Maybe Nigel Lawson is right. There can’t be global warming, because isn’t it always colder at night?

It’s a method of argument perfected by disgruntled men in the corner of pubs

Share

I wonder why Nigel Lawson was on the radio yesterday morning, telling us angrily that the floods are nothing to do with climate change. Will this be a regular slot, in which people from the 1980s are invited to shout, with no evidence, that everyone else is wrong? Next week Depeche Mode will be screaming that the koala bear is actually a flower, then Torvill and Dean will yell that triangles only have two sides.

One of Nigel’s points to show that scientists can’t prove climate change was that “only a couple of months ago the Met Office were predicting that this would be an unusually dry winter.”

Apart from the fact that unpredictable storms fit in perfectly with theories of global warming, Nigel Lawson seems to have confused the International Panel on Climate Change with the woman who does the weather on the telly. Presumably when Sian Lloyd says: “This low pressure should clear up by Tuesday”, he shouts back, “How dare you expect me to get those useless energy-saving light bulbs, you know NOTHING” – which must be quite exhausting.

If he’d had the time he could have made other valid points, such as: “They know nothing about carbon emissions. Only last November they reckoned England would win The Ashes, so why should we take any notice of them?”

Then Sir Brian Hoskins, a climate change scientist, replied that in recent years the seas have warmed by 0.8 per cent, and that the West Antarctic ice sheet has receded to an unprecedented level, and along with other changes that this must have had an effect on the weather. To which Nigel replied: “That’s extreme speculation. There’s been no global warming for 15 years and that’s a FACT.”

This is an innovative approach to science – saying that precise statistics from a knighted scientist are speculation – but you can tell a true fact because it’s said by someone who says “and that’s a FACT”. These students who revise for weeks before physics exams, so they can calculate electric currents, are wasting their time. They just need to write “Electricity is made up of tiny flames that live in a plug socket and that’s a FACT.”

It’s a method of argument often perfected by disgruntled men in the corner of Wetherspoon’s pubs. As it appears to be in vogue, this could be the new style of debate on news programmes. John Humphrys will say that “a new 246-page report suggests  an independent Scotland would be viable as an economy. With us to discuss the matter is Ted from the Moon Under Water in Stechford. Ted, what do you make of this?” And he’ll say: “It’s all speculation that is, they’re planning to become part of China  and put us all in labour camps and that’s  a FACT.”

To be fair, Nigel Lawson has filled out his thoughts in other interviews. For example he told The Guardian that climate change didn’t concern him because “if you look around the world today there are countries that are very cold, and countries that are very hot, and you have to adapt.”

So the reason we’ve been getting in a state is that we hadn’t realised this cold/hot thing, and once we grasp that we can get the Inuit to wrap up a bit and Arabs to stop riding camels while wearing a duvet, then no one need ever recycle anything again.

Maybe Lawson’s next book will explain  that there can’t be global warming as it’s colder at night, which comes after the day, which means – if anything – the planet’s getting colder, and that the sun doesn’t  have any human activity and that’s even hotter than a hot day on Earth, so  explain THAT.

But he did somehow find the space to  say: “These floods are a wake-up call, to abandon the crazy costly policy of spending untold millions on useless wind turbines and solar panels.”

At last someone’s had the common sense to say what the rest of us were thinking. Who hasn’t watched these floods and thought, “it’s those bloody wind turbines and solar panels that have caused all this”.

The solar panels stop the water from draining, as rivers can’t get through glass. Then the wind turbines frighten the water so it runs off and hides in living rooms in Somerset.

Other than this it’s hard to see how there’s a connection, unless he’s simply decided  to use the issue to yell about something else that annoys him. Tomorrow Nigel Farage  can go on to say, “these floods are a wake-up call, that if you let any more Bulgarians in we’ll all be living in canoes”.

The puzzling part is that among the scientists whose job is to study these matters, there is no disagreement that rising carbon emissions have altered the climate.

So continually debating it, as if both sides  are equally valid, makes as much sense as saying: “Now for sport. In the Winter Olympics the ski jumping final takes place today, but first I’m going to talk to Bill, who says there can’t be any ski jumping because gravity doesn’t exist.”

But the people we should feel sorry for most are probably those in government, who  seem perplexed as to why there are less  flood defences then before.

Who would have thought that cutting something would mean that that thing might be reduced in any way. No wonder so many people get confused.

Read more
Memphis Barker: Gorge on climate change denial, just make sure you know it's poison
Paul Vallely: Prince Charles is right about climate change
Editorial: As another storm threatens, the reality of climate change is starting to hit home

React Now

Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Maths Teacher

£110 - £200 per day: Randstad Education Leeds: Secondary Maths Teacher for spe...

Maths Teacher

£90 - £160 per day: Randstad Education Leeds: Secondary Science Teacher (mater...

Maths Teacher

£110 - £200 per day: Randstad Education Leeds: Secondary Maths Teacher for an ...

Maths Teacher

£22000 - £37000 per annum: Randstad Education Leeds: A West Yorkshire School i...

Day In a Page

Read Next
 

i Editor's Letter: The campaigning is over. So now we wait...

Oliver Duff Oliver Duff
In this handout provided by NASA from the the Earth-orbiting International Space Station, weather system Arthur travels up the east coast of the United States in the Atlantic Ocean near Florida in space. The robotic arm of the Space Station Remote Manipulator System or Canadarm2 is seen at upper right. According to reports, Arthur has begun moving steadily northward at around 5 kt. and the tropical storm is expected to strike the North Carolina Outer Banks  

Thanks to government investment, commercial space travel is becoming a reality

Richard Branson
Mystery of the Ground Zero wedding photo

A shot in the dark

Mystery of the wedding photo from Ground Zero
His life, the universe and everything

His life, the universe and everything

New biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
Save us from small screen superheroes

Save us from small screen superheroes

Shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
Reach for the skies

Reach for the skies

From pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
These are the 12 best hotel spas in the UK

12 best hotel spas in the UK

Some hotels go all out on facilities; others stand out for the sheer quality of treatments
These Iranian-controlled Shia militias used to specialise in killing American soldiers. Now they are fighting Isis, backed up by US airstrikes

Widespread fear of Isis is producing strange bedfellows

Iranian-controlled Shia militias that used to kill American soldiers are now fighting Isis, helped by US airstrikes
Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Shoppers don't come to Topshop for the unique
How to make a Lego masterpiece

How to make a Lego masterpiece

Toy breaks out of the nursery and heads for the gallery
Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Urbanites are cursed with an acronym pointing to Employed but No Disposable Income or Savings
Paisley’s decision to make peace with IRA enemies might remind the Arabs of Sadat

Ian Paisley’s decision to make peace with his IRA enemies

His Save Ulster from Sodomy campaign would surely have been supported by many a Sunni imam
'She was a singer, a superstar, an addict, but to me, her mother, she is simply Amy'

'She was a singer, a superstar, an addict, but to me, her mother, she is simply Amy'

Exclusive extract from Janis Winehouse's poignant new memoir
Is this the role to win Cumberbatch an Oscar?

Is this the role to win Cumberbatch an Oscar?

The Imitation Game, film review
England and Roy Hodgson take a joint step towards redemption in Basel

England and Hodgson take a joint step towards redemption

Welbeck double puts England on the road to Euro 2016
Relatives fight over Vivian Maier’s rare photos

Relatives fight over Vivian Maier’s rare photos

Pictures removed from public view as courts decide ownership
‘Fashion has to be fun. It’s a big business, not a cure for cancer’

‘Fashion has to be fun. It’s a big business, not a cure for cancer’

Donatella Versace at New York Fashion Week