So the floods are about climate change then?

Conservatives who deny that human activity causes climate change are “ignorant” and contribute to “extreme weather events” such as the recent flooding, the Liberal Democrat Energy Secretary will claim today.

Or is our Davie just stating something that is not true?

27 thoughts on “So the floods are about climate change then?”

  1. Mr Davie is a Lib-Dem politician. His and his party’s position has been for years that drought/floods, heatwaves/cold spells, mild winters/harsh winters are all evidence of global warming. He might fear that a public change of mind would lose him/them credibility.
    Plus his party seems to be in the process of distancing itself from the Conservatives, presumably so that some one has a reason to vote for them rather than the Conservatives at the next election.

  2. According to the Met Office report “The Recent Storms and Floods in the UK” ..

    “In terms of the storms and floods of winter 2013/2014, it is not possible, yet, to give a definitive answer on whether climate change has been a contributor or not.”

    see pdf here …

    However, they say it’s pretty likely. Of course, how much of that climate change is man-made is a moot point.
    As is any benefit; for example we have had a lot of rain this winter; without climate change would we be under 6 foot of snow instead?

  3. I’m afraid it’s an example of playing the man rather than the ball. Some people do deny all sorts of things, from the existence of climate change, through its extent, to the role of CO2. I think they are a minority. The far larger climate sceptic community (of which I am a part) takes a variety of positions on the science, which is very complex, but are mostly concerned about about the far-reaching and damaging economic decisions that purport to have been based on it. The basic, mainstream sceptic position could be stated like this: yes, the greenhouse effect exists and there does seem to have been a geographically widespread period of warming in the last quarter of the 20th century. However, the implications of the science have been wildly over-stated by those with an axe to grind and wind farms are a bloody silly idea in any event.

  4. Christ! What did the world do for water before Climate Change came along & caused rain? Was it all kept in Perrier bottles?

  5. Glenn>

    The way I tend to put it is that the things which are alarming aren’t scientific, and the things which are scientific aren’t particularly alarming. That’s also the IPCC’s position, not that you’d know it from the media coverage.

  6. It is irrelevant” weather” you are in a minority or otherwise. Which point of view is correct in fact is what matters.

    AGW is a leftist eco-freak power grab.

  7. Thermageddonists have now reached the ‘We have no evidence for the existence of God, but everything that happens is almost certainly caused by him, unless we say it isn’t’, stage.

    It’s religion for ‘progressives’.

  8. Sean>

    That doesn’t really reflect on the underlying science. It does say a lot about the alarmist campaigning going on.

  9. Sean

    Hilarious article.

    Wonderful comment below the line, unintentionally prescient:
    Were they to clean the gulleys and thus collect the rain it would help.

    What a shame the Warmists have no MiniTruth to help disappear these unhelpful ‘predictions’. Oh wait! They do. It’s called the MSM.

  10. Glenn Haldane expresses my stance on all this perfectly. Most skeptics aren’t denying there is an issue, or a serious man-made component; what is rejected are calls for modern industrial civilisation to be shut down, for oppressive taxes, rules and government management of the economy, and for this to be used by governments for inaction on things that they can do something about, such as better flood defences, civil engineering projects to reduce the risks, dredging rivers, changing water flow systems, etc.

    It suits the alarmists to claim that those who disagree with their socialist/big government mindset are either naive optimists or shills of Big Oil. The truth is less emotionally satisfying.

    The Lib Dems, apart from one or two issues, really are a terrible political party: mean, bullying and wrong. What’s the fucking point of these people?

  11. Climate Change is unprecedented.

    The floods are precedented.

    Therefore Climate Change caused the floods.

    Please can I have a research grant?

  12. It suits the alarmists to claim that those who disagree with their socialist/big government mindset are either naive optimists or shills of Big Oil. The truth is less emotionally satisfying.

    And yet when Big Government funds a study and that study concludes that the solution is more government, that’s completely utterly objective. No conflict of interest there, no sirree.

