Friday, 31 August 2012

Not just another wet summer

Warning - the following blog has a rant rating of 10! You may want to avoid if you've heard it all before. It's probably written more for my blood pressure than your pleasure - for which, apologies...

Over 366mm of rain has poured down onto the UK over the last three months, according to the Met Office. It was wetter still here, with 450mm - that's one and a half feet - of water cascading over us during this, the wettest summer for a century.

On its own this statistic would be depressing, but perhaps not worrying. It's happened before. We have a maritime climate - variable and quixotic. What makes it so disturbing is its conjunction with so many other extreme weather events, such as the drought in the US, and the greatest summer melting of the Arctic sea ice since records began. The most respected scientific institutions around the world, known for their hyper-cautious approach to ascribing reasons for this, are now pointing out that the probability that climate change is to blame is becoming unequivocal. An RSPB blog by Matt Williams had this to say:

The Met Office concurs with the overall findings, saying that climate change has significantly increased the odds of some recent weather events. Met Office and Oxford University scientists concluded that the extreme warm average temperature in November 2011 was 60 times more likely to have occurred then, than in the 1960s. 

Reading this makes me feel as if we are living in a country run by latter-day Neros. How can they even be contemplating building a third runway for Heathrow, or perhaps even worse, an airport in the Thames estuary, when the effect would be to smash our carbon reduction targets?  How can they fiddle with their quantitative easing and national debt, while the world burns?

Among all the newspaper reports of this summer's appalling weather I've seen nothing from the Government to say that they are using the reports to reinforce their commitment to tackling climate change, and how they are going to deal with it.. This in contrast to the publication of trade figures, or the state of the deficit, which bring immediate responses from the Chancellor, the Treasury, the Bank of England, et al, all explaining how they are going to get us out of this mess.

I thought the argument went that we had to tread carefully and slowly in tackling climate change because people would rebel if their lifestyles were damaged too badly? This doesn't seem to be an issue for the Government when it comes to cutting people's benefits, increasing their pension contributions, and making swingeing cuts to our public services, in the name of the economic downturn.

Bring on the rebellion.

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