Friday, March 02, 2007

The Great Global Warming Swindle

On Thursday 8th March 2007 at 9pm in the UK, Channel 4 will show a documentary called "The Great Global Warming Swindle".

TV Schedule

The Great Global Warming Swindle
Polemical film challenging the consensus that man-made CO2 is heating up the earth. Featuring leading academics, the film questions the science behind the accepted reasons for global warming and argues other explanations for climate change are not being properly aired.

George Monbiot has a good piece dated 30th Jan. 2007 that discusses this programme (and other things - I have picked out the bits relevant to this program).

Another Species of Denial
A company called WAG TV is currently completing a 90-minute documentary for Channel 4 called “The Great Global Warming Swindle”. Manmade climate change, the channel tells us, is “a lie … the biggest scam of modern times. The truth is that Global Warming is a multi-billion dollar worldwide industry: created by fanatically anti-industrial environmentalists; supported by scientists peddling scare stories to chase funding; and propped up by complicit politicians and the media. ... The fact is that CO2 has no proven link to global temperatures … solar activity is far more likely to be the culprit.”(10)

So it’s the same old conspiracy theory that we’ve been hearing from the denial industry for the past ten years, and it carries as much scientific weight as the contention that the Twin Towers were brought down by missiles. The programme’s thesis revolves around the deniers’ favourite canard: that the “hockey-stick graph” showing rising global temperatures is based on a statistical mistake made in a paper by the scientists Michael Mann, Raymond Bradley and Malcolm Hughes(11). What it will not be showing is that their results have now been repeated several times by other scientists using different statistical methods(12); that the paper claiming to have exposed the mistake has been comprehensively debunked(13) and that the lines of evidence used by Mann, Bradley and Hughes are just a few among hundreds demonstrating that 20th century temperatures were anomalous.

The decision to commission this programme seems even odder when you discover who is making it. In 1997, the director, Martin Durkin, produced a very similar series for Channel 4 called “Against Nature”, which also maintained that global warming was a scam dreamt up by environmentalists. It was riddled with hilarious scientific howlers. More damagingly, the only way in which Durkin could sustain his thesis was to deceive the people he interviewed and to edit their answers to change their meaning. Following complaints by his interviewees, the Independent Television Commission found that “the views of the four complainants, as made clear to the interviewer, had been distorted by selective editing” and that they had been “misled as to the content and purpose of the programmes when they agreed to take part.”(14) Channel 4 was obliged to broadcast one of the most humiliating primetime apologies it has ever made. Are institutional memories really so short?

So now the whole weary business of pointing out that the evidence against manmade climate change is sparse and unable to withstand critical scrutiny while the evidence in favour is overwhelming and repeatedly confirmed must begin all over again. How often do scientists have to remind the media that a handful of cherry-picked studies does not amount to the refutation of an entire discipline?


Dominic Lawson also discusses the program from a sceptics perspective in today's Independent.

Dominic Lawson: Here is another inconvenient truth (but this one will infuriate the Green lobby)

The article ends:
Even if you don't buy that, you should definitely watch the programme, if only to see the head of the International Arctic Research Centre, Syun-Ichi Akasofu, describe how "the Arctic has always been expanding and contracting ... the press come here all the time and ask us: will you say something about the Greenhouse disaster? And I say: there is none."

Then Dr Akasofu emits a tiny laugh - the laugh of a true scientist at the idiocy and hysteria of the world's media and politicians


For Debunking the "The Great Global Warming Swindle" two follow up posts on this blog are:

Debunking "The Great Global Warming Swindle" and
The Great Global Warming Swindle: The Fightback

The "Great Global Warming Swindle" debate took a highly amusing twist today with the leak of an email exchange between the executive producer Martin Durkin and two of the British scientists who questioned the accuracy of the story.

Martin Durkin to Climate Change Scientists: "You're a big daft cock"

Update:

New Durkin update (March 20th 2007).
It's a Swindle: Durkin Wiggles, Channel 4 runs

47 comments:

Anonymous said...

