An article in The Guardian has linked the loss of sea ice in the Arctic to changes in weather patterns. Many climate scientists have been saying that the effect of ice melt is much more severe than first thought but the comments have been played down by governments who are preoccupied with the economy. Why do they find it so hard to accept that climate change will have a far bigger impact than any of their supposed election winning strategies to improve economic growth?
We have got to the stage where climate change is affecting the whole world and yet nothing is happening to mitigate the effects. Consider just the weather in the UK for a moment; here, in the Peak District, the local council is still battling to clear 6.5m (20ft) snow drifts. many roads not normally affected by winter snow were blocked for several days and towns and village were cut off. Many other areas of the UK affected yet it soon ceases to be news and attention shifts to the perennial short termism that afflicts UK politics.
Maybe climate change is just not a vote winner? maybe the issue is just too big and potentially too destructive for the government and the population to comprehend? Or are we still in denial, still have our collective heads in the sand? I know there are still climate change skeptics out there and they seem to be fulled by the ‘red top’ news papers who seem intent of following the line that it is all a myth or a plot dreamed up by the left.
So far individuals have taken steps to make changes to their life to reduce CO2 but we need all governments to take this issue very seriously and to do that NOW. And we need the help of all of the scietific community to work together. I have suggested this before but is it not time to look at research budgets and divert money into climate change mitigation? Dare I suggest that some large, prestige projets should be put on hold as what is the use of understanding what happened immediately after the big bang if we have messed up the very World we are trying to understand? maybe funding the the LHC and the Square killometre array should be diverted to climate change mitigation research so that we can understand and reduce the impact that we human beings have on the world we so cherish.
There is a really good article in New Scientist this week about the hacked climate change emails. The sceptics, and other oil company supporters, are hailing it as a victory and as proof that climate change does not exist. Having spent most of my working life in science and technology I do not share their optimism.
As a gardener I know that things have changed over the last 20 years. Spring is earlier and old weather patterns have changed. It used to be relatively easy to predict when pests would arrive e.g. carrot root fly had two periods of activity so it was possible to avoid, or reduce, attacks by planting at the right time. Now it is virtually impossible to predict when they will be around.
Summers might not always be warmer but the trend is for an increase in average temperatures year on year. We are also getting many more extreme weather events. What I have noticed is that rainfall patterns have changed and we also get lots of very heavy downpours now.
Much as I would like to believe that climate change is not happening, and that manmade CO2 is not contributing to, it that is just not true. I particularly remember some predictions from NASA some years ago that nobody wanted to believe. All they said has now happened but actual measurements have far exceeded their predications.
There are challenges ahead for gardeners but we are a resourceful lot and will adapt and respond. The best advice is to find what works for you in your garden and keep records and if you are really keen record the weather.
It never ceases to amaze me that whatever happens in this world the media always look for somebody to blame. Take the recent extreme weather. The broadcast and print media have been full of articles about how the disruption should have been avoided and looking for somebody to blame.
The weather is still out of our control and long may it remain so. It’s a known fact that winter can be cold and it can snow. But we have had a series of mild winters over the last few years and many have forgotten what the weather can do at this time of year.
It is also a sad fact that most people are becoming so divorced from ‘nature’ that any disruption to normal life is a shock. Gardeners should be the exception as any serious grower will come to know what the seasons are like and what weather to expect. It’s all part of the natural cycle.
Sometimes we are surprised and there seems to be more severe weather events these days. We should get used to the idea that weather is changing and is likely to continue to do so as the effects of climate change become more pronounced.