Tuesday, 4 December 2012

The Sky is Falling ...

There must be a "climate change" beano on the go somewhere ... Oh! Wait! There is, in Doha. Which has to be a bit of an irony really. Why? Well, according to the figures on Carbon Dioxide emmissions, the amount of "carbon" per head for Qatar makes that country the world's Number 1 polluter.

I can't be the only person in the world wondering about the mentality of the "Green" activistas that organised their conference, to yet again try to persuade the developed nations to abandon their power generation, transport and modern lifestyles to "save the planet" in a city where the electricity use must be higher per head than in any other country outside the Middle East. Watching the "climate change demonstrators" marching and waving their placards - there aren't many Qataris there - most seem to be the pampered offspring of wealth parents from every developed nation on earth. Again, the irony of their having taken a flight to get there, to be staying in "climate controlled" hotels at vast energy consumption (not to mention the fact that it involves a 'heat exchange' to chill their accommodation) seems to have passed over the heads of these Green Groupies altogether.

I'm glad to say the German TV reporter has had a lovely line in sarcasm running throughout his reporting of the whole affair.

Unfortunately we aren't seeing the same sense of reality in many other reports. The New Scientist has chosen to lead with a banner - "Climate Change - Its Worse Than We Thought!" and more drivel in like vein. Sadly this hype is written, not by scientists, but by fundraisers and marketing pundits and, of course, regurgitated by journalists looking for that eye-catching, newspaper selling headline. Those earnest, sandal wearing, airconditioning dependent, attendees of the conference in Doha really believe they are doing their utmost to persuade the rest of us that we must give up our cars, our air travel and our central heating in order to "prevent climate change." They, and their followers, honestly believe they can lock the planet into a particular climate pattern and preserve it exactly as it is now for millenia - if only they can make politicians legislate us out of existence commercially and in terms of modern lifestyles. They ignore the fact that every "developing" nation increases the emmissions they demand the developed nations cut at an exponential rate which exceeds the cuts  - and demand that we in the developed world make ever deeper cuts to compensate.

There is a very real feeling of unreality when one listens to these folk. I can find only two explanations for it. For some it is a religion. They believe it because they have been told it is 'scientific' and therefore unarguable. These are the foot soldiers of the "Green" movement. Many don't have the faintest idea of the 'science' - even if it isn't beyond them - but it sounds exciting, techy, and "cool." Then there are the 'professionals.' They do understand the science and know it is riddled with uncertainties, but uncertainty doesn't get you mega-dollar funding from governments. It doesn't get your name in lights at conferences, or top posts in universities or government agencies and NGOs. These are the guys who will sell snake oil as the 'potential' answer to anything just to keep that 'research' funding flowing.

That creates a problem. Between the media grasping at headlines and stirring up fear, and the naked pursuit of research funding, the science has become a casualty. As the CEO of Statoil told the ZDF interviewer on a programme I watched recently, "the problem with developing any alternative, reliable, energy sources in Europe at present, is that it is no longer a scientific discussion, it is an emotive one. You cannot have a discussion of fact, if the science is going to be ignored in favour of the emotions." (My translation). My own observation is that he's right. Whether it is 'fracking,' 'coal' or 'nuclear' the science vanishes out of the window within the first few sentences in any discussion and the 'gegeners' revert to the feelings, images of black smole belching chimneys, clouds of water vapour condensing above cooling towers, or the like. Science have they none, and any science offered to counter their fears, is brushed aside with ever more emotive utterances.

Maybe, once the Doha beano is over, and all the activists have gone home again to their energy inefficient lifestyles, we can get a little less of the hysterical climate change 'we're all gonna die ....' and a little more balance in the news.

For the climate change lot, I'd like to remind them that they have as much chance of stopping the climate changing as they have of holding back the rising tide, a fact demonstrated by the Danish King Cnut in the 10th Century. Now there's a thought.

Perhaps we can persuade them to hold the next beano on the botom of the Bay of Fundy - at low tide. Boats, lifejackets and flotation devices not provided ...

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