Global warming cannot be caused by Solar activity. For the following reasons. Since life has formed on earth the suns energy has increased from 25% output to 30%, yet the Earths surface temperature has remained the same. How? It is becayse the living Earth can adapt to it's environment (in this case the sun). What this program fails to recognise is that in order for the earth to maintain it's consistency in adapting to the ever-increasing heat, it needs for us HUMANS to not f**k it up by filling the skies with CO2 (thanks aircraft!).

Consider this before you disregard humans as the cause for global warming.

Anonymous said...

The Earth has been warming for 18,000 years, the seas have risen 400 feet in that time. Since the end of the last ice age, it has been a good period, but one of the few. The natural state of the Earth's climate is much cold than today, more like a snowball.

If it's so hot today, why are there no grape orchids in England, like there were in 1000 AD?

CO2 is a trace gas, the reason all these horror stories don't take into account the 95% forcing function of water vapor is wait for it, we don't know how. Yes puny man, doesn't know what makes the climate go round, nor how to change it if we wanted.

I would like to see the hysterics prove CO2 causes anything. Correlation is not causation.

Anonymous said...

“the views of the four complainants, as made clear to the interviewer, had been distorted by selective editing”

I'm guessing that you (and the press) feel this process is acceptable if the "producer" is someone such as Michael Moore. Amazing how selective intelligence can be applied.

Anonymous said...

Al Gore, high priest of global warming is such a hypocrite, he buys "carbon offsets" from himself - and then continues to create CO2 with his enormous energy use?! Check this company that does this for him (and checkout who is the chairman): Generation Investment Management LLP. WOW - Global Warming is a SCAM to make Al rich.

Anonymous said...

"Global warming cannot be caused by Solar activity... It is becayse the living Earth can adapt to it's environment (in this case the sun). it needs for us HUMANS to not f**k it up by filling the skies with CO2."

It is interesting that the earth is able to, as you say, fully adapt to a five percent increase in radiation from a close-proximity star. And yet it is so utterly unable to adapt to a relatively miniscule fluctuation in its CO2 (keeping in mind that CO2 makes up approximately five one-hundredths of one percent of our atmosphere).

I guess that means CO2 is Earth's kryptonite or something, for such a small dose to kill its defenses. Which is unfortunate for good old earth, since CO2 just happens to be a gas which nearly all living things emit.

Mike's America said...

What is George Monibot and the global warming zealots afraid of?

If they're confident about their scientific conclusions than they have nothing to fear from the discussion of additional information.

It would seem to me that the "deniers" would be a label more accurately applied to those who arrogantly insist that the scientific debate is settled.

It is not.

Anonymous said...

George Monibot was nabbed deleting sceptical posts he wrote soon after 911 from his own blog. A lot of the money poured into "Green" charities goes on the promoting of Global Warming rather than taking any direct action. Don't forget that even the IPCC say "very likely" or 90% chance that global warming is down to man, I for one don't want to risk carbon taxing with those kinda chances.

Anonymous said...

It is the "last gasp" of the socialist movement for power. It is another use of fear and ignorance to control people. Like Stalin would do they wish to silence the critics, prosecute them as criminals. Global warming is real but the left leaning science that says we caused it are not. I am waiting for the real science and proof to use in my lawsuit. I am going to recoup my losses from Gore.

Anonymous said...

Im looking forward to this interesting debate. Show me the data!

Best Regards from,

Seattle, WA

Anonymous said...

Perhaps Mr Monbiot or Mr Gore can explain why every planet and moon in the solar system with an atmosphere is showing signs of global warming? why doesn't this ever surface in the argument? is it because the carbon emission sheeple don't have an answer for it?

Anonymous said...

Why is it that so many who beleive in CO2 based global warming are afraid of competing theories? Is is because they don't totally beleive their theory themselves? Science is based on a variety of scientists doing research and looking at different theories. If we simply bought what "the scientific community (elite)" said was true, we never would have broken the sound barrier, or realized such obvious truths that the earth is round and that it orbits the sun versus the other way around. At one time the "scientific community" beleived the opposite as fact.

