London, 31 Jan 2006.
For immediate release.

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ABD Condemns Cynical Use of Global Warming Fears
The Association of British Drivers deplores the way in which unfounded predictions of global warming disaster are being used to shore up controversial plans.
Government scientific adviser, Sir David King, claims that polar ice caps are melting at unprecedented rates, which could see parts of Britain inundated within our lifetimes. What he fails to mention is that the southern ice cap is warming over only 2% of its area, a peninsula that has grown out over the warm southern ocean. Everywhere else ice is thickening at the healthy rate of 27 billion tonnes a year (1) while most of the warming recorded at the northern ice cap took place before the 1930's with fluctuating changes since.
 
Dr King gives the game away, however, by appearing in news bulletins to preach that we need to take action now, and in particular we need to invest in nuclear power stations. Given recent concerns about the future availability and price of energy, and the need to replace electricity generation capacity as ageing nuclear power stations are decommissioned, the timing of this latest piece of scaremongering is highly suspicious. For the transport sector, there is once again the likelihood of political collateral damage with a pseudo-scientific flavour, in the form of hikes in taxes and duties to help fill the Chancellor's Budget black hole — on the back of the same scare tactics.
 
It has been widely reported that the Prime Minister is keen to authorise construction of a new generation of nuclear power stations, but he is aware of widespread opposition among the public and his own backbenchers. Perhaps the Number 10 spin machine sees global warming disaster scenarios as a way of making also-scary nuclear power more acceptable and higher transport taxes more palatable.
 
The ABD's environment spokesman, Ben Adams, says:
"The use of these scaremongering tactics is deplorable. There will very likely be transport sector fallout. Many people have already been deceived into believing that man-made global warming is a reality, and that there is a consensus among scientists when there is no such thing (2). The irony of these latest dire predictions is bitter when most of Europe is shivering in the coldest winter for decades."
He continues,
"The moderate climate change that has been occurring since the last ice age ended is entirely natural and is due to cyclical changes in the Sun's eruptive activity plus other geological and astronomical factors. A move to colder winters is entirely consistent with the imminent descent towards a deep Gleissberg cycle minimum of solar eruptive activity centred around 2030. Dire predictions made by these modern prophets of doom are simply not going to occur (3). What the public don't know is that the scariest IPCC predictions from recent reports were placed there at a late stage in the review process at the request of politicians (4). Decisions on energy and related fiscal policies must be made calmly, and on the basis of rational scientific analysis, not in a synthetic climate of fear (5)."

 
(1) Joughin and Tulaczyk research publication in the journal Science
(2) http://www.staff.livjm.ac.uk/spsbpeis/Scienceletter.htm
(3) and (4) IPCC Lead Author Professor John Christy
(5) H L Mencken: "The fundamental aim of modern politics is to keep the populace alarmed, and hence clamorous to be led to safety, by menacing it with an endless series of hobgoblins, all of them imaginary"

 

 
Notes for Editors