Report shows the world isn’t as warm as the green doom-mongers warned. So will energy bills come down? Fat chance, says MP Graham Stringer
Labour MP Graham Stringer: If the environmentalists had it right, we would now be facing global catastrophe, a scorched Earth and rapidly rising sea levels. None of that has happened.
Al Gore, the U.S. politician and self-appointed champion of the green cause, famously declared that ‘the science is settled’ on climate change.
It was a claim that revealed far more about the intolerance of the environmental movement than the reality of scientific inquiry.
Research should be founded on critical analysis of the evidence, not on wishful thinking or enforcement of a political ideology.
Now the hollowness of Gore’s assertion is exposed again by a vital new report that shows how the apocalyptic predictions of the green lobby have been exaggerated.
In a study just published by the respected journal Nature Geoscience, a group of British academics reveals that the immediate threat from global warming is lower than previously thought, because the computer models used by climate change experts are flawed.
According to these models, temperatures across the world should now be at least 1.3 degrees above the mid-19th century average, which is taken as a base level in such calculations. But the British report demonstrates that the rise is only between 0.9 and 1 degree.
That discrepancy is ‘a big deal’, says Professor Myles Allen of Oxford University, one of the authors of the study. He is absolutely right.
The importance of this new investigation cannot be downplayed.
It shows that so many of the assumptions behind the imposition of the fashionable eco agenda — such as the creation of vast, subsidised wind farms or the levying of green taxes — are wrong. Yet the environmental warriors show not a shred of embarrassment over these new findings.
There has been no word of apology, no sign of humility. Remarkably, they carry on preaching their diehard gospel. With their habitual arrogance, they argue that the lower levels of global warming mean that we now have even more time to implement their radical policies.
They don’t seem to have considered for a moment that we might consider throttling back on the extreme measures we’re told must be carried out to ‘save the planet’. They display such certainty because environmentalism increasingly resembles a religious creed.
That has certainly been my experience as a Labour MP, who, because of my own knowledge of science, has long been sceptical about the climate change doctrine.
This outlook has made me a target for green campaigners, who seem to think that no voices should be heard but their own.
A disgraceful example of this impulse towards censorship came recently from the geneticist and BBC presenter Dr Adam Rutherford, who hosts the Radio 4 programme Inside Science.
Taking on the role of latter-day witch-finder, Dr Rutherford recently launched a campaign to prevent my re-appointment to the Science and Technology Committee of the Commons, on the grounds of my scepticism about climate change.
Through social media, he urged his followers to show their ‘righteous indignation’ by writing to their MPs.
‘It is not OK to have science so misrepresented in a democracy,’ he declared.
It was outrageous for a BBC presenter to behave in this manner. The Corporation is meant to be an impartial broadcaster, not a political lobbyist.
Dr Rutherford has absolutely no business trying to dictate who sits on independent parliamentary committees.
Moreover, I do not accept his accusation that I somehow ‘misrepresent’ science.
I actually have a degree in chemistry from Sheffield University, and before I became a full-time politician I worked as an analytical chemist in the plastics industry.
The BBC has now given him a dressing down and warned him about his future conduct on his social media accounts.
That personalised campaign is not the first time I have had unhappy dealings with the BBC, which has long been a mouthpiece for environmental propaganda.
On one occasion, I made a programme with Conservative MP Peter Lilley and this paper’s writer Quentin Letts about the way the Meteorological Office has succumbed to the green orthodoxy.
Though the programme was broadcast, the BBC Trust subsequently decided it had breached editorial guidelines on accuracy and impartiality, which meant it could not be broadcast again, and cannot be found online.
Like so many other public institutions, the BBC has adopted its eco posture without any genuine scientific literacy. Most BBC executives and reporters would be clueless about the second law of thermodynamics.
In this highly politicised field, adherence to the correct dogma seems to count more than an open mind.
But it was precisely my willingness to question received wisdom that led to my interest in the subject of global warming.
I was particularly intrigued by the infamous scandal at the Climatic Research Unit in the University of East Anglia in 2009, when a series of leaked emails appeared to show that scientists there had distorted historical research to suit the green narrative. As a member of the Science and Technology Select Committee, I followed the saga closely.
I was therefore disappointed when my colleagues on the Committee, having conducted an inquiry into the ‘Climategate’ scandal, did not come to a more robust conclusion about the scale of the scientific manipulation at the unit. Too many of them seemed to be following the herd.
But, as the latest report demonstrates, the weakness of the global warmists’ case is now obvious. This is not just a question of misreading data. It is essentially a matter of broken computer models and a determination to ignore any inconvenient truths.
If the environmentalists had it right, we would now be facing global catastrophe, a scorched Earth and rapidly rising sea levels. None of that has happened.
The International Panel on Climate Change warned that the Himalayan glaciers were melting away, a claim that it later admitted was false.
Similarly, it was argued that global warming would bring a new wave of malaria sweeping across the world. The opposite has taken place: global malaria rates are falling.
The triumph of the environmentalists has had an enormous and costly impact on our daily lives. Successive governments have brought in green taxes, hiked fuel duties and pushed up energy bills.
The real price is paid not by the eco justice warriors wallowing in their phoney moral superiority, but by people like those in my Blackley and Broughton constituency, who struggle to meet their household running costs.
An extra £100 a year on electricity and gas might not be much to a BBC presenter, but it is a heck of a sum for someone who lives in the Harpurhey ward of Blackley, which was named in 2013 as the most deprived neighbourhood in England.
Experts also told us we should buy diesel cars because they would help us cut our CO2 emissions. Now the same vehicles are blamed for killing thousands a year with pollution.
Crucially, soaring energy costs for businesses thanks to green initiatives, especially in the manufacturing sector, cause real damage to the British economy by driving jobs overseas to India and China, both countries that are building coal-fired power stations at an astonishing rate.
This week’s scientific report should mark a return to environmental sanity in place of the current dangerous green fundamentalism.
But given my own experience, I wouldn’t bet on it.