Let others speak and let the public decide for themselves. Debate is healthy, don't drown it out.

Mike
Bay Port, MI

F0ul said...

hope this is the first proper crack in the media blackout that has prevented debate.
No, there is no definitive proof of the cause of global warming, one way or the other.

However, the whole debate is so political, it is just ridiculous - if a person doesn't believe that man has done damage, he is labeled a denier - a term with such obvious holocaust association, that it makes you sick.
Give it a few years and there is a chance the grapefruit brigade (Green outside / red inside) will have panicked themselves into an institution!

Rob Elliott said...

Some interesting comments - however, it is a shame that the whole argument has to become so political.

IPCC says that there is a 90% chance that man is contributing to global warming.

The question we want to ask as economists is what are the costs.

1. What will be the possible future cost of doing nothing - there is a chance that it will be unmeasurable in a worse case scenario.

2. What is the cost of doing something to limit the human impact? Should we pay now or wait for our children and grandchildren to pay for cleaning up the mess (when it may be a lot more expensive or impossible)?

3. Could the money be better spent elsewhere? AIDS, Malaria, poverty reduction? Where should "climate change" rank?

This is where the Stern report made an excellent start and why we are running a workshop this Friday on the "Economics of the Stern Report". See previous post:
http://globalisation-and-the-environment.blogspot.com/2007/02/workshop-on-economics-of-stern-review.html

Matt Cole said...

I admire your restraint Rob. It's frightening how many skeptics come out of the woodwork when we make a post like this.

Climate change isn't a certainty, but when an enormous body of science tells me that something has a 90% probability I tend to believe it. I would question the objectivity of anyone in the non-scientific community who doesn't believe it.

By being highly selective, it is possible to piece together a polemnical argument against practically anything. Can you image how many scientists the producer of this documentary had to approach before he found enough to build the case he wanted to build? Frightening.

Rant over. I feel better already.

Matt

Anonymous said...

nice and un biased here then

Anonymous said...

What amuses me is just how many experts on climate particuilarly past climate self profess them selves why cant people rely on fact.

One thing is absolutly certain nothing man has the will to do globally is likely to reduce CO2 in the long run the only long toem solution is to educate towards a much reduced population and direct research to how we can live with the ievitable changes. Further Global Warming research has and wil continue to drain essential funds from many truly vital areas, such as why have birds and insects declined. We may be able to survive the climate but starvation from nothing left to pollenate food crops is a real issue. Most food is directly or indirectly the result of insect activity. Sadly bugs don't have the media appeal of other disasters and so the cause of the huge decline of many insect species may never be resolved before it is too late. DDT was not banned untill it affected Humans. Perhaps the recent eminent entomologist who has photographed river trout flies laying eggs may hold a clue. Thing is they were MALE insects laying eggs!

Anonymous said...

The Monbiot (p)refutation of the programme, quoted above, says: "The programme’s thesis revolves around the deniers’ favourite canard: that the “hockey-stick graph” showing rising global temperatures is based on a statistical mistake made in a paper by the scientists Michael Mann, Raymond Bradley and Malcolm Hughes(11)."

However, that wasn't the progamme's thesis. The programme didn't contest global warming, but the causal link from anthropogenic atmospheric CO2 to global warming.

Blimey! Is Mr Monbiot trying to throw sand in his readers' eyes?

Edmund Ironside said...

Its hard to judge from most of the comments here that they watched the TV program we are supposedly discussing. Is it just me and the last commenter who watched it? I thought there were loads of interesting aspects to it: how little of the atmosphere is comprised of 'greenhouse' gases in comparison to other types of gas; how the atmosphere where the 'global warming' should be taking place (about 10k up) is actually getting cooler; and how CO2 levels seem to follow rather than precede warming trends in the climate. Anybody want to discuss the actual program?

