The UK Growing Season

Guest post by David Archibald

Next week I am hosting a dinner party at which a Fellow of the Royal Society will be guest of honour – one of the Gang of Four who got the Society to tone down their position of global warming alarmism. So it is apposite to consider the outlook for energy and food supply in the UK. Peak coal production in that country was 100 years ago at 292 million tonnes. The UK’s peak oil production was in 1999 with production continuing to fall rapidly. The UK is now importing almost all of its fossil fuel requirements. It decided to switch to relying upon wind power, but recently found that turbines were lasting only about half as long as the wind industry said they would. The Climate Change Act, effectively de-industrialising the country, was passed in the House of Commons in October 2008 by 463 votes to three, even as snow was falling outside. The winters since that act was passed in 2008 have been particularly bitter, but that is only a taste of what is to come.

The UK imports 40% of its food requirements but is still accepting immigrants while having a high unemployment rate of 7.8 per cent. With respect to the 60% of the food requirement grown in country, the length of the thermal growing season for crops has been calculated back to 1772. The longest growing season in the 241 years back to 1772 was 300 days in 2000. The average growing season in the mid-19th century was 240 days with the shortest growing season being just 181 days in 1859. The world is returning to the climate of the mid-19th century as a best case outcome, as will the UK.

clip_image002

Figure 1: Length of thermal growing season in central England

The Dalton Minimum, caused by Solar Cycles 5 and 6, is evident as well as the 1970s cooling period.

So how much less food will the UK be able to grow when the length of the growing season is reduced by 45%? That is something for the sceptred isle to ponder on. 1859 is significant in that it is the year that glaciers started retreating worldwide in response to a Sun that was becoming more active. One measure of solar activity, the Aa Index, which is an index of the Sun’s geomagnetic activity, began increasing from a low of five in the mid-19th century to a peak of 37 in 2003. It has now fallen back to a level of about 9, even though we are near the peak of Solar Cycle 24. We should draw inferences from natural phenomena, and we should choose wisely from the phenomena available to interpret. The fact that the temperature of the planet has not increased for 16 years is not important in itself, the fact that the Sun has entered a deep sleep is very important.

Figure 2: Aa Index 1868 – 2013

The 1970s cooling period was associated with an interval of a low Aa Index. The Aa Index has returned to the levels of the late 19th century.

image

There has already been an increase in winter deaths in the UK as some pensioners have not been able to afford to heat their houses. Starvation, on the other hand, is something you can do all year round, irrespective of the season. As the prices of fossil fuels that aren’t oil converge towards the oil price as the oil price itself rises, physically doing anything in the UK will use energy priced as if the energy source was oil. The UK will find itself bidding for the shrinking supplies of oil and grain, the two basic commodities that keep machines and men fed, on international markets as the decade progresses. It can’t do much about what happens beyond its borders, but it could refrain from doing things that harm itself and it could also be trying to move beyond fossil fuels to an energy source that is less ephemeral than the wind. Never mind, the next 20 years will be a cathartic experience for those living in the UK, and character-forming, and testing. It will be a large scale version of the Darwin Awards in which everyone gets to participate by virtue of voting for politicians who vote for things like the Climate Change Act 2008. Choosing politicians via the ballot box always has consequences for one’s standard of living. As basic commodities become scarcer and the planet cools, that choosing may affect whether or not one gets to live at all.

In a way, what is in store for the UK is their just rewards for a lack of faith – a lack of faith in the religion that their forebears gave them courtesy of the King James Bible, a self-loathing of the culture that gave them a high standard of living, even though that was a relatively brief period in the Thatcher years, and a reversion from the scientific flowering that began with Newton to the witchcraft and voodoo that is modern climate science. Individuals with faith are more successful than individuals without faith. That is also true of nations. Just as the Israelites in the desert began worshipping a golden calf to Moses’ consternation, the scientific establishment of the UK reverted to a form of animism, seeing spirits in living things. The high priest of that movement is a scientist by the name of James Lovelock, who recanted upon receiving a bill of £6,000 for his winter heating. The UK nation as a whole is repeating Professor Lovelock’s personal experience – both the bill and the epiphany.

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MattN

We really need to see some cooling soon from the current low solar activity or we’re all going to look like idiots…

dp

Is this data adjusted to allow for modern crop varieties and crop engineering?

