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James Bevan’s Speech Not Supported By Scientific Evidence–Environment Agency

November 10, 2019

By Paul Homewood

 

 

You may recall a speech a few months ago by Sir James Bevan, head of the Environment Agency:

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Introduction

Let me start by thanking all of you. For inviting me. For being here to listen. And to the whole of the Aldersgate Group for doing what you do. In championing a competitive and environmentally sustainable economy you are doing the right thing – and indeed the most important thing that any of us can do right now. In doing it through active political engagement, strong evidence based analysis, and well-judged policy proposals you are doing it in the right way. And you are the right people to do it: there is nothing more powerful than a coalition of all the key players, from business, the NGO world and the public sector; and you are that coalition.

The climate emergency is the Main Thing

I worked in Washington DC during Bill Clinton’s Presidency. The four words that got him to the White House against all the odds were coined by his campaign strategist James Carville ‘it’s the economy, stupid.’ The point was to remind the campaign team what really mattered to the country and the voters. At Harvard Business School they teach you that success in any organisation comes down to following a simple principle, which is this: ‘The main thing is to make sure that the Main Thing really is the main thing.’ I’ll be honest: I’ve been Chief Executive of the Environment Agency for over three and a half years now, and it’s taken me a while realise what the Main Thing is. And the answer, which I now say to myself every day, is this: it’s the climate emergency, stupid.

That’s because the biggest single threat to everything we all care about, and the biggest threat to everything the Environment Agency exists to do – protect people from flood and drought, enhance the environment, support sustainable growth – is climate change.

Global heating is driving more extreme rainfall and rising sea levels, which is putting more people at risk of flooding. It’s driving hotter and drier summers, putting our country – already experiencing water scarcity – at risk of what I call the Jaws of Death: the point twenty or so years out from now where the lines on the graph showing rising water demand and diminishing water supply cross, and we don’t have enough water. Climate change is damaging our air, our water and our soils, as pollution incidents spike in more extreme hot weather. During last summer’s prolonged dry spell, the Environment Agency responded to more than three times the normal amount of environmental incidents: fish kills, fires, water pollution, etc.

And climate change risks undermining our ability to deliver the sustainable growth that people need and demand. That’s because more extreme weather will increasingly damage the inputs and the infrastructure on which our economies depend.

https://www.gov.uk/government/speeches/its-the-climate-emergency-stupid 

 

Intrigued at some of his absurd claims, I sent a FOI to the Environment Agency, asking for a copy of the scientific advice on which the speech was based.

This is their reply:.

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They are effectively admitting that there was in fact no “scientific advice”, and that Bevan simply made it up as he went along.

This is quite astonishing, given his position as the CEO of a major public funded body. Taxpayers should not be paying for Bevan to propagate his own personal opinions. Neither should public policy be influenced by them, unsubstantiated as they are.

23 Comments
  1. megagriff permalink
    November 10, 2019 12:30 pm

    Can’t we drag this idiot before a Parliamentary Select Committee or similar and have him grilled by some well informed and highly respected climate sceptics such as Lord Lawson and Owen Paterson?
    What he says would be laughable were it not for the fact that he clearly influences HMG policy on climate. Sadly, this Government appears to have swallowed the climate alarmist hoax hook, line and sinker.

  2. andrewgreen1234 permalink
    November 10, 2019 12:30 pm

    Of course, for all we know, Sir James might have spent years studying all the (quasi) “scientific” advice for years, in his spare time, but decided not to share his extensive knowledge with the Agency which he heads!
    However, the fact remains that it appears that the Agency itself doesn’t really have that “evidence”, which is, er, odd, to say the least.
    It’s also weird, isn’t it, that the (supposedly) increasing rainfall isn’t translating to aquifers and reservolrs which are much more full of water and, therefore, increasing, rather than “diminishing” our water supply reserves?
    As with all of this stuff, if I were tweeting this, I would end the tweet with “sigh …”

    • Duker permalink
      November 10, 2019 10:31 pm

      Most likely it was ‘written for him’ and he just wrote the introduction and maybe polished it in places, as they do . Even Churchill worked this way but his command of the language and
      knowledge of and ability to include or ignore facts, meant it was far more his words than this situation of virtually all ghost written. Or dare I say it , would a plagiarism check be worthwhile for the real source?

