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A Personal View of Climate Change

Climate Change (remember when it used to be called Global Warming?), is an emotive subject. You will be hard pressed to find someone who does not have an opinion about this. This article is about my own personal view.

It seems to be the general concensus of opinion amongst climate scientists these days that man-made climate change is happening. This is despite the fact that there has been no measurable increase over the last several years (in fact the whole of the 21st century as I am led to believe) and also the notorious “hockey stick” has failed to materialise.

Nonetheless, the climate scientists assure us that such periods of stability are possible within the climate models. This 15 year period of stability does not mean that global warming is not happening. I am in no position to contradict the climate scientists, and so I am happy to accept this as fact.

However, there are plenty of other facts about climate change which I think are equally relevant. I am talking about indisputable historical facts about how the Earth’s climate has changed over the last hundreds of millions of years. And these facts show that the climate has been changing for as far back as it is possible to tell.

There have been periods in the past, the age of the dinosaurs, when global temperatures were far higher – up to 8 degrees higher than they are today. More recently there have been ice ages in which the temperature was several degrees lower than today. Indeed much of the Northern hemisphere only emerged from the last ice (in which much of the UK was covered in glaciers) around 20,000 years ago. This is quite well known, but perhaps less well known is the fact that the vast majority of the last 3 million years has been an ice age, interspersed with just a few short periods where the temperatures have been comparable to today’s temperatures. So on that basis, the most likely scenario would seem to be that another ice age is on the cards, within only a few thousand years.

Perhaps the most destructive period in Earth’s history that is known about was a period around 650 million years ago known as “Snowball Earth”. This was a period of such intense glaciation that it was nearly responsible for wiping out all life on Earth.

My View

Climate change is definitely happening – irrespective of human interference. The last few thousand years have been a period of unusual stability, and have also been unusually warm compared with most of the last 3 million years.

But one thing is for sure, the climate is going to change one way or another, and irrespective of human action, whether we like it or not. This is not under our control no matter how much we would like it to be.

If the climate has to change, surely it is less destructive to the prospects for humans and all other life on Earth if the temperature increases. Certainly any change (hotter or colder) is likely to cause immense problems – some regions may become uninhabitable, other regions which are not habitable today may become temperate. I am not suggesting for a moment that it is going to be a smooth ride. But overall, and depending on the extent, colder temperatures are more destructive to life, so we should hope that the direction of temperature change is upwards.

Global warming is ubiquitously portrayed as being a disaster, but perhaps you will agree with me that this is not necessarily the case…

Government Policies

This brings me on to the subject of government policies, and for the reasons I have expanded on above, I am entirely opposed to government policies aimed at reducing the amount of carbon dioxide pumped into the atmosphere.

These policies result in us having to pay huge amounts of tax on fuel, particularly petrol and diesel, and also on the gas and electricity that we use to heat our homes. The government makes no pretence about the reason – the taxes are deliberately set at a level to discourage usage. A small reduction in CO2 emissions may be obtained (pointlessly, as I have discussed) and meanwhile millions of people suffer real hardship – and in some cases even death – as a result of being unable to heat their homes adequately.

Government policies in regard to global warming also have major effects on our environment – look at the destruction of some of the country’s most beautiful landscapes with ever increasing numbers of pointless wind turbines - as well as having relatively minor consequences such as controlling what light bulbs we are allowed to use in our homes (how annoying is that?). Meanwhile other countries such as China sensibly carry on building coal fired power stations at a breakneck pace to power their economic expansion, rendering anything the British parliament enforces in regard to carbon reduction utterly pointless (I would have argued that it was pointless anyway).

One of the government’s main targets, as I have mentioned, is transport. An attempt is being made to price the motorist off the road – instead we are all supposed to use public transport instead. Car bad, train or bus good, but mysteriously aeroplane (which last time I checked was a form of public transport), very bad. What sort of logic is going on there? And of course the taxation aimed at the private motorist also affect the providers of public transport, and so we also end up having to pay huge prices for transport whether it be private or public.

Future Energy

Supporters of renewable energy (ie wind, wave, solar) will point out that fossil fuels will not last forever, and this is undeniably true. But can these technologies provide a replacement for fossil fuels? At the moment the answer to that is a definite no.

Nuclear power is where government money should be directed, both in building new (fission) power stations immediately, and also in research into the development of fusion power stations. Fusion power stations present an incredible technical challenge, but once the technology is developed the potential is there to provide energy for the whole world using only sea water as the fuel source. Mankind will be able to move on from the age of fossil fuel usage and we can stop worrying about pumping carbon dioxide into the atmosphere.

And then we can sit back and watch the climate change anyway.


Environment


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