UK Climate Change Card
By Paul Homewood
Four years ago, the UK Climate Change Act was passed, committing the UK to huge economic upheaval and a cost on the governments own figures of £18 billion a year.
We already know that the government had not sought advice on how much difference the Act would make on temperatures, either globally or nationally. But presumably they would not have passed this legislation unless the effects of climate change in the UK were already becoming noticeable and damaging. So let’s take a look at how the UK climate has changed over recent years.
When the government talks about “climate change”, we all know they really mean “global warming”, so you would assume increases in temperature would be central to any climate change effect in the UK, and sure enough there has been a gradual increase in recent years, which continues the trend apparent over the last couple of hundred years. Furthermore, after a succession of warm years between 2002 and 2007, the trend has been back towards something a little cooler, as the five year running averages show in Figure 2.
Before we look at the longer trends, just how significant is this increase? The five year average mean temperature for the UK from 2007-11 is 9.1C. From 1945-49, this figure was 8.8C, so over 62 years there has been an increase of 0.3C.
Let’s put this amount into perspective. The difference in annual temperature between Sheffield and London (170 miles to the South) is 1.2C, so 0.3C is the equivalent of driving 42 miles south. And over 62 years, this works out at 1192 yards a year! I trust you are suitably underwhelmed.
Now let’s go back further. The Central England Temperature record (CET) starts in 1659, so we can look at five year averages from 1663 onwards. What do these show?
As already mentioned, there has been a steady increase in temperatures, albeit oscillating around the trend line. Although it could be argued that we are currently about half a degree above the trend, it is also noticeable that the present temperatures are no higher than they were for several years during the 1730’s, when the rate of increase exceeded anything seen in recent years.
There is no evidence at all to suggest that anything unusual is happening to temperature, or indeed that anything will.
In the next instalment we will look at precipitation, droughts and floods.