Thursday, November 24, 2005

Whither UK Energy Policy?

An interesting article that says a lot about where the UK stands with respect to understanding climate change and energy pricing. In short, the country is in a bloody mess when it comes to (1) understanding and (2) doing something about the energy situation.

Perhaps the greatest problem facing policy makers and their advisors is that they have failed to appreciate the basic problems. (1) Yes, there is such a thing as climate change. (2) No, there is no firm evidence that the present trend of warming (if there really is one) is man-made.

To the first problem I simply say, as has been said many times on this blog, that change is normal, it is what we can and should expect. Rather than trying to control something we don't understand we should be working out ways to adapt to the changes.

Precious little work has been undertaken to try to connect observed climate change to man's influences. I rather think this is because the evidence is more imaginary than factual. Those that have tried simply admit that there are too many variables in such a complex open system as the earth's climate. What they do see is that the most likely driver for climate change is sunspot activity, something mere mortals (including the greenest of small-minded politicians from Mars) cannot possibly have direct control over.

Poor climate change science has backed many a top scientist into a corner - Lord May of the Royal Society being a prime candidate for the top prize (and it wouldn't be Nobel). It is hard for such illuminaries to back down from what is increasingly being seen as an untenable position. As is not unusual in the scheme of things scientific it is likely to be the outsiders who will bring sense to the debate.

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