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Keep me warm in a climate change jail.

Byline: Denis Kilcommons

CLIMATE Secretary Ed Miliband has declared war on climate change sceptics.

Ooo-er. Does this mean I will be interned as a prisoner of conscience? If so, can it be somewhere warm or, at least, a place where I don't have to pay the central heating bills.

The Climategate controversy - don't newspapers like labels - that has had sceptics gleefully pointing fingers at the opposition, suggests vital data was suppressed or manipulated by climate scientists. The Climatic Research Unit at the University of East Anglia blocked attempts to provide facts under the Freedom of Information Act, for instance.

Someone had asked the university to publish correspondence between the director and others because it was believed an attempt had been made to discredit scientists who questioned the link between man-made emissions and global warming. The director's response was to ask a colleague to delete pertinent e-mails. He has since resigned.

On top of this was the revelation that the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) had got it wrong when it claimed the Himalayan glaciers would melt by 2035. Whoops. Sorry. The glaciers still have at least 300 years of ice in them.

So you can see why there are those who question the predictions of climate catastrophe which only makes the believers ever more strident.

I mean, sceptic is one of the politer terms being used to describe those who do not embrace calamity. We are called "flat-earthers", implying we are thick, and "climate change deniers", which implies we are somehow fellow travellers with those who deny the Holocaust. Amazingly, faced with such venom, I find myself sliding into the camp led by Jeremy Clarkson, the outspoken motoring correspondent with a fondness for fags and 4x4s. Until now, I had viewed him as a highly entertaining big daft lad (well he is from Yorkshire) with a witty way with words, but now I am beginning to see him as an evangelist for sanity. Still, Ed Miliband's declaration of war makes you think. He said there was a wealth of research to support the argument that climate change was man-made.

"There are a whole variety of people who are sceptical, but who they are is less important than what they are saying, and what they are saying is profoundly dangerous," he said.

By heck. I've gone from a conscientious objector to an enemy of the state.

So I went on the internet to do my own research, which was a bit daunting.

I Googled climate change and got 18 million responses. I confess I didn't get past the first half dozen for two reasons.

One, I couldn't understand them. And Two, I didn't know if they were telling the truth.

Well, you don't with scientists do you? Or politicians? But among alternative sites, I found some interesting claims: that Antarctica has dropped two degrees Centigrade in temperature since 1850 and temperatures in Greenland are lower than in the 1940s.

But, says Climate Change Skeptic, the IPCC prefers not to acknowledge these facts. Also that a Dr Mitchell Taylor, an expert in polar bears in Canada and the Arctic Circle for 30 years, had a report suppressed by the Polar Bear Specialist Group because he claimed polar bear numbers, far from decreasing, are much higher than they were 30 years ago.

The group was at the time collating ammunition for the IPCC Copenhagen climate change conference in December, which produced febrile newspaper reports but little action.

Polar bears have become one of those iconic images of nature at risk ever since Al Gore used that famous picture of two stranded on an ice flow. Except that they weren't.

"Their habitat is melting," he said. "Beautiful animals, literally being forced off the planet.

"They're in trouble, got nowhere else to go."

The picture was actually taken in August when the ice floes naturally melt, the polar bears were not far from land and were not in danger. All of the above are reasons why I remain a sceptic.

This does not mean I am not open to persuasion.

But those trying to put the case for global warming do not do their cause any good at all when they repress, manipulate and fake evidence.

CAPTION(S):

SCEPTIC?: A polar bear waits for climatologists to reach agreement in determining whether he or his descendants will drown amid suggestions his picture was taken just to make a point
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Publication:Huddersfield Daily Examiner (Huddersfield, England)
Date:Feb 8, 2010
Words:734
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