Wednesday, August 02, 2006
Ray of Sunshine Shines on UK-US Relations
This ignores the fact that no period of warming- the last twenty years have included the warmest ever 18 years recorded- has ever been so rapid and that all but a handful of climate scientists subscribe to the 'human agency' explanation. So he refuses to sign the Kyoto agreement on limiting emissions. Blair has greater respect for science, it would seem, but he has been timorously careful not to contradict his senior partner in the so-called 'special relationship' in any way. But now we hear he has broken free of this does- nothing -for- us alliance at least on the issue of climate change. And in cahoots with the oddest ally: Arnold Schwarzenegger, the gung ho Republican Governor of California. His state- the 12th biggest carbon producer- has now signed up in principle to a trans-atlantic market in CO2 emissions.
Blair is keen to round up those several US states willing to join such a scheme initiated by the EU to enable those who have beaten their quota to trade savings with those who have not. We have not heard of any comeback from an irate Bush as yet; my suspicion is that very soon Bush will belatedly join the consensus incidentally. No doubt my optimism will prove fruitless but I was pleased our PM has at last shown some independence of thought and action and dragged himself away from his security balnket reliance on the man in the White House. Speak for Britain Tony!
I'd be happy if the USA ratified Kyoto (though unhappy if that was considered sufficient), but it's wrong to imply that the USA doesn't recognise the reality and potential of climate change. Too many people already single the USA out - and turn a blind eye to others - because it comfortably fits in with their world-view.
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Agree too many people stereotype Bush on climate change but whilst Bush bangs on about how much Kyoto would damage US economy:
i) US produces one quarter of CO2 emissions with 5% of the population.
ii) we can scarcely expect developing nations to toe a self restraint line when we are living it large on CO2 emissions.
iii) Bush really is a 'climate change denier' as criminally blind to reality as any holocaust denier in my view.
The other point. I think you misjudge Arnie. The only gun-ho thing he does is in the movies. He has proven himself to be a very sharp operator, in a state that is more Democratic than any other. He has played the liberal line on same-sex relationship, stem cells, abortion and now the environmentalist argument.
I'm not trying to connect Bush with the holocaust in any direct way. My argument is that climate change, if we allow it to get hotter and hotter will cause sea level rises of over 20 feet which will inundate lowlying areas worldwide causing death and extreme hardship. The reduction of food production and spread of disease will also cause deaths. Why else did David King, our Chief Scientific Adviser say climate change was more of a threat to mankind than terrorism? Global warming could spell the end of all human life full stop. People who deny the huge evidence behind global warming are just denying reality- hence my comparison with those why deny the holocaust.
I tend to think you might be right about Arnie being a shrewd cookie but, while he's not been as bad as I expected him to be, he hasn't exactly transformed his state's finances or politics has he?
Don't get me wrong about Arnie. I am not necessarily a fan. There are serious problems in ensuring the long term stability of California(on many issues), and I am not expert enough to know about all the solutions. But he is a survivor, in the Blairite mold, and those types are to be underestimated at your peril. Arnie is the true chameleon, and he does it well.
OK, it is still a theory but one which 99 per cent of climate scientists endorse and only 1 per cent oppose. Of course there have been variations in the world's temperature before but they occurred over long periods, usually of centuries. The point about the present situation is that degree of increase is unprecedentedly rapid. 18 of the hottest years since records began have occurred within the last 20 years. I'm not a scientist but I've read quite a bit about the problem and am convinced the naysayers are either of the vested interest variety(e'g. Exxon Oil) or- as perhaps in your case- insist on requiring proof the building is burning down as the smoke snakes up around their ankles.
Arnie's political longevity is a side issue compared with the thrust of this argument.
The only result of this theory will be egg on the face of the Europeans and assorted lefties, and a widening of the economic gulf between us and the Americans. From my point of view, not necessarily a bad thing, but I expect the scientific community will not admit its error for a long time. After all, why would a turkey vote for Xmas?
Your comments about climate scientists imply they are merely self interested guys on the make. Surely you can't believe this to be true? I know a couple of climate scientists and they are genuinely appalled at what is happening to their-and our- world. But it doesn't look as if we'll persuade each other- though I feel sure the philosopher who's name you borrow would have felt the proof available was already conclusive.
Try reading Ian Flannery, The Weather Makers or, more accessible and online, Andrew Sullivan in today's ST.
I am glad the USA wants a bit more than that, and disappointed that the ridiculous Blair wants to sacrifice so much of our prosperity(before jetting off to Barbados on a 747).
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