The Spectator

The new ice age

Do the temperatures in Britain over the past week at all justify the apocalyptic warnings of global warming?

By the time The Spectator goes to press, the record for the highest-ever authenticated measurement of air temperature in the British Isles may or may not have been broken. The only certainties are that the railway industry will have dreamed up yet more reasons why trains may only run at 20mph, that there will scarcely be a young, bikini-clad woman in Britain who remains unphotographed for the tabloids, and that spokesmen for the global warming lobby will have trousered a few more grand in television appearance fees.

Not even the nation’s ice-cream-sellers can be whooping with joy so loudly as our climatologists. For every degree the mercury tips over 90?F, they can expect a few more million pounds in funding. There will be more invitations to No. 10, more OBEs and another round of conferences in exotic locations to enjoy long after the current heatwave has subsided and our weather returned to its normal miserable self.

That supposedly rational scientific theory on climate change is influenced by what the weather happens to be doing outside their labs is clear from the annals of scientific journals. As Andrew Kenny pointed out in these pages a year ago, the consensus of scientific opinion in the 1970s was that the world was headed for a new ice age. As late as 1975 the editor of New Scientist was warning that ‘the threat of a new ice age must now stand alongside nuclear war as a likely source of wholesale death and misery for mankind’. When the following summer turned out to be one of the hottest on record, sentiment suddenly changed and global warming took over as the great terror.

Do the temperatures in Britain over the past week at all justify the apocalyptic warnings of global warming? It depends, of course, how you wish to distort the data.

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