Saturday, 11 November 2006

License to Kill

Following is a letter from yesterday's Age... Followed by a few brief words from your host.

Thanks for the balance
DESPITE its overwhelming support in editorials and in the number of stories that support human activity as the predominant cause of supposedly catastrophic global warming, The Age is to be congratulated for printing the contrary views of climate scientist William Kininmonth (Opinion, 2/11), as well as the critical reply from the CSIRO's Kevin Hennessy (Letters, 4/11).
To the lay reader, both the arguments and counter-arguments make some sense, and this is surely the kind of debate we need to have about such matters, rather than the emotional rhetoric of "very real fear for our children" (Ian Broinowski, Letters, 7/11) or the frank propaganda of Al Gore's film.
Very few "sceptics" deny there is some impact of human activity on global warming; we just doubt its relative influence, and its supposedly totally disastrous detrimental effects everywhere. Global warming did not "cause" the current drought. Over the past 10 years, the north-west half of Australia has had above-average rainfall; much of it well above average. Did global warming cause that too? What about the record low overnight temperatures for October in parts of western Victoria? There are many natural variations in our climate.
Expert doubters such as Kininmonth show that while he is still in the minority, the debate about climate change is not over, and "all evidence" is never in.
Ian Murray, Westgarth

Now back to your host again...
Why did I bother with this email? For two reasons.

The first is simply to show how "we", the people who call on people to do something with regards to the phenomenon known as global warming, still have a lot to do when it comes to the marketing of our message. If people are unaware that "global warming" does not necessarily mean warming but is actually more like "fluke weather everywhere", causing them to think that if it's getting cooler there's no problem to take care of, then we have a problem.
The second is to say that as much as I advocate doing something about global warming, I can see where the above guy is coming from. Look at Al Gore's book, An Inconvenient Truth, and you will see much in the way of evidence to show that global warming is taking place, but not much showing you the link between man made activities and this global warming (there are some indirect evidence, such as the rise of acidity in the oceans and the affluence of certain sea creatures that live on the trash we dump into the sea). This lack of direct connection between us and the weather is the main problem today, as far as convincing is concerned, because most people now will agree that the weather is going wild; it's just that too many of them say it's just natural.
My point of view, which has been expressed in this blog on numerous occasions already, is that while I admit there is a significant leap of faith to be taken here - it is still significantly less than the leap of faiths required by this world's believers in religion (sadly, they're the majority).
But more to the point, my view is that we don't have anything to lose by acting to reduce the amount of contamination we humans deliver upon this world. Even if it doesn't affect the weather, it affects the animals we kill when we cut down their territories in order to build beach side resorts or more areas for beef grazing so we can eat more McDonald burgers. And it affects us, because the burning of coal - to name just one example - doesn't release energy alone, but also some other lovely stuff into the atmosphere (including some radioactive stuff). Each year, a great number of us die from complications to do with this shit that we breath.
So why shouldn't we act on this? Why shouldn't we develop energy sources that don't contaminate? So that Exxon can still make a huge profit? Why should we give these companies that care only for the financial benefit of a very already too privileged few? Why should we continue giving them a license to kill?
My point is: Even if you don't believe Al Gore; even if you don't believe most scientists; you will still benefit greatly from doing the things the scientists tell us that we need to do in order to address global warming. Even if all it does is clear your conscious, it would still be worthwhile.

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