Guardian-bashing is becoming something of a habit on my part, and I acknowledge it is probably unfair. I read and report on so many articles at the Guardian online, because – unlike many other newspapers – the Guardian performs the great service of allowing its website to be read for free, rather than hiding behind a paywall. For that I give it full credit. However, there, increasingly, my goodwill ceases; that is a matter of sadness for me, as the Guardian is a newspaper I read pretty much every day for a couple of decades when I was younger. Have I left the Guardian, or has the Guardian left me? I suspect the latter, but then I would say that, wouldn’t I?
Anyway, as Geoff Chambers wrote in a comment on “Climate Crimes: the Graun Goes Full Proto-Nazi” the other day, the Guardian is “the epicentre of climate hysteria, even if the virus is now everywhere.” The evidence for that statement has been available in spades over the last day or two, with “climate crisis” articles spilling from the pens of Guardian journalists so quickly that it has been difficult to keep up.
Extreme temperatures kill 5 million people a year with heat-related deaths rising, study finds
That was one of several eye-catching headlines in the Guardian on 7th July. In smaller print, we learned from a sub-heading that the truth was slightly more complicated:
“More people died of cold than heat in past 20 years but climate change is shifting the balance”.
The article itself reiterated those claims, with a little more detail:
“More than 5 million people die each year globally because of excessively hot or cold conditions, a 20-year study has found – and heat-related deaths are on the rise.
The study involving dozens of scientists around the world found that 9.4% of global deaths each year are attributable to heat or cold exposure, equivalent to 74 extra deaths per 100,000 people.”
“The study found more people had died of cold than heat over the two-decade period. But heat-related deaths were increasing, while cold-linked deaths were dropping.”
For the casual Guardian-reader, who has made it this far, the story seems pretty clear – as usual, “climate change bad”. This would be an inference reinforced by the continuing tone of the article, especially in (selectively) quoting one of the lead researchers, Professor Yumin Guo, as follows:
“If we don’t take any action to mitigate climate change … more deaths will be caused.”
Fortunately the Guardian provided a link to the study, published on the Lancet Planetary Health website, and titled “Global, regional, and national burden of mortality associated with non-optimal ambient temperatures from 2000 to 2019: a three-stage modelling study”. The study refers to deaths caused by excess heat or excess cold as “deaths related to non-optimal temperatures”, and finds that average excess deaths attributable to this cause amounted to 9.43% of global deaths. Of that 9.43%, given the Guardian’s reportage, surely heat accounted for the vast majority? No, it didn’t. 8.52% of deaths were explainable by cold temperatures, and 0.91% explainable by hot temperatures. Yes, you read that correctly. A human inhabitant of planet earth is almost 10 times more likely to die of cold than of heat.
The study goes on:
“Our study also explored the temporal change in temperature-related mortality burden from 2000 to 2019. The global daily mean temperature increased by 0·26°C per decade during this time, paralleled with a large decrease in cold-related deaths and a moderate increase in heat-related deaths. The results indicate that global warming might slightly reduce the net temperature-related deaths, although, in the long run, climate change is expected to increase mortality burden…”.
So, warming between 2000 and 2019 has reduced “deaths related to non-optimal temperatures”. It’s a pity the Guardian headline (and following story) didn’t mention those inconvenient truths. What “the long run” is for the point when the benefits of warming become disbenefits isn’t stated in either the study or in the Guardian article, so far as I can see.
Speaking of benefits -v- disbenefits of global warming:
How the BBC let climate deniers walk all over it
On the same day, an article by George Monbiot in the Guardian bore the above equally eye-catching headline. Tony Thomas, of course, has already mentioned the underlying story that led to this latest climate hysteria, in “When Climateers Let the Truth Slip Out”.
George has a rather different view of the BBC to those of us who remember 28-Gate, and wonder when, if ever, an even vaguely sceptical voice will be allowed to be heard at the BBC to counter the endless stream of climate propaganda put out by Roger Harrabin, Matt McGrath and co.
