Tuesday, 15 December 2009

"Difficult to deny global warming"

My mate Peter Sherwood weighs in on the climate debate, in yesterday’s South China Morning Post.  Must say it’s refreshing to see a letter on a subject other than the most parochial, plastic bags levies or schools’ language policies.  And I think Peter’s got the balance about right, in particular that even if there’s dispute about the extent of global warming and who or what’s responsible, there’s benefit in taking the mitigating mesasures anyway.  For a contrast to what the US has done, or we in Australia, there’s the story of Denmark , which took the 1973 oil shock seriously and weaned itself off a full diet of oil, to one that’s now 20% wind and will be non-fossil by 2035 (hey, that's not so far away....).  

That’s good for national security too, as we stop the transfer of massive wealth to the Gulf countries, where even allies are really “allies” -- heavy emphasis on the air quotes --  like Saudi Arabia which uses its unearned wealth to fund madrassas around the world, breeding legions of anti-west anti-democracy anti-women anti-freedom young nutters.  
Where we should be careful in this “it’s good to take mitigating measures anyway” philosophy is in the proposed establishment of massive funds to set money aside for the poorer nations to help them ameliorate greenhouse gases, while they develop their economies.
I’m sorry, but I just have no faith in the good use of such massive funds, since it would be handled by bureaucrats and politicians, who have a terrible record of wasting other people's money.  I'd rather see measures taken in response to market forces, albeit that those market signals can be modified by government intervention, as they were in the case of Denmark’s giving tax breaks to early wind farms.
Peter S’s letter below, from South China Morning Post, 14th December.

Difficult to deny global warming
Regarding global warming, there will always be those who refuse to believe scientific fact. More than half of humanity doesn't believe in evolutionary science either, and probably never will.
The evidence of global warming appears irrefutable, as is shown by 800,000 years of evidence from ice cores and billions of pages of hard science from thousands of scientists over many decades.
The anti-global-warming notion that it's all a hoax and a conspiracy is not surprising: getting two scientists to agree on anything is like herding cats.
Attempting to prove each other's theories wrong is what creates scientific advancement. But even if all of that proof of global warming was the biggest scientific lie in history, I would still support a huge reduction in greenhouse gases. The drivers of greenhouse gases are helping destroy the natural world, with acid rain, polluted soil and air and acidity of the oceans decimating sea life.
Massive deforestation and the destruction of entire ecosystems and wildlife are all a part of the global warming equation. A serious effort to reduce global warming automatically slows The rape and pillage of the natural world upon which we all depend.
Peter Sherwood, Discovery Bay