A good proportion of the UK is under water at present as successive weather fronts deposit rain and snow at an alarming rate on towns and villages already sodden from weeks of wet weather.
Those in the west have had the additional tribulation of hurricane force winds driving high tides onto battered shorelines. Dramatic images for those who like me love the photographic opportunities that our coastlines supply though in many locations people have been warned to stay away. One unfortunate young photographer has been swept to his death in recent weeks.
These freakish conditions inevitably give rise to speculation as to whether man-made climate change is to blame and this morning, stuck in a 30 minute tailback of exhaust fumes and with the forest of industrial chimneys that is Teesside to my left, I heard on Radio 4’s Today programme a discussion of this very question. Sir Brian Hoskins, one of the world’s greatest authorities on climate was faced with the extreme scepticism of former Chancellor of the Exchequer, Lord Lawson.
The exchange, which I found quite exasperating reminding me of the Python sketch referred to above, in which Michael Palin pays to have an argument; “a connected series of statements intended to establish a proposition” and is met with a wall of nothing more than contradiction “No it isn’t!” Lord Lawson’s response to any evidence proposed by Hoskins was one of pure denial, and culminated in this patronising statement:
I don’t blame the climate scientists for not knowing. Climate and weather is quite extraordinarily complex and this is a new form of science. All I blame them for is pretending they know when they don’t.
No wonder politicians in this country see their credibility at an all time low in the eyes of the voting population.
Anyway, the argument proved serendipitous for it gives me an opportunity to post these sublime images which I captured earlier in the week. Draw your own conclusions.