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Wednesday 22 December 2010

Yikes Readers, Another Dodgy Column!

In his latest Maily Telegraph column – generating the all important “chicken feed” – London’s occasional mayor Alexander Boris de Pfeffel Johnson discusses the wintry weather. Quite apart from his assertion of how well the city’s transport infrastructure has been coping – on the same day that Bozza penned his piece, Adam Bienkov posted a little factual information in dissent – the mayor has been eulogising over independent weather forecaster Piers Corbyn.

Corbyn, who runs his own predictions business, is right “about 85% of the time” according to Bozza. Where he gets this figure from is not clear, but the mayor continues, telling that “serious business people ... are starting to invest in his forecasts”. Actually, that’s been happening for a while, but Corbyn’s forecasts have not always been accurate.

His forecast of apocalyptic, or “raging” weather in September 1997 was wrong, as was his assertion that January 2008 would see the UK in the grip of arctic cold. So he’s now managed to nail a cold spell, although the idea that this winter would be the coldest for a hundred years might yet be a big ask: after all, it would have to top 1962-3 and 1946-7, the latter being particularly grim.

There is, though, one reason, not stated in Bozza’s article, why Corbyn should enjoy such celebrity with the Telegraph and many on the right: he has dismissed the concept of global warming, and the idea that higher carbon dioxide levels might cause higher temperatures. He also asserts that the earth is now cooling, a common gambit among the denial lobby.

That is not sufficient reason for Bozza, or any politician, to take Corbyn’s word as gospel. He should be treated strictly on his merits – as Johnson and many of the Telegraph’s pundits like to do when laying into the Met Office.

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