A Weblog monitoring coverage of environmental issues and science in the UK media. By Professor Emeritus Philip Stott. The aim is to assess whether a subject is being fairly covered by press, radio, and television. Above all, the Weblog will focus on science, but not just on poor science. It will also bring to public notice good science that is being ignored because it may be politically inconvenient.

Sunday, June 12, 2005

Warmer is better.....

A quite splendid piece, with fascinating map, in today's The Sunday Telegraph by Robert Matthews: 'Warmer, wetter ['sunnier' in the printed newspaper - a few other changes too] and better (or the good news that the climate change lobby doesn't want you to hear)' (The Sunday Telegraph, June 12):
"...After studying the likely consequences for everything from crop yields to human health,... results are anything but apocalyptic. They have found that a hotter planet brings with it many benefits, and that humans can adapt perfectly well to it.

Indeed, far from joining the calls for action, some now warn that trying to prevent climate change could prove far more catastrophic than learning to live with it. Nor is this cheery vision based solely on questionable computer models. Analysis of past episodes of dramatic - but entirely natural - climate change repeatedly shows the benefits of a warmer world."

Ths is encouraging. More critical journalists (doing what they should be doing) are starting to ask the right questions [see also the excellent piece in today's Sunday Times Scotland], questions that, to date, have often been buried by government and activist spin and trampled in the rush "to do something".

Particularly interesting in this news story is the re-assessment of the medical implications of change, because these have frequently been overplayed in the most disreputable manner by the 'global warming' sorority/fraternity:
"... a review published last year by scientists at the University of London pointed out a basic medical fact: in many countries, cold kills far more people each year than heat. For the kind of temperature rise predicted for the UK over the next 50 years, the team estimated that heat-related deaths would rise by about 2,000 a year - but that this figure would be dwarfed by a cut in cold-related deaths of 20,000.

Other climate-related health scares have collapsed under close scrutiny. In 2002, Professor Sir Liam Donaldson, the Chief Medical Officer, added his voice to claims that Britain could be facing the return of malaria.

A subsequent analysis by experts at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine concluded that changes in land use and socio-economic trends made the risk 'highly unlikely'. Oddly, the lifting of this eco-threat was not widely reported."

The benefits of warming for agriculture and tourism are also examined.

Climate is never stable for a moment. Indeed, the idea of a 'sustainable climate' is an oxymoron. Thus, climate is always either warming or cooling. Controlling this in a predictable fashion will be impossible, but, at least, the question raised by Mr. Matthews (and one now hopes by other critical journalists) needs to be addressed.

On the longest of geological time scales, we are still probably cooling from the closure of the Tethys Sea. On the million-year (700,000-year) cycle, periods of cooling are likely to outstrip warming by a wide margin. On the 10,000-year pattern, we are cooling overall (from around 8,000 BP). On the centennial scale, we are currently warming a smidgen (c. 0.7 degrees Celsius) as we move out of (thank goodness some might say) the Little Ice Age - hence, of course, all the current brouhaha. On the decennial pattern, we have warmed a fraction for some 30 years, following a 30-year small post-war cooling phase. However, there are indications in the climate cycles that we might soon again experience a little cooling phase. And then.... and then, there is the next Ice Age.....Brr. Milankovitch cycles all round.

I'm for a bit of warming any day. But well done to the Telegraph group of newspapers. During the last couple of weeks, they have stood up commendably to the heavy Tony 'Shane Warne' Blair spin from government.

"Well played, sir! And off leg spin too!" [Stumped? Cricket to our cybervisitors from across the pond. How about this? "He played the slow arm googly off his pads to backward short leg. The square leg umpire signalled a leg bye..." Yep, you have baseball!]

Philip, wondering when we are going to get a nice, warm, sunny summer's day. Even the swallows seem lack lustre. Breakfast - but not in the garden. Patio heaters all round.

[New counter, June 19, 2006, with loss of some data]

WWW EnviroSpin Watch

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