December 12, 2009


The following editorial was published in 56 newspapers around the world in 20 languages. Most papers placed the editorial on their front page. It is designed to scare, manipulate, and guilt us into giving up our freedoms to large international treaties. To reduce our standard of living and transfer our wealth to other countries. To submit ourselves to a single collective, where decisions are made for us by a central powerful group.

The Guardian:
Today 56 newspapers in 45 countries take the unprecedented step of speaking with one voice through a common editorial. We do so because humanity faces a profound emergency. Unless we combine to take decisive action, climate change will ravage our planet, and with it our prosperity and security.
"Climate change" is not a danger. If we didn't have a changing climate we would all die. CO2 only causes warming. High concentrations of CO2 act to reflect radiation energy back onto earth causing a warming affect. CO2 does not cause climate change... only warming. Climate change is driven by the rotation of the earth, the revolution around the sun and the tilt of the earth, and the wind/water/evaporation/cloud patterns that result.
The dangers have been becoming apparent for a generation. Now the facts have started to speak: 11 of the past 14 years have been the warmest on record, the Arctic ice-cap is melting and last year’s inflamed oil and food prices provide a foretaste of future havoc.
The 11 warmest years data is provided by The University of East Anglia. You can read about them here. How does last years high oil prices and food prices have anything to do with the weather?!
In scientific journals the question is no longer whether humans are to blame, but how little time we have got left to limit the damage. Yet so far the world’s response has been feeble and half-hearted.
The question has never been are humans to blame. It has always been, how much do they contribute, and how much impact do we really have, and is it possible to change anything without drastically increasing poverty. These questions are still very much in debate.
Climate change has been caused over centuries, has consequences that will endure for all time and our prospects of taming it will be determined in the next 14 days.
This is the most absurd sentence. We have 14 days to act or the planet is doomed for all time. Geesh.
We call on the representatives of the 192 countries gathered in Copenhagen not to hesitate, not to fall into dispute, not to blame each other but to seize opportunity from the greatest modern failure of politics. This should not be a fight between the rich world and the poor world, or between east and west. Climate change affects everyone, and must be solved by everyone. The science is complex but the facts are clear. The world needs to take steps to limit temperature rises to 2C, an aim that will require global emissions to peak and begin falling within the next 5-10 years. A bigger rise of 3-4C — the smallest increase we can prudently expect to follow inaction — would parch continents, turning farmland into desert. Half of all species could become extinct, untold millions of people would be displaced, whole nations drowned by the sea.
My goodness! How does anyone buy into this? 2 degrees hotter and we are all safe, but 3 or 4 and it's Armageddon. Allow me to let you in on a little secret... more CO2 and slightly warmer temps will cause all plants on earth to flourish. We will have record food supplies and prosperity. Going back through human history, warm periods equal prosperity, cold periods equal death. We are currently in the middle of a long term warm period between ice ages. Our entire human civilization has been built between ice ages.
The controversy over emails by British researchers that suggest they tried to suppress inconvenient data has muddied the waters but failed to dent the mass of evidence on which these predictions are based. Few believe that Copenhagen can any longer produce a fully polished treaty; real progress towards one could only begin with the arrival of President Obama in the White House and the reversal of years of US obstructionism. Even now the world finds itself at the mercy of American domestic politics, for the president cannot fully commit to the action required until the US Congress has done so. But the politicians in Copenhagen can and must agree the essential elements of a fair and effective deal and, crucially, a firm timetable for turning it into a treaty. Next June’s UN climate meeting in Bonn should be their deadline. As one negotiator put it: “We can go into extra time but we can’t afford a replay.”
I thought we only had 14 days? "Muddied the waters" is an interesting way to put the fact that the lead scientists that claim we are in danger have been hiding and deleting and manipulating data, burying scientists and scientific journals that don't agree, and are in bed with politicians and the media.
At the deal’s heart must be a settlement between the rich world and the developing world covering how the burden of fighting climate change will be divided — and how we will share a newly precious resource: the trillion or so tonnes of carbon that we can emit before the mercury rises to dangerous levels. Rich nations like to point to the arithmetic truth that there can be no solution until developing giants such as China take more radical steps than they have so far. But the rich world is responsible for most of the accumulated carbon in the atmosphere – three-quarters of all carbon dioxide emitted since 1850. It must now take a lead, and every developed country must commit to deep cuts which will reduce their emissions within a decade to very substantially less than their 1990 level.
The "rich" world is not responsible for 3/4th (75%) of all carbon dioxide emitted since 1850. This is completely false. Carbon dioxide is emitted by every living animal on the planet, bacteria to humans. It is also emitted by every decaying plant in the world, plankton to redwoods. It is also emitted by anything burning naturally around the world, deep coal seam fires of China to forest fires of America. It is also emitted by the 500 active volcanoes around the world. It is also emitted by the oceans as part of the carbon cycle. Human activities account for between 3 and 25% of emitted carbon. So the "rich" world is responsible for 2-20% of carbon dioxide emitted since 1850, not 75%. Also, water vapor is just as much a global warming gas as carbon dioxide. 99%+ of all water vapor emitted is natural and it is 50-100 times as concentrated in the atmosphere. So the "rich" countries have actually only emitted less than one-half of one percent of the earths global warming gasses!
