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Climate Change? Received Wisdom Is Plain Wrong

Graham Stringer, MP, on policies destroying jobs and delivering nothing

Published on November 18th 2013.

Climate Change? Received Wisdom Is Plain Wrong

ANYBODY intending to enter the debate on climate change should receive a health warning; you might lose touch with reality and it can send you mad.

The huge quantities of money going into job destroying, energy bill increasing renewables should be halted and spent on research into genuinely cheaper forms of energy production and storage

The previously well balanced come to resemble a religious fanatic who used to haunt Old Trafford and Maine Road, in the 60s and 70s, carrying a placard declaring ‘the end of the world is nigh’. He believed only Jesus could save us, whereas the proponents of catastrophic global warming believe salvation lies in the banning of the use of fossil fuels.

In both cases a doomsday scenario is simply a device to close down debate. If you don’t accept that the planet will be consumed in a massive conflagration, caused by carbon dioxide released by burning fossil fuels, then you are guilty of murdering your grandchildren. Of course you shouldn’t be listened to.

The activists from the extreme part of the green movement know exactly what they are doing. They have an undeclared utopian ideal of a future without industry and technology. They believe it is highly unlikely they will ever win this argument and so use fear and stealth.

What is surprising is that politicians and policy makers have swallowed this hook line and sinker. The current energy ministers probably top the list of the politically insane. Ed Davey, the Lib Dem Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change, boasts how this country has led the way by cutting carbon dioxide emissions since 1990; declaring the 2008 Climate Change Act a triumph.

He conveniently forgets that while our emissions may be down, this country and Europe are now responsible for producing much more carbon dioxide than was previously the case. The reason is simple, the Climate Change Act imposes extra costs on industry’s use of fossil fuels forcing manufacturing to migrate to low cost centres like China and India. Producing the same goods less effectively and shipping them here creates two extra doses of carbon dioxide for the atmosphere.

China Smog

China smog (thanks to http://www.china-mike.com)

The fact is that even if you believe in imminent climate catastrophe, caused by carbon dioxide, the current policies are exacerbating the situation not helping. There is a huge cost to this mistaken policy of changing from cheap energy sources to expensive and inefficient ones, the so called renewables.

Liberum Capital have estimated that the EXTRA costs of decarbonising our energy sources over the next 16 years at nearly a quarter of a trillion pounds or nearly £250 billion. This is why in a few years the extra hundred pounds or so we are now paying on our energy bills, for these alternative energy sources, will seem trivial. They will then account for nearly half the total of our bills.  

The economics guru Lord Stern, when questioned at the House of Commons Energy and Climate Change Committee recently, dismissed this sum of money as being relatively small. More misjudgement from one of the main architects of our climate change policies.

There seems to be no intellectual effort being made to understand on what basis we are formulating our energy policies. The science of climate change is complicated and must be understood before a sensible response can be worked out as to what is happening.

When I asked Gregory Barker MP, the Conservative Minister of State at the Department for Energy and Climate Change, what his definition of climate change was, he gave the following answer and repeated it; “climate change is climate change”. A six year old would have done better. Barker makes no attempt to understand his brief but a misinterpretation of the science of climate change is often used to further frighten people into supporting crazy policies.

The recent Haiyan typhoon in the Philippines brought out the usual catastrophists. They were certain that this was caused by global warming.

I am not a great respecter of the International Panel on Climate Change; they have made too many fundamental mistakes. Their 2007 report was so flawed that the Inter Academy Council, the leading scientific body in the United States, initiated an investigation. It found significant short comings in each major step of the IPCC’s assessment process.

Scout Moor wind farm above Rochdale

Scout Moor wind farm above Rochdale

However in their most recent assessment on global warming, released in September, the IPCC said that there were no identifiable long term trends when it comes to tropical cyclones or typhoons. In fact the 2013 storm season has had fewer hurricanes than normal.

I have a scientific background and will not argue with the facts. The simple fact is however that the impact of the increased amount of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere is poorly understood. None of the very sophisticated models processed super computers have predicted the lack of global warming over the last 15 years. The earth has warmed a little in the last 200 years, less than 1 degree centigrade, and there isn’t a scientist anywhere who knows how much of this is natural variation and how much is caused by the green house effect of the extra carbon dioxide.

