My local paper, The Stroud News and Journal, this week published a letter from the UKIP perspective parliamentary candidate, Caroline Stephens. In the article Ms Stephens argues ‘that the climate has always been changing’ and that the local Greens should leave poor old Mr Patterson (the current climate change sceptic Tory Environment Minister) alone.
For those of you who are not familiar with the environmentalist epicentre which is Stroud, this move is akin to turning up to the WOMAD music festival to argue why you thought, not that you just didn’t like world music, but that it didn’t actually exist.
The reaction she received in the SNJ was comparable to a very verbal booing off stage. It was a splendid mixture of disbelief, outrage and bewildered humour.
But for every Stroudie who commented on the article, there are probably hundreds more who were taken in by her half-truths.
And so, once again, I feel honour bound, for the sake of anyone who is even considering lending her a vote, to highlight the pure idiocy of what she (and many other UKIPpers) actually thinks:
Point 1 – She writes:
If climate had never changed, the world would still be in say the Jurassic period maybe. If climate didn’t vary from one place to another sun seekers would not likely prefer southern Spain to the north of Scotland for their sun bathing holidays.
The first sentence is about as idiotic axiomatic and a non-sentence as me saying ‘if the Sun wasn’t there then there would be no life on this planet’.
I look forward to her speculation about where we would be without gravity.
Her second sentence shows a misunderstanding (or purposeful confusion?) of the fact that when we talk about global warming, we are talking about the globe, not what the weather is like in Spain.
Up to this point she is slightly odd but nothing too harmful.
Point 2 – She writes:
Currently there has been no statistically significant global warming for around 17 years (depending on which dataset is used).
I love the proviso here… “depending on which data set you use”. Perfect.
I think she is referring to the disparity between surface temperature and ocean temperature. If so, our friends over at Skeptical Science (who have devoted quite a lot of time to myth busting) write:
“Records show that the Earth has been warming at a steady rate before and since 1998 and there is no sign of it slowing any time soon (Figure 1). More than 90% of global warming heat goes into warming the oceans, while less than 3% goes into increasing the surface air temperature.”
So that explains the surface temperature recordings to which I assume she refers (but this is hard to tell when her myths are written with no sources to support them).
You can read more about why the earth has been getting warmer in the last 17 years here.
Point 3 – She then references Prof John Cristy:
Yes, her only real half reference is the same John Cristy profiled here. Lol.
Point 4 – One has to ask how there were so many storms and floods going back to the nineteenth century and before. No one had even thought of blaming humankind for the weather then although the alarmists of the day did blame so called witches for ‘cooking’ the weather? Weather (rain) not climate change has been the cause of floods which have been exacerbated by the European Union’s discouraging dredging of waterways in the name of creating wetland wildlife habitats.
Just wow…of course, it is the EU’s fault!
Right, let’s keep this simple. Rain (weather) is different to climate. But the climate can impact on extreme weather events (this was the very basic point that Green Cllr Sarah Lunnon was making that sparked this bizarre response from Ms Stephens).
If you want to know exactly how climate change might impact on extreme weather events you can read this 2012 IPCC report.
A slightly more credible source than her…oh wait…none existing source.
Point 5 – (I skip a bit here as it all relates to extreme weather and frankly, I’m getting a bit bored). But towards the end she writes:
Thank goodness there are a few climate rationalists left in the Coalition to try to defend our way of life.
Sigh. “Climate rationalist”. She is of course referring to Owen Patterson who I think broke a record a few months back with the most number of climate change myths spouted on national radio.
Read this blog on his (would be comic if it wasn’t so depressing) appearance on the BBC’s Any Questions.
The Greens have my absolute backing when they call for the sacking of this man who seems to be able to ignore basic climate science.
In short, the whole letter consisted of half-truths, misinformation and vague unsupported ideas that I felt needed to be tackled .
But I look forward to Ms Stephen’s (fully referenced with peer reviewed science) response.
Until this happens though I hope the good people of Stroud will back a candidate/party that actually uses science to base their views (and policies on).