George opines about the fight he and his colleagues had in the early days to get their voices heard against “the fossil fuel companies”:
“So scientists and environmental campaigners found themselves fighting the oil companies at one step removed, and with one hand tied behind their backs. When some of us were pitched against a “thinktank” in the media, if we tried to explain that it was not what it claimed to be, or asked it to reveal its funders, we were accused of being “conspiracy theorists”, or of “playing the man not the ball”. But if we didn’t, its false claims about climate science were given equal or greater weight. After all, who were we, a threadbare bunch, beside those respectable-sounding institutes with offices in Washington or Westminster?”
How times have changed. This is how we sceptics feel each and every day, when confronted with the might of the Green Blob, and its numerous sources of funding, think-tanks, institutions, and philanthropic trusts, not to mention politicians of all stripes, big business, and all the other climate worriers given prominence at the BBC without so much as a countervailing voice to offer the slightest balance to the prevailing narrative of “climate crisis”. And still the turning of the wheel of fortune isn’t enough for George and the Guardian. The slightest chink of light, the slightest suggestion of balance, must be stamped on:
“Last week, a group of us revealed what the BBC has been teaching children about climate breakdown. The GCSE module on BBC Bitesize listed the “positive” impacts of our global catastrophe. Among them were “more resources, such as oil, becoming available in places such as Alaska and Siberia when the ice melts”; “new tourist destinations becoming available” (welcome to Derby-on-Sea); and “warmer temperatures could lead to healthier outdoor lifestyles”.
In a sterling example of the corporation’s endless confusion between balance and impartiality, the list of positives was roughly equal to the list of negatives. The greatest crisis humanity has ever faced looked like six of one and half a dozen of the other.
Only when it caused a social media storm did the BBC remove this content. I asked it how, when and why this list was included, whether external organisations were involved, and why the corporation ignored previous requests to improve the module. It told me it would not be commenting. So much for public service.”
So much for public service indeed. Welcome, George, to the world of the sceptic, where the door is endlessly slammed in your face. Where complaints of biased reporting are shunted into the sidings, where you’re lucky to receive a reply months later telling you that the BBC has looked in to your complaint and has decided that it is without merit.
Oh to be able to contact the BBC and have a story changed at my behest, as George has managed. And then to complain that the BBC wasn’t taking my view of the world seriously. I wonder how I’d get on if I complained to the Guardian about a story that stressed deaths from heat, by reference to a new study that made it clear that deaths from cold were far more prevalent, without once mentioning that cold kills almost ten times as many people as are killed by heat? Just asking….
There’s an old gag that goes something like:
which captures the paper’s appeal and readership better than the “left”/”right” dichotomy. It’s the paper for people who like to “think” about what they “ought” to do to make the world a better place. “Putting the world to rights” has morphed into “saving the planet.” Distinguishing between the good and bad policies or actors in a dozen different fields of human activity is painstaking and – let’s face it – boring work. So much easier to condemn all human activity as a threat to our survival.
The BBC today has an article about how knocking down old buildings and building new ones is bad for the planet.
An awful lot of Guardian headlines begin with “Why,” “What” or “How.” The Guardian reader is the intelligent inquiring child (challenging, sympathique, but a bit of a pain in the bottom, frankly) and the Guardian is the patient parent ready to explain.
In my commenting days there I thought their climate hysteria was an aberration due to lack of information, but it goes deeper than that. As Mark’s analysis of the claim about deaths from temperature extremes shows, there’s a deliberate policy of hiding the truth, aided by a level of stupidity at the editing level that is breathtaking. Today’s paper has an article claiming that
eight billion being more than the total population of the planet. The figure includes the unborn who may be at risk in the future. Why not project models further into the future and make that trillions?
And the stupidity spills into every corner of this once intelligent paper. Yesterday there was an article about how Italian geneticists had traced a couple of dozen of Leonardo’s descendants, in which it was mentioned offhand that Leonardo had no children. (Leonardo was almost certainly a pedophile, so those innocent Tuscans identified as descendants of Leonardo’s grandfather might not be so happy at attempts to isolate the Leonardo gene.)
But the big change in the Guardian’s coverage has been the emphasis on feelings; the idea has got around that English middle class chaps are not good at expressing emotions (I mean, just look at Shakespeare) so the Graun is trying to push us into being more in touch with our inner selves with articles like:
The earnest questions of that irritating enquiring child again.