The huge quantities of money going into job destroying, energy bill increasing renewables should be halted and spent on research into genuinely cheaper forms of energy production and storage.

There is simply no excuse to continue with the policies that are producing more carbon dioxide and making my constituents poorer. That really would be mad.

Graham StringerGraham StringerGraham Stringer is the Labour MP for Blackley and Broughton with a majority of 12,303. He was elected to Parliament in 1997 for the now abolished constituency of Manchester Blackley.

Prior to this he was the Leader of Manchester City Council from 1984-1996. 

 He is one of the few MPs to have science experience, as a professional analytical chemist. He is a member of The Science and Technology Committee at Westminster. 

Confidential welcomes columns from all sitting MPs in the area regardless of political party as long as they are able to write interesting articles. 

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20 comments so far, continue the conversation, write a comment.

AnonymousNovember 18th 2013.

It's great that Graham Stringer frequently uses the autumn of his career to put a few noses out of joint, but there must be a paragraph missing from this where he gets to the point. Highlighting the hysterics of climate change campaigners on either side is as blunt an instrument as the extreme arguments put forward at each end of the debate. Fundamentally, anybody feeling the benefit of two millennia of human intellectual and technological development must surely see that chasing round trying to find more stuff to burn is to deny our capacity for innovation. Stifling innovation are private companies, propped up by the taxpayer at either end, who protect their margins by sourcing flammables from the Far East. It would be lovely for Graham to get to grips with those profiteers and their subsidies before getting into the ribs of the 'usual catastrophists'. Do 'cheap energy sources' include the free ones like wind, water and gravity? Or is Graham inching towards a debate about reopening British coal mines, looking towards more investment in economy-sapping nuclear energy or (cue dramatic music) dipping a toe into the fracking debate as the drills arrive on Barton Moss?

Prince_HarmingNovember 18th 2013.

"They have an undeclared utopian ideal of a future without industry and technology." - No, they don't. You're being ridiculous. The overwhelming consensus is that fossil fuels have played a huge role in man-made global warming and that to continue to aggressively consume in the way we do will lead us down a very dangerous path indeed. You're right in saying that there are extremists on the fringes of the environmental movement but to act as though the whole group are represented by those people is very silly indeed. The science agrees with those who want to explore new and more efficient ways of generating power, and no amount of calling them loonies will change that.

3 Responses: Reply To This...
JamiePastillesNovember 18th 2013.

Hear hear! So many people seem to go in a rage about the costs of renewable energy, but the fact is fossil fuels will not last forever and will become increasingly expensive (to the planet and to our wallets). Just because some people in the green movement are extreme or unscientific does not negate the central points of concern, and Graham here has not provided any alternative.

AnonymousNovember 18th 2013.

It'll all end in tears.

AlexNovember 18th 2013.

Yes there are extremists in this debate - he's written a big old rant, sometimes jokingly referred to as a news, above! Which bit of the fossil fuel industry is paying you Graham, or are you just bonkers!?! We could of course wait and see what happens - if Graham's right, then we'll have simply created lots of new jobs in the renewables industry and be less dependent on other countries; if he's wrong, then we'll have saved countless people and animals from death and destruction!

PeeksNovember 18th 2013.

So we're believing the conclusion that an investment bank has arrived at, but dismissing the work of thousands of peer reviewed scientists?

PeeksNovember 18th 2013.


TimNovember 18th 2013.

The current theory as to why global warming has plateaued over the last 15 years in possibly because a) the deep oceans have absorbed more heat than thought and b) cyclical cold currents in the Pacific have cooled the climate in the short term. Anyone suggesting we can increase global warming gas generation (methane and carbon dioxiode, by increased livestock farming and industrialisation) and decrease processes that absorb it (by clearing immense areas of forest) and not have an affect on the climate is talking rubbish.

1 Response: Reply To This...
AnonymousNovember 19th 2013.

Actually the latest news is that the thermometers in the Arctic don't work so they have taken to using secondary data from satellites. www.independent.co.uk/…/gaps-in-data-on-arctic-temperatures-account-for-the-pause-in-global-warming-8945597.html…

Emma SmithNovember 18th 2013.

