Sunday, October 30, 2011

The writing on the wall

The US media is full of reports of a "freak" snow storm pounding Mid-Atlantic and Northeast states, dumping over two feet of snow in some places. It left a trail of havoc behind it, two million people without power and at least three dead. Even as WUWT was forecasting earliest snow for NYC, since the American Civil War, Governors were declaring states of emergency in New Jersey, Connecticut, Massachusetts and parts of New York.

CNN offered an entertaining report, citing Alban Ajro of Watertown, Connecticut. As the impenetrable snow swirled around him, he informed viewers: "It's like a blizzard - you can't see far at all". Thus does the real world intrude on a tedious spat over the Berkeley Earth Surface Temperatures project team (BEST) report, which purported to claim – as so many have done before it – that the science is settled.

But, with Mother Nature taking a hand – and making far more powerful statements – the debate over climate change is taking on a cliquish aspect. The various camps are now engaging in arguments which seem to have similarities with the disputes over angel demographics and pin dancing.

Far more significant, perhaps, is that the politicians are losing faith, evidenced by this leaked report, which suggests that the FIT for solar panels may be more than halved, following in the wake of Germany, which has done likewise. Considering that, in February last year, the Tories were pushing to increase the then government's micro-generation quota from 1.6 to a massive 15 percent - at huge cost - this is a considerable climbdown.

By the end of this winter – if it lives up to current billing – the climate change debate in the UK will be dead in the water, and politically dead as well. Simply, as the economy declines, there is no slack in the system to finance a climate scare. How long it will take then for local authorities to fire their sustainability co-ordinators and climate-change officers is another matter, but when that starts happening, we will know it is over. Nevertheless, the writing is already on the wall.