Monday, August 22, 2005

Back on line after a gap away

I've been in Africa for a spell and away from the daily news.

I have been thinking about the reasons why politicians, in particular, seem to be so concerned about climate change. The cynical approach to an explanation is that the whole subject is a red herring to take the electorates' mind off more pressing issues that could be tackled in a meaningful fashion.

But, perhps because I was in Africa, I have come up with another reason for their concern: immigration.

My reasoning goes like this. During man's history there have been several major climate changes (ice ages being the largest swings) and man has responded by moving freely from one area to another. This nomadic existence is still maintained in some areas of the world and it is of interest to note that such remaining nomadic peoples tend to be where the political boundaries are the least well marked and patrolled. Immigration controls in the west are a significant barrier to migration and these tend to be the more stronger when it is perceived that potential immigrants want something they don't have where they happen to be.

Think about Ethiopia or Niger. Major droughts have provided the impetus for large migrations out of those lands. Those remaining would probably like to leave as well, if they could. Not by land, of course, but by air.

The politicians of the First World (i.e. G8 plus) have seen this threat andf they don't like it. Of course, they can't easily talk about it, so they blame climate change instead and insist they must control the planet's climate. Silly fools.

Friday, August 05, 2005

Daily Telegraph bashes the Establishment

Today's leader contains a useful commentary on the politics of the Royal Society and its insistence on consensus. Global warming is the battleground. This article should be archived and we will need to see what Lord May and others make of the criticism.

I particularly like the Telegraph's comment: It is not for this newspaper to establish scientific facts on climate change. The matter is not susceptible to the arguments of opinion. But nor can science be straitjacketed by "consensus". Scientific theories come not from committee-work, lobbying or votes, but from experiment. Dissident scientists should not be cast to the fringes, like lepers of old. If they dispute prevailing hypotheses, let us hear their grounds.

What makes a scientist dissident? Only concensus from the majority can do so and then only when the majority becomes inclusive to its own thinking. Shame on the Royal Society for falling into such a trap.

Thursday, August 04, 2005

Letters to the Editor (re House of Lords report)

Three letters in today's Daily Telegraph. Unfortunately these letters may not be archived, so I will precis them:

First, from Lord May of Oxford, President of the Royal Society. A very disappointing rejoinder to the article from so eminent a scientist. Sounds like a typical Royal Society "them and us" spat in progress. I quote "The committee did not produce a good account of the science of climate change, concentrating as it did on some uncertainties in our knowledge and neglecting the work of the thousands of scientists, from many countries, upon which the consensus view of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change is based. You know, it is the uncertainties in a theory which need to be highlighted, researched and tested. That is what the Royal Society has always supposed to have been about but, as Jenny Ungar in the "Lunar Men" has pointed out, the establishment has never been very good at innovation!

Second a letter concerning the flawed concepts of the Kyoto protocol and how the intermittent resources of wind and wave will need nuclear backup.

Third, a letter from Prof. Philip Stott, another "global warming can be good for us" advocate. I have no doubt his blog will cover this letter, so check it out there. This letter, when compared with Lord May's, contains good analysis and some original thoughts to contribute to the debate. The fact that East Asia and the Pacific are going to ignore Kyoto is particularly telling for the "old world" politicians. That is, if they are listening!

Tuesday, August 02, 2005

Exentuate the Positive

Reading the House of Lords Select Committee's report (see entry below) reminds me of the saying "Exentuate the Positive". That is exactly the opposite of what the global warming doomsday scenario boys and girls want us to do!

During any period of change there will be some advantages and some disadvantages. For example, agriculture in northern latitudes can be expected to increase while some areas in warmer climes could suffer from increased droughts. Our ancestors took this into account as they migrated northward when the last ice age retreated. Of course, they didn't need passports then and the lands they occupied had no means to stop their migration. Unlike today. Which might offer an unlikely explanation for a negative emphasis on climate change - our immigration laws.

If we are to stress such disadvantages (and that is what the politicians and environmentalists want us to do) then obviously we should ignore the positive attributes of potential climate change. It takes a brave person to stand up against the overwhelming concensus that global warming is bad for the planet, particularly if that person depends on funding or election to continue in his/her role. But the House of Lords is not elected and so has no hang ups when it comes to providing a balanced view. No wonder Tony Blair wants to curtail its powers when it doesn't fall in line with his religious beliefs about global warming!

Monday, August 01, 2005

Casual conversations

I am often shocked and appalled by the concensus among lay people that global warming is a dire threat to humankind and that we must do all we can to prevent the globe from heating up. Some people soften when I engage in debate, others simply don't want to listen.

The problem appears to lie within the confusion between "saving the planet" and doing the right things in order to sustain life. There is no doubt that fossil fuels are being consumed at a very rapid rate (though the doom and gloom surrounding running out of oil has yet to be predicted correctly). There is also no doubt that we are shockingly bad at packaging products with the resulting waste that goes to our landfills. There is no doubt that much of industry, if left alone, would probably continue to pollute in Victorian style.

Somewhere along the way, the global warming is bad for the planet syndrome has taken over more common sense approaches and now the only way to save the planet is to try to control its temperature! I'm all for the common sense approach to restraint on packaging, pollution controls, economical clean engines, and so on. But I also know that we are going to have to live with whatever comes along, be it an Ice Age or a burst of sunspot activity. Change is, as Darwin demonstrated, a good thing: it's probably why we evolved so rapidly into standing, thinking, communicating creatures. And now we are bent on defeating the process by thinking we can control the process.

House of Lords Select Committee Report

This report in the Daily Telegraph got delayed by events around July 7, but is highly significant nonetheless. Turns out there are some in high places who see the truth about the Kyoto Prorocol and recognize that (a) it is irrelevant and (b) cannot work in practice. Their language is restrained as the article points out. One line I particularly like "there are some positive aspects to global warming and these appear to have been played down in the IPCC reports" says it all about the religion of global warming.

You can download the full report as a pdf file.