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« Craven Kramer | Main | AR5 inquiry evidence »

Wheedle, wheedle

The weather is still coming thick and fast, as it tends to do at this time of year. The storms in the south-west have been providing the wow factor for lots of TV viewers and the scientific establishment have been thick on the ground trying to reap what benefits they can from the chaos.

Lord Krebs, the zoologist who sits on the adapatation subcommittee of the Climate Change Committee, was on the Today programme yesterday (audio below) telling us that:

"What we are experiencing now in terms of flooding and extreme weather is likely to become more common in the future due to climate change".

The conversation moved onto what should be done, with Lord Krebs clearly much exercised by what "we" should do. He is clearly a man who has much faith in bureaucratic action, and from my admitted jaundiced point of view it came over as an extended demand for lots more public spending. In his defence, he did at least recognise that there was a role for individual action too - a radical view for the BBC to be putting out.


Krebs Today

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Reader Comments (29)

"trying to reap what benefits they ."

Missing end of sentence?

Feb 6, 2014 at 9:10 AM | Unregistered Commenterartwest

Did Lord Krebs happen to say where the model of global warming predicted this weather? If he did not, can we presume that this is after-the-fact rationalising instead?

Feb 6, 2014 at 9:11 AM | Unregistered CommenterWatchman

"likely", "best available science", "use of best available models", "perhaps", "maybe". Lots of waffle by yet another talking-head, but minimal facts and no evidence. "We" should carry on doing those sensible things that our predecessors did in the old days. Areas like the Fens and the Somerset Levels were brought into land of high agricultural value centuries ago by using good engineering practice. There is no reason these days why this cannot continue. How do they manage in the Netherlands with all that land below sea level? What "we" should not do these days is buy properties that have recently been built on flood plains or too close to the sea. It's just common sense, but there are too many people lacking that vital ingredient; either that or it's the result of a dumbed-down education system. Speaking personally, "we" would never buy a property in a vulnerable location.

Feb 6, 2014 at 9:18 AM | Registered CommenterPhillip Bratby

Isn't it telling that three "experts" Nurse, Walport, and Krebs, advocating catastrophic anthropogenic climate change are expert biologists.

If they better understood the effect weather has on living organisms, particularly photosynthetic processes of oceanic biota, they may be able to add more to the debate of CO2 uptake. But to relate bad weather to long term climate change impacts is nonsense.

Feb 6, 2014 at 9:36 AM | Unregistered CommenterNeilC

There are some absolute crackers of misinformation floating around at the moment - on BBC Breakfast TV this morning the coastal railway line to Cornwall was included in the story line as "flood damage". (Nothing to do with high tides coinciding with strong onshore winds !!). The mind boggles ............

Feb 6, 2014 at 9:41 AM | Unregistered CommenterRobert Thomson

Krebs is a zoologist. He knows zilch about the execrable physics of IPCC climate modelling which has caused them to be so wrong.

Feb 6, 2014 at 9:56 AM | Unregistered CommenterMydogsgotnonose

Robert Thomson: I hope you don't expect to get any accurate reporting from the BBC. The other day we had mention of an area of over 1km! Nobody within the BBC checks for accuracy, probably the result of very few employees in the BBC having any technical knowledge.

Feb 6, 2014 at 9:59 AM | Registered CommenterPhillip Bratby

"Lord Krebs, ........ telling us that:

"What we are experiencing now in terms of flooding and extreme weather is likely to become more common in the future due to climate change".

The conversation moved onto what should be done......."

But we ARE doing something :-

"Oxford University leads £2 million research project on UK droughts and water scarcity
Posted on 13th January 2014"

Feb 6, 2014 at 10:06 AM | Unregistered CommenterJoe Public

The IPCC has been left behind.

Feb 6, 2014 at 10:19 AM | Unregistered CommenterBrute

Oh, I thought "climate change" was supposed to result in more droughts.

At least, that's what the DofE were saying only a couple of years ago.

Must try to keep up...

Feb 6, 2014 at 10:28 AM | Unregistered CommenterAndrew Duffin

Well, of course, there's nothing irrational in thinking that this is all down to 'climate change', it's just not the change that the warmists would like us to believe: 1. It's not getting warmer; it's more likely to be getting colder, and 2: Whatever way the climate may be changing, it's precious little to do with man. But to people like Krebbs, CAGW is the catch-all that ensures they keep control.

