Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Canute and Climate Change

Neville Angove

 As a school student, I was taught a lesson abut playing god. King Canute, tired of being overly praised, showed his politicians that for all his power he had no control over the tides.

The same applies to global warming and climate change. Unless we cause a nuclear winter, there is little we can do to affect global warming. We can affect climate change; in fact, the growth of cities creates heat plumes that affect weather patterns in interesting ways. A fractional increase in global temperatures has also affected weather patterns. More importantly, if you live in Europe, the Gulf Stream is showing signs of stopping, causing a new ice age.

The planet is on an upwards trend towards increased warmth. This is a problem of celestial mechanics and a 44,000 year cycle. About this trend there will be upwards and downwards shocks, and these will confuse the issue.

In Australia, there is a big political bunfight over the Emissions Trading Scheme. What is going unsaid is that we are in the midst of a global economic crisis that has been largely caused by speculation in derivative stocks. Stockbrokers are already salivating over the profits they can make in trading "carbon credits", with this derivative market poised to become larger than the derivative market in sub-prime mortgages. Apart from the costs to consumers from the initial and continued sales of carbon credits, trading in them will cause even worse problems.

The whole area of climate change and global warming is hugely confused by hyperbole, deliberate misrepresentation, misuse of statistics, abuse of the scientific method, and pure profit taking (notice how solar hot water systems have more than doubled in price, relative to the CPI, or how photovoltaic systems still cost much more than buying the equivalent electricity, even though household electricity prices have doubled relative the the CPI)?

Everyone seems to be after a quick buck, or after more power by determining who will make the bucks. The consumer is the one who pays for it, and will suffer repeated bumchuming for being ignorant. But those who make the wrong decisions (or enforce them) have made sure they get the income to shelter them. Trust civil servants to look after themselves, and make money from the tragedy of others.

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