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A lot of what you read in the media or hear on the BBC is highly anecdotal, and there is a widespread impression that the polar ice caps are melting. It is worth spending a minute or two on that. The Arctic ice cap is, at the moment, bang on normal in the winter. In the summer, it has been melting a little bit. The Antarctic is considerably above normal. If you add together the Arctic and the Antarctic ice, they have measured about 700 square kilometres above normal in all the time that they have been accurately recorded. So the idea of great warming and melting in the polar ice caps is a complete figment of the imagination. I have, for Members who may be interested, a picture of the US nuclear submarine Skate at the North Pole in the winter of 1958, before the summer melt14 March, to be accurate.
Lord Lea of Crondall: My Lords, I am most grateful to the noble Lord for giving way, but as regards ships passing in the night, can he just come in on one ship, passing through the north-west passage? Is the growth
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Lord Leach of Fairford: My Lords, if the noble Lord would let me finish the sentence that I was in the middle of, I can say that this photograph of the US nuclear ship Skate was taken at the North Pole during the winter in March 1958. It was completely ice-free. If you put that together with the ice records I mentioned, there is a great deal of myth that passes about the North Pole and the South Pole. The North Pole is subject to currents, which probably explains the fact that it is sometimes completely ice-free. It is not a great static block of ice that is melting. Those are the facts about the Antarctic ice.
Laboratory science theory states that doubling the concentration of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere would increase temperatures by 1 degree. A doubling of carbon dioxide takes place approximately every 200 years at the current rate of emissions, perhaps a bit more. Therefore, the whole argument hangs by a thread. Do other factors such as currents, sun and clouds accentuate that warming or do they decrease it? The IPCCs theory is that they increase that warming. That is why the Government have, as my noble friend Lord Lawson, said, made the completely unsubstantiated assertion that temperatures will rise by 4 degrees this century.
Probably the best climatologist in the world is Professor Lindzen and another good one is Professor Singer. Professor Lindzen calculates that the effect of all these other feedbacks, as they are known in the jargon, is to reduce temperatures not increase them. He calculates that a doubling of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere would increase temperatures by about 0.3 of a degree. You can argue about the science and I am not a good enough climate physicist to make any direct contribution on that. What you cannot argue about are the facts. The facts are that there has been no acceleration whatever in global warming since emissions took off after World War 2 and that temperatures today, after the past nine years of static or cooling temperatures, are bang on that consistent recovery of 0.6 degrees from the little ice age and are well below even the lowest estimates of the IPCC range. So observation suggests that Professor Lindzen may be right and the IPCC completely wrong.
Lord Teverson: My Lords, we are talking about facts and observations. I am a simple person in this area, but one fact that seems indisputable is that sea levels are rising, and rising faster. There can be only two reasons for this: either the land is sinking or the sea is rising. Why would the sea rise? The only reasons for ocean levels to go up are either that the oceans are getting warmer and expanding, or that the ice sheets are melting and therefore the amount of water is increasing. There can be no other reason; therefore that simple fact says that global warming is happening. It is a problem and a fact.
Lord Leach of Fairford: My Lords, if I may say so, that is a perfect example of unsubstantiated assertion and anecdote. The worlds leading expert by far on sea levels is Professor Axel Morner, the IPCCs lead author on sea levels. He says that sea levels have been increasing at six and a half inches per century since the little ice age, that they have over the past 100 years modestly declined, and that they are now rising at about six inches per century. The assertion of one and a half metres, and Al Gores absurd assertion of many metres, are pure speculation and wholly unsubstantiated by observation, or by the best single expert on sea levels in the universethe IPCCs lead author, who resigned from the IPCC, if I am not mistaken, because he refused to substitute fanciful numbers for the right ones.
I turn back to the science. It is widely believed that there is a universal consensus. If that is so, why have 33,000 scientiststhe number grows so fast that I may be out of date, and it may be 35,000 or 40,000signed a protest against the climate extremism expressed in the Kyoto Protocol? There is no scientific consensus. There is an official, political consensus. There are dangers to peoples careers and funding, and to the esteem in which they are held in official circles, if they express the views that I am expressing now. I can express them because I am not a scientist, so my career is not at risk. There is absolutely no consensus.
