Another GIGO report: Climate change overseas will threaten UK food supplies

A good GIGO (Garbage in, garbage out) report is one which can generate a whole family of garbage reports with the results from one being used as the input for the next and so on ad infinitum. An excellent GIGO report is one which earns a small fortune for its author while keeping the stench concealed.

This time the GIGO report is by PWC. It is based on a string of  questionable assumptions:

  1. that global warming (euphemistically “climate change”) will happen,
  2. that extreme weather will happen in some vulnerable food producing countries
  3. that it will lead to increased food prices
  4. which will lead to export “protectionism” by those countries,

leading – surprise, surprise –  to food exports to the UK being threatened.

Given the assumptions it does not take much intelligence to reach the desired conclusion. No doubt PWC produced some very pretty images and graphs. This rubbish is considered “research” by Roger Harrabin of the BBC. I have never known PWC do anything for free and this particular report was apparently commissioned by Defra (UK, Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs). The usual profit margin on such a report would be at least 150% and with gullible civil servants as the clients could be closer to 1000%). I have no doubt that Defra had briefed PWC on the conclusions to be reached.  (PWC like their other “big 4” brothers are blind to fraud when committed by their clients and expert at producing – and justifying – whatever conclusion is desired by them).

Climate change abroad will have a more immediate effect on the UK than climate change at home, a report says.

Research by consultants PWC for Defra says the UK is likely to be hit by increasingly volatile prices of many commodities as the climate is disrupted.

It warns that global production of some foodstuffs is concentrated in a few countries.

These are likely to suffer increasing episodes of extreme weather.

The report says there will be opportunities for the UK from climate change but these are likely to be far outweighed by problems. The opportunities include the ability to export British know-how and reduced shipping costs if the Arctic becomes ice-free. The Arctic looks likely to be a big business opportunity; research estimates suggest that it is likely to attract more than £64bn of investments over the next decade.

What is particularly irritating is that conclusions from one GIGO report are then used as input again and again producing a chain reaction of further garbage reports.

The report warns that as the climate changes, there will be pressure for the UK to increase its aid budgets (already under threat from back-bench Conservatives).

The report is a follow-up to the recent UK Government Climate Change Risk Assessment (CCRA) which assessed domestic threats and opportunities and the Foresight study into international climate change.

It is based on the UN’s “medium CO2 emissions scenario” which is broadly aligned with the 2C maximum temperature increase – a target that is unlikely to be met. That means the study is on the optimistic side, it says.

The paper draws on research from Chatham House describing climate change as a multiplier of other threats.

Oh Dear!

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3 Responses to “Another GIGO report: Climate change overseas will threaten UK food supplies”

  1. Chris Says:

    I’m impressed you manage to provide such a well balanced analytical review without having actually read the report.

  2. bajandreamers Says:

    Reblogged this on Bajandreamers: The Antarctic Experience.

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