EARLIER this year, the UK Parliament declared a climate emergency. They are not the only ones: half of the UK’s principal local authorities have done the same.
Meanwhile the Committee on Climate Change claims that extreme weather events are increasing, and the head of the Environment Agency has stated that global warming is driving both more extreme weather and hotter, drier summers.
But where is the evidence for any of this? After all, it should be obvious by now if there really was such an emergency.
The Global Warming Policy Foundation has published a study, Plus ca Change – The UK climate in 2018. Using official Met Office data, it dismantles the idea that there is any climate breakdown. Indeed, it shows that the UK climate has barely changed over the last hundred years or more.
The report’s main findings include:
• Average temperatures have barely increased in the last twenty years.
• Temperature data provides no evidence that the climate will warm in the foreseeable future.
• Based on the Central England Temperature series (CET), the heatwaves in 1975 and 1976 were much more intense than last year’s. The hottest days in the series were in 1976 and 1990.
• According to the UK Met Office, the summer of 2018 tied as the hottest on record with 1976, 2003 and 2006. However, the CET ranks it only the fifth hottest, behind even 1826. This casts doubt on the Met Office calculations, which include a number of sites, such as Heathrow, which are artificially warmed by the Urban Heat Island effect.
• While daily temperature extremes are not rising at the top of the scale, extremely cold days have become much less common. In short, UK temperatures have become less extreme.
• Although average rainfall has increased in Scotland since the 1970s, in England and Wales long-term trends have changed little since the 19th century.
• There has also been little change in seasonal rainfall trends, making a nonsense of ‘wetter winters’ and ‘drier summers’ claims.
• There is no evidence that rainfall is becoming more extreme, whether decadally, annually, monthly or daily.
• Sea levels around the UK have been rising at a round 1.44mm a year since the end of the 19th century after allowing for vertical land movement. They have been rising no faster in recent years than in the early 20th century.
• Storms have not become more frequent or stronger.
In short, although it is slightly warmer than it used to be, the UK climate has actually changed very little over the years. In particular, there is no evidence that weather has become more extreme. Heatwaves have not become more severe, nor droughts. Rainfall data offers no evidence that floods have become worse either. Neither is there any evidence from past trends that the climate will become significantly hotter, wetter or drier. Nor that sea level rise will accelerate.
Widespread claims that we are now living through a climate emergency or breakdown are just so much hot air.
The full GWPF report can be read here.