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HomeClimate WatchThe climate scaremongers: David Attenborough and the great walrus deception

The climate scaremongers: David Attenborough and the great walrus deception


IN 2019 Netflix in conjunction with WWF broadcast Frozen Worlds, an episode in the Our Planet series narrated by David Attenborough. The scenes it showed shocked and horrified viewers around the world.

After a brief introduction about the recent loss of Arctic summer sea ice and the ‘inevitable’ devastation this will cause for Arctic animals, it shifts to a series of amazing shots of tens of thousands of walrus, crowded cheek-by-jowl on a beach in Siberia.

The camera pans out to a rocky cliff, which several walrus are attempting to climb. Suddenly, one after another, the walrus are shown falling off the cliff to their deaths on the rocky shore below. The scenes are shown in slow motion and repeated to maximise the shock effect.

Attenborough coolly informs viewers that the walrus would not normally be there, but out on the sea ice. Because of man-made global warming, the poor walrus have been forced on to land in crowded conditions, where they will inevitably suffer and die.

But was it all as simple as Attenborough portrayed?

A number of suspicions were immediately evident. Far from such haulouts being unusual, walrus use these beaches every year to rest and feed while waiting for the sea ice to move south in autumn. They invariably crowd together in these situations, both for warmth and protection from polar bears. Indeed, far from being threatened by climate change, walrus populations have been growing in recent years, explaining why so many were hauled out that day. Retreating sea ice actually increases the food supply for walrus.

And what made those walrus try to climb the cliff?

Dr Susan Crockford is a professional zoologist who has specialised in Arctic mammals for many years, particularly polar bears and walrus. She immediately smelled a rat.

Her newly published book, Fallen Icon: Sir David Attenborough and the Walrus Deception, tells how she uncovered exactly what went on that day on the Siberian beach. Her detective work reveals that it was polar bears stalking them that forced the walrus up that cliff, that this is a common hunting tactic and that the bears fed off the carcases below.

She uncovers evidence that WWF knew about this hunting tactic at that location, and that was precisely why this beach was chosen for the film.

She goes on to describe how Attenborough used this horrifying imagery to jump-start a three-year campaign against human-caused global warming that included ten documentaries laden with groundless climate emergency messaging, much of it aimed at the wealthiest and most powerful people in the world. Attenborough’s relentless climate activism included a utopian vision of global changes for society eerily similar to the one proposed by the World Economic Forum.

It is hard to disagree with Crockford’s conclusions: ‘It appears to me that when he agreed to present the gruesome falling walrus film footage in Our Planet as evidence of climate change, Attenborough compromised his principles to achieve a specific end result. It will go down as another “own goal” for the climate change movement and judged as the moment Attenborough fell from grace as a trusted British icon.’

News you won’t see on the BBC!

Official data recently published shows that last year saw the fewest hurricanes around the world since the satellite era began. 2021 also recorded the second lowest number of major hurricanes:

Courtesy of Bjorn Lomborg

For clarification, hurricanes are described as typhoons in the Western Pacific, and cyclones in the Indian Ocean and South Pacific. The correct generic term is Tropical Cyclone.

Beyond coal?

There was much euphoria at COP26 about an agreement to phase out the use of coal. In reality, it was signed by only 45 countries and these did not include any of the major coal producers or users such as China, India, the US or Russia.

It has not taken long for the gloss to disappear.

China announced last week that its coal production hit record highs in 2021, 5.8 per cent up on 2019.

Simultaneously a report from analysts the Rhodium Group found that US coal consumption jumped by 17 per cent last year compared with 2020 levels. That’s a huge increase which Rhodium says was ‘largely driven by a run-up in natural gas prices.’

Meanwhile Japan will be more reliant than ever on fossil fuels as it phases out its last nuclear power plants. Its government has made it clear that it is sticking to plans to build 22 new coal power stations, which will create the equivalent of a quarter of Britain’s total emissions of carbon dioxide each year.

BP Energy Review

Globally, the International Energy Agency has confirmed that coal powered electricity hit a new peak last year, 9 per cent higher than 2020. The rise in coal power was double that of the much-vaunted renewables, which cannot keep up with the rising demand.

Wind and solar power supply less than a tenth of the world’s electricity.

Tony Blair wants more wind farms

Recent energy price rises have triggered the inevitable complaints that we should have been building more onshore wind farms.

The Tony Blair Institute for Global Change is the latest to jump on the bandwagon, claiming that, if subsidies for these wind farms had not been ended in 2015, energy bills would be £1.8billion a year less now. 

The calculations are based on the fiction that onshore wind only costs £57/MWh. But this figure has no basis in reality. The last batch of subsidised onshore wind farms, commissioned in 2018 and 2019, are paid between £91.39 and £98.23/MWh via Contracts for Difference. This makes a nonsense of the TBI claim.

If, of course, wind farms really had been so cheap, they would have been built without the need for subsidies anyway. In the event, onshore wind farm construction has dried up to virtually nothing since subsidies were withdrawn.

Apart from the last few months, the market price for electricity has been around £50/MWh and often less, since 2015. In other words, electricity users would have been paying through the nose to subsidise all of these extra wind farms for the last five years. They are already paying £1.3billion a year to subsidise the ones we have already got.

It was, of course, Tony Blair’s government which set the wheels in motion for the slow motion car crash that is Britain’s energy policy, in particular setting up the renewable subsidy systems, which now cost us more than £10billion a year.

It is the ultimate insult that the Blair administration introduced the Renewable Obligation subsidy system. This provides guaranteed subsidies to onshore wind operators, currently worth £50.80/MWh, on top of what they are paid for the electricity they produce. With the high market prices on offer at the moment, it is a win-win scenario for operators. Unfortunately it is a lose-lose deal for customers.

Blair also laid the groundwork for Ed Miliband’s Climate Change Act in 2008, which is doing so much harm.

It is a bit rich for his institute now to complain that our energy prices are too high!

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Paul Homewood
Paul Homewood
Paul Homewood is a former accountant who blogs about climate change at Not a Lot of People Know That

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