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Thanks for that. I had spotted all that other drivel at the article (except the one about Leonardo) but I was anxious to try to keep the article reasonably short. It was the truly awful and one-sided reporting of the deaths from heat/deaths from cold that prompted me to write something. How can a newspaper that expects (demands) to be taken seriously, report about deaths from extreme temperatures and completely fail to mention that:
1. Almost 10 times as many people die from cold as from heat; and
2. Over the last 20 years, warming has been beneficial in this respect, with deaths from cold reducing at a faster rate than deaths from heat have increased?
Yes, it provided a link to the paper that was the prompt for the Guardian story, and thanks to Jit, who bothered to read it, the truth came out. But how many Guardian readers (aka enquiring children) would even bother getting beyond the misleading Guardian headline, let alone read the paper linked to? Yesterday the Guardian finally and irretrievably went beyond the pale, so far as I am concerned.
As for the latest story about refurbishing buildings rather than demolishing old ones and building new ones, I suspect it’s based on a RIBA press release, for the BBC has it too:
“Experts used to be proud to reduce emissions by replacing leaky old buildings with energy-efficient new ones.
Now the Royal Institute of British Architects says that was a mistake.
Instead, it says we should refurbish old buildings rather than scrap them, because of the pollution that would be involved in constructing a replacement building, otherwise known as embodied carbon.”
How about not demolishing existing power plants and not replacing them with wind farms, “because of the pollution that would be involved in constructing a replacement [electricity generator], otherwise known as embodied carbon.” There’s an awful lot of CO2 emitted when manufacturing the concrete for the foundations, making the steel for the blades, disrupting peat banks, slashing roads across the countryside, and transporting the kit from the other side of the world, where it is usually manufactured (in countries with lower environmental standards than in the UK). Oh dear, I think I’m becoming an enquiring child.
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Here’s the latest example of selective reporting by the Guardian:
“Global wind and solar power capacity grew at record rate in 2020
BP’s annual report reveals renewable energy boom in pandemic coincided with slump in demand for oil”
“The world’s wind and solar energy capacity grew at a record rate last year while the oil industry recorded its steepest slump in demand since the second world war, according to BP.
The impact of coronavirus lockdowns on the energy industry led carbon emissions to plummet by 6% on the year before, the sharpest decline since 1945, according to BP’s annual review of the energy sector.
But the report says the impact of Covid on carbon emissions needs to be replicated every year for the next three decades if governments hope to limit global heating to 1.5C above pre-industrial levels.
“Yes, they were the biggest falls seen for 75 years,” said Spencer Dale, BP’s chief economist. “But they occurred against the backdrop of a global pandemic and the largest economic recession in postwar history. The challenge is to reduce emissions without causing massive disruption and damage to everyday lives and livelihoods.””
Actually, that’s slightly – but only slightly – more balanced than its reporting of heat/cold deaths. On this occasion, however, they weren’t going to be so silly as to provide a link to the BP Statistical Review of World Energy 2021. Fortunately, the internet allows enquiring children to find these things for themselves:
Click to access bp-stats-review-2021-full-report.pdf
Here’s what the Guardian report forgot to mention:
“Oil continues to hold the largest share of the energy mix (31.2%). Coal is the second largest fuel in 2020, accounting for 27.2% of total primary energy consumption, a slight increase from 27.1% in the previous year. The share of both natural gas and renewables rose to record highs of 24.7% and 5.7% respectively. Renewables has now overtaken nuclear which makes up only 4.3% of the energy mix. Hydro’s share of energy increased by 0.4 percentage points last year to 6.9%, the first increase since 2014.”
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That link didn’t seem to work. Try this, and from here you can download the report:
MARK HODGSON 9 Jul 2021 7.09AM
I’ve got a list of times the Graun finally went beyond the pale for me as long as George Monbiot’s nose. The only consolation is in following closely events at their environment desk and trying to work out what’s happening below the surface. And there one can find encouraging signs of something like panic.
