Record heatwaves, deceit and doubts on reaching net zero

Barry White

Monthly temperature records  in 12 European countries were recorded last year according to an analysis undertaken by The Guardian see:,for%20at%20least%20one%20month. In each case, the anomalies were more than 1.9C above the average temperature recorded between 1991 and 2020 for at least one month.

On average, global temperatures were 1.2C above the 1850-1900 average in 2022. While cooler than 2021, it marked another warm year meaning that the years 2015 to 2022 were the eight warmest on record.

The information was released by the EU’s Copernicus Climate Change Service (C3S)

Last year was also the first time 40°C has been recorded in the UK. A new record daily maximum temperature was reached on 19 July, with 40.3°C recorded at Coningsby, Lincolnshire, exceeding the previous record by 1.6°C. A total of 46 stations across the UK exceeded the previous UK record of 38.7°C

Closer to home, the largest increase was at Bramham in West Yorkshire, which smashed its previous high of 33.5C by more than 6C. Other stations in parts of Yorkshire, the North East and the North West also broke their all-time records by huge margins. Kielder Castle in Northumberland surpassed its previous high set 40 years ago by more than 5C, while Whitby beat its standing record by 4.8C.

New records at measurement stations in Sheffield, Durham, and Bradford were around 4C higher.

Meanwhile news broke that for decades, some members of the fossil fuel industry tried to convince the public that a causative link between fossil fuel use and climate warming could not be made because the models used to project warming were too uncertain. Documentation now show that one of those fossil fuel companies, ExxonMobil, had their own internal models that projected warming trajectories consistent with those forecast by the independent academic and government models. What they understood about climate models thus contradicted what they led the public to believe.

According to the current issue of Scientist, dozens of cities, counties, and states are suing oil and gas companies for their “longstanding internal scientific knowledge of the causes and consequences of climate change and public deception campaigns.” The European Parliament and the US Congress have held hearings, US President Joe Biden has committed to holding fossil fuel companies accountable, and a grassroots social movement has arisen under the moniker #ExxonKnew.

The Guardian reports that Drew Shindell, a climate scientist at Duke University in the US, said the new study was a “detailed, robust analysis” and that Exxon’s misleading public comments about the climate crisis were “especially brazen” given their scientists’ involvement in work with outside researchers in assessing global heating. Shindell said it was hard to conclude that Exxon’s scientists were any better at this than outside scientists, however.

The new work provided “further amplification” of Exxon’s misinformation, said Robert Brulle, an environment policy expert at the US Brown University who has researched climate disinformation spread by the fossil fuel industry.

Finally but not surprisingly, the UK risks missing its green targets due to a lack of commitment to climate pledges and inconsistent government policies. The criticism comes in a report by Chris Skidmore, Conservative MP for Kingswood who was asked by Prime Minister Truss to write an Independent Review of Net Zero see:

Reacting to the review, Environmental Audit Committee Chairman, Rt Hon Philip Dunne MP, said on 13 January:

“Chris Skidmore’s Net Zero Review report demonstrates, unequivocally, the countless opportunities net zero brings. His emphasis on clarity and leadership cannot be overstated. In some areas the UK Government has made major advances in tackling climate change, and its stated ambition is undoubted. But inconsistent policies and a lack of coherence across Government in implementation, with little effective cross departmental governance, does not give confidence to those sectors that will drive real change and develop green skills….”

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