I suppose readers of The Corfiot in January 2001, when the Manmade Global Warming hysteria was starting to kick in, must have judged me as a contrarian – and perhaps a fool – in opposing the myth of Anthropogenic Climate Change (as it now is called), and likening it to a religious faith. I have republished the article I wrote then below.
Recently (in February this year), the British journalist Peter Hitchens made the same comparison, in very similar tones. He called it a ‘Warmist faith’, wrote that ‘[t]he greatest and most intolerant faith-based orthodoxy of our time is the movement which propagates and relies on the theory of Anthropogenic Climate Change’ and declared that ‘these people are in the grip of a Green Rapture, a belief in the coming apocalypse which will punish us for our greedy ways.’ It seems that I was not just prescient but also in rather splendid company.
Compare with my article of 2001:
‘Now the New Millennium’s finally here, we can perhaps start hoping for the Dawn of the Age of Aquarius, long promised in the song and by astrologers. As we enter it, though, the main conversation (apart from what’s happening on the Soap Operas) is Global Warming or, as they call it here, The Greenhouse. It rains, you blame Global Warming; a drought, and it’s the fault of The Greenhouse; a tornado rips up olive trees in the District of Meliteion, and guess what the locals say did it.
‘Thousands of years ago, more ‘primitive’ cultures, living at the edge of survival, blamed a higher power for natural phenomena. If a tornado wiped out their crops, they made an offering to placate the god of the tornado. If it didn’t rain when they wanted, they sacrificed to the rain god. They often blamed natural disasters on their own errors and misdemeanours – a punishment for their neglect of the gods, or for the presence of someone in their society who had vexed the higher power.
Thus was religion born, and it was only after the Age of Enlightenment and through the development of physics as a science that Man recognised the physical – rather than metaphysical – causes of natural phenomena.
‘So that’s why today we (most of us) blame Global Warming and not God.
‘But it seems that deep in the human psyche there exists a guilt that tells us that our misfortunes are our own fault. Just as the primitives blamed their own bad actions for the wrath of the weather gods, so we in present times are driven by the same deep seated need for self-castigation.
‘Global Warming fits the bill! The floods and fires and famines are all our own fault, a punishment for our materialistic outlook, which has caused it to happen. What a satisfying target for self-reproach.
‘The hysterical predictions which surround Global Warming have about as much logic as the beliefs of our distant ancestors. A few years ago, following on a cold spell or two, there were dire warnings of a coming Ice Age. The truth is that we are coming out of the last Ice Age, which was at its peak only 25,000 years ago. It’s natural, therefore, that the ice on the polar caps should steadily recede [over millennia, not over the timescale the warmists would have us believe it’s happening] and the world should get warmer. Maybe in another
25,000 years, people living on Arctic tundra will say in wonder to each other (just as we do today about the Lake District): ‘once upon a time all our fertile fields were ice-bound.’ What we have to accept, going at last into the New Millennium, is that change is constant.
2000 years ago, the North African desert was the bread basket of the Roman Empire. 200 years ago the Thames froze regularly. According to the old folk, Corfu used to have more rain (more?) than it does now.
‘In their self-recriminatory way, alarmists blackly caution that normal climatic change is being accelerated by Global Warming.
Meanwhile, another batch of scaremongering scientists predict that an atmosphere warming quickly will cause more evaporation, heavier cloud cover and a cooler surface in consequence – provoking a new Ice Age.
When the Manmade Global Warming issue came to the fore in the 90s, my suspicions were quickly aroused. I had spent much of the 1970s crying myself to sleep in terror that we would be driven from our north-of-England home by predictions of a coming ice-age, which is still to materialise. I was only slightly less dismayed by warnings that we would be frizzled to death due to the hole in the ozone layer (where did that go?). Older and wiser by the end of the century, I refused to succumb to a new climatery blue funk, especially since the previous ones had failed to happen.
It seems now that my scepticism was the correct stance; the climate-change lobby is the one increasingly in the blue funk as its prophecies tumble like skittles at Starbowl.
A couple of years ago, it emerged that climate change scientists at the University of East Anglia had tried to ‘hide the [temperature] decline’ because change was not going in the direction they wanted *.
Now we find out that:
* sea ice in the Antarctic (that’s frozen water, not the icebergs which calve off ice sheets and glaciers) is at its greatest extent since measurement began, and up over a million square miles since last year.
* melting of Antarctica began 5,000 years earlier than previously believed (no doubt due to stone age SUVs).
* claims that Himalayan glaciers would disappear in 25 years have been exposed as nonsense; the claims were based on a telephone conversation with an Indian scientist who has since admitted it was little more than speculation.
* a large number of temperature measurements in the USA have been estimated rather than read (i.e. guessed at).
* other temperature gauges, once in rural areas, are now in urban zones, which are hotter than the countryside. Temperature comparisons over time are therefore invalid.
* declining ice on Mount Kilimanjaro is due to deforestation on the lower slopes, not to any increase in temperature.
* there has been no significant temperature increase for more than 17 years.
So… indeed don’t panic. And if the Ice Age do cometh, I don’t live in the north of England any more.
* Nowadays most scientific research is funded by the Climate Change lobby, so if scientists want to keep their job they have to go along with it. An environmental scientist researching, say, the impact on a mountainside of sheep grazing would be less likely to receive funding than one whose subject was the effects of sheep grazing on climate change. See what I mean? This is why scientists wish to keep the ball rolling.Return To Hilary’s Blog Main Page