When comments were allowed at most articles, their regular environment journalists (Monbiot, Carrington, Randerson, Hickman) got slain by sceptical commenters, who regularly picked up more “likes” than the Graun’s defenders. Then they changed the website, banning sceptical commenters, effacing years of “likes,” and putting their favourite comments at the head of the column, like teacher’s pets. Carrington &co stopped commenting on the science, leaving it to a thing called the Guardian Environment Network – stringers like John Abrahams and Dana Nuccitelli (aka “the 97%”) who did it for free. Then they abolished the G. Environmental Network in 2018 without informing its members. Graham Readfearn reports at deSmogblog how Nuccitelli &co were churning out articles for months, blissfully unaware that they weren’t being published.
Then started a carbon disinvestment campaign with the hilarious slogan “keep the coal in the hole and the oil in the soil.” Alex has lovingly transcribed the podcasts on the subject, starting here
It’s a classic of unintentional humour.
Since then there’s been the ray of hope of a popular movement, led by XR and Greta, symbolised by George Monbiot getting himself hauled into a police van in Trafalgar Square with the ecstatic air of a Christian martyr.
“Climate Crimes” seems to be their latest desperate attempt to hang the climate story on a hook that will interest their readers. They’ve finally realised how difficult it is to compose a myth. The garden of Eden is boring until you introduce Evil in an easily identifiable, personalised form. And that’s where we come in.
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I wonder if “non optimal temperature deaths” would have included a Saskatchewan youth in the 1970s who froze to death after licking a metal lamppost in -30oC weather. Normally such idiots got rescued by the fire service who heat the metal with blow torches, but in this particular case they arrived too late.
In cold climates, with the exception of idiots like our post lickers, deaths in winters in cold climates are usually lower than average because inhabitants take extra precautions. Vehicles are driven much more cautiously and with snow tyres. I once observed a line of cars each successively turn to bury their noses into piled up snow at the side of the road in Regina rather than hit the car ahead – a feat of driving skill I have never seen matched. In fact people of Regina much preferred the rigours of Winter to those of their Summers. Summers were hot, humid and mosquito-ridden.
Mark: “Renewables has now overtaken nuclear which makes up only 4.3% of the energy mix.”
Did it break down renewables? I presume without bio-fuels, aka burning mature American forests in Drax etc, this figure would be far lower.
Geoff: “They’ve finally realised how difficult it is to compose a myth.”
It is indeed very difficult to consciously create or bigly expand one; myths that really take off actually continuously write themselves and the process via which this occurs is typically far more potent than anyone’s conscious construction can yet match. However, having said that, it’s still a hell of a lot easier to consciously compose a few minor additive harmonies than it is to try and stop the music (aka dispel the myth to uncover truth). The additive harmonies may benefit the grand theme very little, some may even be a bit out of tune. But there’ll still be praise from the culturally convinced (and especially their elites) for making them, and only demonization for trying to stop the music.
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It must be about 10 years since I stopped trying to debunk Guardian stories
People would scientifically debunk articles
..then moderators would delete theirs and supporters comments
.. then if you were lucky six months down the line the Guardian article would get stealth edited to correct it.
One cannot reason with the unreasonable
And the Guardian has proven itself to push a fantasy view of the world
when we need a real world view.
on the Monbiot article 1,000 comments almost all supporting him appeared
.. but after only 4.5 hours the Guardian locked the gate
what are they afraid of ?
Speaking of The Guardian losing the plot…
Andy, an interesting read – thanks.
Today Gaby Hinsliff has an article in the Guardian, headed “Are friendships really being destroyed by Britain’s divided politics?”. I thought this was interesting:
“…This week Frank Luntz, the US pollster (and old university friend of Boris Johnson) newly installed at the Centre for Policy Studies thinktank, grabbed headlines with an argument that Britons are “writing each other off and out of our lives” as relationships crack under the strain of ideological divides. His research found half of under-30s and a third of over-30s have stopped talking to someone for voicing a political opinion, prompting some hand-wringing about cancel culture and whether younger people are now too censorious to tolerate differences of opinion. (The over-50s were significantly less likely to have had such a falling out, although maybe they just did their social culling decades ago and now move in smaller but more like-minded circles).
