Dilemmas of presenting climate change

Recently I’ve given a series of presentations to students in my local school community regarding climate change. These presentations were to roughly 1,000 students aged between 12 and 16. Our project consisted of calculating a transport carbon footprint for the school, identifying ways of reducing the school’s carbon footprint and convincing students and teachers to do their bit.

As part of this, I had a segment where I had to briefly present the effects and dangers of climate change. This presented quite a few dilemmas. It’s very easy to go onto Google and to find computer generated images which could shock people. For example, Big Ben and the Houses of Parliament during a big flood:

London Floods

But I felt that doing so would achieve no purpose but to scare people. It’s also counter productive; when you watch a presentation which takes climate change on such a slippery slope to such ridiculous and shocking effects, your natural thought would be that the presenter is a tree-hugging nutcase. Obviously if that happened we would have failed in the primary purpose of the presentation: convincing people that they need to do their bit.

Polar Bears 

I deliberated for quite a while on this picture of polar bears stranded on ice. This photo is itself often used as evidence of climate change. But do a little more research and you find out that it could simply be due to the Arctic ice naturally melting every summer. And some people point to evidence that polar bear populations seem to be on the up again.

Polar Bears

I felt it was a misrepresentation to imply that the photo was evidence of global warming because it’s impossible to know the exact background behind the photos. But it did allow us to mention a lot of the scientific evidence for climate change: temperatures in the Canadian Arctic have risen by 4C in the last 50 years. 500 cubic miles of ice have been lost from Alaska ice melt in the last 50 years. And polar bear populations have dropped by 25% in the last 20 years: not only that, their physique has declined.

To try and balance out this implication, we added a picture of a polar bear on a deckchair as a way to inject a little humour but also to try and reduce the implied statement that the photo of polar bears stranded on ice could be linked back to climate change caused by humans.

The UK Floods of 2007 

The other main dilemma was whether and how we should present the UK Floods of 2007. The reason why this was an especially potent event to present was because the area in which I live was at the heart of the region which was most strongly affected by the floods. More or less everybody has their own story of the floods.

Here was the problem: scientists and meteorologists suggested that the floods happened because the jet stream being further south then it should have. Some scientists claimed that the floods had a link to climate change. I didn’t feel it was fair to present that: there are simply so many different factors involved in weather systems. Everybody has heard of chaos theory: how a butterfly flapping it’s wings could cause a hurricane on the other side of the world. The weatherman can barely predict the weather for next week, let alone for tomorrow. So to present the UK floods as evidence for climate change would have been a perversion of the scientific evidence. Indeed, a week after giving the presentation, scientists then said the floods were not caused by climate change.

The way I decided to present it was that the floods of summer 2007 showed an example of something that would happen more regularly with climate change. Scientists have a weight of evidence that climate change would lead to more extreme weather. Of course; higher temperatures means more snowmelt which could lead to downstream flooding.

It is always going to be quite difficult to present climate change. I’ve given an example of how some people claimed that the UK floods of 2007 were caused by climate change. When further research was then released which said that the floods were not caused by climate change, the sceptics feel vindicated and take it as evidence against climate change. To state what you do not have reasonable scientific evidence for is, therefore, counter productive to your cause. But at the same time, it’s possible to be so ridiculously sceptical that you won’t have an argument that will convince anybody. And that’s the dilemma of presenting climate change.

15 thoughts on “Dilemmas of presenting climate change

  1. A leading Canadian authority on polar bears, Mitch Taylor, said: “We’re seeing an increase in bears that’s really unprecedented, and in places where we’re seeing a decrease in the population it’s from hunting, not from climate change.”

    Mr Taylor estimates that during the past decade, the Canadian polar bear population has increased by 25 per cent – from 12,000 to 15,000 bears.

  2. Yes Cosmos, good point! It looks like I made the mistake of overstating a claim again when I wrote this article. Scientists cannot say that the decrease in polar bear population was due to climate change. As you suggest, hunting is another equally sensible and valid possibility.

    However, it doesn’t takes away from the fact that if climate change was happening (and the evidence is strongly in favour of this view), polar bears would be affected.

