Why is there so much preoccupation with atmospheric CO2 concentrations and reducing anthropogenic CO2 emissions when it is well documented in the peer-reviewed scientific literature that the CO2 contribution to the overall greenhouse effect is so weak that it can be easily supplanted by small changes in clouds and water vapor, or natural climate-changing constituents?
Monday, 3 January 2011
Poisoning the children's minds with climate scares: will that educational tide be on the turn in 2011?
It seems to me that adults, and in particular professionals, have a moral responsibility to avoid such scaremongering, and in particular to protect school-age children from it. The temptations to pursue it for financial and political gain, or even for the pursuit of publicity and public attention as ends in themselves, are obvious and in part explain the enthusiastic adoption of climate scares by powerful individuals and organisations keen to grow in power and influence. That they have dramatically succeeded in this is one of the most interesting features of the current scare, and one which is surely worthy of deep study in many disciplines if we are to have any hope of reducing our vulnerability to such exploitation.
While the media/political class chattering in and around climate will no doubt continue into the indefinite future, perhaps continuing the 20th century tradition of alternating, on an approximately 30 year cycle, between cold and hot dooms. (Certainly the recent cold weather over most of the northern temperature latitudes has seen more talk of ice ages, 'little' or otherwise.) Or, the talk may become more nuanced, and less vulnerable to refutation, by deploying less specific threats such as 'climate change' or 'climate disruption', giving the agitators scope for pushing their 'cause' on the back of the inevitable excursions of weather events near or beyond previously recorded extremes. Attempts have been made to make this particular spin, but their impact seems limited, presumably because of the huge prior success in promoting the warming motif.
The establishment (media, political classes, academia, governments, the EU, the UN, major NGOs and other multinational corporations) has bought wholeheartedly into climate alarm, some no doubt for genuine and honest reasons, based on trust in the pontifications of erstwhile respected bodies such as the Royal Societies of Edinburgh and London, or indeed of the once 'dull and dowdy' Met Office, now transformed with the help of a WWF activist into an important exponent of 'climatism'. They make for a wealthy and powerful force driving and/or riding the tide of alarmist opinion about climate. It might seem futile to resist it.
But what else can we do? Will it self-destruct? The case for alarm over human impacts on climate is so thin, so tenuous, that it seems doomed to collapse from its own absurdity. The last year or so, from Climategate onwards, has seen much to encourage this view, aided and abetted by the wacky sense of humour of the weather gods who produced the Gore Effect so many times, and, now, another winter on the cold side over very extensive areas in the northern hemisphere.
Unfortunately the alarmist-virus is out and into the educational bloodstream, threatening to produce more and more demoralised and frightened children. At the very least, we who look on appalled at its spread, can try to find and encourage antibodies wherever and whenever they appear. To mix-in the earlier metaphor, the tide may be turned earlier in some places than in others. Variability is, after all, all around us.