But while a recent Ipsos Mori study did find evidence that progressives were less tolerant than rightwingers of political differences within their friendships – people who support Black Lives Matter or trans rights were less likely to say they could be friends with someone who didn’t than vice versa, and remainers less likely than leavers – the doom feels strangely overdone, and in danger of normalising something that still isn’t actually the norm….”.
One of the things that has long perplexed me is how those, ostensibly on the left (whatever left means these days – I no longer particularly recognise it), who argue for tolerance of all sorts of things (some of which should be intolerable, IMO!) tend themselves to be intolerant of other opinions, more intolerant than those on the right. I’m not sure what’s going on here, or why, but I don’t understand it.
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Andy, you asked if “renewables” include biofuels in the BP Statistical Review, and I think the answer is yes (they do seem to treat hydro separately). I found this statement, which seems to confirm it:
“Renewable energy consumption (including biofuels but excluding hydro) grew by 2.9 EJ. The annual growth rate of 9.7% was below the historical 10-year average but the absolute increase in energy terms was roughly in-line with the last 4 years and the largest for any fuel in 2020.” Also, when they split electricity generation down by source, the categories are: oil; natural gas; coal; nuclear; hydroelectricity; renewables; and other (includes sources not specified elsewhere e.g. pumped hydro, non-renewable waste and statistical differences). Since biofuels don’t feature in “other”, nor as a stand-alone category, I think it’s safe to assume they’re lumped in as part of “renewables”, which does rather distort the picture in favour of renewables.
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The Guardian continues pushing its highly selective version of the report on deaths caused by both extreme heat and cold. Nothing in their report is inaccurate, but the selective nature of the reporting succeeds in painting a highly inaccurate picture. There is a reason why the oath, when giving evidence in Court, is “to tell the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth”. Well, the Guardian’s reportage of this story might pass the first part of that oath, but definitely not the second and arguably not the third:
“Deadly heat: how rising temperatures threaten workers from Nicaragua to Nepal”
“More than 5 million people die each year worldwide due to excessively hot or cold conditions, according to a recent 20-year study, and heat-related deaths are climbing. Another study found that 37% of heat-related deaths around the globe in warm seasons could be tied to the climate emergency.”
No mention of the fact that 90% of those 5M+ deaths are deaths from cold, not from heat. By adding the second sentence it is my view that they are deliberately eliding 2 issues so as to create the false impression that heat, not cold, is the issue. The casual reader of the article would definitely – and inaccurately – be left with the distinct impression that heat is the main killer and the thing we need to worry about. Nowhere is it mentioned that the modest warming of the last 20 years has reduced deaths from cold by more than the increase in deaths due to heat. I regard the nature of this style of reporting to be disgraceful.
“People in the UK want bold climate action – why aren’t politicians listening?
Across the country, citizens’ juries have shown strong support for ambitious green policies that improve lives”
This article isn’t quite so bad, but in my view greatly exaggerates the situation:
“The fight against climate change is often presented as a binary decision between a costly but sustainable future or missing environmental targets while protecting people’s jobs. Not only is this framing environmentally dangerous, it’s politically unnecessary. There is strong support for ambitious government policy to tackle the climate crisis, and optimism about the positive benefits of doing so, as long as the measures taken are fair.”
And what is this based on?
“…hundreds of hours of conversations with citizens across the UK. Over the past 18 months, we have convened “citizens’ juries”, where people from different areas are randomly invited to take part in a series of events, to hear from experts and discuss and propose their own ideas. We spoke with people from all walks of life and different viewpoints in Aberdeenshire, Tees Valley and County Durham, Thurrock and south Wales. In each place, we asked these jurors what a fair transition would look like to them….”.
Their website is here:
“The IPPR Environmental Justice Commission (EJC) is a landmark initiative building on IPPR’s award winning work on environmental breakdown and its Commission for Economic Justice. The commission is co-chaired by Caroline Lucas, Hilary Benn and Laura Sandys, and they are joined by commissioners drawn from business, activism, academia, civil society, and trade unionism.