I once wrote a letter to the Times, saying roughly what I am saying now. I received a flood of letters, and those supporting me outnumbered those against me by six or seven to one. Many of them came from professors and fellows of the Royal Society who said that they did not care to speak out. That is just anecdoteI will not give their namesbut it is typical. If you immerse yourself in the blogosphere, which is as good a place as any to study the scienceand where sceptics are much more courteous and open to dissent than believersyou will find that scientific opinion is very divided, and that there are at least as many sceptics as believers.
The concern of anybody who is open-minded, and who recognises that ships must not pass in the night and that we must try to come to some agreement, is that the Government are not open-minded. They have signed up to the most expensive possible version of climate extremism. Professor Carter, a distinguished economist specialising in climate economics in Australia, recently testified before the authorities there that emissions trading schemes would cost every Australian family 3,500 Australian dollars per year for a theoretical IPCC-modelled reduction of one-1,000th of a degree centigrade. Let us supposealthough he is a very distinguished witnessthat he is wrong by a factor of 100. It would still be true that the theoretical saving in climate warming would be one-10th of 1 degreea wholly trivial amount for a vast expenditure. I agree with my noble friend Lord Lawson that there has not been a proper cost-benefit analysis of this, and that what cost-benefit analysis there has been has gone wholly against the government programme.
Has the Minister studied Professor Carter's figures? If so, does he agree with them; do the Government agree with them? If they do not, do they have better-founded estimates and what are they? As I say, the
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Sometimes people talk about those vast expenses as though they were free, as though they fell out of the air. They do not; they come out of the vast shortfall in resources that are needed for huge projects, whether for economic well-being, reafforestation, ocean pollution or disease controlto go rather closer to home than the climate change arena. The trillions that we intend to spend on those grotesque schemes have to be taken from somewhere, and that is where they will be taken fromfrom adaptation, flood defences, reafforestation and disease control projects. Or, if the money comes straight out of the economy, it will come out of the wealth creation that is essential to survive properly in the 21st century.
It is not too late for the Government to reconsider. In my opinion, the only redeeming feature of the order is that there is not the slightest prospect that it will be taken seriously or actually implemented. Even if every other country signed up, it would not be implemented. I just ask the Government to reconsider this unsatisfactory proposal.
Lord Marlesford: My Lords, we are very grateful to my noble friend Lord Lawson for challenging the Government on the orders. All too often, statutory instrumentsordersslip through even though they have big implications. This one has mega-implications. I do not want to make many points, but I start off with one fact. It is staggeringas anyone who begins to understand how the system should work would agreethat the impact assessment for what is probably the most expensive piece of legislation ever passed, the Climate Change Act 2008, was produced only after the Bill had become an Act. Yet the idea of an impact assessment has always been that it helps good governance because you can see the cost and the consequences of legislating. What sort of government is that? Bad government, bad government, bad government.
What is the size of the impact assessment? It is £400 billion. As my noble friend pointed out, that estimate does not necessarily include everything. Have the Government really lost all sense of proportion of money? That £400 billion is 27 per cent of GDP. It is 50 per cent of the public sector net debt. Public sector net debt has already reached £792 billion, so £400 billion is half of that. It is 60 per cent of total government spending for this year, yet gaily they produce a £400 billion impact assessment as though it was all perfectly natural.
The Act is thoroughly pernicious. I particularly criticise the fact that with gay abandon the Government produce this sort of legislation when they have not been doing the things that they could have. We all agree that it is much better to reduce the use of oil and reduce carbon emissions. However, they have taken 10 years even to decide to go ahead with nuclear power. They have only now produced the list of places where they might have nuclear power stations. They have taken 10 years to do that.