  3. Athelstan. permalink
    November 10, 2019 12:44 pm

    I wouldn’t trust any employee of the EA to be able to properly spread butter on bread, the CEO sum’s them up, obtusely blinded by dogma and evidently unfit for the position, a totally useless shill straight from common purpose central. God help us all not least the people who live alongside, on the banks of all English river systems – you pay their wages, they don’t care about you.

  4. john cooknell permalink
    November 10, 2019 12:59 pm

    He has a Knighthood which makes it official.

    • Gerry, England permalink
      November 11, 2019 1:53 pm

      Ah, you can’t beat ‘prestige’. It is what gets you invited to commons select committees and to offer your opinion even if you have no expertise.

  5. November 10, 2019 1:06 pm

    Reblogged this on Climate- Science.press.

  6. Gray permalink
    November 10, 2019 1:06 pm

    The ‘Main Thing’
    Its what I call the ‘Jaws of Death’
    Is he taking something?

  7. Jason permalink
    November 10, 2019 1:11 pm

    You’re easily astonished. 😉

    • Athelstan. permalink
      November 10, 2019 2:18 pm

      Overpaid but airhead eejits sucking large on the public teat, uttering brobdingnagian specious rot have a tendency to do that – confirmation in astonishment, foot in big mouth through and by their very own words, in ignorance and for all to see and witness it.

      it’s not funny and because we are forced to pay for it.

  8. mikewaite permalink
    November 10, 2019 2:14 pm

    It is a sad sign of the times we live in now, in England, that my first thought was to wonder about what audience he is addressing. Could it be not the taxpayers responsible for his salary and inflation – free pension, but the ever more wealthy promoters of the schemes to control the “extreme weather” and who might invite him onto their boards, like Davey and ex-con Huhne, for a another sinecure when he leaves the Agency, He is demonstrating his
    impeccable ( as in: free of any contamination by science) credentials on the subject of climate change and its mitigation.

  9. GeoffB permalink
    November 10, 2019 2:38 pm

    It is a bit worrying that the head of the EA is not capable of looking at historic data about rainfall, such as the charts that Paul produced today on the Yorkshire floods. Why not write to him directly and ask for his sources….probably turn out to be The Guardian.

  10. Jeremy permalink
    November 10, 2019 2:40 pm

    A more appropriate title: “Is the Climate Emergency Stupid?”

    Lest there be any doubt,

    • H Davis permalink
      November 10, 2019 4:04 pm

      This video is 90 minutes long but well worth your time.

  11. Coeur de Lion permalink
    November 10, 2019 3:52 pm

    Who is paying him?

  12. Huw Thomas permalink
    November 10, 2019 7:34 pm

    On the BBC news channel I have just seen a farmer state that lack of land management in the area being flooded is to blame for the problem. He said that there is no maintenance along the banks of the River Don. And then the BBC switches to climate scaremongering central command to an interview with Lord Debden telling us that we are all doomed . What are we going to do about this mindless scaremongering? Debden and the BBC prevent effective debate about what should be done in the real world to reduce flood risk.

