September 1, 2009

Six things I've learnt about climate change

FROM-Douglas' Blog
Douglas Carswell MP for Harwich and Clampton

I'm now half-way through Ian Plimer's fascinating book on global warming, Heaven and Earth. Here are six things I hadn't previously known:

1. Over the past million years, way before industrial man came along, the climate has often changed very significantly, very quickly.

2. When climate changes, the shift is from being warm and wet to cold and dry. Or vice-versa. If global temperatures are rising, it's most likely getting wetter, not drier.

3. Warm-wet climates are generally better for life on earth than cold-dry climates.

4. CO2 levels have been far, far higher in the past - yet CO2 levels in the atmosphere don't seem to have been a significant driver of climate in the past.

5. Human activity accounts for a relatively tiny portion of global CO2 emissions. To quote Plimer, "One [submarine] hot spring can release far more CO2 than a 1000 mW coal-fired power station". There are many, many thousands of such springs.

6. Plimer suggests that the really significant drivers of climate change are the sun, ossiclations in the earth's orbit, and volcanic emissions of sulphur dioxide. Indeed, the 1784 eruption of Laki in Iceland put 150 million tonnes of SO2 into the atmosphere - which wiped out crops and caused famine in the northern hemisphere for a couple of years.

Apparently some climate change "experts" are now suggesting we put man-made SO2 particles in the atmosphere to cool the climate. Given what Plimer says about the effect of volcanic SO2 emissions on the climate in the past, that should seriously concern us.

Perhaps it's not climate change we should worry about, but the folly of our response to it. Once again, we presume ourselves to be at the centre of everything - rather than walk-on cameo players in the natural world.

UPDATE: Tom Harris MP has just posted an interesting blog in response to this, which seems to suggest that questioning man-made climate change rules me out as being any sort of "progressive". Seriously.

Surely a true progressive would always be willing to question established thinking? Being progressive is about devolving power over public policy away from the indolent and the self-serving in Westminster - and putting power in the hands of ordinary folk. Those same ordinary folk, incidentally, being forced to pick up the bill for all this action on climate change ...


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