No, Spring is Not ‘Coming Earlier Every Year’ – And All this Alarmism is Taking its Toll on Our Mental Health

Spring has sprung and all good climate catastrophists are dusting down their annual ‘spring has sprung three weeks early’ story. BBC Science Correspondent Victoria Gill has a three-week-early avian egg-laying tale, which is topped with the obligatory ‘climate change’ headline.

Reporting on a survey in “some parts” of a wood in Oxford, Ms. Gill comments on the mating habits of the great tit. According to project leader Professor Ben Sheldon from Oxford University, observing the birds over time means “we’re also able to ask how extreme climate events – increasingly seen as a risk of climate change – affect the population”.

That presumably would be the climate change said to lead to ever higher temperatures as guessed by laughably inaccurate climate models – temperatures supposedly rising so fast that spring is starting earlier each year.

In fact, spring in England is no warmer than 20 years ago. Despite a rise in the 1990s, the temperature is no higher than the 30-year average. Yet another ‘pause’ makes an appearance in the temperature record.

If we discount the 30% hikes made to recent global temperatures in datasets run by the Met Office and NASA, global warming ran out of steam in the late 1990s. The satellite data for April show the lack of global warming now extends to 91 months. This pause follows the longer standstill reported by satellites from around 1998 to 2012 – since largely removed from the ‘adjusted’ surface databases.

It seems global warming is just too good to let go when seeking to command and control an economy through Net Zero. The Guardian now calls it global heating, and sees it everywhere. In March, it published this doozy: “Nine cattle were struck by lightning and killed in central Queensland earlier this month during an incident experts say could become more common with climate change.”

The Royal Horticultural Society is big on climate change, arguing that increasingly frequent ‘extreme’ weather events are hampering recovery in the natural world. “Most at risk are the species associated with mountain habitat because they will simply run out of places to go as temperatures increase.” The RHS also sees British wildlife emerging earlier in the spring “or staying active longer at the end of summer”.

Well again, whatever is causing wasps to raid picnics a little longer, it does not seem to be any extra autumnal warming. Another 20-year ‘pause’ is obvious from the actual temperature readings.

If anything, the British climate has become a little kinder to the natural world. A gentle 1°C of warming from around 1820, as Britain bounced out of a previous mini ice age, has led to slightly milder winters and warmer summers. Rainfall is marginally higher across England but barely higher than the amount recorded in 1880. Storm wind speeds are less than those recorded 40 years ago. Extreme weather is simply bad weather rebranded, something that is a constant on an island at over 50°N in the North Atlantic. Meanwhile, higher levels of C02 in the atmosphere have led to more vibrant plant growth. It’s heartening that wasps get to live a few extra days, but let’s not forget the thousands of human lives that are saved every year by milder conditions.

The constant catastrophising about the climate – exaggerating the size and negative impact of past rises, ignoring off-narrative data, speculating wildly about the future – is politically inspired and backs the narrative set by establishment elites in business, academia, media and politics, who have become addicted to the huge subsidies, salaries and payments that support the green agenda. It is undoubtedly easier to go along with the current orthodoxy set by those who have influence and power. As we saw in the Covid pandemic, few mainstream journalists seemingly have the intellectual firepower or editorial independence to radically question the set agenda. And if they did, they would likely find themselves out of a  job.

Again, as with the Covid experience, constant alarmism is leading to serious mental health issues within the general population. The BBC recently reported that a new project has been launched at the University of East Anglia to address rising climate anxiety. Literature student Meg Watts, 22, was said to have experienced depression after being overwhelmed by the scale of the problems facing the planet. “And she sought therapy after developing disordered eating when trying to cut out food packaged with plastic,” it was noted. Another student was reported to have asked, “What is the point of my education if we can’t stop climate change?”

The Lancet Planetary Health reports that empirical evidence shows that acute and chronic mental health around climate change has risen sharply in the past decade. The arising hazards investigated are said to include post-traumatic stress disorder, depression, anxiety, the exacerbation of psychotic systems, along with “suicidal ideation and suicide completion”.

In 2020, the environmentalist Michael Shellenberger wrote a book called Apocalypse Never in which he said he believed the conversation about climate change and environment had in the last few years “spiralled out of control”. He stated that much of what people are being told about the environment, including the climate, is wrong. Schellenberger spent 30 years promoting green activism, but he decided to write his book “after getting fed up with the exaggeration, alarmism and extremism that are the enemy of a positive, humanistic, and rational environmentalism”.

He added that he believed environmental scientists, journalists and activists had an obligation to describe environmental problems honestly and accurately, “even if they fear doing so will reduced their news value or salience with the public”.

Chris Morrison is the Daily Sceptic’s Environment Editor

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November 2022
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