People have become motivated to explore the topic of Anthropogenic Global Warming for many reasons, sometimes starting from a passing interest, as in my case. It intrigued me in about 2007 to find that the UK was proposing to create an act of parliament entitled the ‘Climate Change Act’. Anyone with a background in technology and the numerate sciences, might take this Act to mean that it was something to provide extra funds and preparedness for what we had already experienced by way of climate effects. The consequences of cold winters, flooding, low rainfall, coastal erosion, had been long understood and mainly been countered by experience. Whilst there were hazards from the UK climate, surely very little would be required to improve on protection?
This was not in fact the case with the CC Act, it was not a request to improve what we had already in place. There unfolded a tale of frightening scenarios. We were now in for ever increasing temperatures, unprecedented rises in sea levels, melting icecaps, drowning polar bears, mass extinctions and desertifications. Of this the experts, otherwise called ‘climatologists’, were sure. They said so. They had the computer models. Their scenarios were so severe that governments had to act now, and with lots of funding now, and we had to change our lifestyles now, away from CO2 producing energy to ‘renewable’ power sources, that only the environmentalists could recommend.
Memes and Tropes
There were a number of recurring themes amongst the proponents and believers of this cataclysmic vision. The strength of their case seemed to be proportional to the number of times theses memes were repeated in the media and even in governmental documents related to AGW.
The Arctic icecap melting was one of such universal self evident truths, repeated endlessly and held up as visible, incontrovertible evidence of the planet in trouble. Polar bears and the plight of their cubs were freely used in gaggingly emotional appeals. CO2, a gas essential to life, was branded a killer gas, a nasty heat grabbing evil force which would blanket the planet in a smothering cloud. Above all, the climatologists had computer models which showed an ever rising global temperature, unless we cut back on the dreaded CO2 emissions.
However, upon investigation, thanks to the Web, none of the standard AGW memes stood up to even a limited investigation. What was striking were the things that were not mentioned in relation to the AGW themes. The Artic ice melt sounds conveniently threatening, but if it really is evidence of a global warming problem, the other icecap the Antarctic, should also show ice losses, surely? Not so. The Antarctic ice coverage is increasing, and last year, 2012, it reached a record high.
The polar bear population in the 1970’s was about 5,000. Today it is about 22,000. Thus, in three decades it has increased fourfold. If this was widely known, the emetically emotional images of cute polar bear cubs supposedly threatened with reducing numbers and extinction, lose all impact.
CO2, labelled with being a ‘greenhouse gas’ a shorthand way of associating this essential gas with something apparently dangerous, is said by AGW supporters to have heat ‘trapping’ properties. Only ever grabbing heat and holding it in the atmosphere, raising the earth’s temperature. For them, ever more of this greenhouse gas abomination created by fossil fuel burning, therefore means a one-way route to uncontrolled global warming. Unfortunately for this oft repeated theme, the infrared physical properties of CO2 also contain a cooling effect. At night, CO2 in the atmosphere radiates heat out into the cold sky of space. Adding more CO2 therefore increases this overall cooling effect.
The expert climatologists told us that they had the best data. They said that they had computer models which accounted for all effects. They told us that their predictions showed that the global temperatures in the first decades of this century would rise, unless we took drastic actions to reducde CO2 emissions. However, the computer models were wrong. Atmospheric CO2 has continued to rise, but the global temperatures have remained flat. In fact there has been no increase in sixteen years. This is not just striking evidence of the tenuous relationship between CO2 and global warming, but also invalidates many of the climatologists claims about their climate hypotheses. It is not surprising that this last point is studiously avoided.
The Hard Political Reality
All of the above counterpoints to the AGW poster memes were easily available via the Web, and also in many peer reviewed papers. However, such simple checks and searches were evidently unavailable, or were considered unnecessary, by the UK body politic in the runup to the Climate Change Act 2008. The UK produces less than 2% of the world’s emissions, and even if the link between CO2 and global temperatures were accepted, then very little of what the UK does can have an effect. The UK is shutting down its coal fired power stations, while the rest of the world is building 1200 new coal fired power stations; about 100 times the capacity of the UK’s gesture politics.
The closed political world which had given birth to the CC Act was unlikely to be the best agency to realise the faults and mistakes inherent in its composition. Nor would it be able to openly retract from the finanically disasterous and power blackout inducing consequences. It was evident that to repeal the Act, it was necessary to become involved politically, together with the many others already campaigning against what has turned out to be one of the most damaging pieces of legislation, ever to have been foisted on a much too tolerant UK public.
Costs: Forty years at £18billion a year = £720billion
Benefits: UK contribution to global temperature reduction = 0.008C
The CC Act 2008 as an Indicator of UK Politics
The Act was near unanimously voted through by all parties, with a few notable exceptions. That such an obviously flawed concept based on questionable advice, with an initial cost of about £200 billion and benefits calculated at only £120 billion, could ever have been greeted with such enthusiasm by a supposedly mature parliamentary system, invites deep examination. It provides an example of how far our UK system of governance has become separated from modern reality, that it could believe intermittent unpredictable power from windturbines would be fit for a 21st century nation.
The concerned observer of the self deceptions and hubris leading up to the CC Act and its unprecedented consequences, will realise that what is needed is not just the repeal of the Act, but a change to the national politics. Westminster cannot be allowed to further aglomerate into an untouchable clique of selfsame political views, unrelated to the needs of the people, and simply isolated from the greater national discourse.
- Null hypothesis: Why climate change is good for the world.
- UK CO2 reductions would be pretty much 0% (cornwallwindwatch.wordpress.com)
- Rolling Blackouts Threaten UK due to Climate Change Carbon Tax and… (prweb.com)
- CC Act and Politics (ccact2008.wordpress.com)