"My humanity is bound up in yours, for we can only be human together." “When I hear people say politics and religion don't mix, I wonder what Bible they are reading.” (Archbishop Desmond Tutu)

"And what does the Lord require of you but to do justly, and to love kindness and mercy, and to humble yourself and walk humbly with your God?" Micah 6.8

"Whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable--if anything is excellent or praiseworthy--think about such things." Philippians 4.19

"Work out your salvation with fear and trembling." Philippians 2.12

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Climate change

Do you know I'm about fed up with stupid people? (You hum it, I'll join in.)

It's half term and I am looking at my syllabus at what comes next for Yr 10. It is the Environment. (Or if you one of 85% of Yr 10, the enviroment.)

I'll nail my colours firmly to the mast here: I believe in climate change. Even in temperate Northern England I believe we are seeing its consequences, although as we are in temperate Northern England those consequences aren't yet huge. This generation of young people seem to take the problem more seriously than their elders.

I'm tired of being told by doubters that the science is dodgy and being pointed to web-sites that offer an alternative perspective, only to discover - even with my very limited I.T. skills - that those same sites are funded by organisations that are linked to other organisations with a direct interest in the oil industries - or the U.S. Republican Party.

I'm tired, every time George Monbiot publishes something in the newspaper, to see the vitriol poured on his head by people whose log-on time and spelling suggest a concerted campaign by those who are mainly American. My that "Guardian": such international influence.

I am tired, even after the University of East Anglia e-mail fiasco having been investigated by at least three public and transparent enquiries, to be told repeatedly that these scientists were corrupt and were manipulating data. They were not. Professionally precious and hiding petty jealousies possibly, naive, certainly but corrupt, no.

I'm tired of hearing the IPCC slagged off as if it were a cynical organisation intent on duping the public rather than an independent international organisation of leading climate scientists.

I'm tired of hearing the American National Acadamy of Sciences treated in the same way.

I'm tired of hearing that these organisations and many like them are part of an "international conspiracy" to usher in a global government.

I'm tired of hearing the same old denial phrases dropped into radio phone-ins, blogs, newspaper editorials and letters to the editor, when all of those things are part of a denial public relations strategy. Typically, these attempts take the rhetorical form of legitimate scientific debate, while not adhering to the actual principles of that debate and are most closely associated with the energy lobby, industry advocates and free market think tanks.

I'm tired of hearing that measures to combat carbon emissions will damage industry and I'm tired of hearing people who should know better, but clearly know nothing, encouraging a confused public to be cynical about climate change.

I'm tired of hearing about the "thousands" of scientists who are not in agreement about science of climate change. How many scientists are there on the planet? Do the maths. What has someone with a PHd in the lifecycle of a Mayfly got to teach me about climate change anyway?

I'm tired of being told there is no scientific consensus when there most certainly is.

I'm tired of hearing, after particulalry cold snaps, people sniggering about global warming as if they couldn't tell the difference between weather and climate. Perhaps they can't.

And I'm actually bored by the whole discussion because it can't be conducted with the objectivity required for such a serious issue.

No doubt someone will, in response, point me to another website which denies climate change. Don't bother. There are literally millions of websites, blogs, articles etc. on both sides of the debate. There aren't enough hours in the day!

I am therefore proud as a British citizen, that my Government - albeit the coalition I didn't vote for, has set the world's toughest targets on carbon emissions in an attempt to combat climate change. Read more here I am also deeply frustrated that it is a unilateral act.

In yesterday's newspaper I read with some alarm that 2010 was the worst year ever for carbon emissions and that as a consequence the 2c increase target is pretty well out of the window. This is what would happen if we managed to limit average temperature rises to a mere 2c:

Heatwaves which killed tens of thousands in 2003 will return every year. Southern England will see summer temperatures of around 40c. Agricultural yields will drop and half a billion people will be at risk of starvation. Glaciers will recede, reducing the water supply for cities including Los Angeles. Coastal flooding will affest 10million more people. A third of species will become extinct.
Read more here

As Caroline Lucas, our one Green Party M.P. noted "The climate crisis is the greatest security threat we face. If we are to avoid going down in history as the species that spent all its time monitoring its own extinction, rather than taking action to prevent it, we need to move to the equivalent of a "war footing", where the efforts of individuals, organisations and governments are harnessed together and directed to a common goal." (Guardian letters 01.06.11)

And do you know what really, really frustrates me? Some of the worst deniers are Christians. Why? Because they have no theology of stewardship but are willing to listen to political rhetoric.


  1. Count me amongst the believers in climate change. Here in wet and humid south Louisiana, we are in drought conditions. We haven't had rain for months, but for a couple of short showers a month or so ago.

    The deniers live in a fantasy world. I read the other day that the increasing violence and size of tornadoes in the US may be due to warming temperatures in the oceans. The recent tornadoes in Joplin, Missouri, which destroyed one third of the city, are a case in point.

  2. You are so right. What distresses me is that members of my close family are denier(deny-ers) and they won't be persuaded. What world are my children going to be stewarding when they are older???

  3. Depressing as that is, what was more depressing were the forcasts for a 3c or 4c increase. Maybe Mr Camping WAS on to something!

  4. I for one don't believe that human activity is the sole reason for climate change; there seems to be overwhelming evidence that there have been warming and cooling cycles in the past. My personal opinion is that the current warming has more to do with the level of sunspot activity over the last half of the twentieth century, combined with deforestation in South America than any carbon emissions from the United Kingdom.

    Further, I would suggest the current trend of forcing manufacturing and energy generation out of this country through the imposition of green taxes, is not helping. Think about the lack of environmental care shown by Chinese industrialists, for example. Of course, no-one wanted to force manufacturing abroad; it's an unintended consequence of Britain's decision to impose significantly more stringent targets, I'm afraid.

  5. Human activity may not be the only cause but what can I do about climate cycles and sunspots? Absolutely nothing, so I do something where I do have control.

    Let's not use these examples as excuses not to do anything.

    BTW: Sunspot activity and climate cycles are very much in the realm of the sorts of doubt inducing "scientific facts" that Sir rightly points out are sown in the media by the public relations machine of Big Business.

  6. The most recent IPCC Fourth Assessment Report stated that it is now very
    likely that most of the observed increase in globally‐averaged temperatures in the last
    50 years is attributable to human activities.