Now it’s the UK Met Office and the BBC delivering us the “good news” that a warmer-than-average summer is indeed a “much better” summer. Who would have guessed, when in the past they have been warning us no end about the risks, dangers, threats caused by…warmer-than average temperatures?
The story starts with dear old Roger Harrabin near the end of the BBC Radio4 Six O’Clock News for April 30, 2009 (click here to listen to the programme in full). Harrabin interviews Pat Boyle from the Met Office about their just-published seasonal forecast for Summer 2009 (“Summer temperatures across the UK are likely to be warmer than average and rainfall near or below average for the three months of summer“).
Imagine the happy surprise upon hearing Harrabin describe Ms Boyle as “delighted” about the “good news“; Ms Boyle herself talking of “good news” for the “UK tourism industry“, for “people staying at home” and for “farmers“.
That’s right: “farmers“, as in “people able to produce more stuff from the cultivation of the soil and the husbandry of animal because the summer is going to be warmer than average”. And so it is official: a warmer summer is a better summer indeed.
Note also the phraseology used by Chief Meteorologist Ewen McCallum (full transcript) in a YouTube-available interview:
I think last year and the year before were absolute miserable summers. […] This summer will be back to much better summers […] So, much better – get the BBQ out. […] So, a pretty good summer.
Even when avoiding any positive tone in the related web article about a possible “sizzling summer”, Harrabin can’t help mentioning “cheery optimism” near the end in the sense of “being optimist it is going to be a good summer”.
So is the idea of “warming” finally presented on the BBC in a positive light? How can this be for real? Remember back in 2005, when “millions” were expected to be “hit by global warming”, and “animals” too, and the English country garden was “unlikely to survive in the South East in its present form” because of 1.5-3C of warming?
But don’t you worry. With Copenhagen’s huge Climate Change Extravaganza coming up in December 2009, expect plenty of warming stories in the BBC, and elsewhere in the media, as soon as the thermometer will hit the 30C/86F mark.
(The below is my translation of an article originally in Italian. It refers to news "episodes" from around August 2008, but the conveyed message is very applicable in most of what the media want to report, climate included)
The Manufacturers of Crises
Nuclear power. pitbull attacks, excessive heat, excessive cold … crises all, until forgotten
by Pierluigi Battista – Corriere della Sera (Italy), Aug 4, 2008
Suddenly, all at once, incidents have started to happen in French nuclear power plants, preferably in those located near the Italian border. Remarkably, after nothing seemingly had happened for years if not decades. From time immemorial there had been no reports of accidents, no failures, no hazard to things and above all to people. But when all of a sudden, on the back of climbing oil bills, there are again talks about nuclear energy, there comes a series of nuclear incidents, as if on cue.
Newspapers report about them, the public is alarmed. It looks like an epidemic of nuclear troubles, but a ‘geographically focused’ epidemic. There are no reports of difficulties at a nuclear power plant away from the Italian borders. The longer the distance, the lower the thrill. It is important that the ghost of a radioactive cloud lies very near: a whiff of wind and here it comes, in homage to the free movement of poisons.
And so it is time for scare stories about a "nuclear crisis". A gift for those in search of plots everywhere, loving the magic phrase "it is no coincidence" more than anything else.
Why are all those news being reported together? What’s behind, and above, and next?
Please rest assured. There’s nothing behind and above. There is no occult Specter of misinformation, no fabled opaque all-controlling network. There’s only the media’s own neurosis, continuously churning a crisis and then leaving it behind without regrets.
There is an impalpable emotional undercurrent, soon transforming itself into a contagious psychosis, a fear, and overemphatic titles, only then to withdraw to a tired, marginal, insignificant, gray routine not worthy of any public attention.
Nowadays it is called "Nuclear Crisis", but as soon as the danger will pass, the crisis will deflate. As it has happened with all past crises, and will happen to all future ones. Like when it seems that the most ferocious dogs have all agreed to maul owners and passers-by at the same time. That’s the "pitbull crisis", followed by another apparent collective agreement among the same fierce dogs to mutate into charming domesticated animals. So the crisis disappears, only to resurface, only to sink again beyond visibility.
Then, as if obeying to a hidden command, in every Italian surgery room tools are casually left inside patients and/or peritonitis sufferers see their knees operated instead. That’s a "health crisis", destined to a temporary fix and then to a temporary crisis and so on and so forth.
A "drought crisis" is replaced by a "flood crisis". A summer’s "heat crisis" is followed by a winter’s "cold crisis". The "global warming crisis" is a harder item to crack, yet it is still slave to the capricious movements of the thermometer.
Some crises are able to trigger apocalyptic, indomitable feelings. The (forgotten) "SARS crisis", the "mad cow crisis", the "bird flu crisis" which according to reliable estimates by reputable global organizations should already have had to reap an incalculable number of human victims.
And do not forget the ‘paedophilia crisis", usually building up with the slow discovery of perpetrators’ networks and ending with spectacular raids.
At this very moment, people talk of a "nuclear crisis". It ‘s a nuclear emergency. And yet, this too will pass.
(thanks to Svipop for pointing this out)
May 18, 2008: “Prince Charles: Eighteen months to stop climate change disaster”
April 27, 2009: “Charles: 99 months to prevent disaster”
Somebody please send him a calculator!!
And so…there goes the climate-change-debate relevance of a rich guy traveling the world in luxury jets and vast motorcades.
ps Interestingly, the BBC has classified its report in the “Europe” section. No mention so far in “Science & Environment”.
Time will tell if it is just hype, the Morano/Monckton story about Al Gore having been “shielded” by Democrats in the US House of Representatives from a potential debate with Lord Monckton himself. Personally I am not sure if a debate among expert witnesses is what a parliamentarian committee is expected to experience.
In any case, Al Gore cannot debate global warming / climate change. As things stand, he might simply be psychologically unable to do so.
Doesn’t anybody remember Gore’s verbal manhandling of BBC’s climate-change archbeliever Roger Harrabin of all people, because poor Harrabin had dared asking questions?
14 May at 7pm, London (UK) SW7 2AR
Details: “Engineering Our Climate” (Royal Geographical Society)
I will be there.
Six prizes for the “Nobel Prize for grassroots environmentalism“, and not even one climate change/global warming/CO2 project in sight.
And out of 130+ winners in the history of the Goldman Prize, only a handful with even a remote connection to global warming.
Some sign of hope or what?
Only thing, he’s definitely NOT writing as a BBC journalist. This sentence in particular is more than your usual BBC reporting:
“I believe that [Carbon Capture] will prove feasible, if costly“
The above looks like some kind of informed opinion. But usually a BBC journalist like any other journalist would quote the people whose opinion is being reported.
Not in this case. We are hearing what Harrabin himself thinks of a subject.
On what basis are we supposed to put trust on his thoughts? Is Roger Harrabin a recognised expert in the field of carbon capture? Or any other field for that matters?
Perhaps he is. But then we should be told.