By ‘increased solar activity’ do you mean; over time from 1868 – 2008 the sun went from having longer periods of low sunspot activity to having shorter periods of low sunspot activity?
http://thetempestspark.wordpress.com/2013/01/15/greenwich-monthly-sunspot-area-1876-2012/

Aidan Donnelly

There is hope, at least as far as energy supplies is concerned, if the politicians can get of the ‘climate change; nonsense:
http://www.climatechangedispatch.com/home/10985-too-good-to-be-true
Britain could have enough shale gas to heat every home for 1,500 years, according to new estimates that suggest reserves are 200 times greater than experts previously believed. The British Geological Survey is understood to have increased dramatically its official estimate of the amount of shale gas to between 1,300 trillion and 1,700 trillion cubic feet, dwarfing its previous estimate of 5.3 trillion cubic feet. According to industry sources, the revised estimates will be published by the Government next month, fuelling hopes that new “fracking” techniques to capture trapped resources will result in cheaper energy bills. –Tim Webb, Rachel Sylvester and Alice Thomson, The Times, 9 February 2013
Lot’s of cheap energy can mean lots of commercial-sized greenhouses growing food – and no pensioners freezing to death

Ouch……

Lew Skannen

“James Lovelock, who recanted upon receiving a bill of £6,000 for his winter heating”
That is funny because it SO describes my previous flatmate. She was all in favour of Carbon Tax and renewables right up to the moment when our electricity bill came in. Just to add to the mirth of the event I pointed out that since the only wind/solar electricity we had access to was from Victoria and the rate at the time for producers was about four times what we were paying she really should pay her share of the bill four times over. I was happy with coal fired power and would happily pay for what I used.
She was just not interested in paying for ‘green’ power when the time came to open her purse.
Odd that.

DavidG

I wonder who those brave 3 MP’s were? Maybe they need to introduced to a wider audience!

Darren

No one expects the Spanish Climate Inquisition

There is an order of magnitude more coal under the North Sea than all the world’s current proven coal reserves combined.
http://www.resilience.org/stories/2005-12-28/3000-billion-tons-coal-norways-coastline
Fracking and in situ gasification will produce enough gas for generations and the coal itself will last a millenia.
The problem with the oil price, is that Greenie inspired electric cars and equally ridiculous biofuels have captured the policy process. If the money had been spent on natural gas powered vehicles and coal to liquids technology, nobody would be much worried about the price of oil, except the impoverished Arabs of course.

Andyj

“The UK imports 40% of its food requirements but is still accepting immigrants while having a high unemployment rate of 7.8 per cent.”
So true! Political dogma instead of political realism. We in the UK have leaders who cannot, dare not lead. They follow bigger people like lap dogs. The trouble is, the “bigger people” are clueless idiots.
60 years ago, if nuclear bombs were not on the agenda, the UK would have LFTR reactors to power us through eternity. Not that yellow cake garbage which will be half consumed in 30 years.
As goes 1,500 years of gas under the UK. Not a cat in hells chance of that happening! We had gas to keep us going to 2050, remember. So they installed gas turbines for cheap electricity — gone in 20 years, not 80.

Craig Moore

But what does this climate change mean for the spaghetti trees? http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ICryfLj-hnA

In situ coal gasification is another technology that has been neglected. It was first proven feasible 100 years ago. Somewhat ironically it has come back into focus as a vehicle for carbon capture.
Generally speaking, doing the right thing for the wrong reasons is a bad idea, but this might be an exception.
http://www.dur.ac.uk/resources/dei/Ingenia43_Underground_Coal_June2010.pdf

Jim

The three MPs to vote against the Climate Change Act 2008 were Peter Lilley (MP for Hitchen and Harpenden), Christopher Chope (Christchurch) and Andrew Tyrie (Chichester). All Conservatives.
History will prove them to be men of honour and integrity.

HB

I don’t wish to be unfair to a fellow Aussie, but this post is blatantly and unpleasantly political. It seems to be trying to appeal to a lowest common denominator in right wing UK politics. and as pointed out in the comments above, its now inaccurate. There is nowshale oil for all in the UK!

