Bernard Ingham: There's far too much hot air about global warming

I don't want to worry you, but we are living in a fool's paradise. If you think life is going to carry on more or less as now, you could be in for an almighty shock.

Moreover, the culprits are proud of their handiwork. I refer to the ignorant tribe of so-called environmentalists – Friends of the Earth and Greenpeace – and their captives: two decades of gullible, politically correct politicians who set objectives without knowing how to achieve them.

Environment Secretary Michael Gove’s recent pronouncement banning diesel and petrol cars by 2040 is out of the top drawer of incompetent policy-making. Between them, environmentalists and politicians have put at risk our near 100 per cent reliability in power supplies – storm damage excepted – in the name of that unproven theory called global warming.

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You can talk as long as you like about Northern Powerhouses, economic growth, the nation’s health and welfare and relative social stability but without power at the flick of a switch they – and we – are in dire straits. Your life would be turned upside down if you never knew when you had an electricity supply.

Credit therefore where it is due. President Donald Trump may have set the world’s teeth on edge with his argy bargy with the unstable Kim Jung-un in North Korea, but he has performed the world a service by pulling out of the Paris concord on climate change.

This is as much a scam as our government’s subsidising of wind farms and solar panels and Drax power station’s burning polluting biomass – ie wood – imported from America.

Since the consumer pays the price the Government’s pious virtue is just as much transferring money from the poor to the landed gentry as the Paris Accord is in seeking to move £100bn from the West to the assorted kleptomaniacs of the developing world.

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The sheer hypocrisy involved is breathtaking. While Angela Merkel replaces clean nuclear power stations with those burning filthy brown coal, our environmentalists and politicians extol the virtues of entirely unreliable wind and solar power, even though they wreck the natural environment both onshore and offshore. They also run a mile from fracking for gas when, as I hope Ryedale may discover, its production sites can easily be hidden in the countryside.

Now do not get me wrong. I accept the theory of global warming from fossil fuels but, leaving aside milder winters, I find precious little statistical evidence for it since the Industrial Revolution. Arctic warming there may be. Urban warming certainly. It would be amazing if towns and cities were not warmer than rural areas, given their consumption of energy over the last 250 years.

But global warming? That is a very big claim. Recently it has taken a knock from two German scientists who must be very unpopular in their supposedly “green” country. Horst-Joachim Lüdeke and Carl-Otto Weiss, in the Open Atmosphere Science Journal, have produced a graph which shows a remarkable consistency in the cyclical movement from hot to cold and cold to hot climates every 500 years.

The graph tallies beautifully with experience. The Vikings colonised Greenland around AD 1,000 and we had some very cold years in the Little Ice Age starting in the 16th century. The world was at the top of the curve in 2000 that is now set on a downward path. If that means colder winters, then stand by for shivering. We are already on a knife edge in power supply and demand. The National Grid is flying on a wing and a prayer over how it supplies the nation now, let alone when there are 30-40 million electric cars on the roads.

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With coal-burning power stations nearly phased out, it is even now relying on existing power stations being faultless and, at enormous cost, widely dispersed instant diesel and gas – yes, diesel and gas – generation when it freezes in the still midwinter.

The only hopeful sign is that the Government has got the wind up about the interminable business of getting new non-polluting clean nuclear power stations built at – again – enormous cost. There is a better humanitarian case than global warming for ditching coal and oil and reducing pollution, but never at the expense of our social and economic well-being.

The government in office will get it in the neck if the lights go out. Pray hard, Mrs May. Even woodpeckers are against you. Last year their drilling damaged 6,000 pylons.