Descendants usually praise their ancestors: ours are likely to curse us

It is unseasonably warm in London; I suppose that it is sod’s law that we get a warm winter when energy prices are falling. This illustrates the difficulty that policy makers have when they deal with two key and interlinked areas of policy – energy and climate change.

The warm winter and the record rainfall in parts of Britain are linked to climate change; we do not know enough to be able to claim a direct causal link,  but with 2105 likely to be the warmest year on record, thin Arctic sea ice in winter, and unusual weather events are all classic precursors of climate change, according to climatologists.

It is not our problem today (apart from those affected by these events) but is likely to be the problem that our descendants have to deal with in practical terms. They will look at the talking done at meetings like the Paris Climate Change Conference which results in opportunistic money grabs by some nations and a new improved target of holding back temperature rises to half a degree less than the previous target, and wonder about our intelligence and wonder at our greed.

Descendants usually praise their ancestors: ours are likely to curse us.

Who believes in Climate Change?

If something affects you, it becomes important. If it does not affect you, then it usually has no importance to you, although it is still there and it has importance to other people. When we read of wars and people dying, we may feel sad that thirty Afghans or twenty Iraqis or ten Syrians or half a dozen Palestinians have died in some act of violence designed for someone to sustain or achieve power over others. Then we “move on”. Continue reading

Something is Warning Us

Floods are becoming increasingly commonplace in the British Isles. Our buildings, where many of them are placed and how they are built, and our infrastructure has not been designed with regular flooding in mind. Droughts are becoming increasingly commonplace in continental United States. Its economy and the use of much of its land have not been designed in high levels of drought. In Yemen there is a shortage of water. Its development and growth has not been planned on the basis that it can sustain the water needs of its population, as the water table drops and drops making water not only a precious commodity, but also a very expensive one. Continue reading

Flood Insurance – Who should Pay?

Insurance is, as Orwell called it, a swindle, but at least it is a logical swindle. Insurance rates are calculated on the industry’s view of statistics; the uplift and margin applied to those statistics are the tools of the swindle, but the fundamental premium you pay depends on the figures. If you wish to insure your life you age and the statistical analysis of your longevity will be relevant and if you want to insure your home against losses suffered by flooding then the likelihood of flooding in the place where your home is situate is part of the figuring which sets the price that you pay. If the insurance company, when looking at the statistics tells you that it will not insure your home at any price, then you know that flooding is not merely possible but highly probable. Continue reading

Weather Oscillations and predicting climate change

The Madden-Julian Oscillation sounds like one of those files that Dr Watson kept of Sherlock Holmes’ cases deep in the vaults of a dusty bank, or else a particularly exciting ballroom dance routine, but in fact it describes a weather pattern that has very far reaching climate consequences. Continue reading