  13. mikewaite permalink
    November 10, 2019 10:49 pm

    If, like me , you were wondering what the Aldersgate Group is, that Bevan was addressing , it is a consortium pressure group:
    http://www.aldersgategroup.org.uk/
    whose directors appear to be mainly bankers and lawyers . No scientists of course.
    Their latest mission:
    -“Aldersgate Group: UK must make TCFD reporting mandatory to reach net-zero
    10 October 2019, source edie newsroom

    The UK will not meet its 2050 net-zero goal unless corporates and investors are legally mandated to report on their climate risks and the actions they are taking to mitigate them, the Aldersgate Group has warned. “-
    -“In a new policy briefing published in London today, the Group urges Ministers to make climate risk reporting in line with the Task Force on Climate-Related Disclosures’ (TCFD) recommendations a legal requirement by the early 2020s.”-

    Meanwhile, and bearing in mind that some cannot apparently reach Notrickszone :
    https://notrickszone.com/2019/11/10/germany-pulls-plug-on-wind-energy-wind-industry-in-severe-crisis-wind-giant-enercon-to-lay-off-3000/#comments

    -“Power grid operators had been struggling to keep the grid stable due to erratic feed-in and the subsidized feed-in of wind energy caused German electricity prices to become among the most expensive worldwide.
    Fierce opposition from hundreds of protest groups
    Moreover, hundreds of citizen protest groups have sprouted and since become a formidable force pushing for the stop of proposed wind projects. Not only have wind parks scarred the German landscape and destroyed biotopes nationwide, they have also been shown to be a real health hazard to humans living in their proximity through the low frequency infrasound they emit. Enough is enough, citizens say.”-

    I wonder if Sir james has read that.

  14. George Lawson permalink
    November 11, 2019 10:45 am

    “Global heating is driving MORE EXTREME RAINFALL and rising sea levels, which is putting more people at risk of flooding. It’s driving HOTTER AND DRIER SUMMERS, putting our country –ALREADYEXPERIENCING WATER SCARCITY– at risk of what I call the Jaws of Death: the point twenty or so years out from now where the lines on the graph showing rising water demand and DIMINISHING WATER SUPPLY and WE DON’T HAVE ENOUGH WATER.”

    So, we’re getting more extreme rainfall, but at the same time, hotter and drier summers, And we are experiencing water scarcity and risking the “Jaws of death”. He obviously doesn’t realise that water is a renewable source, of which more is falling from the heavens, creating, by his own admittance, ‘more extreme rainfall’ Yes, we might have to care for it a little more in the future but what he should be doing is thinking more about what he can do as CEO of the Environment Agency and to plan a few more reservoirs across the country, thereby extracting us all from his imagined ‘jaws of death’ and a future relieved of water shortages for years to come for us all.

    • Michael Adams permalink
      November 11, 2019 3:42 pm

      With the rise in population every year equivalent to a city the size of Stoke-on-Trent is it any wonder that we might be short of water at some point in the future. What the EA should be doing is liaising with Water authorities to devise a plan and enact it to deal with this increase which is more real than the scares coming out from anyone who wants to jump on the current bandwagon.

  15. MrGrimNasty permalink
    November 11, 2019 11:10 am

    A survey says 37% of Britons now think we’ll need to live in space owing to the destruction of the earth – it just shows that brainwashing makes some people complete idiots.

    In the worst case that the entire biosphere is killed off and the atmosphere vanishes – why would living in space be easier than living on earth? You’d need to build all the same life support systems, only with the added complication of it all being in space!

  16. November 11, 2019 12:35 pm

    Surely the Environment Agency cannot claim not to have data supporting this section:

    “During last summer’s prolonged dry spell, the Environment Agency responded to more than three times the normal amount of environmental incidents: fish kills, fires, water pollution, etc.”

    Ask them to look again!

  17. Chaswarnertoo permalink
    November 11, 2019 1:27 pm

    They can’t even get their lies straight.

  18. November 12, 2019 1:13 am

    “it’s the climate emergency, stupid.
    That’s because the biggest single threat to everything we all care about, and the biggest threat to everything the Environment Agency exists to do – protect people from flood and drought, enhance the environment, support sustainable growth – is climate change.”

    It appears that the allure of climate change for eco activists is that it offers a faux simplification of a complex issue into a single variable equation.

    Here is a brief history of agw that shows, i think, its evolution from science to the single key solution to all of the otherwise complex eco concerns.

    https://tambonthongchai.com/2019/05/13/greta2/

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