Friday, October 8, 2010

How Credible Are Climate Change Skeptics?

The US House of Representatives has voted on clean energy and climate legislation.  Thank Goodness say most of the world!  However it has really brought out the skeptics in force.

There are two types of skeptics (or skeptics depending on what country you live in):

- The ultra conservatives who hate change even more than the rest of us and

- The geologists whose research is largely funded by the mining and especially the coal and oil industry.

We need to remember that geologists are trained to look DOWN at the soil, earth's crust and BACK to the past and Atmospheric physicists look UP at the atmosphere and at what is happening NOW and in the future.

They have totally different training.  In face many geologists do not study physics at all and there is less training in common between geologists and atmospheric physicists than a gynecologist and a dentist and you would not dream of mixing those two groups of medical professionals up.  And we are talking about climate change and our weather patterns, not simply global warming. 

In Australia we have Professor Ian Plimer, a geologist and one whose work has discredited by the majority of the scientific community because it defies some of the laws of physics, publicising his new anti climate change book.  He has labelled climate change theory an "ascientific, urban, religious, fundamentalist movement" promoted by academics and activists who would be "unemployable outside taxpayer-funded climate institutes".

Plimer says that climate change has become the new Western religion with the elements of failed European socialism and Christianity and it imposes guilt on the community, creates a fear of damnation, demands appeasement by selling indulgences to the faithful, ignores any contrary information, demonises dissenters."  This all sounds a bit UGH to me.

He is partially right in that climate always changes and there have been greater and more rapid changes in the past and we've had varying carbon levels in the past.  But what is happening now is different, the atmospheric changes have been measured and are purely caused by man made pollution.  The current problem is superimposed on top of the history described by Plimer and has a shorter time frame.

The greenhouse effect is not new   it was predicted over 30 years ago to my certain knowledge because while my kids were small I taught secondary school biology so that I had school hours and holidays to fit in with my family.  I taught about the potential for global warming then but never seriously thinking we would let things get as bad as they are now.

In Australia we have another "voice of reason" our Family First senator Steve Fielding has made up his mind on climate change and apparently according to the "expert" the world is not warming now, and humans aren't changing the climate.

The government and the country's top scientists have tried to convince Senator Fielding, who holds a crucial vote in the upper house, that global warming is real.  But he's released a document setting out his position and he says "Global temperature isn't rising".

I would love the bulk of scientists who are warning us of the need for urgent action to be wrong but there is too much evidence they are right and the risk to my grandchildren is too great to take. I refuse to gamble with their future!

The naysayers are having campaigns on TV and behind closed doors to scare politicians and put our children's future at risk.

Exxon, the world's largest oil company still funds lobby groups to question global warming, despite its public pledge to cut support for climate change denial.  If ExxonMobil wants to fund climate change denial then it should be honest about it and not tell people it has stopped.

ExxonMobil's company records show they gave hundreds of thousands of dollars to the National Centre for Policy Analysis in Dallas, which received $75,000, and the Heritage Foundation in Washington, which received $50,000.  Interestingly the latter was a co-sponsor of the very same climate-change skeptics conference in Washington last month attended by Family First senator Steve Fielding.

Oil and coal are big business and I guess we can expect them to be reluctant to move their investment into new areas but we should also expect our large corporations to have basic honesty. 

Jean Cannon is an enviro-entrepreneur -both a scientist and a business person and has been both for over 20 years. She is also a concerned grandmother who looks to the future her small grandchildren will face as adults if we do not start to live within our environmental means.

Jean's core message is that it is easy to be green and in going green you reduce your expenses and become more profitable. She is an energy management and sustainability consultant and has now taken her business online and world wide as part of her own carbon steps to reduce her previously large travel emissions.

Jean helps small to medium businesses worldwide to understand how they can benefit by saving costs, increasing efficiency and employee loyalty as well as accessing "green" markets with internationally recognised green certification, ISO 14001.

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1 comment:

  1. I have many random thoughts also.... thanks for sharing yours.

    Look out people the Red and the Green are preparing to screw you…….. They are using climate change and carbon pollution as an excuse to build up the Nation’'s Coffers. No one would dispute we need to clean up our act, this planet is our only home (on Earth…….) It deserves to be treated with ultimate respect, and we all need to do our part in keeping her clean and fresh. But I say NOT at the expense of taxing us all into the poor house, while at the same time giving allowances and massive benefits to industry and special interest groups.