Copenhagen – is it doomed?

Reading online newspaper comment sections, wherever Copenhagen is discussed, is immensely depressing. The overwhelming “opinion” is that climate change doesn’t exist. That’s in quotes because no-one has any evidence to support that view, it is, in fact, only an opinion – they don’t believe it because, well, they don’t believe it. It’s a self-reinforcing closed loop.

Oh, some will present “facts” Continue reading

Environmental Cobblers…

No, not people who make ethical footwear, but the rhubarb pumped out by people trying to convince us to mend our ways and save the planet. Here’s a tip, guys, be a little more credible.

A radio news item this morning announced that condoms are better for the planet than wind turbines. Well, maybe – they omitted to say just how – but I’ll bet they don’t generate as much electricity.

Another lunatic news item, this time in the Times says Continue reading

Carbon footprint – unrealistic expectations…

The Guardian has a calculator to work out your personal carbon footprint. I don’t use public transport, so that figure represents taxis. My CF is 9 tonnes of CO2 equivalent, which is pretty good, but bear in mind I don’t get out much*. And according to the chart, the average spend per person for hotels, pubs and restaurants is a pathetic £7. That seems completely unrealistic – I just don’t believe it – we’re being asked to believe that the vast majority of the population NEVER has a drink or a meal outside their own home. If that’s true, they must be dull buggers.

*I often get lifts to places like the supermarket, but as the driver is going there anyway, I haven’t factored that in.

The 2050 target of a reduction, for the UK, from the Continue reading

What a bunch of pussies!

Never, in my life, have I heard so much bitching and whining about the weather at Easter – and it’s all complete bullshit

From the sixties to the eighties, when I developed ME, I was a biker. I rode year-round, hail, rain or snow, and always, from October to April, I’d be hoping I got stuck at the next set of lights, so I could warm my fingers on the engine! I was a gardener, too, and for that same period, my greenhouse would be insulated and heated. Why? Because it was bloody freezing, that’s why.

These days, gardening goes on pretty much year-round, but it’s not that long ago when it slowed down with the first frosts of autumn and, by November, stopped altogether, because the ground was like stone – frozen solid. And it stayed that way right through to Spring.

This Easter in only exceptional from the perspective of the last decade and a half, at most (the last normal winter I remember was 95-96), because this sort of weather used to be the norm. Throughout the seventies and eighties all my leisure activities took place outdoors – sea angling (I was frost-bitten on Pensarn beach in 1973, and my fingers froze to my rod before I could get my gloves back on after casting – that’s cold!), backpacking, camping and rambling. Easter was the start of the season for camping (rambling was a year-round activity – our experience of the weather was intimate), and I’d either head up to Great Langdale, in the Lake District, or to Edale, in the Peak District. At either location I would guarantee that I’d have to take my water bottle into my sleeping bag overnight, to stop it freezing, that my tent would be frozen solid by morning and that – quite often – we’d get well and truly snowed on. Snow at Easter is NOT unusual. Or, at least, it wasn’t – since the impact of climate change has made itself felt over the past decade or so, really cold weather has become a rarity at any time.

OK – I concede that this year the snow is a bit extreme, but Easter is very early, and there’s an unseasonable weather pattern pushing down from Iceland. Other than that I stand by what I’ve said. 

The trouble is, though, that much of the media is populated by people in their 20s and 30s, and they simply don’t remember what constituted normal weather in this country, before climate change fucked it up. As a result, we’ve become a nation of weather-obsessed pussies, terrified of venturing out, away from our central heating, just in case it might be cold.

Right now, I’m listening to a London radio station, Magic 105.4, where they’re absolutely obsessed with the weather, and the presenter is almost wetting himself because the temperature outside is 6 degrees C. Aw, diddums! Six degrees C is chilly (though for many backpackers and ramblers, providing it was dry and sunny, 6 degrees would be shirt-sleeve weather), it’s hardly frigid, but no doubt this wuss will have a down-filled coat to wear for the 100-yard dash to his car.

Which reminds me – we have an entire generation of motorists out there who have zero experience of driving in snow – god help us all if we get some really bad weather!

Oh bugger!!

Oh Joy!

Got up this morning to clear blue skies and sunshine – the first time in months. Come nine o’clock, and yep – raining again. It’s getting ridiculous – I can’t recall when we last had a dry day, never mind a sunny one.

OK, down south, along the Severn, they have it far worse, flooded again before they’ve even managed to get their homes dried out and repaired after the summer floods, but god, constant rain is demoralising, even if I am in no danger of flooding. And the car is sprouting moss as there’s no point in paying a fiver for a car wash only to have it muddy again before I’m home. Moan, moan moan!

