THEY had not even finished counting the bodies in last weekend’s tornado devastation in the US Midwest when Joe Biden played the climate card. Just hours after the disaster, climate expert Biden confidently asserted :
‘All I know is that the intensity of the weather across the board has some impacts as a consequence of the warming of the planet and climate change, The specific impact on these specific storms, I can’t say at this point.
‘I’m going to be asking the EPA [the US Environmental Protection Agency] and others to take a look at that. The fact is that we all know everything is more intense when the climate is warming. Everything. And obviously it has some impact here, but I can’t give you a quantitative read on that.’
No, Joe, it is not ‘fact’ that everything is more intense, nor that it has some impact here.
Provisional data from the National Weather Service confirms that the tornadoes which hit Mayfield, Kentucky and Edwardsville, Illinois were both EF-3s. (Tornadoes are rated from EF-0 to EF-5, with the latter being the strongest).
Although most tornadoes occur in spring and early summer, strong tornadoes are not unheard-of in winter. Indeed, on average since 1950 there have been five tornadoes every winter of EF3 and greater strength. And the official data shows that these winter storms are not becoming more frequent.
US Storm Prediction Center
And as meteorologist Chris Martz shows, looking at the year as a whole, the strongest tornadoes are not as frequent as they used to be.
Ironically we are just approaching the anniversary of probably the worst December tornado outbreak on record, which hit Illinois particularly hard between December 18 and 20, 1957. There nine EF-3 tornadoes, but three EF-4s and one EF-5.
EF-5s are extremely rare events in winter – indeed there have been just three recorded since 1950; in 1953, 1957 and 1971. In addition there have been forty six EF-4s during that time. There is therefore nothing remotely unusual about the four EF-3s which hit Kentucky and Illinois last weekend.
Sadly tornadoes can be devastating events, but they are also natural ones which have occurred since time immemorial. I find it utterly contemptible that Biden should use this tragedy to further his climate agenda without even bothering to wait for the facts to emerge.
Electric, expensive & useless – welcome to the future of personal transport
Most people are aware that the government is banning the sale of new petrol and diesel cars after 2030, but I suspect very few have any idea of how much dearer electric cars actually are. They are in for a very big shock.
If we take the Vauxhall Mokka, a typical medium–sized car, the basic petrol model retails at £21,835. The electric equivalent costs £33,685, twelve grand more.
The latter amount does not include the current government subsidy of £2,500, but this plainly won’t be affordable when we are all buying them. Neither will it be affordable for electric car drivers to continue avoid paying their share of vehicle excise duty and fuel duties.
Like a stuck record, the climate lobby, which has taken over the running of the country, keeps telling us that electric car prices will soon start to drop in price. Yet they remain stubbornly high.
Indeed, it seems inevitable that they will become more expensive in years to come, not less, because of rocketing prices for lithium, cobalt and all the other materials needed to make the batteries. Demand is already outstripping supply for these metals, and that is while production of electric cars is till tiny.
Raw materials make up about 70 per cent of the cost of a battery, which is typically around £5,000. Credible projections suggest lithium and cobalt prices could rise tenfold by 2030, which would clearly make electric cars unaffordable for most people. Indeed, there are unlikely to be enough raw materials anyway to supply the potential demand for cars.
To put the numbers into perspective, global sales of electric cars are just over 2million a year. Total car sales worldwide are 21million. It is true that increasing demand will encourage the development of new mines, but these usually take several years to come to fruition, and are therefore likely to lag behind demand.
What about the advantages of owning an electric car? Well, if you can do all your charging from home, it is true you might save a hundred pounds or so a year on running costs. But for the millions who don’t have off-street parking and will have to rely on public chargers, their running costs will be higher than now.
And then there is the question of range. According to Vauxhall, you might get 117 miles out of your Mokka battery. In the real world it will be much less. You can forget about long trips or going out for the day, unless you are prepared to queue for hours for a charger on the way home.
The real intention, of course, is to force us out of our cars and on to public transport. What better way to do it than mandate cars we cannot afford?
Owning a car is so twentieth century, darlings!
I may be psychic, but my premonitions don’t usually come true so quickly! The day after I wrote the above, junior transport minister Trudy Harrison told a sustainability conference that owning a car was outdated ‘20th-century thinking’ and the country should move to ‘shared mobility’ to cut carbon emissions.
Socialists have been trying to get rid of our cars since the 1970s, and we are used to these arguments from eco-cranks. But this is the first time I have heard this from a government minister, although the writing has been on the wall for a long time.
It all slots together, of course. Make us buy electric cars which we can’t afford and that are not fit for purpose. Tax us to the hilt with road use charges and congestion charges. Ban cars from cities. Everything is aimed at a single purpose. This never had anything to do with ‘climate change’. It is all to do with limiting our personal freedom, to stop us going where we want, when we want and doing what we want.
And it won’t end there. Private ownership of homes, for example, has already been condemned as ‘wasteful’, and some believe the whole concept of private ownership is immoral.
It may sound fanciful now, but so did attacks on car ownership just a few years ago.
BBC forced to retract lie about wind subsidies
I am proud to say that I am often a thorn in the side of the BBC, complaining whenever they publish fake climate stories. Sometimes I even win, although their in-house complaints system tries its best to avoid this eventuality. Sometimes, though, the lie is so blatant that even the BBC’s Executive Complaints Unit (ECU) cannot defend it.
I am therefore pleased to announce that the ECU have upheld one of my recent complains against Justin Rowlatt, the BBC’s Climate Editor.
In June, Rowlatt filmed what was no more than a puff piece for offshore wind farms. In it he asserted that the ‘offshore wind industry is now virtually subsidy free’.
Anybody who knows how the subsidy system works will tell you this is poppycock. Offshore wind farms receive subsidies in one of two ways:
• Renewable Obligation Certificates (ROCs) – these cover installations up to around 2016. Typically wind farms are paid a subsidy of about £100/MWh, in addition to the market value of the electricity they produce, which last year was about £50/MWh. ROCs are payable throughout the life of the asset, in practice well into the 2030s and beyond.
• Contracts for Difference (CFDs) – this is the subsidy system employed for installations since 2016. Under it, wind farm operators are paid a guaranteed index-linked price for all the electricity they produce. For all existing wind farms, these guaranteed prices are way above the market price of £50/MWh. Furthermore they are guaranteed for the first 15 years of the asset’s life, so once again the subsidies will be payable well into the 2030s.
It is ironic that Rowlatt made his video at the giant Hornsea wind farm, which is currently paid £164.98/MWh, more than three times the normal market price.
All in all, the cost of subsidies via ROCs and CFDs added up to more than £4billion last year, all of which is added to electricity bills – hardly subsidy free!
Normally the BBC get away with a ‘correction’ at the bottom of the offending article, which nobody ever reads. The damage has been done, which is the intention.
However on this occasion the Daily Mail picked up on it, and published a damning article. They say that Rowlatt has been censured by his superiors over his fake news. Whether or not that is the case, on this occasion at least the public have been told the truth.
I have two other outstanding complaints against Justin Rowlatt. Both concern the Panorama edition last month on ‘wild weather’, which this column covered at the time. The first was his blatantly false assertion that ‘death tolls are rising’ because of extreme weather. In reality, deaths from weather disasters nowadays are at record lows. The second concerned his claim that the recent drought in Madagascar was ‘climate-induced’. Not only did he offer no evidence for this, but recent studies have proved that such droughts are common events there, and have nothing whatsoever to do with global warming.
If Justin Rowlatt continues publishing fake news, he had better watch out, because some of us are on to his game.