OR AT least that’s what the BBC would like us to believe. An article published last week on BBC Future, titled ‘Why climate change is inherently racist’, claims:
‘Climate change and racism are two of the biggest challenges of the 21st Century. They are also strongly intertwined. There is a stark divide between who has caused climate change and who is suffering its effects. People of colour across the Global South are those who will be most affected by the climate crisis, even though their carbon footprints are very low. The nations of the Global North have effectively colonised the atmospheric commons. They’ve enriched themselves as a result, but with devastating consequences for the rest of the world and for all of life on Earth.’
It is the usual load of tedious wokeness, with little basis in fact, and simply represents the extremist viewpoint of the author, Jeremy Williams, a self-confessed eco-activist and campaigner for ‘environmental and social justice’.
It is based on the false assumption that both the Global South as a whole and minorities in western countries are adversely affected by the West’s industrialisation.
We have of course been down this road before. By every metric the third world is immeasurably better off now than before the industrial revolution, or most of the time since. This is no coincidence: it is a direct consequence of economic growth and technological development, all enabled by fossil fuels.
But poorer communities are inevitably more vulnerable to the vagaries of weather, or indeed any natural calamity. The answer to that is not the abolition of fossil fuels, but to make those communities wealthier to enable them to become more resilient.
And that is exactly what has been going on over the last few decades. Thanks to economic development in the West, the third world economy has also been growing, benefiting from trade and western technology and expertise, not from aid.
The BBC article uses Zambia as an example:
‘Zambia clearly demonstrates this injustice of climate change. Average carbon footprints in Zambia are very low, coming in at just 0.36 tonnes per person per year – less than a tenth of the UK average. Nevertheless, the country is facing environmental disaster, including a prolonged drought which left over a million people in need of food assistance in 2021. “Zambia has been experiencing the negative impact of climate variability and change for the last three decades,” says Zambian climate scientist Mulako Kabisa. “The biggest impact has been increased temperature and reduced rainfall, resulting in climate shocks that include droughts and floods.” These changes in rainfall and temperature have resulted in crop failure, livestock deaths and reduced the country’s GDP, she adds. “Droughts in particular have led to livelihood loss for the smallholder-dominated agricultural sector, because production is dependent on availability of adequate rain”.’
In reality, agriculture output in Zambia has been booming since the 1960s. While the effects of the current drought are evident, similar drop-offs have occurred in the past. Much more importantly though, despite drought recent output is still close to record levels:
UN Food and Agriculture Organisation
The wider picture shows that Zambians are twice as well off now than they were just a couple of decades ago, as their economy has diversified away from subsistence farming, thus making it far more resilient to weather shocks.
Our World in Data
But what about that climate-induced drought? It probably won’t surprise you to learn that there is no long-term trend in Zambia’s rainfall. It is not getting wetter or drier.
World Bank Climate Portal
Jeremy Williams has every right to promulgate his opinions, no matter how daft. But the BBC has no right to publish them as if they are written on tablets of stone, presenting them as statements of fact, rather than the ravings of a crank. They did not even attempt to challenge his opinions, nor ask for alternate views.
According to the BBC Future website:
‘We believe in truth, facts, and science. We take the time to think. And we don’t accept – we ask why.’
Don’t they know we will still need oil and gas?
It is abundantly clear that all our major parties are now opposed to further development of North Sea and other UK oil and gas reserves.
Labour’s Ed Miliband, for instance, had this to say last month about the proposed Cambo field off the Shetland islands: ‘It makes no environmental sense and now Shell are accepting it doesn’t make economic sense. Ploughing on with business as usual on fossil fuels will kill off our chances of keeping 1.5 degrees alive and carries huge risks for investors as it is simply an unsustainable choice. Shell have woken up to the fact that Cambo is the wrong choice. It’s long past time for the Government to do so.’