The trifecta of government funded science lies are….global warming….green energy…and peak oil. The fraud of Carbon climate forcing is well documented on WUWT. Every form of green energy….wind, solar cells and bio-fuels….consume more fossil fuel in production than they ever return in their service life. Peak oil is a fraud described in “Fossil Fuel is Nuclear Waste” and “Earth’s Elemental Petrol Production”.
All of these frauds are necessary to cover the under-lying giant fraud explained in “Fractional Reserve Banking Begat Faux Reality”. When your monetary system is a Ponzi scheme, then the banksters hire puppet politicians, who hire pseudo-scientists and lap dog media to rationalize stupidity. Freezing in the dark will limit your acceptance of this aberant behavior. End the Fed…End the Fraud.

Chuck L

What are the sources of the graphs? Thanks.

Goldie

I am not sure that coal has passed it’s potential peak in the UK, rather, its production was curtailed as other sources of energy became easier to implement. Coal really found it’s demise in the 70s and 80s during the Thatcher years that you laud in your text. Margaret was only too keen to crush the coal miners union on the back of North Sea Gas, which has now pretty much run out.
I am unsure what coal resources remain in Britain, but I would expect them to be quite large.
As to the religious diatribe at the end of this comment – I really wish you wouldn’t.

Johnny Hooper

That last paragraph about faith – particularly vis a vis the King James Bible – has to be the most easily ridiculed assertion I have ever read on any scientific blog. And then to lavish praise on Thatcher merely alienates all but the most extreme conservatives.
Anthony, I would be cautious hitching your horse to this author’s credibility. And that’s without even questioning his ties to the fossil fuel industry.
By all means, stand on the pulpit and preach to the converted, but if you want to make inroads into the mindsets of those who don’t share your political or religious convictions, I suggest checking your political and religious bigotry at the door. It mearly serves to alienate.

“With respect to the 60% of the food requirement grown in country, the length of the thermal growing season for crops has been calculated back to 1772. The longest growing season in the 241 years back to 1772 was 300 days in 2000. The average growing season in the mid-19th century was 240 days with the shortest growing season being just 181 days in 1859. ”
wow. I gues the longer growing season is due to UHI. or maybe it is getting warmer

T-Bird

MattN says:
We really need to see some cooling soon from the current low solar activity or we’re all going to look like idiots…
No, Looking like an idiot is neither here nor there. What we really need to see is what actually happens (that is, get the honest, uncorrupted data – which, sadly these days, is far trickier than it ought to be) and go from there so we can find out to the best of our ability what, if anything, is really going on. This is not about some sort of vindication or a game of academic “gotcha!”. It’s about the application of science and following the data where ever it leads.

I don’t see any signs of a reduction in UK growing season. What’s this post supposed to hypothesise?

Sam the First

Peter Lilly, who voted against the Climate Change Act of 2008, is a trained physicist. He has often written and spoken against the AGW mania but his colleagues won’t listen and his leaders sidelined him. Shameful.
I agree that that political and religious undertones of this piece detract greatly from its effectiveness. I could not post a link to it anywhere for those reasons; I wish they had been edited out since it makes valid points

Lew Skannen

Some complaints about the political nature of the article, I see.
It seems to me that what was said here is exactly what needs to be said.
We have spent too much time being politely silent about the success of conservative policies in the 80’s and the failure of ‘green’ policies thereafter.
I am tired of accommodating the sensitivities of those who cannot face facts. The UK (and the rest of the western world) needs to shake itself out of its coma and return to a few basic principles.
For example recognise that energy is the basis of prosperity and prosperity should be the goal or development. It seems to me that the current block to development is being caused by a group which has become so prosperous and pampered that they have forgotten what it was that got them there and are now in the process of denying that same opportunity to others.
I admir the Victorians like Brunel and Rhodes who dedicated their lives to building, developing and creating opportunity for others. I doubt that anyone will admire the latte sipping celebs of the 21st century who, having reached a comfy level of existence, suddenly want to close off all development and therefore opportunity for those not so lucky.

Andyj

HB, FauxScience et al.
I ask you for your assertions, nay, PROOF there is enough gas in the UK. Enough to keep the youngest reader on here warm (and in electricity) for his lifetime of British gas. I know for a fact it is physically impossible.
.
And for all who IMAGINE oil is made from the bowels of the Earth then I must remind you of the age of this planet. If that is the natural rate of production the theory is forever, the replenishment of oil is not a happening reality. Is this some form of deliberate coo-coo land strawman loony bin pseudo-scientific clap trap that is attempting to set up this site for a big fall?
.
Sure Thatcher ended the coal mines. Because they were not paying their way any more and the Gov’t were holding up dead ducks. Most from their own pathetic making. If they were viable. I’d be funding new mines right now!

