|So, as I’m sitting on the train, a man called Mick from my local London village gets on.
We’ve both been out, enjoying “Tee-Shirt Thursday”, a day of warming, bright sunshine and Spring-like temperatures – in the middle of Winter.
|“This is highly unusual”, I say, “it is unseasonably warm.” Mick agrees.I say, “You know what this means, don’t you ? I mean, globally, January was the 19th warmest January since records began, and February is going to turn out to be a warm one too.”
“What about Eastern Europe ?”, he asked, “They’ve had incredibly cold and snowy weather.” “I know. You get these cold snaps”, I agreed, “Hundreds of people have died. But this is what you should expect with climate change, all the normal weather patterns have been disturbed.”
“It’s not a snap”, Mick said, “it’s been going on for weeks.” “Yes”, I said, “these areas of high and low temperatures have been locking into place. It’s all because of global warming.”
“But there hasn’t been any global warming for fifteen years”, said Mick. “Which newspaper do you read ?” I asked him, taken aback. “I don’t read any newspapers”, he clarified, “I read it in the library, somewhere.”
At once, I realised which book he must have read. I said, “Global warming hasn’t stopped. It’s still going on. There was a spike in 1998, but if you take that out of the chart, you can easily see the trend is still upwards.”
I really wish I’d packed my piece of paper with all the important charts on it – the ones from NASA, NOAA and the Met Office. The charts with the data.
Mick said, “Well, I don’t know if you can trust the data. What I read was that the Russians have complained that their data isn’t in the record.” I said, “Well, the four major data sets all agree with each other – the world is warming. And in England, for example, 2006 was the warmest year ever recorded and 2011 wasn’t far behind…”
I should have saved my breath. Doubt had already been sown in Mick’s mind.
An intelligent man in an intelligent world goes to the local library, and shows some interest in the most important topic in the world – climate change. And the only information there that he chooses to accept is a work of fiction.
The only thing this man has been able to absorb is a meta-narrative based on deliberate, industry-funded concoction, fleshed out on a skeleton of supposition, suspicion and outright lies. There is no longer any place in his mind for the science.
This makes me angry.
What “ordinary people” in the “general public” know and accept does actually matter. Why, if ordinary people had not believed that Britain had a justified grudge against Germany, they would not have taken part in World War Two. They would have sat at home and drunk tea and played Rummy, instead of dying at the frontline.
If ordinary Britons had believed that Iraq had Weapons of Mass Destruction, they would have backed the violent assault and destruction of Baghdad. What ? They did ? How did they believe that ? Why did they believe that ?
And why did the British so readily accept the bombing of Afghanistan back into the pre-agricultural Stone Age, and the bombing of Libya back into the feuding Middle Ages ?
As long as the mainstream media continues to carry the views of the climate change deniers and dismissers, as long as local libraries stock the works of climate change dissenters and doubters, as long as the secretly-funded Global Warming Policy Foundation with what I think is an openly anti-science agenda appear on television and radio, and as long as people who should know better write political agitation and call it reasonable debate, I shall “fight them on the beaches”.
For Mick’s sake.