Bernard Ingham: End to green farce is my festive wish

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IT can’t go on. I am impelled by the Christmas spirit to advise the United Nations that it will scrap its Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) tomorrow if it has any sense. The longer it lingers beyond the festive season the less credibility the UN will have.

It is not as though it is flush with success. Its members make sure that it has no idea how to deal with Vladimir Putin’s national inferiority complex, militant Islam that shoots children in class and beheads hostages with similar satisfaction, and the entire Middle East mess.

It is left to the United States, surely the most benevolent great power the world has known, the British and a few diffident European nations to stand up for humanity.

This takes me back to the IPCC. This is something the UN can do something about.

For 20 years, getting on for 200 nations – with up to 10,000 Greenpeace-type hangers-on junketing at taxpayers’ expense – have been meeting under its auspices in all the best places: Kyoto, Rio, and latterly Cancun, Copenhagen, Durban, Warsaw and Doha. You name it, they’ve been there raising greenhouse gas emissions by the thousand tonne.

We all know what goes on. In the run up to these COP meetings, as they are called, assorted academics, keeping their government climate change research contracts warm, suggest we can expect more extremes of weather – floods, droughts, heatwaves and fires, landslides and general chaos.

There is, of course, no conclusive proof of any weather link with carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions. If the scaremongers think the public’s blood will be curdled more easily, we shall discover that the Arctic and Antarctic iceshelves are melting away or that the polar bear is dying out. In fact, latterly all three are flourishing. And the seas are not acidifying as these twisters maintain.

When all this fails to propel these COPs to a conclusion, they cobble together some nonsense about a breakthrough. The ridiculous UK Energy Secretary, Ed Davey, was at it again after a recent meeting in Lima which got nowhere.

We can also be sure that the Paris conference in 12 months’ time will hit a brick wall, too. The emerging nations are not going to do anything to damage their economies. Only the West is daft enough to do that. And the developing nations are not going to lift a finger unless the West transfers something like £100bn to their coffers.

Global warming is more about the capitalist West paying for its “sins” in originating the industrial revolution based on fossil fuels than it has ever been about climate.

But not even the wettest democracies seem likely to throw that kind of money at the so-called problem when they can be pretty sure most of it will find its way into the Swiss bank and offshore accounts of grasping dictators. So far 23 fools have pledged – as distinct from committed – £10bn.

I defy anyone to argue that this farce is doing any good to the UN, CO2 levels, the world’s temperature – remarkably stable for 18 years bearing in mind all the CO2 poured into it over that time – or the supposedly most vulnerable people living in low-lying areas. The Maldives, which once held a symbolic cabinet meeting beneath the waves, stubbornly refuse to succumb to the seas.

What the UN needs to do tomorrow – yes, Christmas Day – is to say that we believe there is something in the science connecting greenhouse gases and atmospheric temperature.

But after all these years we haven’t a clue what it is or how influential. The evidence so far suggests not much.

That does not mean we can forget about it. But it does mean that we have to approach the entire issue with a new scepticism. Scaremongering has clearly produced nothing but lost credibility and integrity.

Until we have reappraised the situation, there will be no more COPs. For my part, I would expect the scientific community – or what sensible bit there is left of it, bearing in mind the UK’s Royal Society has more than once tried to close down debate on global warming – to be in the van of demands for chopping the IPCC. Already it stands accused of jiggery pokey and rigging the evidence on global warming. Scientists above all need to look to their reputations. Theirs are as blemished as the UN’s. It is time for a repair job.