As I watch the snow blow past my window, it’s hard not to scoff at the idea of a ‘climate emergency’. However, I’m probably in a minority. The idea that we are currently experiencing a dangerous deterioration in our weather has been pushed so hard, and for so long, that the man in the Clapham Uber is now thoroughly convinced.
Those of us who have the time and inclination to look at the evidence for such claims, on the other hand, realise that they are largely overblown. The Global Warming Policy Foundation, where I work, has just published a review of the impacts of climate change and it’s a valuable antidote to the relentless alarmism pushed by some academics. The paper is written by Indur Goklany, an American whose involvement in the climate field goes back 30 years when he was involved in the first United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) review of the world’s climate. So he knows what he is talking about, and the story he tells is one of almost unmitigated good news. There is a great deal of evidence that mankind is able to take the effects of climate change in its stride.
Take extreme weather for example. For 30 years, everyone from the Met Office to Al Gore has been telling us that global warming is going to make things much worse. But as Goklany shows, it just hasn’t happened; three decades of shirt-tearing, tears and wailing on the subject have changed things barely at all. In most areas, this should mostly be uncontroversial: the IPCC said in 2013 that it has ‘low confidence’ that droughts and hurricanes have become worse globally, and the best it can say of extreme rainfall is that it thinks there have been more areas with increases than decreases.