Feb 6, 2014 at 10:34 AM | Unregistered CommenterHarry Passfield

I don't know about anyone else around here but I am getting heartily sick of the "we can expect more of [insert bad thing of choice here] due to global warming" argument.
They say that the most difficult question to answer is "why?" but I suggest that it is long past time that that mantra was met with the question "when?"
Considering this global warming stuff has been going on for about the last 30 years (allegedly) we ought to be starting to see some results by now. Or are they all going to arrive in one lump on some yet-to-be-determined day in the future?

Feb 6, 2014 at 10:49 AM | Registered CommenterMike Jackson

There should be a wider public debate on policy concerning flooding and the requirement to remove human habitation from the landscape.

Feb 6, 2014 at 11:01 AM | Unregistered CommenterLord Beaverbrook

Irrefutable evidence that a failure for temperatures to rise has triggered an increase in 'extreme' weather events. That must be the only possible conclusion. Send more money, now.

Feb 6, 2014 at 11:08 AM | Unregistered CommenterCheshirered

Since successive governments have neglected coastal defences it has become more and more apparent over the years that, like the rest of the world, we have to adopt concrete tetrapods as our primary weapon against coastal erosion and sea damage. These structures could easily and speedily be used to close the breaches in the railway near Dawlish but, as far as I can see, we don't produce then anymore in the UK (love to be proved wrong) and because concrete takes at least 28 days to cure they can't be whistled up as needed. They have to be stockpiled (and I'm talking millions) and the government should encourage their production. Great low investment - high turnover opportunity for someone with the balls to do it.

PS: the climate change mob should look at UK tidal records - there has been no perceptible change in sea levels around the UK since 1800.

Feb 6, 2014 at 11:29 AM | Unregistered CommenterVernon E

"We" should carry on doing those sensible things that our predecessors did in the old days.

Ah, but nowadays we live in a world where people can afford to be stupid; back then, it was be sensible or snuff it, be productive or starve.

Feb 6, 2014 at 11:38 AM | Unregistered CommenterRick Bradford

Where's my "Mediterranean Climate" that I was promised?

Feb 6, 2014 at 11:40 AM | Unregistered Commentermichaelhart

A nice demonstration of the religious aspect of AGW. No matter what is going on in the weather, it is due to the hand of CO2. No matter how indistinguishable the weather event is from typical weather, it is a manifestation of the great climate apocalypse.

Feb 6, 2014 at 12:25 PM | Unregistered Commenterhunter

I posted this on the Guardian thread on motivated reasoning. Posted here so that it can still be read after they censor the post itself.

The great psychologist Leon Festinger observed in 1956 that "a man with a conviction is a hard man to change...

Festinger's book was called 'When Prophecy Fails'. In it he considers several historical instances of apocalyptic predictions and also documents a contemporary example of one which took place in the US and into which he was able to put a participant observer.
His observations are acute and very relevant to the current climate debate.

Very often the lower level people are more extreme, more rigid and more certain than the leadership. Very often what happens is that the leadership starts to see disaster coming if the prophecies don't come true, and starts backing off, but cannot take the movement with them.
The result of falsification of the prophecies is almost never to produce disbelief. It usually on the contrary reinforces belief, and increases the vituperation with which 'deniers' are treated. The paradoxical effect of disconfirmation on the movement is to increase certainty and belief.

The movements have self appointed thought police, who ensure that there is zero tolerance of doubts. The mechanism is social pressure and social exclusion.
Therefore what is likely to happen in these movements is what the author calls 'motivated reasoning', but the particular form which Festinger called 'cognitivie dissonance'. That is, when we believe something and have associated it with social acceptance and a general world view, we will refuse to look at evidence which casts doubt on it.

There is a debate about whether global warming is a serious problem and if so what we should do about it. However there is a section of opinion, including those who contribute to blogs such as this one, who have moved into a set of views which are not simply about 'the science' but are a more or less total world view which accounts for politics, resistance to their ideas, and which are in large measure apocalyptic. One can see phrases being used on this blog which in previous times would have been used by preachers evoking the imminent 'end times'.
People should get Festinger and read it carefully. What is happening now is that it is not warming, and prophecy is failing. The reaction is increasingly vitriolic attacks on anyone drawing attention to that, and a tendency to lump the whole view into a sort of party manifesto which is indubitable. There is a closing of ranks against sceptics or 'deniers'.

Prediction: as it turns out that global warming is real, but not much of a threat, and only partly caused by human action, and within that to only a minor extent caused by CO2 emissions, the belief in catastrophic warming caused by CO2 emissions will rise and be strengthened. All evidence to the contrary will be dismissed and accounted for by increasingly far fetched conspiracy theories. Those drawing attention to it will be dismissed as wicked (under many different and more modern names).

