The Futility Monster

He'll pointlessly derive more enjoyment out of your resources than you

Have The Climate Change Doom Merchants Blinked?

Posted by The Futility Monster on December 7, 2009 @ 11:57

Our old friend, the hockey stick. Al Gore will be pleased.

I don’t know about you, but I’ve noticed a very distinct changing of the emphasis in the discussion on climate change lately.

Before I begin, though, a declaration of interest. I am one of those climate change doom merchants. I believe man is making a significant impact on the planet. In fact, I believe we’re already past the point of no return, and humanity is too complacent and set-in-their-ways to do anything about it now anyway.

But even I have been tested lately.

We have been told for some time that the science is unquestionable. I believe it mostly still is. I’m no scientist, but even I understand that science very rarely gives a definite answer. So the science is not and has never been unquestionable. There are no real scientists on this planet who would ever be blinkered enough to say that their work has proved the climate change thesis and all discussion is over.

That’s why we should not fall for the climate change deniers who constantly harp on about them being ostracised and victimised. That there is – somehow – this big conspiracy stopping them from getting over the truth that climate change doesn’t exist. That they are going to save you from nasty governments who just want to use it all as an excuse to tax you more or inspect your rubbish bin.

No. The science is a debate going on between people far more intelligent than me, and usually involving stuff that I haven’t a clue about.

Like most things, then, it’s a question of trust. Do you trust the UN panel, the IPCC, made up of the works of thousands of scientists, but with the involvements of governments and maybe other vested interests, who say that there is a 90% chance that humanity is responsible for climate change? Or do you go with the much smaller body of science which believes the complete opposite?

I’m getting the sense, however, that those of us on the IPCC’s side are beginning to squirm a little. We no longer talk in imminent dangers. We talk in probabilities. That we ought to act because even if we’re wrong, it is a gamble that we should not take with our stewardship of the planet.

But the real noticeable change is a sudden shift in emphasis.

We are talking less now about climate change but about the elephant in the room. At last.

We are getting to the heart of the actual issue that’s wrong with Western world humanity.


I’ve written about this before, how we are avoiding the really important issues by focusing on minor ‘green’ things like recycling.

Because there is one fact that even the climate change sceptics cannot deny.

Fossil fuels are finite. Coal, oil and gas will not go on forever. And our society, utterly dependent on plastic, utterly fixated on production and endless consumption with perpetual growth, no matter the cost, is not sustainable.

This is what we should be talking about. It just so happens that tackling most of these will co-incidentally reduce our carbon emissions. A win-win, perhaps.

But this agenda needs the politicians to be even braver. Who dares stand up to Shell, Exxon Mobil, BP et al?

Oh well. At least the talk sounds good.

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