  3. It’s interesting to read of your dilemmas. As a secondary school governor, I too am concerned as to how this subject should be approached. Well done for allowing a certain scepticism enter your mind!

    You talked about the UK floods of 2007. Indeed these were primarily due the position of the jet stream, but they were also a result of the jetstream’s strength. The worst period of rainfall – and arguably the main factor in the widespread flooding – occurred as a result of one particular “cut-off” low (I forgotten the exact date, but I recall it was the last day of term). This term is applies to a depression which is not picked up by the jetstream and therefore moves neither quickly nor with any true direction. If you imagine holding a magnet and passing it over a ball bearing, the faster you move it the less chance you’ll have of collecting the bearing on the way. This is what happened. The jetstream was very strong at the time and, left to it’s own aimless course – and with intense convection at that time of the year – the low wandered across the UK and dumped an unusual amount of rain in a short space of time. I know, I was caught in it. Cut-off lows are not that rare, but given the particular circumstances (specifically the time of the year and therefore susceptibility to convection) it was a noteworthy event. However, there is absolutely NO evidence to connect the event with anthropogenic global warming (AGW). Furthermore, there is NO empirical evidence to suggest that freak weather events are more likely to occur as a result of AGW.

    I concur with what Cosmos said about the polar bears. They’re fine and global sea ice is currently running at around 1m square kilometres more than last year!

    The last line of your related post “An Inconvenient Truth” states “….whilst still showing people how important a problem is and what the deadly consequences could be.” I believe the “deadly consequences” of a tiny rise in global temperature (not that it’s happening anymore, anyway) are dwarfed by the truly deadly consequences of the panic being espoused by certain groups. Without the “global warming” alarm of Al Gore et al, we would not be witnessing the wanton destruction of rainforests and other habitat (see http://news.sky.com/skynews/article/0,,30200-1286104,00.html), and the shortage now in the world’s grain supply – a shortage which of course affects the world’s poorest the most (see: http://hypsithermal.wordpress.com/2008/04/05/gore-lied-people-will-die/).

    You are right to be sceptical. You have an enormous responsibility for those students to whom you lecture and it is important that you impart what you believe to be correct.

    Good luck!

  4. The Polar Bear population (US and Canada combined) increased from 5,000 in 1970 to more than 25,000 in 2008.
    The Bears are doing just fine. There are ample reliable resources on the WWW that confirm this.
    “Climate Change” is happening, no doubt, as Climate has changed for 4.5 billion years and will continue to do so.
    Fact is that the doom sayers have linked Climate Change with increased levels of CO2, which is an assumption, there is no proof.
    Fact is also that global temperatures peaked in 1998, stabilized for 3 more years and have decreased ever since.
    There has been no warming since 1998. That is 10 consecutive years.
    This flies in the face of all these expensive and fancy computer models, used by the IPCC to predict the future.
    The models were wrong on the last 10 years. There is no evidence that concludes without a doubt that CO2 is the main driver of climate. The models assume that more CO2 = more warming
    Since 1998, CO2 levels went up another 5%, yet it actually cooled.
    Consider this:
    Of every 1,000,000 molecules in the atmosphere, only 380 are CO2.
    Humanity is responsible for just 4% of those 380 ppm. I kid you not, Just 4%.
    Industrialization and modern times increased CO2 levels from 250 parts per million to 380 ppm today, in about 150 years.
    CO2 as such is a powerful greenhouse gas. No question.
    However, the most powerful of them all, is water vapour, at 95% of the effect. Why? Abundance…….Overwhelming the other gases by a huge factor.
    Moreover, the effect of CO2 is non-linear.
    In other words, the first 20ppm have a strong effect, the next 20 less, the following 20ppm even less and so on.
    Compare it with this:
    If you paint a window black to block sunlight, the first layer of paint will do most of the job.
    The second layer of paint has less effect, the 3rd, 4th and subsequent layers will do little extra in blocking more sunlight.
    The effect of CO2 on temperature tapers off with higher numbers.
    Mr. Gore omitted to tell you that. I suspect he did not do his homework.