50 years from now, even if there has been no warming or if there has even been a cooling, even a substantial one, even if there is a sort of new Little Ice Age, there will still be scattered groups of true believers in the whole apocalyptic warming scenario. Their view will be that it has been postponed.

If you doubt this, do some research into the Jehovah's Witnesses predictions of the end of the world. They have occurred every few decades. The world is still here. And so are the Witnesses. That's how its going to be with Warmism.

Feb 6, 2014 at 12:46 PM | Unregistered Commenterjamesmackelroy

Of COURSE its due to 'climate change' - what else would it be..? Weather..?

Feb 6, 2014 at 12:55 PM | Unregistered CommenterSherlock1

This line of argument of course leaves the really guilty ones off the hook.

However if the powers that be thought floods were going to be more common regardless of the cause then you'd think they'd maybe resume river dredging anyway. But you'd be wrong because their fallback excuse is that we shouldn't be building on flood plains anyway. Of course there aren't enough hills in England, especially as they are all earmarked for windfarms - which leads us to their underlying dogma: There are just too may of us in the first place!

Feb 6, 2014 at 12:56 PM | Unregistered CommenterJamesG

When are they all going to learn that water doesn't flow uphill. All this babble about rivers and rain is nonsense. The Levels are BELOW sea level (MHWS that is) so the only way they drain is via the drainage channels through the sluice gates to the low tide sea level. The sluices have been broken in the partly open position since the EA took over so the water, firstly, doesn't escape in any quantity, then what does escape comes back a few hours later on the rising tide. The folks down there should take a class action against the EA for gross negligence. The good news is that the sluices could easily be fixed by a few people with the correct equipment and knowledge.

Feb 6, 2014 at 2:57 PM | Unregistered CommenterVernon E

They have been getting away with the lie of global warming now for over 20 years. 18 years of pretty normal weather has not stopped them. I would like to know the name of the chap who decided at committee: who said lets call it something different like climate change.

Feb 6, 2014 at 3:44 PM | Unregistered CommenterFred Sage

I have a feeling that when anthropogenic global warming a.k.a. 'climate change' is definitively shown to be a scam, most people will just shrug and say "we knew that all along". Apocalypse fatigue?

Feb 6, 2014 at 3:53 PM | Unregistered CommenterArthur Peacock

Climate is the usual range of weather conditions enjoyed or endured during each season in some part of the world. 'Climate change' cannot be the cause of a change in the range. When the range of weather conditions, for whatever reason, changes then that is to be summed-up as a change (or variation) in the climate. A body does not move faster because of an increase in its velocity.

The cause of climate change used to be identified with a rise in the globe's average temperature. But since the rising has, long since, nigh on stopped then the effect of the, no longer, new higher temperature range, wherever one actually has replaced the previous range, has already wrought its little worst - or whatever.

Feb 6, 2014 at 4:36 PM | Unregistered CommenterBob Layson

Mike Jackson: You say: "They say that the most difficult question to answer is "why?"
Well, I was taught (years ago, in project management) to ask 'Why?' to the seventh. It kinda works. However, I am more and more coming round to a different question, especially when faced with the doom-mongers who tell us how bad things are going to be. It is: 'So what?'

I find it works best on those that tell me that sea levels are rising and temperatures will be at least one degree higher: So what?

Feb 6, 2014 at 8:46 PM | Unregistered CommenterHarry Passfield

"So what"

Harry passfield

We are a civilazation which went from basic agriculture to technology during an 8000 year period of relative climate stability. Our civilisation's infrastructure and agriculture are mostly on coastal plains.

The recent damage to the railway at Dawlish and the loss of crops on the Somerset Levels demonstrate how vulnerable that infrastructure is.

Feb 6, 2014 at 9:10 PM | Unregistered CommenterEntropic man

Interesting that so many of you are invoking the straw man that this Winter's extreme weather is due to climate change.

It is a pattern which is less common nowadays than during the LIA.

Cold air from the Arctic pushes the jetstream southwards to the Gulf of Mexico.

The large temperature gradient across the jetstream accelerates it more than normal.

The high energy jetstream generates repeated deep depressions in the Atlantic.

We are in the path of the depressions. We get repeated gales, storm surges and heavy rain.

This will continue until the jetstream moves back North.

Feb 6, 2014 at 9:24 PM | Unregistered CommenterEntropic man

For those still under the misapprehension that global warming has paused, look at Cowtan and Way's latest data.

Go to

And click on "this update".

Feb 6, 2014 at 10:30 PM | Unregistered CommenterEntropic man

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