By James Delingpole from The Australian April 03, 2013
So how’s that $5.7 billion desalination plant working for you, Victoria? And yours ($1.8 million), South Australia? And yours ($2bn), NSW? And yours ($1.2bn), Queensland? Bet you’re all really glad you took the expert investment advice of Tim Flannery a few years back when he treated you to all those dire warnings about your country’s climate future.
“Soon Australian children will have forgotten what rain looks like,” your $180,000-a-year Climate Commissioner warned. Something like that, anyway. Or am I confusing him with another climate “expert” on my side of the world, David Viner of the climatic research unit at the University of East Anglia, who famously declared in 2000: “Snowfalls are now just a thing of the past” and “Children just aren’t going to know what snow is”?
Viner has since become a legend in his own lunchtime, frequently quoted on the internet, sometimes having his name joshingly used as a synonym for snow. This isn’t because he got his prediction right, of course. It’s because, like Flannery, he got it so spectacularly, hilariously, hopelessly wrong.
In parts of Australia, you’ve spent the past few weeks being deluged with torrential Flannery. In Europe we’ve been covered with thick white blankets of unseasonal Viner. I’m reminded of the scene where “global warming” comes to South Park. “Why didn’t we listen?” all the characters run around the street, screaming. Except the funny thing is nothing is happening: the global warming that they’re panicking about simply doesn’t exist.
Funny, but not that funny. As you’ve seen in Australia and we’re experiencing across Europe, extreme weather events can have dire consequences for life, property and business. Across Britain, thousands of spring lambs are dying in snowdrifts (I rescued two outside my home last weekend) and the human cost is even greater. This (northern) winter, we have been warned to expect 30,000 extra deaths (“excess winter mortality”) as a direct result of the abnormally cold weather. Then there are the many hundreds of thousands – especially the elderly – shivering in homes they can’t afford to heat because of the skyrocketing cost of energy.
Now of course we all know that weather is changeable, unpredictable and capable of extremes. That’s why in Britain it has been our single most popular conversational topic for centuries. It’s also why in Australia you are the way you are: your “no worries” national character has been forged from carving out a civilisation on a continent prone to the most savage weather events, from floods to bushfires. (Back in January, attempts were made by the Flannery brigade to claim Australia was experiencing its hottest weather ever. It wasn’t. The thermometers were higher when the First Fleet arrived in the Sydney summer of 1790-91.)
What we also know is that the best way to cope with weather is to be forewarned and forearmed. On a personal level, this may involve knowing when to pack the umbrella or the sunscreen; on a broader level, it can be helped by having an efficient, reliable weather forecasting service, a thriving economy (richer nations always cope with disasters better than poorer ones) and a responsible public-spending infrastructure that ensures taxpayers’ money is directed where it is most needed, be it for flood defences or desalination plants.
But here’s the weird thing; no, worse than that, the insanely, criminally culpable thing: during the past three decades, we’ve been throwing all that basic, commonsense stuff out of the window.
Instead of trying to keep energy bills down (so that everyone can afford airconditioning or heating, according to need; and so that the economy can grow, bringing work and prosperity), we’ve driven them up artificially through carbon taxes and renewables subsidies for all those useless bat-chomping, bird-slicing eco-crucifixes destroying our countryside. And instead of paying attention to the science and the real-world data (which show there has been no statistically significant “global warming” since January 1997), we’ve fallen prey to the doomy prognostications of overpromoted climate activists such as Flannery, Viner and Al Gore.
Had these prognostications been accurate, we might owe these visionary seers a huge debt of thanks. But they were not. What has happened is that we’ve all been gulled into spending stupendous amounts of our money on capital projects (such as those useless desalination plants), on “decarbonisation”, on Flannery’s salary and on junk-science boondoggles (the “man-made global warming” industry that, Jo Nova has calculated, receives 3500 times more in spending than sceptical science does), which it now turns out was a massive waste.
The climate alarmist industry has some very tough questions to answer: preferably in the defendant’s dock in a court of law, before a judge wearing a black cap.
James Delingpole is the author of Killing the Earth to Save It (Connor Court).