Edmund Ironside said...

'So now the whole weary business of pointing out that the evidence against manmade climate change is sparse and unable to withstand critical scrutiny while the evidence in favour is overwhelming and repeatedly confirmed must begin all over again.' George Monbiot doesn't really want a debate about anthropogenic global warming at all does he?

Cleans Weep said...

Well said, Edmund Ironside.

The whole crux of the debate is whether anthropogenic carbon dioxide is a significant cause of global warming.

This is a purely scientific question, and thus, as the programme quoted, consensus is philosophically irrelevant.

Even those whose are convinced of the correctness of the widely-held belief that human activity is causing global warming should oppose attempts to silence, derogate or criminalize scientists who dispute the theory. Such an approach could have consequencies of the same type as the Lysenkoist attempt to suppress science in Stalin's Soviet Union.

Anonymous said...

As someone who has followed the debate (as a layman) for some time, I thought the consensus went something like this:

1) Solar activity is the best predictor of global temperature until very recently (1960s, maybe?)

2) Since that point, the graph has significantly diverged from this.

Nothing in the programme last night seemed to answer this. Now, obviously there are major problems with concentrating on a few decades of climate data (which actually start when all the scientists believed a new ice age was on the way), when the atmosphere is extremely complicated and evolves over thousands of years. And I do think that the recent case for manmade global warming appears to have been exaggerated by the media (and some scientists). But can someone who understands the science better than I do explain whether they think global warming that is happening now is significantly greater than it would be if we were not burning fossil fuels?

This is surely the crux of the matter. You can believe that _most_ of global warming is caused by the Sun, which would explain the troposphere issues. Even the fact that CO2 follows rather than precedes warming (and I don't know if the statistics stack this up) doesn't necessarily kill man-made global warming. For example, we talk about feedback loops, where warming makes changes which increase warming. So (without the influence of fossil fuel burning) CO2 might both follow global warming _and_ cause global warming.

And frankly, the percentage which CO2 forms of the atmosphere is surely irrelevant. Some substances are poisonous in parts per million; it's not how much of something that exists, it's the effect that it has. So, the question is, what effect is burning fossil fuels having compared to not burning fossil fuels?

As I understood the IPCC consensus, it was that the climate would warm up by a certain number of degrees more _than it would do otherwise_. In other words, on top of any solar warming. And the consequences of this would be significant in changed weather patterns (i.e. increased water stress, failed crops, some lowland flooding).

Can someone who understands the science better than I do tell me if that is a fair summary of the 'pro man-mad global warming' view? And if so, whether this programme fatally wounds the theory?

Thanks.

Cleans Weeps said...

Anonymous suggested that current understanding is:

Solar activity is the best predictor of global temperature until very recently (1960s, maybe?); Since that point, the graph has significantly diverged from this.

The programme did not support this point of view. The solar-based predition expert interviewed claimed to have been betting recently (certainly more recently than 1969) against the UK Met Office's predictions for weather at a commercial bookmakers, and to be making a profit. (However, financial figures to support this were not presented.)

Anonymous said...

the living earth adaps to the sun?!?!? are you stupid? the living earth? what ru some sort of idiot? just beacuse earth contains life does not means it can change its surrounding. the life on earth srings from the right conditions caused by the sun and if the sun gets hotter we get hotter and life gets harder. if life could change its own enviroment then trres would change the desserts into fresh soil but they cant and everyday the desserts grow you are a fool to think you know anything about what starts or finishes life anywhere.

Anonymous said...

For me the programme made perfect believeable sense - much more so than the strident "pro" lobby arguments. For people fed up with the whole thing it's like manna.
I have still yet to hear why humans absolutley minimal contribution to CO2 should be so much more important than that emitted by Volcanic activity and life in general. In fact the film raised so many points I can't at this time be bothered to go through them.
Trust me if I believed in warming camp I would be with them - but I am just NOT convinced - and the nail in that coffin for me is when all the governments start to want to to "TAX" things... but not actually do anything with the money raised ( Road fund anyone )
But I leave the final ( paraphrased )comment to the co founder of GREENPEACE.
" when they started to want to ban chlorine - I said...you want to ban one of the elements of the periodic table??!! I left them to it..."

guy said...