The central aim of the commission is to develop a positive vision and a plan to tackle the climate and nature crises by bringing about an economic transformation, building resilience and realising the substantial opportunities to address underlying economic and social inequalities. As the UK and countries around the world seek to recover from the havoc wreaked by Covid-19, minds will focus on how to rebuild the UK’s economy to ensure it is stronger and more resilient and therefore the work of the commission is ever more essential…
…The vision, ideas, and policies that the commission puts forward:
will be big and bold: the commission will set out the bold policy action needed for the UK to tackle the climate and nature crises, transform its economy, and realise the substantial opportunities to address underlying economic and social inequalities
will ensure the transition is owned and driven by communities: people must be at the heart of the economic transformation, which must be shaped by those most affected capture the real opportunities for a better life for everyone: bold action can provide enormous benefits for communities, through the creation of green jobs, improved health, quality of life and wellbeing, and ensuring a just transition in the UK. The transition must prioritise the public’s wellbeing and security, and new opportunities for those who risk losing out
enable the UK to show leadership on the climate and nature crises, and a just transition: at the next Conference of the Parties (COP26) on climate to be hosted in the UK and the biodiversity COP in China, the UK can inspire other countries by designing a modern, green and fair economic model
help build public support for reform: the transformation to a fair and green economic model that is fit for the future will need to command widespread public support. This will require new channels for accountability and public mobilisation….”
Does anyone seriously believe that an organisation with that agenda, with the central aim of developing “a positive vision and a plan to tackle the climate and nature crises” and to “help build public support for reform” will have held the discussions in an entirely objective way, giving the public the opportunity to question what they want to do in the public’s name? The entire article looks like a propaganda puff-piece in support of an agenda to me.
I should have thought a more appropriate heading might have been “”People in the UK don’t want bold climate action – why aren’t politicians listening?” The idea that people want more and that it is politicians who are dragging their heels is risible. That will become ever more apparent when the costs of the politicians’ and activists’ plans – to wallets/purses and to lifestyles – dawn on the public.
At least we have this by way of some sort of truth, though of course it’s much lower-key than any story about deaths from heat:
“Death toll from Texas February cold spell rises by 59 to reach 210
State officials add to deadly cost of failure of state power grid, which caused a political scandal”
“Texas officials have added 59 deaths to the toll wrought by a February cold spell and the ensuing collapse of the state electric power grid.
The deaths newly tallied by the Texas health department lifted the toll from 151 to 210, most from exposure to sometimes-subzero temperatures. Some deaths were blamed on carbon monoxide poisoning as freezing Texans sought warmth from cars and outdoor grills.”
“From sometimes sub-zero temperatures”!!! Oh come on! Here’s a report from the NOAA National Weather Service:
“An historic cold outbreak overspread all of the Plains on February 6th and lasted through February 18th. A persistent Arctic airmass like this hasn’t affected the region since the 1980s! During this stretch, there were days where the high temp did not make it out of the single digits! The Arctic surge made it all the way down to south Texas, where snow was observed on the beaches of Galveston!”
Bear in mind that they measure temperature in F not C, in the USA, so not making it out of single digits implies well below 0C.
“The Guardian continues pushing its highly selective version of the report on deaths caused by both extreme heat and cold. ”
Disingenuous nature of its headline on this now mentioned in a post by Judith at Climate Etc.
If you die from cold, do you die from an environmental killer?
Extrapolating from the figures I quote in “Losing the Plot” would suggest that around 4.5m people a year die from cold. Yet today, the Guardian tells me:
“Dirty air: More global aid goes to fossil fuel projects than tackling dirty air, a new study by the Clean Air Fund (CAF) found. That’s despite dirty air being the world’s biggest environmental killer, responsible for at least 4 million early deaths a year. More people die as a result of air pollution than HIV/Aids, malaria and tuberculosis combined. But the CAF says just 1% of global development aid is used to tackle this crisis, calling the situation “crazy and shocking”.”
So, either cold isn’t an environmental killer, or the Guardian journalists can’t count, since 4.5 million is more than (or at a pinch, perhaps, equivalent to) “at least 4 million”.
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The Guardian’s at it again:
“Too hot to handle: can our bodies withstand global heating?”
