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July, 2007


Climate Change; who's climate change?

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  In the UK we are experiencing record breaking wet weather for the time of year. One year ago, in July, it was so hot and dry we were overwhelmed. Personally we have never known it so hot so it's possible that was a record breaker too. We were moving house and office so the memory sticks.
    Of course this doesn't prove a thing about climate change. Maybe they're just natural blips in the overall picture of things and there are plenty of protagonists who argue that that is what is happening. On the other hand if climate change is taking place at breakneck speed then we would expect it to cause extremes of weather conditions and wild seasonal variations. Predictions which come true are so persuasive. When the immediate explanation is that the Jet Stream is flowing well south of the UK, over Europe, where normally at this time of year it would be streaming well north of Scotland it is somewhat worrying.
    If you're into making predictions do you think that London will suffer some unprecedented atmospheric tragedy in the next few years. Maybe the city will be flooded or frozen to a standstill or caught in the grip of an Athenian, heat driven smog. If something like that happens the nation will surely be brought to attention. Tragic as current events are for the poor residents of Oxford, Tewkesbury, Hull and other affected areas, a similar catastrophe occurring in London would be shattering for the nation.
    So, arguable though it may be, we hold the view that man is causing, or at least accelerating the climate to change and the results we see are, at least partly, of our own making. If we are correct there is no possibility of preventing further disasters but we could certainly ameliorate them by taking urgent radical action to reduce our greenhouse gases. Unfortunately for some poor souls in the poorer part of the world, they will be the amongst the worse to be affected. As terrible as it is for the victims of our own floods these far off victims will suffer much worse devastation.
    Turning to the absolute trivial (but with reason) we had several hundred pounds worth of our possessions destroyed in the very hot weather during our house move in July 2006. What is significant is that the insurance firm refused any compensation for these items because it was due to 'prevailing atmospheric conditions'. Presumably they considered it was an 'act of God'. That reminds us (and to change the subject completely) we now have a new Prime Minister who is the son of a Church of Scotland minister and was brought up in a manse. Gordon Brown seems to have impressed many folk by reversing some unpopular actions initiated before his ascendancy.
    What we have noticed, however, is that while saying he intends to be a listener, in his inaugural sermon, he proclaimed that nuclear energy would be part of the strategy for this country. What is remarkable about these two oxymoron-ish statements is that the decision as to whether we go nuclear or not is still the subject for national consultation (albeit already indicted as being a sham). Perhaps he should be made aware of how many serious nuclear accidents there have been in the last sixty years or so. But we'll talk about those next time, maybe.
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Originated: 18 December , 2007,  Last amended: 7 May, 2013