    Global temperatures increased by 0.6 Celsius in the last 150 years, during a period of massive fossil fuel burning, by far the world has ever seen.
    Most of that warming occurred before 1940.
    In fact between 1940 and 1978, the Globe cooled, in a time when most of the CO2 increase occurred.
    In the 1970s “Global Cooling” was the “scare du jour” I remember it well as I wrote a paper about it in High School.
    Fact is also that between January 2007 and January 2008 all that warming of the last 150 years was wiped out in one single year.
    Why would that be? Doesn’t Al Gore tell you that increased CO2 means Increased temperatures?
    First of all, Al Gore is wrong on that one.
    He has interpreted the data incorrectly. In millions of years of history scientists have looked at ice core samples, rocks
    and ocean sediments and know with absolute certainty that temperature proceeds CO2 levels.
    In other words: It warms first, then the CO2 levels go up. And intersting enough, there is a time delay of 600 – 1000 years for that to happen.
    If you take “an Inconvenient Truth” as your guide on this subject, then you are in a whole lot of trouble.
    This film and book are “pseudo science” or “science fiction” at best, as was discovered by a UK high court judge who ruled that Mr. Gore is wrong on 9 of the claims that he makes in the film.
    None of the experts that were placed in the witness box by the UK Government could convince the judge otherwise.
    Most serious scioentists already knew that, but a judge was needed to have the media know about it too. Not that they spent much ink on it. The Media have an agenda, and that calls for catastrophic warming.
    Nothing of the kind will happen in our lifetime, or even in the next few thousand years for that matter.
    Sea levels will continue to rise as they have in the last 100 years: about 1 ~ 2 cm per year.
    Even the IPCC has changed their last reports to read that the levels are expected to rise by about 37 cm in the next 100 years.
    That is a far cry from Mr. Gore’s 600 cms (20 Ft)

  5. I made a few typing errors in my last post.
    Please read : Sea levels will continue to rise as they have in the last 100 years: about 1 ~ 2 mm per year (instead of 1 ~ 2 cm)

  6. I had not finished my entry yet, but while spell checking it suddenly got placed.
    So if I may, let me finish my story….

    It is very important to educate our young people that CO2 is not the big bad pollutant that it is made out to be by the popular press, celebrities and former Vice Presidents.
    Carbon Dioxide is very often confused with Carbon Monoxide.
    Both of these come out of the tailpipe of an automobile.
    Carbon Monoxide let loose in a confined room such as a garage or a home while burning coal and the chimney is faulty, as happened much too often in the old days of home heating, is a killer.
    However, when exposed to the open air, it dissipates quickly and is not that killer gas any longer.

    Carbon Dioxide or CO2 on the other hand is a harmless, odorless trace gas that is an absolute necessity for life on Earth.
    Without it, nothing grows.
    Trees, plants, vegetation, fruits, vegetables, all “breath” in CO2. It makes photo synthesis possible and allow these living organisms to grow and very important, to exhale Oxygen.
    Every living creature inhales oxygen and exhales CO2. About 2 lbs per human being per day.
    Multiply that by 6.5 billion and you have 13 billion lbs of human contributed CO2 per day.
    That equals 5.9 billion kilograms or 5.9 million metric tonnes every day. Just Humans.
    Add to that all other living creatures from elephants to dolphins and snails…..it is huge!

    Farmers in Greenhouses pump up to 1500 ppm of CO2 in their glass houses. The result is that tomatoes grown in these conditions grow much larger than the ones on a field in the open air. It is not pesticides that does that, no, it is the CO2.
    CO2 is actually an airborne fertilizer. Everything grows better and taller these days!

    Back in the days of the dinosaurs, CO2 levels were much higher than they are today.
    Why were these creatures so big and tall?
    Due to these high concentrations of CO2 trees and shrubs grew much taller and so these animals needed to be bigger to reach those juicy leafs on the top. Most dinos were vegetarians.

    Anyway, consider this:
    Plants do well at 380 ppm of CO2
    They do excellent at 1000 ppm of CO2
    They do “OK” at 250 ppm, but:
    At 200 ppm they start to suffer and at just 120 ppm they die. Now that would be the end of the world as we know it!