The Government are not even clear whether nuclear power is a renewable. I believe that it is, to all intents and purposes. The noble Lord, Lord Sainsbury, speaking ex cathedra from the Front Bench as Science Minister, said that it was a renewable. He said that; it is all in Hansard, so the Minister need not shake his head. He was of course made to renege, because the green lobby does not like nuclear power. Recently, the noble Lord, Lord Mandelson, who now occupies an exalted post in the Governmentand he is a splendid fellow to have therereferred to,
I happened to speak in that debate and drew attention to those felicitous words, which have not been denied. However, I suspect that the noble Lord, Lord Hunt, will get up and say that the Government do not regard nuclear power as a renewable.
The sad thing is that this Government are going into something alone, probably alone in Europe, as President Obama is most unlikely to be prepared to commit the United States to anything like the scale of what we are attempting to commit this country to, unless the world does so. However, the chances of the world doing so are remote in the extreme. I am delighted that we are challenging this sloppy thinking by this sloppy Government.
Lord Dixon-Smith: My Lords, there is an issue of the Government against the real world and I certainly would not wish to get up and defend the Government on this or any other issue in broad principle, given their incompetence in action. However, the world is not standing still. We keep hearing about this enormous sum of money that may have to be spent, but that seems to be said without any regard to the huge sums of money that are being spent by every country in the world at present to maintain their energy supplies.
A few years ahead is something that is constantly referred to as peak oil. What we are really talking aboutwhether or not we are ever going to get agreement on global warmingis the security of future energy supplies. I say to my noble friend Lord Marlesford that I tend not to be too concerned about whether nuclear energy is renewable or not, as it is emissions free. That is the energy distinction that we need to make.
We will have to spend increasing sums of money even if we do not change the technology, in order to supply this country with energy. There is a net amount to come off the huge sums that are talked about in respect of the costs mentioned by the noble Lord, Lord Stern.
I say to my noble friend Lord FairheadI beg his pardon, as I should have said Lord Leach of Fairford; I am getting muddled up with some relatives of minethat there is a distinction between the scientists whom he mentions, who are all apparently not prepared to come out in public, and the scientists who have been doing all the work on global warming and who are all well known and out in public. That may or may not be an argument but, if I understood my noble friend Lord Leach, he said that many people disagree with what is going on but are not prepared to come out in public about it.
Lord Leach of Fairford: My Lords, I said that more than 30,000 had signed a petition coming out in public. I referred to a few people who still have not come out. Among those 30,000 are many of the most distinguished scientists in the world. I can happily supply my noble friend with a list of 20 very distinguished scientists, including IPCC lead authors.
Lord Dixon-Smith: My Lords, I stand corrected and I withdraw that remark, but the fact is that there is, whether one likes it or not, and despite the great inconvenience, virtually an international consensus on this and I do not think that we will ever reach agreement between those who believe that this is happening and those who do not. There is evidence in the changes in the oceans and in the Arctic and Antarctic ice caps and the ice caps in Europe and the Himalayas. They are all diminishing. That is inconvenient, but it is happening.
My noble friend Lord Lawson raised an important issue; it was the one really significant thing that he got into before he tried to carry us all into the upper reaches of this Chamber with a blast of hot air. The Minister made it quite plain that the success of these orders depends on international agreement, which is due to be reached, we hope, this autumn. I do not go with the pessimistsI hope that there will be agreementbut it is legitimate to ask the Minister what happens if there is no such agreement. He made a great deal of the fact that there would have to be agreement, but we need to think about what will happen if there is no agreement. Will he come up with an answer to that point? Although I do not expect us to reach agreement in this Chamber today over the principles of the thing, we must try to ensure that what we agree to at the end of the day will be practicable and will work. The Minister must address that in his reply.
The Earl of Onslow: My Lords, the Government are introducing legislation now that is due to have effect in 2050. I just ask noble Lords to put their minds back to 1910 or 1911the year of Lloyd Georges Budget. Would it have been possible to have foreseen in any way whatever what was going to happen around the time of the death of George VI? It strikes me as very dangerous to legislate or even to attempt to have any idea of what will happen in 40 or 50 years time. It is impossible to know what will happen the day after tomorrow, let alone in 50 years time.
