Dominic Lawson: The Sheer Folly Of Today’s Eco-Protests

  • Date: 07/10/19
  • Dominic Lawson, Daily Mail

Despite Extinction Rebellion’s message, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change — the UN body guided by the scientists in the field — says nothing of the kind.

The greater horseshoe bat has been discovered living in the East of England for the first time in 115 years (file picture)

The greater horseshoe bat has been discovered living in the East of England for the first time in 115 years

And now for some good news. One of Britain’s and Northern Europe’s rarest and most elusive mammals has been discovered living in the East of England for the first time in 115 years.

Revealing this happy development, the Guardian said: ‘The return to Kent of the greater horseshoe bat has delighted and astounded conservationists.’

But what is the reason for the unexpected return of this creature with its ‘distinctive, alien-like ultrasonic warbling signals’? According to a spokesman for the Bat Conversation Trust, it seems possible that ‘the species is now able to expand its range into Kent due to climate changes’.

But isn’t climate change meant to be an ecological disaster for every living thing on the planet? That’s the Guardian’s usual line, and it is definitely the view of the eco-protest group known as Extinction Rebellion, which from today is launching ‘mass-disruption’ in our capital city as part of its attempt to bully politicians to make the UK ‘net carbon zero by 2025’.

Furnace

Actually, I wonder why they bother, since the co-founder and leader of Extinction Rebellion, Roger Hallam, told the Sunday Times: ‘We’re all going to be dead soon, so there’s nothing else to do.’

But isn’t climate change meant to be an ecological disaster for every living thing on the planet? That’s the Guardian’s usual line, and it is definitely the view of the eco-protest group known as Extinction Rebellion, which from today is launching ‘mass-disruption’ in our capital city as part of its attempt to bully politicians to make the UK ‘net carbon zero by 2025’

In like spirit, the 16-year-old Swedish schoolgirl Greta Thunberg declares that unless we immediately switch to a form of existence not seen since before the Industrial Revolution, she and others of her age will not grow up to have children of their own because Earth will very soon be an uninhabitable furnace.

The same approach is championed in America by the no less charismatic 29-year-old Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, who declaims: ‘The world is going to end in 12 years’ — not 11 or 13 years, she’s most precise — ‘if we don’t address climate change.’

Actually, I wonder why they bother, since the co-founder and leader of Extinction Rebellion, Roger Hallam, told the Sunday Times: ‘We’re all going to be dead soon, so there’s nothing else to do’

The only problem with this is that it isn’t true. Not remotely so. What is true is that if, in line with Hallam’s demands, we revert to what he enthusiastically describes as ‘a peasant orientation which obviously has been completely lost in Western society’, we will indeed witness a shortening of life expectancy and even the prospect of mass starvation (we might have to beg for food aid from rapidly industrialising China).

But what about our friends in the animal kingdom? Are they truly at imminent threat of global wipe-out as a result of the CO2 we emit?

Despite Extinction Rebellion’s message, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change — the UN body guided by the scientists in the field — says nothing of the kind. Its most recent report declares: ‘Overall, there is very low confidence that observed species extinctions can be attributed to recent climate warming, owing to the very low fraction of global extinctions that have been ascribed to climate change and the tenuous nature of most [such] attributions.’

Greener

In terms of the future, having modelled the effect of anticipated global increases in CO2 emissions from rapidly growing economies of the most populous nations, the IPCC states: ‘There is low agreement concerning the fraction of species at increased risk . . . and the timeframe over which extinctions could occur.’

But what’s the story to date? What you won’t hear so much about is that a certain amount of warming is, on balance, a good thing for species, including humans.

As a result partly of man-made CO2 emissions, Earth has actually become greener. Dr Ranga Myneni of Boston University has demonstrated by analysing data from satellite images of the planet, that 31 per cent of the global vegetated surface of the Earth has become greener over the past three decades, and only 3 per cent has become less green. It’s not called the ‘greenhouse effect’ for nothing.

But what about Africa, said to be the biggest likely victim of climate change?

While increased temperatures might save tens of thousands of lives a year in Northern Europe, where cold bears off so many mostly elderly people in winter, they are less likely to be a boon nearer the Equator. Yet it turns out those satellite images have also shown a marked greening in dry areas such as the Sahel in Africa.

As best-selling science writer Dr Matt Ridley observed: ‘The decline of famines in the Sahel in recent years is partly due to more rainfall caused by moderate warming and partly due to more carbon dioxide itself: more greenery for goats to eat means more greenery left over for gazelles, so entire ecosytems have benefited.’

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