“Between 1998 and 2017, more than 166,000 people died due to heat, according to the World Health Organization, and countries around the world are experiencing a year on year rise in record-breaking high temperatures. For many people, unendurable heat is becoming the new normal. It is most likely to disproportionately affect the poor, the sick – those with chronic conditions, or heart and kidney disease in particular – and older people.”
Reading the Guardian, one would be left with the completely misleading impression that heat is the sole extreme temperature killer of humans, when the reality is that extreme cold kills many, many more people than extreme heat. There was not a single mention of that basic fact anywhere in the article.
The Guardian is at it again:
“‘The weather keeps playing tricks’: living on the frontline of global heating
From extreme weather obliterating homes to rising sea levels ruining crops, climate breakdown is a terrifying daily reality for many”
“Throughout the 2021 United Nations climate change conference, the Guardian will be publishing the stories of the people whose lives have been upended – sometimes devastated – by the climate breakdown.
Daharu Isah in Gusau, Nigeria
I knew farming through my father, as a child. I worked closely with him, alongside my siblings, in his rice, soya bean and maize fields at Gidan Kado, a farming community on the outskirts of Gusau, the capital city of Zamfara state, north-west Nigeria.
When I was a child, I had big dreams of being a farmer. I felt I would take after my father and improve his standards when he retired. In those days, the farms had enough rain, were even waterlogged occasionally. There were labyrinths of streams that survived till the dry season, when our farms needed irrigation. There were pastures, too, for the sheep and cattle, enough for pastoralists.
My eyes have seen strange changes to these conditions. The rains came sparingly; the streams have all dried up. As a farmer, knowing the possible patterns of the weather is crucial. It guided my farming, planning and planting.
Today, however, I have lost that control and certainty regarding the weather. In fact, the weather keeps playing tricks on me and other farmers. This year, for example, I might incur a huge loss on my rice farm because the rain abruptly stopped a month ago, instead of in November. The rice hasn’t matured.
I don’t speak for myself alone: other farmers suffer, too, and a lot of my friends have left farming. The streams around the farms have vanished, so I can’t do irrigation. In fact, not all portions of my farms are arable. Some have become so dry and hardened that they can’t support the growth of any crops. The yield of this farm has dropped by more than 50%, from producing more than 40 bags to fewer than 20.
This is not a small matter. My resilience is running out. My labours in the farms are increasingly unrewarded owing to low yield.
My feeling is that almighty God is punishing humanity through climate change because of our attitude towards him. When man disobeys God, there will be calamity, and climate change is one of those calamities. If we can come to him in repentance, he will reverse climate change.
For now, I have embraced new solutions. I have increased the use of fertilisers and pesticide to cut down on losses. Yet fertilisers and pesticides have not solved all the problems. Crop yields have continued to decline. There may not be food for the world in the future, with this pattern and this defeat. I am contemplating quitting farming already, because my income is rarely enough to cover my family’s living costs.”
It sounds terrible, and I have every sympathy. But climate change?
This is an extract from the Nigerian Environment Ministry’s National Drought Plan:
“Drought is a complex climatic phenomenon characterized by natural reduction in precipitation that results in
negative impacts on the environment and human activities. Four major types of drought are generally
recognized. These are:
4. Socio-economic droughts.
Nigeria features wide ranging ecological zones and drought is a phenomenon that affects the country as a
whole. The degree of vulnerability however differs, with the semi-arid regions in the north being more
vulnerable to drought than the more humid regions in the south.
Drought has occurred in Nigeria in 1883, 1903/1905, 1913/1915, 1923/1924, 1942/1944, 1954/1956,
1972/1973, 1982/1983 and 1991/1995. The major droughts, which are regional and have a 30-year cycle, are
known to have occurred in 1883/1885, 1913/1915, 1942/1944 and 1972/1973. The 30-year cycle droughts are
usually regional, while the 10-year drought cycles are usually localized.”
It can be found here:
Click to access 1%2520FINAL_NDP_Nigeria.pdf
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It’s not often that the Guardian publishes, with approval, theologising like that!
