James Delingpole recently blasted the ABC documentary I Can Change Your Mind About Climate Change.
Having watched it through, I was disappointed but not surprised to see UK scientist Professor Mike Hulme, of the University of East Anglia and Founder of the Tyndall Centre for Climate Change
Propaganda Research, chipping in with some climate change victims. The only thing is, they are victims of UK government policy, largely driven by the sort of climate alarmism stemming from Mike Hulme’s Tyndall Centre.
The “science” of Mike Hulme is demonstrated in the documentary when he is shown taking Nick Minchin and Anna Rose to Happisburgh (Haysboro) in Norfolk, UK, where there has been considerable coastal erosion over many decades. Never one to miss a trick, he presents it as a classic example of climate change in action and the residents are portrayed as climate change victims. The implication of course, is that this is the result of burning fossil fuels and we need to stop using them to prevent this sort of event from taking place in future. Anna Rose was suitably impressed by this “evidence” that they were seeing the real life results of global warming. Nick Minchin was not in a position to comment, having no knowledge of the area and its history. The local residents have a history of erosion going back to 1845, the British Geological Survey says that:
“It is likely that the Norfolk cliffs have been eroding at the present rate for about the last 5000 years when sea level rose to within a metre or two of its present position.”
The facts are that the residents are not victims of global warming, but victims of government policy, largely decided by the sort of scaremongering reports that have generated from the Tyndall Centre. The UK Impacts modelling programme has been heavily criticised, even by “on-side” scientists, such as Professor Lenny Smith of LSE, but led to the withdrawal of government funding for sea defences, as this extract from a local report in 2002 demonstrates:
“It would take a seismic shift by DEFRA but those who bought their homes and chalets a decade or two ago when the revetments were sound and maintained, expected that maintenance would continue. It may well not be an efficient use of public money to provide hard defences for lightly developed stretches of coast, but Happisburgh once had defences on which people came to rely and their abandonment by government means that homes and businesses are now being demolished without compensation.” (John Worral).
In 2002 Defra minister Margaret Beckett announced the ‘Climate Change Scenarios for the United Kingdom’ as part of the UK Climate Impacts Program and referring to sea level she said: “Today’s report illustrates (page 75 ch 6.4) that the rise in the UK average sea level may further threaten some low lying unprotected coastal areas, but that it is the extremes of sea-level storm surges and large waves – that could cause most damage.” The scenarios were produced by a team led by Dr Geoff Jenkins at the Hadley Centre for Climate Change Prediction (part of the Meteorological Office) and Prof Mike Hulme at the Tyndall Centre for Climate Change Research”.
It is interesting that Hadley uses the term prediction in its title, which implies certainty, when in fact it deals with climate models that cannot predict, but only offer projections, or scenarios.
In 2005 a group called The Joint Nature Conservation Committee , an advisory body to the government, produced a comprehensive geological report about the UK. The JNCC has now been subsumed into the Department of Energy, Food and Rural Affairs, Defra and the site has been “warmed”, but the geological histories are still there in the dim recesses. The index page shows a series of clickable numbered blocks and this is what they said about sea level: , (block 22).
“In global terms, the British Isles have unusually high tides and unusually stormy conditions; thus they have a very dynamic coast, one of the reasons why British coastal research has made such an important contribution to the world literature.”
They also said:
“The abrupt onset of the late Cainozoic ice ages is, as yet, unexplained. However, the succession of ice ages (glacials) and interglacials has occurred at known frequencies, and changes in insolation (the receipt of solar radiation at the Earth’s surface and throughout its atmosphere) associated with the Earth’s orbital rhythms are now established as the principal external driving forces of the Earth’s climatic system.” (block 75)
OceanNet reported that:
After adjusting for land movements, ‘absolute’ mean sea level (MSL) around the UK coast has increased by about 1mm per year during the 20th Century, (less than 4 inches). ‘Relative’ MSL, due to the combined effect of absolute MSL changes and land movements, is increasing around most of the UK coast but remains constant or is decreasing along some northern coasts.
UK MSL shows an increase in the rate of rise towards the second half of the 19th Century but is now rising on average less fast, i.e. there has been a decrease in the rate of rise in the 20th Century.
Sea Levels were higher than now in the 14th century and massive storms produced major inundations on the East coast of the UK and in Holland. Dunwich in Suffolk, was a thriving, bustling port in the 13th century, now there is little left. This historical report of coastal erosion on the North Yorkshire coast is typical of what has happened over many centuries without the help of fossil fuels:
‘We find decayed, by the following of the sea in Hornsey Beck, since the first year of King Edward VI, 1546, thirty-eight houses, and as many little closes adjoining. Also we find, since the same time, decayed in ground the breadth of twelve score yards throughout the fields of Hornsey…’ Inquisition held at Hornsea 28th April 1609″
‘At Nevilles, about two miles south of Withernsea, the rate of erosion was only 0.7 yards per year between 1794 and 1852 (Pickwell) whereas between 1852 amd 1882 it averaged 2.3 yards…. between 1845 and 1911 a further strip, 98 yards wide, has been washed away.’
Evidence such as this is irrelevant to those pursuing the low “carbon” agenda and we find Mike Hulme in the ABC video, using his credo as a climate scientist to cynically misrepresent the Happisburgh situation as one of of rising sea levels, complete with “climate victims” due to our energy use.
In his book he paraphrases John F. Kennedy by saying “We need to ask not what we can do for climate change, but to ask what climate change can do for us.” Well, it has certainly done a lot for him, since he emerged from obscurity as a Reader in Climate Science at UEA to found the Tyndall Centre in 2000.