The pseudo garbage that constitutes the British Daily Express newspaper yesterday ran a headline saying climate change was a con to put up taxes
Quoting yet another climate sceptic the Express served up a disservice to journalism, by completely manipulating the climate debate.
Suddenly sceptics are appearing out of the wood-work left, right and centre, spurred on by “Climate Gate” and they are spouting rubbish.
So finally its good to hear from a respected and credible scientist. And his message is stark too. In an interview with the Guardian newspaper, James Hansen, the world’s pre-eminent climate scientist, said any agreement likely to emerge from Copenhagen would be deeply flawed.
This is not because climate change is not happening but because any deal does not recognise the seriousness of the situation.
Hansen says it will be far better to start again from scratch.
“I would rather it not happen if people accept that as being the right track because it’s a disaster track,” said Hansen, who heads the Nasa Goddard Institute for Space Studies in New York.
“The whole approach is so fundamentally wrong that it is better to reassess the situation. If it is going to be the Kyoto-type thing then [people] will spend years trying to determine exactly what that means.”
Hansen is vehemently opposed to the market based solutions to climate change such as carbon trading – in which permits to pollute are bought and sold – which are seen as crucial by governments but critics maintain are fundamentally flawed as they don’t reduce pollution.
Hansen is also fiercely critical for leading politicians such as Barack Obama and Al Gore for compromising over climate change. “This is analagous to the issue of slavery faced by Abraham Lincoln or the issue of Nazism faced by Winston Churchill,” he said. “On those kind of issues you cannot compromise. You can’t say let’s reduce slavery, let’s find a compromise and reduce it 50% or reduce it 40%.”
He added: “We don’t have a leader who is able to grasp it and say what is really needed. Instead we are trying to continue business as usual.”
But Hansen insists there is still reason for optimism. “It may be that we have already committed to a future sea level rise of a metre or even more but that doesn’t mean that you give up.”
If you are worrried about false solutions to climate change, like carbon trading, then go and vote at the Angry Mermaid Award – where some of the nominees are promoting exactly these kind of issues.
I do not disagree at all that both Copenhagen and whatever climate bill comes out of the United States will be grossly inadequate, but to quote a Navy expression, we need to get off of “top dead center.” It is not 1990 or even 2000 and we are out of time to come up with a perfect or even a good solution. Whatever small inadequate steps we take now will make it easier when we really get serious. Time is of the essence and must start now. We can refine later and hopefully not destroy the world. What we can’t afford to do is delay any action – however imperfect – while we talk and discuss more.
At a time when the world is rapidly approaching an unprecedented climate catastrophe, I think we can best reduce global warming by increasing awareness of the inconvenient truth that even Al Gore has been generally ignoring: the major impact that animal-based agriculture has on global warming , A UN FAO 2006 report indicated that animal-based agriculture emits more greenhouse gases (in CO2 equivalents) than all the cars, planes and other means of transportation worldwide combined. And a recent cover article by two environmentalists in World Watch magazine argues that the livestock’ sector is responsible for over half of the human-caused greenhouse gases. Hence to avoid the impending climate disaster and shift our imperiled world to a sustainable path, a major societal shift to plant-based diets is essential.
Such a shift would reduce the many other negative effects of animal-based diets: disease, increased hunger, water pollution, deforestation, soil erosion, rapid species extinction, desertification and many others.
As to global climate change naysayers, we should ask them to please explain why the glaciers and polar ice caps are melting faster than climate scientists’ worst scenarios, why so many areas are experiencing such severe droughts, why there are more and larger wild fires, why this century is the warmest on record and much more.
In summary, by promoting plant-based diets we can do the most to help shift our imperiled planet to a sustainable path.
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