It would seem most of us now accept the reality of climate change. In a recent Australian Government-funded research project, some 75% of those surveyed said they believed in climate change. We accept that the authorities have enough evidence to support their claims. But does that make them correct? Some two years ago at the UN's Copenhagen conference on climate change, thousands of poiticians and vested interest groups met to issue a warning, that unless we act now it would be too late :- oceans would rise with devastating consequences. Rather ironically, it was also estimated that the delegates expelled 37,197 tonnes of carbon dioxide to fly to Copenhagen. That is equivalent to the amount of emissions by the whole population of Sri Lanka on a given day.
However the latest data from the UK Meteorological Office, issued in August this year, casts doubts on the whole idea of rising temperatures. The Daily Mail reported last month that the world stopped getting warmer some 16 years ago. The figures, which have triggered debate among climate scientists, reveal that from the beginning of 1997 until August, 2012, there has been no discernable rise in aggregate global temperatures. This means that the 'plateau' or 'pause' in global warming has now lasted for about the same time as the previous period when temperatures rose ie.1980 to 1996. So the bottom line is, up and down for the last 16 years, but no net change. Before that temperatures had been stable or declining for about 40 years.
I decided to try to find even more recent source material and I chanced upon an article in Express.co.uk, which is cited as the home of the Daily and Sunday Express. In other words, mainstream media, just like the Daily Mail. It was dated today, 8th December, 2012. How much more up to date can you get? It was titled :- "100 Reasons Why Climate Change Is Natural" and taken from a dossier by the European Foundation . I couldn't possibly list all the arguments or even do a brief overview, but let's just try an adaptation of the first three listed reasons:-
1. There is "no real scientific proof" that the current warming (ie. the rise of 0.7 degrees over the last 100 years) is due to other than well-established, long-term, natural climate trends and not from greenhouse gases as a result of man's activity.
2. Man-made carbon dioxide emissions throughout human history constitute less than 0.00022 percent of the total naturally emitted from the mantle of the earth during geological history.
3. After WW2 there was a huge surge in recorded CO2 emissions, but global temperatures fell for four decades after 1940.
Now this is not the sort of information you are expected to see. The Daily Mail notes that the Meteorological Office quietly released it findings of recent global stability on-line and with no accompanying press release, unlike what they did some six moinths ago, when they showed a slight warming trend. But wouldn't it be fair to contend that this is good news? Shouldn't the science industry alert the public and governments, to the fact that temperatures hadn't changed in the last 16 years?
In my country, Australia, we have a current Prime Minister who said :- "There will be no Carbon Tax under a government I lead" before the election . When faced with a minority party and a coalition with the Greens and Independents, guess what? Yes, we now have such a Carbon Tax. We are told how necessary it is. Three-quarters of our citizens seem to believe this. There have been consequences of course. The cost of energy has skyrocketed and this has made the Government unpopular. What we now hear, just before Christmas (in a Santa-like fashion), is that the Government is trying to get power companies to reduce overheads and save ordinary citizens around $250 a year. The unpopular increases are a result of having the Carbon Tax in the first place.
There needs to be balance in the climate debate and the emissions trading debate. Let's just say, in the interests of such a balance, that there is no conclusive answer one way or the other. International governments have sent numerous delegates to conferences in exotic locations over the last 20 years to try and stop climate change, yet nature appears to have done the job on its own. This raises the serious question about whether goverments are the ones best placed to deal with this issue.