    I wish you all the best with your project.
    I have studied the subject well in the 1970s and again during the last 14 months after I saw Al Gore’s film and knew in an instant that a lot of what he said could not possibly be the truth.
    A few mouse clicks later I already knew that my instinct was right. I have researched it diligently ever since.
    Make sure you get to see Martin Dunkin’s controversial film “The Great Global Warming Swindle” as well.
    In this film, there is much more attention for the real culprit of Climate Change: The Sun.

    There are hundreds of very credible and highly qualified scientists that disagree with the current Dogmas on Global Warming and climate change.
    Almost every day a new report is published that goes against what Al Gore tries to tell us.
    The problem is that the Media (notably the BBC or the Guardian in your country) have made up their minds and declared that Global Warming as advertised is real and true.
    Unfortunately for the rest of us: they are wrong and it will cost us all a lot of money.
    If you think that spending a collective 145 trillion dollar in the next 100 years to decrease global temperatures by 0.5 Celsius
    is a good deal for us Citizens of the world then give it some second thought. It is definitely a lousy deal.
    A good read for you would be “The Skeptical Environmentalist” by Danish statitician Bjorn Lomborg. It will open your eyes,
    Another one by Bjorn Lomborg is “Cool It”

    All the best, from a cold Vancouver, Canada!

  7. Wow, I’m very honoured that you’ve both read the article and taken the time to leave such detailed and insightful comments.

    I’d like to take some of the points presented above in turn:

    “However, there is absolutely NO evidence to connect the event with anthropogenic global warming (AGW). Furthermore, there is NO empirical evidence to suggest that freak weather events are more likely to occur as a result of AGW.”

    That is correct, the people who said that this event was not caused by global warming have now been vindicated. However I’m not sure about your second point. If temperatures did rise, it seems pretty straightforward that there will be increased ice melt, that the plant ecosystems will change: some species will benefit and some will suffer. If temperatures were rising, the atlantic gulf stream would be affected. Perhaps the point of contention is actually whether temperatures are indeed rising and how much they would need to rise by to have a significant difference.

    Without the “global warming” alarm of Al Gore et al, we would not be witnessing the wanton destruction of rainforests and other habitat…

    Regarding your last paragraph, I wholeheartedly agree with you that fears about climate change are being exploited. I mentioned food miles and how this lead to “green protectionism”. I’ve studied this topic in quite a bit of detail in my economics courses and I know that this kind of protectionism both worsens our standard of living as well as those of our trading partners.

    The biofuels leading to worldwide food prices going up. Leading to further poverty. Very correct; I blame a lot of this on the irrational policies of the US, EU and others. In fact, crop-based fuels probably end up producing more CO2 after you’ve taken fertilisers into account. Once again, I agree wholeheartedly that this is not the solution.

    But notice that none of these arguments refute climate change itself – only some of the solutions proposed. The evidence strongly indicates that climate change is a real possibility and that the benefits of tackling it now will outweigh the costs of not doing so (Stern Report, etc.) There are of course other solutions to cutting atmospheric CO2 – carbon sequestration, carbon capture technologies, geoengineering and just simple things like turning off the light and the Xbox when you leave the room.

    In the context of presenting this project to secondary school students, I did encourage all of the students to do their own research on climate change and to make up their own mind. But I hope you’ll agree with the view that human-caused climate change is a strong possibility with many dangers. And that it was fair to encourage students to cut their energy consumption at home and to walk/cycle/take the bus to school for green reasons!

  8. Hi Fred! Thanks for your very interesting comments!

    Unfortunately my detailed knowledge of CO2 itself isn’t that detailed to be able to comment on your points. However, as far as I understand the scientific consensus is that CO2 has a significant positive radiative forcing and that an increase in CO2 means the Earth is gaining energy in the form of heat. Perhaps as you mention it might be a non-linear effect; I simply don’t know. But I’d be interested in seeing some peer-reviewed scientific literature on the topic.

    I simply don’t understand the part about how more CO2 is beneficial though. This makes no sense; through Darwinian natural selection, the animals and plants of today were “designed” for our current level of CO2. It makes no sense that they would perform better unless they adapted for higher CO2 levels.

    Several of the scientists I have worked alongside have been studying long term climate changes. After “The Great Global Warming Swindle” was shown, they sent a letter to national newspapers regarding the film and the errors that they believed it contained. Contary to biases you describe, the newspapers were very reluctant to publish the letters and then didn’t publish it in it’s entirety.