Lew Skannen

John Hooper – “And that’s without even questioning his ties to the fossil fuel industry.”
Please DO question the ties. Please explain what relevance they are. I have heard this so many times and I just want to know what these ties actually mean. Let’s pretend that David is in receipt of a fat wad of Big Oil money every week for the purpose of fighting for scepticism etc.
What exactly does that mean? Does it mean any facts he states are wrong? Does it mean he is arguing a point he does not really believe himself?
To me it seems an odd to suggest that the person against whom you are debating (and cannot fault in logic) is arguing a false position for cash. It is a bit like being beaten in a boxing match and then trying to recover some dignity by claiming that your opponent does not really know how to box, he was just faking it for the money.

David Archibald
Johnny Hooper

Lew Skannen: “Please DO question the ties. Please explain what relevance they are. I have heard this so many times and I just want to know what these ties actually mean. ”
I’m not buying into the argument either way. It’s tired.
What I will say is it’s easier for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle than to move the climate discussion forward by
1. Preaching conservative politics.
2. Bringing Christianity into it.
3. Name calling – including “warmist.”
4. Those with strong Oil/Tobacco/Coal industry interests.
5. Delivering mixed messages as to whether you agree partly with the broader scientific establishment.
6. Assuming anyone who disagrees or questions a so called skeptic belongs in a competing camp that’s part of some greater politic or conspiracy.
It’s not that doing so makes you logically wrong, it’s just poor marketing, and leads to peurile tribale warfare.
You don’t send your fox out to sweet talk the hens. You send your rooster.

Justthinkin

Lew Skannen says:
February 11, 2013 at 5:40 pm
Well said,Lew. As we say here in Canada,eh….not showing up to protest is a failed conservative policy.

RockyRoad

Johnny Hooper says:
February 11, 2013 at 5:12 pm


By all means, stand on the pulpit and preach to the converted, but if you want to make inroads into the mindsets of those who don’t share your political or religious convictions, I suggest checking your political and religious bigotry at the door. It mearly serves to alienate.

Do you know the word they use for those, like you, who are intollerant of other’s political or religious beliefs?
It’s political or religious bigotry.

RockyRoad

Maybe blowing your country’s entire wad of cash and destroying their economy is somehow fashionable. I see no other reason for the opaque glasses they all wear regarding energy issues. Leave it to those foolish enough to follow fads to destroy themselves through lack of foresight.

Steven Mosher [February 11, 2013 at 5:27 pm] says:
wow. I gues the longer growing season is due to UHI. or maybe it is getting warmer

Mosher …
Are you actually troubled that the climate is warmer since the 1960’s to 1970’s cool period?
Are you actually troubled that the climate is warmer since the Little Ice Age?
Are you actually troubled that the climate is warmer since the last glacial maximum prior to the current Holocene inter-glacial?
That is three separate but overlapping cold-to-warm phase-changes, any one of which might explain the “global warming” that troubles you so, but also could perhaps reinforce each other to result in mega-warming, no? The real news would be for you to somehow explain to us that what we are seeing somehow exceeds what those three cold-to-warm changes should be expected to be. Good luck with that I say.
P.S. What is better, warm or cold? Inquiring minds want to know.

from wikipedia,
In the United Kingdom, the growing season is defined as starting when the temperature on five consecutive days exceeds 5 °C, and ends after five consecutive days of temperatures below 5 °C.
Steven Mosher says:
February 11, 2013 at 5:27 pm
wow. I gues the longer growing season is due to UHI. or maybe it is getting warmer

Yes. It’s been getting warmer since 1810.

