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The climate scaremongers: Playing fast and loose with the facts


CLIMATE alarmists love summer. It gives them an opportunity to exploit every heatwave, wildfire and hurricane. It is much harder to scare people in winter, when snow is supposed to be a thing of the past, and who doesn’t welcome a nice spring day or Indian summer?

So here are some of the silly scare stories which have appeared in the few weeks while we’ve been away.

1 Wildfires in Portugal

THE BBC went into full alarmist mode after some fires during a bit of hot weather in Portugal early last month. They reported: ‘Firefighters in Portugal are battling to contain wildfires engulfing thousands of hectares amid soaring temperatures. Around 800 personnel attended a fire near the southern town of Odemira overnight on Monday, with more than 1,400 people having to evacuate. At least nine firefighters have been injured tackling the fires. Temperatures in excess of 40C (104F) are expected to hit much of the Iberian peninsula this week.’

The BBC would like you to believe that hot weather is somehow unusual in Spain and Portugal! And as usual they provide no context at all. The big fire near Odemira burned 6,700 hectares (16,500 acres) but this is a tiny figure compared with the annual wildfire area in Portugal each year. And the data clearly shows there is no upward trend.

As for temperatures of 40C, what is so unusual about that? Temperatures of 39C in Cadiz are certainly not unheard of:

2 Wildfires in Hawaii

THE media quickly tried to link the wildfires on the Hawaiian island of Maui to global warming, with the BBC blaming a ‘dry summer’. The Guardian went one step further saying the fires were made worse by the climate crisis.

Summers in Maui are always dry. But as local experts have been warning for years, the intensity and rapid spread of this fire was the direct result of the spread of savanna-type grasslands in the last couple of decades.

Clay Trauernicht, a professor of natural resources and environmental management at the University of Hawaii, said it would be misleading simply to blame weather and climate for the blazes. Millions of acres of  Hawaii was cleared for plantation agriculture in the early 20th century, principally pineapple and sugar cane. Plantations were by and large fairly resistant to fire. However since 1980 they have shut one by one because of economic pressures, and now there are barely any left. In their place have come uncontrolled invasive species of savanna plants, such as Guinea grass which grows rapidly in the wet winters to a height of 10ft. In summer, these grasses quickly dry out, creating a tinderbox. All it needs is a spark and a strong wind to spread it, and the inevitable disaster will follow, just as it did last month.

Local fire and agricultural experts issued this very warning in a 2014 report, and recommended that the grasslands be properly managed and fire breaks be constructed. The authorities did nothing.

I doubt if you will read any of this in the Guardian.

3 The heatwave that never was

CAN the Met Office become an even bigger laughing stock than they are already?

On Wednesday August 16, they and the clowns at the UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA) announced a Yellow Heat Alert for most of England, saying that temperatures would peak at 28C (82F) on Friday the 18th. This in itself was absurd as 28C is hardly life-threatening!

Friday arrived, and most of us were trying to keep warm under grey skies and rain. If you were lucky enough to find a bit of sunshine, you might have got temperatures of 23C.

How can the Met Office have got it so wrong? Maybe in future they might try getting their forecasts right instead of spending their time pumping out global warming propaganda.

4 The storm that never was

ON THE same day that the Met Office announced the Yellow Heat Alert, they also issued a Yellow Warning for Storm Betty, as the Irish Met Office were to name it, which was due to hit us on the day on Saturday August 19.

According to the Met Office forecast on Friday morning, we could expect up to 80mm (3in) of rain and winds in excess of 70mph in exposed places, and 50mph more widely, particularly in West Wales which would see the strongest winds.

The reality was much more mundane. Ballypatrick in the hills of Northern Ireland saw the most rain, 36mm (1.4in), and the extremes in England and Scotland were much less. As for winds, the Met Office managed to find a handful of extremely exposed sites. Capel Curig, for instance, at an altitude of 216m (708ft) in the middle of Snowdonia, recorded 66mph.

Down in the real world it was no more than a breezy day. Even on the West Wales coast, which was supposed to be worst affected, gusts reached only about 20mph, with sustained winds of about 10mph. According to the Beaufort Scale, that would be described as a ‘gentle breeze’.

But Gentle Breeze Betty does not have quite the same ring about it!

5 It does rain in Southern California

TROPICAL storms rarely hit California, but that does not mean they never do. The reason has nothing to do with climate, it is simply that Eastern Pacific hurricanes usually head west, away from the coast.

Last week, Hurricane Hilary headed north instead, and made landfall in California as a weaker tropical storm. Naturally the BBC went into full alarmist mode, blaming it on climate change in an article full of misinformation. They claimed that rainfall records had been broken across the state and in particular in Palm Springs, though why one solitary town should be of any consequence is a mystery to me.

To push home their message, they said that Los Angeles was in ‘recovery mode’ after 2.48 inches of rain, a record for August apparently.

In reality, Hilary was no wetter than other tropical storms to hit California, and 2in of rain in a day is not unusual at all in Los Angeles:

As for Palm Springs, even that record claim does not stand up to scrutiny, since it was wetter in 1922.

The September 1939 tropical storm, El Cordonazo, followed the same path as Hilary, and dropped twice as much rain on Los Angeles as Hilary, as well as larger amounts elsewhere. Hurricane Kathleen in 1976 is generally accepted as by far the wettest to hit California, with the 14.76 inches that fell on Mount San Gorgonia in a day still the official state record. Kathleen was described as a 1-in-160-year event, with hundreds of homes damaged and parts of California declared a disaster area. The highest rainfall recorded from Hilary was 11.74 inches, and the damage was considerably less than in 1976.

So once again we find that the BBC is playing fast and loose with the facts so that it can promote its political agenda. The same applies to the MSM and the Met Office.

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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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