How’s the global fight to ‘tackle climate change’ by reducing emissions of greenhouse gases going? Let’s take a look, shall we, courtesy of the monthly measurements of gas concentrations done by the Global Monitoring Laboratory in Hawaii.
Let’s start with the headline-grabber - C02. Today’s CO2 takes around 300 years to disappear from the atmosphere (which is why the ‘carbon offsetting’ dodge deployed by, say, Drax, is so ludicrous). Well, no sign of any slowdown in the build-up. None.
What about the other greenhouse gases? What about methane, the one for which it is, apparently seriously, proposed that we should fit cows with bovine fart-capturing technology? Well, it certainly looks as if the cows have have been busy.
What about nitrous oxide, the ‘hippy crack’ horror of the popular British press? Uh-oh, looks like too many kids are having too good a time.
And finally, the ultimate bad-boy demon of greenhouse gases - sulphur hexaflouride, which is literally thousands of times more powerful as a greenhouse gas than C02. How are our attempts to stamp that one out? Hey, still growing strong. . .
I treat these lightly, because how else can one respond to the complete, ongoing, utter and obvious failure of the world’s various campaigns to ‘tackle climate change’? The results are at one level absolutely risible. But they are also outrageous: these graphs justify the contempt with which we should greet each and every solemn statement and ‘binding’ commitment, each propaganda coup, each new tax and restriction raised in the name of reducing carbon emissions.
Rather, we should listen to the science, and what the science is telling us, with absolute lack of ambiguity, is that these approaches have not worked, are not working, and provide no grounds for believing they will work in the future.
If greenhouse gases are indeed a major cause for global warming, then there are no grounds to think it will stop.
Of course, the idea of a ‘global temperature’ is itself a hell of a jump, and measuring it consistently and accurately over decades is an awe-inspiring (or awe-discouraging) task. The amount of noise from which we attempt to isolate a signal is terrific. Still, with all those difficulties acknowledged, and including the fact that there seems to have been little change since the banner hot-year of 2016, it seems likely that global temperatures are rising.
So if efforts to contain greenhouse gases have failed and will fail, and greenhouse gases are causing global warming and will continue to do so, what is the right response? It boils down to two
Hope, and adapt.
Despair is no response at all - but it is the response of learned powerlessness. And the propaganda that we are powerless is ubiquitous.
There are, however, massive and unambiguous reasons to support hope and adaptation. That’s one extremely powerful lesson learned from reading David Deutsch’s ‘The Beginning of Infinity’. He’s a very smart guy, which is why he is a visiting professor in the Department of Atomic and Laser Physics at the Centre for Quantum Computation (CQC) in the Clarendon Laboratory of the University of Oxford. Actually, this book ought to be required reading for every sixth-former. His point it this: ‘nature’ is not benign, nor is it naturally supportive of human existence. As he points out, without the support of human-technologies to help adaptation, even a few days unaided in the Oxfordshire countryside would certainly kill you. Humanity has survived not through the bounty of nature, but through humanity’s unique ability to generate explanations in our heads which allow the development of techniques and technologies allowing us to survive.
If you want to carve things in stone, David Deutsch suggests you carve first: ‘There will be problems.’
And on a second stone, you carve: ‘There will be solutions’.
Without doubt, there will be solutions which will allow humanity to survive the rise in global temperatures. What matters most now is that we allow ourselves to explore those solutions, not wallow in despair at the problem.
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Brilliant piece. I concur. The elites want to tax the lower orders, restrict them, obligate them, re-educate them and pauperise them in the battle against the climate emergency when the solution is staring them in the face, and it is none of the above.