Climate change debate distorted by dogma

July 20, 2008

University of Otago geographer, Professor Geoffrey Kearsley, says that while human activity is changing the climate there is an increasing body of science that says the sun may have a greater role than previously thought.

It is now pretty much taken for granted that global warming is ongoing, that climate change is being driven by human activity and that it is critically important that extraordinary changes be made in fundamental aspects of our economy and way of life.

On the small scale, people plant trees, examine food miles, purchase carbon offsets and modify their travel behaviour.

Cities and even countries vie with one another to become carbon neutral; as a nation, we are contemplating emission controls, taxes and carbon-trading schemes that will have a profound effect on individual households and the national economy alike.

When linked with the other great crisis of our times – peak oil – it has become not only socially desirable to embrace all of this, but sustainability has achieved the status of a higher morality.

It has become politically unacceptable to doubt any of the current dogma.

So politics not science is driving the debate.

Not to subscribe wholeheartedly to the sustainability ethos is to be labelled not just a sceptic but a denier, with overtones of Holocaust denial and a wilful, unreasonable immorality.

It is said that we are now beyond the science and that the science of global warming has been finalised or determined and that all scientists agree.

Sceptics and deniers are simply cynical pawns in the pockets of the big oil companies.

And no one points out the vested interests in what has become the climate change industry.

This is unfortunate, to say the least.

Science is rarely determined or finalised; science evolves and the huge complexity of climate science will certainly continue to evolve in the light of new facts, new experiences and new understandings. Read the rest of this entry »


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