Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Don't Drop Labour Soap in Your Shower

Is anyone else perplexed by the sudden conversion of “The Tonester” and his new Labour cohorts into the Greenest of the Green? I am. Of course all political parties are entitled to change their tune when they see that the voters have a different hymnal in their hands. But, since everyone knows that governments never plan anything more than a week in advance (a week is a long time in politics) – the spectre of Gordo and Tone “solving” the global warming crisis with a 15 to 20 year plan is more than slightly amusing. It's downright worrying!

After trotting out an “expert” to explain that the whole mess could be “solved” fairly painlessly if we act now, the game was rather given away in the post-match press conference as government spokesman after government spokesman lined up to refuse to rule out the need for tax increases to fund the one percent of GDP that the anti-global warming programme might cost. In other words – watch your wallet. Lots of money (ours) will need to be spent now in order to avert a global warming crisis in 15 to 20 years. Yeah – right!

Never mind that the UK only produces about 2% of global green-house gases. Never mind that the prospect of China, India and the rest of the developing world joining in a plan to limit carbon dioxide emissions is about as likely as George Bush getting the Nobel Peace Prize. Never mind that anyone who questions the need for such a programme is branded as a dangerous nutter! N o, says the government - let's set an example. Let's spend lots of money now on a plan that may not work and may not be necessary. Please, count me out!

Fact is we just don't know enough about climate change to make a plan. A large number of climatologists recognise that the Earth is warming up. Many believe that the greenhouse gases we produce are responsible for much of the warming. Fact is many cannot agree on how much and why the earth is getting warmer.

Trouble is – no one can be sure. We do not have the data. Reliable climate data is a recent development. Past about 150 years ago it does not exist. Yes, we do have tree rings and ice cores – but it's not the same thing as hard data. So, the planet may be warming up. It may be caused by burning fossil fuels. What no-one seems to want to tell you is – it may all be part of a natural cycle we are powerless to stop!

Recognising that I'm not the only one who thinks global warming may (I'm only saying may) be part of the natural cycle of things, I had a quick look on the internet. Have a look at this:

So many people seem to think that what man has done in terms of adding to greenhouse gases has never occurred before in the history of the earth and that we are creating a new process that will 'destroy the world" or some such nonsense. What I mean to point out by distinguishing between the two is that we are functioning within a system that is in continuous flux. There have always been and will always be changes in global temperature, changes in global sea level, etc. What we have to figure out before we cripple our economies and waste trillions of dollars is not only to what degree are we exacerbating the pre-existing process and to what degree we are capable or stopping or reversing that process. For example...if global average temperature has truly changed by 1-2 degrees as some suggest since about 1900, what part of that would or would not have happened without any man-made influence? If our influence only contributed to 10 percent of the change (0.1-0.2 degrees), and we determine that it is only possible to undo about 25% of what we have done through the expenditure of 2 trillion dollars globally, is that reduction of temperature by 0.025 - 0.05 degrees worth that expenditure? or if our models say that if we completely stopped emitting ANY greenhouse gases immediately (impossible obviously) our global temperature will still rise 10 degrees in the next 50 years, would we be better spending our money starting to adapt to the changes that are likely to occur than spending it to undo what we have already done?

Just one of the comments that asks us to consider (just consider) if spending lots of money is really the best plan!!

I admit that this is probably an American gas-guzzling rant; but, nevertheless, there is a serious point here that deserves serious consideration.

Trouble is the government seems to be holding a gun to our head. Anyone who thinks we might want to think about things before we go whole-hog for an ultra-expensive solution is branded as a nutter and told to shut up. Well, it's your money!

Think about it.

Tomorrow I'd like to introduce you to the Little Ice Age – something that no-one seems to be discussing – but something which has a verifiable historical basis – unlike man-made climate change.

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