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Derek

Any government can sign a long term commitment today which will not be fulfilled until long after it has left office. It is simply a short term image over long term substance.

By the way Kyoto has not been fulfilled it seems extremely unlikely that any government will deliver on the much harder targets that are being talked about for the next stage. The voters will revolt long before then. But before then there will be a few more lavish conferences for the great and good to strut upon the world stage.

For more on climate change, visit my blog at http://climatescience.blogspot.com

Derek

climatescience

Steevo

January of this year had the London conference on "Climate Change: the Global Security Impact".

Sir Crispin Tickell, Britain's former ambassador to the United Nations: "Violence within and between communities and between nation states, we must accept, could possibly increase, because the precedents are all around."

He cited Rwanda and Sudan's Darfur region as two examples where drought and overpopulation, relative to scarce resources, had helped to fuel deadly conflicts.

Experts at the conference hosted by the Royal United Services Institute said it was likely that global warming would create huge flows of refugees as people tried to escape areas swamped by rising sea levels or rendered uninhabitable by desertification.

Tickell said terrorists were likely to seek to exploit the tensions created.

"Those who are short of food, those who are short of water, those who can't move to countries where it looks as if everything is marvellous are going to be people who are going to adopt desperate measures to try and make their point."

John Mitchell, chief scientist at Britain's Met Office, noted al Qaeda had already listed environmental damage among its litany of grievances against the United States.

"You have destroyed nature with your industrial waste and gases more than any other nation in history. Despite this, you refuse to sign the Kyoto agreement so that you can secure the profit of your greedy companies and industries," al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden wrote in a 2002 "letter to the American people".

Paul Rogers, professor of peace studies at Bradford University, said any attempt by countries to build fortress walls to keep out climate change refugees -- what he called the "barbarians at the gate" mentality -- was doomed to fail.

"If you just take the example of Bangladesh, if 60 million of 140 million people could not survive in Bangladesh yet they were kept there, you would have A) gigantic human suffering and B) progressive very deep radicalisation -- very, very angry people -- and that is not in anybody's security interest."

http://www.planetark.com/dailynewsstory.cfm/newsid/
40001/story.htm

There will always be experts who know better. Teh Bush's America will always be guilty and a big part of the blame for just about everything. Major media like tax-sucking BBC will always make sure of that.

Derek

"Paul Rogers, professor of peace studies" - are you serious? Aaaaaaarghhhh!

Maduka

The US was told to "Lead, follow or get out of the way!".

The unpleasant truth is that we are not leading (and we should be). We are reacting instead of proactively setting the agenda.

Why did America abandon the leadership of such an important issue to the Europeans?

Make no mistakes, the earth cannot support a China (and possibly an India) with the same living standards as the Western world with present day technology.

It is sad that this present administration (and the Republican party) has adopted a lukewarm approach towards solving one of the most pressing issues of our generation - sustainable and clean energy for planet earth.

Al Gore may be loopy, alarmist and dishonest but the Republican / Conservative alternative is?

The world is waiting to hear it!

Just as with the fight against terrorism, there is a glaring failure - of public diplomacy. We are losing the battle for hearts and minds in the Islamic World to Al Jazeera - without putting up a decent fight!. Now are we losing another diplomatic/perception war to the Europeans!

This Bush administration may have many virtues, but selling America to the outside world is definitely not one of them!

ToryJim

Thanks for pointing that out... so why exactly did the USA refuse to sign up to Kyoto?

Andy

Maduka,

Does not your intuition make you even mildly sceptical of the climate change/global warming consensus?

Climate change itself is a misleading term. Of course it's changing, that's what the climate does. The alarmists try to paint sceptics as not believing that the climate is changing.

Crucially, the question should be the causes of climate change - catastrophic global warming has not been proven, nor has the claim that it is caused by human activity.

Remember the seventies, when the big scare was global cooling, the ice caps advancing towards North America/Europe? They got it wrong then and there's no reason to believe they haven't got it wrong again.

"the earth cannot support a China (and possibly an India) with the same living standards as the Western world with present day technology."

I think it would be deeply wrong to adopt the Luddite approach that many environmentalists support. Electricity, cheap international travel and higher standards of living shouldn't be abandoned in a green crusade, especially one built on such shaky 'facts'.

There is little doubt that this exercise is used as a convenient excuse by the usual left-wing suspects to restrict individual lifestyle choices and attack the free market economy.

