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Sunday, July 23, 2006

 

Update on last Sundays post.

Regarding my remarks about CO2 exhalation on Sunday. I got an e-mail from Rick Ansell with a number of interesting links, not least of which is this one about a suggested method of combating climate change.

Ignore all the ‘Space shield’ stuff (Although it’s very interesting) and have a look at the climate information posted on this thread (There’s a couple of hours worth of in depth reading). Some of the guys on this forum appear to be intellectual heavy hitters, and the data they quote tells us a hell of a lot about the scale of the increase in global temperatures from a historical perspective. Incidentally, did anyone realise that our sun is not something which chucks out the same amount of energy, year after year? Ice Age next anyone? (Although wasn’t that the big scare story of the 1960’s and 70’s? Seems like scary news is perennially as popular as ‘slasher’ movies are with teenagers.)

One thing irks me about this debate. I like facts, plain and simple, unvarnished by opinion. For example; the yellow line and restriction signs are there, ergo you may not park on them between the stated times. It’s not political, it’s a restriction put there because other people (Residents, Emergency services etc.) wanted it. It’s the same as climate change is nothing to do with George Bush, Tony Blair, Vladimir Putin, Bill Clinton, John Major, Boris Yeltsin, Mikhail Gorbachev, Ronald Reagan, Margaret Thatcher, Jimmy Carter, Yuri Andropov, James Callaghan, Richard Nixon, Leonid Breznev, Edward Heath, Lyndon Johnson, Harold Wilson, Nikita Kruschev and all the major western political figures of the past four hundred years, and not all the political ‘playground finger pointing’ will make it so. Overpopulation is everybody’s concern, as I tried to point out with my gentle arithmetical mockery last Sunday Evening. 12 billion tonnes of atmospheric carbon produced by human activity without any fossil fuel burning is no drop in the pond, and incidentally, we know too little about the mechanisms of our planets biosphere to make sweeping assertions that all of the CO2 thus produced is reabsorbed just because it is done by living creatures and not machines. The arguments and data models are just not accurate enough to make these assertions; see the debunking of the ‘exponential’ rise in global temperatures generated by anthropocentric (Human) behaviour using Manns ‘Hockey stick’ model via this Canadian web site.

Personally, I think it helps to look at it from a macrocosmic point of view. Working from local ground level I am a six foot plus tall human biped. At close quarters I may look large and imposing (Especially so if I am annoyed or booking your vehicle) to other human scale bipeds. Put in context of any Street, I am visible and have an effect upon my surroundings. Put in context of my home town, I am miniscule although my impact can be observable (If you know what to look for). Put in context of my county, I am invisible, but may still have a minor effect if I try hard enough. Put in context of my country (England) I am generally invisible, but via the Internet I can make my ‘voice’ heard to those who are ‘listening’ world wide. Off the Internet, any ‘influence’ my voice may have is non existent. If I, or a million like me, died today, the biosphere of this planet would not even register that fact, apart from the neighbours complaining about a million untidily dead bodies clogging up the streets.

Our Solar Systems Sun however is a bloody great flaming ball of nuclear reactions approximately just over a million miles in diameter about ninety three million miles away from the small blue green planet I am fortunate to exist upon. Even the slightest hiccup (Solar flares, sunspots etc.) has a massive knock on effect. Radio interference, increased planetary temperatures, reduced planetary temperatures and all that jazz. Anything I, or a million more like me might do to the biosphere is infinitesimal compared to the difference to the energy levels kicked out by the sun. Even a moderate volcanic eruption puts more particulate matter and poisonous gas into the atmosphere that I or a million like me could ever do.

As an adaptive organism there may be nothing I can do about the increase in global temperatures and their knock on effects short of organising a mass depopulation of my planet (And even that comes with its own pile of troubles – all those dead bodies rotting away aerobically – Yuk!). I prefer adaptation to extinction. Too sunny – hats and light clothing are good, as is growing larger plants to shade more vulnerable crops. Too cold and wet – wrap up warm and grow stuff under cover. Volcano – move house in good time.

We’re humans. Homo Sapiens (Or Pan Narrans if you believe these guys) We didn’t get to the top of the food chain by giving up things; we got there by adapting and improvising (Some would say by cheating but they’re just jealous). That my friends, is exactly what I am going to do. Fluctuations in the biosphere notwithstanding; whatever their cause. My new brolly doubles as a handy dandy sun shade too.

Mind you, I’m pretty sceptical what the politicians say on this subject. Matthew Parris in the Times has quite effectively shot down Gordon Browns false statements about ‘standby’ mode on electrical appliances and their effect on the biosphere. El Gordo is alleged to have claimed it puts electricity usage up by 10%, but now seems to be disavowing all knowledge of this dubious figure. If he ever gets to take over the Presidency of the UK – sorry becomes Prime Minister, my feeling is he’ll be just as bad as old Phoney Tony at trotting out bullshit, possibly worse.

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Exasperated expatriate expostulations all the way from British Columbia, Canada. As if anyone really cared. Oh, I also watch Icelandic Volcanoes and seismic activity. Don't ask me why.

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