    Unless a huge number of scientists are experiencing groupthink (unlikely given the peer-review process), I find it really hard to believe that scientists would be exaggering or inventing climate change.

  9. Ok back to the CO2.
    Let me comment on your phrase:
    “However, as far as I understand the scientific consensus is that CO2 has a significant positive radiative forcing and that an increase in CO2 means the Earth is gaining energy in the form of heat. Perhaps as you mention it might be a non-linear effect”

    First of all, for anyone to say or think that there is “scientific consensus” is nonsense.
    That is the stuff that all the alarmists use to underscore their point and to avoid having to commit themselves to a healthy debate.
    Top class scientists with the greatest of qualifications are in complete disagreement with NASA’s Jim Hansen (who started it all in 1988) and Al Gore (who picked it up and ran with it).

    The alarmists say that “CO2 has a significant positive radiative forcing” is indeed what they say. They say this because their
    terribly flawed computer models have been fed data that calls for increased water vapour at higher CO2 levels. As I said earlier, water vapour is the main green house gas. They assumed the water vapour content would increase in a warmer world as warmer weather would cause more evaporation at oceans and would increase precipitation and would leave a “wetter” atmosphere.
    So, if you feed a computer program a certain data set based on assumptions, because the so called consensus tells the programmers that it is “very likely” that this would happen, then yes, the outcome would be that the globe warms up more.
    That is head line news.
    If it does not show a result as advertised, then it does not make any head lines. And yes, the CO2 effect is non-linear, no question. And chaotic too. Nothing is predictable about it.

    There is a problem:
    None of these programs have been shown to be reliable. None of the programs had predicted the results of the last 10 years correctly. None of them predicted any cooling. Yet it happened. Ouch….
    The programs were not even capable to demonstrate that they work well by reproducing the climate results of the past 150 years. What does that tell you?

    The planet simply refuses to do what the modelers are expecting it to do. That is highly embarrassing for the people that support all that. The Chairman of the UN’s IPCC had to scratch his head last week and said in public that we need to
    get back to the data and find out why it all does not seem to add up. Gore on the other hand just continues his preaching as if the Globe is still on fire….

    The US governments spent an average $ 150 million on climate studies before 1990.
    That amount has meanwhile ballooned to more than $ 2 billion per year.
    So far the collective governments of the world have spent close to $ 60 billion to find evidence that CO2 is the main driver of climate. So far there is absolutely ZERO evidence. There is none. All we have is assumptions and flawed computer models.
    And so, all the tens of thousands that have found jobs in this “industry” of climate change research are not going to rock the
    boat and suddenly reverse the “consensus”. Many of them would be out of a job in a big hurry.
    It is fun to know also that a US website called “JunkScience” (a site that audits all sorts of scientific claims)
    had called on the science community of the world to demonstrate to them that CO2 is without a shred of a doubt the climate driver as we all have been told. Junkscience had a $ 100,000 prize waiting for the winning entry.
    When not a single paper was received after 3 months, they upped the prize money to $ 150,000
    The contest is closed now and I am happy to report that not a single paper was received. None. Zero.
    One would think that there are scientists out there that could use an extra $ 150,000
    Of course this does not prove anything, but it just tells you how much faith there is in the “consensus”
    The latest news that came out recently was another blow to the “consensus”.
    3000 ocean based robots (small but clever submarines) that worked on various depts in the world’s oceans have been sending
    temperature data to satellites orbiting the planet.
    The robots had reported a cooling (not much, but a cooling nonetheless) of the world’s ocean waters over the past 5 years since the programme had begun.
    That was another huge head scratcher for the scientists within the “consensus”
    It was brushed off as something “insignificant” as was reported with red faces, but you can believe the headlines it would have made had there been only a slight increase in water temperature over the past 5 years. Armageddon!!
    It would have been breathlessly paraded on the 8 o’clock news and in your daily paper.
    Now, there was hardly a peep. Only determined people like me that dig for information find out about these things.
    Journalists are the ones that get most of my blame. They have a duty to report what is happening. Yet, they don’t.
    The BBC as an example, has made Man Made Global Warming Theory their own crusade. The once impartial broadcaster has moved in a direction that makes it a propagandist outlet. I once relied on them for trustworthy information. Not anymore.
    The American broadcasters are not any better. CNN, CBS, ABC or NBC are all on the Al Gore bandwagon. They like to rub shoulders with this modern day Prophet (or is it Profit in his case? He made a cool $ 100 million off this scare since 2000)
    The New York Times was the Mother of all Global Warming advocates. They however are starting to make a bit of a U-Turn lately. They realize that the science does not add up.

