Lack of Environment

A blog on the politics and psychology underlying the denial of all our environmental problems

You know we’re in trouble when…

with 8 comments

The Sunday Telegraph starts advocating polices that will accelerate anthropogenic climate disruption (ACD).

Two days ago, one of Britain’s oldest and most-respected broadsheet newspapers decided to shred the last few bits of credibility it might have had by publishing an anonymous editorial piece calling for the Climate Change Act 2008 to be repealed.

I am therefore sorry but, I just had to post this response:

Thank goodness the Sunday Telegraph is not a widely-read newspaper.  This kind of advocacy for policies that will accelerate anthropogenic climate disruption is short-sighted to say the least.

If you don’t like our countryside being despoiled by windfarms, new sets of National Grid power lines, and new nuclear plants…  What you should be advocating is greater subsidies for households that install solar PV panels on their roofs, which will reduce UK demand for centrally-generated electricity of all kinds.

Oh and, by the way, shale gas is not low-carbon intensity:  Because of the methane release it involves, it is extremely high-carbon intensity.  Now we know we need to reduce our global CO2 emissions and that further delay will mean greater ultimate cost (i.e. Sir John Beddington, today)… the international push to extract shale gas – and all other unconventional hydrocarbons –  is completely irrational.

If anyone is curious, the pronouncements of the UK Government’s Chief Scientist, Sir John Beddington, to which I referred above, can be seen and heard in this video on the BBC website.  This was a fascinating development, coming, as it did, on the same day that the Global Warming Policy Foundation (GWPF) announced that it was willing to enter into discussions with the Royal Society – to try and resolve the fact that the two organisations hold diametrically-opposed views regarding the validity of the scientific consensus that ACD is already happening.

This prompted me to send the GWPF’s Director, social anthropologist Benny Peiser, the following email:

Dear Dr Peiser,

I note, with genuine interest, your acceptance of the offer by the Royal Society to put the GWPF in touch with mainstream climate scientists.

I note also the public statement by the Sir John Beddington – who says evidence of anthropogenic climate disruption is now unequivocal and further delay in reducing emissions will mean harder and more expensive policy changes in future.

I should therefore be very grateful to know how much longer you think the GWPF is going to continue to insist that the science is uncertain and that calls for action are politically motivated.  For example, how long will it be before the GWPF accepts that we need to decarbonise our power generation systems – by implementing a revenue-neutral Fee and Dividend system as proposed by Dr James Hansen and many others.

Yours very sincerely,

Martin Lack

No answer as yet.

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8 Responses

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  1. At the risk of being denounced as an AGW “denier”, or worse, I would like to make two observations:
    1. Where or what is the base line against which we are measuring present “global” temperatures?
    2. Compared with the 9th Century AD our present climate is relatively cool, whereas it is relatively warm compared with the 17th.

    I would argue that worldwide deforestation has also had a quantifiable and, until now, largely overlooked effect upon rising temperatures. Whilst it cannot be denied – there is that word again! – that mankind has had an effect upon his environment, which includes the atmosphere, we cannot be certain that human activity and the combustion process, which is the basis and support of human civilisation, are the dominating factors in whatever changes might be occurring in the climate. Is my punishment to be hanged, drawn and quartered?

    Duncan

    26 March 2013 at 09:32

    • I think, Duncan, that you need to take another look at that 11-thousand year record – which I included in a recent post on this blog – to put the (Little Ice Age (LIA) and Medieval Warm Period (MWP) into some proper perspective.

      Or, if I may be blunt, I think you ought to stop repeating denialist propaganda.
      It is warmer now than it has been for six thousand years.

      Martin Lack

      26 March 2013 at 10:10

      • I think Duncan might also be confusing regional climate with global climate. Parts of Europe might have been warmer in the 9th century compared to today. But as the Mann and Marcott reconstructions show, global temperatures today are sufficiently different that we can say with relative confidence anthropogenic warmth is present.
        Furthermore, we cannot be certain of the dominant factors in what might be occurring in world finance, but I don’t see many calls for that system to be cast aside. Does anybody think finance “experts” might have a monetary interest in keeping their system afloat? Does anybody think finance “experts” make less than climate “experts”?

        weatherdem

        26 March 2013 at 16:14

      • mea culpa,mea maxima culpa!

