Wednesday, July 6th 2011, 5:26 AM EDT
Who would possibly have thought it? The latest news is that the world may be threatened by a sharp drop in temperatures, possibly so severe that it could herald a new mini ice age.
And one reason being put forward for this is that all the pollution being chucked out by thousands of coal-fired power stations may be blocking the sun's heat from the Earth.
Dr Robert Kaufman of Boston University blamed China this week. 'During the Chinese economic expansion there was a huge increase in sulphur emissions,' he said. And this was the cause of global cooling.
But hang on a moment. Aren't these new climate scaremongers the very same people who only a few years back were telling us that the planet was in danger of being fried to a crisp by runaway global warming?
And wasn't it on their say so that the world's politicians, led by our own here in Britain, were committing us to spending hundreds of billions of pounds to save the planet from the catastrophic warming caused by those same evil power stations?
The question this extraordinary turn of events raises is whether any of these supposed experts actually have the faintest idea what they are talking about.
But perhaps the most bizarre thing about this latest twist in the ongoing climate scare story is the way it takes us precisely back to where it all started 40 years ago.
All of us today have become so accustomed to the notion of global warming that it is hard to believe that in the Seventies, U.S. scientists began to warn us the world was heading for a cooling so severe it might even herald a new ice age.
This was because for 30 years, after a sharp rise earlier in the 20th century, global temperatures had markedly dropped.
And the cause of this cooling, it was argued by the U.S. scientists, led by climatologists Stephen Schneider and James Hansen, was all the sulphur dioxide and other particulates being chucked out by burning fossil fuels — notably those from coal-fired power stations.
Fifteen years later, the very same scientists were at the forefront of the great panic over global warming.
Schneider, who became Professor of environmental biology and global change at Stanford University, argued this time that the damage was being done not by soot and sulphur preventing the sun's heat reaching the earth, but by carbon dioxide and other 'greenhouse gases', which were trapping heat.
It was men such as Schneider and Hansen who, at the end of the Eighties, so terrified the politicians with their theory that CO2 equalled global warming that, within a few years, the world's leaders were gathering in vast conferences in Rio and Kyoto to sign treaties that committed us to massive cuts in the CO2 emissions on which the global economy depended.
For a while it seemed that the theory they had programmed into dozens of computer models was being confirmed by the evidence. CO2 levels continued to rise and temperatures appeared to follow suit.
But then, more recently, it became obvious that something had gone seriously awry with the theory.
Sure, CO2 in the atmosphere was still continuing to rise. But no longer were temperatures rising in synch, as the computer models predicted they should.
By 2007, as temperatures temporarily plummeted by as much as their entire net rise in the 20th century, experts were beginning to question the global warming orthodoxy.
An increasing number of breakaway climatologists were saying the cause of that late 20th century rise in temperatures might not be CO2 at all.
Perhaps, they suggested, there were other factors responsible for shaping the earth's climate — such as fluctuations in radiation from the sun and shifts in the world's major ocean currents.
So, some of those on the warm-ist side of the argument came up with a compromise theory.
Maybe, they agreed, the world was now heading for a period of cooling, but the effect of these natural factors was only to 'mask the underlying warming trend'.
Within a decade or two, the warming produced by man-made CO2 would come back worse than ever.
In the past few years, as much of the world has endured three of its coldest winters for decades, it has become almost comical to see how, whatever our weather does to us, the warm-ists still manage to cling on to their pet theory.
Whatever happens now, whether it is hot or cold, whether we get heatwaves or record snowfalls, floods or droughts, sooner or later we hear those familiar little voices piping up to tell us that the blame for all these 'extreme weather events' still lies on 'disruption' to the climate caused by the sinful activities of mankind.
They're all at it — from the environmental activists of Greenpeace, the WWF and their allies in the BBC and the Met Office, to those thousands of scientists across the world who have received billions in funding from governments investing in climate change research and prevention — all still battling to keep in being the greatest scare story in the history of the world.
The truth is that it becomes ever more obvious that none of them really has a clue as to what is responsible for the changes in our climate. They can't even tell us what global temperatures will be next month or next year, let alone what they will be in 100 years' time, as they like to pretend their computer models can predict. But the really terrifying thing about all this is that our politicians have become so locked into the scare story that there is not yet the slightest sign they are prepared to notice the reality now crowding in on them on every side — that global warming is by no means a certainty.
Three years ago, when the hysteria over global warming was still at its height, our own British politicians voted almost unanimously for the Climate Change Act committing us, uniquely in the world, to cut our CO2 emissions by 80 per cent within 40 years.
Even on the Government's own figures, showing that this will cost us up to £18 billion every year until 2050, it is by far the most expensive law ever passed by Parliament.
We are also committed to meet an EU target that, within a mere nine years, we must generate a third of our electricity from 'renewables' — mainly by spending £200 billion on building thousands more windmills so useless that, last weekend, they could produce only half a per cent of the power we actually needed.
As our politicians continually impose on us ever higher taxes and other costs supposedly in the cause of 'fighting climate change' — costs that have already helped to increase every family's energy bills by an average £200 a year — they have been carried away by a collective fantasy that has no parallel in history.
And all this is happening in the name of a theory so fraudulent that the same people who told us the world is about to fry unless we close down all those power stations are now telling us the same power stations may be heading us into a new ice age.
Truly, the lunatics have taken over the asylum. And short of some massive injection of common sense from the British people, it seems the rest of us are condemned to live in it.
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