I always remember Clint Eastwood’s character Gunny Highway’s catch phrase in the movie ‘Heartbreak Ridge’: “Improvise, adapt, overcome”. That’s what humans have been doing with regards to the climate for the last 2 million years – and very successfully judging from the spread of human habitation from the tropics to the poles, from arid deserts to marshy everglades, from freezing tundra to stiflingly hot jungle. There is no climatological niche, save the Antarctic continental mass, where humans have not established permanent habitation. As a species, we have endured climate change in our immediate environment on a constant basis ever since we learned to walk on two legs; not only that, we have pushed into new climatic regions vastly different from the hot, dry plains of Africa where we first evolved. We have lived and breathed climate change on an extreme scale for millennia.
You will understand then why I, and many others I am sure, find it just a little patronising, trifling and irritating to be told by our Big Brother government that we should be thinking about taking frequent cold showers, avoiding going out during the day, keeping our curtains closed and lining our windows with tin foil in order to protect ourselves from the ravages of man-made heatwaves. Sure, people die from the heat, even more die from the cold, generally not because they lack common sense but because they lack the basics necessary in order to protect themselves from climatic extremes, because they can’t afford to heat or air condition their homes, because they lack support from their fellow members of society or because they are ill in the first place and therefore uniquely vulnerable to extremes of heat, cold and humidity.
This ‘patronising drivel’, as Littlejohn so eloquently puts it, emanates from the ingloriously entitled Adaptation Sub Committee, appointed to advise the UK government (and hence UK citizens) on adapting to ‘Climate Change’ (TM) in the post industrial man-made Thermageddon era. Hence this ridiculous information leaflet coming through your letter box anytime soon, at great expense to the taxpayer – and no doubt not inconsiderable expense to the environment. All those trees, all that toxic ink, all that consequent need to recycle or landfill when they are thrown straight in the bin – just so a bunch of overpaid, under-employed pen-pushers with nothing better to do can tell us how to adapt to a measly 0.5C rise in global temperatures, when we’ve been doing the same for aeons and not just in the face of half a degree, sometimes 10 degrees or more, in the space of a few years!
So should we take this outfit seriously? Firstly, the Climate Change Sub Committee is in fact an offshoot department within the Climate Change Committee, brought into being by the Climate Change Act 2008. Here’s what the CCC have to say about themselves:
“The Committee on Climate Change (the CCC) is an independent, statutory body established under the Climate Change Act 2008. Our purpose is to advise the UK Government and Devolved Administrations on emissions targets and report to Parliament on progress made in reducing greenhouse gas emissions and preparing for climate change.”
The message is clear: adaptation to climate change is just part and parcel of the government response to the ‘threat’ of man-made global warming, the other part being mitigation. So, in my opinion, as I pointed out to Richard Betts on Twitter, the distinction between mitigation and adaptation is somewhat artificial.
The CCC is headed by Lord Deben, whose fervent support for climate change mitigation and renewables and whose belief that he has ‘science on his side’ and that sceptics are anti-science deniers, is in no doubt whatsoever. Then, among others, we have Professor Samuel Frankhauser, Co-Director of the Grantham Research Institute on Climate Change at the London School of Economics and Professor Sir Brian Hoskins, CBE, FRS, Director of the Grantham Institute for Climate Change at Imperial College. Given the Grantham Institute’s biased views on climate change ‘science’, not very encouraging as reagrds the prospects for scientific impartiality within this important government department, I am sure you will agree. I seriously doubt whether any members of the CCC and Adaptation Sub Committee are sceptical of CAGW, let alone AGW and I’m certain also that more than a few have vested financial and career interests in the decarbonisation agenda.
So, in answer to the question: ‘Should we take the CCC seriously’? the answer must surely be NO – at least for anyone who values impartiality and scientific integrity in the climate change debate. Valid scepticism aside for the moment, even assuming that man-made climate change is real and significant, the UK is never going to have any practical impact upon global CO2 emissions, even if we close every last coal fired power station and obliterate our natural land and seascapes with armies of wind driven white sentinels, insulate every last home in the Kingdom and use up every square inch of available roof space with solar panels. It’s just not going to happen – we’re a tiny island with just 60 million people. China alone belches out more CO2 in minutes than we do in a year probably. But that doesn’t deter the fanatical green Luddites of the likes of Ed Davey and Lord Deben, supported by the coalition government. In light of the fact that this same government still persists with the insanely pointless, inefficient, wasteful and expensive drive to decarbonise our economy and energy generation infrastructure, perhaps we should amend Gunny Highway’s comment as follows, to better reflect the climate change philosophy of the DECC:
“Impoverish, Adapt, Overcome”