This is all about Globalization. More CO2=more plants=more oxygen. Global warming is being used as a platform to initiate, a GLOBAL CARBON TAX. Global warming is real, so is global cooling although that wasnt covered in a inconveniet truth- Trying to keep the earth in its present state forever is ludicrous. Im all for cleaning up the environment, but unless you, all of you are scientists stop thinking your an experts when posting recycled slanted inaccurate information. THINK who has to gain from this, you think gore is doing this for purely altruistic reasons?

John McKeown said...

A critique by Sir John Houghton of 
Channel4's "Great Global Warming Swindle" is online at www.jri.org.uk

http://www.jri.org.uk/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=137&Itemid=83

ben said...

There are so many dodges here. On both sides.

"man made global warming": the "man made" part is irrelevant. The Four Relevant Questions are:

1) Is something happening?
2) Will it be bad?
3) Can we do anything about it?
4) Will the sum of intended AND unintended consequences of our action be better than simply adapting to the something?

All four questions must have a positive YES answer to justify action. Since climate models are still notoriously unreliable (We're running a terrible shortage of hurricanes this year) regardless of any other answers, the answer to #4 is "UNKNOWN" and therefore no action is justified.

And 2 is still pretty much unknown. Maybe millions of Canadians are looking forward to warmer temperatures!

Ben

Sparafucile said...

Global warming IS, without doubt, a natural cyclic occurance & man PLUS every living organism on the planet contributes to some extent or other. 100 years of the internal combustion engine, coal & oil power generation & Avgas are hardly going to make a difference in 500.000.000+ years of our planets past life. Lets put this stupid debate into perspective! After all, if man IS the prime cause of global warming then the Greens will eventually have to arrive at the final solution, The Mass Suicide of Humanity for the sake of the planet!!!!!Weird

Anonymous said...

"Global warming cannot be caused by Solar activity. For the following reasons. Since life has formed on earth the suns energy has increased from 25% output to 30%, yet the Earths surface temperature has remained the same. How? It is becayse the living Earth can adapt to it's environment (in this case the sun). What this program fails to recognise is that in order for the earth to maintain it's consistency in adapting to the ever-increasing heat, it needs for us HUMANS to not f**k it up by filling the skies with CO2 (thanks aircraft!).

Consider this before you disregard humans as the cause for global warming."


Oh if only this were true... Facts gathered by NASA show that Earth is not the only planet warming up. Mars, Jupiter, Uranus, and others are also undergoing global warming. So are you going to tell me WE are changing the climate of Earth and our neighboring planets? Get real! The fact that multiple planets in the system are warming up are the same time tends to say there is an external force driving this change. Not very hard to figure that out when you have good information. If Earth was the only one warming up then I'd say you had a good point. But since it's not I have to call BS.

Anonymous said...

Oh and we are forgetting the weakening magnetic field of the Earth. There is evidence that the planet has gone through multiple magnetic pole shifts in the past and that we are going through the beginnings of one now. The magnetic field shields us from most of the Sun's radiation. As the field weakens more gets through. I doubt this would not have a direct influence on our climate. There is so much inofrmation out ther and the GW nazi's forcus on a very small fraction of that information. It's sad they are helping dumb down the populace.

Anonymous said...

A previous Anonymous said:

"If it's so hot today, why are there no grape orchids in England, like there were in 1000 AD?"

I guess you mean vineyards? You're not from England, are you? There are now nearly 400 vineyards in England and Wales, according to english-wine.com. Here in the South of England, neighbours a street away from me grow their own grapes in the allotment backing onto their house and make their own wine.

Lancelot said...

