Ben Pile writes at Spiked Climate policy, not climate change, poses the biggest risk to our daily lives. Excerpts in italics with my bolds.
Firstly, Ben provides evidence for a reasonable person to conclude the weather and climate is doing nothing out of the ordinary. Drawing on this year’s UK State of the Climate report:
But how significant are these changes really? Take, for example, the claim that the UK’s temperatures have increased. Leaving aside the possibility that land-use change thanks to the UK’s economic development might influence temperatures, the report offers this chart depicting 140 years of anomalies in UK and global annual temperatures:
Though the chart clearly shows that UK temperatures have risen, there is substantial year-to-year variability – far greater in the UK than for the world as a whole – that might make us wonder how impactful this extra warmth really is.
The point is shown more clearly by the report’s chart which shows temperature anomalies in each season:
Over the past 370 years, winters appear to have become substantially warmer. Really what this means is that they have become substantially less cold, rather than actually warm. Autumn and spring also seem to have become milder, whereas the summer has warmed the least.
What’s more, each season shows remarkable changes over the decades and even centuries – showing large-scale change was occurring long before manmade climate change became an issue. The temperature changes of the 1990s are not unprecedented in their degree or speed.
Pile goes on to discuss the absence of facts for other claims regarding precipitation, storms, heatwaves. etc. Then comes the meat of his argument.
Climate is Not the Problem: It’s the so-called “solutions”
But the climate, again, is not the real issue here. An even more uncomfortable truth for environmentalists is that cheap, abundant and easy-to-use energy – ie, gas – has done and could continue to do far more to keep older and infirm people alive in the winter than milder weather ever could. In other words, fossil fuels save lives.
It is climate policy not climate change that wants to deny people the right to heat or cool their homes cheaply and efficiently. Just look at the exorbitant costs to households of Boris’s planned boiler ban. The weather itself does not play any significant role in daily life in historically wealthy, industrialised and liberal societies.
This fact is seen even more clearly in that other preoccupation of climate doomsayers: floods. The environmentalist argument is that warmer air carries more water, and so rainfall events have become more intense, leading to more flash flooding in particular. ‘The higher global warming, the more rainfall’, climate academic Friederike Otto told the Independent, in an article which tried to pin blame for the recent floods in Germany on climate change.
Floods certainly are disruptive. Unsurprisingly, this captures the news media’s attention. But proving a link to climate change is much harder than the media have made out. The most recent IPCC report, for instance, has ‘low confidence’ in the claim ‘that anthropogenic climate change has affected the frequency and the magnitude of floods’. Meanwhile, it has ‘high confidence’ that ‘streamflow trends since 1950 are not statistically significant in most of the world’s largest rivers’. Similarly, other research suggests that there is little evidence of flash floods getting worse in the UK.
What causes floods, then? In the recent case of the tragic floods in Germany, flood warnings were ignored by civil planners and politicians.
Floods in Britain are rarely fatal. But when horrendous flooding does occur, it should be seen as a result not of an altered climate, but of engineering, planning and policy failures. As the nearly three-centuries-long record in the Met Office’s possession clearly shows, various parts of the UK, from time to time, suffer periods of intense rainfall, causing floods. Any urban or infrastructure design that fails to take account of the likelihood of flooding makes flooding inevitable.
In other words, flooding is a manmade event – but not one caused by climate change. There is no such thing as a ‘natural disaster’ in a country as wealthy as the UK. Even if adverse weather events are made ‘more likely’ or even ‘more intense’ by CO2 emissions in the future, as the Met Office report argues, we already know what kind of policies and infrastructure we need to deal with this. There is no excuse for not building this infrastructure: warmer, wetter, colder and drier conditions all existed in the past, and so will likely appear again in the future. What’s past is prologue.
Ironically, it is environmentalism that makes the climate actually dangerous.
Green austerity will deny people the resources and technology they need and deserve to keep warm in winter and cool in summer. And it is environmentalism, with its promise to make the weather ‘safe’ and unchanging if we follow its agenda, that is selling us false hope. That is a much greater threat than climate change or extreme weather could ever be.
See also my series World of Hurt from Climate Policies