Global warming and England's floods
25 July 2007 08:36
Are Land Rovers and their ilk really killing the planet? Think again, argues Gavin Green
I have been driving a Land Rover Discovery 3 diesel these past few weeks. It comfortably took my family of five to France, complete with masses of luggage and two bicycles, averaging 26.4mpg in the process. That works out at 132mpg per person. Yet I still received one of those bossy ‘climate criminal’ leaflets under my wipers when I returned to London. I’m to blame for last year’s arid summer in Britain and this year’s wet one, it seems.
The inconsistency of the eco activists and their media mouthpieces is now almost risible. Remember after last year’s phew-what-a-scorcher, we were told that we could expect long hot summers and wet mild winters? This was the ‘disastrous’ climate scenario for 21st century Britain. (Not so bad, if you ask me.)
Barely a year on, and we have had a wet cool summer – the exact opposite of what the doomsayers were predicting. It turns out that 1816, 1845-1850, 1903, 1912 and 1956 were all as wet or worse. (The bad run of summers in the ‘50s was blamed on nuclear testing – yes, something is always to blame!). Britain, in case the eco activists have forgotten, is a wet country. Yet lo and behold, many environment correspondents and scientists – as well as Gordon Brown – now tell us that this wet 2007 summer is probably caused by global warming.
Global warming is also responsible for droughts in Africa and Australia – never mind that they’ve had droughts there since mankind first started to walk on his hind legs – and floods in Bangladesh (which had monsoons long before the First Mogul slept with his first concubine). Global warming is fast becoming the scapegoat for every disaster. I’m half expecting Vera’s decision to leave Coronation Street to be blamed on climate change. (‘Warmer weather gave me lung disease,’ says soap star.)
Now I happen to like this planet and think it needs looking after. I cycle, recycle, walk a lot, try to buy things that last, don’t drive my kids to school (they walk or take the bus) and believe that great car engineering is first and foremost about the ef word – yes, efficiency. But I’m sick of the hysteria. Friends of the Earth cinema ads try to scare my kids – it’s the eco equivalent of the Puritan’s fire and brimstone. Repent or divine wrath and punishment follow. The daft Live Earth Global Warming Survival Handbook urges us to wear a jumper and share a bath.
Fortunately most adults still seem to be treating all this alarmism with a healthy dose of good-old British scepticism. In France, it’s just not an issue. The heavy rainfall in the Dordogne we experienced wasn’t treated with portentous hysteria. Rather, it was an excuse to retire to a good restaurant and have a long lunch, a far heathier reaction if you ask me.