I agree that we should move away from reliance on gas and oil, as they are finite resources. Also dependence on energy sources from the Middle East and Russia gives undue power to unstable regimes that despise our way of life.

The most practical, reliable and secure alternative to fossil fuels would be nuclear power, it even satisfies the green demands for low C02 emissions. That they oppose this, despite it being a solution to so many of their concerns, clearly indicates that the motives of these people are anti-capitalist and anti-freedom rather than anti-C02.

Andy

Maduka,

Does not your intuition make you even mildly sceptical of the climate change/global warming consensus?

Climate change itself is a misleading term. Of course it's changing, that's what the climate does. The alarmists try to paint sceptics as not believing that the climate is changing.

Crucially, the question should be the causes of climate change - catastrophic global warming has not been proven, nor has the claim that it is caused by human activity.

Remember the seventies, when the big scare was global cooling, the ice caps advancing towards North America/Europe? They got it wrong then and there's no reason to believe they haven't got it wrong again.

"the earth cannot support a China (and possibly an India) with the same living standards as the Western world with present day technology."

I think it would be deeply wrong to adopt the Luddite approach that many environmentalists support. Electricity, cheap international travel and higher standards of living shouldn't be abandoned in a green crusade, especially one built on such shaky 'facts'.

There is little doubt that this exercise is used as a convenient excuse by the usual left-wing suspects to restrict individual lifestyle choices and attack the free market economy.

I agree that we should move away from reliance on gas and oil, as they are finite resources. Also dependence on energy sources from the Middle East and Russia gives undue power to unstable regimes that despise our way of life.

The most practical, reliable and secure alternative to fossil fuels would be nuclear power, it even satisfies the green demands for low C02 emissions. That they oppose this, despite it being a solution to so many of their concerns, clearly indicates that the motives of these people are anti-capitalist and anti-freedom rather than anti-C02.

Maduka

Andy,

Even if climate change is not man-made, reducing carbon emissions is worthy goal.

Anyone who has visited Los Angeles, Beijing or Mexico City immediately understands that carbon emissions have health implications. Anyone with a rudimentary knowledge of science knows that hydrocarbons are a finite resource.

China is growing at 10% per annum, while India has a similar growth rate (even Africa is growing at 5% per annum). It doesn't take a genius to see that unless there are radical improvements in technology, our living standards could be compromised.

We had our first warning during the 1970's oil shock. Brazil responded by promoting ethanol use, Europe responded by making more fuel efficient automobiles while we responded initially but relapsed into buying gas guzzling SUV's.

We are being warned again.

On the issue of energy policy we are yet to see the CONSERVE in the Conservative. Right now it is drill away!!

Nuclear power should be explored, but it carries very serious risks - remember Chernobyl and Three mile Island? Nuclear power cannot replace the internal combustion engine - which is a major contributor to carbon emissions. America needs to rethink its relationship with the automobile - do we need an expansion in our mass transit network?

These are serious questions that Conservative politicians need to answer. $100 oil is no joke.

Maduka

Andy,

I am an applied scientist. My scientific training tells me that there is no way that millions of tons of carbon dioxide from:
1. Coal burning plants.
2. Jumbo Jets.
3. Internal Combustion Engines and
4. Refineries

Will not affect the equilibrium of planet Earth. We cannot tell what the specific effects on the equilibrium are - but commonsense (a conservative attribute) should encourage to do something:

Reduce emissions.

Andy

Maduka,

And I'm an engineer, so why not put your applied scientific training to work - less navel gazing, speculation and big theories, and more solid evidence based on observable facts?

A clear correlation between higher C02 levels causing a rise in global temperature has not been proved.

The graph that Al Gore claims shows a clear correlation DOES show a pattern, but not the one he might like. C02 levels lag BEHIND global temperature by around 800 years. As an applied scientist, would you care to explain that one? It is perfectly feasible that the reverse is in fact happening: that temperature is influencing C02 levels.

Due to the vast scale of earth's climate, and the hugely long timescale over which it and other factors such as solar activity operate, it is the height of arrogance to produce small-scale models based on partial data, and claim to be able to predict the climate's future.

