On one of the bbc blogs there was a quote “In general, the UK public is more ‘climate sceptical’ than the rest of Europe.”
Surely that’s because our “weather” is more evident than our climate.
On the continent they have “climate” of which their weather is a subset. In the UK we have weather, in summer it could be hot, cold, windy, wet, foggy, in extreme cases it might hail or even snow! In Italy in summer it is hot and sunny, it is hotter now than 10 years ago. In the Alps it used to be invariably very cold and snowy. Increasingly it is not so cold and not so snowy.
This trend is just not experienced in the UK unless you are interested, look hard and perhaps live in the country. Less snow isn’t a clue, but Swallows arriving early means Africa is hotter earlier. Bluebell walks increasingly seeing the flowers on their way out rather than in full bloom and Daffodils now blooming in late February !!!
Look deeper and we see fish stocks moving north, non native species appearing in our southern seas round Cornwall and Dorset, even up to Hampshire, Kent and the Thames Estuary. Other effects are the real sea level rise, hidden to the casual observer due to wind, waves and tides but for the local, that 2 or 3 centimetres of sea level rise is a clear indication of change.
With the majority of people living in cities, in a largely artificial environment all of this just isn’t seen. How many Londoners know the frequency of the Thames Barrier being raised?
Going back to the title and the implications. If there is a strong public feeling that Climate Change is not real, the pressure on our Government to do something is slackened. Climate Change, unlike war doesn’t have a fixed date of declaration, a point in time from which we can all work together.
Climate Change will keep happening and speeding up, perhaps it will take the destruction of a city to wake us all up to that fact? Perhaps not,. New Orleans was devastated, bad luck and an off course Hurricane was blamed. Perhaps when the Thames Barrier is overtopped the general feeling will be it was just a combination of weather events, no more than a perfect storm!