UK starts paying subsidies for record colds
posted at 8:35 pm on January 7, 2009 by Ed Morrissey
“Arctic conditions” have gripped Great Britain and parts of Europe, and it has gotten bad enough that the British government has had to pay heating-bill subsidies for Londoners for the first time ever. The temperature hasn’t gotten cold enough in southern England in the ten years of the subsidy program for the government to pay out the £25 checks. In fact, as Fausta points out, the seas have begun to freeze in the north:
Cold weather payouts for pensioners and the vulnerable reached record levels today after Britain’s deep freeze plunged temperatures as low as minus 11C. Forecasters warned that tonight will be even colder.
The Government’s bill will rise over £100 million as Londoners become eligible for the payment for the first time since the scheme was introduced a decade ago.
This morning, the thermometer reached minus 10C in Farnborough, Hampshire and minus 11C in parts of Scotland, which is colder than areas of Greenland and the Antarctic. The Met Office said it expected temperatures to go another degree colder tonight.
The bitter cold has left pavements coated in ice and driving conditions treacherous across the country. Thousands of motorists were left stranded in the busiest day of breakdowns in five years yesterday. The AA and RAC said they had responded to more than 40,000 call-outs over the past 36 hours.
Being an 11-year veteran of Arctic conditions, I decided to take a look at what -11 C would be in Fahrenheit. I was somewhat disappointed with my British brethren. It turns out to be just 12.2 F, as in +12.2 degrees. The other day, I had to clear my driveway with the temperature at -14F, which would be -25C. Right now, on a relatively warm day for January, it’s 11F, which would be -11.67C, and I’m sitting here in shorts and a golf shirt.
The subsidies kick into place when sub-freezing temperatures last for seven or more days. In the decade of global warming, London had never experienced that until this week. That will cost the British £15 million, which comes on top of a £93 million bill for subsidies in the north, where they’re more often applied. Global warming, as it turns out, gets pretty expensive.
With Arctic ice expanding at a rapid rate and record cold temperatures gripping Europe, and here for that matter, either someone must have sucked a lot of CO2 out of the atmosphere, or the greenhouse model has some serious flaws. The British lost a £15 million bet in London this week on it.