David Archibald said,
[ . . . ] We should draw inferences from natural phenomena, and we should choose wisely from the phenomena available to interpret. [ . . . ]

Let me, only for argument sake, accept that Archibald advice.
I think David Archibald should apply much more wisely his own advice not only to just his overtly simplistic climate science inferences wrt solar phenomena but even more wisely to his economic and political inferences.
As to David Archibald’s juxtaposition of the religious elements in Lovelock’s works and those in the King James Bible, I refer only to:

David Archibald said,
[ . . . ] Individuals with faith are more successful than individuals without faith. That is also true of nations. [ . . . ]

Everyone has their own assessment of the cause of human success. For example, Archibald assesses that greater success must occur to those with faith.
My assessment is the courage to focus with heroic discipline on the solely voluntary use of one’s natural capacity to reason is fundamentally what makes successful human beings quo human beings.
John

Manfred

MattN says:
February 11, 2013 at 3:37 pm
We really need to see some cooling soon from the current low solar activity or we’re all going to look like idiots…
——————————————————
Actually, the temperature data used to compute this UK growing season has recently cooled by the largest amount in over 100 years.
http://www.metoffice.gov.uk/hadobs/hadcet/graphs/HadCET_graph_ylybars_uptodate.gif

Pat Frank

Quoting David A: “[The UK] decided to switch to relying upon wind power, … The Climate Change Act, effectively de-industrialising the country, was passed in the House of Commons in October 2008 by 463 votes to three…The UK imports 40% of its food requirements but is still accepting immigrants while having a high unemployment rate of 7.8 per cent.
The UK didn’t decide to do these things (wind-power, the CCA, immigration). It had no choice about them. The missing ingredient in the analysis is that the UK no longer exists. Britain is now a border province of Europia, and is required by law and treaty to follow the directives of an unelected bureaucracy in Brussels; no ifs, ands, or buts.
Look that the European Climate Law; notice the “acquis:” “Before a country joins the European Union, there is a body of rights and obligations common to all EU Member States (often referred to as “acquis”) that it has to transpose into its national legislation and implement from the moment of its accession.
Look at the European “20-20-20” policy directive. Britain has no choice but to implement this recipe for suicide preceded by heartbreak.
Britain has no choice about its climate policy. It has no choice about its immigration policy. It has no choice about its food policy, either. Hence, for example, Britain can do nothing about the horse meat scandal. Britain can’t even mount independent food inspections at its borders to prevent entry of adulterated or dangerous products.
British MPs make no laws; they are merely local EU-directive implementers. David Cameron isn’t a PM. With respect to powers, it’s unlikely he has even the legal powers of an American state governor. British courts cannot countermand EU legal rulings. American state courts have constitutional standing to challenge the Federal government up to and including the Supreme Court (though to be honest, few state Supreme Court Judges have the strength of character to do that).
The government of the former UK surrendered its powers to Brussels. It sold out the British people. This comes of having been a “sceptered isle” rather than a constitutional republic. The populace were subjects not citizens, and had no foundational legal basis for resistance to surrender. As an American, one among many who have benefited mightily from the powerful democratic political tradition of the British, it turns my stomach to see this sorry and shameful pass come to them.

“Mosher …
Are you actually troubled that the climate is warmer since the 1960′s to 1970′s cool period?
Are you actually troubled that the climate is warmer since the Little Ice Age?
Are you actually troubled that the climate is warmer since the last glacial maximum prior to the current Holocene inter-glacial?”
Is it warmer? I thought that the warmth was all due to adjustments and UHI?
I have yet to see an AGW skeptic ( other than Jeff ID) actually try to establish how much warming it is now than in the LIA. So lets see.
Since 1750, I estimate the temperature over land has warmed by 1.5C. Anybody care to estimate otherwise and then square that stimate with measures like growing days?
“What is better, warm or cold? Inquiring minds want to know.”
neither of course. the question is ill posed. what is better, up or down? left or right? in front or behind? lights on or lights off? Further , the question has nothing to do with the issue at hand. But lets stipulate that warm is better. I vote for 20C as opposed to todays chilly 15 C for the planet. last time it averaged 20C we had alligators at the north pole. Heck, I vote for 1 Billion C cause warm is better. no wait 1 Trillion C! cause warm is better. Now that this is settled, the question remains. How much colder was it in the LIA?

Goldie

Just want to comment that the reason that Margaret was able to end coal mining and the unions that controlled coal mining was the ready availability of alternative energy source (gas, oil). Things might have been very different if they were not available. I am not at all certain what the economics might be like now.

Johnny Hooper

RockyRoad says:
“Do you know the word they use for those, like you, who are intollerant of other’s political or religious beliefs? It’s political or religious bigotry.”
I don’t care. What he said offended me as an atheist skeptic who can’t think of a single person under the age of 60 who would tolerate a good word said about Thatcher.
Unfortunately this chap merely reinforces the most extreme negative stereotype of skeptics held by those we are trying to convince.
Let’s just stick to the science.

