It is unclear if the recent floods are directly linked to climate change and businesses would be wise to avoid jumping to conclusions, argues Lawrence Gosling
"We'll always have weather," a senior member of the Meteorology Office in the UK was quoted as saying in a Radio Five debate the last week.
It ranks as one of the great quotes I've heard in recent times, and if the gentleman who uttered hadn't been so intelligent you'd swear he was a politician.
Obviously taken out of context like this he does sound like a politician, and not the intelligent man he is. He was taking part in a debate as to whether the current period of wet (if that is not understating it) weather in the UK is as a result of climate change.
His view was that while it might be, it is too early to say, and that we need more time to study the changes.
Of course he wasn't on strong ground – if you believe it is as a result of climate change – when you bear in mind it is apparently the wettest this period of the year has been in the UK since the French Revolution in 1789.
And of course all those desperately unfortunate people living in the South of England who are now suffering the same fate as part of Northern England did in June, are looking for reasons. Even scapegoats.
Governments are always good scapegoats, and the new Prime Minister might find his honeymoon period getting shorter every time there is another down pour.
Ironically the Government might be happy for the debate about the flooding to be focused on climate change, because that camouflages its own less than perfect aid response to the regions and longer term issues about house building on flood plains.
But can we blame climate change on relative wetness of the UK, and the extreme heat in Continental Europe, both as the same time?
I think it probably depends on how much reliance you put on climate change to explain many things.
The eventual extinction of dinosaurs was as a result of climate change, arguably unless we take the current climate change seriously we could be the next generation of dinosaurs.
But just blaming it for every catastrophe, no matter what the size or extent, is not the way to have a sensible debate or create meaningful change.
The best way to sum up this episode, given its link back to the French Revolution, was made by the Radio Five presenter Nicky Campbell. So clever it would be shameful to claim any credit for it. So in his words.
"Liberty, fraternity and a lot of rain."
Lawrence Gosling is the editorial director of Incisive Media
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