Monday, February 19, 2007

Keeping a cool head amid warming hysteria

Since the following are op/ed pieces, the posting can contain the full article.

CARDINAL GEORGE PELL: Keeping a cool head amid warming hysteria (Op/ed, Sunday Telegraph (Australia)2/18/07)
Opinion / Op Ed; Pg. 81

February 18, 2007

Global-warming doomsayers were out and about in a big way recently, but the rain came in central Queensland, then here in Sydney.

January also was unusually cool.

We have been subjected to a lot of nonsense about climate disasters, as some zealots have been presenting extreme scenarios to frighten us.

They claim ocean levels are about to rise spectacularly, there could be the occasional tsunami as high as an eight-storey building, and the Amazon Basin could be destroyed as the ice cap in the Arctic and Greenland melts.

An overseas magazine called for Nuremberg-style trials for global-warming sceptics, and a US television correspondent compared sceptics to ''Holocaust deniers''.

A local newspaper editorial's complaint about the doomsayers' religious enthusiasm is unfair to mainstream Christianity.

Christians don't go against reason, although we sometimes go beyond it in faith to embrace the probabilities.

What we were seeing from the doomsayers was an induced dose of mild hysteria -- semi-religious if you like, but dangerously close to superstition.

I'm deeply sceptical about man-made catastrophic global warming, but still open to further evidence.

I would be surprised if industrial pollution and carbon emissions had no ill-effects at all.

But enough is enough.

A few fixed points may provide light on the subject.

We know that enormous climate changes have occurred in world history -- for example, the ice ages and Noah's flood, when human causation could only have been negligible.

Nor should it be too surprising to learn that during the past 100 years, the media has alternated between promoting fear of anew ice age and fear of global warming.

Terrible droughts are not infrequent in Australian history, sometimes lasting seven or eight years.

We all know that a cool January doesn't mean much in the long run.

But neither does evidence based on only a few years.

Scaremongers have used temperature fluctuations over limited periods and in a few places to misrepresent longer patterns.

Warming evidence is mixed and often exaggerated but can be reassuring.

Global warming has been increasing constantly since 1975 at the rate of less than one-fifth of a degree Celsius per decade.

The concentration of carbon dioxide increased surface temperatures more in winter than in summer, especially in mid and high latitudes over land, while there was a global cooling of the stratosphere.

Britain's University of East Anglia climate research unit found global temperatures did not rise between 1998 and 2005, and a NASA satellite recently found the southern hemisphere had not warmed in the past 25 years.
Is mild global warming a northern phenomenon?

We may have been alarmed by the sighting of an iceberg as large as an aircraft carrier off Dunedin, but we should be consoled by the news that the Antarctic is getting colder and the ice is growing there.

The science is certainly more complicated than the propaganda.

Check the facts we're all global warmers now crowd...


Shikha Dalmia
June 22, 2006
Much-Heralded Plan to Stop Global Warming Fails
Europe's carbon trading scheme flops, now what?
By Shikha Dalmia

The most "inconvenient truth" about global warming is not -- as Al Gore tells us in his new movie -- that global warming will devastate our planet unless there is a major counter-offensive. It is that with the collapse of the European carbon-trading scheme last spring, there is no workable counter-offensive left.

Gore and other green activists have declared victory on the science of global warming, pointing out that recent developments have settled any doubt that global warming is real and that humans are the cause of it. While the case is far from closed, it is certainly true that one of the major gaps in the evidence for global warming has been filled -- with revised data showing that the earth's surface temperature is not flat as previously thought. Rather, it is rising at a rate that is consistent with the warming observed in the troposphere.

But if the scientific consensus about global warming has grown, the proper response to it remains more elusive today than ever before.

Amidst much fanfare last year, European and other signatories to the Kyoto treaty adopted emission trading as their method of choice to tackle global warming – instead of economy-busting carbon taxes or draconian command-and-control regulations. Under this scheme, each participating country is given a carbon allowance, which it then divvies among its domestic industry in the form of pollution rights or credits.

Companies are allowed to trade these credits with each other on the theory that those able to cut emissions cheaply would have an incentive to do so --and sell their spare credits to others for whom cuts are more expensive, keeping overall program costs as low as possible.

But this so-called market-based scheme collapsed in May when prematurely released data revealed that there was a glut of credits. The per ton prices for these credits dropped from 31 Euros to 12 Euros in just three weeks, finally settling near 9 Euros.

If the credit glut – and subsequent market crash – had stemmed from dramatic emission reductions as some initially thought, it would be cause for celebration. In fact, it was the result of an overly generous allocation of credits.

Nor can the problem be fixed simply by tightening each country's allowances in the program's second -- 2008-2012 -- phase...

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