can’t see the forest

Cairncross: Get Used to Climate Change

Posted in business, ecology, Global Warming, Social and Politics by Curtis on 9/4/06

The BBC reports, in an article that appears to me to be worded very deceptively, that Frances Cairncross has warned that climate change is inevitable and that there is nothing we can do to stop it.

Cairncross is the President of the British Association for the Advancement of Science, but she is not a scientist. She is a prominent journalist, academic, and management specialist.

Her assertions are basically true, except for the part where she states, in no uncertain terms, that a decrease in greenhouse gas emissions would lead to an increase in greenhouse gas emissions.

It’s true that we need to prepare for warmer temperatures. Atmospheric CO2 levels were on a broad upswing even before the Industrial Revolution, and the escalating global mean temperatures of the past few decades are likely a product of the early years of the automobile. CO2 levels rise, and temperatures rise in direct proportion after a period of latency. With vast increases in fossil fuel burning and deforestation over the past half-century, higher temperatures are indeed inevitable.

But the dizzying spin of this article would have the reader believe that it’s just not a battle worth fighting. Sigh…there is nothing we can do about climate change. Cairncross is presented as a be-all, end-all authority on climate change when in fact she has no background of any kind in climatology. It is a truly shameful piece of reporting.

She says the Kyoto Treaty is ineffectual—it’s just a bad idea. She does not go on to explain that the only reason the Treaty is ineffectual is that the world’s two largest polluters by an overwhelming landslide, the US and China, are not onboard. It is a blatant insult to countries such as Australia and the UK itself, and to many US municipalities and states, which have taken measures to comply with that accord.

I gave compliments to the BBC a few posts ago; I retract.


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