Aidan Donnelly

Johnny Hooper says:
February 11, 2013 at 7:30 pm
RockyRoad says:
“Do you know the word they use for those, like you, who are intollerant of other’s political or religious beliefs? It’s political or religious bigotry.”
I don’t care. What he said offended me as an atheist skeptic who can’t think of a single person under the age of 60 who would tolerate a good word said about Thatcher.
Oh dear you are offended, let me say I am sorry you are offended, better now?
I am under 60 and lived through the Thatcher years and I say I have never lived under a better leader – except for John Howard here in Aus.
Oh yes, and your bitter atheistic and political bigotry offends the hell out of me !!

Here we see the results of spending your real money on imaginary and inefficient solutions to non-existent problems. It’s all going to end in tears.

S. Meyer

@Johnny Hooper “That last paragraph about faith – particularly vis a vis the King James Bible – has to be the most easily ridiculed assertion I have ever read on any scientific blog. And then to lavish praise on Thatcher merely alienates all but the most extreme conservatives.
Anthony, I would be cautious hitching your horse to this author’s credibility. And that’s without even questioning his ties to the fossil fuel industry.
By all means, stand on the pulpit and preach to the converted, but if you want to make inroads into the mindsets of those who don’t share your political or religious convictions, I suggest checking your political and religious bigotry at the door. It mearly serves to alienate.”
———-
Could not agree more! The idea that we should have “faith” in conjunction with a debate about climate change rubs me the wrong way. I would like to see facts and logic, please.
The major point I get from this post is that the very mild rise of temperatures since the LIA has been beneficial, because it has led to longer growing seasons. So far so good. Now please give me a convincing argument that this positive trend will continue even if temperatures increase by 5 or 8 or 11 degrees (as predicted in some of the more outrageous models). There is likely a temperature optimum. Do we have data what that would be? BTW, I think there is absolutely no reason to expect that we’ll ever get close to 11 degrees, but that is a different debate.

Sleepalot

Sorry, but I have to call bullshit on this.
The length of the growing season is (imo, though I’m not a farmer) irrelevant to UK agricultural productivity: if it takes 120 days to grow wheat, you don’t get any more wheat in a 200 day growing season.
From Defra: http://www.ecifm.rdg.ac.uk/current_production.htm
2/3 of UK agricultural land is grazing or fallow (grass grows when the temperature gets above 5C): only 1/4 is used to grow crops.
Winter deaths is a complex question. http://www.flickr.com/photos/7360644@N07/5770383378/in/photostream
The price of energy is not driven by the price of fuel so much as by government policy, and lack of regulation.
(No UK regulatory authority has ever served its purpose.)

Lew Skannen

Johnny Hooper – “What he said offended me as an atheist skeptic who can’t think of a single person under the age of 60 who would tolerate a good word said about Thatcher.”
Well you are moving in your own chosen circles but I think it has given you a skewed outlook.
One only needs to grab some old newspapers from the 70’s to see what a mess the UK was then and how much wealthier the average person is twenty years later.
It is interesting that you assume that people under 60 can not tolerate a good word for her. Apart from what it says about the tolerance of such people (in your opinion) you seem to forget that few people under 40 have any inkling of what things were like when she took over. All the alleged hatred of her in such people can only be learnt from purveyors of anti-Thatcher venom who were soundly routed and seem to have never been able to face up to the fact that her policies worked and those opposing her were barking up the wrong tree. Rather than face reality such people seem to have taken comfort in their resentment, bitterness and imagined victimhood.
I know for a fact that it is uncool to be conservative for a young person but for many people truth trumps cool.

