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CLIMATE CHANGE - Can we slow it down?

Last year, I took part in a survey asking whether I supported the government’s policies on climate change. I replied to the survey and said No.

I imagined that this put me firmly, according to many people, in the category of Climate Change Deniers. Which was and is completely wrong. I read a lot about climate change, and have done so for some 15 years - probably more than most people. I am a denier of nothing, with one massive exception. I am amazed at the folly of the policies being proposed, in particular, of course, at the recent COP26 jamboree in Glasgow.

I am writing this to explain why, partly because the energy crisis now threatening Europe is causing many people to think more carefully about it all. Would someone, please, tell me where I’m going wrong.

Put simply, I cannot see how the policies have any chance of succeeding, that is to say, in preventing, or even slowing, the planet from getting warmer – although obviously, if implemented, they would do immense damage.

The idea, as everyone is endlessly told, is to reduce the amount of carbon dioxide being emitted into the atmosphere. The main problem is that the Chinese (and the Indians), who are by far the biggest emitters of carbon dioxide, have shown no willingness to reduce their emissions. Understandably. They have the objective of continuing the process of raising countless millions of their people out of what we would regard as abject poverty. They plan to do so using the cheapest form of energy available which, at the present time, causes the emission of carbon dioxide. In the face of this, whatever we do in the UK (being responsible for only 1% of total global emissions), or even in Europe, will make no appreciable difference. Indeed the UN climate body states that, if all the promises made at the recent Paris accord were met in full, the result in terms of the temperature of the planet would be negligible.

The only policy that would make any (theoretical) sense would be to convince the Chinese of the dire consequences of continuing to do what they are doing. They would need convincing, not only that the extreme consequences of global warming are likely; but also, much more difficult, that reducing the levels of CO2 being emitted would reliably cure the problem. There are eminent scientists who doubt both propositions, as I suspect the Chinese well know.

If our policies make no practical difference to the climate, why do we continue with them? To send a signal, I have been told. But will it work? It hasn’t so far. How can anyone seriously suppose that sending a signal will cause the Chinese to change course? And indeed, how can we be sufficiently sure that reducing CO2 emissions (even if possible in practice) will halt global warming enough to justify the extreme measures being proposed?

As I say, please tell me what I’m missing. But don’t bother to tell me that I’m underestimating the dire consequences of global warming. Perhaps I am. And also, don’t bother to tell me that there are other reasons for reducing our dependence on fossil fuels. Of course there are.

The crucial point is how can we be even reasonably sure that our policies will solve the problem of global warming. If we can’t, we must assume that the planet will get warmer, as it has been doing for some 200 years, and prepare diligently to deal with any possible adverse consequences.

Tony Herbert

29 April 2022

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2 comentarios

John Fisher
John Fisher
30 abr 2022


It is not true that China does not understand the consequences of global warming. They do and of all countries, are probably taking the most practical action to reduce it. They are the world's biggest maker of solar panels and already have a huge electric vehicle industry. However, unlike us in the West, they have the realistic aim of their energy demands being 50% fossil fuel and 50% green by 2050. I believe our aims are totally unrealistic. 25 million home boilers to be replaced by 2030?

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30 abr 2022

I fear that you are missing nothing on this and that you are right about the Chinese and the Indians. I fear mankind is being taught a lesson by mother nature from which we will fail to learn.

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