    The Sun, our live giving Sun, is mostly left out of the equations. Why? You tell me, I have no idea.
    Here is a body 300,000 larger than the mass of planet Earth, a body that has more mass than all the other bodies in our solar system combined, a body that produces enough energy per second to power all of North America for 9 million years.
    And yet, it has been given hardly any attention in this whole story. CO2 is the story.
    There are many people out there that find that humans and all that they do are a pest to planet Earth.
    We need to “Save the Planet” is a popular vote getting phrase.
    The planet in my view is in a better shape than at any given moment during the past 400 years. There. I said it….
    The old European cities were dreadful places to be in the days of wood and coal burning. English cities were notoriously dirty
    and unhealthy. The infamous London Fog happened the last time in 1962.
    We cleaned up in a big way. Our lakes and rivers and the air that we breath in the Western World are cleaner than at any other time in the last 400 years. We treat sewage; technology (human inventions!) took care of a lot of problems.
    Of course, a lot needs to be done still in the Third World.
    The environment’s biggest enemy is Poverty. Poor people have no concept of treating their environment well.
    They have other priorities, such as 3 meals a day, clothes on their backs and a roof over their head.
    Then comes sanitation, a job, healthcare and education.
    All this can only be done by creating an economy. By giving them the use of cheap energy. That means fossil fuels. There is no alternative. One can not power a steel mill with solar energy. It is simply technically impossible at today’s level of what we know and can do. Windpower is great, but unreliable. The problem with electricity is that you can not store it in days of high winds and save if for days with no wind activity. These windmill parks only work today due to massive amounts of government subsidies. Without it, not a chance, the price per Kwh is much, much higher than anything that comes from fossil fuels.

    We are doing some incredibly stupid things. The Environmentalists (I am one too believe me, please, but I am one that thinks it all over) are so focused on the departure from fossil fuels that now the world is going crazy in thinking that Bio Fuels are the answer. Ethanol!
    The result is that huge amounts of food are being turned into Ethanol and that in turn jacks up the food prices world wide.
    We have already seen riots in Pakistan, Egypt and Indonesia. More are to follow!
    Rice jumped 30% in price on world markets just this last Thursday. Rice is staple food for at least half of the world’s population.

    All this because we are chasing a phantom problem, one without a shred of evidence.
    Wisdom is a rare commodity these days. Very rare indeed!

    I am not a scientist. But neither is Al Gore.
    I am a semi retired business man, who lived and worked in Korea, Taiwan and China for 16 years.
    I have seen with my own eyes what development means to a population. It brings them a better standard of living.
    Think what you want about China, but fact is that 500 million people have risen out of sheer poverty during the last 15 years.
    They could not have done that without fossil fuels. They want to continue to lift the remaining 700 million out of poverty too.
    I amk very proud that my personal efforts in doing business in these countries (though small on a a scale) have helped thousands of people to have a job, have food and could start a decent and dignified live.
    We have no right to tell them that they can’t. The same is true for India and all poor countries in Africa, South America and parts of Asia.

  10. Thanks for the comments Fred… there is a lot of food for thought there! I really empathize with the arguments about how the argument of climate change may be used as a way to slow down some countries from developing and for protectionist measures. And yes, I totally agree with you on it… my view has simply been that you can’t conflating the existence of climate change and the validity of human “responses” to it. You’ve brought me to some interesting scientific research regarding the scientific evidence for climate change which I’ll have a look at!

    I certainly hope the readers of this site will look at a broad range of writings and research, including yours, before coming to their own verdict on climate change.

    Cheers!
    Cow

  11. Cow,

    I am pleased that you welcome the posts.

    Today I came across an article which I found to match my own views rather well.

