A FEW years ago, browsing amongst the postcards in a little shop in Berwick, I came upon an archive picture of a family of Highlanders, stiffly arranged for the photographer in front of their humble croft and a bleak hinterland of snow-swept mountains. They wore a variety of frost-defying garments and their expression was what is commonly described as ‘dour’. ‘They were fair longing for a bit of global warming!’ ran the caption. I snapped up the postcard and, smiling wryly, battled my way uphill through wind and rain towards the station to catch my train to Edinburgh.
Any surviving crofters in the farther-flung reaches of Scotland would be justified in feeling cheated as they gaze out today upon their unchanged habitat. What price the predictions of all those computer climatologists? I remember, years ago, an article in some Sunday colour supplement telling us that before long the Mediterranean, too hot for comfort, would be displaced in the tourist stakes by a sparkling Hebridean archipelago of blue seas and chic resorts, and where once sheep had frugally nibbled, the slopes of Caledonia would be lush with vines and the fruits of the earth.
What went for Scotland, I had mused, must surely apply equally to the north of England: perhaps even to the north-east coast. Would a rise in temperatures revive the fortunes of Whitley Bay? Would our streets, abandoned in favour of the Costas, soon be thronged once more with holidaymakers, and charity shops be ousted by smart boutiques? With a renewed flow of revenue, might the council even see fit to repair the derelict paddling pool, long serving as a dogs’ lavatory, on the promenade at the end of our road?
So much for the pipe dreams of yesteryear. Today, the charity shops in what was once a thriving town centre are challenged mainly by a mind-boggling influx of barbers from the Levant; dogs still relieve themselves freely in the erstwhile paddling pool; and, perhaps in pursuit of the rewilding agenda, grass grows abundant in the potholes of our back lane.
When so many deadlines have been overtaken, so many threats of doomsday proved false, how is it that anyone still quakes before constantly readjusted time-tables for Armageddon? When so many reputable scientists question the anthropogenic warming narrative, why is it being force-fed to frightened children in our schools?
As with the Covid saga, you do not have to be an expert to smell a rat, and there is plenty of evidence available to those with eyes and ears which strongly contests the official narrative; yet when I argue the point with university-educated contemporaries, the response is usually something along the lines of, ‘global warming, leading to extreme weather phenomena, is undeniable’. As ice-sheets retreat here and advance there, while polar bears, walruses and David Attenborough continue to thrive, and endangered islands refuse to sink beneath the waves, the ultimate evidence for ‘undeniable global warming’, and consequently the need for Net Zero, seems to rest upon the alleged increase in ‘average global temperature’.
I have always wondered how it is possible to ascertain any reliable estimate of ‘the average global temperature’. Recently Kit Knightly, with his usual talent for getting down to brass tacks, devoted a whole article to exploding this basic premise of the Net Zero agenda.
The term ‘average global temperature’, he points out, is itself misleading: ‘When they talk about “average global temperature”, they obviously don’t mean they have measured literally everywhere on Earth. They really mean the “average surface-level temperature from a series of weather stations on land and weather buoys at sea”.’
A judicious selection of weather stations is, of course, crucial in determining the level of alarm which can be generated by climate activists, but beyond this first opportunity for obfuscation, the practice of averaging out the readings is itself unsound.
In his article Knightly illustrates the absurdity of the process by figuring out the ‘average temperature’ in a kitchen first thing in the morning, and again, just after cooking dinner, using four ‘weather stations’: inside the fridge, inside the cooker, and either end of the kitchen table. As he says, ‘Four measuring stations across an entire room is very few, and fully 50 per cent of them experience local extremes of temperature that a) don’t apply to the vast majority of the room and b) massively impact the final outcome.’
This conclusion applies equally to the paucity and bias of the ‘average’ readings which are being used to drive climate hysteria and secure acquiescence to Net Zero policies. Yet, quoting these dubious statistics as evidence, a number of ‘experts’ are proposing to block out the sun (Solar Radiation Modification) to cool us down before it’s ‘too late’!
Are these ‘experts’ mad? In relation to Covid, we have seen the human tragedies which result when ‘experts’ tamper with closely inter-related systems, whether economic, social or physical, which are complex beyond their comprehension. Now, it seems, there are deluded scientists who think themselves capable of tackling complexity on an even grander scale. Fortunately, voices opposing this insanity have not, as yet, been censored.
May I make a suggestion? To wipe out global warming at one stroke, there is no need to sanction the hare-brained schemes of people who think themselves clever enough to play God. All that is necessary is to review the selection of weather stations. We in Whitley Bay, for instance, have not experienced any significant or prolonged increase in temperature since I moved here, in 1975. In fact, those of us old enough to remember look back wistfully to the fleeting halcyon days of 1976 (though even then our summer was off to a slow start), and seize with joy any moments of above-average warmth and sunshine that may come our way. At the height of the recent ‘record-breaking’ heatwave, when thermometers at Heathrow went into overdrive, we up here experienced only a delightful, and all too brief, opportunity to bask in the mid-twenties, fanned always by a gentle breeze. So if we seriously wish to bring down the ‘average global temperature’, and set our children’s minds at rest, somewhere like Whitley Bay would make an excellent substitute for, say, the heat-trap weather station at Porthmadog: and I am sure that there are many places throughout the world which could produce proportionately lower readings. We should, of course, be circumspect in choosing the new locations. We would not wish to find ourselves faced overnight with an impending ice age.
In fact, there is evidence that it is cooling, rather than warming, which we should be preparing for. One thing is certain: at all costs we should avoid the hubris of believing we can manipulate the vast imponderables of nature with impunity, relying instead on human ingenuity and adaptablity to deal as best we can with any variations in weather, or in climate, that we may meet.