Global Warming Swindle.
So it seems that Dimmock’s campaign isn’t one man against the system as he’d like you to believe but, rather, the last-gasp attempt by a group of people who want to stop the climate change message getting out.
Al Gore and the UN’s IPCC have won the Nobel Peace Prize. I’m not entirely sure what climate change has to do with peace, but it’s nice to see his work honoured.
What isn’t so nice (but isn’t at all unexpected) is the stupidity being demonstrated in the BBC Have Your Say on the subject. There is still a depressingly large number of people who deny climate change. People like Stewart Dimmock. Oh, actually, that reminds me. Once it gets going, the Daily Mail debate on this topic is going to hysterical (in both meanings of the word).
Update: Simon points out that climate change has the potential to cause huge amounts of conflict over the coming decades. So perhaps this is a pre-emptive Peace Prize.
For more details, here’s the Nobel Foundation’s press release.
Update: My current favourite from the BBC Have You Say nonsense-fest:
As long one hates liberals, one does not have to apply basic logic.
G_Slick, North Carolina, United States
Andy Lester has scanned a letter from the Arkansas Democrat Gazette
You may have noticed that March this year was particularly hot. As a matter of fact, I understand that it was the hottest March since the beginning of the last century. All of the trees were fully leafed out and legions of bugs and snakes were crawling around during a time in Arkansas when, on a normal year, we might see a snowflake or two.
This should come to no surprise to any reasonable person. As you know, Daylight Saving Time started almost a month early this year. You would think that members of Congress would have considered the warming effect that an extra hour of daylight would have on our climate. Or did they?
Perhaps this is another plot by a liberal Congress to make us believe that global warming is a real threat. Perhaps next time there should be serious studies performed before Congress passes laws with such far-reaching effects.
Update: In the comments Chris points to the Snopes page about this article which reaches the conclusion that this letter is satirical. Still funny though.
Following on from the release of the Stern report, the BBC are running a “Speak Your Brains” discussion on climate change. It makes very depressing reading. The majority of correspondents either deny that climate change is a problem or object to the government’s green tax proposals.
I’m fast coming to the conclusion that the Earth is doomed. There is no way that a large enough percentage of the population will be convinced of the dangers of climate change in time for anything to be done about it. The best that we can hope for is that we’re not the generation who has to deal with the worst of the problems. And that’s looking less and likely too. I saw a scientist interviewed recently and when he was asked what would happen if we don’t make the necessary changes, he replied “my best advice would be to not be under forty”.
Update: I can’t find it on their web site, but on page two of today’s Guardian there’s a “Today on the Web” feature about the Stern report that quotes from this post.
The BBC is reporting new UK government findings about the impact of greenhouse gases. It makes chilling reading:
The report, published by the UK government, says there is only a small chance of greenhouse gas emissions being kept below “dangerous” levels.
It fears the Greenland ice sheet is likely to melt, leading sea levels to rise by seven metres over 1,000 years.
And then there’s the Have Your Say that the BBC are running on the subject. This just shows that overwhelming scientific evidence just isn’t enough for some people. Here are some choice quotes:
I am looking forward to living in a sea front property. From the report I saw earlier on the BBC news, it looks like I will not have long to wait as I only live 15km north of the City of London.
It is time the “Greens” were identified for what they are, not Pro-Earth, but Anti-Human
I’ll be dead before all the so called effects take place, and I have no offspring so it won’t affect them either !
I’m suspicious that most of the “Global Warming” advocates are extremist tree-huggers, anti-globalization nuts, and others with lost causes trying to make themseslves relevant.
“Global Warming” is a political agenda propelled by the socialists who lost the free market capitalism vs. Marxism argument.This is the new agenda to attack the terrors of global business thats all.
As long as it means less rain, i don’t mind. Solve the problem of the non stop rain and grey skies in the UK and i’m happy. If only we could sail this Island down to the Med!
And my personal favourite:
Until someone explains why polar ice cap melting and rising sea levels is bad i am entirely FOR global warming.