15 Mar 2010

Bloggers unite for 10:10 campaign: time to tackle deniers

Today is the day for bloggers to unite behind cutting UK carbon emissions by 10% in 2010 - see more here and about the 10:10 campaign here: http://www.1010uk.org/

Stroud was one of the first ten Councils to sign up to 10:10 - and Green councillors are also all signed up (see photo) to make efforts to reduce their carbon footprints by 10% during the year 2010.

Since then many others have joined like Gloucestershire County Council - and also great to see The Citizen being part of the campaign - see their February supplement here or here (hope link still works!).

It was also good to see Obama scientists clearly saying weather is not the climate - see my blog on a similar theme here. However still in the press we are seeing an increase in stories trying to dismiss climate change - or suggest the science is all wrong or made-up. Well first up on this blog is an excellent article on realclimate.org to any of you interested in questions about the validity of the IPCC report:

Certainly there was a small amount of sloppy paperwork on the part of IPCC however the vast amount of sound scientific analysis still points decisively towards a warming planet and a high probability of human influence being crucial. This large quantity of such evidence is of course dramatically outweighed by the thrust of media driven 'high mass consumption' in the opposite direction.

See the excellent MediaLens look at the media's role here - even The Guardian comes in for criticism of it's reporting on the climate.

As one Green councillor put it: "The physics are what the physics are. If you burn millions of tonnes of carbon, a greenhouse gas, that has been absorbed from the atmosphere over a period of millions of years in a few hundred years then there is going to be a significant impact on the climate."
"Debating Denialists on the topic of Climate Change is rather like trying to play chess with a pigeon; it knocks the pieces over, craps on the board, and flies back to its flock to claim victory." to paraphrase Scott D. Weitzenhoffer (like this quote sent to me by Russ)
Also I've been recommended "Climate Cover-Up" - It provides useful insight into the efficient PR machine that has powered the denialists (and confused the public). See it here.
“The gap between public perception and scientific reality is now enormous. While some of the public is just becoming aware of the existence of global warming, the relevant scientists - those who know what they are talking about - realize that the climate system is on the verge of tipping points. If the world does not make a dramatic shift in energy policies over the next few years, we may well pass the point of no return.” James Hansen, the leading NASA climate scientist who first warned the US Congress of the dangers of global warming in 1988.
We'd all love the climate change deniers to be right - but the coverage they are receiving is totally disproportionate to the limited strength of their case. More worrying is the latest position of the Tories.

Are Tories are among the biggest deniers?

Johann Hari, who was at the recent Green party conference, writes in The Independent anout Cameron: "Since he became leader, he has been telling us “the Conservative Party has changed”. But is it true? Let’s start with the issue that Cameron said was “terrific evidence” of a “different Conservative Party” – global warming. Until 2005, he had never mentioned the subject, except to mock wind farms as “giant bird-blenders” and to demand “a massive road-building programme” in defiance of all environmental sense. But then he abruptly announced he was the true champion of this cause and people should “vote blue to go green.” The influential website ConservativeHome thought the New Cameron didn’t speak for the Party, so last month they commissioned a poll of the candidates selected to fight the most winnable Tory seats. They were asked to rank nineteen issues facing Britain in order of importance – and global warming came at the very bottom. The soon-to-be Conservative MPs think radically altering the chemical composition of the atmosphere is less important than imprisoning even more people and reclaiming powers from Scotland.

"But even this is misleading. The party doesn’t just accord a low priority to deal with this problem – most actively deny it exists. The Spectator’s political editor, James Forsyth, reports: “At Tory country-house gatherings, global warming scepticism has replaced Europe as the issue of the day.” Tim Montgomerie, the head of ConservativeHome and physical embodiment of the Tory id, says: “I’m confident the sceptics are going to win. It’s for Cameron to decide how he’s going to get out of this – he’s lost the battle already.” This has only grown over the past month, when a handful of the tens of thousands of scientists working on this issue have been shown to have made a few mistakes. The massed ranks of the Tory party have seized on this as “proof” that releasing massive amounts of warming gases into the atmosphere won’t cause the planet to get warmer. The true message is: vote blue, screw green."