I have seen stats and figures on both sides of the
argument, and it is very easy to see how people can pick the view they would like to be true. for me there has got to be some truth in human activities affecting our world, the extent...not clear. But what is fact is that global warming allows the fulfillment of two major human groupings;
1. there are alot of people making alot of money because of the situation...science gets funding, politicians have a campaign issue to win votes, governments have carbon taxes.

2. extremists do love a good " hate the man" bandwagon to jump on. it does not suit them if co2 doesn't matter... industry could push on...

And then there is the media who need sensation to sell stories..without a global warming crisis the next hurricane would not be so news worthy.
In my opinion all of the above have to much say and too much power. in a world where millions of people live in extreme poverty the emphisis on this issue is worrying.
If global warming research, carbon limits;surpressed development is what the world leaders think will help keep them in power, thats where our money will go.. screw the rest.

Anonymous said...

As I see it all the debate about global began when the government learnt about depleting resources and that the fossil fuels will run out. A scare story like global warming will surely make people think more about the resources they use which is no bad thing. However unfortunately i think it all boils down to money in the end. This is one theory not mentioned so far, however i do not believe it personally.

Also, the program said vinyards in the North of england not the south as it is always warmer there

Anonymous said...

It will be interesting to hear what people think about this although i feel the consensus it is all a load of bull.

Anonymous said...

The consensus is that the film is very compelling. You can watch it here.
http://www.stanchfield.com/kevin/links.html

Anonymous said...

http://puddle.mit.edu/~cwunsch/

take a look, you will see what Martin Durkin did.

John said...

The "hockey stick" saga is not about some minor, unintended mistake. It is about calculated misinformation and fabrication at the highest levels of government to promote the great lie, Global Warming, for personal monitary gain. Enron, WMD and Global Crossing fiascos pale in comparison. Welcome to George Orwell's "1984", compliments of the environmental left and those that leverage green religious beliefs and political support for personal gain.

Anonymous said...

While this may not be a resolved issue, or a 'consensus' issue, global warming may pose a problem in the future. Despite it's detractors, it still has it's supporters in the scientific community. But I think it is abundantly clear that it is not the science that is at issue.

The scientific evidence may be interpreted differently, but it is still subject to the regularity of the laws of physics and peer review. What CANNOT be checked by these forces is FRANTIC HYSTERIA. Yes, even people like myself who believe that man -made carbon emmissions are a significant factor in climate change can resist the hysteria. A world where children are lying awake at night with a chilling fear of climate change is one that is beyond the reach of science. No one emerges from a discussion with a climatologist with such dread, only a profiteer can instill such frantic fear.
While much of the discussion revolves around science, the 'buzz' does not: climatologists are rarely paraded on 'American Idol' to reach the broad audience, but rather people recieve their daily dose of fear in the form of such flicks as 'The Day after Tomorrow'.

The UN's estimates for sea level rise due to globap warming suggest 17 inches in the next CENTURY. The film above portrays sea levels rising catastrophically in a period of hours, drowning Manahttan and plunging the earth into a deep freeze. Somehow the science associated with the UN report has come to be associated with the absolutely unsupported theories of hysterical filmmakers trying to capitalize on public ignorance. Would the sleepless children be truly terrorized by the UN report? Not likely - If at all, they certainly would not respond with dread more befitting of the threat of nuclear war.

What most plagues public debate is a serious consideration of any reality of the future. Even if the UN report is spot-on, how many SUVs will we have to take off of the road, how many compact-fluorescent bulbs to install before we fix the problem? Moreover, how will we know when we have done enough? When we have all but eliminated our carbon emisions, how will we know when the warming has stopped? will the Hurricanes stop? Will Polar bears stop drowning on-camera? will the glaciers come back? Will Al Gore triumphantly announce an end to the hysteria and proclaim problem solved?