I fervently believe that Daharu Isah is wrong though. As I’ve written elsewhere on Cliscep this year, “truth and mercy meet” is a key line from a song I learned as a kid about the central moment of Christianity in the first century. By 2021 the phrase “climate change” and truth are in a very precarious relationship. What Daharu Isah has experienced personally is no doubt terrible. But the idea that it’s caused by the CO2 emissions by all mankind back to the year dot is ridiculous superstition. (This may not be Isah’s view, to be fair, but it is the Guardian’s.) If there’s no truth to this scary, pseudoscientific message it stands in utter opposition to God and, crucially, to His mercy, without which (I agree with Isah) we’re done for.
“UK pupils failed by schools’ teaching of climate crisis, experts say
Many teachers and pupils frustrated over climate education despite ministers’ pledge to prioritise it”
“Britain’s children are being failed by schools when it comes to learning about the climate crisis, with the subject often wholly missing from the curriculum, sidelined, or mistaught, students and education experts have said.
A private member’s bill that would require basic knowledge of climate issues to be taught in the national curriculum receives its second reading in parliament on Friday with cross-party support. But it is unlikely to make it to the statute books, despite promises at Cop26 last November that ministers would prioritise climate education in schools.
Nadia Whittome, the Labour MP who brought forward the bill, said: “The education system should be helping young people to get informed on the impacts of climate change – it’s their lives that will be affected. It’s also part of how we will reach net zero – give young people the tools to be part of the solution.”
Nadhim Zahawi, the education secretary, pledged at Cop26 to “put climate change at the heart of education”. A draft strategy is due to be published in April. The Guardian has reported that an early version told teachers not to advise pupils to get involved in climate protests.
However, students and experts said the UK was failing to equip young people with the skills they will need to understand and cope with the climate emergency.”
Question 1 – what climate emergency consequences will there be in the UK during the lifetime of children at school today?
Question 2 – what skills will they need, that they can be taught at school, to deal with these imaginary problems?
UK pupils are indeed being failed in this area, in my view largely due to the likes of campaigners like George Monbiot and Nadia Whittome MP. Just not in the way that the Guardian claims.
The Guardian is still at it:
“Extreme heat could put 40% of land vertebrates in peril by end of century
Study shows ‘disastrous consequences for wildlife’ if human-caused emissions push global temperatures up 4.4C”
It’s not the headline or the story that I am complaining about on this occasion (though both might be taken with a pinch of salt). No, it’s the ongoing repetition of this pet piece of disingenuousness:
But it’s extreme cold that is by far the greatest killer, while the warming to date has reduced the death rate in humans, not made it worse. As I point out in my piece above:
But casual readers of the Guardian are left with the opposite impression. Shame on you, Guardian!
“”Climate emergency is the biggest health crisis of our time – bigger than Covid
As toll on public health and global economy rises, radical action is needed on greenhouse gas emissions”
No mention of the fact that 9-10 times more people currently die of cold than of heat around the globe, and that to date gently rising temperatures are saving lives as the declining numbers dying from extreme cold exceed the increasing numbers dying from extreme heat.
I think the jury is out regarding the safety of AstraZeneca’s covid vaccines, but there seem to be sufficient doubts that it is quietly being withdrawn from use by various countries. The UK government seems to have ceased using it, and now the same is true of Australia:
Perhaps AstraZeneca should concentrate more on the safety of its products (which it can control) and less on the “climate emergency” (which it can’t control, or even affect).
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Give them credit, they’re doing more than their fair share to reduce carbon emissions, especially in India, where they’re still building coal-fired power stations. That’s 3.7 million people who won’t be using electricity generated by coal.
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Comment liked Jaime not because I’ve exhaustively assessed the argument but because of the importance of knowing why. Thanks for the alert.
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Richard, there is the argument that a proportion of those deaths can be attributed to iatrogenic causes – e.g. the inappropriate administering of Remdesivir – but it doesn’t look good for the pharmaceutical/medical professions whichever way you look at it. It does seem fairly certain though, looking at European and other data, that serious adverse reactions to AZ occur at approximately 5 times the rate of the mRNA injections. The British establishment chooses to reward this catastrophic failure by giving knighthoods and damehoods to scientists and CEOs at AZ, then quietly withdraws the product from use.
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