Lib Dem leader Sir Ed Davey went one step further last year, in effect declaring war on Big Oil:
‘Under the plan outlined to the Guardian by Ed Davey, another immediate policy would be to stop new bonds being issued in London to finance oil, coal or gas exploration. Fossil fuel firms already listed in the UK would then have two years to produce a coherent plan about how they would reach net zero emissions by 2045, or risk being struck off the LSE. In the longer term, pension funds would have to disinvest from fossil fuels by 2035, with all companies with fossil fuel assets removed from the exchange by 2045.’
Both parties have of course called for a windfall tax on North Sea oil, which would kill the entire sector stone dead anyway.
Meanwhile regulators have killed off the massive new Jackdaw gas field 150 miles east of Aberdeen on spurious environmental grounds, and new North Sea projects will be approved only if ministers judge them to be compatible with the drive to net zero, thanks to new regulations.
Yet none of these politicians seem to appreciate that the UK will carry on needing gas and oil, and lots of it too, for decades to come.
Take natural gas. Even the Committee on Climate Change (CCC) accept that we will still need plenty of what they call ‘dispatchable electricity’. In other words, power that can be readily ramped up and down when intermittent wind and solar power fluctuates. Currently it is gas-fired generation which supplies the bulk of this.
In future it will have to be provided by low carbon sources, which the CCC say will be:
1) Gas-fired power, with carbon capture and storage.
2) Hydrogen – which will be produced from, you’ve guessed it, gas.
Electricity generation accounts for a third of natural gas usage in the UK, and residential another third. Even if the threat to ban new gas boilers in 2035 takes effect, the vast majority of houses will still be using gas heating for many years after.
Industry too will remain heavily reliant on gas, as there is no prospect of any large-scale rollout of the only alternative, hydrogen, for many years to come.
The CCC projections, which are published in their Sixth Carbon Budget, would suggest that consumption of natural gas will only be 14 per cent lower than now in 2035, and will remain at a high level well into the 2040s.
It is a similar tale with oil. Although consumption of oil will decline after 2030 and the ban on petrol/diesel cars, there will still be plenty of demand from industry, aviation and non-energy uses.
In reality we will still need almost as much oil and gas in 20 years’ time as we do now. So where do Boris Johnson, Sir Keir Starmer, Sir Ed Davey or Nicola Sturgeon think we will get all this oil and gas from?
If they were genuinely concerned about emissions of carbon dioxide, they would make sure we got it all from the North Sea, rather than shipping it from half way around the world, which would probably entail twice as many emissions.
A report by OGUK, the leading representative body for the UK offshore oil and gas industry, has highlighted the stark reality of the situation. Without further investment, it stated, the UK’s gas production could plummet by 75 per cent by 2030. Not only would that leave the country dangerously reliant on imported supplies, but it would decimate tax revenues from North Sea oil and gas, which are expected to pull in £3billion this year.
As the natives get increasingly restless about the looming costs of Net Zero, the climate establishment is resorting to ever more desperate propaganda.
The government has just published its ‘Third Climate Change Risk Assessment’. It is full of the most ludicrous visions of the UK’s future in a slightly warmer world. Fire, flood and drought will, we are assured, destroy our natural world, damage soil health, ravage our crops and livestock, disrupt supplies of food and goods, ruin our health and reduce productivity.
It’s like Mad Max Meets Godzilla!
There is no evidence provided for any of this, for the very good reason that there is not any. Instead it’s all based on ‘Met Office Says’.
Worse, it makes no allowance for the fact that mankind adapts, as of course the natural world does as well. If our summers become slightly warmer and/or drier in the next century, farmers will adapt. They may plant different crops, or sow them a week or two earlier. After all, the changes, if any, will be so slow as to barely be noticeable.
As any farmer would tell you, the year-on-year changes in our weather dwarf any long-term trends. For instance, summer temperatures in England have risen by about 0.5C since the 1940s. Yet they declined by nearly five degrees between 1976 and 1977:
The same applies to rainfall. Long-term trends are tiny, but you can go from a very wet summer to a very dry one a year later without warning or explanation.
If farmers and the rest of the country can cope with changes like these, I am quite sure they can manage perfectly well with a half a degree rise in the next hundred years.