Not likely. After a devastating season last year, there were no hurricanes to hit the US coast this year, despite the higher sea surface temperatures. As Katrina was evidence of global warming, is this a sign of global cooling? According to the School of Hysterics, it is. In fact, every brutal snowstorm is as well, a preminition of a frigid future. But we ALL should know that these disasters are not part of the scientific calculation of global climate change - weather and climate are DIFFERENT. Only a self-aggrandizing political figure with a career to rebuild would posit such drama.

Diplomacy such as exhibited at Kyoto was a start - despite it's obvious primary intent to trade-out the economies of the west. Any agreement to reduce emissions must be uniformly GLOBAL - after all, it is GLOBAL warming, not first world warming. ALL future carbon emmissions will contribute regardless of the GDP per head, and just because AMerica doesn't use the oil doesn't mean the Arabs will stop selling it. Someone - ANYONE - will use oil to prosper in our stead. The West-hating, capitalist-despising faux-environmentalists may be satisfied with that result, but not I. If our concern is for the environment, let it be pure and unadulterated.

Anonymous said...

Some comments specifically on the part of the show that addressed climate charge and the Third World: This portrayed an extreme environmentalist view point on climate change and inaccurately applied it to developing nations. It poorly addressed how the reducing the impact of climate change practically pertains to developing countries and completely ignored the effects - current and potential - of climate change on people there... Or maybe they were just being tongue-in-cheek; I never really understood British humour, smiley faces are as sophisticated as I get :)

But anyways, as someone working in renewable energy in Nigeria, I found many of the assertions and arguments to ring particularly false to the reality on the ground. These four points in particular:

- "The polices being pushed to prevent global warming are having a disastrous effect on the world poorest people." The only part of the Kyoto Protocol's climate change policy that directly affects developing countries is the opportunity for partial sponsorship of clean energy projects in developing nations through carbon trading schemes such as the Clean Development Mechanism. CDM has been estimated to free up around $10 billion for clean energy projects in developing nations. The issue with CDM is that Africa is currently getting a meager share as governments like China and India's were more able to organize to access this funding. I don't think that's quite the "disastrous effect" Paul Driessen alleges. Since there are no proposed policies that I'm aware of requiring Africans to limit their CO2 emissions, I'm not quite clear what policy he's referring to...

- The implication that all renewable energy, particularly solar, is too expensive and inadequate. (via one improperly sized photovoltaic system!) The claim that renewable energy is three times more expensive than conventional grossly oversimplifies energy costs in Africa - where cost per unit energy can be many times that of North America. For instance, the convention in Nigeria is that anyone who can afford it buys a generator as a backup power source since the grid is only up about a third of the time. The office I'm working estimates they spent the equivalent of 10 bucks a day on fuel alone or about $50/week. Since we installed a $6000 solar system 2 months ago, we've only had to use the gen once (when the grid was off for a week straight). So our PV system will pay for itself in a little more than two years while most of the components (excluding the batteries) are supposed to last for 15-20 years. However, the majority of people don't have that much cash to put up at the onset and interest rates are 18-30% here... assuming one could get a (very scarce) loan approved for something as uncommon as a PV system. So solar is too expensive much the same way buying a house is too expensive compare to renting - it actually can be cheaper in the long term but only if people can access loans. Granted, there are quite a few other issues with solar, but it's deceptive to claim nobody in Africa can afford it.

- Africa is being told by climate change activists "Don't touch your resources" Well yes, they're right that Africa has oil. But no one, not even environmentalists, would or could argue that Africa shouldn't benefit from it. Let's just be practical about who is currently benefiting from those resources. In Nigeria, only one thousandth of the oil produced here is used by Nigerians. And the profits from the exports mainly go to the international oil companies and very rich politicians. The current climate change movement is not playing an even incremental role in keeping Africans from benefiting from their resources, especially compare to the (incredibly complex) economic and political systems that have evolved over the past two centuries. Please, let's be realistic - if this is seriously a concern then climate change is the wrong scapegoat.