I completely agree with the noble Lord, Lord Lea, that it is a great pity that the noble Lord, Lord Stern, does not come here more often to defend his views on occasions such as this. My noble friend Lord Dixon-Smith made a very good point about the security of oil and other energy supplies, but that is a distraction from the debate on global warming. The talk of global warming is preventing us from thinking logically about the replacement of oil supplies, because perfectly reasonably, with the decline in the North Sea supply, we are not inclined to trust either Arab sheikhs or Russian oligarchs, who are the main source of supply.
Just recently, there was an announcement that 90 square miles or kilometresI am sorry; I cannot quite remember which, but it is quite a large areaof the Thames estuary will be covered in wind farms. I am sure that
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There was an intervention from the Liberal Front Bench about how sea levels were rising by 1.5 metres per whatever it is. The noble Lord is obviously unaware that Flinders University did a test on Tuvalu and found that there was absolutely no movement in sea levels whatever. The instruments that were used were the most modern and sensitive that there have been.
I used to think that it was completely logical to believe that, if we chucked buckets of gunge up into the sky, that would have some effect. I thought that people were right about this and that it made sense. Then I read the book written by my noble friend Lord LawsonI hope that I am not giving it too much of a boost, but there it isand found the intellectual argument behind it extremely interesting. It has converted me from thinking that one should not do all this damage to asking what harm is being done.
We know that CO2 levels have gone up between 1997 and 2007. However, temperatures have not. We know that the other day a test was done on the depth of the Antarctic ice cap and it was found to be rather thicker than everybody thought. We know that in the 1860s one of the Norwegian explorers, Nansen or Amundsen, tried to get through the North-West Passage and found clear water further north in the summer than it was last year. We know that there has been extremely heavy snow in the Himalayas, the Alps and all the big mountain ranges this year and we know that the Arctic ice cap is actually larger this May than it should be.
Those are facts. These are not things invented by people; these are documented facts. So have they got it right? I have become, because of the books of my noble friend Lord Lawson and several others, a serious doubter, not because I have any emotional attraction to an idea but because I am presented with a series of facts that make me now think slightly differently.
The concept of budgeting to spend £400 billionat that number, one begins to lose all sense of realityby 2050 because of facts that look to me jolly dodgy does not seem a very sensible thing to do. I know that the Minister will say that it is received scientific knowledge that global warming is happening, but my noble friend has shown that it is not. We ought to be very careful before we go on a spending spree of this magnitude because of something that might happen in the equivalent of the difference between the Parliament Act 1911 and the coronation of our present sovereign.
Lord Freeman: My Lords, I am not going to follow the arguments from my much more experienced colleagues, although I found the debate this afternoon extremely
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Lord Berkeley: My Lords, I have listened with great interest to the debate, which has been a bit like a Second Reading debate on climate change. I am beginning to think that I have been rehearing some of the stories one heard in the eight years of George Bushs presidency of the United States. There was a kind of unholy alliance between him and the oil companies to fund an enormous number of scientists to produce evidence, which was clearly in their view fact, that there was no such thing as global warming, the sea was not rising and it was all a big mistake. I do not know which is true. From what I have read, just as many scientists have said that there is a serious problem with global warming.
The noble Lord, Lord Leach, quoted a large number of scientists, but in his response to the noble Lord, Lord Teverson, he did not explain whether the sea level is rising. The noble Lord, Lord Marlesford, said that it is not. The noble Lord, Lord Leach, did not deny that it is rising, but he did not explain how it is rising or whether it is due to warmer water and/or the ice cap melting. Perhaps he can do that. I sort of visualise King Canute sitting by the beach waiting for it to happen and when it happens saying, It is not happening. My feet are not getting wet. I believe the scientists who say that there is a serious problem with global warming and I welcome what the Government are trying to do about it. They are setting an example with the European Union and, to an extent, other parts of the world. I give my noble friend seven or eight out of 10, which is even more than my noble friend Lord Lea gave him.
I have a couple of questions about world aviation and shipping, on which I urge the Minister to go a little further. It is good to know that there will be ways to measure them, but I hope that very soon we can go even further than that. I think that the noble Lord, Lord Lawson, congratulated the Government on joined-up government with DfID. If he did not, he should have done. I suggest that the same approach is taken in respect of BERR. On what the Government can do to put into practice the policies now being developed, I
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