I now know what they mean when some people say that environmentalism is the new religion.
Thankfully the storm surge predicted at dawn didn’t come to much. It seemed like a different story last night. I was listening to Radio 5 Live overnight, and they were simulcasting with BBC local radio stations. (Incidentally, you can listen to it here — the relevant bits are from about 2 hours in.)
It sounded pretty grim. The high tides hadn’t receded, and a further three feet of water was expected. Hundreds of people evacuated.
One woman was on holiday on a boat in the affected area. She had to wait until it was light until she could make a move and was worried that her boat was going to tip.
Then Radio 5 Live took a telephone call from Chris in Norwich. It is safe to assume that he was Chris Ballance because he said he used to be an MSP for the Scottish Greens. He said is deputy climate change spokesperson for the Green Party, so you can just imagine what he was saying about it all.
It is almost certainly global warming.
The thing that really annoyed me about this was that just about ten minutes earlier an actual meteorologist, Peter Gibbs, was explaining precisely what was going on. It was a one-off meteorological event. An unfortunate combination of low pressure sitting over the North Sea, gales blowing around the north of Scotland and spring tides in the English Channel, and the geographical nature of the area (the narrowness of the North Sea towards the Channel meaning that the water has nowhere else to go). There is a good diagram here.
Presenter Dotun Adebayo asked him just the right question:
What about the great storm of 1953, was that global warming too? Bam!
With the listeners having had it explained to them precisely what was causing the rising waters in the south east of England by an actual meteorologist, politician Chris Ballance obviously felt the need to phone up and make sure that some spurious guff about climate change got broadcast. It seemed to me like a crass attempt at making party political gains, exploiting and capitalising on the genuine worry people felt about lives and property.
I am not a climate change sceptic by any means. Funnily enough, I am readier to accept the expertise of qualified physicists, meteorologists and climatologists over the deniers who approach the issue from a political, ideological perspective.
But I can’t help but notice that environmentalists have managed to get themselves into a position where the slightest freakish event is put down to climate change. There is no scope any more for one-off events, meteorological coincidences or freak conditions. It’s all climate change now.
In centuries gone by, before people had enough knowledge to realise otherwise, such events might have been put down to a higher power, a God or something. Having had a brief few centuries of enlightenment, we are almost reverting back to using a catch-all explanation for everything rather than actually analysing what is going on. Climate change is the new God.