Sunday, February 10, 2008

Warming world, cooling debate

Yes it’s been a very long time since my last rambling. In fact it was more than a year ago I posted my immediate thoughts after seeing An Inconvenient Truth. But it seems much longer considering how quickly the climate change debate gathered steam.

Within months of its release, the film had stirred a new wave of eco-consciousness. Green was the new black and everyone seemed to be jumping on the bandwagon at full steam ahead.

As outlined in my last entry, the fact that sustainability and conservation issues are now firmly in our psyche can only be a good thing. It’s in the back of my mind everyday – when I turn on the dishwasher or washing machine, have a shower, or brush my teeth.

No doubt you’ve experienced green guilt at having left a light on unnecessarily or used the dryer when you could have really waited for a sunny day.

That’s not the point. My unease lies within a broader framework. I know I’m eating some if not more of my words here, but it was alarming how quickly the debate shifted - especially in terms of its political and scientific discourse.

Yes climate change is alarming. But surely an issue of such magnitude and impact deserves continued rigorous debate. Many scientists still claim we’re being misled.

I’m not saying we are. But perhaps the debate was defined too narrowly too quickly.

In fact there’s a lot of evidence against human causation in global warming. The Carbon Sense Coalition (http://www.carbon-sense.com/) is one such alternative, and a quick look at some of its scientific reports reveals a very different and compelling view.

These scientists claim that the doctrine acceptance of the IPCC (Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change) reports `blocks learned discussion’ and brings `little credit to the scientific community.’

And while climate scientists are claiming the debate is over, `space scientists and others are making quite remarkable progress in showing that global warming is almost entirely due to natural causes.’

Global warming is scary and yes we need to take action. But for an issue of such enduring impact, it seems a little concerning that so many of us (including myself) were unfamiliar with it even a year ago.

Do we blame the government for not bringing it to our attention... or is it an indictment of our society that it takes a film (effective but perhaps not necessarily scientifically impartial) for us to sit up and take notice?

The issue here isn’t global warming. I appreciate the immense scientific research of institutions such as the IPCC and CSIRO – and the evidence backing the role of humans in global warming. But I think the debate may have been prematurely hijacked. In my last posting, I wrote that education is the most important tool in any debate. But it’s about educating yourself on both sides of the debate. Besides, you don’t want your words to end up biting you on your blog.


  • At 10:58 am, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Thank God there are other people in the media who see the overpoliticisation of climate change "Hello Sunrise, you listening?". I don't know where it all went cock-eyed, but the hysteria in the public forum is incredible and I feel I could lynched for saying it's possibly a natural occurence.

    The focus for it should be on the reduction of energy consumption and depletion of our resources.

  • At 10:48 am, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Congratulations on your ability to examine your previous position. Too much of the climate change dogma has been accepted on face value by the general public. Throw-away lines such as "the vast majority of scientists agree with the IPCC..." become part of the paradigm, when in fact it is false.

    Science is never "settled", and scientific debate is never "closed". Well done for recognising that, Sara.

  • At 7:07 pm, Blogger jformaldehydem said…

    I love someone who can be objective and not just get swept away with the hype. I'm not entirely sure where I stand on the issue and there is a lot of evidence either way. I am concerned about global warming and I accept the evidence that it is due to human activity, as I accept some of the evidence that it is not. But there is another issue at hand, and that is sustainability. Whether our use of fossil fuels is leading to an increase in carbon dioxide levels that is increasing the greenhouse gas effect or not, we can not continue to rely on a resource which is becoming increasingly scarce, and increasingly damaging to the environment to dig up.

    The problem of running out of oil goes just beyond energy. We are heavily reliant on organic chemicals for almost everything. Think of how important plastic is to our society, it all starts from oil. Most pharmaceuticals would not be possible without oil based starting materials, reagents, or at the very least solvents for extraction.

    The issue is very serious and goes beyond global warming. We should have a reasonable alternative to power, however a reasonable alternative to many oil products which we rely on is further off, and we keep burning this vital resource in our cars.

  • At 8:17 pm, Anonymous Christopher said…

    Sara, It's good to see this evidence that you are much more than a pretty face. Not that I am minimising that I admire your pretty face.

    But belief that man-made carbon dioxide emissions allegedly cause harmful global warming has become a bureau-political monster. It is a serioulsy harmful belief, not scientifically valid, and it is great to see you as one of the few in the media who dares to say anything to doubt it. If you take the time to study it more carefully, I think you will find you move from doubt to confidence that the carbon-dioxide-emission-global-warming link is dangerously exaggerated and overplayed by approval-hungry politicians and bureaucrats. To become confident, I think the best way is to look at the scientific data for yourself, more than relying too much on the opinions of others. You have the brains to do that looking for yourself, I think. If you do become confident about the facts, you may be in a position to do a mighty load of good with them. The present direction of the political machine is just crazy and dangerous.

  • At 12:06 am, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    I commend your willingness to approach the debate without preconceptions, and reconsider your own previous conclusions as new information comes to hand.
    Nevertheless I would make the obvious point that 'you can't trust everything you find on the internet'.
    Yes, there are "scientists" and "media experts" who disagree with the overwhelming consensus. They may not be wrong, and the overwhelming majority may not be right. But it would not be sensible to attach the same weighting to both views.

    P.S. I agree with Christopher: you are very pretty ;-)


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