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Climate change

Plenary Speech - Wednesday, 21st May 2008

Mr. President

For once I come to the House with good news. Global warming has stopped. 1998 was the warmest year in living memory. For the last ten years, average temperatures have been flat or falling.

The recent modest warming is comparable to what occurred in the MediŠval warm period, and before that in the Roman optimum and the Holocene optimum. Temperatures today are below the maxima of the last 2000 years.

Increasing doubts are emerging about the role of CO2. Since 1850, average temperatures correlate well with solar cycles, but very poorly with atmospheric CO2. The pattern of warming, both geographically and over time, is wholly different from that predicted by climate models.

The greenhouse models predict maximum warming in the high atmosphere. But observations show that most of the little warming we see is at the surface, and partly a result of the urban heat island effect.

The greenhouse effect of CO2 is logarithmic, a law of diminishing returns. In greenhouse terms, the atmosphere is already saturated with CO2, and further emissions will have very little effect.

Sea level is rising no faster than it always has -- about six to eight inches a century. Global ice mass is broadly constant. Severe weather events are no more frequent than they ever were. Species extinction is driven not by climate, but by loss of habitat, and especially by the drive for biofuels. Recent studies show that polar bears are doing very well.

Climate hysteria is increasingly remote from reality. We need to rethink our policies before they do any more damage.