DAME Jenny Harries is chief executive of the Government’s UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA), yet another useless quango which was set up last year to replace Public Health England.
Last month she gave a speech at the UKHSA’s annual conference warning that the climate crisis poses a ‘significant and growing threat’ to health in the UK.
I covered this speech on TCW a couple of weeks ago. Harries made one specific claim about the number of deaths supposedly caused by the heatwaves this summer. According to the Guardian: ‘This summer, the UK experienced record temperatures of 40.3C and six separate heatwave periods associated with more than 2,800 excess deaths. “If several aeroplanes all exploded and we’d lost that many people it would be front-page news in health protection terms,” Harries said.’
This is a claim repeated on the UKHSA’s own website:
‘There is no doubt that our changing climate is a growing health security concern. During unprecedented high temperatures and hot weather this summer there were an estimated 2,803 excess deaths in England amongst those aged over 65.’
Harries’s claim is based on a study widely reported in the media several weeks ago, which compared total deaths during the summer with the five- year average (2020 is excluded from this average because of the Covid spike; therefore the five years are defined as 2016-19 and 2021).
Recently Will Jones has been reporting on TCW about the issue of excess deaths and, as he wrote last week, total deaths have been running above the tive-year average for several months now in England and Wales, as the ONS graph below shows:
We can see much more clearly by focusing on the weekly excess deaths this year:
Since late April, excess deaths have been consistently running between about 500 and 1,000 per week. You will note that deaths were below average during the winter, but as the ONS explain the average is skewed upwards by the Covid spike in early 2021.
As the chart clearly shows, there was no spike in excess deaths during the summer, with the level of excess deaths then being little different to the months before or afterwards. During July and August, excess deaths averaged 717/week. In comparison, excess deaths since w/e April 29, when they started to spike, have averaged 679. During October they hit 906/week.
The excess deaths, which Harries was desperate to blame on the heatwave, are clearly part of a much larger problem, and have nothing to do with the climate.
At the time she made her speech she had all of the above facts at hand, so she must have known what she was saying simply was not true. Why did she deliberately lie about it?
Note: The death data is based on date of registration, not death. Hence the apparent drop in deaths during w/e September 23 (Queen’s funeral), and w/e June 3 (Queen’s Jubilee).
Who has emitted most CO2?
As COP27 enters its final days, the developing nations’ demands for our money seem to be getting nowhere. In particular their campaign for climate reparations/loss and damage are being firmly rejected by most western governments, although Ed Miliband thinks we have a moral responsibility to pay up.
This demand is based on the claim that historically our cumulative emissions of carbon dioxide are much higher than countries such as China, because our industrial revolution began a couple of centuries ago.
In fact, as far as the UK is concerned at least, this is not true. As the chart below shows, our historic emissions pale into insignificance when compared with China’s. Since 1850, UK emissions total 74billion tonnes, whereas China’s are now at 235billion tonnes. The Indian sub-continent is already responsible for 61billion tonnes cumulatively, and on current trends will have caught us up within five years. If there is any justification at all for ‘reparations’, India should pay the same as us, and China three times as much.
Of course this never had anything to do with the climate: it is all about punishing rich countries.
Public want action on climate change, but don’t want to pay for it
They state: ‘As part of a global study covering 34 markets looking at citizen support for policies to help tackle climate change, British citizens are most likely to say they would support policies that apply incentivisation, discounting and other inducements rather than those which use taxation or reduced choice.
‘The relative order of support for the various policies in Great Britain broadly reflects that of the global picture.
‘The most popular policy of the nine tested was for government spending on subsidies to make environmentally friendly technologies cheaper (eg solar panels, electric vehicles), with almost two-thirds (65 per cent) saying they would support this in Britain.
‘Least popular policies were higher taxes on non-renewable energy sources such as gas and oil for heating and cooking to make them more expensive, supported by only 1 in 3 British citizens (29 per cent) and higher taxes on red meat and dairy products that have a bigger carbon footprint (30 per cent).’
Polls such as these are totally meaningless. Most people always say they want things like Net Zero, more nurses, more police, etc etc. However, when push comes to shove, nobody wants to pay the bill.
Other polls in recent years have come to similar results. One in April claimed that the Conservatives would lose 1.3million votes if they ditched the Net Zero commitment.
To a large extent these polls reflect how badly the public have been misled by the media on the topic of climate change. They have been consistently lied to about extreme weather and had patently absurd claims of a climate crisis thrown at them. There appear to be millions who don’t even appreciate how tiny UK emissions are, and who apparently believe UK policies will affect the weather!
What opinion polls don constantly show is that very few people are prepared to pay the cost of decarbonisation.
For instance, just days after that April poll, an Express poll found that 67 per cent were opposed to paying any extra for heat pumps to replace gas boilers. A poll for Net Zero Watch a year ago reported that three in five would not be willing to pay higher taxes on their energy bills to help reach Net Zero targets, including 49 per cent of Labour and Green Party voters.
Why this apparent contradiction? At its heart, of course, is the simple fact that people want all sorts of goodies, but are not prepared to pay for them. Either they believe that money grows on trees or they think that ‘somebody else’ should pay. We saw the same phenomenon this year. Most people say they want more money spent on the NHS, nurses’ wages, and old age care. But what happened when the government increased the National Insurance tax to fund it?
There is, however, another factor at play with the climate agenda. Without putting too fine a point on it, the public have not been told the truth about the real cost. To date, most of the cost of decarbonisation has been loaded on to electricity bills, via renewable subsidies. Even now very few people are now aware of just how much this has already cost them, a total of £78billion in the last ten years alone. Indeed many prefer to blame ‘greedy energy companies’ for their rising bills. Other costs have simply been absorbed into public spending without anybody noticing.
Much of the blame for this cover-up lies with the media, who, with a few notable exceptions, are loathe to mention it. And, of course, most of our political establishment is complicit in stopping voters from finding out the truth about the enormous costs coming their way.
But increasingly it is becoming impossible to hide these costs. Homeowners, if they don’t know already, will soon find out just how horrifically expensive heat pumps are, and the extra £10K or so that electric cars will cost cannot be hidden from buyers. And with the public finances in a mess it will become increasingly difficult for the government to add the costs of Net Zero to public spending.
Sooner or later Net Zero will be much less popular than the pollsters think.