Owen in Ga

Johnny Hooper:
One bit of advice — get out more. There are a large number of folks who would rather have a Thatcher than the current western leaders (with maybe the exception of Canada who seems to have righted their ship). That you know of no one under 60 tolerant of a good word about her simply exemplifies the smallness of your world (and the success of leftist propaganda). I know people who hated her and those who loved her and I am much less than 60. (For the record, I thought she was a flawed human being in many ways, but still one of the better leaders the UK has seen since Churchill.) Socialism rots the will of the individual and leads always to totalitarianism. So if you like your freedoms and think 1984 depicted a terrible world, protect the rights of everyone including those right-wingers and religious people, or else when they come for you, there will be no one left to object.
Pat Frank:
So I suppose you support the referendum to withdraw the UK from the EU? The smartest thing the UK ever did was to keep Sterling and reject the Euro. Why anyone would want their economy tied to those of Portugal, Spain, Italy and Greece is beyond me (though the lax border restrictions and easy vacation travel was a plus – not sure Ryan Air could have gotten going without the new borders regimen in the EU), and I am suspicious of the the French economy as well. No one ever fixed their economy by taxing away the capital that drives the engine, but that is what they elected in France. Brussels is just a bunch of typical “central government in control of everything” types. The minister of daily breath rationing isn’t too far away I’m certain, and we won’t know about their creation until the police come to take people away for having exceeded their daily allotment. (ok, slight exaggeration, but after trying in vain to navigate the EU labyrinth to find environmental exposure data as well as other vital legal information I have zero faith in that bureaucracy to do the right thing or actually serve its people!)

UK peak coal production was in 1913.
Peak wood production was around 1600.

S. Meyer

@ Sleepalot
” says:
February 11, 2013 at 8:08 pm
Sorry, but I have to call bullshit on this.
The length of the growing season is (imo, though I’m not a farmer) irrelevant to UK agricultural productivity: if it takes 120 days to grow wheat, you don’t get any more wheat in a 200 day growing season.”
Maybe not. If it ever got warm enough, one might be able to produce double crops ( grow winter wheat, which can be harvested in May, then a legume). This, apparently has some advantages for weed- and erosion-control. I found this, for example:
http://extension.missouri.edu/p/G4953
I am no farmer either. Any farmers here?

Sam the First says:
February 11, 2013 at 5:35 pm
I agree that that political and religious undertones of this piece detract greatly from its effectiveness.
==================
What set the British Empire apart was the notion that you did what was right, because it was right morally, not because it would provide you with short term gain. Over time, this choice to do the “right” thing ultimately lead to greatness.
One of my co-workers was born and raised in India. He was telling us about India the other day. About the the land surveys done and railways built in India. All while the British were there. No new railways since then.
The story wasn’t about India, rather about the productivity of the British in charting the oceans of the world and building roads and railways across half the surface. Like the Greeks and Romans before them, it is hard to recognize these people in their descendants.
Yet, the people are the same, so it must be something that has changed in their society that no longer commands greatness. It could well be in what they believe. Having lost their moral compass, they no longer know which road to travel. Instead they turn left and right with the tides of fortune. The politicians equally have no sense of direction. Instead they look to see which way the crowd is headed, and try and stay in front.

Tilo Reber

David,
While I would much rather live in a community of Christians than a community of socialists, and while I find Christians to be far more level headed, charitable, friendly, hard working, and less egotistical than leftists, I still can’t help but seeing religions as adult fairy tales. I shed Christianity when I was 15. But I have always been a conservative. I suggest that you leave religion out of the climate discussion, since there is no connection.
On the other hand, climate and politics are hopelessly intertwined. The left sees AGW as a political lever to be exploited. Many of them have stated that outright. So I see no reason why you should ignore the driving force behind all of the foolishness. For those, like Hooper, who think that the issues are separate, they are living their own fairy tale.
Mosher,
“It’s warming.”
Yes, it was until about 14 years ago. No one claimed that it was all UHI. Let’s get back to our agreement. The difference between the satellites (probably RSS) and the ground is mostly UHI. Tell me, what would you expect to happen after a solar induced LIA – even if there were no humans on the planet?

HB

In partial support of Johnny, bringing both religion and politics into it, weakens the argument considerably. And the politics just has the sound of appealing to the worst elements of the political right wing, and as suggested above distract from what may be a worthwhile statement. Immigration is a sore point for many in the UK, but being in the eu, there’s nothing that can be done about it.. But the eu also provides most of the food for the UK. New finds of shale gas have been in all the papers.Dr Armstrong would be better off focussing on the science.

CET (Central England temperatures) in the summer months have no rising trend for 350 years, while winter temperatures have risen gradually at rate of ~ 0.4C / century http://www.vukcevic.talktalk.net/MidSummer-MidWinter.htm
Spring and autumn made average of 0.25C/c
No climate expert has come with a credible explanation about the summers temperatures ‘unyielding’ behaviour.