Developing countries can point out they did not cause the bulk of the problem, and also that the poorest regions of the world will be hardest hit. But they will increasingly contribute to warming, and must thus pledge meaningful and quantifiable action of their own. Though both fell short of what some had hoped for, the recent commitments to emissions targets by the world’s biggest polluters, the United States and China, were important steps in the right direction.
"Developing countries" is a nice way to put the fact that billions of people are living in terrible poverty. Forcing these people to use expensive and unreliable sources of energy ensures they will remain in poverty. Access to cheap reliable energy is the driving force for the developed world's huge increase in standard of living over the last 200 years.
Social justice demands that the industrialised world digs deep into its pockets and pledges cash to help poorer countries adapt to climate change, and clean technologies to enable them to grow economically without growing their emissions.
The only affordable, reliable, abundant source of energy that doesn't grow carbon emissions is nuclear. Is the environmental movement going to embrace the widespread use of nuclear power? If so, I agree completely! It would be nice to hear some practical solutions instead of putting a solar panel on the roof of your hut.
The architecture of a future treaty must also be pinned down – with rigorous multilateral monitoring, fair rewards for protecting forests, and the credible assessment of “exported emissions” so that the burden can eventually be more equitably shared between those who produce polluting products and those who consume them. And fairness requires that the burden placed on individual developed countries should take into account their ability to bear it; for instance newer EU members, often much poorer than “old Europe”, must not suffer more than their richer partners.
This is the truly scary part of the global environmental movement. In order for it to work we must agree to binding international agreements with centralized power to monitor and enforce the agreements. Countries will be giving up the choices to develop industry and energy for its own people and handing that power over to a group of global politicians. Large centralized power will take money and resources from the "rich" countries and give it to the "poor" countries. As resources are strained there will be global rationing to keep everything in the proper limits.
The transformation will be costly, but many times less than the bill for bailing out global finance — and far less costly than the consequences of doing nothing. Many of us, particularly in the developed world, will have to change our lifestyles. The era of flights that cost less than the taxi ride to the airport is drawing to a close. We will have to shop, eat and travel more intelligently. We will have to pay more for our energy, and use less of it.
Certainly being energy efficient is a good thing. Being conscious of how much we use and not being wasteful is essential to being good stewards of our resources. But simply having expensive airfair or high gas prices or eating/shopping/traveling more "intelligently" will not impact global climate. If the doomsday scenarios are true, we would have to drastically reduce our carbon use. Forced brownouts/blackouts or massive increases in nuclear power, no/little use of the internal combustion engine, massive changes in what is available to buy and how we get it and make it, huge changes in farming and industry. Basically, we need to re-wind society back 150 years to where we have houses and running water but little else. And all of this will have questionable impact on the climate, if any.
But the shift to a low-carbon society holds out the prospect of more opportunity than sacrifice. Already some countries have recognized that embracing the transformation can bring growth, jobs and better quality lives. The flow of capital tells its own story: last year for the first time more was invested in renewable forms of energy than producing electricity from fossil fuels. Kicking our carbon habit within a few short decades will require a feat of engineering and innovation to match anything in our history. But whereas putting a man on the moon or splitting the atom were born of conflict and competition, the coming carbon race must be driven by a collaborative effort to achieve collective salvation.
Well, I certainly would love collective salvation... somehow I don't think it comes from solar power (although Ra, Apollo and Helios would approve). I don't know what countries the article is referring too that have more growth, more jobs, and a better quality of life by eliminating fossil fuels. To my knowledge there are none. Some countries (Spain) have mandated using less fossil fuels and more renewables, but they spend hundreds of thousands of dollars per "green job" and lose twice as many jobs as they create. And the overall carbon output of these countries hasn't decreased. Capitalism will drive innovation when it is necessary. As long as there are oceans of cheap, high energy oil under our feet, we will continue to use it. If that resource begins to disappear or become too expensive, we will find other ways to get our energy. Whatever source is cheapest and easiest will automatically be used. And as it is wealth and jobs will be created as they have throughout our history. This is a much better method than giving the power to politicians!
Overcoming climate change will take a triumph of optimism over pessimism, of vision over short-sightedness, of what Abraham Lincoln called “the better angels of our nature”. It is in that spirit that 56 newspapers from around the world have united behind this editorial. If we, with such different national and political perspectives, can agree on what must be done then surely our leaders can too. The politicians in Copenhagen have the power to shape history’s judgment on this generation: one that saw a challenge and rose to it, or one so stupid that we saw calamity coming but did nothing to avert it. We implore them to make the right choice.
I too implore them to make the right choice: Don't agree to reduce our access to cheap, reliable energy based on the over-hyped crisis of global warming.

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