A dangerous and misguided article. Graham may not like climate change, but that doesn't make it untrue. And the world hasn't stopped warming, as he claims. Anyone calling themselves a scientist, and especially a scientist with influence in Westminster and therefore over policy that affects all our lives, has a duty to research extremely carefully before coming to a conclusion. In fact, warming has continued. The seas are absorbing much of the heat trapped by the CO2 and warming has continued steadily at the poles. The seas are also becoming more acidic due to the dissolution of CO2 in the water. All easily researched facts, although Graham doesn't seem to have found it worthwhile to bother. You have to ask what is more likely - that the IPCC (who have received a Nobel prize and reviewed 9000 separate climate studies), the leaders currently at the COP in Poland and major NGOs (not to mention David Cameron, Ed Milliband and most ordinary voters) have been deluded by a small group of cranks who don't like technology, or that Graham Stringer doesn't like the idea of climate change and thinks that's good enough to change everyone else's mind. Terrifying. I also question whether Manchester Confidential should be publishing this article. "Interesting" isn't really a rigorous enough criterion. In theory an MP could write a compelling work of complete fiction and have it delivered to people's inboxes, completely out of context. Very irresponsible.

AnonymousNovember 18th 2013.

I'm not convinced global warming is a problem. Those who claim to be concerned are usually middle class people with higher than average CO2 footprints caused by the fact they have higher wages and live lives of relatively high consumption because of this. And then there are the rich eco-alarmists like Al Gore and Prince Charles, who use huge amounts of energy to run their lives while telling the rest of us to be frugal in our use of the world's resources.

1 Response: Reply To This...
Emma SmithNovember 18th 2013.

What's your logic? Climate change will affect poor subsistence farmers far more than Al Gore or Prince Charles. The poorest people in the world are extremely concerned about the extreme weather, drought and floods that will affect them disproportionately. The fact that some middle class and rich people are speaking up isn't ridiculous. It's good that they care. If more rich and powerful people cared, we wouldn't be in so much of a mess now.

Poster BoyNovember 18th 2013.

...it will soon be time for another of those Ed Miliband, "I'm sorry, when I was Energy Minister, we got it wrong" speeches again to add to those on Iraq, the banks, housing, the widening of inequality, Murdoch, immigration etc etc etc...

PeteNovember 18th 2013.

Stringer you are a disappointment to many and to me explain why so many people have lost faith in 'expert' or 'scientific' opinion that so often comes to illogical or even biased opinion.

AnonymousNovember 18th 2013.

There is no reason to be publishing this kind of bullsh*t anymore.

GimboidNovember 18th 2013.

"Confidential welcomes columns from all sitting MPs in the area regardless of political party as long as they are able to write interesting articles." - I don't see how the above fits that bill, either in choice of ,topic or insight or originality. There's no shortage of ill-motivated, misinformed contrarians on the internet telling us how climate change is such a con. What's the point in being getting local MPs to write on a local website if they haven't got anything original or interesting say that's relevant to local issues and interests? What a waste of an opportunity - I'm staggered to believe that Mr Stringer has really not got anything of more direct relevance to his constituents to share. Even tales for his glory days as leader of the council would be more interesting and would add more to the website. Publishing this kind of waffle is really not becoming of your generally decent website, editor. Please raise your game, this is embarrassing.

2 Responses: Reply To This...
Poster BoyNovember 19th 2013.

...by all means disagree with the opinion, but at least Mr Stringer chooses to engage and ManCon provides the platform for the debate -as evidenced by the consistent response to each topical column. Heaven forbid that Powell, Leese, Lloyd, or one of the (anonymous) Euro MP's should deign to do something similar...

Jonathan SchofieldNovember 19th 2013.

Gimboid, I found it very interesting. I found the article well-written. I find it odd that you think Graham isn't writing about something that affects his constituents. I think it laudable that he expresses his views publicly.

Graham CliffNovember 18th 2013.

Mr. Stringer, I analysed air pollution in Manchester with my M.Sc. student who published her degree in 1981. Would you like to read it - it will scare the hell out of you. Graham Cliff.

AnonymousNovember 22nd 2013.

People who don't believe that Manchester Confidential should allow views which they disagree with to be published have already lost the argument. It is a sign of religious fanaticism when people stop addressing the facts and rely entirely on faith. Graham Stringer is right whatever view you take, the current policies are expensive and are creating more carbon dioxide.

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