- Energy infrastructure in developing nations is being [though I'm assuming they meant 'should be' ] restricted to wind and solar as part of the global warming campaign. No one is actually advocating this. There are certainly people encouraging alternative energies to be included in a diverse energy mix and for very good reasons: Africa is still expanding its energy infrastructure which making both grid connected and decentralized alternative energy option cost-competitive in some situations. However, since these technologies aren't as well-established they may not otherwise be considered. Diversification of non-fossil fuel energy also makes nations less vulnerable to fossil fuels' unpredictable costs. Most developed nations planned their infrastructure in an era when fossil fuels were assumed to be endless and benign. Now they have a host of issues because of it. Shouldn't developing countries learn from this and use it as an opportunity to develop better than the West? Due to the vastly different situations pertaining to North American and African electricity development the 'We're slow at adopting alternative energies and it's even more difficult for them to' line doesn't necessarily hold. But that's not to say that renewables, especially solar, don't have some major challenges in order to be effectively utilized. (Detailed post on that here: http://my.ewb.ca/home/ShowPost/14177 ) Some of those challenges do require large scale action, but not one simple solution (that would make the topic too easy and uninteresting :)

Anonymous said...

Question: If the cooling period from 1940-1975 can be attributed to a greater amount of sulfates and aerosols in the atmosphere than we presently have as most alarmist would have you believe, then why the h*ll don't we just pump more sulfates and aerosols back into the atmosphere? By their own argument, it's not man-made CO2 that's warming the planet but rather the balance of CO2 and sulfates, aerosols and other "cooling" greenhouse gases in our atmosphere. Let's find the balance! Remove all the nasty industrial regulations we've imposed on ourselves and save the planet!

breathe better said...

Hey People,...there's 3 issues:
Energy Independance, High Energy Costs, and Global warming. The first two are driving the latter, whether you believe in Global Warming or not. Coal cannot be used in Power Plants without CO2 as a biproduct. There are blueprints for thousands of IGCC power plants ready to be built in the next decade all over the world. That means more gigatons of CO2. It's a serious issue. The US wants coal because we're the saudi arabia of coal. If we can push technology to capture and store C02, there's money to be made and environmentalists to make happy all at once. Get used to hearing about carbon capture and sequestration, because that's where we're headed.

digitus said...

2 questions for those who have been Suzukified (Canada) or Gorified (America):

1. If the oceans are truly going to rise so high that costal cities like New York, Miami, ect. wiull be virtually underwater, why haven't any Governments started plans to build walls or relocated the people as the Chinese did for it's new dam. Governments seem to get all the info long before the plebs do. (area 51? =) )

2. Krakatoa island exploded with the force of 100 megatons (the Hiroshima bomb was about 20 kilotons). The explosion was heard as far away as Madagascar (2,200 miles). Tsunamis from the explosion were raised to 131 ft, and destroyed 163 villages along the coast of Java and Sumatra. Ash from the explosion rose 50 miles in altitude (higher than altitudes where airplanes fly), and it affected the weather for the next year. It is my understanding that it deposited more particulates (sp?) into the atmosphere than man has since the beggining of time. If the earth can recover from such a sudden event, why not something that has taken man 100's of years?

Anonymous said...

fukk humanity. everyone fend for yourselves. if any of you smart fukkers can build your own spaceship and biosphere on Mars, i would suggest you start doing it for your family pretty soon. 99% of humans weren't meant to survive. too goddamn stupid. so maybe the 1% can finally do an evolutionary branching and chuck the baggage caused by wikipedian know-it-alls who claim science but deny it in a single breath.

Michael said...

If you want to download a dvd of the great global warming swindle, or download ISO MPG DIVX MOV of the documentary, I have posted it at "http://ggws.RabbitLink.com"

ggws.rabbitlink.com

Anonymous said...

The Global Warming Scientists contend that the graph of temperature leading CO2 levels are the result of CO2 released from the oceans in response to solar increase which amplifies the temperature rise. If this were true it would seem the temp graph should rise exponentially and be unstable. We shouldn't be here right now.

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