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BBC Horizon: The Global warming argument

January 24, 2011

As part of the UK schools Science curriculum, I started teaching about Global Warming nearly 30 years ago. Even back then there was evidence that human activity was producing increasing amounts of ‘greenhouse gases’, primarily carbon dioxide. The predictions were for melting ice-caps and glaciers and a consequent rise in sea levels and more frequent extremes of weather such as heat waves, wild fires, droughts, storms and floods.

Here are some quotes from just BBC news reports of just the last month or so:

The flooding is considered the worst natural disaster Brazil has ever experienced.

Meteorologists say southern Africa’s floods are caused by a natural cycle called the El Nino Southern Oscillation (ENSO), which has also been linked to recent flooding in Australia and the Philippines.

La Nina’s effects are wide-reaching and varied and this season’s La Nina has been described as one of the strongest in decades.

The last decade of the century saw the uplands [of northern England] receive a record number of heavy falls of rain in winter, yet an “almost complete absence of heavy summer rainfalls”. “So if these sorts of rainfalls become more common, then the implication is that flooding will become more common,” he told BBC News.

Shandong province is experiencing its driest weather for 60 years. Beijing has also been experiencing its longest dry spell for more than 30 years, another state daily said.

A detailed analysis of the global food situation has found that a billion people are hungry, another billion malnourished, and that unless action is taken, there will not be enough food for the growing population.

Last week a devastating forest fire, fanned by drought and hot weather, killed more than 40 people near Israel’s northern port city of Haifa. Thousands of hectares of forest were destroyed there and in Lebanon by fires.

Fierce winds and heavy rain and snow have lashed eastern Mediterranean and Middle Eastern countries for a second successive day. The storms have ended a long drought in Lebanon, Syria and Israel and come just a week after more than 40 people died in a forest fire.

Experts are blaming the high river levels [in Germany] on the record amounts of snow that fell in December and the sharp rise in temperatures that has brought about a fast thaw.

Last month was the coldest December on record in Northern Ireland, according to the Met Office. It was also the coldest month recorded in the last 100 years with a mean temperature of -0.6 Celsius. However, a sunshine total of 78.7 hours made December 2010 the sunniest on record.

Cornwall’s coldest December on record

Last month was the coldest December documented for the UK since nationwide records began 100 years ago, the Met Office has confirmed. For central England, it was the second coldest December since 1659. However, the first analysis released of global temperatures shows 2010 was one of the warmest years on record.

The first ever shipment of Northern Ireland potatoes to Russia has left Londonderry bound for Saint Petersburg. The move follows a prolonged drought during the summer which resulted in Russian crop failures.

It took me about 20 minutes to find all the above. They are documented facts. If I extended my search to the last year or so this blog would have been absolutely huge.

So, why do we still need TV documentaries to prove that Global Warming is actually happening? Why do so many people deny that it is happening? Just because climate records don’t go back millions of years and are subject to some uncertainty doesn’t mean they’re wrong for goodness’ sake.

Just because global temperatures have varied over tens of thousands of years doesn’t make the current measured record rate of temperature rise wrong.

Just because you personally can afford the current price rise of commodities and your life hasn’t been blighted by flooding doesn’t give you the right to ignore what is happening to others, let alone deny it.

Can we do anything to reduce the part human activity is playing in all this? Maybe?

Should we try? What have we got to lose if we don’t? That depends on who you include in ‘we’.

Pull your heads out of the sand, all you disbelieving ostriches. It’s happening.

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5 Comments leave one →
  1. Seven Dobbs permalink
    January 26, 2011 9:49 am

    OK Ostrich just ignore any other factors that may have contributed to any of the WEATHER events mentioned, and continue to worship at the Church of Global Warming’s altar.

  2. January 26, 2011 5:22 pm

    Show me a causal link to any other factor that may have led to the current unprecedented rate of rise in global temperatures and I’ll consider it.

  3. Seven Dobbs permalink
    January 26, 2011 11:21 pm

    Epic Fail Ostrich. It’s up to your religious leaders – sorry – climate scientists – to prove a link between correlation and causality. They have provided zero proof so far. And your listing of random weather events does the environmental cause no good whatsoever. With friends like you the greens surely need no enemies…………

  4. Zippo permalink
    January 26, 2011 11:32 pm

    Christ what a hypocrite.
    Fucks on about mankind frying the planet with CO2 and has a sports car as an avatar. Do you think he is part of a failed care in the community program?
    Should have posted stuff about carburetors instead of trying to talk about grown up stuff.

  5. January 27, 2011 8:29 am

    Read the post more carefully, guys. I never claimed that human activity was the only cause of global warming, just part of it. And I wouldn’t try to claim pride in my own carbon footprint. To that extent, I am part of the problem. I am not a hypocrite.
    My aim was to stir up some response from those who won’t even accept that the Earth is warming up and in a way it has never done before, according to all the records available. In that I seem to have succeeded.

    Note: I will delete any further comments that contain swear words.

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