    It comes from Peter Taylor, a former adviser on pollution and energy policy issues to various national governments, the EU and the UN as well as a lead advocate for Greenpeace:

    Extract:

    “You may be forgiven for thinking there was consensus on climate change – but that is not so.

    The past year marks a turning point in the scientific controversy.”
    ….

    ….
    “Does it matter who is right? Isn’t it a good thing to curtail carbon emissions anyway?

    Unfortunately, it is not that easy. If it is the sun driving the change, then money spent on carbon emissions will have no discernible effect.

    If the globe cools, we face severe and immediate problems with food supplies, made much worse by consuming crops for biofuel.

    Ultimately we have to wean ourselves off fossil fuels but first we need to invest in systems that are resilient to immediate climate change, especially food. We need to consume less and share more with vulnerable people and then begin the weaning process in such a way that supports community, decentralisation and ecological as well as economic stability.

    Given the current world food situation and the high cost and environmental impact of carbon interventions, we should pause, take an independent look at the science and get the policy right.”

    See the full article here:

    http://www.theargus.co.uk/display.var.2180302.0.0.php

    Cheers!

  12. Cow,

    Sorry, there were a couple of specifics I wanted to focus on before I posted that last message:

    You said: “If temperatures were rising, the atlantic gulf stream would be affected.”

    This is contested here: http://www.economist.com/opinion/displaystory.cfm?story_id=E1_SJGPVST

    Secondly, you mention the Stern Report. Remember that Stern is an economist, not a scientist. The Report, whilst accepted at face value by much of the mainstream media, has been widely panned. A good critique can be found here:

    http://www.staff.livjm.ac.uk/spsbpeis/WE-STERN.pdf

    Good luck!

  13. Cow,
    After the “Great Global Warming Swindle” came out (I am not so fond of the use of the word “swindle”, I would have preferred something like “confusion”) indeed there was an outcry from groups of scientists.
    Whether you like it or not, whether you think my statement on this is stereo typical perhaps, but here are my thoughts on that, if I may:
    The vast majority of scientists work in government funded environments. They work in Universities, as Professors, T.A.’s
    or as pure researchers.
    The vast majority of these wonderful, highly intelligent, and superbly educated men and women have a political mindset that leans left of centre.
    Man Made Global Warming advocacy has become an issue Championed by the Left.
    On the surface of the issue, it seems to make an awful lot of sense that emissions let loose in the atmosphere are causing the
    atmosphere to undergo a “man-made” change that in turn can cause something like an effect on temperature and thus on climate. Well, I do not deny that we have a bit of an effect. We do. However, the effect that we have is minuscule, insignificant.

    In the circles of scientists (and most of these are not climate scientists!) it is simply “not done” to disagree with the current dogma. This is a “God Send” for the environmental movements that milk the issue as much as they can.
    Of course these organizations have the majority of support among people that are left of centre.
    Many of the scientists also believe that we better reduce CO2 levels “just in case” (the precautionary principle, used to influence policies)
    Many of these scientists have never worked inside “the economy”
    Many of these people have never earned a tax dollar. Instead they are living off tax dollars.
    There is nothing wrong with that. We need research, we need education, we need brilliant minds!
    But it makes it so much easier for these minds to support the precautionary principle, they will get their salary anyway out of the seemingly bottomless coffers of the Ministers of Finance.
    But the coffers are filled by the economy, not by the environmentalists (OK, Al Gore, Richard Branson and Ted Turner pay a lot of taxes, I give them that).
    The environmentalists that always seem to have the time (while you and I work to make a living and earn the tax dollars) to fly to Bali or Kyoto or Bangkok and demonstrate during Climate Conferences, are living off donations, fund raising.
    To give you an idea: The collective Green Groups in the USA have an annual budget of $ 1.9 billion.
    These people need funds and Global Warming is giving them a huge opportunity to collect money from gullible and uneducated
    (on the topic!) citizens. Scare them silly and they will fork over their dollars!
    When I was over on Vancouver Island last July, high school kids were recruiting new members for GreenPeace on the street.
    Of course, unpaid volunteers. I applaud these kids for giving up their free time and invest in a (what they have been told)
    good cause!
    Surely, GreenPeace did a lot of good in their early days, but it became more militant over time.
    There are hardly any more whales to save or Bald Eagles to protect, we have done all that already.
    Just listen to GreenPeace co-founder, Vancouver based Dr. Patrick Moore in the Swindle movie on why he left the organization in the late 1980s.
    Many of the so called “skeptical” scientists that have dared to come out in the open, are retired and so have less pressure from their peers to stay within the “consensus”, a beautiful situation that sees wheelbarrows of funding coming into the world of scientific research on anything that reeks like “effected by Global Warming”
    As Nigel Calder said: “If 15 years ago a scientists would apply for funding to do research of squirrels and their
    nuts gathering behaviour, he or she would have very little chance to get any.
    Today, just put on your application that you want to do that research in relation ship to the effect of Global Warming on the
    success rate of that gathering of nuts, fat chance you will get funding!”