  13. I just wonder how likely it is that a problem threatening all life on earth, (AGW) should appear, just about the same time as the experts (climatologists) who can tell us all about it appear, and the lefty regional/world organizations (EU) (UN) acquire, or almost acquire the power to enforce said experts opinions. Are we just very lucky to James Hansen et al, or is this a global scam?

  14. Hang on – “Conservatives … contribute to “extreme weather events”.”

    Contribute to? Merely by being “deniers” we cause floods? Isn’t this just the LibDem version of “the floods are God’s punishment for gay marriage”?

  15. You lot may scoff, but he’s right you know.

    A few years in the future, we may see even more extreme weather events. When the Thames freezes over, all you sceptics will have to see reason.

    Oh, wait…

  16. Bloke in Central Illinois

    Meanwhile, I’ve been freezing my ass off all winter and apparently that’s all down to global warming as well. Or so William Connelly’s Top Men tell us. Global warming certainly is a many splendored thing.

  17. Well, it’s the wettest Winter for 250 years, apparently. So the last time this happened was before the industrial revolution. So weather like this can definitely be caused by a total lack of anthropogenic global warming. I’m not sure they’ve thought this through.

  18. @Squander Two and others: okay, can we knock that one on the head? Observing similar weather events occurred previously is not a valid counter-argument, because the discussion is about statistics and not about individual observations.

    Here is a simple example. Suppose I had a regular, fair, six-sided die. I roll it thousands of times, and about a sixth of the time, I get a six.

    Now along comes some black-hat who swaps my die for a die where the one is replaced by a six (so my die has two sixes). I roll another few thousand, and I get about a third of them sixes and zero ones.

    Now, I couldn’t point to any given roll of a six and attribute that to the new die: sixes still happened previously, after all. But, with a little bit of work on the dataset, I can point at the increased frequency and attribute it to the new die no problem. And if, for some reason, I had been prevented from inspecting my dice, then I could use the increased frequency of sixes (and the resultant dearth of ones) as evidence of tampering.

    Even so, an increased frequency of extreme weather events can be used as evidence that something is happening to the climate. Of course, there’s a lot of statistical work that needs doing — note that here I make no claim one way or another about the outcome of such an analysis — and it’s never so clear as a doubling of one signal and an elimination of another, but the point remains: individual events are merely anecdotes, but gather enough of them and we’ll have data.

  19. @ Squander Two

    The wettest winter for 250 years?

    Based on the Met office’s own archive its only the fourteenth wettest since 1910 (and most of those were pre 1945). The same period in the winter of 1929/30 for instance had 30% more rain

  20. Philip Walker>

    Of course, but in fact what the IPCC says is that if you do the statistical analysis, it shows no signal.


    All you really need to do to prove that gloating wombat isn’t real is to wander outside in any city during rush hour. If there was a genuine, credible threat, we’d already have banned all those fossil-fuel burning cars from the roads and replaced them with much smaller-engined vehicles – at the very least.

  21. If there was a genuine, credible threat,

    Politicians have a long and sordid history of either ignoring “genuine, credible threats” or coming up with entirely the wrong solution. So your statement really does not follow.

  22. Dear Philip Walker,

    Thank you so so much for your amazing explanation of probability. Really, I had no idea that a six-sided dice would roll a six roughly a sixth of the time. Even though I have a maths degree.

    The point I was making (insofar as I was making any with what was frankly just a glib joke) was that the definition of “increased frequency” seems to fluctuate wildly depending on whether you support the Global Warming boondoggle. One bad Winter of heavy rain and flooding: proof of Global Warming. Fifteen years of no global temperature increase: statistical glitch.

    As long as the powers that be claim that the worst rain in 250 years proves something, I get to claim that the same event 250 years ago must also have proved something. Or they can write it off as statistically meaningless, and then so will I.


    I was going by the headlines, which apparently came from the Met Office. I would not be remotely surprised to discover that their press releases are contradicted by their own data. Sad.

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