The green hijack of the Met Office is crippling Britain
The Met Office’s commitment to warmist orthodoxy means it drastically underestimates the chances of a big freeze
By Christopher Booker
26 Dec 2010
By far the biggest story of recent days, of course, has been the astonishing chaos inflicted, to a greater or lesser extent, on all of our lives by the fact that we are not only enjoying what is predicted to be the coldest December since records began in 1659, but also the harshest of three freezing winters in a row. We all know the disaster stories – thousands of motorists trapped for hours on paralysed motorways, days of misery at Heathrow, rail passengers marooned in unheated carriages for up to 17 hours. But central to all this – as the cry goes up: “Why wasn’t Britain better prepared?” – has been the bizarre role of the Met Office.
We might start with the strange affair of the Quarmby Review. Shortly after Philip Hammond became Transport Secretary last May, he commissioned David Quarmby, a former head of the Strategic Rail Authority, to look into how we might avoid a repeat of last winter’s disruption. In July and again in October, Mr Quarmby produced two reports on “The Resilience of England’s Transport System in Winter”; and at the start of this month, after our first major snowfall, Mr Quarmby and two colleagues were asked to produce an “audit” of their earlier findings.
The essence of their message was that they had consulted the Met Office, which advised them that, despite two harsh winters in succession, these were “random events”, the chances of which, after our long previous run of mild winters, were only 20 to one. Similarly, they were told in the summer, the odds against a third such winter were still only 20 to one. So it might not be wise to spend billions of pounds preparing for another “random event”, when its likelihood was so small. Following this logic, if the odds against a hard winter two years ago were only 20 to one, it might have been thought that the odds against a third such “random event” were not 20 to one but 20 x 20 x 20, or 8,000 to one.