20 October, 2009

Why waste time debating global warming?

Recently I was sent an article from the BBC: What happened to global warming? Yes, I had already read it, and had heard the arguments for doubting the existence of man induced global warming, as well as all the counter arguments.

I wondered though, why was this ONE article being circulated so much, and not the other legions of anecdotal and scientific reports from around the globe which continue to clarify the current consensus that climate change is here, is getting worse, and is unlikely to go away?

While reports of record warming of oceans, melting of ice-sheets, shrinkage of coral reefs etc etc, are easily enough to convince me of the realities of global warming, debating whether this warming is human-induced or not, or indeed is itself real or not, simply acts to deflect from the arguably more tangible, and less controversial 'facts'.

These are:

FACT 1: Given that our economies are doing very little to rid themselves of their addition to fossil fuels, CO2 emissions are directly correlated with economic activity, or more crudely, consumption (the definition of consume being to completely destroy) of the earth's natural resources.

FACT 2: The rate of consumption has become far too high with the current population consuming the resources that would take 1.4 earths to restore - And guess what? - there's only ONE earth (Global Footprint Network)

FACT 3: This unrelenting pressure on the earth's resources is impossible to ignore - Just check out the highlights of the UN's GEO-4 - Global Environment Outlook about the current state of the earth's soil, water, air, forests, biodiversity, and development. Unfortunately there, are very few, if any, positive trends to cheer the heart and soul.

FACT 4: If there is any progress to be made on solving all these solutions we simply have to reduce our decidedly corpulent levels of consumption (ahem .... waste). And of course there is the small matter of fairness - how is it we continue to consume such huge quantities of resources in our developed enclave without at least paying a fair price (as pollution - ahem - carbon taxes would help ensure))

So let's forget the arguments about CO2 and global warming. Just agree that, at least in principle, it's fair to call for a reduction in our consumption (ahem... CO2 emissions) to levels that will allow our children to enjoy a lifestyle similar to ours.

Why waste time debating semantics (ah humm ... human induced global warming)?