For someone who pretends to use scientific fact to back up his stance on climate change, James “saviour of Western civilisation” Delingpole gives the impression that one of the most basic ones has eluded him. Like his mentor Christopher Booker, who once told “I woke yesterday to find six inches of global warming on my lawn”, Del Boy has a problem understanding one key word.
Definitely not fair and balanced
And that word is “global”. This is most useful for those wishing to pretend that the climate is not changing: to home in on weather events in one part of the world – telling the easily persuaded to “look over there” – while ignoring the whole picture enables Delingpole, and those of like mind, to suggest that they are right, and that all those silly scientists are conning everyone.
So it was as Del sneered “Global warming devastates America”, continuing “See that white stuff floating down past the orange trees and landing on your alligators and manatees, Florida? That's global warming, that is. See that frozen white thing by the harbor [sic] that used to look a green woman with a spiky headdress, New York? That's global warming, that is”. There was more in this vein.
The cat-calling was due to someone writing in Time magazine having the effrontery to suggest that climate change may have contributed to what is termed a “polar vortex” of intensely cold air spilling across the USA during the past week. As usual, Delingpole has the answer: a “Princeton physicist” called Will Happer. He’s a professor. But not in the field of climatology.
Happer is a known climate change sceptic, and his opinions – including the claim (no citation) that a polar vortex occurred in 1777 and miraculously helped the rebel armies to fend off the British – are published by blogs such as Climate Depot, run by Marc Morano, the “Swift boat smearer” who said climate scientists “deserve to be publicly flogged”, and was named “Climate Change Misinformer of the Year” in 2012.
Sadly for Delingpole and those he so enthusiastically cites, global does indeed mean global, and while there has been a cold snap across North America, we in the UK have seen much milder – and wetter – conditions than would be considered average for January. And Australia has seen climate records broken for the second successive year, as Lindsay Abrams has noted.
Even the story of the Antarctic survey ship stuck in the ice, which Del Boy crowed over recently, has ended as that ice has broken up, being mostly older land ice driven by the wind, which has now changed tack. We know this as it was even reported by Del’s pals at Fox News Channel (fair and balanced my arse). One-off events do not disprove global warming. There’s a hint in the word “global”.
Del’s inability to understand this sprays his cred up the wall. No change there, then.