What a Nonchalant Way to Spend £400 Billion
The United Kingdom appears to be the only country in the world to have legislated against climate change. The Climate Change Act 2008 was enacted with only five Members of Parliament dissenting (in what Peter Lilley described as “a wave of self-righteous euphoria”) and without any prior attempt at costing. Some time after enactment the Brown government announced that the provisions of this Act would cost some £404 billion over the next 20 years.
Thus, apart from the Finance Acts themselves, the Climate Change Act 2008 is by far the most expensive piece of legislation ever enacted by Parliament – and completely without prior costing.
Are you able to detail the precise scientific facts on which the Government is relying to justify expending the £20 billion per year required by the provisions of the Climate Change Act?
I recently asked my MP to obtain from the Climate Change Ministry a detailed and logical analysis of, and for correction of any errors of fact in, a paper (enclosed) I had written which questioned the part mankind played in our ever-changing climate. The Minister for Climate Change, in replying, did not deny that 95% of the greenhouse effect was caused by water vapour, only 4% by natural carbon dioxide and only a miniscule 0.117% by man-made carbon dioxide.
However, instead of a detailed analysis or repudiation, the Minister responded in general terms and relying for his clinching argument on the phrase:
“The overwhelming majority of climate scientists agree that climate change is a grave environmental threat”.
Apart from his employment of argumentum ad populum, the Minister’s claimed “overwhelming majority” seems to have evaporated markedly last month when a number of irate climate scientists forced the Royal Society into an almost unprecedented and humiliating climb down by having to withdraw its own formal publication “Climate Change – a Summary of the Science”.
The Society’s Chairman, Lord Rees, then issued a statement “There is little confidence in specific projections of future regional climate change”. This is a telling swipe at the IPCC (International Panel on Climate Change), which has had to withdraw its dramatic forecasts on the melting of Himalayan glaciers, rising sea levels, flooding of the Netherlands and African crop failures.
The Royal Society’s new guide now admits, “The size of future temperature changes and other aspects of climate change are still subject to uncertainty and some uncertainties are unlikely ever to be significantly reduced.” What an astonishing and complete reversal of The Society’s earlier stance. This sober statement of uncertainty over mankind’s involvement in climate change now differs markedly from the present British Government’s melodramatic posture.
Undeterred by this fundamental alteration to the accepted science of climates, Britain’s Energy Secretary, Chris Huhne, subsequently made his pitch that the UK Government wanted to foster “a third industrial revolution” in low-carbon technology with policies based
on cutting emissions of carbon dioxide and other ‘greenhouse gases.”
So the Royal Society now openly admits it got it completely wrong but why does Chris Huhne have such difficulty in doing the same? His conviction is patent – but where are the facts?
Just what are the proven threats which our Government is trying to avert?
Every single hour the earth receives more energy from the sun than the entire human population uses in one whole year. The amount of solar energy reaching the surface of the planet annually is twice as much as will ever be obtained from all of the Earth’s non-renewable resources of coal, oil, natural gas, and mined uranium combined.
As for our climate, within the last two thousand years outdoor grapes were grown in Cumbria and on occasions the Thames has frozen over. The poles have had ice caps for only 20% of Earth’s geological history. Fluctuating sunspot activity leading to variable solar output, the Earth’s wandering axial tilt and eccentricity of orbit round the sun and were all shown (Kepler, Milancovic) to be the causes of the Earth’s cycles of widely changing climate and of the Earth’s successive and massive glaciations/deglaciations. This, long before industrialisation and carbon were even conceived as possible causes for our climate’s changes – changes far greater than those being presently blamed on carbon.
Whilst no one denies that the world’s industrialisation has increased considerably the output of greenhouse gases, to ascribe the current phase of our ever changing climate to one single variable (carbon dioxide) or, more specifically, to a very small proportion of one variable (i.e. human produced carbon dioxide – 0.117%) is not science, for it requires us to abandon all we know about planet Earth, the sun, our galaxy and the cosmos.
The conclusion of the scientists responsible for the draft of the first report of the IPCC was that:
“None of the studies cited has shown clear evidence that we can attribute the observed climate changes to the specific cause of the increase in greenhouse gases.”
This sentence was apparently omitted on political grounds by the IPCC staff from the published edition of the report and caused the resignation of the scientists involved. As Professor Richard Lindzen of MIT said:
“Future generations will wonder in bemused amazement that the early 21st century’s developed world went into hysterical panic over a globally average temperature increase of a few tenths of a degree and, on the basis of gross exaggerations of highly uncertain computer projections combined into implausible chains of inference, proceeded to contemplate a rollback of the industrial age”.
TATA, the Indian steel conglomerate, is currently closing the Redcar steelworks with the loss of 1700 British jobs. It appears that TATA thus stands to benefit by some £600 million in EU Carbon Credits for stopping Redcar’s “Carbon Emissions”. TATA is currently expanding its steel production elsewhere in the world. Thanks to Chris Huhne the British taxpayer is now paying Europe to throw British workers out of work and, in the end, achieving nothing.
Just where are the solid facts to justify this unproven creed that mankind is altering the climate? The Minister for Climate Change cannot supply them, he relies on argumentum ad populum and is now finding himself running short of populi. In short, the Government is spending a prodigious amount of money trying to act like King Canute in attempting to stem the vast primordial external forces that drive the constant and cyclical changes to our climate. Thus, whilst the Government is asking us to tighten our belts, are you really content for it to wager £20 billion a year on a theory, now formally deemed as uncertain by the Royal Society, that mankind is causing or even capable of causing alteration to the climate?
As Professor Reid Bryson, founding chairman of the Department of Meteorology at the University of Wisconsin, remarked:
“You can go outside and spit and have the same effect as doubling carbon dioxide.”
Or, the Government can go on spending £20 billion a year and achieve precisely the same effect. However is this the best way to tackle the deficit or fund university education?
* As m’learned friend Booker points out, the £400 billion figure quoted in the letter is a gross underestimate (based on feeble arithmetic published by DECC). The correct figure is nearly twice as much – £768 billion. Not of course that even the higher figure will dent the complacency of any of the MPs to whom you send the letter).