    Cow, I am not a right wing nut. Far from it. When I was a student, I was as left wing as they come.
    I had a poster on my bedroom window for the “PSP”, the Pacifists Socialist Party, in the early 1970s a political party with pretty (I realize now) scary programmes.
    As Churchill once said: “if you are a socialist at 18, you show you have a good heart (like the kids recruiting for GreenPeace)
    If you are still a socialist at 40, you are a fool!”
    Today I am of centre left colour, I am “pro choice” I have no problem with gays and lesbians, for me they don’t need to get married, but if they must, OK, that has my blessing. I also believe that governments have a duty to be fiscally responsible,
    encourage entrepreneurs and reward hard work with fair taxes. And…take care of the environment with smart legislation.
    I am in favour of paying worker decent wages, provide good and affordable health care for everybody, give lots to the developing worlds. I agree with Bono that we have to go easy on the debts that African Nations have to the West.
    I applaud him for pushing governments to forgive these debts wherever we can.
    As I said earlier, Poverty is the biggest problem we face and therefore also the biggest enemy of the environment.
    AIDS/HIV , Malaria, are a much bigger problem than Global Warming.
    We can always make those dikes a tad higher, like they do in my original home country Holland all the time.
    Global warming is not wiping out species by the “tens of thousands” That is the greatest bucket of bull that one reads these days.
    How can that be?
    You can count the number of species on two hands once in the arctic and antarctic areas.
    Where do most species live and breed?
    Right: travel closer to the equator from the Poles and the amount of species found increases hugely with every mile travelled.. Species do much, much better in a warmer world than in a colder one.
    What is the “best” global temperature? Nobody can tell you that. There is no such a thing.
    Economies and species do equally well in Scandinavia or Singapore, with an average annual temperature difference of something
    like 23 degrees Celsius (Thanks to Nigel Lawson for that analysis, absolutely brilliant in all it’s simplicity)

    And yet, the “consensus” keeps bombarding us with scare stories about “tipping points” (James Hansen, Al Gore,George Monbiot)
    and “catastrophes” with a warming Globe.
    We already know that a slightly warmer world is not going to see more storms or floods. In fact, when the ocean waters would warm up, storms would become more infrequent, as they usually are caused by the clashes of water temperature differences between arctic waters and more southern based ocean waters (as per dr.Richard Lindzen, MIT, USA)
    All we have to do is adapt, not murder the world economies and throw millions out of work and into the gutters of the world’s cities.

    Then lastly: Have faith in Humanity.
    Think about what we had in technology just 100 years ago.
    The horse carriages were still the rulers of the roads!
    Then think another 100 years ahead and wonder where we will be with technology in the year 2108.
    We have 6.5 billion people on the planet today, That is twice as many minds as 100 years ago.
    In another 50 or 60 years from now, we will have about 9.5 billion. Then it will start to taper off.
    Economic development (if we allow it to happen!!) will take care of that.
    Provide the third world with a better standard of living and people will have less need to have 6 to 10 children.
    In poor situations, the children are basically the life insurance for the parents. They all have a chance to become providers,
    small most probably, but providers nonetheless.
    Italy, Germany, Japan are all seeing their populations shrink. It is no surprise that these are among the richest nations on earth.
    Now that is another problem, unrelated to Global Warming.
    But who in these countries will provide the tax dollars in 20, 30 years from now? That is a worry for them.

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