For every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction,Newtontold us. With climate change writingNewton’s law does not invariably apply. I know that sometimes when I post some ideas about climate change, someone else posts on this blog some ideas which are opposite, but not necessarily equal. That is the fine thing about climate change writing. The opposite views are not necessarily equal.
The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (the IPCC) has been criticised because it (if I may put the concept loosely) simply reads writing on climate change and reviews the writing.
I very much doubt if anyone at the IPCC would regard reading these posts as part of his or her official duties. Their job is to read and analyse scientific researches (which have already been peer reviewed) and to gain a scientific consensus from them. The researches are frequently analysis of data which have been analysed by others and obtained by folk who do not do the analysis. It is a good system for finding out scientific consensus on climate change. Of course it may be wrong, like everyone in the world may be wrong, but the IPCC tells us what the majority of scientists believe is happening to our climate.
Climate change raises strong feelings. A Carbon Tax inAustraliais feared by some as the end of capitalism enterprise and prosperity as we know it. Wind turbines which work intermittently and provide intermittent power are hailed as “useless”, Climate change deniers complain vigorously about the cost of renewable energy but not about the health costs of fossil fuel burning and the costs of the damage done by smoke and particulates.
It seems that those who deny climate change is caused by fossil fuel burning often make the mistake of arguing that if we were to stop or reduce fossil fuel burning economic damage will occur. That is usually the main argument of climate change deniers. You see, if climate change is not caused by people no harm is done by renewable energy, which simply provides an alternative to fossil fuel burning and use of uranium, except possibly economic harm because fossil fuel burning is at present cheaper than renewables.
It is very likely that renewables will become cheaper as their use becomes more widespread. Clean renewables (such as wind and solar thermal and PV panels) as opposed to dirty renewables (such as biomass, biofuel and heat pumps) may even become cheaper as an energy producer than fossil fuel burning at some stage in the future, due to very widespread use of renewables and very expensive fossil fuel and uranium.
But whatever happens in the future the climate change deniers have no arguments to deploy against some undoubted facts:-
- The cost to health of burning fossil fuel is significant. It may never have been analysed but there is no doubts that breathing respiratory and heart disorders as well as some cancers are caused or exacerbated but smoke and particulate inhalation. When you walk down the city street you inhale and thus inevitably become a kind of passive smoker.
- Fossil fuel is a finite resource. It is becoming more costly to extract (because the large deposits of it are well known) and it is becoming more widely used and more intensively used as people in the developing world switch from rickshaws and bicycles to cars and motorbikes, and as they begin a process of industrialising their economies and improving their living standards.
So regardless of whether the vast majority of scientists in the world are right or wrong about climate change I have yet to hear a climate change denier (a perfectly respectable scientific position to take) explain the damage that believing that climate change is caused by human activity and acting on that belief will actually cause.
Filed under: biofuels, biomass, cancers, carbon dioxide, climate change, Climate Change and health, climate change deniers, fuel, global warming, renewables, solar, solar energy, solar panels, wind turbines Tagged: | intergovernmental panel on climate change, IPCC, Newton's third law of motion, work of IPCC