It is often claimed that historic C02 levels were far lower than the 370 parts per million by volume (ppmv) of today. However, the average level in the 19th century was 335 ppmv and leaf analysis show that almost 10000 years ago the level was 348 ppmv. It is worth considering that around 50 million years ago the atmospheric C02 level was around 2000 ppmv, yet temperatures were only around 1.5 deg Celsius higher.

Even if there is a warm period on the way it is wrong to claim that it is unprecendented and undoubtedly caused by human activity. The Romans are well-documented as growing vineyards in the north of England.

I agree with many of your points regarding the reduction of emmissions etc, I think we differ on what we should not be doing. I am opposed at attempts to invade personal freedom and the free market.

Anyone who has listened to environmental lobbyists can be in little doubt that the climate change debate is being used to justify more taxes, constraints on industry, transport and lifestyle choices.


Steevo

Mark Steyn on some reporting from the Montreal Climate Conference...

The Independent: "Montreal - tens of thousands of people ignored frigid temperatures Saturday to lead a worldwide day of protest against global warming."

The Canadian press: "It's hot in here! There's too much carbon in the atmosphere!" Is this the first sign of the "New Ice Age" the media warned us about last week?

Is this the first sign of the "New Ice Age" the media (originated in Nature) warned us about last week?

The eco-doom-mongers were speculating on possible changes in thermohaline circulation in the Atlantic - or, as the Daily Mail put it: "Is Britain on the brink of a New Ice Age?"

BUT THE POINT IS, AS STEVEN GUILBEAULT OF GREENPEACE PUTS IT: "GLOBAL WARMING CAN MEAN COLDER, IT CAN MEAN DRIER, IT CAN MEAN WETTER, THAT WHAT WE'RE DEELING WITH." GOT THAT?

"Time is running out to deal with climate change," says Mr Guilbeault. "Ten years ago, we thought we had a lot of time, five years ago we thought we had a lot of time, but now science is telling us that we don't have a lot of time."

Really? Ten years ago, we had a lot of time? That's not the way I recall it: "Time is running out for the climate" - Chris Rose of Greenpeace, 1997; "Time running out for action on global warming Greenpeace claims" - Irish Times, 1994; "Time is running out" - scientist Henry Kendall, speaking on behalf of Greenpeace, 1992. Admirably, Mr Guilbeault's commitment to the environment extends to recycling last decade's scare-mongering press releases.

"Stop worrying about your money, take care of our planet," advised one of the protesters' placards.

In the past third of a century, the American economy has swollen by 150 per cent, automobile traffic has increased by 143 per cent, and energy consumption has grown 45 per cent. During this same period, air pollutants have declined by 29 per cent, toxic emissions by 48.5 per cent, sulphur dioxide levels by 65.3 per cent, and airborne lead by 97.3 per cent. Despite signing on to Kyoto, European greenhouse gas emissions have increased since 2001, whereas America's emissions have fallen by nearly one per cent, despite the Toxic Texan's best efforts to destroy the planet.

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/opinion/main.jhtml?xml=/opinion/2005/12/06/
do0602.xml

LC Mamapajamas

My biggest objection to the entire anthropogenic global warming theory is that it is based almost entirely upon computer models. My knowledge of climate is no better than average, but my knowledge of what computers can... and most importantly, can NOT do... is paying my mortgage. One thing computers can NOT do is run a model based upon shakey hypotheses and come up with an accurate solution.

As a "tool" in climate studies, computer models that do not address water vapor (ie: All of them today, since it's presently difficult to determine when and where H20 will appear and how dense it will be, and so water vapor isn't even being considered in the models!!!) are a hammer without a head, a pair of pliers without pinchers. Why is this so? Because water vapor is the single most important greenhouse gas in the atmosphere. And it's being completely ignored in the models.

In other words, they are a "gee whiz!" display to impress those who are computer illiterate... which includes most scientists who are not specifically computer experts. "Computer experts" do not include those who took a couple of programming courses in college as electives in a science major.

Furthermore, all of today's computer models are based upon the hypothesis that CO2 causes warming. We don't know that. All we know is that warming and CO2 increases tend to be rather concurrent. It may well be that warming causes CO2, not the other way around, and there are hundreds of scientists working on that issue right now. Their working hypothesis is that warming (by whatever cause, possibly increases in solar output, for instance) increases biological activity in the oceans. Since the overwhelming majority of atmospheric CO2 comes from the oceans, warmer waters means more biological activity, ergo more measurable CO2 production. So the entire CO2/warming connection COULD be sunspots. ;)

If they are right, that warming causes CO2 increases, then every global climate model in existence is bass-ackwards.

