Former London mayor Boris Johnson was appointed as foreign minister by Britain’s new Prime Minister Theresa May on Wednesday. Johnson was a leading figure in the victorious “Leave” campaign in the EU referendum last month and is well-known climate sceptic.
Fools who believed that the global warming soothsayers really meant what they said or that they had a clue what the weather would be in the next 10 years.
[…] For more than 20 years now, we have been told that this country was going to get hotter and hotter and hotter, and that global warming was going to change our climate in a fundamental way. Do you remember that? We were told that Britain was going to have short, wet winters and long, roasting summers. It was going to be like 1976 all over again, with streakers at Lord’s and your Mr Whippy melting before you could even lick it, and Hyde Park scorched into a mini Kalahari.
They said we were never going to have snow again, and that we should prepare for southern England to turn gradually into a Mediterranean world. There were going to be olive groves in the Weald of Kent, and the whole place was going to be so generally broiling in summer that no one would be able to move between noon and 4pm, after which people would come out to play boules and sip pastis, to the whine of a mandolin, in the dusty square that had once been a village green.
That’s what they said: the BBC, and all the respectable meteorologists – and I reckon there were tens of thousands of people who took these prophecies entirely seriously. Omigod, they said to themselves, we are all going to fry…
I hope I don’t need to tell you that we have not experienced a Mediterranean climate – not since they started to tell us to expect it. On the contrary, we have had some pretty long and miserable winters – including the last one, in which I saw snow settle in London on four separate occasions – and our summer is at risk of becoming a bit of a farce.
Something is up with our winter weather. Could it be the Sun is having a slow patch. Of course it still seems a bit nuts to talk of the encroachment of a mini ice age. But it doesn’t seem as nuts as it did five years ago. I look at the snowy waste outside, and I have an open mind.
“The Sun is god!” cried JMW Turner as he died, and plenty of other people have thought there was much in his analysis. The Aztecs agreed, and so did the pharaohs of Egypt. We are an arrogant lot these days, and we tend to underestimate the importance of our governor and creator.
We forget that we were once just a clod of cooled-down solar dust; we forget that without the Sun there would have been no photosynthesis, no hydrocarbons — and that it was the great celestial orb that effectively called life into being on Earth. In so far as we are able to heat our homes or turn on our computers or drive to work it is thanks to the unlocking of energy from the Sun.
As a species, we human beings have become so blind with conceit and self-love that we genuinely believe that the fate of the planet is in our hands — when the reality is that everything, or almost everything, depends on the behaviour and caprice of the gigantic thermonuclear fireball around which we revolve.
I say all this because I am sitting here staring through the window at the flowerpot and the bashed-up barbecue, and I am starting to think this series of winters is not a coincidence. The snow on the flowerpot, since I have been staring, has got about an inch thicker. The barbecue is all but invisible. By my calculations, this is now the fifth year in a row that we have had an unusual amount of snow; and by unusual I mean snow of a kind that I don’t remember from my childhood: snow that comes one day, and then sticks around for a couple of days, followed by more.
I remember snow that used to come and settle for just long enough for a single decent snowball fight before turning to slush; I don’t remember winters like this. Two days ago I was cycling through Trafalgar Square and saw icicles on the traffic lights; and though I am sure plenty of readers will say I am just unobservant, I don’t think I have seen that before. I am all for theories about climate change, and would not for a moment dispute the wisdom or good intentions of the vast majority of scientists.
But I am also an empiricist; and I observe that something appears to be up with our winter weather, and to call it “warming” is obviously to strain the language.
The UK may take a more skeptical approach to addressing man-made climate change in future due to the victory of the “leave” forces in last week’s Brexit referendum to quit the European Union.
Prominent leaders of the “leave” campaign — including Conservative MP and former London mayor Boris Johnson, now being touted as a potential prime minister — are viewed as climate skeptics, at least compared to their counterparts on the losing “remain” side, headed by British PM David Cameron.
Cameron has announced he will resign in the wake of his referendum defeat, setting off a race for leader of the Conservative party, who would also become PM.
While Johnson has never denied man-made climate change and described last year’s United Nations’ Paris climate treaty as “fantastic,” he also wrote in a Dec. 20 Telegraph column, quoting prominent U.K. climate skeptic Piers Corbyn, that human beings tend to confuse weather with climate and overestimate their impact on the natural world.
As Johnson put it: “I am sure that those global leaders (who drafted the Paris treaty) were driven by a primitive fear that the present ambient warm weather is somehow caused by humanity. And that fear — as far as I understand the science — is equally without foundation.”