Sunday, December 04, 2005

The Independent

No, I don't read the Independent - why would anyone want to? But this article deserves to be read and deconstructed. So here goes.

Killer storms and global warming. This paragraph fails to mention the fact that hurricanes wax and wane over periods of about 30 years or so. There is a strong probablility that this periodicy is connected with sunspot activity.

Rampant disease. This is the non-topic of the year, what with avian 'flu' being so much in the news. I call this section the very worst of scaremongering without basis. Deaths due to the heat wave in France could have been much less if the authorities hadn't gone into total denial. We can moderate insect borne diseases very simply - by limited the places they breed - as has been shown in countries like Malaysia and Singapore. Common sense approaches will save far more lives than scaremongering.

Rising Sea Levels. This is a real red herring. We live in a dynamic world but one that has certain finite conditions. Sea level is indeed rising in some parts of the world but in others it is dropping! How can that be! You could say it is a zero sum game but that is actually far too simple a condition in a complex world. Geological processes account for most, if not all, of the predictable sea level changes.

Devastated Wildlife. So polar bears will be the first "spectacular casualty" of global warming? The ice in the Arctic Ocean will be all gone by mid-Century? Ah, yes, selective evidence provides this allegation. Some scientists demonstrated that the north polar ice is shrinking in terms of area but other scientists pointed out that the bulk of polar ice hasn't changed significantly over the same time period.

Water Shortages. Again, think zero-sum. I don't think water is evaporating off the face of the earth so it must still be here. Not necessarily in the same place, of course. Part of the problem of living on a constantly changing planet. There's a lot we can do about preserving water supplies that has nothing to do with climate change (and the same goes with energy and many other natural resources).

Agricultural Turmoil. Ah, yes, the vexing problem of immigration, for that is what the concern is here. Rather than blame people for wanting to move from Ethiopia/Niger/Sudan to Europe/North America let's blame global warming, pretend to do something about it and keep those unfortunates where they are!

And finally, the "X Factor". The Independent's very own doomsday scenario, for the end of the world is nigh. It might well be. But then again, it might not. And as Michael Crichton put it so well in Jurassic Park - whatever disaster might prevail, even a nuclear holocaust, somewhere, locked deep in an ice sheet, bacteria and microbes will survive and will provide the material for a new explosion of life-forms. Not what readers of the Independent want to hear, of course!


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