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Paris Agreement on Climate Change

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 4:06 pm on 7th September 2016.

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Photo of David Davies David Davies Chair, Welsh Affairs Committee 4:06 pm, 7th September 2016

The hon. Gentleman shakes his head, but that is a fact. There was a cooling from the 1940s onwards. That is why, when I was growing up in the 1970s, people were worried that the next ice age was coming.

From the mid-1970s until about 1998 there was a significant amount of warming, but from 1998 until now there has been no statistically recognisable warming. People keep referring to the third hottest year on record, or whatever it is, but the reality is that when we look at the actual temperature increases, we see that they are absolutely minute. They are almost impossible to detect. Scientists who are asked about it will also have to admit that the margin for error within those increases is much greater than the increases themselves. Given the level of increase that we are seeing, it is perfectly possible to explain it away, because we are not comparing like with like. We are using slightly different temperature gauges, the areas in which we are using them have moved, some of the areas that they are in have changed over the years, and they can be subject to something called the urban heat island effect or to other natural factors. So there has not really been an increase since 1998.

Members may shake their heads, but I have raised this with the Met Office, and also with Professor Jim Skea. Scientists refer to it as the Pause, and they have come up with numerous explanations for it. I have heard about volcanoes, for instance, and the heat going into the ocean. At a meeting in this building, Professor Skea suggested that a pause over 16 or 17 years was statistically insignificant, which prompts an obvious question: if 17 years of temperatures not rising are insignificant, why are 30 or 35 years of temperatures increasing slightly so significant that we have to make radical changes to our economy and our industry to try and tackle that?