And it's something we want to think about carefully before we take drastic action, since another way of looking at CO2 is as an airborne plant food. Yes... third grade science... plants NEED CO2 to survive.

Maduka

Mamapajamas,

If we are right and they are wrong - no problem. If they are right and we are wrong - there is a hell of a problem!

It is conservative to "err on the side of caution". We urgently need a responsible, ADULT debate on climate change, energy security etc. If we distrust the motivation of the "liberal enviromenal wacko types" we should also distrust the motivation of Exxon-Mobil and the scientists they fund.

In Britain, David Cameron (the Conservative leader) has initiated an honest open debate on climate change and energy security. In America, only Newt Gingrich and some Evangelicals seem to take the matter seriously.

Mama,

We have spend to much time JUST OPPOSING the liberal consensus. We need to frame the debate or lose relevance.

woodswalk

I'm not an applied scientist. I think it is suspicious that all of the political objectives that were part of countless discredited left wing science stories, are all wrapped up into one neat package of climate change (guess, the globe isn't just warming, eh?) Remember when all we had to do was give up air conditioning because of chloroflurocarbons?

Maduka

Woodswalk,

The big tobacco companies hired scientists to show that cigarette smoking had nothing to do with lung cancer. All of that collapsed in the face of overwhelming evidence.

The American Institute of Physics, The American Geophysical Union, The American Meteorological Society, The US National Research Council and The Stratigraphy Commission of the Geological Society of London are all of the opinion that there is a human component to climate change.

I contrast this with contrary opinions which are usually held by scientists with ties to / employed by Oil and Gas companies.

In 2006, the Royal Society took the unprecedented step of writing ExxonMobil to stop funding groups that undermine the scientific consensus on climate change. Does that sound familiar?

There is too much published peer-reviewed literature out there for me to conclude that human influenced climate change is junk science.

It is patent nonsense to suggest that the goal of the environmental movement is the establishment of a world-wide socialist order (as some on the right do).

Businesses as diverse as General Electric, UPS, Virgin Atlantic, Toyota and Saab are investing heavily in green technology (and profiting handsomely). The only sector of industry that can afford to be lukewarm to green technologies is the Oil and Gas business. (Shell and BP make the right noises, but ExxonMobil and ChevronTexaco don't hide their disdain).

Why shouldn't Oil and Gas oppose the green movement when:
1. The cost per barrel is steadily increasing.
2. Demand for hydrocarbons is increasing.
3. New techologies are being developed to extract hydrocarbons.

Oil and Gas controls the energy policy of this Administration, the Republican Party and the Conservative movement in the United States. Sadly, the Republican Party is full of gullible people who fail to see the motivation of the Oil and Gas industry even in the face of $100 per barrel crude oil!

Andy

Maduka

"Nuclear power should be explored, but it carries very serious risks - remember Chernobyl and Three mile Island?"

Again, not much evidence of a scientific background from you. Nuclear Plants in Sweden, France, Canada and Finland prove that it is possible for the generation of electricity through nuclear power to be extremely safe.

Although nuclear power plants such as Three Mile Island and Chernobyl had disastrous accidents, it is important to put them into context.

The Three Mile Island incident, which destroyed the economic value of the plant, was caused by poor operator training and design flaws, with most of the radioactivity being contained at the site. Third generation reactors are designed so that a failure leading to a contained core melt-down, (destroying the commercial value of the reactor) should occur at the rate of 1 in 2-million reactor-years.

The Chernobyl accident was caused by numerous inherent design flaws, poor operator training and a total disregard for safety by the Russian Authorities. The phasing out of the older reactor design means that an accident of this type is most unlikely to occur again.

For terrorists, the containment facilities of nuclear reactors and the structures holding spent fuel rods are very strong and would make difficult terrorist targets.

LC Mamapajamas

Maduka, my whole point was that it isn't a matter of who is right or wrong, the point is that it isn't POSSIBLE for the climate models all this is based upon to be right.

It isn't POSSIBLE.

We don't know enough about the environment for the models to be right.

The computers can only tell us what we tell them to tell us. And as long as H20 is being left out of the atmospheric evaluations, the models are GOING to tell us that we're heating up at an alarming rate.

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