The cold comfort of being right

There are hundreds of different measures that people employ when it comes to climate change. Large institutions with deep pockets, like NASA or the United Kingdom’s Met Office use sophisticated measures which measure temperatures and events in tens of thousands of places. Some folk take their own personal measurements every day. There is a lot of data and it is difficult to see the whole picture, because we tend to concentrate on the small parts of the picture that we can more readily understand.Those that accept that the climate of this planet is changing rapidly argue that this mess of data shows trends of rapid climate change and overall rapid global warming. Those that do not accept that the climate is rapidly warming or even changing will claim that the data justifies the opposite conclusion.

The problem with these huge amounts of data is that you can selectively use it to prove whatever you want to prove; just as anyone may quote scripture for his own ends, so anyone can selectively use bits of data out of context and draw a false conclusion from it.

Being adaptive and inventive, mankind has invented new ways of measuring; these may enable us to understand climate change better or confuse us more.

Ultimately time will tell as to whether those that believe that climate change is happening are right or those that do not believe that it is happening are right. But being right does not help. If we find that the climate is not significantly warmer in fifty years time, but we have spent our efforts on renewables and energy conservation and the like it will have cost us but we will have the comfort of at least having made the planet a cleaner and less polluted place.

If we find that the planet has become significantly warmer in fifty years time and we have done nothing about renewables or energy conservation, then we shall have no comfort at all except the cold comfort of being right.

2 Responses

  1. I don’t like it when I’m not presented with both sides of the debate; and when politicians, in particular, are using words like “irrefutable” and “undeniable evidence” on a subject as big as you describe, I grow even more sceptical.

    Politicians have less time and inclination to study the science than the general public do. Ministers barely hold a particular office for more than 9 mths. In that time they need to climb a very steep curve just to get to grips with the basics of their deep and wide portfolios (in theory).

    The media (BBC mainly) has blanket coverage of it in some form or other; and in virtually the whole spectrum of shows they output – very little of it is given over to eminent scientists who question it.

    The whole thing has come to remind me of Iraq v.1 & 2… oh, and SARS, Aids and Swine flu.

    As far as I’m concerned, it is my duty – to myself, if no one else – to expose myself to the “other side”, and having tried to do so since around the time of COP15, have concluded that, IMO, if it came to a court trial, there is enough reasonable doubt to acquit.

    This is about resources. Climate changes, period. When it does (as it does every day), access to, and availability of, resources is an acute issue to all forms of life.

    What seems to be emerging from deep within the new climate regime is a new system of money (or value of measurement) – maybe even a new reserve currency of some sort, akin to gold.

    “They” have already attached a total number of carbon tonnes that can be used in goods and services by 2050 worldwide – a “carbon budget”.

    Part of the COP15 was about divvying-it-up between nations. Europe is thinking about imposing taxes on carbon in goods that cross its border.

    Let’s assume that we do eventually become a “carbon-neutral” world. Will they then remove these levies?

    Carbon is life.

  2. Throwing money at the problems we face and making someone pay to pollute will neither, learning to fend for ones self and sustainability for the whole is all we need.

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