I will get my retaliation in first and already I notice that a cartoon in the national press questions the concept of global warming in a time of plummeting temperatures. The shoppers who slip and slide on an icy Derby Street, like they did last year, will also question the orthodoxy of climate change. Who said that the planet is warming up?
However a few cold snaps or even heat waves do not prove anything about climate change, because people confuse the difference between weather, what we see though our windows, and climate the long term observable changes such as temperature or rainfall or airflows.
And as for the evidence that we are undergoing a major change in temperature
I heard on national radio that concentrations of the main greenhouse gases such as methane have reached their highest levels recorded since pre-industrial times, according to the World Meteorological Organization’s 2009 Greenhouse Gas Bulletin. The report also highlights concerns that global warming may lead to greater emissions of methane from Arctic areas and a more unpredictable climate. Certainly the earth is experiencing more frequent examples of extreme weather with examples ranging from West Africa, Pakistan and China in the last year.
I have always believed the scientific evidence that has built up over time but I also believe that even here in Leek we could make a difference. Insulating homes in the Moorlands and developing renewable energy sources could tackle fuel poverty, provide jobs and generate through the feed in tariff community resources. Self-interest alone could make it a viable path to follow.
The Canadian writer Margaret Attwood framed the problem in another way. The Earth will always endure and over millions of year has survived at least 6 mass extinction events, one over 320 million years ago destroyed over 90% of living creature and began the age of the dinosaur. No, the real threat is poised for humanity and unless we change the direction the future could be as slippery for mankind as the shoppers enduring the wintry pavements of Derby St