I’m trying desperately to get to the Wildfowl and Wetlands Trust reserve at Martin Mere, Lancashire, before half-term, and a dry day would be nice, though it’s looking increasingly as if I’m going to have to bite the bullet and go regardless of the weather if I want to catch the winter migrants before they head of back to their summer ranges (birding fits in with my disability – something I can do that keeps me outdoors now my greatly impaired walking ability has consigned hillwalking and backpacking to history).

Amazingly, though, despite the winter being mind-bogglingly wet – snow and frost have just been blips on the rainfall graph – people are still in denial when it comes to climate change. I’m not sure whether this is due to stupidity in the face of the facts, or to fear – acknowledging it would make it real. I wonder if sacrificing Jeremy Clarkson to the weather gods would help? Got to be worth a try…

Climate change…

Oh god, a couple of hours trawling the web and I’m losing the will to live. What is it that makes global warming so difficult to comprehend for so many people? Let’s face it, many of them believe implicitly in gods for which there is zero evidence – hell, you can see the effects of climate change for yourself, so what’s the problem? And don’t forget, it only takes a few degrees C to have a massive impact – we’re not talking huge temperature changes here, they’re not needed to completely fubar the planet.

It’s not that hard to grasp – the planet is warming terrifyingly fast, the ice-caps are vanishing at an enormous rate, and yet people deny it’s happening at all. It’s all happened before, they shriek (oh yes they do, you should have heard the buggers on Radio 2 the other day!), it’s all perfectly natural. This is closely followed by We’re emerging from an ice-age, what do you expect? Both points of view illustrating perfectly that a little knowledge can be a very dangerous thing – it makes those who are hard of thinking terribly smug.

Emerging from an ice age? Nope, we’re not – strictly speaking this is an interglacial period, throughout which there have been great shifts in temperature, but the ice-age is still alive and well, and will be while ice remains in the higher latitudes. This ice age emergence idea is closely linked to the “it’s all happened before so it’s perfectly natural” theory of denial.

Yes, indeed, it has all happened before, many times (oh, by the way, ignore people who use the fact that Antarctica used to be tropical to support this idea – at that time Antarctica was on the equator!), this does not mean that what’s happening now is natural. One thing makes it extremely unnatural and also potentially lethal – the sheer speed at which glaciation world-wide is retreating.

Note: melting of the northern polar ice cap will have almost zero effect on sea level (the ice is floating – oh, you look it up, I can’t do everything for you; start with Archimedes.), but terrestrial ice, if that melts, will see us living on a much smaller island, maybe even an archipelago. Hell, even the Greenland icecap has the capacity to raise ocean levels by over 7 metres, and that pales into insignificance when compared to Antarctica, where the ice is up to 4,500 metres thick, not a great deal thicker than Greenland, but it covers a much greater area.

Events that would normally take millennia are happening in decades – the person with the most closed of minds surely can’t look at what’s currently happening with the Polar sea ice – it’s more dramatic in the Antarctic, as the ice shelves collapse into an ever-warming ocean, but the floating ice-cap in the Arctic is a mere shadow of its former self and, as was gleefully announced recently (gleefully? Shit!), the legendary Northwest Passage is now a reality – or it was then, the winter ice may have closed in by now.

At the bottom of the world, penguins are in crisis because their habitat is diminishing, and rising sea temperatures are trashing the food chain and at the top polar bears are facing starvation because the lack of ice means fewer chances to hunt seals. No doubt, too, seals are having their own problems, as some species give birth on the pack ice.

Perversely, this warming could render Britain very much colder – it’s only the Gulf Stream that prevents us having much the same extremely cold weather as Canada or Russia, and if the Labrador Current, which flows from the polar regions south-east between Canada and Greenland becomes sufficiently cold it will effectively “turn off” the Gulf Stream by causing it to become chilled and sink before it reaches us, probably somewhere around the Azores (it cools and sinks now, quite naturally, but not until we’ve benefited from it).

All these events, except the cooling of the Gulf Stream, have happened since the turn of the century – they should take – when they happen at all – many thousands of years. Climate change at this speed is not natural, it hasn’t happened before, and it bodes ill – very ill – for future generations not too far down the line.

Don’t believe in climate change or global warming, call it what you will, if that’s what you want, but here’s an experiment. Stand in the middle of the road, and try not believing in that bus 100 yards away and bearing down on you – it’ll be just as futile as denying climate change and, ultimately, the result will be much the same. Just, for you, faster…

Footnote: None of this is simply my opinion – except the last para! The facts are out there for those with the will to see.