        Duncan

        27 March 2013 at 09:27

    • The latest studies on permafrost show that we are going to punch through, with great momentum, the maximum temperatures of around 400,000 years ago (and sea level will follow).

      Patrice Ayme

      26 March 2013 at 18:05

    • Deforestation has two direct effects on warming:
      1. Albedo lightening (the new land surface is often lighter, trees are fairly dark and absorb more heat than many other natural surfaces – consequently this is actually likely a cooling effect)
      2. Release of carbon dioxide from dead/burned trees (a warming effect)

      The basic science of carbon dioxide as a greenhouse gas is over 100 years old and the equation derived by Svante Arrhenius stands to this very day. Fame and glory await anyone able to start a revolution in science and prove it all wrong – but there is no justification to smear science and placate the general public into their deaths to do so. Science is done by proof, not by slander.

      There is plenty of evidence from paleoclimate that all we have seen so far is the gentlest of stirrings in terms of the changes we can expect from the earth system. We have prodded a sleeping tiger and it’s just starting to open one eye.

      Anyone prepared to question the most basic science ought to go and learn about it – there is plenty of online resources – some very good. To fail to educate oneself is to be a denier (and your point 2 is a common denier meme – it is factually incorrect).

      Incidentally the albedo shift raises the interesting implication that if the forests spread into formerly frozen northern landscapes – they will cause further regional albedo driven warming there.

      ccgwebmaster

      27 March 2013 at 18:58

    • Duncan, the effect of worldwide deforestation on global warming has not been overlooked. Approximately 25% of the human-caused global warming resulting from increased greenhouse gas concentrations in the atmosphere is attributed to land use with agricultural practices accounting for slightly more than half of that portion and deforestation slightly less than half. The numbers I recall are 14% agriculture and 11% deforestation. The combustion of fossil fuels is by far the dominant cause in anthropogenic global warming, but nobody familiar with the science would allege that it is the only cause. For these reasons, there is no “the solution for global warming.” And it is pointless for one to argue that we must stop burning fossil fuels for energy and another to object that we must instead stop deforestation and start reforestation where appropriate. The point is that we must do both, and each is a part of the composite solution. Stopping burning fossil fuels is a bigger part of the solution, but still insufficient. Stopping deforestation is a smaller part of the solution, but it is nevertheless necessary.

      Finally, I point out that there are many more than two parts to the composite solution, which includes changes in urban design, construction technologies, agriculture, food processing, water conservation, waste water treatment (both human and industrial waste water), conservation of materials (learn how much methane results from wasted food decomposing in landfills), and on and on.

      If you are really interested, then you can become educated and choose for yourself the part of the solution you will work on. There is an excellent university lecture course available free on YouTube, and the basic text for the course is available for free download as a pdf file (certainly, you don’t get university credit for free, but credits is not what education is about). If you want to learn and become part of the solution, let me know, and I will provide the links.

      Bill Everett

      8 April 2013 at 10:59

  2. Please notice that Hansen’s “Fee and Dividend” is nothing new. It has existed in France (among other European countries, for years). It’s the USA that is trying desperately to block the extension of the European carbon taxes, worldwide. Thus, far from being in the forefront of the CO2 war, the USA is still the worst offender (lots of China is just delocalized USA production).

    Thus the climate war is just part of the general anti-plutocratic war. The evolution in Cyprus is therefore a good sign (some plutos will lose their shirt, and their shoes).

    In other news, the ice extent seems intent to break significantly BELOW the 2 standard deviation limit.

    Basically the correct mathematics of greenhouse HEATING say that, due to non linear, exponential effects, the heating should accelerate. All indicators are coherent with this.

    It’s paramount to prevent the built up of the XL pipeline. many hyper rich Obama adminstration members, for example Susan Rice, the UN ambassador, are invested in it! (Invested in the companies that want to build it, and companies that will profit from it. They are selling their mother, so they can get to the top of the heap of their crab society!

    Fortunately, plutocracy got a blow in Cyprus.

    http://patriceayme.wordpress.com/2013/03/26/cyprus-ethics-beats-exit/

    Patrice Ayme

    26 March 2013 at 18:02


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