THIS week it was the turn of Sky News to bang the extreme weather drum. Having ludicrously called last year ‘freakishly hot’ in the UK, they claimed: ‘Hot temperatures throughout the year [in the UK] fuelled prolonged drought, threatened crops and drove hundreds of excess deaths’, also noting that ‘last year saw Europe’s worst drought in 500 years, savage heat in India, and multibillion dollar losses from Hurricane Ian in Florida and from flooding in Pakistan. Burning fossil fuels, intensive animal farming and slashing down forests are contributing to the rising global temperature, which in turn is driving costly, violent and extreme weather’.
No mention of the fact that severe cold spells are less common these days. The rest of their claim about UK extremes are not supported by the evidence.
Rainfall, for instance, was only slightly below average in England, and all of the most severe droughts happened long ago:
According to DEFRA, cereal yields were some of the best on record, up 9.4 per cent on 2021. Who would have thought that wheat prefers sunny weather? So much for threatened crops!
As TCW revealed a few months ago, the claim of heatwave deaths was an outright lie propagated by Professor Dame Jenny Harries, the chief executive of the UK Health Security Agency. Excess deaths could not have been driven by the hot weather, because they have been running at a high level ever since May, with no spikes at all in the summer and continuing throughout the autumn.
And what about all this ‘costly, violent and extreme weather’, which we are assured is being driven by intensive animal farming? It turns out this was just another throwaway lie, intended to cower the gullible public.
Deaths from natural disasters worldwide are minuscule in comparison with past decades. Of course, this is mainly because our societies are now resilient enough to withstand bad weather. But if such disasters really were becoming so much worse, as claimed, we would most certainly see an increasing trend in death tolls over the last two or three decades. We clearly don’t.
We don’t have to rely on mortality data. We know from official sources that the number of major hurricanes last year was one of the lowest on record:
And global production of cereals last year was also one of the highest on record, despite a slight year-on-year decline because of the problems in Ukraine, making a nonsense of claims of catastrophic floods and droughts.
The same misinformation is doubtlessly spread across the rest of the media. As is so often the case, it has been propagated by the taxpayer-funded Met Office, who long ago abandoned any pretence of scientific objectivity, opting instead for political advocacy.
And, as usual, the article ends with a plea for Net Zero, this time by climate science professor Richard Allan from Reading University: ‘These impacts will become progressively worse until global temperatures are stabilised by cutting global carbon emissions to net zero.’
The Norfolk village crumbling into the sea
THE alarmist media have several go-to scare stories that they wheel out every year to push their climate agenda. One such is erosion on parts of the Norfolk coast.
I covered the topic a year ago for TCW, following a Guardian article titled ‘Sands of time are slipping away for England’s crumbling coasts amid climate crisis. Millions of homes are at risk as rising sea levels speed erosion’.As I explained at the time, Norfolk’s coast has been eroding for thousands of years; it has nothing to do with climate change.
It is therefore no surprise to see the BBC promoting the same scare story in a recent report ‘Happisburgh: The Norfolk village crumbling into the sea‘. It focuses on a couple of houses which are threatened by the eroding cliffs, along with emotional interviews with the owners. Having set the story in terms of personal tragedy, the BBC claim: ‘But punishing weather conditions linked to climate change have eroded so much of the village’s soft sandy rock that her house is now the last one before the cliff edge.’
I have written extensively about Happisburgh for many years, every time these lies are propagated. I won’t bore you with all the detail, but you can read them here. A selection of historical facts give a good idea:
• In the Middle Ages, the village of Whimpwell stood between Happisburgh and the sea. By 1183 only one field remained, and now it is under the sea, not even visible at low tide.
• Happisburgh has lost land to the sea throughout the centuries. The rate of erosion has been erratic – at times large areas have disappeared overnight, and at others the cliff has remained virtually the same for some years.
• In 1845 a twelve-acre field at Happisburgh was drilled with wheat. A north-west gale raged all night, and by morning the field had disappeared.
• White’s Directory for 1854 reported that the sea had encroached 250 yards in the last 70 years at Happisburgh.
And according to a recent study by the British Geological Survey, it is likely that the Norfolk cliffs have been eroding at the present rate for about the last 5,000 years.
Many attempts have been made down the years to protect the coast. Sea defences were constructed in 1958, which reduced the erosion considerably. Sadly however the defences have since fallen into a state of disrepair, and the erosion has accelerated again.
Not only did the BBC fail to provide readers with any of this background, they failed to provide any evidence whatsoever to back up their claim about ‘punishing weather conditions linked to climate change’. Indeed, they would have difficulty because they don’t exist.
Sea levels on the east coast have been rising at the same slow rate since the 19th century. Nearly half of the rise in Norfolk is due to the land sinking there, which has been going on since the Ice Age ended. And Met Office data clearly shows that the frequency and intensity of storms in the UK has been declining since the 1990s.
My understanding is that the BBC must ensure that any facts presented in news reports are fully corroborated. Which leaves the question as to where they got this gem from, and why they did not bother to double-check it. The conclusion is that it was just made up by the journalist, because he thought it must be true.
But even more shameful is the way that the BBC used personal tragedy to promote their political agenda.