Don’t Tell Mr Barroso That!

All the big oil companies claim to be aware of global warming and all claim to be fighting it in their own ways. It is good publicity for them. The truth, of course, is that all oil companies want to see their businesses prosper and unfortunately if we were to do anything to reduce emissions their businesses would fail, or else reduce in size quite considerably. It should therefore come as no surprise that Shell have been lobbying the European Union very aggressively and it seems persuasively to reduce renewable energy targets. This was part of the negotiations which led to an EU wide climate agreement in October 2014 which the then European Commission President, Jose Manuel Barroso, said was “real progress” in the fight against climate change.

Mr Barroso loved to puff up the importance of the EU and himself, and it seems now that the chaps at Shell were the authors of the renewable energy targets more than the European Union’s own functionaries. That “real progress” also had the pious and non-binding hope of a EU cut in emissions of 40%, sometime, maybe, perhaps.

The irony is that binding targets for renewable energy are unlikely to make a difference to climate change; the real requirement is to reduce emissions and increasing renewable energy may or may not reduce emissions. Much renewable energy (such as using ethanol from corn and burning wood in power stations) actually increases emissions, so increasing those forms of renewable energy may actually increase emissions, but don’t tell Mr Barroso that.

4 Responses

  1. When did global warming become climate change?

    They are not equivalent concepts.

    There are many possible causes of climate change and surely global warming is lower in the list of likely causes than say volcanic eruption, or diminishing solar activity.

    Furthermore, the climate changes constantly, whether or not there is global warming.

    • Global warming and climate change are two sides of the same coin, although to avoid confusion, because as you have rightly pointed out the climate has always changed, I should refer to climate change as “rapid climate change” within the global warming context.

      Long term climate change is influenced by many factors and takes tens of thousands of years, except in the case of massive volcanic activity, when it can happen over very short periods. Global warming and cooling seems to have happened in cycles but the key feature of each cycle is that it happened slowly enough to enable humanity to adapt to the changes. If the climate is warming (and it is) then it will inevitably affect climate and change it; that is a matter of simple physics – air and sea current behave differently in they operate in warmer or cooler conditions, even marginally warmer or cooler conditions. So we have, for example, the likelihood of sea temperatures rising affecting the ocean oscillations and in some cases stopping them altogether or slowing them down. Thus you can have a situation arising where additional warmth in the North Atlantic and in the Polar region causes additional ice melt slowing down or stopping the warm sea current that warms the UK and North West Europe. We are on the same latitude as Newfoundland and the sea current is the only thing that prevents us experiencing Newfoundland’s climate.

  2. Words, words, just words, all based on one very ‘iffy’ assumption, that is that greenhouse effect caused by CO2 will result in significant global warming in the near to short term.

    The facts are that for the last 18 years climate data generally shows no significant rise in average global temperature. This is despite suspicious manipulation of data.

    IF the percentage of atmospheric CO2 has increased why has it not affected the average global temperature? How is it causing climate change when there is no direct link between CO2 emissions and climate. (i.e. a trace greenhouse gas cannot change the climate unless it causes warming first)

    Furthermore, the link below is to a graph which shows how the ‘difference’ between raw and adjusted data sets from USHCN has increased over the last century.

    If a statistician looked at these escalating differences he would ask why differrent correction factors are used each year. i.e. what is the reason for changing the value of the correction each year. No explanation has yet been given.

    Unfortunately, whilst so many people treat this issue as a matter of faith rather than science, those facts which fail to fit the concept will be rubbished.

    I simply refer you yet again to Copernicus and Galileo.

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