Tuesday 16 January 2018

Who to blame when we have yet another wet summer

Colm Lambert

Colm Lambert.
Colm Lambert.
Your typical Irish summer outfit - have you got yours ready?

It's times like this every year that we can blame the eco-movement for one of the greatest half-truths ever told. They didn't give the whole story back in the 80s when they began to warn about global warming.

Despite their intentions, it sounded like a great thing. For anyone who grew up with long wet miserable Irish summers, the notion of it becoming a few degrees hotter was an attractive one. We assumed warmer meant sunnier, and that therefore we could put away the raincoats and umbrellas for a while each year, and plan sun holidays to Tramore instead of Tenerife, or Lahinch instead of Lanzarote.

So, there we were, spraying cans of Lynx into the air and breaking up the backs of fridges with sledgehammers to release all those CFCs and hasten the increase of the hole in the ozone layer. How we looked forward to all that extra sunshine coming through - and what a boon it would be for just about everybody, except the farmers who'd complain about there not being enough rain for their crops. But farmers were never happy with the weather anyway, and sure, couldn't they just switch to growing olives and oranges instead? Overall, we couldn't wait, and the quicker that global warming happened, the better.

But we were sold a pup. Oh sure, we'll still get a spell of fine weather as summer approaches each year - like that week or two we had in late April - and that puts us in mind of the sort of summers that the eco-crowd let us think we'd have all the time. Despite ourselves, we still fall for it. We pick up a new pair of shorts (sure won't we need them if the summer is going to be like this?). We salivate over pictures of burgers and chicken skewers and salads in the Aldi and Lidl brochures, and think about dusting off the barbecue. But then it starts raining every day again, and there's no sign of a let-up - or at least, not until the Leaving Cert starts in June, because it's always sunny then for a few days.

What we weren't told back in the day was that 'global warming' is only half the story, and that 'climate change' - a term that only came into common usage several years later - is a far more accurate way to describe things. For in a place like Ireland, where there's so much water about anyway, the net effect of global warming is not to make things sunnier. Instead, it's to increase the amount of that water taken up into the atmosphere and then falling again as rain.

The statistics from the past few years bear that out. Oh sure, you can prove anything with statistics - like half of them are made up on the spot, or six out of seven dwarves aren't Happy - but consider the following from the past decade: the summer of 2007 was put down as the wettest in fifty years. Summer 2008 was then put down as the wettest in seventy. Then they told us that 2010 was the wettest since records began, only for this to be overtaken by the massive rainfall of Summer 2012. And both '13 and '14 weren't much better.

So many of the wettest summers ever coming so close together isn't a coincidence. It's actual proof that climate change is happening - and not in the way that we might have wanted or expected. And if the half-truth-telling eco-movement had given us the whole story, we might have done more to try prevent it. You know who to blame this year when you're still carrying an umbrella in July.

Hurling scribe Tom Dempsey made a valid point in our sports pages last week, when he argued that senior and intermediate championship matches should be played mainly in our premier grounds such as Innovate Wexford Park and Bellefield, so that the paying public are afforded the facilities they are probably entitled to expect.

Valid as it is though, it's probably not feasible to play so many matches in just a handful of grounds on each championship weekend, and so other club grounds still need to be used.

So here's another suggestion - why not amend the entry fees to better reflect what you get for your money?

At the moment, it's a tenner to get into any venue where there's a senior match being played - but you're not always talking like for like. At my own club of Ferns, for example, there's no seats, no shelter, no scoreboard, no shop, and barely even a place to pee. But in Wexford Park, for the same money, you get copious covered seating, maybe two shops, and so many toilets that even the women don't have to queue.

Seven or eight quid into the 'lesser' grounds would be a fairer price. But we all know the chances of that happening...

Wexford People

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