Dec 1 2009 By Jade Wright
Ahead of the UK’s biggest climate march – The Wave, Michael Fish, Britain's longest-serving TV weather forecaster tells what climate change means to him, and how he has always been fascinated by the weather.
Global warming: The Ultimate Weapon of Mass Destruction
I can’t really remember how old I was when I began to love the weather. I know it started early - probably as young as eight. I remember being very aware of the dreadful floods that hit the East Coast in the nineteen fifties. And from the moment I stepped into a classroom I was determined to work on the weather in some way and I spent my school years deliberately focusing on getting the right qualifications to get into the Meteorological Office.
I loved working for the Met. It had a fascinating history having begun as a service for sailors, forecasting gale warnings from a network of coastal stations to ships at sea. The arrival of the electric telegraph in the 1870s mean that it was easier to get the warnings out more quickly; and it still astonishes me how far we’ve come in that time.
Of course by the time I got there climate change was starting to be on the agenda; we were all talking and worrying about it then. In fact we’ve known about the process behind Global Warming since 1896 (no no no I am not so old that I remember back that far), when Swedish scientist, Svante Arrenhuis predicted that the carbon dioxide emissions from burning coal would lead to global warming. How right he was.
When in 1979, the world held its first climate conference, I followed it with great interest. I have spent a great deal of my time going to and giving lectures and recently attended the 3rd World Conference on Climate in Geneva. I am lucky enough to know many of the climate scientists and recently met the Chinese delegation. I was really impressed with how much they are doing and how determined they are to get things done, unlike the Americans, who I felt were simply burying their heads in the sand.