Has Climate Change become the new Religion?

March 25, 2010 · Filed Under news · Comment 

For many people, their opinion on climate change is more a religious type of faith rather than one based on science.   It’s understandable because most of us are not experts and must rely on the work of those who are.

Despite the fact that the overwhelming majority of climate scientists tell us that man made global warming is happening, we are baffled when a few others come up with credible sounding arguments that seem to back the sceptics. Many people prefer to have blind faith in the sceptics arguments because they do not want to give up their fossil fuel enabled standard of living or do not want to contemplate the catastrophe that is waiting if we do not take action.
As non-experts, we need help to understand some of the debates in this complex area of science, and fortunately, no less a body than The Royal Society- as the UKs national academy of science- has produced an overview of the current state of understanding of climate change and responds in easy to understand terms, to eight key arguments that are currently in circulation by setting out where the weight of scientific evidence lies. We feel that this is really helpful to many people and so we show these responses here on Peak Food.
Burning the massive reserves of fossil fuels in a very short time frame will not only alter the climate but will bring our oil and gas dependent farming industry to its’ knees when those finite resources become scarce and expensive due to depletion or to events in the middle east where 60% of remaining oil reserves are. It is the stated ambition of Islamist extremists to establish a Caliphate to rule that entire region and deny “Muslim oil” to the hated infidels. US and western policy is to fight wars to stop that happening but success is not assured.
At some time we will be forced to devise a sustainable way of living, using the abundant solar energy that reaches us each day more effectively, rather than the ancient solar energy stored in oil and gas. The farming industry will, by necessity, have the major role in collecting that energy via the plant leaf.

Climate Change Debate – the Scientific Evidence

February 15, 2010 · Filed Under climate change · 1 Comment 

The severity and speed of man-made climate change is one of the key factors which will determine the amount of food that can be produced in the future. Most of us desperately wish it wasn’t happening and perhaps that explains why people are quick to believe anything coming from the sceptics. The East Anglia email scandal is an example of something fairly insignificant that is used to feed scepticism in the population, most of whom have not looked closely at the evidence or science.

I have heard people say that they would like to see the arguments explained by experts in an easy to understand way.

It’s great therefore that The Royal Society – as the UK’s national academy of science – has responded to eight key misleading arguments by setting out where the weight of scientific evidence lies.

We at Peak Food will show abbreviated versions of each of these arguments.

MISLEADING ARGUMENT 1

The Earth’s climate is always changing and this is nothing to do with humans. Even before the industrial revolution, when humans began pumping carbon dioxide into the atmosphere on a large scale, the earth experienced warmer periods.

WHAT DOES THE SCIENCE SAY?

The world has experienced warmer or colder periods in the past without any interference from humans. The ice ages are well-known examples of global changes to the climate. There have also been regional changes such as periods known as the ‘Medieval Warm Period’, when less sea ice and larger areas of cultivated land were reported in Iceland.

However, in contrast to these climate phases, the increase of three-quarters of a degree centigrade in average global temperatures over the last century is larger than can be accounted for by natural factors alone.

The Earth’s climate is complex and influenced by many things- particularly changes in the Earth’s orbit in relation to the Sun, which has driven the cycle of ice ages in the past. Volcanic eruptions and variations in the energy being emitted from the Sun have also had an effect. But even taking these factors into account, we cannot explain the temperature rises that we have seen over the last 100 years both on land and in the oceans- for example ,eleven of the last twelve years from 1995, have been the hottest years since records started in 1850.

So what is causing this increase in average global temperature? The natural greenhouse effect keeps the Earth around 30c warmer than it would otherwise be and, without it, the Earth would be extremely cold.

The ability of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases to act like a blanket and

trap heat has been understood for nearly 200 years and is regarded as firmly established science.

Any increase in the levels of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere mean that more heat is trapped and global temperatures increase-an effect known as ‘global warming’. We know from looking at gases found trapped in cores of polar ice that the levels of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere are now 35% greater than they have been for at least the last 650,000 years. The increase in global temperature is consistent with what science tells us we should expect when the levels of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases in the atmosphere increase in the way that they have.

It is alleged that the increased level of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere is due to emissions from volcanoes, but these account for less than one per cent of the emissions due to human activities.