Deniers of climate change are amateurs compared to us

An interesting and somewhat disturbing take on this issue - that activists, environmentalists, scientists, and certainly Copenhagen politicians are in denial that climate change is far more insidious and subtle. See here article reads: "The reality we’re denying? We’re denying that we’ve put so much carbon into the atmosphere already that positive feedback loops are well on their way to amplification hell. We’re denying that time lags between carbon emissions and their effects are frighteningly relevant, and that the disastrous effects we’re seeing now are from emissions of 30 years ago. We’re denying that non-linear responses of physical systems cannot be calculated and therefore are perilously ignored. We’re denying that our consumption and waste have far exceeded planetary capacity, possibly irreparably so."

Lastly I wanted to quote some of Andrew Simms article in The Guardian from 1st February (infact it is worth a read or original rather than my highlights!): "The world is not run according to climate science. Amid the almost hysterical jeering since the Copenhagen climate summit, it's a fact worth remembering....fear of the likely adjustments needed to halt dangerous climate change seems to fuel the vitriol of the vociferous minority attacking climate science. It's odd when you think what those changes might be. A cartoon currently going around sums it up. An academic-type gives a lecture, listing the outcomes of climate action: energy independence, clean water, clean air, green jobs, liveable cities, healthy children etc etc, while a man in the audience blusters, "But what if it's a big hoax and we create a better world for nothing?" And, it's not, of course, a hoax....If anything, the IPCC has been too conservative, having underestimated how quickly we would be pushed toward dangerous change. Actual carbon emissions have been beyond even their "most fossil-fuel-intensive scenario". Crowing over the inclusion in its last report of an erroneous date for the melting of Himalayan glaciers drowned out a new report from the World Glacier Monitoring Service, that detailed an "unbroken acceleration in melting" of glaciers around the world."

OK that wasn't really 'lastly' I have one more link - Al Gore's piece a couple of weeks ago in New York Times - see here.


Anonymous said...

From No2Nuclear: The Guardian has a useful website. Nothing uncovered in the hacked email scandal
destroys the argument that humans are warming the planet. None of the 1,073 emails plus 3,587 files containing documents, raw data and -computer code upsets the 200-year-old science behind the "greenhouse effect" of gases such
as carbon dioxide, which traps solar heat and warms the atmosphere. Nothing changes the fact that carbon dioxide is
accumulating in the atmosphere thanks to human emissions from burning carbon-based fuels such as coal and oil. And
we know the world is warming as a result. Climate scientists will have to work harder to earn the warranted trust of the public. But while science gets its house in
order, we need some perspective. In the midst of a cold winter it may be hard to convince ourselves, but the world is
still warming. Humanity is still to blame. And we still, urgently, need to do something about it.
Dr. Robert Watson was chair of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change from 1997 to 2002. He was opposed
by fossil fuel companies like ExxonMobil and the Bush administration waged a successful campaign to have him
replaced with Rajendra Pachauri. Now Watson is Strategic Director for the Tyndall Center at the University of East
Anglia and Chief Scientific Advisor for the UK Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs. Writing in
Yale's Environment 360 Online Magazine, he gives detail of four errors and the leaked e-mails. Concluding he says:
No.16 March 2010
"Given the limited success at Copenhagen, 2010 is a critical year for the world's political leaders to unite in the fight
against climate change. Strong and visionary political leadership will be essential. We must not allow the skeptics to
use the incident at the University of East Anglia or the mistakes in the IPCC report to distract us or derail the political
will to safeguard the planet".
A Washington Post Editorial said while the mistakes need to be corrected in the overall scheme of things they are
"trivial". It continues:
"If current trends persist, it's likely that in coming decades the globe's climate will change with potentially devastating
effects for billions of people."

Andy said...

US oil giant pumps $48m into climate sceptic groups: